Refuge in The Holy Guru (Page 10)
The prayer from the morning prayers—Lama Sang gye Lama Cho…
It is necessary to have physical discipline. If you are unhealthy it is okay, that is exceptional. During the teachings there is need for physical discipline—even in ordinary school there is much discipline. Generally, according to the discipline of the teaching, the teaching cannot be given—there is such to talk about it—the holy teaching cannot be taught by standing, with both people standing, and cannot be taught with the teacher lower than the listener—to subdue the negative mind, one also cannot give teachings in this way. There are many disciplines—they have purpose, it is not just egocentric discipline, they have much purpose. This again has much to talk about. There are many other things, many details. The teachings cannot be given to those who sit with umbrellas or hats on their heads. I’m sorry if anyone has, I’m just giving information on the actual way of giving teachings, the discipline.
In previous times—just a little story, but there are many other things to talk about—there are also disciplines from the side of the person who teaches Dharma, there are disciplines from both sides; disciplining of body and mind, it is not easy. In previous times, during Guru Shakyamuni’s time, there was no teaching recorded in the text, the teaching was only revealed orally. Anyway, generally Guru Shakyamuni—there are many ways that Guru Shakyamuni revealed teachings according to living beings, many different ways—orally through speech, from the topknot, revealing teachings through trees being blown by wind—so many different ways that Guru Shakyamuni gave teachings, according to the living beings. Anyway, after Guru Shakyamuni passed away, 500 arhats got together for the future living beings. There was a danger of losing the teachings that were revealed by Guru Shakyamuni. So the 500 arhats, such as Arhat Kungawo, got together and they listened and recorded. Those who had teachings to say gave the teachings. They made a sort of a throne by putting many yellow robes piled up together, and then they let the Arhat Kungawo sit on that and give the teaching. Even those arhats did like this. There is much reason, but no samsaric reason involved in that. The person who sits on that and who makes the throne—it is only for the enlightenment. There are many other stories, I’m just giving some idea. Even the arhats who listen to the teachings from other arhats did like this.
Anyway—for what purpose, for what aim? For enlightenment. The listeners, the followers making the higher place for the person who gives the teaching, the speaker of the teaching, that is the responsibility of the followers, the listeners to the teaching. It is only for a Dharma reason. The thing is this—it is because of the teachings, the teachings which cause us to subdue the negative mind, to purify all these many hundreds of wrong conceptions, the delusions, and release us from the quagmire of suffering and enter the boundless stage, nirvana. Because the teaching is so precious, priceless. The reason the person giving teachings is respected is because without the person, the teaching cannot be received; however priceless the teaching is, without depending on the person giving, it cannot be received.
Anyway, there’s much to say, this is just to have some idea. Also, generally it is a discipline made by Guru Shakyamuni for the sake of sentient beings, to control sentient beings’ negativity.
This prayer has much, has such a profound extensive meaning. It is something that one can talk about it for months and months. Also in a tantric way there is much to talk about in terms of the meaning of this prayer. In tantric subjects, in a tantric way there is much to talk about. Also, this prayer is very interesting; as you understand it, it is very interesting to say, to use it, to receive it and say it at any time, very powerful. Also to use it for grace, food offerings. In another course, I started to explain from the top, from the prayers, and it took much time, not getting into the real subject. The explanation that we started, only this, took five or six days, a long time. Actually, it’s the same thing, the explanation on the prayers and the explanation on the meditations is the same thing—it is making the explanation of the graduated path.
Te is a grammatical word—when they compose verses, if there are not the same number of words in one verse as in the others, they add these grammatical words so that they flow correctly.
Jepa means creator of the subject (as in subject-object).
So, as we were talking about before, the originator is the holy omniscient mind. That appears, that takes the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni, taking such a position like that. Also, that also works for sentient beings by taking manifestations as Maitreya Buddha, and as all the future buddhas. There are four great eons—one great eon includes the existence of one universe, one place, and the universal beings living there. The four great eons are the great eon of evolution, the great eon of existence, the great eon of decay, and the great eon of emptiness of this physical world, the living beings, the physical universal beings, and the universe. Now is the time of the great eon of existence. So in the great eon of existence, there are 1000 buddhas who descend on the Earth. They come, like Guru Shakyamuni, to reveal the teachings. Guru Shakyamuni is the fourth one. Anyway, even these 100 buddhas have different names, although all these are also manifestations of the holy omniscient mind, the holy omniscient mind manifested, just as this holy omniscient mind manifested in those wrathful deities that are the object of the meditations. Just like this, the holy omniscient mind manifested in different physical aspects of buddhas, and also the holy mind takes the manifestation of the female aspect of the deities, peaceful and wrathful. Also this guru omniscient mind manifests as bodhisattvas, it manifests also as arhats, it manifests also in gods and goddesses (dakas and dakinis; Sanskrit), and also in different aspects of protectors.
Also this—one thing, how is it possible for us to receive enlightenment? First I will explain this, the first verse. Because of these reasons, so all these buddhas are created by the guru, the omniscient mind. All the buddhas that we have just mentioned are created by the guru omniscient mind, the omniscient mind which is the guru. All these Dharmas, the realization of all these different aspects of buddhas and bodhisattvas, arhats and protectors, all that is also created by the guru omniscient mind. The Dharma that is the realization, the Dharma that these holy objects have, the realization. In Dharma there are two things—the Dharma of realization and the Dharma of words—this means the explanation of the Dharma of order, and the Dharma of realization. So the Dharma of order, the holy object, is all created, originated from the guru, omniscient mind. So that’s why all creator is the guru as it is in the prayer. This is one way to understand. “All creators are guru,” this is one way to understand, in this way.
The meaning of the first verse is as I told you yesterday, according to Guru Shakyamuni, this object Guru Shakyamuni. So same thing, the guru omniscient mind is the Buddha because that is all the buddhas’ knowledge, the infinite great knowledge, compassion, and power. Briefly talking like this. It is Dharma, the omniscient mind, the highest realization. That is the stage of enlightenment, so that is of course Dharma. That is also Sangha because it is the helper to receive enlightenment by following the path. Also it is all the knowledge of what Sangha has, no knowledge is missing.
So this holy omniscient mind also takes the manifestation of ordinary human beings. It shows itself in the ordinary form of human beings. Also, besides human beings, also in the form of animals, different kinds of animals, it shows itself in the form of different animals. Also it shows itself in the form of spirits. It shows itself in these different forms for the different sentient beings, according to the different living beings, whose only way to see the holy omniscient mind is in that manifestation. Anyway, these manifestations are taken or shown by the guru omniscient mind as it fits the level of the sentient beings’ fortunes, their level of their minds. Like this. Also among human beings in all kinds of forms—such as in the form of a king, in the form of a beggar, such as crazy, such as greedy, or in the form of a woman—like this, according to the necessary manifestation. So totally, all that manifestation is done for the sentient being to be able to receive enlightenment. Actually, there is much to talk about in terms of examples, stories, ancient stories, many things to talk about.
Anyway, to make a brief explanation, this is to have some idea. They manifest in different ways like this, and can be seen by those living beings for whom such manifestation fits. According to the sentient being, he may see this being as a dog, or a fearful spirit. But the dog that was seen by that disciple was not a dog. It can be the same thing with a human being, the king, which an ignorant ordinary sentient being sees as crazy, but is not crazy. As crazy a manifestation as he sees, it is not crazy; as it seen as an ordinary woman or a greedy person, it is not a greedy person or an ordinary woman. Even the manifestation that the ordinary human being, the ignorant being sees as an ordinary, ignorant being—is that an ignorant being? It is not an ignorant being. Like this. The guru omniscient mind appears in different ways such as this.
Anyway, so what I want to say in this—the purpose of showing the different manifestations like this is to lead the sentient beings into enlightenment, to release them from the sufferings. How do those different manifestations lead the sentient beings into enlightenment? According to the sentient beings there are different manifestations, different examples, and different influence. For the fortunate beings, orally having contact, such as through teachings; then for the lower, the other, less fortunate beings having a different influence, giving different examples that cause the sentient being to lose the negative mind of pride and jealousy, many things. If someone is creating bad karma, then appearing as a different manifestation and showing some example that stops them, that makes them lose the negative mind that lets him create negative karma. So in this way, by giving different influence, example, and teachings, there many things in order to stop creating negative karma; totally, to diminish or to lose negative mind.
In previous times there was one king—just one example to have an idea—there was one king who was an expert at playing violin. Though he was the best in the world, he had much pride, and spent all of his time doing that, completely hung up on that, and had such pride. So Guru Shakyamuni manifested as a beggar and came with the violin, and he was playing outside his palace, outside the door—he heard another sweet violin and got a big surprise—”There is a more fantastic player than myself.” In this way his pride went down, so his pride was destroyed by Guru Shakyamuni playing the violin. So, however, later on his whole mind was changed by that—before, he was spending all his time creating samsara, being attached to the pleasures of the temporal life, and having much pride thinking that he was the most expert person. Later on Guru Shakyamuni gave teachings, and his whole mind changed. This is just one example; similar to this there are so many other examples, according to the different beings’ level of mind. So this way, this being gradually renounced the attachment. So like this—the whole thing is because of the Guru Shakyamuni playing a more interesting, a sweeter violin. Just like this, there are many other things. By this the negative mind diminishes, and gradually great change happens in the mind, then slowly the being follows the path and receives nirvana. So by that the person creates merits, and by understanding the teaching, the person changes the mind. Due to the collection of the merits created by that person, he received nirvana or enlightenment. All those living beings are persuaded by the guru omniscient mind through different examples, according to the living beings’ different levels of mind.
All sentient beings’, one sentient being’s virtues and merits are the action of the Buddha, the action of the omniscient mind. The creator of these actions is the guru omniscient mind, who manifests in different ways, giving you an example, treating you in different ways, according to the level of the living being’s mind. The creator is the guru omniscient mind. How? By showing different examples, treating beings in different ways for the final aim, to receive enlightenment. When the accumulation of merits and the accumulation of transcendental wisdom is completed, all the impurities of the delusions are completely purified at the same time. When we have completed all the merits, finished creating good karma—creating good karma has an end—whenever these accumulations are completed, all the obscurations are finished at the same time. That virtue is the action of Buddha. It is like water—we put drop by drop in a big pot, and it gets full—so when these merits, this virtue gets full, by completing the accumulation of merits and transcendental wisdom and the complete purification of the obscurations, at that time we reach enlightenment. As the present virtue is as the action of the guru omniscient mind, the same thing with our future omniscient mind—it is also the action of the guru omniscient mind. That is also the guru omniscient mind; that is also Guru Shakyamuni, omniscient mind. That is also Maitreya omniscient mind—all those different buddhas that have different names.
That omniscient mind that we will receive in the future is the action of Guru Shakyamuni’s omniscient mind, is the action of all different buddhas’ omniscient mind. The creator is even the action of all other different manifestations of Buddha. So we are now on the way to developing that virtue, on the way to developing it. The creator of Buddha’s actions, the creator of the guru omniscient mind’s action, that is the guru omniscient mind that manifests in different ways, manifests in different forms, in different times. Even for one person, in may appear in a different form such as an animal or an ordinary human aspect, according to the level of the other person. The object of the action of subduing, in that object living being’s mind, virtue progresses, and as the mind progresses, as his obscuration become thinner and thinner, at the same time the object, this manifestation of guru omniscient mind will be changed. This will also change always into better and better shape, appearance; also this manifestation changes. Even though it was seen as crazy, ignorant, and foolish before, at the very beginning, slowly as the object of the action of subduing, according to his practice and development of realization, as his realization gets higher, the manifestations of the guru omniscient mind, which is the creator of that object living’s virtues, that manifestation changes, and it is gradually seen in the form of the nirmanakaya, or the sambhogakaya. Gradually like this, it is seen as an actual different aspect Buddha. Even the statue—now we say it’s a statue, but at a certain level of realization we see it as a Buddha. There are many stories, many ancient stories.
So, as before I mentioned the others, those holy objects, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are created, and the creator of those is guru omniscient mind. Now, talking about ourselves, our future Buddha, and true path, these realizations such as our future omniscient mind. Even the realization of the meditations, understanding of the Dharma, all our virtuous knowledge—all these are created by the guru omniscient mind. So also, as we achieve the true path, the fully seeing path, we attain the Sangha. As our Dharma is created by the guru omniscient mind, also our Sangha, our attainment Sangha is created by the guru omniscient mind. So thinking on individual side, our Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—for instance, my Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—is created by guru omniscient mind. So as it is created by guru omniscient mind, in the same way it is created by Guru Shakyamuni, those different manifestations of buddhas. Because without depending on the omniscient mind, the holy omniscient mind, there’s no such other Buddha, there’s no way that such other Buddha can exist separately, without depending on guru omniscient mind. So totally, the last, the end, how the omniscient mind guides us—this is one way to understand. That is in this way—of course, some people may find this subject very complicated, like soup, noodle soup—something going there, going there, the long noodle soup not the short one—but I think this may help us to have some kind of arrangement. To actually fully realize, and to clearly see it, to fully recognize—now, at the moment the problem that we have is recognition, not fully recognizing is our problem, not fully recognizing and not fully seeing in that way is our biggest problem. To achieve enlightenment this problem has to be solved; no being reached enlightenment without solving this problem. So meditation is necessary. To solve this problem meditation is necessary. Through continual practice of the meditation and purifying, one can fully see in this way, according to the evolution as it works in this way.
So we, working for enlightenment, actually sincerely working for the achievement of enlightenment, that itself is taking refuge, taking refuge in the result. There’s a causative refuge and a resultant refuge. Actually from the individual’s side, working for enlightenment, really trying to achieve enlightenment, is the actual way of taking refuge, causative refuge and resultant refuge. The resultant refuge is the individual future Buddha, and the causative refuge is the beings such as Guru Shakyamuni—the creator, different manifestations, being different manifestations, creating our virtuous knowledge, the path, the realization.
The reason that I jumped from refuge to the morning prayer—we should actually understand when we say this prayer, in order to understand it, besides saying the refuge prayer words, to have understanding of the meaning. Also, taking the refuge and understanding what this powerful prayer says is very effective, taking the refuge by knowing the full evolution of the way it’s working, the way they guide, the way the holy objects guide, the evolution of the holy objects—our own holy objects and the holy object belonging to other holy beings. Anyway, the refuge that is done, the refuge prayer that is said, the refuge done with holy objects with this understanding helps a great deal, and becomes very powerful for the purification of the impure dualistic mind and its impure view.
There is also a way of making confession and purifying with refuge. Traditional things such as counting the number of refuge—you say prayer of refuge and continue saying it 1,000,000 times—this is a way also to do confession, purification, by visualizing the refuge object. Usually, when we create negative karma we create negative karma with sentient beings as the object, like this—cheating sentient beings, telling lies to other sentient beings, taking others’ life, harming other beings, cunning, being jealous of other beings, proud of other beings, so many things. As we create negative karma with sentient beings as the object, also we create negative karma with Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—there are many things—creating negative karma with actual living beings, with actual living holy persons, and also the symbolic idols, the idols of the holy being. There are many ways karma accumulates, such as getting angry, breaking the orders, causing ... there are many things. Heresy arising, disbelief in the enlightened beings’ teaching, or disbelief in the enlightened being—such as thinking, “There’s no existence of the enlightened being,” or “There’s no such enlightened being who fully sees past and future lives.” There are many ways of creating negative karma. And there’s also negative karma created by depending on the guru from whom ...Anyway, there’s also the possibility, so many ways of creating bad karma—causing trouble, causing unhappiness. Like, for instance, if the disciple does some very evil thing that breaks his vows or precepts or something, some very evil thing—just an example—and makes the guru unhappy in this way; things like this, unpeaceful. There are many other things, such as disbelief in and disrespect—things like this. With details there are many other things, but this is to have some idea.
The reason I am introducing these things is because if we want to receive enlightenment we have to know the points. If we don’t know, although we want to be good, to receive enlightenment, we make mistakes. So, for the consciousness of those points I am saying these brief things.
Creating negative karma with the Dharma is something like this—”The Mahayana path is very complicated, very confused, too much trouble; it is much more simple to follow, much better to follow the Hinayana path, which is less complicated, and try to achieve nirvana for oneself. This way is much quicker, the other is too complicated.” This is just an example. So criticizing like this is a very heavy negative karma. Also, saying such as in another way that, “The Mahayana path is not the path to enlightenment, is not shown by Buddha,” or “Vajrayana is not Buddha’s teaching”—things like this. Also saying, “The Hinayana path is not path to enlightenment,” also criticizing the Hinayana path—that also creates negative karma, criticizing. Anyway, these are just a few examples, there are many other things.
Also, with the symbolic things there are many ways of creating negative karma, such as with the holy statues, Buddha figures, paintings, tangkas, and pictures of the Buddha. If these are put on the floor and put under the bed, under your seat, stepped over, put under the bed, under your seat, stepped over, put under the feet, used for kaka—anyway, I’m just giving you the idea. There are many things—using them to clean things, to clean pots, things like this. Why? We think it’s just paper, but it’s not like this. If we are going to talk about what is symbolized by each figure, each line, each spot, we can talk for years, for lifetimes about the meanings and the teachings symbolized by those figures, those lines. Anyway, it symbolizes—we don’t understand—but it expresses, that holy being’s figure or statue itself explains the knowledge, the infinite knowledge, the infinite great compassion, infinite powers. It’s only a matter of from our side not realizing, not seeing, not recognizing. Just as the holy omniscient mind or Guru Shakyamuni, as he’s that precious, priceless, having infinite great knowledge, it is the same thing with a statue, such as the figures of the holy being, enlightened being, these are also holy, just as Guru Shakyamuni is holy, just as omniscient mind is holy. And also, those things symbolize the holy omniscient mind; they have meaning, they contain much meaning of the teachings. It’s like—another way—it’s like the teaching that explains about the path and knowledge of the buddhas. Also we can understand their infinite knowledge and realization by looking at it, by checking through each thing. So they should be respected, they cannot be put on the floor, things like this, they cannot be used for cleaning pots, or put under the seat. They always have to be a little bit higher than your place, higher than the seat on which you are sitting, in a better place, a clean place. Just as we should respect Guru Shakyamuni, in the same way we should respect them.
For instance, like this it is possible—even though you see a statue, from our side we see it as a statue, as an ordinary man, always as an ordinary something, but for certain people who have certain realizations, they see it as a real Buddha, with holy signs. They are seen at the same place, but seen in different ways than ordinary people. There are many past stories. Also, anyway, however it is, it is always creation—what we see, the statue, or the actual creation, nirmanakaya, sometimes in the form of a monk, in different ways although it is at the same place. The statue that we see, the ordinary person that we see, the object Buddha or nirmanakaya can be seen as Guru Shakyamuni exactly at the same place and same time by different people. The object they see in their view is the creation of their own minds, and depends on the level of realization and the amount of obscuration. Those who have deep devotion and less obscurations see it in this way, as a better object, as a living object, such as seeing the real Guru Shakyamuni. Also for us, also it is definitely possible to see in the figure of the enlightened being, a statue, as the real form of a living Buddha, by achieving realization, doing purification on the basis of strong devotion. It is definitely possible, it is just a matter of doing it, making that trip.
So, if you do like this, it creates negative karma—stepping over them, putting them in a dirty place, under the bed—things like this—stretching your legs towards the idols that symbolic things of holy beings, putting your feet on them, and also, putting dirty things on top of them. Also, carrying them with cushions used on the floor. In this way we create negative karma with the holy objects. We don’t have any specific ill will, it is something we are doing out of ignorance, not knowing the evolution of karma. Even if it’s not hurting Buddha, not hurting the holy omniscient mind, even if you break this statue into pieces making atoms, it never hurts the holy omniscient mind—how can it be possible? If it hurts, how could it be out of samsara? If that were possible, then there can’t be holy omniscient mind! So we should be careful, be conscious and observe, protect, in order to save ourselves from suffering, from creating negative karma. Why does it create negative karma? Because the object is holy.
We shouldn’t think that this is the same as robes, same as rubbish; the person may think it as same as rubbish, if one uses the object like this also one may create negative karma—not like this. Because those other things are not holy objects that explains the path, the enlightened knowledge. Therefore, it doesn’t create negative karma. Some people may think if that is so, even if I step over or walk over anything it may create negative karma. This is not so—we cannot make everything as a soup. We cannot mix everything, milk and soup and honey and everything into one; sweet and salty—anyway, not like this.
So just as this, it is the same thing with the books, especially books that explain about teachings, about the path to release from suffering, that explain about the knowledge of Buddha, the nature of samsara, and the nature of suffering. Anyway, it is the same thing with the letters—even a piece of letter should be respected, cannot be stepped over, used for cleaning things, or put on the ground. It should be kept on your lap or put somewhere a little bit higher than your seat. And also, you cannot carry books with cushions together, or together with your bed. Anyway, also shoes—this way also creates negative karma, negative karma with Dharma, one creates negative karma with the holy object, Dharma. Why should it be respected? It is holy, a holy teaching. It’s holy because it makes us holy; by understanding this, practicing on this, meditating on this, so we become holy. As we respect Guru Shakyamuni, so we should respect this—Guru Shakyamuni also became holy by understanding this, so we become holy. As we respect Guru Shakyamuni, so we should respect this—Guru Shakyamuni also becomes holy by understanding this, these subjects. This explanation, meaning, is something that releases us from samsaric suffering; not just from temporal suffering, from all the wrong conceptions, so it’s a holy object. So always try to remember how it helps, this way of helping, and try to respect it—this is something that gradually makes your mind holy and yourself become completely holy. Also other buddhas became holy through this, these understandings, this practice. So see the value as this. Whether the person accepts karma or not, it doesn’t matter; he still creates negative karma.
This is out of doubt, lack of knowledge—thinking that if person doesn’t believe in negative karma he doesn’t create negative karma. This is our knowledge taught by ignorance—thinking like this is a mistake. If that were true then this is the same thing—a person kills another because he thinks it’s good. For example, a soldier, in order to receive the reputation that he’s brave, thinks how much he can kill other people, thinks it’s good, thinks that the more he can kill the better, stronger, he feels that much more precious. His not accepting it as negative karma doesn’t mean it doesn’t become negative karma—it does not depend on his understanding, his recognition. Otherwise, it becomes like this—if without understanding, without recognition one doesn’t create negative karma, but with understanding and recognition one creates it—then no reason to practice Dharma. Then, better to take LSD (I’m joking). Many people think like this, but it is a big mistake, cheating oneself—instead of making profit, cheating oneself. Also, this is what is explained. These evolutions, these karmas are negative because of the suffering result—this was explained by the Enlightened Being in his teaching. There are many stories of those who suffered negative karmic results through such actions. Generally, like this—for instance, even if there are a few letters, they should be respected if it is possible, as much as you have the chance, not used for something else. Anyway, as much as possible they should be respected, according to the chance that you have. Like this, why is it holy—another way of saying—the letters? Because the whole knowledge of enlightenment has to be achieved by depending on those words. For instance, to receive enlightenment, all that enlightened knowledge, depends on the practice of the path. The practice of the path depends on the full understanding of the meaning of the path. That teaching has to be listened to or received from guru, and also you have to study the text—same thing, making notes, same thing, reading those meditation books—like this time we planted some seeds in our mind, we created some good karma. So from this good karma, this seed that we planted in this time, the seed is left, the impression is left on the mind by meditating, studying, or reading the teaching, and we are also creating good karma through this—this causes us to receive the realization of the meditation. This becomes a little donation to the cause of receiving realization, and these realizations become the cause of higher realizations, and those the cause of enlightenment. So receiving enlightenment depends on, is rooted in, the seed, the impressions, the good karma created by reading this book and listening to the teachings in these words, these twenty-six letters of the English alphabet—receiving teachings in these twenty-six letters—reading, studying these talks and explanations in the twenty-six letters. So the seed, the impression that is left, helps up to enlightenment. The enlightened knowledge is received by depending on these twenty-six letters of the alphabet—if there’s no A, no B, how to translate? Therefore, they should be respected, they are also a holy teaching. Therefore, sometimes thinking like this, we should respect these books and letters as Dharma. We should respect them. For instance, just the letter “A.” Without depending on this there’s no way to explain the teaching, to follow the path, to receive enlightenment to discover the sufferings, because this is like the life of the letter. For instance if the person has no life it is dead; another way of saying is that it is like the brain.
So, Sangha—many negativity can be created with the Sangha. Getting angry, getting jealous, pride, causing disunity, causing harmful actions, causing unhappy mind, such as punishing them. There are many things such as this—in place of respecting, abusing.
So anyway, the whole thing is this—according to the person, there is also a way of saying the prayer a number of times to purify all the negative karmas created in previous lives. When this is done, when we do these prayers, even a few times, if you can say the refuge prayer with this understanding it is very meaningful.
Also think like this—when you eat food there are two ways.
1. As in meditation time, completely visualize yourself in the form of Guru Shakyamuni. Completely thinking that you are the real Guru Shakyamuni, without the wrong conception of the self-existing “I,” being devoid of the view of the self-existing “I” and the impure dualistic view. Then as you are enjoying tea and food, or whatever enjoyment is being offered, as you enjoy them, think that you are offering them to Guru Shakyamuni and that Guru Shakyamuni is enjoying it, taking it, like this. Same thing, when you put clothes on you can think like this—you are in the form of Guru Shakyamuni and you are making an offering of clothes. This can also be done. This way all the enjoyment of the senses becomes an offering, can be used as an offering to Guru Shakyamuni. Practicing in this way has a great purpose to achieve enlightenment soon, to receive our future enlightenment more quickly, to come closer to our future enlightenment, to becoming Guru Shakyamuni. It is a very special, profound technique or teaching. There is no need to explain much at the moment, but it is very useful to do this. Especially if you do retreat, try to always be conscious of yourself as Guru Shakyamuni—when you meditate and when you don’t meditate—it helps a great deal to have less distraction in the meditation. Anyway, this helps until enlightenment is achieved.
2. Then, another way of making an offering. Even though you don’t visualize yourself as Guru Shakyamuni, always visualize that Guru Shakyamuni is seated at your heart. As you visualize outside, that manifestation of the holy omniscient mind that is called Guru Shakyamuni, the same thing visualize at the heart.
And as you enjoy the food, try to completely dedicate to Guru Shakyamuni, don’t think, “It is mine, it is my share”—then it is a real egocentric action—”This is my share, this is for me, this is for my pleasure.” Besides being egocentric, this is an action of attachment, the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. A powerful, beneficial way of eating the food by the meditators, by the truth seekers, is dedicating the food, completely dedicating the food to Guru Shakyamuni, who is the holy omniscient mind manifested as Guru Shakyamuni. Or can think of him as the total manifestation of all buddhas, as he is.
First, completely dedicate, “It only belongs to Guru Shakyamuni, it is not mine.” If it is food that belongs to him, there is the idea that it is his share, and no conception that the food in his bowl it is my enjoyment. There will be a similar feeling to this, the mind detached from his food; so the same thing if you strongly think that this completely belongs to him. This is the real way of dedicating. Why? Because you are throwing the attachment—actually you are giving it up. Why? You are giving up the attachment to the food and the self-cherishing thought—there are two things to be given up—self-cherishing thought and the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. So this way also destroys miserliness. Giving this up does not depend on throwing the food out or not eating it; only that does not mean giving up—even if a person is not using things, still he can be involved. Only that action is not giving up—in fact it can be the opposite, cannot be giving up, because the action of using the food or things can be involved, can be an action of the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas, so how can that be pure giving up? You are not doing it for a Dharma reason but for a samsaric reason. So by thinking this, then you enjoy and take the food as you are offering it to Guru Shakyamuni, visualizing the guru holy omniscient mind that is manifested as Guru Shakyamuni. Same thing, with the lotus, sun, moon, also visualize this here. And this way, even though you are eating food, the visualization becomes a cause for enlightenment, a cause to release you from suffering. Such a small action becomes the cause of such a thing, becomes a very practical, very beneficial action.
Then after, also you can think that Guru Shakyamuni has received infinite pleasure, happiness, by being offered this food. Then after eating the food, from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body as there is an aura, much light, and many beams coming, your whole body is full of light and all your obscurations of nirvana and enlightenment are completely dispelled in the from of darkness from your body.
Question: What actions should be dedicated to the sentient beings?
Answer: Even thought you practice this you can dedicate. First you offer to the holy object, and second you dedicate to the sentient beings. There are many technical ways to think, there are many different ways to use the actions—the Mahayana way, the tantric way, many ways to use them. Each method becomes more and more profound, deeper; each action, according to the practitioner’s understanding and his practice, can be made a very profound method to receive enlightenment.
Question: Can you dedicate the food to the holy omniscient mind and the merits of that to the sentient beings?
Answer: Most welcome! You can do it in both ways—like this. Like the actor—you just watch what he does, it’s nothing that you practice, just an object of watching. Anyway, maybe not.
You can think like this, some simple thing—the enjoyment when you take food, any enjoyment you receive with tongue and mouth, think that all sentient beings receive this enjoyment that I feel now, dedicate like this. Especially the different divisions of the sentient beings—narak, preta, animal—your mind thinking of the different groups—”I am dedicating the enjoyments to all these sentient beings.” This is very effective. Perhaps as you just say “sentient being” there is no feeling in the mind, only emptiness. So by going through the suffering beings—narak, preta, animal, human, sura, asura—the sentient beings, the other sentient beings who are not enlightened, all of them receive this enjoyment, this taste. Think that each of them is feeling the same taste that you are feeling—try to dedicate in this way. Not only do they receive this taste enjoyment, but by receiving these taste enjoyments, it becomes nectar, all this enjoyment, taste that they are receiving. And then it completely purifies all their negativities and delusions, even the subtle delusions. All of them are purified, and all of them become Guru Shakyamuni, like this. This can be done with the enjoyments, with the taste. Because when the food gets in the month or the tongue there is pleasure—so it is very good to dedicate like this also, one way. The food itself can be dedicated, like the enjoyment, as if all these sentient beings who are in six different samsaric realms receive it as if you have completely dedicated it for them. Think that, “I have completely dedicated for them, given up for every number of sentient beings,” and think that as they receive it, as they enjoy it, it becomes the cause of solving whatever sufferings or problems they have. Like pretas, they feel hungry as well as experiencing other sufferings, so enjoying this food becomes a cause to release them from their problems. Same with the narak and animal beings. This very a powerful, technical practice. Especially it is important to use these techniques in retreat time, as they help a great deal for purification and for meditation.
Question: Can sacrificing other beings and dedicating this to Guru Shakyamuni create good karma?
Answer: Harming other sentient beings is the opposite of Dharma. As we take refuge in Dharma, we cannot harm any other beings—the stronger we avoid harming other beings the stronger our refuge becomes.
Answer: Same as the previous question. Taking drugs and eating food—dedicating that is different. Taking the drug depends on person—for some people it causes them to become crazy and lose the mind ... That kind of action is forbidden from the Dharma point of view, because that action doesn’t help the person, only causing confusion. That is different from dedicating LSD as any of your possessions can be dedicated—as any possession can be dedicated, drugs can be dedicated too—it is also a possession. Dedicating it is skillful action, but taking it, which causes more confusion, suffering and death problem, is not a skillful action, that is an ignorant action. It’s an ignorant action, the same thing as a sacrifice offering—it only causes you to suffer in samsara. The same thing I mentioned before—the Brahmin family where the father was born as cow or buffalo and sacrificed six times by the son.
First quote (Page 11)
The story is about these two great yogis, Tilopa and Naropa. Naropa is the disciple, and he received enlightenment in the intermediate stage, or after death or something, due to something. There was some study that he did with his great guru, yogi Tilopa. They were not just ordinary meditators, they had incredible psychic powers, tantric powers to use poison as medicine, to enjoy kaka as nectar in great infinite bliss nature—not just simple people. Anyway, as Naropa, the follower of the great yogi Tilopa, was coming in, he saw a statue of a tantric deity, another manifestation of the guru omniscient mind, of Guru Shakyamuni, a tantric aspect, a deity who is a great yogi. As Naropa was coming in, Tilopa asked him, “Who are you going to prostrate to first, me or the deity Heruka?” So Naropa thought, “It is more important to prostrate to the deity,” so he prostrated first to the deity and then to his guru. Then Tilopa said this quotation. This explains what we talked about earlier today, about the evolution of the guru omniscient mind. This explains the whole thing in two short sentences. This has much sense, it has a very vast meaning, much explanation. Totally, it means that without the omniscient mind, there’s no existence any other Buddha, there wouldn’t be anything called Buddha. So what the great yogi Naropa did was inauspicious. Actually, he was supposed to first make prostration to the guru and then to the deity, according to the evolution. So Tilopa said this was inauspicious, kind of like a bad omen, and due to that something happened in the future. Also, there are some good things—auspicious things.
Last sentence (Page 12)
“The guru is oneness ....” In reality the guru is sameness with the Three Jewels.
Generally it is like this—in ancient times, also in Tibet, the meditator first of all checks the guru, he tries to find out all the information—how he practices, how he is in regards to daily life, his knowledge—he checks up. Take Atisha, who wanted to receive the teaching from the great bodhisattva, Serlingpa. At that time Serlingpa was well far-famed for giving bodhicitta teachings. But the great pandit Atisha didn’t take the teachings right away upon his arrival in the country where the great Serlingpa was. First of all—the great bodhisattva Serlingpa, his followers, his meditators—before going to take teachings from this great guru, he checked up with the meditators, the followers, about his knowledge, daily life, many things. He spent some time, and then he went to take teachings from this great bodhisattva. Then, after receiving teachings for twelve years, he also became a great bodhisattva. It took much time for the great yogi Atisha, it took almost three months on the ocean, by going on the ship crossing the ocean. He had a very hard time on the way due to hindrances. Because he was going to take teachings on bodhicitta, to be able to realize, to receive bodhicitta, the evil doers, the black spirits, tried to hinder him so in order to interrupt his receiving the teachings and realizations of bodhicitta.
Wednesday, December 5th
The action of taking ordination should necessarily be possessed by the pure thought, bodhicitta. Besides being possessed by the pure thought, that is, devoid of evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas, that which does not allow action to become Dharma, it should also not be possessed by the self-cherishing thought, that which is opposite to bodhicitta, since it is indefinite that we can continue to take this Mahayana ordination. Therefore, it is fortunate take the ordination with a pure thought, the Mahayana impulse. This creates a powerful particular cause for enlightenment. Like this impulse, “The attachment that is attached to the happiness of the temporal life, and the attachment that is attached to the happiness of the higher samsaric pleasures is only the cause of suffering, it is the creator of sufferings. Therefore, there is no need to follow these negative minds. Also, however much we can make this temporal life happy and also receive higher samsaric pleasures even in future lives, it is only in the nature of suffering. And as there’s not one single tiny samsaric happiness left that we have not experienced, as we have experienced all of them countless times, same thing, there’s not one tiny samsaric suffering left that we never experienced, as we have experienced all of them countless times. Same thing, there’s not one samsaric higher pleasure left that we have never experienced, as we have experienced them countless times, same thing, no heavy suffering is left that we have never experienced, as we have experienced them countless times. The enjoyments of those samsaric pleasures will always cause sufferings. Therefore, for many of these reasons, there’s nothing to be attached to, there’s no reason to have interest in them. Same thing, there’s not any samsaric bondage of suffering; nothing has helped yet, no matter how much we enjoyed samsaric pleasures, they are only keeping us in the bondage of suffering.
“So as we came in time to recognize these things, and receive the teachings, it is wise that we try as quickly as possible to release ourselves from samsaric suffering. Releasing oneself from suffering is not enough—there are infinite sentient beings from whom we received our past, present, and future happiness, and we must repay them for their kindness. The best way to repay them is to release them from suffering and lead them into enlightenment, as most of them are in terrible suffering and have not met Dharma. At present I have no capability—I have not even the capability to recognize my own nature, and even do not fully realize what is positive action and negative action, what is my own positive mind and negative mind. So who has the capability? Only Buddha has the capability, the supreme knowledge, power, and compassion. Therefore, it is necessary for me to achieve enlightenment first, it is necessary to subdue my mind. How quickly I receive enlightenment depends on how strictly I abstain—keep my body, speech, and mind away from the vices, from the negative actions. So, the best method is to keep the precepts. Therefore, I am going to take Mahayana ordination.”
Even if we are suffering from cold, think that this is just like an atom, this tiny suffering cold is like an atom, like playing. There is much greater cold suffering than this to be experienced, soon in the future—such as those cold narak realm sufferings. Tonight, tomorrow, after one hour—so not sure. Think, “As this suffering is unbearable to me I must make strong Dharma practice, stronger than this suffering, to escape away from the cause of suffering,” using your suffering to build energy.
(Lama Thubten Yeshe)
From the holy teaching of the great guru, bodhisattva [Khunu Lama] Tenzin Gyaltsen, “Those who desire the benefit of the sentient beings, when they check up what can benefit sentient beings with their compassion for the sentient beings, it is discovered that bodhicitta is the best.”
Those who desire to benefit sentient beings, such as Guru Shakyamuni, when those noble beings check up with their great compassion for sentient beings, it is found that generally bodhicitta, developing bodhicitta, is the best, the most practical thing. As they discover this with their great compassion, at such a time as this during the existence of the Mahayana teachings, the guru showing, and having the fortune to develop bodhicitta, it is foolish not to develop, practice, and meditate on bodhicitta. It’s like a person who arrived by a fortunate opportunity in a jewel land, but went back without taking jewels, being empty—just like this. Still, that example can never compare to the great waste, the great loss of such chances to practice bodhicitta—this is much greater than that example. Therefore, even for one hour, two hours of the action of listening to the teachings, it is important that the action be possessed by the pure thought of bodhicitta. Not only this, but trying to achieve bodhicitta leaves more and more impressions, plants seed in order to find bodhicitta more easily; it has many purposes. That is why I often repeat, emphasize this before the subject. There is much importance to this.
At the very beginning, when the teaching is given, the teacher checking the impulse and developing the impulse is one particular way of giving teachings. It is one kind of knowledge, some special way of giving, explaining Buddhadharma. Especially for ordinary people it is necessary, it is important. Especially for ordinary people, it is necessary to repeat. But teaching about impulse is not emphasized in other religions—this is a particular thing of giving Buddhadharma. One hour, two hours, one day, whatever work we do, it becomes practical to one’s own mind, it becomes beneficial, it becomes like medicine to subdue the negative mind. It has great importance.
Totally, this is why I often repeat. Now it seems we are doing Dharma, but this depends on individual things, not sure, depends on the person himself. The reason that we are doing this course or explaining all these things are not to use them to create negative karma, to create samsara. It is to be able to go into the Dharma. Therefore, I often start the subject with an impulse, no matter what I’m taking about. Dharma—if it doesn’t go into Dharma it doesn’t become effective. The main thing, our hang-up is this—not understanding the subject but trying to subdue the negative mind, the hindrances to receiving nirvana. This depends on understanding, so it is necessary to understand the subject. The main thing is to purify, and it is necessary to understand the subject. The main thing is to purify the inside. From my side, I plan for that, so it is important from your side to also do it, to become practical. Like, if the president, ministers, and population all agree, all the minds are going in the same direction, then it becomes powerful. If a country’s independence gets lost, to regain it, all the people’s minds should be harmonious, with the same aim—then the independence can be gained soon. But if the top person thinks one way and the population another way, it is very difficult and takes a long time to bring success. So just like this example, the aim, the main point, the reason that you are listening, that is so important—your main aim, for what main aim you are listening to Dharma, doing meditation—it is important for that to be correct. So anything you are listening to—if I tell a story, give an example—if your aim is to clean your negative mind, to change the actions from negative actions and change the mind from negative mind, the delusions, if your main aim, main point is that, what you think in your mind, then everything that you listen to becomes helpful, becomes method, helps for that change, to subdue the negative mind, to fertilize the unsubdued mind. This is important. Sometimes, for certain people, it becomes effective, beneficial; for others it doesn’t become beneficial, effective, it doesn’t make sense, it makes them tired—one reason is not planning for that, not listening to the subject for the main point, fertilizing the unsubdued mind. We are truth seekers, but truth seekers receiving truth is not easy, not easy; it’s not easy.
Also, same thing, so it came out of this talk. Actually, doing this course—who gives the course? You give the course to yourself; if you don’t there is no progression in your mind. So the individual is responsible for the progression of the generous mind, not negative mind, the noble mind—it is an individual responsibility. Meditation time is the place of thinking of some other thing, the mind thinking like dreams—a dream has no exact thing, all kinds of things are happening, we are not trying to remember the subject, not following the subject. For instance, like this: if one person never tasted the taste, how can I give an idea of the taste to him? Then he gets taste, gets an idea—same thing with the meditations. You have to put in the mouth—it is not enough holding it in the hand, you can’t taste candy without putting in the mouth—then try to be conscious, check it. In the same way we should work in these meditations. So just like this—without your own trying, the person not tasting the candy, how can he contradict that there’s no such taste? That is foolish.
Think, “Besides releasing myself from samsara I must reach enlightenment to release all beings from suffering and lead them into enlightenment. Therefore, I am going to listen to Mahayana teachings on the graduated path.”
If it is divided into three, we are in the path of the lower being. The subjects so far finished according to the outlines—”Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Great Usefulness of the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Great Difficulty of Receiving the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Perfect Human Rebirth is Very Fragile And Impermanent,” “No Other Method Can Stop Death,” So “Death is Definite.” After death for us it is more definite that we will be born in the three lower realms and “The Actual Time of That Rebirth is Not Definite.” So therefore, before the danger, it is necessary to stop, to make arrangements to stop those future sufferings, to close the door of the suffering beings ahead of time.
Why is there such a thing as the mind not seeing at death as it did before rebirth? In the West recently one man died and the doctors declared completely him dead and put him in a box, and took him to the cemetery, where there are tombs. Then a priest came. There was a noise in the box, crying; they opened it and the doctors checked up and proved in their view that he was really dead. But they couldn’t understand what or how it is.
In regards to sufferings, there are the sufferings of the narak, preta, and animal realms. So how do we try to make the arrangements to save ourselves from the future danger of the suffering realms? We, from our side don’t have any capabilities to save ourselves from this danger—no power, no method from our side. So have to rely on someone who has complete control over rebirth in the suffering realms; and someone who besides having complete control, also has the cessation of delusions, the achievement of the cessation of the delusions and the true path.
The most perfect, the ultimate object is Buddha, or the Enlightened Being, the holy omniscient mind. Totally, the most ultimate object of refuge, the ultimate object of refuge, the ultimate Buddha—another way of saying it is the absolute buddha, the omniscient mind, the most ultimate object of refuge. There are two—absolute buddha and relative buddha. Svabhavakaya and dharmakaya are—as is written here (page 69)—absolute buddha, and sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya are relative buddha.
Here is just a brief example of that knowledge, the different aspects of refuge, the absolute buddha and relative buddha. This is just to have an idea, some seed. But actually it is a very vast subject, something you have to study through extensive discourses, such as those texts shown by Maitreya the future buddha, and those ancient great philosophers—by study and with practice, you can understand deeper and wider. But the time when one achieves enlightenment is when one really fully realizes this.
I. The Knowledge of Buddha (Page 69)
A. The Totally Omniscient Buddha’s Knowledge
1. Svabhavakaya—ngo is nature; nyid is self; ku (Skt. kaya) is holy body; she.dip is the impression of the delusions—that is the clearest way to say she.dip.
For instance, now at the moment, each person, each sentient being, has its own clear light nature of mind, each sentient being’s mind has clear light nature. So now, at the moment, even though we have clear light nature, the mind has clear light nature, we cannot call it svabhavakaya because it is not completely purified of those two defilements. So, whenever the nature of our mind is completely purified of those two negative minds, it becomes the svabhavakaya of our future buddhahood. Same as the example as I mentioned before, when our clothes are dirty, not washed—there are clothes existing before they were washed, even after they were washed, the clothes exist. So there is always the nature of our mind, but at the moment it is obscured, like the cloth that has much dirt. When the clear light nature of our cloth is completely cleaned of dirt, just like that, it is same thing with the mind.
So as the clear light nature of mind goes like this, it always exists like this. While it’s obscured by delusions and when the obscuration are purified, it always exists. At that time, as we achieve the enlightened stage, the clear light nature of that mind becomes the clear light nature of the omniscient mind, the clear light nature of our future buddhahood. This is the same thing as the clear light nature of mind, same thing with the mind.
We people think that mind is one with negativity, one with delusion, oneness with delusion. That means, to be able to achieve the stage of enlightenment the mind has to be ceased, the mind has to be cut off. We, many Westerners, also think that at the death time mind ceases, like the flame of the candle; when it finishes there is no continuity, when extinguished, no continuity. Thinking the mind is oneness, the mind itself is delusion, is a big mistake—mind itself is not delusion, mind itself is not oneness. Thinking that the mind has to be ceased in order to reach enlightenment—not like this, not in this way. As the mind is not inseparable with delusion, so even though the present mind is living in delusion, when we purify the delusions, when the obscurations are completely purified, that mind becomes omniscient mind—the continuity of this mind that is living in delusion obscured by delusion, the continuity, the future, the continuity of this mind, that itself becomes the omniscient mind.
Just like this—just like a man. Before, in his childhood, he didn’t have any knowledge. So by going to school, college, university, and slowly being educated, his mind becomes more and more, he becomes less and less unknowing of those subjects such as mathematics, as taught in school, college, and university. Then later he takes the highest degree—just like this. But before, the person who did not know any of those subjects in earlier life was him—the same person, the same continuity. The same person not knowing was him, was the continuity of the person who becomes a doctor in the future. It is his continuity, a similar person, the same continuity, even though he may have a different name, is now called doctor according to his qualifications, according to his knowledge. It is the same continuity from the time he was born until then. So same thing, the present mind we have now and the future mind that is completely out of obscuration is the continuity of same mind; just as in the example of the person. Only because of the obscuration and relationship with the object it is called, “sentient being’s mind,” and the other in the future is called, “omniscient mind.” So it’s a big mistake to think that mind has to cease. Then it would be like this—the person, to become a doctor, the person may have to be ceased, the person not knowing the subjects has to cease in order to be qualified as a doctor.
Just as this, there are also many examples. For instance, the pot—when we put it on the fire it becomes red, burnt by the fire for a long time. Before it was, for instance, the frying pan, before it was black; but then, after keeping it on the fire for long time, it becomes all red—but the iron is still there, the frying pan is still there. Before being burnt by fire, there is the frying pan; after being burnt, it is still there. The pan is always there, same thing.
Or hair—it’s first black but as the person gets older it turns white. Like the animal hairs, color changes; but the hair is always there, it was black, it becomes white. Same thing with our mind. While it is obscured by delusions it is the sentient being’s mind, when it is cleared of delusions it is omniscient mind—but the continuity is the same. Because of this, and the pure nature of the mind, as it is not oneness with delusion, it is just temporarily obscured by delusion, because of this logic, these reasons, all sentient beings can reach enlightenment—those who are suffering in the narak realms, suffering in the preta realms, like this. So therefore, there’s a generation—the Tibetan term is called rig—that every sentient beings’ mind has the ability to become an enlightened being.
Dharmakaya—so, such as our future dharmakaya, Guru Shakyamuni’s dharmakaya, the omniscient mind of Buddha—it has the power of understanding like this (see also page 70, 3(a)). For instance, as Guru Shakyamuni has the achievement of dharmakaya he has such a great power of understanding. If every number of infinite sentient beings ask questions, different questions to him, by saying one word he has the power to give answers to each number of sentient beings, to their questions. He mentions one word—his holy speech—and this can be heard, his holy words in different way, it becomes one word that he mentioned, his holy word—becomes a different answer to the different questions. It gives all the answers in different ways to all the sentient beings, according to their questions. Also, when he was giving the sermons on the explanations of Dharma in previous time to his followers, such as the arhats, different-level minded followers, as he mentioned, “This is impermanent”—someone who has higher intelligence hears, “Shunyata, absolute nature,” and someone else hears, “Impermanent,” according to the level of intelligence. Just as the example we were talking about regarding the physical manifestation according to the level of mind, so same thing, his holy speech has the incredible power to work in this way, as his holy body can manifest in billions and billions of different manifestations.
And his dharmakaya has such great power of understanding, reading, able to clearly see every single thought of sentient beings, at the same time, in one split second. His dharmakaya has such great power to fully, clearly see all the sentient beings’ different thoughts at the same time. Not only this, but clearly, fully seeing all the past, all the future; he clearly sees everything, even one shortest second, everything he sees is like having an apple in the hand, so clearly—this is just an example, an idea. (But we don’t really clearly see, even if we have fruit in the hand, if there are worms inside without opening from the outside.)
That his dharmakaya fully, clearly sees all the past, present, and future, everything, every existence, at the same time in the shortest second, it is always like this, for even—not for one day, a few hours—since he received the dharmakaya, it is forever like this, without change.
So this is the knowledge of the omniscient mind, the dharmakaya. For instance, all the bushes that are in the different countries, trees, and the mountains put in the ocean, made into such tiny pieces and mixed up with everything. Then take a little bit from there that is stirred in the ocean and, for instance, each atom, like sand, wood, or dust, whatever it is, asking where each one is from before? He can clearly see each piece, each sand, those tiny things—which mountain, which place, his holy dharmakaya has such that knowledge.
I think many people have doubt about omniscient mind, “How can it be possible to achieve such mind? We don’t have it in the West.” I think many think like this, “And I don’t have it.” It is definitely possible to think this way, but it’s important from your side to check up, to figure out the example that I have given. One way person was a baby before, not able to say even “mother.” Then slowly, slowly the baby learns, the cooperative cause is that the parents talk to him, so he slowly learns in that way. Then as he is sent to school he learns those different subjects, the mind becomes knowledgeable in these subjects; and then to college and university. And then, studying such as religion, many things. Then his mind becomes much more knowledgeable, understanding so many things; gradually, there’s a way to develop like this. As long as his life permits, if he exists 500 years he can develop that much; 1000, 10,000—he can develop more and more, learn more and more things. Also learning all the different countries’ customs, religions, many other subjects. So by continually studying the subject he doesn’t know, his mind becomes more and more knowledgeable like this—more knowledgeable than usual people. This is one example.
One example is—there are people in the world who can predict things, predict next year, have powers to foretell. This is not crazy; besides in the East, there are so many in the West, there are many things that occur, such as children remembering past lives. Even in the West, there are so many who tell stories to the parents; also the parents gets shocked because the child remembers what he did in an earlier life—this happened many times—it is not crazy, because what he said in the past, the father proved it; and also what he predicted in the future occurred, So this knowledge can be developed by following the meditations, through certain techniques it can be developed. And seeing—as the example, remembering just one past and one future life—besides this, there is the possibility to see all the past and all future by following bodhisattva’s path, the Mahayana path. There are ten grades, ten levels to achieve enlightenment from—if one does not, there’s no way to be closer to enlightenment by following these ten levels without depending on tantric practice. So when one reaches this level one has the ability to see 100, 1000 past lives, as one proceeds further on the levels. At the same time, as the person perceives thousands of past lives, the person sees thousands of future lives—gradually it develops like this. You see, the reason why the other person, who studies in schools and universities like this, even though his knowledge can be developed bigger and bigger like this with different methods—touring the world and soon—why can’t he predict things? Because the method that causes him to have that knowledge is missing, so that is why his mind doesn’t have that knowledge—he didn’t follow the method that causes him to have that knowledge. So the best practical, actual, perfect method is following the bodhisattva path. The quick way to develop this understanding and knowledge is following the bodhisattva path, which leads to enlightenment. So by following these methods, that knowledge, the understanding of the past and future, one can predict things, can be developed more and more, up to the time of mind becoming omniscient.
You shouldn’t think that receiving the omniscient mind is something that falls into your mind from outside. The mind that will become omniscient we have here, now; we are using it in many different ways—we are using it to create samsara, to create our own suffering, which we don’t want. It is like this, we shouldn’t think it is something falling down from outside. So as there is the possibility to develop gradually, in this way it is definitely possible to receive omniscient mind, the holy omniscient mind. If you think in this way it makes it understandable, you have something to check up; with nothing in the book, if there’s no letter, nothing written, you can’t check this subject, the paper is empty. So like this you can check up. If you have doubt, think in this way, check up with these examples.
You have to understand, either with this logic or with the explanations, quotations that are explanations. If you don’t understand, if one don’t understand through this, then you have to think through logic, check up. Actually, you cannot see clearly at the moment, while the mind is kept in obscuration, in the deluded mind. So we cannot see clearly, as we see on palm of the hand, like this we cannot clearly see—because we didn’t experiment, it’s not our experience, so how can we see clearly if there is the existence of path and method, and develop this knowledge? If you are going to wait to practice the method using this logic and these quotations and following the path until you see clearly as you see the palm of your hand, then it is impossible—it is impossible for the person if he tries in that way, waiting.
(e) tsen.sang—to mention everything—there’s also, each thing has its own cause. While Guru Shakyamuni was following path, the cause of these thirty-two and eighty perfections were created; so there are also explanations about the cause he created to achieve all of this—so, if you want to understand all with details, then later on, after, you can try.
tsen.sang; there are certain knowledges, holy signs, such as the hairs on his holy body that go up, while ours go down. Under the feet, there’s no arch, its full; and very soft skin, like small baby’s skin; and it is higher in front, here (chest). He has long hands, and webbed fingers. This means that he is a holy being, but all of these things have merit, the cause was created while he was in the training. It is not something that was uncaused. The color of his skin is golden, and his skin is very thin. There are many things.
Pe.je—the color of the nails is copper, that is one of the pe.je. The pe.je mean that he has the achievement of such knowledge inside.
Anyway, with details you can study deeper afterwards, from other teachings that have further explanation. But it is fortunate to know even this much, the knowledge of the enlightened beings.
B. The Knowledge of the Perfected One’s Holy Body, Speech, and Mind
1. Buddha’s Holy Body
For instance, the ordinary beings on this earth, all their fortunes and merits made together still cannot compare to the merits, the cause of the result of such a tiny part of his holy body, like the pores of his holy body. Even we ordinary people, our merits put together cannot compare with the cause of that result of a tiny part of his holy body the size of the pores—still cannot compare.
Telling with just a little more details so that we can have some idea—to achieve just a tiny part of his holy body, how much good karma we have to create. This way we can understand how Guru Shakyamuni had patience to surmount the difficulties to complete the path, and how much merit he created. We are expecting to receive enlightenment without experiencing any difficulties, in a week, a month. Anyway, Guru Shakyamuni created merits over three countless great eons; by creating merits for that long he received enlightenment, he received the holy body whose tiniest part, even the pores, are composed of a great collection of merits. The followers following the lesser vehicle, the Hinayana path, and those beings like samsaric gods who have great fortune of possessions—those who are following the path and all those higher samsaric gods—and all the worldly beings’ fortunes, all that together—becomes a cause to achieve a tiny part of his holy body, the pores. That much fortune is one cause to attain one tiny part of his holy body; only one pore, not all the pores.
Making this cause 100 times becomes a cause of the holy signs, pe.je and tsen.sang, so hundreds of these causes is the tiny pore, one pore of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, so hundreds of these causes becomes the cause to achieve one holy sign, one pe.je (the meaning is, the holy sign outside, which proves he has the achievement of inner knowledge). Such as the example that I mentioned before, the color of the nail copper, this is one example of pe.je—so to achieve this one sign requires hundreds of these causes.
So there are about eighty of these pe.je, so by making hundreds of the cause of all these pe.je, this becomes the cause to achieve one tsen.sang, of which there are thirty-two in number. That is to signify or to prove that he is a true or holy being. The hundreds of the causes of all the pe.je are the causes to achieve one tsen.sang. Just even one hair that is standing up, one sign tsen.sang—the cause, hundreds of the cause which bring the result, all the pe.je become one cause to achieve just one tsen.sang, such as the example of having long fingers or one tiny hair. So thousands of fortunes, that many causes are needed to be created for the thirty-two holy signs called tsen.sang—so making thousands of those causes of this holy sign, tsen.sang, becomes one cause to achieve this wisdom hair. So thousands of those—there’s that many causes needed to achieve the wisdom hair, the curl—thousands of these causes are the cause to achieve the hair knot. The cause that brings the result, attainment of this is 100,000 of these. 100,000 of these causes is the cause to achieve the hair knot. So 10 times 100,000 is called che.wa, so 100,000 times that is the cause for achieving the hair knot. Then much more, more than ten times, 100,000 times of that cause then becomes the cause to achieve the Buddha’s holy speech.
So as Guru Shakyamuni’s different holy signs, each of these, each pore, each hair works for sentient beings, besides fully seeing every single existence just as a high holy omniscient mind, each of these can work for sentient beings, can make the work of speech. Each of these hairs, pores, his holy body—this is part of the holy body, but each one of these tiny things can work for sentient beings by doing the actions of all three, body, speech, and mind. They can be the mind fully realizing, and the action of the speech working for the sentient beings, showing different methods, giving different methods orally. Even if it is Dharma, giving different explanations according to the level of this being. And also each tiny one of these can manifest in billions, great numbers of embodiments, according to sentient beings. Each tiny part of his holy body is the same as the whole thing, it has the whole knowledge of the holy speech, holy body, and holy mind. Not like ours, just the physical, ours is different—the speech cannot do what body can do, the body cannot do the actions of our speech, and the mind cannot do the actions of speech or body. We have to depend on all of these three. Each of these things cannot do as even a single hair of Guru Shakyamuni can do—as regards power, it is much limited.
For instance, without making the physical tour we cannot really clearly see the place, things. Mind itself has no power to go there and see things—like this body being here doing meditation, and the mind going to the West visiting friends, enjoying those things. To do this, the body has to be there, the physical body meditating here has to be there. But Guru Shakyamuni has such great knowledge, that wherever his holy mind is, there is his holy speech, and wherever his holy speech is, his holy body is too—actually, there’s no such place where there is no existence of Guru Shakyamuni—it is good also to meditate like this. After the absorption think of this, because this is what we are going to be after enlightenment. This is a special technique, a profound special technique to train in even from now. Anyway, there is no need to explain much of these points.
Also in other texts, such as the Bible, there is talk that the holy mind is everywhere. So by clearly understanding the graduated path it is definitely possible to understand those other subjects, what they mean. The problem is this. Not from their side, the problem, it is from our side—in this way it comes to the same point—so it is not only in the Tibetan Buddhadharma. But why we do not see it, why? It is important to know this, why? Why do we not feel it, not see it, not realize it, not fully realize it? Anyway—for this omniscient holy mind, doubting or believing or not existing, because we do not see and doubt its existence—this is just fun for them. Like I believe that she does not exist even though she’s there, due to not seeing, due to some defect of the eye, I believe she does not exist, or doubt her existence, it is just a place of fun, to laugh, from her side.
If we do not purify the hindrances that stop us from seeing or realizing the holy omniscient mind, even if we are together with a holy being, living together for years, we cannot see him as an enlightened being. We can still see him as a cruel person, as a liar, as false, see his many mistakes, because our mind is full of mistakes, not purified. This projector, which is within one’s mind, as long as we don’t destroy this, purify this, there will be same problem like this wherever we go. Even if the person says, “I have the achievement of enlightenment, I am Buddha,” even if he tries to tell us frankly like this—we will never believe, we can see him as a liar, as ignorant, many things, no matter how much he is enlightened being. If one has less obscurations, less mental hindrances, we can see even material objects—such as these symbolic things, such as statues—as real living enlightened being; even if the other living being is not an enlightened being, they can be seen as an enlightened being. If we solve the problem that we have in our mind, purify this wrong projection, these wrong conceptions, these impure, dualistic, wrong conceptions, even an object animal, an ordinary person, can be seen in the form of Guru Shakyamuni, as a living enlightened holy being with all these holy signs.
For instance, in ancient times—another example why, if the mental problem is not cured by Dharma practice, then if even the person lives for a long time with an enlightened being they cannot see him—for instance, this example. In ancient times, when Guru Shakyamuni existed in the form of a Bhikshu, a monk, he lived in different places, giving many sermons. He had one follower, a disciple called Leg.pa.kar.ma, I think he was a brahmin. He lived with Guru Shakyamuni for a long time, so many years. Also he had learned much—I think the three divisions of the teachings, the Tripitaka (De.no.sum)—anyway, he knew many Dharma words, learned much, could everything by heart. But even though he had learned that many numbers of texts, many volumes, he never saw Guru Shakyamuni as an enlightened being, but always saw Guru Shakyamuni as a liar, as a very negative person, differently from the other followers, always seeing him as very false. So he always followed Guru Shakyamuni when he went to beg or was invited by benefactors. Every time Guru Shakyamuni was offered something he predicted, “Due to these merits you will be reborn here, in this realm,” and so on. But this disciple always saw him as false, a liar. There was one pagan, an anti-Buddhist who had wrong realizations, the opposite of Dharma, not accepting karma and those things; and he believed this man more. This disciple who didn’t believe in Guru Shakyamuni took this man as his guru. I think, the person who had wrong realizations got sick. Then what happened was that Guru Shakyamuni predicted he would die, and told him that he shouldn’t take honey otherwise he would die at such time. So the disciple went to tell him that Guru Shakyamuni said, “He will die after ten days, one week”—and he got very angry that Guru Shakyamuni predicted like this, and went to give message that Guru Shakyamuni said he would die at such a time and shouldn’t take honey. The disciple thought that if the man took honey he would get better, that Guru Shakyamuni was cruel and wanted him to die. So this Leg.pa.kar.ma told his guru that he should take honey so that he would get better, and completely believed that Guru Shakyamuni would lose, that what he predicted would not be accurate. The disciple let the other person take the honey and the man died after one week. And then he came back and saw the man dead, that Guru Shakyamuni was accurate. Still he felt very shy, and couldn’t tell Guru Shakyamuni that the other man was dead since he had such a problem in his mind, as you say, ego. So he told a lie in the presence of Guru Shakyamuni. Then Guru Shakyamuni predicted that the other man was born as preta—and as the disciple was walking on the road there was a noise near the road, some noise—so anyway I think he was told by Guru Shakyamuni that the man was born as a preta. Anyway, there are stories like this, this is just one, there are many.
Also in ancient times, in Tibet, one lama was giving the readings. That means granting the continuity of the blessings of the teachings—as he received the reading from another lama, there is a lineage like this, like the graduated path that I read has a lineage from many other highly realized lamas. One lama was giving teachings in Tibet, in Lhasa. A particular man never saw the text, but among all the listeners he saw only piles of dried meat—the whole time he saw the lama eating meat, but all the other people saw that he was reading text.
There are many other stories. It took the great yogi, Naropa, much time to find, to see his guru Tilopa. What caused him to seek Tilopa was a prediction made by a yogini, a manifestation, a female aspect (but actually Buddha). The pandit Naropa thought that he wanted to gain, to achieve control over the mental distractions, to have the power of one-pointedness. As this manifestation appeared to him—it was after their retreat or during the retreat—he asked the yogini, and she instructed, “If you want to achieve that go to see this guru in India.” He reached Tilopa’s place and kept asking, asking. Some said, “He’s not here,” and some said, “He’s just left—” many different things. Then he found a monastery, they were making puja inside and there was a kitchen outside. Inside was a very ugly man—very thin, very cold looking, with blue skin and just a short sari, thin cloth—so he had much doubt, “Maybe this, maybe not.” The man’s body was very fragile, thin, ugly looking, and very easy to be blown by the wind—he was sitting nearby the fire, putting fish in the fire and eating it. So this is how he saw—actually there is much longer story—this is how the great pandit Naropa saw the great yogi, who had the achievement of enlightenment, like this. So for some time Naropa kept asking, “Are you Tilopa?” Sometimes the man said, “Yes,” sometimes, “No,” sometimes “Yes.” There is a long story. Actually, the yogini who instructed him was oneness with his guru, Tilopa.
Same thing, when this great yogi, Milarepa, saw his guru Marpa, he saw him in a very ordinary form of a monk, digging and having dust on the face and drinking wine—as a very ordinary person, like this. So before, he was looking at a very ordinary person. Then he went slowly after that. When Milarepa reached the place Marpa was completely different looking than before—very magnificent looking, very powerful.
Like this, even if there’s not much problem, no wrong projector, no wrong conceptions, purified—when we are ready from our mind, it is possible for our visualization to be seen clearly as they are real. Now we see them as visualization but when the mind is ready from our side, purified, they can be seen as living. It happened to the past Tibetan meditators, as they made purification they saw great numbers of different aspects of buddhas. There are many other stories. Also, when our mind is ready, we can also see Vishnu, Laxmi—many other things can be seen, can appear to the person in form of an enlightened being, can be seen in form of an enlightened being by this person. Also, when our mind is ready, even the idol of Jesus Christ appear as a manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni, with all those holy signs—to the person whose mind is ready, whose mind is cleaned.
This is also because of the powers of the omniscient mind. So it’s only a problem from our side—not seeing is a problem from our side—not a problem of their not existing. No matter the place, even in the bathroom, if the place is dirty or clean, if the person’s mind is ready, through purification that person can see an enlightened being, can communicate, can always contact, can always receive teachings, and can always be together. Wherever the person goes and when the person has difficulty and does not have an answer to his problems, he can immediately contact—that happened to many yogis in previous times.
So also, when you make prostration, prayers, and visualizations, even when you are in your own room, you shouldn’t think that, “There is no existence of Guru Shakyamuni or holy omniscient mind, but anyway I do this, because other people do, and I am obliged, and if I don’t other people will think I am bad.” Without following our old friend, our enemy—this is involved with our old friend, the enemy—if you can think as if the holy omniscient mind is really in front of you, the more you try to have full confidence in this existence, and that much more your visualization will be effective and powerful.
It’s like this. Saying these prayers asking to grant blessings, and even if one is offering incense, we will think he is really there. We have to make arrangements slowly in order to purify, so the more we think for sure he exists, the stronger our confidence in the existence of the omniscient mind, and that much more the purification, whatever you are doing, will be powerful. That purification, that Dharma action, done with full confidence, will cause us to receive the blessing quicker. In that way you are quicker to receive Guru Shakyamuni’s blessing in your devotional mind, in the whole of the devotional mind.
When there’s doubt, think of these two extreme examples. When one’s mind is ready, even non-enlightened being can appear as enlightened beings to the person, even symbolic things. If the mind is not ready, there are many problems; even the enlightened beings can be seen as evil people. So this is very important for your practice, to make the practice pure.
The reason I emphasize these things—we have to do meditation because we have to solve the mental problems. But only doing meditation is not enough, never enough. Receiving realization, achieving this meditation, developing the inner knowledge, the karma knowledge, depends on the blessing of the guru omniscient mind, receiving this blessing within one’s mind. So if there’s no devotional hole, the mental hole, the blessing cannot be received, cannot go through. Anyway, receiving realization, of course, depends on meditation, for sure. But it depends on this and it also depends on purification, creating merits and making purification. So meditating, creating merits, purifying, receiving blessing by praying—all these bring the realization, like this.
Dedicate the merits of meditating, listening to the teachings, and keeping the precepts, “Due to those merits may I achieve Guru Shakyamuni as quickly as possible to enlighten all sentient beings in his stage.”
Thursday December 6th
The action taking of ordination should become a Mahayana action—that depends on creating this action with bodhicitta, with the Mahayana motive. If the motive is pure, with no defect of the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas, this pure motivation which is the Mahayana motivation makes the ordination become a Mahayana ordination. So briefly think like this, “The attachment that is attached to the temporal life happiness and even to the higher samsaric life pleasures is the cause of suffering. However we can make the present life happy, even though we may receive higher samsaric rebirths such as those of the samsaric gods, however much that life has great, high enjoyments, however much we enjoy even nectar and the food of concentration that is not material food, that is not matter, all of those pleasures received from these enjoyments are all in the nature of suffering. However much the living being is enjoying it, that short period, he is not out of the bondage of suffering, he is not out of the circle of death and rebirth, he is not out of the concatenation of karma. Therefore, in all those samsaric pleasures, if it is small, if it is greater, there is nothing to be attached to. It is just as in the example of poisonous honey, the same as eating it, or scratching the wounded place where there’s an itch. There’s not one tiny samsaric happiness or pleasure that we never experienced, we have experienced them all countless times; there’s not one tiny suffering that we never experienced, we have experienced them all countless times; there’s not one highest happiness that we never experienced, we have experienced them all countless times; there’s not one greatest suffering that we never experienced, we have experienced them all countless times. Also, there’s no such karma in samsara that we have never created. Therefore, nothing of those things are new, therefore there is nothing to be attached to, thinking it is new. Therefore, by understanding these evolutions, it is important to be as detached as possible, as detachment is the cause of enlightenment because detachment is the opposite of that.
“Releasing oneself from suffering is not enough as there are infinite sentient beings in suffering. Those sentient beings are also objects from whom we received past, present, and future happiness and enlightenment. Therefore, we must repay for their kindness. At the moment most of them haven’t received a perfect human rebirth and haven’t met the Mahayana teachings, and do not have a leader leading them on the path to enlightenment, and do not having the wisdom eye to fully distinguish the positive and negative actions. Therefore, so far even if we have repaid them in the material way, that is not enough, that does not release them from suffering. Therefore, in what way we should repay them, what do they need? We should release them from suffering. In order to do that, it is necessary that oneself to be enlightened so that one has the capability, all knowledge, compassion and powers to guide the sentient beings from suffering.
“Receiving enlightenment depends basically the discipline—while the action of body, speech, and mind is unsubdued it is necessary to have discipline, while it is unsubdued it should be subdued by following the precepts, just as the mad elephant has to be subdued by those precepts, just as the mad elephant has to be subdued by those iron tools, hooks, and many things. When the elephant is well subdued, listening to what the person says, then he doesn’t need those tools. While the body, speech, and mind is unsubdued it needs to be disciplined, just like in the example. So when the elephant is subdued in that way it does not harm other people, and the same thing with the body, speech, and mind—when it is subdued by disciples it doesn’t harm other people. The correct way of subduing is by following the precepts, the powerful precepts, especially the Mahayana ordination, the eight precepts, keeping them in a Mahayana way, which is more powerful, which also caused Guru Shakyamuni to receive enlightenment. Therefore, for this reason think, “I am going to take the Mahayana ordination.”
It is undeserved, saying that such ordinary person should be visualized as Guru Shakyamuni—that person is unworthy. But it is possible that even the evil spirits can appear in the form of Buddha if the person’s devotional eye is opened and the equipment is ready. So, thinking of these things, of these examples, this can be done. Visualize the person granting the ordination in the form of Guru Shakyamuni, surrounded by all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and arhats. Think that as they are living, as they are really existing, vividly, and facing you and also looking very pleased; just like this—like parents are pleased when the very naughty boy, the usual naughty boy who never listens to the parents’ instructions, but one day does something good. We are also like this example, as the naughty boy one time is doing something good, we are similar to the naughty boy, doing something good in this time even though we have been evil creators in most of our time, acting mostly opposite to the true Dharma.
(Lama Thubten Yeshe)
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “The moon of the mind is bodhicitta, the sun of the mind is bodhicitta, the jewel of the mind is bodhicitta.”
As this great bodhisattva said in his teaching, the bodhicitta is the jewel of the mind, sun of the mind, the moon of the mind—there’s nothing to compare to the knowledge of bodhicitta. The bodhicitta, which are these three of the mind, can never be compared to the exterior moon, sun, or jewels. Even if one sun covers that much, dispels, extinguishes that much darkness, the darkness of the world, and however great the value of the material jewel, however precious it is, even those who have that much, even if they are that useful, still it is limited according to the infinite knowledge, bodhicitta.
Therefore, it is necessary to be able to achieve this bodhicitta, pure thought, as it has such incomparable knowledge. It is a worthwhile thing to be achieved even by the people who are not called Buddhist, who have no interest, even those who only believe in the existence of one life. And besides human beings, even the lower creatures trying to achieve this pure thought is very badly needed. It is a subject that must be achieved, has to be achieved, even by the lower creatures, those lower beings who have limited chances. The fact is like this: it is an important subject that has to be achieved by any living being. Why? Because all living beings desire profit and do not desire loss. The achievement of bodhicitta is the greatest profit, making the greatest profit, receiving the greatest profit. For that reason, desiring profit and not desiring loss, it is worthwhile to practice this. It is worthwhile, it must be achieved by any other living being. But the problem is not recognizing that there is such method, a most profitable path, a pure mind that can be achieved, not having met the teaching that explains about that, the teaching explaining about the graduated meditations that brings the realization of the bodhicitta. So we, as every other living being, have this same desire, desiring profit and not desiring loss, desiring happiness and not desiring suffering—having this desire is equal to the lower creatures—but what special thing do we have, what makes us special compared to other creatures and other human beings? That is having met the teaching which explains the methods, the graduated methods that bring achievement of the bodhicitta, totally, the Mahayana teaching. Besides meeting them, from our side we are trying to practice—just meeting is not enough—we practice it by listening, trying to make preparation in the mind. Therefore, because of these additional things, besides having desire, we are special compared to the other beings. Even among most of the humans, we are more fortunate.
Actually, it is a time, a point, where we can be really pleased, can really rejoice and be happy—actually we are at such a point. It is such a time that we can be pleased and rejoice ourselves, thinking, “A long time, a long time we have been in the darkness where there is no light of bodhicitta, where there is no teaching on bodhicitta.” So when you meet the light of the bodhicitta, the Dharma of the bodhicitta, besides talking about it, explaining about it, it is necessary to light it in your mind—the lamp of the bodhicitta has to be lit within the darkness of your mind. And then, in this way, it is worthwhile to listen and talk—it makes it worthwhile to listen and talk about it. So it is important frequently to cultivate the pure thought. It is not like the exterior seed—taking from another place, planting it in another place—but bodhicitta is something that our mind has to become, something that has to be created within our mind, through many efforts, through much habituated training.
So think, “I am going to listen to the graduated teachings on the Mahayana path in order to receive enlightenment to release sentient beings in the narak, animal, preta, sura, and asura realms, and non-enlightened human beings from suffering, and lead them on the enlightened path.”
So the listening subject is the graduated path, and if it is divided into three, is the path of the lower being. The subjects finished according to the outlines 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 Other Method Can Stop Death,” so “Death is Definite.” After death, for us it is more likely to be reborn, according to the karma we have created so far, it is more definite that we will be reborn in the lower suffering realms. “The Actual Time of Death, or the Time of Rebirth, Is Not Definite.” When it will happen is not sure. But it is always soon, not far, is always quick. So, according to karma, it is more definite that we will be born in one of those three, and experience the suffering of the narak, preta, or animal realms. Therefore, it is necessary to stop that danger, to close the door of the lower rebirth ahead of time. So, the preparation of closing the door of the lower rebirth is necessary, and it is more skillful and wise to start it even from today. So the fundamental thing, the actual thing that saves us from that danger, the way we close the door of the lower rebirth suffering is by taking refuge.
Why there is need for taking refuge? We have no power or capability in our mind at the moment to save ourselves from suffering. At the moment we can’t guide or save ourselves from the temporal problems—forget about closing the door to lower rebirth—without depending on a perfect object, a perfected being who has enlightened knowledge, the achievement of those four aspects of the holy body—svabhavakaya, dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. One who has achievement of these, who has achievement of the knowledge of the holy body, the knowledge of the enlightened speech, no matter what it is called—even if it is called “devil,” this perfected being is called “devil” by ordinary people, many things, or “crazy,” whatever it is called by the ordinary beings—whoever has the achievement of these knowledge is the perfected, highest holy object, in whom we can take refuge, who can never cheat us, who never misleads us. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a Tibetan monk, something specific. It can look like anything, no matter what it is called. So therefore, it is a pure object. Therefore, we should not make mistakes in the object of the refuge; this is the most important thing, because our purpose in taking refuge is the most important purpose, more than anything else—therefore, it is necessary not to make mistakes, to find the right perfect object that has all the knowledge.
Of course, we have to depend on the holy object, take refuge in something, depend on something. Even for the temporal problems, sickness, we have to depend on a doctor, take refuge in, rely on, put our whole life in the doctor’s hands. It is in his hands whether the person lives or dies, everything is given in his hands. Patients having operations completely rely for their lives on the doctor. So you see, even to solve the temporal problems we have to check up on the best doctor, the most experienced, the one who cured the most sick people. So any doctor who can cure more people is more practical. The people go to the doctor who knows more about it; they try to meet him, try to see him, because of their confidence in him and thinking that he has the knowledge and power to relieve the disease, the sickness. So by checking who is better—like this then the patient puts the life in his hands, and listens to whatever he says. The right patients, the wise patients do this. Whatever the doctor tells them, they completely rely on him. If you think in this ordinary example it will be successful—we know how to take the actual refuge if we think of the example. So, if the patients get in the hands of an uneducated, not well experienced, unskillful doctor, then even if it is a sickness that can be cured by another doctor, there is danger to the life in the inexperienced doctor’s hands. There is the danger that patient will make mistakes in the object if the patient doesn’t find the correct, perfect doctor. As in this ordinary example, ordinary people think that it is the most important thing not to make any mistakes, now that the ordinary people are checking up, it is only to do with one life, with this present body. If it is so much more important not to make mistakes, to find the perfect doctor, why shouldn’t it be important in whom we take refuge, the object of the refuge of our many other future lives, not only the present?
The object of the Dharma refuge is this—not only the object of the refuge of this life but the object of the refuge of all the future lives. Therefore, it is most important to find a correct object for this purpose, the object of the Dharma refuge, that refuge of many lives. This is more important to check up than the object of the temporal life refuge. That example—ordinary people think that a perfect doctor, highly qualified, experienced, is the most important thing to find, but still the patient has to die, and in a future life suffer the disease again; again and again. Therefore, this is much more important. If we find the right object in whom we take refuge for many lives, this object has the power to save many other future lives, or mislead and cause danger to many other future lives. Therefore, I emphasize these points.
So as it is necessary to depend on someone even for temporal problems, of course it is necessary to take refuge to surmount, to stop the suffering of the three lower realms. And besides, taking refuge is not only for that reason—to stop all samsaric suffering. This is still not sufficient purpose. The Mahayana way of taking refuge is to take refuge in order to release oneself and all beings from samsaric suffering and to stop the rebirth in the suffering lower realms.
During the break times, read the books through—whatever subject you don’t remember, the subjects that are finished, the subjects that are coming—not only reading but checking and putting yourself in the subject and checking.
For beginners, the three refuge prayer is much more profound than those tantric subjects. Impermanence and refuge is much more effective and powerful to save you from danger, to guide you from danger, than those higher, very profound meditations.
Mahayana refuge is taking refuge in the Triple Gem in order to guide sentient beings from suffering, from the samsaric sufferings. To take this kind of refuge with feeling, you need compassion, and it is necessary to first of all feel that other beings’ suffering in samsara is unbearable. To feel that it is unbearable, that you are not willing for others to suffer in samsara, to have this feeling, to cause this feeling to strongly arise, it is necessary first for oneself to be frightened of one’s own samsaric suffering by understanding the samsaric sufferings, the ways of experiencing them. This also depends on having fear and understanding of the suffering of the three lower realms. Like this. So taking refuge in the Mahayana way is not simple, it depends on many things. It is a big mind, a great mind, that needs many fundamental understandings, many things.
So even for refuge there are three ways—the lower, middle, and higher beings’ refuge. The higher is the Mahayana refuge. The lower being’s refuge is being extremely frightened of the suffering of the three lower realms, and having full confidence in the perfected being and the Triple Gem. The middle being’s refuge is being extremely frightened of samsaric suffering and having full confidence in the perfected beings, completely putting the life, as in the example of the doctor, in the perfected being’s hands with full confidence in his enlightened knowledge. The higher being’s refuge is completely relying on the Triple Gem with full confidence in their knowledge, such as in the perfected being’s enlightened knowledge, and feeling extremely unbearable that other beings are experiencing samsaric suffering. So, completely relying on them, all of these three—the only difference is regarding suffering—the object is the same. The first mind is scared only of the lower suffering; the middle, of samsaric suffering; the third, feeling that it is unbearable that as oneself is experiencing suffering, so other beings are experiencing suffering. So to guide other beings from not having this capability, therefore it is necessary to completely rely on the enlightened being’s powers, knowledge, and compassion, to rely on the enlightened beings for help.
So actually, generally it is like this—perfected beings are not objects who have partial mind; that if one doesn’t take refuge, they don’t give help. Not like this. Even though we don’t take refuge we are always guided by them, according to our karma. So anyway, to receive the help quicker depends on how pure a mind of refuge we can generate. And pure refuge depends on how much full confidence and understanding we have: full confidence in the enlightened being’s power and knowledge and compassion, full confidence, with understanding of the knowledge. Not only full confidence in the knowledge, but also strong fear of the suffering. So the full confidence and the fear are that much. How does it release? As the person has that much fear of the suffering, the person wants release from that as quickly as possible, according to know how strong his fear is. Also, that much more quickly he wants to seek refuge, to rely on a perfect holy object who has the power to guide him from that. So from that, everything becomes much more sincere and pure. Therefore, it is also the reason why the refuge part, the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, comes after impermanence and death and the suffering of the three lower realms. It is set up according to the mind evolution.
There is suffering—now what to do? What is the method? Then it shows us that there is a holy object with power and knowledge that can guide us from suffering. The way the meditation is set up is always with meaning, much connection, the way it works. If the refuge comes on top, it doesn’t make sense; there is no reason because there’s no understanding of suffering. What causes us to take refuge? Very simple, that are two causes, fear of suffering and full confidence in the perfected beings’ knowledge—knowledge and power and compassion—these two cause us to take refuge.
Because Buddha’s holy body, speech, and mind are oneness in nature.
Totally, these four knowledges—the first, that he has completely released himself from all fears, all suffering, all dangers. For instance, in ancient times Guru Shakyamuni was invited over by some family with ill will, in order to destroy and harm him. The family made a hole outside their door and made a big fire in it and obscured it with dust, so that when he walked he would fall into it. Then they invited Guru Shakyamuni. But when Shakyamuni came in that place, as he stepped in each place a lotus dropped down—so they were extremely surprised, developed much faith, and that helped them to lose their negative minds. Then they took teachings from Guru Shakyamuni and had much repentance for such cruel actions.
At another time, a family invited Guru Shakyamuni and offered poisonous food, wanting to destroy Guru Shakyamuni. He didn’t allow his followers to enjoy the food before he started—and then he took the food and nothing happened. So the family was surprised, felt very upset, and took teachings, changing their negative minds. At another time, some evildoer sent a mad elephant to destroy Guru Shakyamuni. All other arhats wouldn’t stand with this mad elephant, and with their psychic powers they flew in the sky. But not Guru Shakyamuni; he stayed there and no danger happened, and the mad elephant became peaceful when it came near him.
There are many things like this. In stories, there are so many things about how to enlighten others, such as evildoer who have much negative karma, and about how he showed different methods to enlighten them. He has no partial mind, his compassion is equal. For the evil ones who always want to destroy him and for all others, his compassion is exactly equal. Once Guru Shakyamuni was taking medicine from a medical doctor that cannot be digested by ordinary people. An evil person was jealous and wanted to compare. So he tried to take the medicine and got sick—he couldn’t compare. So when he took the medicine and got sick, Guru Shakyamuni, by saying the true words, with great love and equal compassion, cured his sickness. But for us ordinary people, if there’s a person who tries to destroy us, if he gets sick we feel we are lucky, it is good, we clap our hands. Nothing like this exists in Guru Shakyamuni’s mind.
The reason that we gathered here and are doing this, trying to create some merits, is also because of his kindness, the kindness of his help, his guidance. Even though we don’t know any of his knowledge, and even though we were not thinking of him, not concerned for him, have no feelings, not asking for his help, our creating merit, talking Dharma, trying to create merit by talking about Dharma is also his help. Without his help it wouldn’t have been possible, there wouldn’t be this chance to create merits. There’s another way to talk about it that’s very profound for us at the moment. But the straight thing now—listening to the teachings that I talk about—the path is shown by him, so this is his kindness, the kindness of his great compassion for us. The existence of the teachings, the Dharma teachings so far—now this is a degenerate time, but until now there was something to talk about it, meditate, experience—this is due to his prayers, Guru Shakyamuni’s prayers, that he did while training in the path. Understanding, discovering many things about life, about mind, about death, about rebirth, many things, the new subjects we discovered in this time—that is his kindness, that is his help. This way it is quite simple to understand the way the enlightened being, the omniscient mind, guides us; easy and simple to understand. Same thing, these days there is much Dharma spreading in the West. If there was no Dharma existing, Dharma very soon degenerating, there wouldn’t be the precious chance that many people from the West could study or meditate, practice, or experience. It is his kindness that the teachings exist, the power of his compassion in order to guide the sentient beings from suffering. “Guiding sentient beings from suffering,” doesn’t mean relieving it in one second like this, like a snap of the fingers; not like this. Even to create one merit during the meditation course, just one single merit, that is the kindness of Guru Shakyamuni’s great compassion.
The reason there’s much greater meaning—also refuge and that other prayer that comes in the morning (Refuge to the Holy Guru—Page 10)—I am making the explanation relating to that morning prayer and this—it has much meaning, it is a very profound subject. Understanding this helps us understand the refuge and understanding the refuge helps us understand the prayer and that part of the meditation.
So in many ways, even if the sentient being doesn’t take refuge, it is guided by the enlightened being with many different manifestations, persuading you to create good karma. I will give you a short introduction. For instance, in Tibet, also in regards to ordination there are many different levels of ordination. First, the person is taught the alphabet for the goal of achieving enlightenment, to follow the path; for that reason the alphabet is taught. Then even for sutra subjects, he has different teachers who give him teachings on Sutra. And then, when the person is capable of keeping the bodhisattva vows, the tantric vows, another guru gives ordinations, and different teachers give him different tantric teachings. Like this. So, each of these is the helper to create, to develop the person’s merits. Those different teachers persuade the person to create merits, which are the cause of his future enlightenment, the cause of his future omniscient mind. For instance, this great yogi, Atisha, had about 150 gurus. Anyway, these teachers are the ones who persuaded him to create merits, to create the cause for enlightenment, who persuaded Atisha to develop his merits, to develop his cause of enlightenment by showing different manifestations of human beings and showing different subjects to Atisha. It’s like this—like sending different members who have different body shapes to help from Nepal, to help someone, to help another country, by giving a job to each person. Each of these members are working for different things—factories and many things—but totally they are all trying to help the other country on behalf of the king. Just like this, those 150 teachers that Atisha had were like the members of Guru Shakyamuni, the enlightened being. Anyway, those were different manifestations of Guru Shakyamuni’s omniscient mind, which led him—a group like that for one disciple, Atisha—into enlightenment.
A short talk on this subject. Generally, like this—as much as the guru has that much great knowledge, that much knowledge the disciples receive. This is generally talking, like this—it does not mean it is intuitive, you should not have such a wrong conception, becoming intuitively perfect. Like if you take a picture of a very beautiful tangka that has so many beautiful details, many paintings, and you take a picture, also in the picture the drawing show up. Of course it depends on how you see the camera, but generally talking it is like this. Sometimes it is also possible that the object is not so beautiful but your picture is very beautiful, very attractive; this is also possible—if you see the real object as not so attractive; this is because of how you use the camera, the technique, many things. There are many examples like this in Tibet because the disciple has intelligence knowing how to practice in the right way—his teacher has less knowledge than the disciple—but the disciple has intelligence and practices in the right way, like the example of the camera, and through his right practice and intelligence, as his knowledge develops, according to the power of this, also he sees his common teacher in a different way. He sees him as knowledgeable and enlightened. This intelligent disciple can see through the meditation, through the purification, the practice of meditation, he can see him in the form of Guru Shakyamuni, in the form of deities.
Generally, there are Hinayana gurus, Mahayana gurus, and Vajrayana gurus. A Mahayana guru has to have certain knowledge, such as living in the three higher conducts. This is the basic knowledge that the guru showing the lesser vehicle is supposed to have. Then the guru showing the Mahayana path has to have more knowledge than that; and the guru showing the Vajrayana has to have much more knowledge than that. There’s no time to give more explanation than that, the need for knowledge. Saying one has this knowledge, it is worthwhile, like this. At least it is necessary for him to have knowledge, for him to live in the three conducts and live purely and have compassion (not the modern love) and the understanding of reality. At least it should be like this, and at least he should be one who is more concerned with the future life than the present life—if not this then he cannot be a guru. At least he should be like this, one who explains more of the future, at least he should say, be concerned, that the future life is more important than this life, and mainly care more for the future life than this life. Also he should not be attached to the happiness of this temporal life, he should throw the happiness of this life backside, keeping it behind, putting it behind him, not caring about it, and keeping the future life in the front. The one who shows his back to that is the guru we should seek. If not, then there’s danger of being misled. If the teacher’s mind is more concerned for the present life than the future life there is danger of being misled, because the basic thing of Dharma practice is to give up the attachment to this life—if not, there’s no sense in practicing Dharma, it is not Dharma practice meditation. Also, if the person is more concerned with this life, then there’s the danger of letting the follower only work for this life, so it means letting the disciple work for attachment, for the negative mind. That kind of teacher is completely opposite, not a Dharma teacher, but a teacher showing the samsaric path—this is very important to know, so important.
The reason that I brought up this subject here? Since we have interest to practice Dharma, since we have the desire to seek liberation, the point is this: we want to take refuge? Yes. But how should the holy object, the perfect being guide us? We have to follow the path, the teaching shown by the perfect being. To follow that we have to understand—to understand we have to practice, to practice we have to understand—and to understand we have to be taught. So the most important thing, from beginning of the path up to enlightenment, is person who shows the teachings. Like the talk of omniscient mind—because we don’t have the power to see the mind in that manifestation until we reach that level, there is no way to communicate and receive teachings. We have to try to reach that level. For that, many realizations are necessary; much experience of the path, meditation has to be made. So the whole thing depends on that, on that person, that being who you see in ordinary form, from whom you take teachings. Everything depends on him. So if he misleads you, this is the biggest danger. Before I talked about Guru Shakyamuni as this being, but now I am talking about the same subject—it is a matter of understanding.
So now it’s like this, the reason I am telling you this is that the whole responsibility is there—anyway, examples are not necessary. It’s very important on whom you put your rope, your hook. If you are going to get out of a hole, you throw a rope and hook it there and then you hold the rope and get out. If you put it unsafely, on the wrong hook, if you put the rope in the wrong place, there is the danger of falling down and hurting yourself. It is necessary at least that the other one should have a higher realization than the disciple, and based on that thought—explaining more the future than the present, leading the disciple not to be attached; besides himself having these things, also not leading the disciple towards temporal happiness and not to be attached. But in such degenerate times it is extremely difficult to find a guru who has all this knowledge. One thing is, in degenerate times, as we are people our fortune is also that much down, so it is that much more difficult to see—because of our obscurations it is difficult to recognize from our side—our problems as I mentioned last night with the example of Guru Shakyamuni and his disciples. So actually—now why this is so important—we take refuge, of course. But the way we are guided, the whole thing depends on him. How are we are guided by the guru omniscient mind? By following the path. Following the path is not simple—it depends on right understand and right practice; this depends on right explanation, so again the whole thing depends on that being. Some person may think, “He is admiring himself, he is trying to make himself important”—it is not like this. I have no knowledge, I didn’t deserve this, I have not even the smell of that knowledge. But I am obliged to try to do this, to try to imitate ... something like this. The reason I’m telling you this is because I know our problem, we Westerners’ problem. You may not understand now, but after some time you will realize.
This is the most important thing. So I will briefly mention some short benefits of seeking the guru. Actually there won’t be anytime to take off that practice, but as there is the explanation of the Buddha, it makes sense to talk about it together like this, so it may be useful to know this, becoming closer to enlightenment.
Benefits of Following the Guru
- Pleasing all the Buddhas.
- The person cannot be hindered by evils (the outer evil and the inner evil—the outer evil spirits, devils, and sinful friends relatives. “Sinful friends” means evil friends who give you wrong influence, and then you follow it and it causes you to create negative karma; he puts you in this situation of creating negative karma). Not being hindered by the evils, inner and outer, and evil friends.
-All one’s delusions and vices intuitively cease and
-The experience and the realizations of the path and meditations increase.
-And never, in all future lives, will your life become empty of the guru. The arrangement of this present life causes you to always meet gurus in many future lives. Because there is a long way to go to enlightenment, so it takes many lifetimes, so to find a perfect guru—this makes arrangements in this life.
-Not to be reborn in the three lower realms.
-Bringing all success as one thinks.
-Receiving enlightenment quickly.
So the part of the Buddha’s explanation is finished, really finished.
Those are just the total, eight brief points on correctly following the guru. Correctly following has all that benefit, by correctly following one makes that much profit. Also there are eight shortcomings of not correctly following the guru.
So anyway, before taking the teachings, checking is important since the teaching is taken from the guru for receiving enlightenment, to get out of samsara, even if one heard only four words. So since that time there’s no such thing—the worst negative karma—it’s not like an ordinary school teacher—if you don’t like him, then you can kick him out—this and Dharma is completely different, the purpose of each is completely different as the earth and the sky. The purpose of school—students studying and teachers teaching—and the purpose of the Dharma way is completely different; the one is for a temporal reason, the other is for enlightenment and to escape from samsara. Even the root, the mind, the motive is completely different—one is evil thought, the other is pure. Since we heard only four words, there is nothing to change. Even though you see, the ordinary person, the disciple sees many negative things, faults, it is projection of the wrong projector, the negative mind; that is from disciple’s side. Why? Through purification, at certain levels it can be seen, even an ordinary being can be seen, can appear to that disciple in the form of deities, wrathful or peaceful, or as Guru Shakyamuni, according to his meditation. There are many other stories—no need to talk much. There are many things that previous meditators saw through guru yoga practice.
So therefore, the method is this—try to stop thinking of the negative things and think of the knowledge, the good things more, and try to stop the negative parts. This doesn’t break the relationship and helps a great deal to create less negative karma. Like this—when you see more knowledge—by continually thinking this, you see the knowledge more and more, stronger—and even if in your view you see mistakes, faults, it doesn’t become big hindrance to your mind because of the understanding and strong feeling in his knowledge. So you don’t see his faults as important, they become very small—anyway, this is his responsibility. It is our responsibility, we who want to receive enlightenment—it’s our responsibility. That’s all.
There was one religion called “Bon” in Tibet, before Buddhism was established. There was a person who follows that teaching—they also had certain powers, temporal, psychic powers can be achieved—there was one person called Naro Penshong, I think he was the one competing with great yogi Milarepa—reaching the top of a mountain when the sun rises, the person walking on the mountain riding on a drum, at the same time drumming. The story was something like this—he wanted to compete with the great yogi Milarepa and see who could reach the mountain first. That’s one of the famous mountains, called Thi.se, a holy place in the upper part of Tibet. So the next morning, when the sun got to the top of the mountain, the other person started very early in the morning and almost reached the top, but Milarepa was still down there in the same place. Just before Naro Penshon got there, going up riding on the drum and drumming, as the sun got on top of the mountain he, Milarepa, flew on the top of the mountain; and he who started very early in the morning with many hang ups was late. So Milarepa threw some of the snow at him saying, “This is your share.” So this man said, “The person called Milarepa—so famous, a great sound before seeing him, like a great Indian Pandit, when really seen is an old naked person.” Because there was no beauty, nothing—he had beauty but it was difficult to recognize it—and even the color of his body was not like we have, he was kind of blue, and hairs ...He was such a great yogi, who had achievement of such control, realizations of tantric path, who had not one single self-cherishing thought and wrong conception of self-existing “I,” who had control over the impure dualistic mind. Nothing could hinder him, he had such great power, nothing could hinder him. He could transform into many different bodies, he had such great power. While he was at one place, one village, at the same time there is another Milarepa in some other place—so people got confused, “Milarepa is here,” “Milarepa is there.” He was someone who had complete control over death and rebirth. But an ordinary person whose obscurations and negative mind is not purified sees him like this, in ordinary form.
So totally like this—in the Hinayana way, the guru is followed as abbot; in the Mahayana way, the guru is followed as the real Guru Shakyamuni; in the tantric way, the guru is followed as the total essence of all buddhas. Anyway, there’s a whole trip on that, a whole meditation on that, much explanation on that. So after, as you understand there is something practiced like that, you can try to understand those subjects and experience them. In the Hinayana way, whatever is a positive work or thing is done, listened to, and followed by the disciple. And whatever is a negative action, or difficult, is not. But in the Mahayana if there is difficult work, or something you cannot do or think is wrong, you respectfully ask three or four times, you emphasize if that must be done. Still if the answer is certain, it has to be done. In the tantric way, whatever the instruction, it has to be followed. So the person who follows has to have greater will, greater power. And following the Vajrayana way one needs still more knowledge and power, because each path is more profound.
“The true cessation of suffering”—the true path is the absolute Dharma.