Wednesday, 27th November
We briefly talked about how Guru Shakyamuni is released from all fears and suffering and is extremely wise and skillful in releasing other sentient beings from suffering, in guiding other sentient beings. Just to show, there are many stories, but it is useful to understand how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is extremely wise in the methods of guiding other sentient beings. Besides Guru Shakyamuni knowing the methods that fit the person, also Guru Shakyamuni knows, realizes, the exact time, the right time, when the person is ready to be shown the method. If Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was not skillful in method, in guiding sentient beings then Guru Shakyamuni could not guide all the sentient beings. He would be like an armless mother who can’t guide her boy who is taken by river. There are many other stories besides those we talked about before—there are many amazing wonderful things, his life story. There was one evil person called Tsong.me.takpa who killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people in his early life. Even though he was that evil, that negative, in that life due to Guru Shakyamuni’s skill and method, slowly showing him events and showing him teachings, he received the mind fully renouncing samsara. Somehow there is a history of that person, telling the reason he had killed that many people. I don’t remember the whole story. However, he used to be very evil, causing much harm to other people in that country, and somehow afterwards all these people were fighting each other and this man killed that many people of that country and the last one was his mother, whom he didn’t kill. If he had killed her it would have become one thousand. Guru Shakyamuni showed him different methods, and slowly his mind become more ready and Guru Shakyamuni gave him teachings and afterwards as he received the mind of renunciation. He completely gave attachment for the happiness of this life and he went back to that country in the form of a monk after taking ordination. All those people again tried to destroy him in many ways when he was going along the path—all the people in that country threw stones, all kinds of things, but in his later life he never harmed anyone, he never reacted, nothing—he lived only in patience. After that, all that country people saw that he was an amazing person, that his life had completely changed, and that he had no anger, unlike before. He was not violent and as much as they tried to beat him, he remained patient, so later on all the people received devotion and respected him very much. By following the path in that lifetime he received the state of an arhat, nirvana, the boundless state, even though he had been that evil. This was the skill of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. There are many other things.
Also there are stories of very greedy people who Guru Shakyamuni controlled and subdued by showing different methods. There is also a story of how he subdued a person who was deeply ignorant, incredibly ignorant. This is the story of the noble Lamchungpa. In India, I don’t remember name of the place, but in one country, one family, the mother had many children, and they always died. So one day she met one old mother and she explained the problem, and the old mother told her to let her know when she had the next baby. So later she had a baby and she told the mother. Then the old mother suggested that a young girl should take this baby to the crossroads, and wait all day there. She said that the young girl should, clean the baby’s body and wrap it with white cloth and put a little bit of butter in its mouth, and then go to the road and wait there all day. Then the old mother suggested that if they saw any sangha members coming ... I don’t remember. Somehow the mother suggested that she to say something to the young girl, to make prostration to the noble ones. So the young lady took the baby as the old mother suggested. She waited in the big road carrying the baby for a long time, and after some time some brahmins came and then she said what the old mother suggested, and prostrated to the noble ones. As they were coming along the path they prayed for the baby to have a longer life, and to fulfill the parents’ wishes, and then they left. Then afterwards Guru Shakyamuni and his sangha came along the path and again she said the same thing and Guru Shakyamuni prayed that the baby may have a long life and may the parents’ Dharma thoughts be successful. Then they left. The baby didn’t die that day. The mother suggested that as the baby didn’t die that day, the baby should be brought back home. So the baby was brought back home and afterwards she had another baby. This baby who was saved from danger of the death by waiting on the big road was named Noble Great Path. Afterwards this baby became an arhat by practicing the teachings.
Again after that, another baby was born and again she did the same thing—the young girl took the baby out wrapped with white cloth and with a little bit of butter in the baby’s mouth. That day the young girl was a little bit lazy—she didn’t take the baby to the big road, she waited on the small path, some corner. So she waited and waited and nothing happened. Guru Shakyamuni always sees sentient beings, so finally Guru Shakyamuni came along that small path. Again she prayed in the same way. Then Guru Shakyamuni prayed that the baby would not die. Afterwards, this baby was sent to learn things, to learn letters. The teacher taught two letters—bu and su. So when this child learned bu, he forgot su, and when he learned su, he didn’t remember bu. He had so many problems. He was so ignorant. The teacher threw him out. The story is this, I am just making it a little bit short! Then he was sent to another teacher to learn another subject. That teacher taught him two words again—om and bum. So again, when he learned om he forgot bum, and when he learned bum he forgot om. The teacher said, “You are so ignorant, you are the smallest, most ignorant; it was much easier to teach your brother,” and then the teacher was exhausted. His brother the arhat Great Path checked up with his psychic power—and he had the karma to control him. He tried to check up whether he should subdue him in a violent way or a peaceful way. He checked up and discovered that he should subdue him in a violent way. So he took his brother and threw him out, away from the place, the monastery. He was terribly upset and he was crying very much. Guru Shakyamuni realized this while he was working for other sentient beings in a certain place with his psychic powers, and all of a sudden he came to that place where this boy was crying. The boy explained everything, how he was ignorant and how his teacher had said he was the smallest and the most ignorant—he explained everything. Guru Shakyamuni told him, “Your brother is an arhat, but he did not know the method to subdue you. I have completed all merits, all purification, but your brother did not complete all purification and merits.” Guru Shakyamuni asked him if he could clean the monks’ shoes, which were left outside the prayer hall. When they are inside, they leave their shoes outside the door. So Guru Shakyamuni asked him whether he could clean the monks’ shoes. Guru Shakyamuni taught him two words—du means avoiding dust, avoiding smell. Guru Shakyamuni taught him these two words and let him clean the monks’ shoes. I don’t know what type of shoes, but shoes. This was Guru Shakyamuni’s method of purification for this boy. This boy took much time to learn these two words, he took much time. He was cleaning the shoes for a long time, for quite a long time, and somehow he learned these two words by heart. Then afterwards Guru Shakyamuni said, “Now you don’t have to clean the shoes, you can clean the floor of the monastery.” After he learnt these two words Guru Shakyamuni changed the method and told him to clean the floor. Then he cleaned the floor all the time. After he finished cleaning one side, he started cleaning the other side. Whenever he finished cleaning one side there was dirt again on the other side, so he cleaned that side again. He cleaned the floor while he was saying these two words. The one day, all of a sudden, he realized the meaning. The dust is not the dust of the earth, but the dust of attachment. The dust is not the dust of the earth, but the dust of anger. The dust is not the dust of the earth, but the dust of ignorance. By just cleaning, by that method, he realized these teachings, he recognized all wrong conceptions clearly. Also he realized the incredible teachings, such as those on the mind nature, the absolute nature. Actually this is the method that Guru Shakyamuni wanted him to understand, so by teaching just a few words like that, by giving him that method, it subdued his deep ignorance, with which he could not even learn the two words om and bum before. After he realized these teachings, Guru Shakyamuni wanted to send him to give teachings to nuns—there were nuns that time. Guru Shakyamuni wanted him to give them teachings. The people around there knew how he was deeply ignorant, how he took much time even to learn two words. So Guru Shakyamuni sent one of his followers called Kung.ga.wa to tell the nuns his name—the one who cleaned the floor and the Sangha’s shoes. His name was Noble Small Path because he was taken to the small path by the young girl and his life was saved. Kung.ga.wa said to the nuns, “Guru Shakyamuni gave the message to tell you that Noble Small Path is coming to teach Dharma.” The nuns thought he must be teasing them, sending such a person to teach who doesn’t know much Dharma, who hasn’t learned much Dharma. They wondered how could it be possible that he teach us Dharma? He was a little bit embarrassed because the nuns knew he was ignorant. The nuns expected that Noble Small Path wouldn’t have any teaching to explain. So in order to put him down, to shame him, the nuns went into the city and announced to everybody that they should come, saying, “If you don’t come tomorrow you won’t realize the absolute nature.” They announced this to all the people in the city. So many thousands of people came that day—some came with devotion, some were curious—with many different reasons they came. Then the nuns put up a very, very high throne, which he could not climb. So he came, and as he got up onto the throne many people didn’t see how he got there. Some people saw steps, but there were no steps, just a very high throne. So some people, even though they were looking at it, couldn’t figure out how he got there. I think whenever he was sitting on the throne, he sat in space. Then he said he would give a teaching that he had learned for some weeks—that he would explain that teaching, give commentary, I think for several months. He said he would give the commentary of the teaching he had learned by cleaning for many days, I think for six months. Among the listeners, there were many who realized the absolute nature. Many of them perceived different realizations like this.
Even the arhats who are out of samsara, out of ignorance, could not realize the method that fit this person. After they couldn’t subdue him, Guru Shakyamuni subdued him. This show how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is extremely skillful in guiding sentient beings, such as this person. There are many histories, and this is useful.
Then the third reason is that he is extremely skillful in guiding sentient beings, therefore he is a worthy object of refuge. There is no problem of Guru Shakyamuni not knowing. If you take refuge there is no problem of Guru Shakyamuni not knowing the method that fits the individual. The third one is that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has impartial compassion for all sentient beings. He does not have partial compassion wanting to help, having compassion, for his relatives, and not having compassion for his enemies—he has no such partial compassion like that. No such partisanship, having compassion for some people who like him, and not having compassion for those people who disbelieve him, who don’t like him—no such thing. He has impartial compassion, for all sentient beings. Not like we ordinary people, who have partial compassion that always helps the relatives and the other people who like them. We don’t have compassion for other people who don’t like us, who harm us. Besides not having compassion, we give harm back. There is a big difference between the compassion that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has and the compassion an ordinary being has. So because Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has impartial compassion, not discriminating, like this, if you take refuge, Guru Shakyamuni can definitely guide you. There is no question, no doubt. Because of this reason of having impartial compassion for all sentient beings, he is a worthy object of refuge.
Then the fourth reason. He benefits all sentient beings, those who benefit him or not. For instance, ordinary people help others by reasoning, “I should help this family, this person, because he helped me before, he gave me such and such, he called me for party, and so on.” There is always something—”He likes me, he says good things about me, he says nice things to people about me.” These people helped me, therefore I should help them; these people didn’t help me, therefore there is no reason why I should help them. Ordinary people always discriminate like this. Even if there are ordinary gods, spirits, such as those that the Hindus and Nepalese believe in, those who are still living in samsara, who have certain temporal power to help bring material things, it always doesn’t work. If a person completely relies on them, the person doesn’t always receive help. Also these samsaric gods and spirits don’t have impartial compassion. Those who have a little higher power than human beings just give temporal material help to the person. Those who have a little higher power don’t have this impartial compassion that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has. So that’s how they cannot be worthy objects of refuge. They are not out of samsara and they help only the people who are offering to them, relying on them, but they don’t help the people who don’t like them, who disbelieve in them, and don’t make offerings. They don’t have impartial compassion and they discriminate. If you take refuge in Guru Shakyamuni Buddha there is no question, no doubt that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha will help you. There is no such thing as Guru Shakyamuni guiding the beings only if they have devotion or if they make offerings. There is no such thing as Guru Shakyamuni not guiding sentient being who don’t make offerings and disbelieves, no such thing. Guru Shakyamuni helps and works for all sentient beings—those who benefit, those who don’t benefit—for him it is equal, the same thing—those who make offerings, those who don’t, those who believe in him, those who don’t believe in him. That doesn’t change his action of helping, that doesn’t stop. Therefore, because Guru Shakyamuni benefits sentient beings, Guru Shakyamuni helps sentient beings without depending on sentient beings’ benefiting or not benefiting. Therefore he is a worthy object of refuge. If you take refuge, Guru Shakyamuni will definitely guide you from suffering. There are many stories again. Anyway there is no time. The more the sentient being is suffering, the more strong compassion Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has.
So tonight, first you check up whether you have the causes of refuge or not—which one is missing, and which one you have. If the first cause, the fear of samsaric suffering, is not so strong, then again try to remember general samsaric suffering. If you can remember it, there are many different ways to think. You can think as we explained briefly on the suffering of evil destinies. It is easy to discover the human beings’ suffering. There are about eight sufferings that is are mainly human beings’ sufferings. That is easy to understand. As you can remember, you think.
Then if there is not that much strong devotion, after you check samsaric suffering, remember samsaric suffering, a little feeling comes up, “I myself cannot make myself release from samsaric suffering,” also, “As I am suffering like this in samsara, as I have been suffering in samsara like this, there are numberless other sentient beings suffering in samsara. It is not sufficient that I release only myself from samsara. I should release sentient beings from all the suffering and the cause of suffering and lead them into enlightenment. At the moment I have no power to guide myself and other sentient beings. So I must depend on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, I must take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.” Then you can remember the Buddha, relative and absolute, the Dharma, relative and absolute, and the Sangha, relative and absolute. Try to remember, then check on the Buddha, how he is a worthy object of refuge by going through four reasons—
1. He himself released from all suffering first.
2. He is extremely wise in skill to guide other sentient beings from all suffering.
3. He has impartial compassion for all sentient beings without discrimination of relatives and non-relatives.
4. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha works for all sentient beings without depending on sentient beings benefiting or not benefiting him.
These are the four reasons to discover, to see, how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is a worthy object of refuge, so it is necessary to check through each one like this. Then after that, remember Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s knowledge, the knowledge of his holy body, speech, and mind. By remembering this, as much as you can remember, by remembering the knowledge, after you check with knowledge, up to remembering knowledge—this helps to increase devotion, so after you remember the knowledge then you do purification. Do purification and recite mantra like you did this morning or last night.
Regards samsaric suffering, maybe Doctor Nick or somebody can read it, so that it reminds you , it is easy.
Tomorrow morning, in the morning with the motivation I think I will go through the Seven Mahayana Techniques, little by little in the morning time.
Thursday, 28th November
In order to take ordination it is necessary for the mind to go in the Dharma, and besides that it is necessary for the mind to go in the Mahayana Dharma, which makes the action of taking ordination the cause of enlightenment. Try to cultivate the pure thought of precious bodhicitta. In order to achieve enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings, it is necessary to achieve bodhicitta. There are two ways to practice bodhicitta. First, actualizing bodhicitta by actualizing oneself and others. Exchanging oneself for others. Exchanging oneself for others, the special training of compassion taking other beings’ suffering on oneself, the special training of love by dedicating one’s body and possessions and merits to others to receive happiness. Then great will and bodhicitta—this is one way. This technique to practice bodhicitta came from Shantideva, and gradually to Atisha’s Guru, Lama Serlingpa, and then to Atisha. Then to Guru Tsongkhapa. The other technique of practicing bodhicitta is the Seven Mahayana Techniques. This technique was also received by Atisha from, I don’t remember, perhaps one of his gurus, Rigpa Kujuk. This technique came to Guru Tsongkhapa. However the other technique, practicing bodhicitta by equalizing oneself and others, includes these Seven Techniques. The Seven Techniques doesn’t include all the other techniques. However, according to the Seven Techniques, from the cause of knowing how all sentient beings have been one’s mother, remembering their infinite kindness and repaying it, mainly from the fundamental meditations, those causes, it brings the result of great love and great compassion. From the great love and great compassion comes great will. Through the great will, bodhicitta is received. So that’s how Seven Techniques of the Mahayana Cause and Effect means this—to achieve bodhicitta, the effortless thought wishing to receive enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings. This depends on bringing up the great will wanting to take complete responsibility for releasing all sentient beings from all suffering and leading them in the happiness of enlightenment by oneself also. Bringing this up depends on the Mahayana compassion, wishing to make sentient beings release from suffering by oneself. Also, it depends on the Mahayana love wishing sentient beings to be in the happiness of enlightenment and to do it by oneself. To bring up this Mahayana compassion and Mahayana love depends on remembering and on the thought repaying the kindness of sentient beings. That depends on knowing how sentient beings have been extremely kind from beginningless samsaric lifetime. That also depends on the thought knowing how all sentient beings have been one’s mother from beginningless samsaric lifetimes. In order to achieve this realization knowing that all sentient beings have been one’s mother numberless times, one must equally see that all sentient beings have been one’s mother, the same number. In order to equally see that all sentient beings have been one’s mother, it is necessary first of all to equally see that all sentient beings have been strangers in the same number, and also equally see that all sentient beings have been one’s enemy numberless times, and also equally seeing how all sentient beings have been one’s relative numberless times. Without equalizing these three—the stranger, enemy, and relative—one cannot equally see that all sentient beings have been one’s mother. To receive the pleasure and happiness of the crops it is necessary to cultivate them, and in order to cultivate the crops it is necessary to fertilize the place, to make the foundation. If the place is not fertilized, if the seed of the crop is just strewn on the unfertilized, wild ground, it doesn’t grow well. Just like this, without making the foundation of equalizing sentient beings—stranger, enemy, and relative—we cannot receive those Seven Techniques, we cannot actualize them. Mainly, we must equalize the thought discriminating between these three.
In just one evolution, first of all there is the ignorance, the wrong conception of the self-”I” that is ignorance. From this, attachment to oneself rises. Also if there is the wrong conception of the self-”I,” seeing one’s “I” as self-existent, also there is the wrong conception that sees one’s happiness, one’s body, and one’s possessions as self-existent. As there is the wrong conception seeing all “my” things as self-existent, so there is also attachment to those things. As there is the wrong conception conceiving of my things, such as my happiness, as self-existent, also there is attachment to those things. So when someone disturbs my happiness, it is discriminated by ignorance. When someone disturbs my happiness, because of this attachment attached to happiness, when someone disturbs this, anger rises. Anger rises and then discriminates an enemy. Also, this is done on the basis of seeing the other person as self-existent. When someone helps my happiness then attachment discriminates that he is my friend or relative on the basis of seeing him as self-existent. When someone doesn’t disturb me, doesn’t help my happiness, that person is discriminated by the ignorance as a stranger. That is also discriminated on the basis of conceiving other person as self- existent. Like this.
This is one thing that we have been continuously suffering from in samsara from beginningless samsaric lifetimes. We are always suffering by discriminating like this. We are always creating negative karma. That’s how we have always been creating negative karma—with attachment trying to help friends and with anger trying to harm the enemy, and always creating ignorance in terms of the object of the stranger. That’s how we have been creating negative karma continuously, and that’s how we have also been suffering in samsara, and experiencing suffering in the evil destinies numberless times. Still we are continuing. Still we are following these negative minds and discriminating and creating negative karma that causes us to experience samsaric suffering without end. Just like this, all other sentient beings, due to the wrong conception conceiving that the “I” is self-existent, and due to attachment and anger, also other sentient beings have been suffering in samsara from beginningless lifetimes creating negative karma and experiencing all the suffering results. Still they continue. However as they are the field from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, as I have such a precious chance now, having received a perfect human rebirth, having met the teachings having met a leader leading me in the path to enlightenment, therefore I am responsible for leading all sentient beings. I am responsible for enlightening all other sentient beings by releasing them from suffering. Therefore I must receive enlightenment, therefore I am going to take ordination.
Visualize taking ordination from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by numberless buddhas. At the end of the third repetition think that you have perfectly received the ordination in the form of light.
PRAYER OF PRECEPTS
Dedicate the merits, “Due to the merits may the meaning that the prayer contains be successful. Due to the merits of taking ordination, the past merits and the future merits, may I quickly receive enlightenment by achieving the fully renounced mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute nature.”
I must achieve enlightenment for all mother sentient beings. Therefore I must complete the realization of the graduated path. In order to achieve the whole graduated path I am going to listen to the teaching on the profound commentary on the graduated path.
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment and it is a teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosopher Nagarjuna and Asanga, a profound teaching that is the essence of the great yogis’ Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
This commentary on the graduated path has four outlines. In order to show the reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teachings. The way of listening and explaining the teachings and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last one has two outlines—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path. The last one has two outlines also— persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth. The last one is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being, and the graduated path of the higher being. The graduated path of the lower being has two outlines—bringing up the thought seeking a better future life and following the method that brings happiness in the future life. The second one also has two outlines—refuge which is the holy door of the teachings and bringing up the understanding belief in karma, which is the root of all perfection and happiness.
So refuge, the holy door of the teachings, has four outlines—the cause and object of refuge, and how it is a worthy object of refuge. So now the way of taking refuge. There is taking refuge by understanding the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and taking refuge by understanding the difference. There is taking refuge by taking the vow, and taking refuge by now telling others. So there are several outlines like this. However, when you come to the meaning it will be clear.
So just briefly talking, first of all, about the knowledge of the Buddha.
However, I am not sure how this part came here but however—each sentient being has a caste, we call it rig, but it means the clear light nature that makes it possible to receive enlightenment. I don’t think caste is the right word. The Tibetan term is rig and this means the clear light nature that makes it possible to receive enlightenment, the clear light nature that is not oneness with negative mind or ignorance. Because it is not oneness with ignorance and delusion, it is possible to receive enlightenment, to become the clear light nature, the svabhavakaya.
For instance, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was giving the teachings, the three sermons, the three circles of the Dharma in India in those times, some said he gave the Dharma at the same time but at different places. The Four Noble Truths were taught at the holy place called Sarnath and the middle Dharmachakra, the teaching on shunyata, that subject was explained nearby Rajghir, nearby Bodhgaya for the higher intelligence beings. The Four Noble Truths were shown for the lower intelligence beings at Sarnath and then the last Dharma circle was shown at another holy place called Yungpagen. Also, the Vajrayana teachings were given by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the higher intelligent beings, in the southern part of India. There is one also holy place there where Guru Shakyamuni gave Vajrayana teachings. However, also it is possible that Guru Shakyamuni gave these teachings at the same time to the different disciples who have different level of intelligence, different subjects, but the teaching was shown at the same time with different manifestations. When he was showing the Vajrayana teaching he showed it in the aspect of the deity called Vajradhara to those who had the karma, the higher fortune to receive Vajrayana teachings, to see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in the aspect of sambhogakaya. The Tibetan term is long.ku, this Vajrayana sambhogakaya. He gave teachings in the Nirmanakaya aspect in the form of a monk to some other disciples who had the fortune and intelligence to see him in that form. Not only this, but while he was giving teachings like this, also in other universes Guru Shakyamuni was taking an earthly body, taking birth as a prince in India. Like this, also at the same time, while he was giving teachings in another place, he was taking birth and again starting his to show, to give examples about how to practice Dharma for other sentient beings. First of all, just as he did in India, he pretended that he himself was a follower, born, and then got married, then afterwards took the form of realizing the suffering nature, then renounced worldly life, did six years austere retreat, then took the form of realizing shunyata and receiving enlightenment. There were about twelve events. After receiving enlightenment, he gave the Dharma circles, just like this, and at the same time that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was gave teachings in India, in other universes he was taking birth and starting again like that to show the Dharma. By his own example, by showing his own example through his life, of the purpose of practicing Dharma and the benefits one can gain by practicing Dharma, how one can release from samsara and all the suffering, showing the example like this and benefits of receiving enlightenment through his life, realizing mind nature—showing all these things through his example. He also did the same in other sentient beings’ realms. When Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took the princely life and descended from Tushita, when he began the twelve deeds of descending from Tushita, taking the princely life, at that time also Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave teachings in some other universes. In some places he took the form of receiving enlightenment, and did many different actions for sentient beings at the same time. All kinds of different actions of body, speech, and mind, holy body, speech, and mind, were done at the same time like this. His holy deeds are incredible—how he works for other sentient beings is incredible, unimaginable, not something we can guess or imagine. Besides Buddha, we cannot guess even the arhats’ knowledge, even the noble bodhisattvas’ knowledge, or the knowledge of those who have not completed the path yet. We cannot even guess the knowledge of the noble bodhisattva who has just fully realized shunyata, fully realizes the truth,. Even after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha passed away, after he finished the twelve holy deeds, which ended with his taking the form of passing into nirvana, at this time while he was taking the form of death, passing into Nirvana, at the same time in other realms and universes he was giving teachings, taking the form of receiving enlightenment—many things were happening, many things were done sentient beings. He passed away because the merit or the karma of the people during that time to see Guru Shakyamuni in the nirmanakaya manifestation was finished. As it was finished, there was no karma, fortune, so he passed away, and after he passed away he did infinite work for the rest of the people, the rest of the students by manifesting in the form of different aspects of pandits, such as Nagarjuna. There have been many, such as Asanga, many different pandits who have much Dharma, spread much Dharma, different Dharma subjects such as the Vajrayana teaching, the Mahayana teaching, the Hinayana teaching—different subjects in different places for different disciples who have different levels of mind. Such as Shantideva, Atisha, and many other pandits.
Later on, the King of Tibet invited the great yogi Padmasambhava and also an abbot who granted ordination. That religious King of Tibet brought the Dharma to Tibet, established Buddhism in Tibet, by inviting Padmasambhava. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha manifested in many different aspects of yogis, very highly realized lamas, in Tibet. Sometimes in a female aspect, sometimes in a male aspect—in different aspects. Also as Guru Tsongkhapa—in different aspects like this according to sentient beings. Sometimes he appeared in the form of a monk, in the ordinary aspect of a person, sometimes also like a person, sometimes in a female aspect, sometimes as a crazy person, sometimes as blind, sometimes in the form of an animal. Whatever the method fits to benefit certain sentient beings, whatever fits. Sometimes for those whose minds were ready, he manifested as teachers explaining the Dharma, and sometimes also as friends, like this. Sometimes as a husband, sometimes as a wife, sometimes as evil—whatever helps that sentient being, whatever the karma to control, subdue other sentient beings’ minds. Like this. Also, he appeared in the form of an animal, as tangkas, as statues—even that kind of non-living thing. The whole purpose is that slowly, gradually, as other sentient beings continuously increase their merit and do purification, by creating good karma more and more, as their understanding grows, they take better rebirth and again create more good karma and have a deeper understanding of Dharma and like this, gradually, according to those individual beings, gradually Guru Shakyamuni Buddha leads the sentient beings closer and closer to enlightenment. So there are many different ways to benefit sentient beings. There is no specific method. There is no such thing as, “This is the only way to benefit and work for sentient beings.” Because all sentient beings’ mind is not at the same level; they don’t have the same personality. All have different personalities and different minds, not same, different karma.
Student: Would you say gradually we gain choice of rebirth or is choice an illusion of the ignorant mind? Control over one’s rebirth, this choice, is that an illusion of ignorant mind or does mind gradually evolve to a point when there is the choice to have a better body?
Rinpoche: I don’t think ... for instance, even though let’s say this time you were born in the West, I don’t think to be born in the West again the person has to be out of ignorance. The person doesn’t have to have complete control over ignorance because I am sure that a person whose previous life also was a Westerner doesn’t have to be. Of course, the cause of always receiving the upper rebirth, the rebirth of sura, asura, or human being, is always good karma, but it is mainly due to the good karma of prayers, wishing to take that body, that rebirth. The person doesn’t have to be out of ignorance.
Student: What is the responsibility of the individual—it seems that Guru Shakyamuni is leading us to enlightenment—at each step what is the individual being’s responsibility?
Rinpoche: That we have been talking about starting from the beginning of the meditation course.
Student: If you practice Dharma will you automatically be at the right place to hear teachings?
Rinpoche: Our responsibility is as the capability that we have. Now we are human being, and as we have that much better rebirth, as our rebirth is highly useful, as we have that much possibility, our responsibility is to try to understand that we are capable to understand Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching and practice and actualize it.
Student: On Page 65 II Paragraph 3: “The positivity or negativity ....” We have been instructed on a number of occasions how to perform ceremonial actions because incorrect performance would cause negative karma. Is it possible to reconcile the written and oral teachings?
Rinpoche: The best way, most important thing, is of course the motivation. Whether the action becomes Dharma or not is up to the motivation. Even if the person is making prostration, whether it becomes Dharma or not is up to the person’s motivation, that which goes in the Dharma. It means like this. In regards prostration, generally with pure motivation making prostration is good karma. As the motivation is that pure, that strong, there are more benefits of prostration. But also it is necessary to know the correct way of making prostration, because if it is done with a pure motivation there is good karma created. But there is such a thing, there are ways of making prostration that are incorrect. For instance, if it is done with ignorance, not knowing, just from that side of action it can be possible that it becomes negative karma because the person doesn’t know it is done with ignorance. Like a fly jumping into the light—we think, “This fly is going to jump in the fire, and experience much burning and suffering,” so in order to stop that we try to kill the fly. Thinking that he is going to jump in fire and burn and suffer but on the other hand we kill the fly—from the person’s side he thinks he is doing some good thing but actually it is a negative action done with ignorance. Even though the person from his side thinks it is a good thing to do, actually it is an ignorant action. For instance, there is another example just to make it clear. The person knows how to make this physical action, how to make prostration, but the person doesn’t think of the object of Buddha. He have any idea to whom he makes prostration, he doesn’t have any holy object to make prostration to. There were a lot of people around in that place, that temple, and this Westerner wanted to show other people that he knows how to make prostrations that he learned from Tibetans, but in his mind there is nothing, no sincere mind—he doesn’t have any object, just physical action. That kind of thing doesn’t have any benefits. He has no object of the prostration, just wanting to show his physical action to other people. However, one thing is that his motivation is attachment that is attached to the happiness of only this life, expecting reputation. That action, when other people look at him as if he is religious person, doing some serious thing, that action looks like a form of religious action but actually if it is checked up, it becomes a cause of samsara. It becomes an action of attachment. It is not creating positive karma.
Student: I understand you to say that if the body position is not correct when we do prostration we could be born in the preta realm. If I have the proper impulse and my feet are two feet apart, how can it be a negative action, negative karma?
Rinpoche: Just having pure motivation is not enough, we need wisdom to know things. Because there are many things done with ignorance not knowing the evolution of karma. That is part of the action, but just having good motivation itself isn’t good karma. Mainly the motivation makes the action pure. Whether it is negative, or whether action has benefits or not, most time this is mainly determined by motivation, but there are some exceptional actions. Even if there is no good motivation there are some exceptional actions. Even if there is no good motivation, due to the holy object, even if the person’s motivation is not pure in making an offering or something like this, there is a way that the person can create positive karma, even though the motivation is attachment or anger, whatever it is, because the object is so precious, holy, and powerful. So from the object’s side, due to the power of the object, the person’s action of making offering, whatever it is, brings benefits. It has a good result but if the person has attachment, rising attachment, or rising anger, that it has its own suffering result. There are some exceptions like this. Most of our actions are not like this. Whether an action is positive or negative is mainly decided, created by the motivation. For instance, in previous times there was a very precious holy stupa, and there was animal kaka around the stupa and one little fly flew around the stupa because of this kaka. Such a small positive karma, even though there was no proper positive motivation, the animal just followed with craving, somehow the stupa, the object, was so holy, so precious, because of the power of the holy object. Even though there was no such powerful motivation like that, because of that karma, afterwards, after a long time he was born as a human being and his name was Kintak Paigya—another long story. He was born in India and he lived quite a long time and afterwards he became very, very old. He couldn’t work any more, and his whole body become very decayed with so many wrinkles. He couldn’t walk properly, he had to rely on sticks. The whole family never liked him. They didn’t want to take care of him, they wanted him to get out of the family. The family was always causing him problems, not wanting him to be at home. Then afterwards it was suggested by the family that he take ordination to become a monk, and he went to the monastery. He saw one arhat, the abbot. The Abbot told him you cannot become a monk because you are so old, you cannot do anything in the monastery. You cannot work for the monastery, you can’t learn any prayers, you can’t do anything, you can’t help the monks, so you cannot receive ordination. So he checked up but he didn’t find any cause, any good karma that he had created to become a monk. He was terribly upset and he came back. He came down to the gate and he beat his head on the door, bumping and screaming. He left the family but then they wouldn’t accept him. He was terribly upset. However, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha realized this while he was working for other sentient beings with his psychic powers, and right away he came there and asked the old man, who explained everything. So Guru Shakyamuni checked up whether he had the good karma to become a monk. And Guru Shakyamuni accepted that he become ordained because he discovered this little karma, that in many previous lifetimes before, when he was a little fly, he went around the stupa once by following kaka. So Guru Shakyamuni found this little karma he had created and accepted that he take ordination and become a monk. So he was ordained. The arhats didn’t realize this karma because this karma was very subtle and they only see the gross karmas—they don’t see the karma which is subtle, they don’t have that much power. Why they don’t have that much knowledge? Because they didn’t make complete purification. They are not completely out of all the obscurations. But Guru Shakyamuni has completed the purification and created all merits, so therefore there is not any obscuration, so therefore Guru Shakyamuni Buddha fully sees any subtle karmas. Like this.
Then again he lived and stayed for some time in that monastery. While he was there the young monks in the monastery often teased him because he was very old, very ugly looking because of old age—they never left him in peace. So he was terribly upset again. He thought, “When I was in the family all the family bothered and teased me; now I am in the monastery and the young monks tease me, never leave me in peace.” Afterwards he got fed up and left the monastery. Before that Guru Shakyamuni could see that there was karma for him to be subdued. So Guru Shakyamuni gave the old man to be the disciple of a teacher. One day without telling his teacher, the old man escaped. He went to the river and he wanted to jump in. He wanted to die because he got so fed up with the young monks in the monastery and not having peace. He took his robes off and hung them on a tree and just before jumping in the river he prayed that the reason he for doing this was not because he didn’t want to practice Dharma, or to become a monk, but because he was always teased by his family and even in the monastery the young monks always bothered him, and he didn’t have the power to control anything there. Therefore because of this, he was going to jump in the river and that he may receive again a better rebirth with rich enjoyments and possessions and much control and power. Praying like this he jumped in the river. All of a sudden the teacher checked up—he discovered that his disciple was missing from the monastery so he checked up with his psychic powers, and he realized that old man had jumped in the river, so with his psychic powers all of a sudden he came to the river and took the old man out. Then he asked why he had jumped. The old man felt shy, and couldn’t talk to his teacher because he had left without telling his teacher. So afterwards he explained all his problems and the teacher thought that this old man didn’t have enough strong renouncing mind for samsara, that was what was missing. Because of not having a strong renouncing mind of samsara, he was fed up with little problems, and saw little problems as big problems. So the teacher asked the old man to hold his robe, and they flew above the Pacific ocean from that place. The teacher was an arhat with incredible psychic powers. Afterwards, they sat down on a mountain, but the whole mountain was made of bones of water lions—big bones, big dead animal bones, like mountains, incredibly big. They sat down on the backside of the animal bones. The teacher pointed and explained to the old man, “This is your previous life’s body.” In his previous lifetime he was that animal. Also, I don’t remember clearly, he explained the karma of why the old man was born as that animal. When the old man was the king of a country there was something wrong with the punishment—I don’t remember. All of a sudden he pointed out—this is your dead body, and all of a sudden this old man couldn’t stand it, all the hairs on his body stood up, and he felt such big, incredible fear. Just showing him his dead body, by that method, he received the fully renouncing mind of samsara, and just in that lifetime before his death he received the state of an arhat.
There are many ways to understand this story, as we are talking actually about how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is extremely wise in the methods guiding sentient beings—this story also goes there. Even those arhats who have such high psychic powers cannot see the methods that fit the person, but only Guru Shakyamuni saw the right method for that old man, his karma. The reason I continue to explain that is to help—just the subject we talked about yesterday, the outline.
Student: Is it possible to go back to a question that was asked here. Does one really evolve to where you have choice in body or is that a delusion based on our own ignorance? I heard the answer as ... it’s not necessarily ignorance but rather karma. My question is quite involved—not a one-liner—but basically I’m wondering, is it all totally determined? For example, it seems that there are different levels of consciousness we can go to and one of these is our own buddhahood. Further, it seems as though a hierarchy has been drawn, through bodhisattvas, arhats, and so forth, but the general undercurrent I’ve felt here says that whenever we’ve experienced the insight of being one with the Thought Adjuster, or God, or Buddhas, whatever name you put on it, it’s inferred that these experiences are delusions, based in ignorance and therefore, not valid reality. Now most of the time, I feel totally controlled, just as I feel I was guided here and I’m beginning to wonder whether my practice of thinking that I am actually eating each bite of food for all sentient beings, for example, is simply placating the ego that wants to feel it has some control. So, the question is, is it all totally programmed until we pass a certain level where we become one with the programmer?
Rinpoche: You mean while you are doing meditation, you are doing charity for sentient beings, that time you think you have a little bit of control?
Student: All we are doing here. The feeling says I have a choice ... I can do this or go into samsaric pleasure. But other times I feel I would be here no matter what I did, as though it’s all determined by some part of consciousness. Do I have no control?
Rinpoche: It is determined by the level of your mind, but that level of mind is not permanent. Your mind doesn’t exist always in that level.
Student: So when your mind goes to a very high level of consciousness you are actually there, you can’t negate that by calling it ignorance or delusion. You can be there, but come back out of buddhahood. You can come out of that level of consciousness.
Answer: By not being in it.
Rinpoche: How many times you come back?
Answer: I can’t get a solid flash on any particular previous life, but I get a strong feeling I’ve done it all before ... every dance. But going beyond being a point of consciousness seems to make you part of the programming, instead of the programmed, and there seems to be a thought adjuster out there directing it all, like a band leader. So about this feeling of being guided or directed, is it totally determined and are we therefore just placating our egos?
Rinpoche: If the karma cannot be changed, this discussion will come afterwards, but however it is generally like this. From the cause the result comes—as there is the cause and everything is there, the conditions, everything that brings the result out, when everything is gathered it brings the result out. It is simple, like this, very simple. How, even though previous karma was created, how is there the possibility to change, to stop experiencing the suffering result of the previous karma? That is like this example. For instance, it is always definite that the wheat we plant, the seed we plant, if it doesn’t meet with hindrances, it is definite that this seed will grow, and bring stems, the result. Just like this, if any negative karma has been created, even though each negative karma has a certain result that will be experienced in a certain length of time, if there is a hindrance to that negative karma, that negative karma cannot produce the result. Just like this. For instance, the rice that was planted under the ground can be taken again and again and burned in the fire, made impossible to grow. Like this, even though negative karma was created, we can make negative karma not have any power to bring the result—we can completely destroy the negative karma though purification and creating merit, such as confession—by following the path one can completely make it not exist. Also, through purification, even though there is negative karma existing, the purifying method can us not experience the suffering result of that karma. If nothing is done to stop experiencing the suffering result of that karma, and since negative karma has definitely been created, whenever the conditions come together it is definite that that negative karma will bring the suffering result and the person will experience it—just like rice planted in the ground, whenever the elements become perfect, whenever it is ready, it is definite that the seed will produce the stems, sprout, leaves, and so forth. Just like this. If you think of the example then it is easy. That’s how there is choice. Otherwise, if there is no choice—for instance, in regards karma, we have created karma from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, and if there is no choice, if it is all fixed up, then what is the use of practicing Dharma, it doesn’t make sense, then that means there are not any methods.
Student: But isn’t there a space, like the story you told about the five hundred businessmen about to be killed and the man took on the suffering of killing, the being who was going to kill. Trungpa Rinpoche keeps saying it is all totally determined and totally hopeless and totally perfect and at the same time, totally determined.
Rinpoche: No confusion, that itself is true. It depends on your understanding. That is like, for instance, if your leg was broken that’s already finished, you can’t make yourself not feel it, you can’t stop the experience of what you had before. It is finished. You cannot stop the past experience that happened, you cannot make it not happen in the past time. After it was broken ... before it was broken, there was a method, if the person knew how, there was a method. Once the person falls down, there is no method, when the leg is broken there is no method to keep the leg perfect without breaking it. That time is finished. Whatever the person is experiencing or suffering in the present time is determined by karma, that is fixed by karma, but before the experience of that suffering there is a method to stop it, to not experience it.
Student: Since everything changes, couldn’t the conditions come up some time in the future? I mea, since the heavier and more habitual the karma, the sooner comes the result, is it possible that purification just creates a great deal of good karma and since it is closer, we experience the results first, as long as we continue creating it. But as soon as we stop, we begin to experience the results of the bad karma. So, we can never really prevent the results of bad karma, only postpone them indefinitely.
Rinpoche: That depends on the method, the individual method, how much purification you make, and it depends on the way of making purification, your own method. There is a method to make the karma not bring the result by stopping the condition that makes the karma bring the result. Also due to continual strong purification, certain purification, this can make one never experience that suffering result, that specific karma. There are different ways like this—stopping the condition through purification, creating merits, stopping the condition that makes the karma bring the result, also stopping the suffering result of that negative karma by making continual strong purification such as by following the path. There are different methods like this, but the whole thing depends on purification, such as continual confession, things like this.
Student: But whether one does purification or not, isn’t that dependent on previous karma?
Rinpoche: It does not only depend on previous karma. For instance, your lifetime practicing Dharma depends on previous karma but in this lifetime there is a possibility to make this karma stronger, like this. Even in this lifetime meeting, having the chance to hear the Dharma, is due to previous karma. There is a little karma created in other lifetimes, but this time, as we hear the teaching again, we create good karma and by increasing this good karma, by making strong practice that can control the negative mind, it can stop the continual experience of the negative karma.
Student: It is possible to be on and off the wheel of karma at the same time? Through purification you can be off and you can—
Rinpoche: You mean while you are making purification you are out of samsara?
Rinpoche: Not easy like this.
Student: Once you are into this pure mind, you are off the wheel of karma. As long as you experience karma your life is determined, all actions and thoughts determined by karma, and the only way to transcend karma is purification.
Rinpoche: Your experience or suffering is due to your mind. It is caused by previous karma, that’s how it is determined by previous karma. If you think of the example, the leg broken, then you can understand. Before that there is the method, but once it is broken then there is nothing—it is finished, it is finished, there is no method to keep the leg not being broken because it is already finished, already broken.
Student: If Buddha manifests to kill the man who wants to kill five hundred people, if he manifests in human form, must I suffer karmically for that, or does the body he’s manifested in get stuck with that? When Buddha manifests in that form is he off the wheel of karma?
Rinpoche: That doesn’t have to be out of samsara. That doesn’t have to be out of samsara, that power is mainly from bodhicitta. To do such an action that person doesn’t have to transform such action, the person doesn’t necessarily have to be out of samsara. Even if the person is in samsara, because of strong bodhicitta, he can make the action, even though it looks like a negative action, he can make it beneficial, make it stop the other person’s negative karma, but that doesn’t mean that he creates the karma to be born in the suffering realms, because actually this is not a negative action, it is a positive action.
2. Paragraph 2
I think questions you can discuss during break times. (Rinpoche referring to above questions here, not above page reference, but he read those paragraphs just before saying that.)
The knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body is like this. He has so many ways to manifest like this. Also many people, first of all, don’t have any interest in the Buddhadharma, but afterwards they develop interest in the materials, such as tangkas, statues, things like that, then afterwards because the person sees things as very attractive and sees some good vibration, slowly, slowly the person wants to know something about that tangka or statue. Then slowly the person somehow starts to understand, starts to discover, to find out things. At the same time the person starts to understand the meaning of those symbolic things. In that way the person finds deeper interest and his mind comes closer and closer to the Dharma. So this can be possible also, this is also the method, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s method for such people whose minds are in that level. Only this method, by receiving materials, by having such material as this, only this method fits. Then it is possible that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha benefits in this way in order to bring his mind closer to Dharma. Totally, to bring his mind closer to enlightenment, to guide him from suffering. There are all kinds of different ways. Afterwards, first of all he starts with something like this, then afterwards as the person’s understanding of Dharma grows, as his karma, the ability of his karma, practicing Dharma, good karma, this becomes stronger and stronger, his mind becomes less, more and more purified. Also Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s method changes, the method becomes higher and higher as the other person’s mind goes to a higher level. Then gradually, in the form of the guru, in the form of the aspect of deities, it is possible that he will gradually give teaching like this. According to the level of the other person, as it goes higher and higher, Guru Shakyamuni also shows different level of methods, like this.
Each hair, each pore of his holy body has can manifest, can appear in numberless different manifestations to work for other sentient beings, for different sentient beings in different ways. Each of those manifestations can also manifest in numberless other different manifestations to help other different sentient beings, like this. By going like this, an incredible indefinite number can manifest and appear in different manifestations, to work for other sentient beings. Also, even if for one sentient being there is necessity to appear in different manifestations, for four or five, or sometimes hundreds even—to subdue one sentient being is possible. Atisha had one hundred and seventy-three gurus. Just for Atisha, all those gurus are manifestations of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha manifests in different aspects, in that many numbers, for Atisha. Just like this example, even appearing for one person in different manifestations and guiding them in different ways means showing different methods, but actually the aim is one—to bring that person to enlightenment, to lead that person to enlightenment, but showing different methods by different manifestations of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Sometimes giving different teachings according to the power or ability of the other person’s karma and level of mind, as his mind is ready to receive the different methods. So Guru Shakyamuni, by appearing in different manifestations, gives different methods. In that way he guides sentient beings from suffering.
Student: If a particular manifestation of Buddha appears to me, is that manifestation always aware of himself being used to teach me something? For example, dogs teaching.
Rinpoche: That is not a dog. Having manifestation doesn’t mean that it is a dog. It doesn’t mean it is a dog. For instance, many animals have the shape of plants, flowers, like mushrooms. Anyway there are not mushrooms, not flowers, so just like this.
Student: Does that mean Nagarjuna and so on, before they became manifestations of Buddha, had no individual karma or history, just created as if by magic? Had Nagarjuna reached a place in his karmic development where he could become a vehicle for Buddha’s wisdom?
Rinpoche: Can be together, can be both.
So part of the subject that we are talking about is the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body. Before we talked about how he can appear in many numberless different manifestations, such as in different aspects of living beings, and even in non-living things, such as symbolic holy things. Also Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself predicted before he passed away that in such a time, in degenerate times, he will manifest in the form of statues, stupas, and relics—in many different forms for those sentient beings who are in degenerate times. To be the holy object for those sentient beings, creating good karma. Because of the existence of these holy objects, he manifests in the holy objects so that sentient beings, by having those holy objects, somehow pray, and have devotion to them, and make offerings to these holy objects. This causes the sentient beings to create good karma due to this holy symbolic existence. For example, by making prostration and making offerings, or even just feeling devotion by seeing them. In many ways they create good karma, and their creating good karma is the cause of their future happiness, to find a better rebirth or again to meet the Dharma or actualize the meditations—somehow to lead the sentient beings to happiness. There are so many different ways like this that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha benefited sentient beings, especially in the form of texts. Also when Guru Shakyamuni took the aspect, the manifestation, of the nirmanakaya, when he went out, even when he walked, his feet did not touch the ground. He walked in space without touching the ground, a little bit higher in space, without touching the ground. Even the insects, the animals on the ground, which has been under Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s feet when he was walking on the path, even these animals got incredible bliss for seven days! We cannot be sure! Anyway. This is due to the vibration or power and blessing of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body. Even those insects, after they died, were reborn in the sura, asura, or human realm because those animals were not ordinary. Those who were under Guru Shakyamuni’s feet were very fortunate animals who had created good karma. Whenever Guru Shakyamuni walked on the ground his feet did not touch it, and there was the figure of a holy wheel on the feet, which appeared on the ground, without touching the ground, but not kind of like when we walk on the ground, not like this. Also his robes didn’t touch—not like the way we wear them, completely wrapped. Without touching the holy body, nothing, falling in pieces, coming down, he looked well adorned.
When Guru Shakyamuni came straight, even if there were other people on the other side, like this, on this side people saw Guru Shakyamuni Buddha looking at them, and on this side people also saw Guru Shakyamuni Buddha looking at them. Not like an ordinary person who has no choice, he always had a very subdued personality or action. Even just by seeing him, everyone was subdued—he controlled other beings’ unsubdued minds that much. He gave incredible blessings, such pleasure in the mind, in other people’s minds, those who saw Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Even just by seeing him the mind gets subdued, naturally there was devotion, naturally just by seeing, the mind gets subdued, naturally just by seeing it the devotion comes. As there are eighty minor and thirty-two major marks, such as the holy sign of the wheels under the feet and hands—and under the feet there was no hole like our kind of feet, underneath the feet are flat. No holes, no instep. Those are the examples from the thirty-two major signs. Each of these are holy signs has a cause, such as incredible merits that were created when he was following the path. These are called tsan.zang, these thirty-two major signs that signify that he is a holy being. The eighty minors—Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body has very smooth hands, very soft and smooth, without nerves, not like our body, the nerves are coming out [Rinpoche means veins], wrinkles, no such thing, no black marks like this, no such thing. Each of this has a cause of so much merit created when he was following the path. Also it explains what is the cause of each of these holy signs. One reason this teaching explains each holy sign and cause is to understand the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, how he created incredible merits when he was following the path. By understanding that teaching we also create a similar cause, so when we achieve enlightenment we can attain the similar holy signs of the Enlightened Being’s holy body. The purpose is this. Each of the eighty minor signs signifies that he has the attainment of such realization like this. As Nagarjuna said in his teaching, of there are two types of arhats, the arhats who follows the Hinayana path, the Lesser Vehicle path, and even those followers who have the achievement of those paths, even the merit of Kings of the Universe who have such powers, such high enjoyments and possessions and the merit of all the ordinary beings in the universes, collecting all their merits and making it one totality, that much merit becomes a cause of achieving just one pore of the Enlightened Being’s holy body. Such a small part of the holy body, one pore. Even to achieve a pore of the Enlightened Being’s holy body, even a tiny part of that, that much merit has to be created—the merits of the arhats, those who have the attainment of the path, the meditators, the Kings of the Universes, and even the ordinary beings—that much merit is necessary to achieve just one pore of the Enlightened Being’s holy body. So now as there are that many numbers of pores on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body, each pore has a cause, which is that much merit, such incredible merit. So a hundred times of all the causes that brings Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body’s pores becomes the cause of one pe.j’a. Pe.j’a is from the eighty minor signs—one pe.j’a is one minor. From the eighty pe.j’a, that much merit is one hundred times the cause that brings all the pores of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body, and that becomes he cause of just one pe.j’a. So there are eighty minor pe.j’as. So now one hundred times the cause, the merit that brings all eighty pe.j’a becomes the cause of just one of the thirty-two major signs—one tsan.zang, or holy sign. As I mentioned before, the wheels, the long webbed fingers—there are many other holy signs. Those are part of the tsan.zang, the thirty-two major marks. So just to attain the holy sign, the wheel, there has to be the merit one hundred times the cause of which brings eighty pe.j’a. So one thousand times the cause means the merit that brings all these thirty-two holy signs, one cause which brings the hair curled in the center of the forehead. In Tibetan this is called dze.bu. One hundred times of the one thousand merits that bring the holy sign in the center of the forehead, the curled hair, becomes the cause of the hair knot, the double head hair knot. Ten times one hundred thousand is called in Tibetan one saya. One million, so ten more is called one chewa. So one chewa, one hundred times of one hundred thousand, that much merit is the cause that brings the holy sign of the hair knot. This is the one cause that brings the hair knot, increasing it, making the number ten more and one hundred times one hundred thousand. This much merit becomes the cause of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy speech. So by creating that much merit, we achieve what we are describing in terms of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—you can think back to yourself, to achieve your future enlightenment, it is similar to achieve your future enlightenment, the hair curl and the holy speech.
Generally describing the knowledge of the holy speech is infinite, but to describe the knowledge of the holy speech, but however by creating only this much merit we attain the Enlightened Being’s holy speech, our own future enlightened being’s holy speech. The cause increases. Each tiny part of Guru Shakyamuni, as I said before, each hair, the pores, each tiny part of the holy body can benefit and manifest in numberless different transformations, and has the power of the speech to explain Dharma, explaining different subject, whatever is necessary. All of these different manifestations, each tiny part of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, each of these holy signs, such as the hair knot, each single hair, each holy sign, each one of these has the power to have physical work, which means manifesting in different transformations. Besides that also they have the power to make the action of speech. Also each of them have the power to have the action of thought, which means each of the pores and hairs on each part of the body of all the different manifestations have the holy mind. Each of these are like any tiny part of the holy body, in different manifestations, and they can fully see how they have the same function as the holy mind, because each tiny part can fully see every single existence, all past, present, and future—everything can see so clearly.
For instance, the Enlightened Being’s holy body can function as speech, as a holy mind, and as a holy body. It is the same thing with speech—there are also numberless transformations of holy speech working for sentient beings. The holy speech can also function as a holy body, just like Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body can manifest and function like this. However the holy body has the power to function, the holy speech has the same power, the holy speech can also function as the holy omniscient mind. Just like the omniscient mind can work for sentient beings according to the personality or level of their mind or desire. So this is just brief—just that bit to have some understanding of how incredible the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body is—we cannot imagine, we cannot guess. And then the holy speech—even if all sentient beings put different questions to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, just by one action of speech, by giving one answer, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gives a different answer to each sentient being. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has that much incredible knowledge. And by giving one answer, each sentient being receives their own answer, a different answer—each sentient being receives their own answer, a different answer, as they put a different question. According to their question, they receive their own answer in their own language. Not just like saying, I speak in American, in English, in a perfect language. Anyway like this. Each of the disciples, the listeners, hear their own language no matter where they are from, whatever different language they have, they hear the answers in their own language. Also at the same time the manifestation is shown according to their level of mind, and they see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha differently from the other disciples, from other living beings. Also there is no such thing, no matter where the sentient beings are, how far, how close, there is no such thing as finding Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy speech very far away. When they hear the Dharma, when they hear Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy words, it is just always close, near them. There is no such thing as him speaking very far away. Even though they see Guru Shakyamuni as far away, when they hear the words, he sounds very close. Also, he answers in a different language at the same time, according to the level of the person’s mind. Like this. Without any effort he answers, and not just answers, but answers in a way that can really benefit that person, and subdue his mind.
For example, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was giving the three circle sermon. For instance, when he was giving the teaching on the Four Noble Truths, he called one of the disciples and said, “This is impermanent.” When he said this, some of the other disciples heard, “This is empty of self entity, selfless.” Also someone heard, “This is emptiness, the emptiness of un-connected.” For instance, there were wrong beliefs like this. Certain causative things that people believed existed without depending on the cause and the parts, believing that things exist without depending on a cause, without depending on a relationship, on cause and effect. Some people understood that emptiness is disconnected from cause. Someone heard, “This is true suffering.” Like this, each being heard differently according to the level of his mind. Someone understood it is voidness, and someone realized the absolute nature of that, while someone else realized it is impermanent, like this. That much knowledge which we cannot imagine. For example, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple arhat. When Guru Shakyamuni gave teachings he checked with his psychic powers from how far away he could hear Guru Shakyamuni’s holy speech. With his psychic powers he went to a very far place, to the planets, to check up—and he could still hear the teachings as if Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was there. It was so far it was difficult to measure. However, he could hear Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching wherever he went.
Then the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy mind. Generally there are so many details explained, and this is still nothing—there are so many details explained in the philosophical teachings, so many details on the mind and realizations explained. However, this is just to have some understanding, not to be completely blank or empty, just to have a little understanding. However, the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy mind is divided in two—understanding and compassion. Totally talking it is divided in two, knowledge and compassion. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy mind—like we see the apple in our hand, a fruit, like this Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy mind sees all the past, present, and future, every existence that happened, that existed in previous times And of course, in the present time and everything that will happen, what will exist in the future. He sees everything not in different times but in all three times existence—he sees so clearly like we see the fruit. If you put fruit in the hand, it is seen clearly, sort of like this. We cannot compare, we cannot say it is like this because we still cannot even see clearly the fruit that is in our hand. We cannot see underneath the fruit, and we don’t fully see inside—whether it has worms or not—we don’t see it, even though it is so close in front of our eyes, we can’t see it clearly.
For instance like this. Like the discussion before about mirror like wisdom—this is like this, omniscient mind, this wisdom has the mirror, and even if the mirror is small, it can give a great reflection of the things that are there. It can show many things it from there. At the same time the mirror like wisdom of the omniscient mind, while seeing the present, seeing every single existence in present time, at the same time clearly sees the whole past as well as the future. Like this, another example. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind sees so clearly all the people here, all the numberless sentient beings, each of the sentient beings’ minds. He can read each sentient being’s mind. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind can read, see besides us, even right at this moment, in the present time, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha sees it. All sentient beings’ thoughts, whatever they are thinking, whether is beneficial thought, pure thought, whatever it is, he sees everything so clearly at the same time. This is talking about only the present but at the same time the omniscient mind sees all the numberless sentient beings’ minds and different thoughts. Besides seeing the present, at the same time the omniscient mind can fully see the continuity of all these minds, the beginningless continuity of all these numberless sentient beings’ minds—he can see so clearly at the same time. The continuity that came from beginningless lifetimes, each continuity Guru Shakyamuni can see so clearly, all the past things. Just that, Guru Shakyamuni can see each of our previous lives, our beginningless previous lives, each one. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind sees so clearly each of our previous lives which are beginningless—he can see so clearly at the same time while he is seeing the sentient beings’ thought. At the same time Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind fully sees all our future lives, all numberless future samsaric lives at the same time. Like this. Without any mistake, not one single mistake. So just like this, talking about material, physical things, each atom of all physical existence, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind can see. For instance, like this. In the universe, if all the forest in the different countries were cut and burned for a long time and then put in the ocean and stirred for a long time, and then we asked Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to take each piece, and say where is this from, from which country, and where is that tiny piece from, from which country. His omniscient mind has such power, such understanding, such incredible knowledge that could perfectly tell us without one single mistake that this piece came from such a place, such a country, growing like this, the shape of the plant like this, the leaves like this—he can tell, describe everything. However, there is no such time, not even a minute that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind doesn’t see, doesn’t read our thoughts, doesn’t see us, doesn’t see one sentient being, doesn’t see even one atom—there is no such minute or second that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind doesn’t see. It spontaneously, without effort, sees everything. There is no resistance. For us if there is a curtain put here we can’t see each other, but there is no such resistance for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind to see.
In previous times in India there were some Hindus, I think there was one Hindu religion called Kundiju. There are many hundreds of different Hindu religions but there was one person called Shakya—Shakya is the name of one caste. One person died. These Hindu religious people believe that somehow through certain methods, maybe saying mantras, that one can bring the consciousness back to the dead person’s body and give it food. There is a custom like this. So they did this, and the people really believed that he was the real Shakyadhara. They thought he was a real person, that he had really come back, but Guru Shakyamuni didn’t see that he came back. Guru Shakyamuni told them that another spirit had entered the body—there are different types of spirits that come to enjoy smells, that live on smell. Because there was some kind of movement there, they believed that the person’s consciousness came back, but Guru Shakyamuni told them it was not the real person but it is a spirit. They didn’t believe what Guru Shakyamuni said. Guru Shakyamuni told the people in that country that if it is not true, if you don’t believe, from each family you should bring wheat in a small sack—put grain inside and put the names of your families with the grain and then wrap it up with a piece of cloth. Each family should bring this grain with the names of the families wrapped with the piece of cloth. Each family brought it. Guru Shakyamuni picked each one up out of the big collection, without opening it, and read the letters, Guru Shakyamuni can clearly tell without doubts and difficulties, and he said, “This is from such a family,” like this. He did this for each person, mentioning the name of each family without reading the letter. So then after that, those people really believed Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and really received devotion.
Generally I am trying to go through the subject as fast as possible, hoping to go faster, but it is taking a little bit if time. Without describing this a little bit, however, things do not become clear, don’t become real and also for most people it is the first time hearing this so it is quite difficult to make the subject really short and go quickly. But however it looks like the time is finishing; more subjects are coming and more subjects are finishing than other courses. Other courses sometimes end up at karma and refuge. Twice we ended at the part of refuge and karma. However as I describe there are some repetitions which are emphasized in order to not forget, to remind you, to exist stronger in the mind. Generally however, hearing the repetition from the Dharma subject is different than hearing of similar problems. In the West when we live in cities it is different. Also Dharma explains problems, but Dharma explains the nature of problems, why there are problems; it is different, it makes it more understandable. The other problems that we often hear are different, the effect is different, and the way we understand is also different. We understand another way. So it only causes confusion in our minds instead of understanding the problem. What I am saying is that I try to describe a little bit but during the meditation time when you do meditation on the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body, speech, and mind, try to remember as much as possible. This makes your listening time useful, if you can remember during meditation time and if that becomes a cause of devotion to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—whether we have devotion or not Guru Shakyamuni Buddha doesn’t care. For Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, if someone cuts his body piece by piece, then waits for some time, then again cuts a piece, and again waits for some time, and again cuts, he still loves that person. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, from his side, is equal. As I said at the beginning, before I talked about the eight worldly Dharmas how the meditators and great yogis make equal each happiness and suffering, the uninteresting and interesting sounds, how they make it equal for their minds, so no confusion arises. Just as I told at the beginning like this Guru Shakyamuni doesn’t find any difference between them—both people are equal. So just like this, whether you have devotion, whether you believe or not, it doesn’t matter, from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s side, he doesn’t care. However, for our purpose, not for him but for our purpose, this is to get out of the cause of suffering, the suffering that we dislike. The whole purpose of remembering this knowledge is for ourselves, to make ourselves competent, to get support. Support means to make ourselves free from the suffering by developing devotion to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. That devotion comes only by understanding the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
When you do meditation on refuge, before purification, like you have been doing before, begin with samsaric suffering—then you don’t have any capability or power to guide yourself from suffering, so you need to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the perfect objects. Also check the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy speech, body, and mind, the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Then, after you think of the knowledge, you can do purification, because after thinking about the knowledge somehow there is the feeling, some understanding, and due to some understanding there is some effect, some movement in the mind, some devotion according to the level of the person’s mind. After that when the person does purification with that strong devotion, the purification becomes that much stronger, more effective—as the devotion is stronger, the purification becomes that much more perfect. What I am talking about is the usefulness of your listening and my talking—as much as you can remember, try to use for meditation. Then try to explain a little bit the details—even just to have devotion to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, such a perfect being, by understanding a little bit of his knowledge, thinking. Even if we have just that much devotion, even a little devotion, by having a little understanding of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s knowledge, thinking how fortunate, how great, creating good karma, that much the person is lucky, higher than numberless other human beings who don’t know anything about Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s knowledge, who don’t hear about it.
Then I think at night time maybe Doctor Nick will read the Equilibrium meditation—he will read slowly and the rest of the people try to meditate, like this. First you do Guru Shakyamuni purification, begin the meditation with purification because doing purification helps to clear, to understand. It should be done like this—yourself in the center, your father here, your mother here, and your enemy behind you. If you want to keep it in the front, it doesn’t matter. Your friends are in front and also strangers, and all are surrounded by the rest of sentient beings in the form of human beings but in the nature of suffering—whatever, preta, narak, human beings, sura, asura—in nature suffering but in human form, infinite as space. Then after a short purification time, you do meditation, a little bit is good, one hour. The time spent for meditation, checking, the whole purpose is to equalize all sentient beings, to destroy discrimination, to destroy the thought that discriminates this and that, this and that, which is the cause of the usual problems in the world, in the relationships, and especially which is the main disturbance for peace. Trying to see all sentient beings as equal—the equalness of enemy, the equalness of friend—equal, whatever ignorance, wrong conception doesn’t find reason to discriminate, the purpose is this. Just briefly talking.
Friday, 29th November
From beginningless samsaric lifetime until now, we have been experiencing suffering in the evil destinies, in the human realm. Even if we were born in the sura and asura realms numberless times, we suffered due to delusions, such as anger, attachment, ignorance, and due to karma. Then we created negative karma with these negative minds, not equalizing all mother sentient beings as the stranger, enemy, and friend, and following ignorance. As attachment comes, as anger comes, we have followed it right away, listening to whatever it says. Following it, we discriminate as the anger feels, as the attachment feels, and we, the person, follow whatever the negative mind says and believe whatever the negative says, whatever the negative mind feels, discriminating, “This is stranger, friend, enemy,” like this. By discriminating like this, instead of bringing peace, making our life more happy, we make our life more complicated. Our has always problems with the enemy, and attachment that is attached to the relatives—that is also confusion, also a problem, but we don’t recognize it. We don’t recognize this as a problem, we believe it will last forever. We intuitively believe that this relative will last, we have complete trust. So afterwards when the relationship gets broken we get shocked. Then there is more suffering, double suffering. It is like this. The object that we discriminate as friend and as enemy doesn’t exist. The friend that we think about, discriminate, doesn’t exist on any part of his body, and the enemy that we discriminate doesn’t exist on any part of his body. We can completely see how it is not true.
First of all, going back to the source, the original creator, which is the ignorance that sees the “I” that doesn’t exist anywhere. The “I” that ignorance sees as independent, as self-existent. It doesn’t exist anywhere, on any part of any atom. Even in meaning, it doesn’t exist anywhere. It doesn’t exist on any part of the group, inside or outside, anywhere. It is completely wrong. The way the ignorance believes in the “I,” the object that ignorance believes in, that “I” is something that doesn’t exist. Just like believing that the fruit, the orange, wasn’t born from the tree, wasn’t born from the earth depending on anything, on the elements, without depending on any creation, just existing by itself. Just like this. Such an orange is nowhere existing, just like this. The way the ignorance sees the “I,” is like this. It doesn’t exist anywhere. So as ignorance believes that the “I” is self-existent, so also attachment rises on the basis of seeing the “I” as self-existent. So same thing, similar evolution, as there are my possessions, my things, my happiness, my body—as there is a conception of a self-existent “I” because of my wrong conception of the self-existent body, possessions, and happiness, on the basis of seeing my things as self-existent, there is attachment attached to my possessions, my things. The object, the attachment, the wrong conception believing and thinking of my happiness, possessions, and body doesn’t exist. As we think of oneself, similarly it is like this. Also the wrong conception perceives or believes and sees other people, other living beings, non-living beings as self-existent, so when a person disturbs my happiness, there is anger that rises caused by that wrong conception. So on the basis of seeing that person as self-existent, as anger rises, we get angry at that person. Similarly, on the basis of seeing the other person who helps my happiness as self-existent, attachment rises, and as attachment rises I am attached to the person. Similarly with the stranger, also seeing the stranger as self-existent and discriminating him as a self-existent stranger because he doesn’t harm, and doesn’t help. Attachment arises, discriminating the person on the basis of seeing the person as self-existent, attachment arises for that person discriminated as a friend, and anger arises on the basis of seeing as self-existent the person we get angry at, anger discriminates him as the enemy, like this. However the object of the anger, the object of attachment—as attachment sees it, as anger sees, it doesn’t exist. It is a completely false object that doesn’t exist anywhere. The stranger is the same. The way the ignorance sees it, it doesn’t exist anywhere, and the reason it doesn’t exist anywhere is because the negative mind, the creator, the discriminator, are false mind, all false mind. Just like the defective eye that sees two or three moons. Just like a defective eye sees a piece of wood from far away to be a person, this is a completely false mind, a false object, which doesn’t exist anywhere. Just like this, the negative mind that discriminates is a completely false mind, and the wrong conception, the ignorance on which the negative mind is built up, that also is completely false. Then going back to the source, the attachment to oneself is also completely false, a false conception. As it is a false conception, the main source, the wrong conception that discriminates “I,” this “I” is this and this and this, this wrong conception causes oneself to see the “I” as self-existent. However, this wrong conception is completely false, completely false.
So all the minds that are discriminators of each object are false discriminators, false minds, illusive minds, completely false minds. How can false minds see the right object? Because of these reasons, the object that we discriminate doesn’t exist. However, from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, even though they don’t exist, by following the false mind, always believing that the false mind is completely true, believing that this wrong conception is true, this is the thing that makes the life crazy, this is the thing that makes life always up and down, many things. However, also even from the object’s side, the friend is not a true friend, the enemy is not a true enemy, and the stranger is not a true stranger. Why? If the enemy is a true enemy, the person should be the enemy for all time. If he is a true enemy he would have been an enemy from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, without any change, without changing into a stranger or a friend, all the time enemy. Same thing, if the friend is a true friend, he should have been a friend all the time, from beginningless samsaric lifetimes without change. Also, if these three are true objects, as we discriminate, the enemy should be continuously the enemy. He should be the enemy even when we achieve enlightenment, if he is a true enemy, and if he is a true friend as we discriminate then he should be a friend all the time without changing. Same thing with stranger. But this is not true, this doesn’t happen. A friend not always being a friend is another problem.
The reason it is not true is because the enemy changes; even though he was the enemy before in his earlier life, later on he became the friend. Then again he becomes the enemy as the conditions change. Then sometimes he becomes a stranger, and sometimes he becomes the enemy again. Always like this. Even if he has been the enemy all this life, in many other lifetimes, for just this reason he has been the enemy all the time in this life, this doesn’t prove that he is the true enemy, because in other previous lifetimes he has been the friend. Like this. He has been the friend, like this. Also the enemy changes within one year, within one month, within one week, within one day even within one morning it changes, even within one hour it changes just by talking, due to some conversation. First of all impatience or dislike arises with that person, and then after some time by changing conversation, by talking about something, by changing the conditions—for instance, we discriminate him as enemy because he tells me something that I dislike, or he does something that I don’t like. The reason is something like this, a very temporal reason. However right after one or two minutes if the person apologizes, if the person says good things about you, how you are good, then all of a sudden other the person’s mind who disliked him before, who was impatient, who discriminated this person as the enemy, all of a sudden it changes and he thinks how good this person is. He tells me such good things, his mind changes, his conception changes all of a sudden, due to the temporal condition or the way of talking, depending on the words, the way the person acts or behaves. Even within one hour, or a half hour, it changes, doesn’t last. It is clear if you think of similar situations. Our life has been like this. So just as the enemy changes, first like this, same thing, the friend always changes. This is quite easy for us to understand, because we have been doing this, we ourselves have been changing like this. Also, we see that our friends many times have been changing. Also our friend changes, and even though he is the friend of this life, it doesn’t mean he is a true friend because in previous lives, for the same reason, he has been also our enemy. The friend also changes—last year enemy, this time friend—even in one month, one day, one week, one hour, even in a half hour, it changes as the conditions change.
For instance, when we are attached or discriminate “friend” due to certain conditions and then all of a sudden the friend does something, the opposite of what our wish is, does something that we dislike, because of that condition that friend is no longer a friend, then he becomes the enemy as our anger arises. These things are just discriminated depending on the temporal conditions. So it doesn’t last.
It is the same thing with the stranger, it always keeps changing. Sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, sometimes friend. It has been changing from previous lives until now—even the stranger changes, even in one year, one month, one day, one hour—it changes like this. Also as these three have been changing from previous lifetimes until now, they will continuously change no matter how much we truly believe in them. These three will continuously change as long as we are in samsara. They change in our mind, the change is created by our mind, our own conception. It is just a matter of the way of looking at it. These three will continuously change also in the future. Therefore, as they change in the past and will continuously change, there is nothing to trust in. As the negative mind discriminates these three objects, there is nothing to trust in, no logic to trust in. As all these three continuously change, circling around, always changing, there is no reason to trust, no reason to be attached to the friend, to get angry with the enemy. There is no reason to get attached to the friend, believing him to be friend, and no reason to get angry with the enemy, believing him to be enemy. There is no reason to bring up ignorance towards the stranger. There is no reason to believe in a true friend, and bring up attachment, to believe in a true enemy, and bring up anger, and to believe in a true stranger, and bring up ignorance. There is no reason to believe like this and no reason for these negative minds to arise. Why is there no reason to be attached to the friend? Because also this friend has been our enemy numberless times, numberless times, numberless times, numberless times. The reason that the negative mind gives you in order that you believe that this is friend is, “Because he helps me, tells me good things, because he gave me such and such, money, possessions, this and that. The enemy is my enemy because he says bad things about my relatives, because he took my possessions, borrowed my things,” all kinds of things like this. These are not the true reason, they are the temporal reasons, they don’t prove anything, like this. If this is the reason then it is the same thing with friend. Also in numberless times, in previous lifetimes, the friend also has been harming you, like this. Sometimes not harming you, not helping you, sometimes helping you, not harming. As we discriminate “friend,” it is the same thing with “enemy.” This enemy, in other previous lifetimes, numberless times has also given me help, clothes, food, a place—this person also did everything, helped me with everything. As this friend has helped me, with nothing missing, this enemy helped me in previous lifetimes with nothing missing. So both are equal in terms of being a friend—the friend and enemy that we discriminate are both equal in terms of being friend, enemy, or stranger. Like this. Because both have same the reason of harming and helping. Both persons helped us numberless times and both harmed us numberless times. In regards help, there is nothing missing—it is not so that this friend gave more help and gave many jewels that the other person didn’t give me. No such experience is left that we have not experienced yet. There is no such thing, nothing is missing, in regards receiving help. So those two are exactly equal—being friend, being enemy, are exactly equal with being a stranger.
Just like this, every sentient being has equally been stranger, enemy, and friend. There is no new enemy or friend or stranger to find out, to receive. Actually it is like this. But by checking with logic, by checking how the reasons discriminate like this, how they are true or not, how the objects are true or not, how negative minds are false, by checking like this, the actual thing is that all sentient beings are equal in both of these three names. “As we ourselves have been discriminating, creating negative karma and suffering in samsara, also other sentient beings are suffering like this, creating much negative karma, following the negative mind, creating much negative karma with the friend, enemy, and stranger. That’s how sentient beings are continuously suffering in samsara. They are completely stuck in the mud of samsara. Therefore, besides releasing myself from samsara, releasing myself from the mud, I must release all sentient beings from their suffering and lead them to enlightenment. To do this I must achieve enlightenment first. Therefore I am going to take the Mahayana ordination until tomorrow morning.”
PRAYER OF PRECEPTS
Think, whatever meaning the prayer contains, may it be successful. Also think that due to the merits of taking ordination, the past and future merits, may I receive enlightenment quickly by achieving the fully renounced mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute nature in order to enlighten all mother sentient beings by releasing them from suffering.
As this is one time that we are having the chance to hear the Mahayana teaching, being born in such a period in which there are Mahayana teachings, and from our side having received the perfect human rebirth, and having the capability also to understand and practice—this is not enough. The subject that we are going to listen is the Mahayana teaching, and the person who is going to listen to the teaching has to be a Mahayanist. How should that be done? That has to be created by the mind. It does not depend on the way the person is dressed, or where the person is sitting. It is necessary at this time to make the action of listening to the teaching the cause of enlightenment. How to make that the cause of receiving enlightenment? By the pure motivation, bodhicitta. Not just the mere word, not just the mouth bodhicitta, not just dry word bodhicitta, but with the serious thought of bodhicitta, with feelings from the depth of the heart. Totally thinking, “I must lead all mother sentient beings to the most sublime happiness of enlightenment by releasing them from all suffering. There I must achieve enlightenment. In order to achieve enlightenment I must complete the whole realization of the graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path.” Then as there is such a pure thought that is cultivated, even one hour of listening, a half hour listening, however many hours you listen, even if you listen all day, you never waste time, it is always meaningful.
So the listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment and it is a teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching that is the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
This commentary on the graduated path has four topics for the outlines. In order to show the reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teachings. The way of listening to and explaining the teachings, and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last one has two outlines—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path. The last one also has two outlines—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth. The way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being, and the graduated path of the higher being. The graduated path of the lower being has two outlines—bringing up the thought seeking a better future life and following the method that brings happiness in the future life. The last outlines has two things—taking refuge, which is the holy door of the teachings, and developing understanding belief in karma, which is the root of all perfections and happiness.
Then now, the part of the subject that is refuge. The first outline has four things—the cause of refuge, the object of refuge, the reasons why it is a worthy object of refuge, and how the Buddha is a worthy object of refuge. So part of that we briefly talked about, not just being completely empty, we talked little bit.
So now part of the subject is the way of taking refuge, such as taking refuge to the triple gem by understanding their knowledge, taking refuge by understanding the differences, taking refuge by taking vows, taking refuge by not telling others, things like this.
Part of that we were discussing yesterday—the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. We briefly talked as well about the knowledge of the holy speech and the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind, as divided into two, knowledge and compassion. For instance, compassion—we ordinary people, even though we say we have compassion, we only have compassion when someone is in a miserable situation. When someone is terribly sick, when something happens, then we have a little bit of some kind of emotion. But usually when the person is not sick we don’t have compassion, when the person is really well don’t have compassion. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion is not like this, up and down. Not like this; his compassion is not like our compassion, not like this. Especially if someone harms us, if someone tells bad things about is, bad words, then even though there was compassion before, afterwards there is no compassion. Then anger rises. There are no such things as this, no such changes to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion. As I talked about before, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion is equal for all sentient beings. For him there is no different feeling for two people—one who cuts his body into pieces and one person who caresses him. From the side of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha there is no different feeling, his compassion is equal for both persons. He does not have strong compassion for this person who is caressing him and less compassion for the person who cuts his body into pieces, no such thing. Even a bodhisattva doesn’t have that kind of impartial compassion. Even bodhisattvas don’t have impartial compassion like that. Not to mention the bodhisattva’s compassion, we don’t even have the compassion of the meditators who follow the Lesser Vehicle path, the Hinayana path—they have limitless compassion, and we don’t have even that much limitless compassion. Buddha’s compassion does not depend on whether we take refuge or not. His having the compassion to us to guide does not depend on whether we take refuge or not, whether we like him or not, whether we have devotion to him or not, or whether we make offerings to him or not. It does not depend on this. Even the pure Dharma practitioner who has renounced this life, who is doing meditation, is practicing Dharma for other sentient beings. This person does not say, “I will do this practice for only those who like me.” If even this beginner pure Dharma practitioner whose mind is living in the renunciation of this life, if even he doesn’t have that kind of thought, how can Buddha have it? It is impossible.
We think we have compassion for ourselves, the thought keeping oneself dear, the thought of compassion for ourselves, wanting to release oneself from suffering, to be out of suffering. Comparing this feeling, the thought of keeping ourselves dear, comparing this to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion—it is lost. The compassion we have for ourselves, our individual compassion that we have to take care ourselves from suffering, if you compare this to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion, it is lost, there is nothing to compare. Our compassion for ourselves doesn’t compare to even a small part, like an atom, of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion. Generally, each individual takes care of himself more that any other living being, but still this compassion does not compare to even an atom of the Enlightened Being’s compassion. Our compassion that takes care of ourselves, wants to release ourselves from suffering, is nothing to compare to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion, even a tiny part of it. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion is spontaneously, watching, looking all the time at sentient beings, without excluding even one. It is completed compassion, which means that there is no way to make stronger. That compassion is completed, as his mind has been training in compassion while he was following the path. As he has completed the whole path, also he has completed the whole compassion. The knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind is like this.
Then the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body, holy speech, holy mind, and the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s actions. There are actions of the holy body, actions of the holy speech, and actions of the holy mind. For example, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha appearing in the nirmanakaya manifestation, having incredible knowledge through his holy body, showing the knowledge of his holy body as we talked about yesterday, the manifestation of the thirty-two major and eighty minor holy signs. By showing these signs to other sentient beings and by showing those manifestations to other sentient beings, it causes other sentient beings to create merit. As other sentient being see those holy manifestations, they receive incredible devotion, and they receive interest, wanting to be like that, wanting to attain the holy body that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has and wanting to attain the knowledge that he has. They want to attain the perfect pure holy body that doesn’t have even one single atom of imperfection or ugliness. Showing those manifestations inspires interest and devotion like this. That benefits the sentient beings by causing them to create good karma, to create the causes that bring the holy body of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, which has incredible knowledge. All those holy signs signify his knowledge. By seeing the different manifestations they gradually create good karma, the cause of such an enlightened holy body, and then following the path and they gradually receive enlightenment. This is the way Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body benefits. Just one example of the benefits. Also it is the same thing when we see beautiful statues or symbolic things of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, this also gives the same interest. You want to be like that, to have such knowledge. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha benefits many people in that way, many people who have the karma to be benefited in that way, with such a method through symbolic things. This is according to other beings’ karma. Also the other beings’ karma changes as the level of mind goes higher and higher, and also by making purification as the level of person’s mind goes higher and higher, the person’s view also changes and becomes more and more pure.
For instance, at the moment, with this level of mind, we see tangkas and statues made of ordinary material things, but later on as we follow the path—I mentioned the give paths—as we follow and enter those paths, even in the first path, the path of accumulation, there are five paths to receive enlightenment. When we have the achievement of the first path, the path of accumulation, that meditator can see the statues in the manifestation of the nirmanakaya. He sees those things as the nirmanakaya, as actual living beings, and also can receive teachings from them. This is because the mind of the person who enters this path, who has received even the first path, is purified. So also the view becomes more pure. For the things he saw before as material things, symbolic things, statues, like this, stupas, statues, paintings, like this, he makes offerings to, prostrating, and in that way they benefit the person. When the person enters the path the whole thing changes, the person sees all these as nirmanakaya, so as the person’s level of mind has gone that much higher, the method has gone that much higher, in that way it benefits, works for the person. As the person approaches the higher and higher path, such as the third path, the right seeing path, at that time the meditator sees the manifestation of the sambhogakaya. Then from there, he sees more and more enlightened beings. Anyway like this. As the person’s realization of the path goes higher and higher, the view becomes more and more pure. So what I want to say is that the person’s view becomes more pure seeing different aspects of buddhas, and that is also the knowledge of the action of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body. Like this.
There are two ways to understand things. We are discovering just the knowledge of the action of Buddha’s holy body but another way to understand is this—whatever view we have now is according to the level of our mind. Whatever view we see when we look at people is a projection according to the level of our mind. This is also quite important to understand. Generally it is important to know that whatever we see is a creation of our own mind—it is not something that is really there, but whatever we see as good or bad, understanding that this is my view is very important. Rather than believing that it is really there without depending on the projector of your own mind. As you see, as you feel it, it doesn’t mean it is true. We cannot trust our feelings. This is the whole confession, trusting our feelings, completely trusting in our own view, believing that it is really there, really such thing. Many times even just understanding helps so much for the mind, when life gets stuck in some problem. Sometimes unnecessary things become a big problem, and sometimes there is not really a reason, it is just a nonsense thing, but for the person it is a big problem, it becomes a big problem. In those times, even just remembering this, thinking this, is sometimes very helpful. It just cuts off the whole problem easily. For instance, just an example. There is one very holy statue in the center of Lhasa, a statue of Guru Shakyamuni. It has many stories. It is one of the most precious, famous statues. However many prayers that are done in the presence of that statue all bring success. Also there is special thing going on, there is a light that goes around the statue, so when the person is praying, the light goes around, and as the person is praying at the feet and the light comes down, if it meets together somehow the prayer becomes much more successful, it is recognized like this. However, there are incredible amazing stories about how it is precious. Usually in Tibet many people come from all over the place all the time, hundreds and hundreds, to see this statue. People who come to Lhasa, if they don’t see this statue, it is like sort of a wasted, empty trip. They recognize it as an empty trip—coming to Lhasa from such a way and not seeing this holy statue. Many people go to see this statue, and there was one person who had created so much negative karma that he came into the temple but he didn’t see the statue, and he didn’t even see the butter lamps. There are many golden butter lamps there, big butter offering pots made of gold, and people are always bringing butter from all over the place for offering. Then afterwards I think he went to see a lama to ask why he couldn’t see these things—I don’t remember clearly the story, but somehow afterwards he came once and he saw the butter lamps but still he couldn’t see the actual statue, even the second time. There are many other examples.
That means the projection, his view, what he sees—even though most of the people saw something, he didn’t see it. So what he sees wasn’t necessarily true. It is a view projected by the level of mind that he has. Also there was one lama who was giving teachings to many people, and reading a text with many pages, a big, long Tibetan text. One of the listeners who had heavy obscurations didn’t see the text, never saw the text at all. He only saw the lama eating meat; he didn’t see the text the lama was reading.