Kopan Course No. 06 (1974)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1974 (Archive #028)

The following is a combination of notes taken at the teachings and a transcript of taped teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Sixth Kopan Meditation Course in March-April 1974. They form an auto-commentary on the course text, The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun of the Mahayana Thought Training.

You may also download the entire contents of these teachings in a pdf file.

Refuge (Part A)

Day Twenty-three
Saturday, April 13
5 a.m.

Cultivate the pure motivation in order for this action to become the cause of enlightenment and the Dharma, “Myself not being reborn in the lower realms is not enough. Not being born in the lower realm and being reborn in the upper realm is not enough, because I am born in the upper realm now but it is a greatly suffering life, under the control of delusion and karma, caused by ignorance. So therefore, since it is caused by ignorance, I must cease the cause of suffering, which is ignorance. Therefore, releasing myself from ignorance is not enough. There are infinite sentient beings living in samsaric suffering, not having received a perfect human rebirth or met a guru explaining the teaching, not having the wisdom to discriminate between the cause of happiness and the cause of suffering, and this always creating the cause of suffering, expecting a good result but always receiving a suffering result—they are the cause of my past, present, and future happiness. Since I have received that most precious change, and since they are extremely kind, and since I am the son of all mother sentient beings, I am responsible for repaying and helping release them from suffering. In order to do this as quickly as possible, I must achieve enlightenment right away. To do this, I must subdue the unsubdued actions of my body, speech, and mind. Therefore, I am going to take Mahayana ordination.”

Then do the visualization of the person granting ordination as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, surrounded by infinite buddhas, bodhisattvas and arhats.

At the end of the third repetition think that you have perfectly received the Mahayana ordination in the form of light and that your body is full of light.

Recite the prayer of the precepts thinking that, “I will observe the precepts until tomorrow as the ancient arhats followed.”

Dedicate the merits of taking the precepts, “Due to these merits, may I receive enlightenment soon by receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, bodhicitta, and the fully renounced mind of samsara, only for the sake of releasing sentient beings from suffering and enlightening them.”

In the first hour, do a brief meditation on suffering and then on refuge and karma. In the second hour, do meditation on suffering; besides the eight sufferings, on samsaric suffering, the second form of samsaric meditation through the twelve links (page 96). In the second hour do meditation on the eight samsaric sufferings, and also think about the six root delusions (page 92), part of that, and then do meditation on the twelve links. Then read the book and mainly do the checking meditation. Read and think, read and think—not just like reading other books. In the part on refuge, do purifying meditation with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha thinking that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the Buddha and that his realizations are the Dharma, and that he himself is the Sangha.

Thank you.

9 a.m.

From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, “As much as sentient beings do not desire suffering, they always run to create suffering; as much as they desire happiness, they destroy the cause of happiness as the enemy. The sentient beings who are devoid of happiness are brought into happiness by the bodhisattvas with love. Suffering sentient beings are cured of suffering by bodhisattvas with their great compassion. The ignorance of sentient beings is also destroyed by the bodhisattvas with their wisdom and method of bodhicitta.”

So same thing—it is also necessary to act as a bodhisattva to cure other sentient beings’ suffering with our great compassion, and for the sentient beings to be in happiness, with great compassion. In order to do this, it is necessary to achieve great compassion, great love and bodhicitta, which is the fundamental realization of enlightenment. So totally, to completely release sentient beings from all obstructions and have the highest, most supreme happiness, it is necessary for us to be enlightened first. So think, “Therefore I am going to listen to this profound holy teaching.”

The listening subject, the holy teaching is the graduated path—the perfect human rebirth and the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth, how it is fragile, impermanent and how death is definite, the actual time of death is indefinite, the continuity of the mind does not cease after death as there was continuity of mind before rebirth.

It is more definite that we will be born in the lower realm because of having more negative creations than positive creations, than positive actions. It is more definite that we will be born in the lower realms according to this present situation, as we have collected more negative actions. If you are going to wait until death and see whether that is true, whether the mind continues after death, or whether it is true that there are suffering realms, then do this. However when you get to that time, no matter how much you remember, karmically you remember that time that you were experiencing each different suffering. And even though you remember that karmically, even though you remember the previous karma, what you have done, and think, “Because of such and also because of previous karma I am suffering,” even though you remember this karmically, in that time there is no method, nothing to do. As much as you know, as much as you do not desire suffering, it is finished, there is nothing to do. As much as you make noise, scream, there is nothing to do.

Just as, for example, just as the person who is at death, in the process of death, and is so frightened, so scared, the eyes looking awful, the hands and legs moving, as much as they hold and grasp others’ bodies because of the fear of death, all the relatives, people and doctors around have nothing to do. The person has to leave without choice, without freedom. Just like this, even when you are with this body at death time, there is nothing to do, there is no choice, even if he is surrounded by thousands of people, thousands of people cannot hold him. Even more than a thousand people cannot hold him from death, it is time. Even if there are infinite buddhas who see clearly every time, every single second where there is suffering, how there is suffering, even if they have infinite compassion for each suffering sentient being, there is nothing to do, because Buddha’s help works according to the sentient beings’ karma. The person didn’t do anything from their side to save themselves from suffering, they didn’t create any karma. It is more skillful and wise to do something in the lifetime before the death happens, in order to not go through this.

The basic, essential, fundamental method is taking refuge. This is the basic thing. In order to not be born in suffering, we cannot rely on the ordinary beings. No matter how much magic power we have, material power—such as sun and moon spirits who have much power to give temporal help; there is nothing to do, they can’t guide us from the suffering of the lower realms, to not be reborn in the lower realms. They can’t help us. Who can guide us to not be born in the suffering realm? We should find someone who can guide us from this danger. Not only this, but it is not enough just not being reborn in the lower realm. Even if we are in the upper realm, we are still in great suffering, living in the suffering nature, living in ignorance, the cause of suffering, because we have been continuously following ignorance. However, there are sufferings in the human realm, and in the realms of the gods, suras, and asuras. Totally, these beings are involved and living in the suffering of the cycle of death and rebirth caused by delusion and karma. Always in suffering.

We must release ourselves from this. Therefore, we also must find a perfect guide who can save us from this danger, from samsaric suffering. The general meaning of samsara is wheel. Samsara means to circle. Another meaning of this is one way to understand the cycle of death and rebirth as always going around due to delusion and karma; like this. This just the brief meaning of what it means. So we should take refuge in the guide who has the power to save us from this suffering. Also, even this is not enough—ourselves getting saved just from this samsaric suffering. In order to do this we must take refuge in a guide who can never betray even a small atom. The worldly guides, those who are not out of samsara, those who are living in the cycle of death and rebirth, those who are living in samsara, who are not out of the suffering—usually they betray. Instead of giving help, they betray. Even if they give help, it doesn’t always work, also sometimes they betray. Like this, there is nothing to trust because they don’t have the power to guide, they don’t have the power as the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha has.

Like this: there are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Buddha is the completely purified being who has the achievement of the complete understanding, omniscient mind, who is the founder of the path that causes the release from suffering and leads to enlightenment, the path that led the enlightened beings into enlightenment by releasing them from suffering.

It is the same thing with the path—if you follow, it causes the release from all the suffering, the suffering of the lower realms, the suffering of samsara, and also leads other sentient beings to enlightenment as well as yourself. So that is Dharma—totally, the graduated path in this sense. Then the Sangha is the helper. The Sangha is the helper for following the path to enlightenment.

How should one take refuge in the objects of refuge, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the perfect objects that never betray? Generally there are three levels of reasons to take refuge:

1. To release oneself from the suffering of the lower realm.
2. To release oneself from samsaric suffering.
3. To release oneself from all the subtle obscurations in order to achieve enlightenment, in order to make other sentient beings release from suffering.

There are three different levels of reasons to take refuge. For the Mahayana way of taking refuge it is not enough having those two reasons—to not be born in the suffering realm and release from samsaric suffering—that’s not enough. The Mahayana way of taking refuge has to be done with the strong mind wanting to release oneself from subtle obscurations in order to help and make sentient beings release from suffering. This is the reason for taking refuge, this is the reason, the Mahayana way of taking refuge.

How should one take refuge, what is the form of taking refuge? It needs to be perfected by two causes.

1. One cause is being frightened of the suffering of the lower realms and samsaric suffering, and feeling that other sentient beings’ suffering is unbearable. One cause is being frightened of suffering.
2. Then one cause is having full confidence in the perfect power of the Enlightened Being, the perfect knowledge and power of the Enlightened Being who is the founder of the path.

It is the same thing with the path, and the same thing with the Sangha; with the two causes—being frightened of the suffering and having confidence in their supreme powers, the knowledge of the path and the knowledge of the Sangha that can guide us from these levels of suffering.

The way of taking refuge doesn’t depend on words; taking refuge depends on mind. If the person has no fear of any of these sufferings and also does not have any confidence in the supreme powers and knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, even if the person recites millions and millions of the refuge prayer, it doesn’t mean that person is taking refuge. Taking refuge mainly depends on mind, mental function; it is mental work. So with this mental work, then if you say the prayer, it becomes really powerful, very powerful; then it becomes a very powerful purification; like this. For instance, a parrot can say refuge prayer, many prayers, but that does not mean that parrot is taking refuge, it does not mean the parrot has these understandings, having full confidence in the perfect object and having fear in the suffering; so like this.

What is the way of taking refuge, how to go for refuge? Completely rely on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, with full confidence in their supreme power and knowledge, the perfect, supreme power and the supreme, perfect knowledge of the Enlightened Being who is the founder of the path, and being frightened. You should have full confidence in their supreme, perfect power and knowledge, and great fear of the suffering of the lower realms and samsaric suffering. So one cause, fear, can be any of these. From one or two of them, or from the three altogether—such as a person having such unbearable fear, unbearable feeling for other sentient beings’ suffering, and also having fear of one’s own samsaric suffering and the suffering lower realms. If your mind is living in these two causes, then it is taking refuge. Even though you don’t say any prayer, then it is taking refuge. If the mind has perfect equipment, then with these two causes, one is full confidence and one is fear. Then the person is taking refuge, then completely his mind is leaning on or relying on this perfect guide, who has such knowledge as Buddha, the Enlightened Being. With these two causes, he is taking refuge.

Then, the reason for taking refuge. Briefly, like this. The reason for taking refuge, how to take refuge, so making clear, like this. Completely relying on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha with the devotion of the full confidence that they have the ability and power that never betrays to guide one from these sufferings, the suffering of the lower realms and samsaric suffering, and to help to release sentient beings from suffering, and also the fear of this suffering. Whenever these two causes are stronger in the person’s mind, the refuge in the person’s mind is that much stronger; as the two causes are that perfect, the refuge in the person’s mind is that perfect, pure. So how strong and pure refuge you take depends on these two things, depends on these two causes. How much pure refuge you have within your mind depends on how strong and how pure these two causes are that you have. So therefore, also there is a reason why after the suffering, the refuge comes. Without understanding suffering, without having fear of suffering, the person wouldn’t seek refuge, wouldn’t take refuge; the person wouldn’t seek the refuge object that has such perfect power and knowledge to guide from these sufferings. The person wouldn’t seek or take refuge. So if the person doesn’t seek refuge, then it is impossible for the person to cause all sentient beings to be released from suffering, and also to release oneself from samsaric suffering, and also to not be born in the suffering realms.

Stopping the rebirth in the suffering lower realms depends on creating virtuous action, so creating the virtuous action itself is the function of the Dharma, the help of the path, and is the power of the Dharma. Generally, like this. Avoiding even a small negative action that causes one to not be born in the lower realm is the help or function of the Dharma; that itself is the Dharma, it is the Dharma. To release these sufferings, we have to rely on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

How does the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha help, guide? There’s a way of receiving guidance from the external, the causal refuge, the Guru Buddha and the path, their realizations. Their realizations and the Sangha themselves are the Sangha, the Enlightened Being, and the Guru Buddhas themselves are the Sangha. In this way we can understand how Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide us. There are so many different ways of receiving guidance, receiving help from them. Among these, the best help is receiving the teaching, and showing the path. Among these, the best work, the best action, the best help is showing the path, receiving teachings or showing the path. Because actually, release from all these suffering and receiving enlightenment only happens by following the path as it was shown by the Enlightened Being.

Following the path is the main thing, the main thing that makes all these things—that stops all the suffering, that causes one to achieve all the complete, perfect knowledge of enlightenment, to enlighten other sentient beings. This is the real, actual path, the actual way to go to enlightenment. Therefore the path that does this is the Dharma, and the Dharma is the actual refuge. The Dharma is the actual refuge, like a tool, like a bridge, because the bridge is the actual thing that makes you cross over the river, to save you from the suffering of going in that deep river, so it is an actual thing. It is the main thing, the main method that makes the person get there; Dharma is the actual refuge that makes the person get out of all these sufferings and obscurations, and leads the person to enlightenment.

In order to follow this path, the path must be shown by someone. Therefore, it depends on Buddha. The path has to be shown by Buddha, by an enlightened being. Without depending on Buddha, there is no way to follow the path; without depending on the founder, the shower of the path, there is no way to get to enlightenment. Also, there is no way without depending on the Sangha, because Buddha himself is the Sangha. That’s why the Dharma is recognized as the actual refuge, like the bridge that gets you there by saving you from suffering and troubles. So their guiding us, their helping us, depends on us following the path, following their instructions, following their teaching, the teaching showed by the Enlightened Being. It depends on us following the path, the teaching shown by the Enlightened Being. If you follow them, you receive help and guidance through this. This is the method.

The method was already shown by the Enlightened Being. But now there are infinite enlightened beings, so why are there still so many sentient beings, such as we who are still living in suffering, and ignorance? Why? Why? As Guru Shakyamuni said in the teaching, “The sentient beings’ suffering cannot be cured by hand. Also, their realizations cannot be transplanted, their Holy Minds cannot be transplanted.” Generally, the reason is this. From our side, without making any purification, without diminishing any of this negative mind, without destroying ignorance, not knowing Dharma, not knowing all existence, not following, seeing—now at the moment we have this ignorance, our mind is living in this ignorance, so transplanting their realizations in our mind is an impossible thing. We never try to purify ignorance from our side, and then they transplant their realizations, omniscient mind, completely understanding mind—they can never be together. If such a thing were possible, it would happen together. But it is impossible that this will happen—the complete understanding mind and the non-complete understanding mind, these two are opposite, it is impossible that they will exist at the same time within one person’s mind.

As purifying ignorance with water, washing the body is not possible, we can see that it is logical that we have to work. In order to receive the guidance to achieve enlightenment, to release from samsara it is just a matter of achieving the complete omniscient mind, the complete understanding mind, the mind that completely understands all existence. To be enlightened is a matter of achieving this. Why have we not achieved this yet? Because our mind is living in ignorance, in so many problems, so many obscurations, so many thousands of obscurations, obscurations that have been collected from beginningless previous lifetimes. So because of this, these obscurations, the ignorance of not knowing all existence, we have not achieved the completely understanding mind. So how to receive this? How to receive completely understanding mind? The completely understanding mind is completely opposite to the mind that we have now, living in the obscurations, deeply ignorant.

So how do we receive this completely understanding mind? By gradually purifying the obscurations, destroying the ignorance of each existence, as not realizing the relative truth and not realizing the absolute truth. Besides not realizing the absolute truth, there is so much relative existence that we don’t know besides absolute truth. The ignorance of each of these things has to be gradually purified, has to be made less and less. How to make it less and less? Now at the moment, making it clear, we have more ignorance than understanding, we have more ignorance for the number of the existences we don’t discover; for relative truths, for absolute truth. But when you begin to receive the understanding wisdom understanding the absolute truth or the relative truth, both, through meditating, through Dharma practice, as we realize more and more existences—for instance, another way of saying this—if there are that many numbers of existences’ wisdom, understanding wisdom of that much existence. So now, at the moment what we have is more ignorance for those existences, relative and absolute truth—because all existences are included in these two truths—so through Dharma practice, through meditation, we gain the understanding realization of each of these existences. Each time we receive the understanding wisdom or the realization perceiving the object, understanding the object, as we gradually receive it…

First of all I will give an example. For instance, this clock has relative truth; then the nature of the clock is absolute truth. So first of all, just seeing the clock, understanding the clock, is just the relative part; then its nature is absolute truth, understanding the two objects. There are all existences included in impermanent and permanent, so there are infinite existences. Even in this clock there are so many different kinds of machines. Also there are atoms, there are groups of atoms. The clock exists, it is a group of atoms, so each atom is a relative truth. But each atom has its own absolute nature; the nature of each atom is absolute truth. For instance, at the moment we have ignorance of knowing how many atoms it has. Also we have ignorance of the absolute true nature of each of the atoms, each of these parts, like this. There is that much ignorance. For instance, I am giving an example—first of all, knowing the clock. Secondly, realizing the absolute true nature, perceiving the reality of this clock. Then, two ignorances are gone. This is just an idea. Then there are gross parts and then atoms, so it is necessary to understand each part, each atom, each nature. So gradually, as we fully see the absolute nature of each atom, and see each of the relative things, the ignorance becomes that much less. It is like this.

So you see, when there is understanding, when there is this wisdom, the ignorance which was there before has to be gone, has to be dispelled; they cannot exist at the same time together. Realizing and not realizing the absolute nature of this clock both together—how can this be possible in the mind? Once we destroy the ignorance not realizing this, then it becomes realizing. It is something that has to be worked within your mind. It is something that you have to work, clean, and change within your mind. So just like this, just as in the example of the clock, it is the same thing gradually with every existence, infinite existence, like this. Usually, as we gradually receive the wisdom, it is just like the example of the clock and realizing the nature of this clock. More and more wisdom, perceiving more objects, like this, and that much more the ignorance becomes less, and the obscurations, too. Just like this, as the wisdom increases, we perceive more and more existences, and the ignorance becomes that much less and less. Just like this, whenever the person has the wisdom understanding every single existence, the full realization, there is not one single obscuration, not one single subtle obscuration. It is a matter of changing, working in the mind. Therefore, it does not depend on someone—you relax, don’t do anything—and someone will plant his realization there. Now we understand that is not possible. It is something you have to work within your mind and receive in your mind through your own effort. So like this.

From the external Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the way you receive help and guidance is by following the path. We follow the path of instruction. The method that was shown by them is the only way. Cleaning obscurations by hand cannot be possible. They have finished their thing, shown their methods, but the problem is from our side—not following and trying to stop following, trying to run away from this, many things; it is our own problem. Like this.

As we follow this actual refuge with the help of the Dharma, the founder Buddha, and the Sangha, we can actualize our own Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Besides the outer Buddha, Dharma and Sangha helping us to release from suffering through their guidance, we follow their method and path, and then due to the help of the Dharma, Buddha and Sangha, we can actualize our own Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The resultant refuge—the other one is causal—the resultant refuge, which is your future Buddha, is that which you will become, that which has contact, generation or something. However, because we have clear light, the main nature of clear light that makes the possibility for ourselves to achieve the future Buddha—anyway, the resultant refuge is our own individual future Buddha.

I think this way is better. First of all, with their guidance, the help of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the method shown by them with their realization, the teaching explained with their realization, we follow, we practice, and even from way down observe karma, avoid killing, telling lies, avoid even little things—each of these things helps to receive the realization of path and to receive enlightenment. Through our own practice, through each of these practices, through meditation we receive enlightenment, we actualize the path in our mind. By realizing the path, we gradually release ourselves from suffering, we receive the full realization of the absolute true nature, and we become Sangha. Then gradually, still developing the realization, following the graduated path, as the level of obscuration decreases, when the mind is completely purified, we become Buddha, the Enlightened Being.

The way we receive, get help is by following the path and method—I explained this briefly. So now, the way the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha help us to release from suffering. Starting from a small fundamental practice of following and observing negative karma, not killing, taking sexual intercourse—each of these practices helps us a lot to not create the cause of suffering, and also it helps us a great deal to receive the path, and enlightenment, temporary and ultimate, all these things which are based on the fundamental practices of observing karma. This is the path to enlightenment, this flower is enlightenment.

So this is the path. Just to give you an idea, like this. Each of the actions, one action of observing karma helps. It protects you from suffering. It becomes the fundamental of the path, the realization, and then you follow the path. Each level of the path purifies obscurations up to enlightenment. This is how one’s Dharma guides oneself, how the individual’s Dharma guides oneself from suffering; because each of these practices protects one from suffering and purifies obscurations. This is how one’s Dharma helps and guides one. As you receive the full realization of the absolute true nature and the noble path, oneself becomes Sangha, and this is how the Sangha guides us from suffering, like this. This is how the Buddha guides one from suffering, from even subtle obscurations, illusive mind. Without oneself becoming a future Buddha, there is no way to purify.

During the discussion, you discuss this. If you don’t know, then ask someone who knows a little bit. Then check how the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha guide one. That’s all, thank you.

7 p.m.

The brief explanation on refuge finished this morning. That was the total explanation on refuge also. The way the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha refuges guide us from suffering. Causal refuge, how the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide us from suffering, and also one’s individual Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide one from suffering. This is very important to know. This summary that I explained this morning is very important. Through this we can understand clearly how they really guide us. Also, before they achieve enlightenment they followed the path, so as they were on the path and achieved it, they also guide us, help us, save us from suffering.

Even, for instance, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, before he achieved enlightenment. He was following the path. While following the path he had achievement of the path. His realization is Dharma, he himself is the Sangha. There is the absolute Sangha and the relative Sangha. The relative Sangha is four ordinary monks or nuns. The absolute Sangha is just one, it doesn’t have to be four, just one is okay, because this being has the full realization of the absolute true nature, beyond the level of an ordinary being. Before Guru Shakyamuni Buddha achieved enlightenment, he was Sangha and his realization was Dharma. Without him going through this and becoming Sangha and achieving the path of Dharma, there was no way for him to become Buddha, also there was no way to get help from him. Also, so was his previous continuity while he was following the higher path. In this way we can understand how, even before he became  Buddha, he guided us. So in this way, after he achieved his realizations gradually, and as he prayed to work for other sentient beings, as he achieved enlightenment, then we receive help. As the method was shown by him, we receive help from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Like this. So in this way, thinking like this, we can understand even before he became Buddha, he was Sangha, how it helps, how we receive guidance from him. Thinking like this is useful. So his guiding us depends on following his methods and path.

There is one quotation also said by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha from the sutra teaching (page 73). I put it in the form of a question. After explaining all the knowledge, “How does Buddha guide?” If you take refuge in the Buddha, how does the Buddha guide us? Guru Shakyamuni said, in the sutra teaching, “I have shown the path to eradicate samsaric pain, and the one who achieved all this is the founder.” So you should read it like this: “The way I guide is by showing the path. It is not up to me. The question of whether you receive help and are saved from samsaric suffering is not up to me, it is up to you. Because my work has been done, from my side it has all been done; it is up to you. It is possible to become enlightened, it is possible to be guided from all these obscurations, even the subtle obscurations, from all the suffering. How it is possible? Those who gradually followed and achieved the path are the founders.” Leader means leading sentient beings from samsaric suffering, from all the obscurations. “Therefore they also tried by themselves, not by cleaning the obscurations by hand, or by transplanted realizations. They tried by themselves. In the same way, it is up to you, you should do it if you want peace. This is clear.”

This morning I think I didn’t complete the quotation, maybe, here I am not sure. This is very useful to understand, the way the Enlightened Being guides, causing sentient beings to be released from suffering. Guru Shakyamuni said in a sutra teaching, “The Enlightened Being does not clean sinfulness or negativity with water, does not wipe off sentient beings’ suffering by hand. Also, he does not do so through transplanting realizations.” Then what? How? “Sentient beings become released by being shown the true nature, the absolute nature, the absolute truth.” This is Guru Shakyamuni’s essential method, how he makes sentient beings, how he releases infinite sentient beings from samsaric suffering, how he cuts infinite sentient beings’ samsaric suffering by showing the absolute true nature. Also, even in the present time, the way he causes sentient beings to be released from suffering is also through this. It is the same thing in the future. This is the essence—it does not mean only this method, but this is the essential method, like this.

Like the candle that dispels the darkness. The thing that actually does dispel the darkness is the flame, because even though there is a candle, it cannot dispel the darkness without the flame. So the flame is the essential method. Among the candle and the wax there are many things, and also places to put many things. Among them, the flame is the essential method that destroys the darkness. The absolute true nature is just like this flame. This is very useful to understand. Anyway, long talk, talking—the way the essential method, the absolute true nature, cuts off the samsaric suffering, the cause of suffering and suffering itself, is another long talk. However, the talk came by the way, so I will tell just this point.

To escape from suffering, one has to know the nature of samsaric suffering. The main thing is, in order to escape from samsara, one has to know the cause of samsara. Then, one has to know the direct method that cuts it off, the direct method that is the direct remedy, like the axe that cuts the poisonous tree, like a very sharp axe. In order to cut it off, one has to recognize what samsara is, what the cause of samsara is. Then one has to understand the method, the direct method, the remedy that cuts the root of samsara. The remedy has to be completely opposite to the root of samsara, like darkness and light. The root of samsara is like darkness. Due to not having light inside, the person goes in the darkness, and then person falls and goes on to the wrong place, breaks things, goes on to people, makes lots of mistakes, thousands and thousands of mistakes—like this. The realization of the absolute true nature and the root of samsara, ignorance, is like this. Perhaps it may come out! After finishing the course! In the same way, without the flame, the candle and wax cannot dispel the darkness. Even if you have sacks of it, without the flame, even if there are thousands of candles stored up, they cannot dispel the darkness. So just like this—maybe someone’s hair is burning by the candle? Don’t burn the root of samsara right away! The flame depends on many things, so just like this, to receive the full realization of the absolute true nature, which cuts the cause of samsara, depends on many things, other realizations. Therefore the mind should not hang up, it should concentrate only on this, be wise like this.

For instance, for a person planting flowers, the actual thing is the seed, but is that enough? One seed is not enough. In order to bring stems and a beautiful flower, in order to enjoy, to receive pleasure, it is not enough only having the seed, putting the seed on the table; this doesn’t help. So many things should be planted in the correct way—time, elements, water, this and that. It works the same way for everlasting happiness through the essential path, the full realization of the absolute true nature, like this. It is up to us to follow the path, so by following the path, doing meditation on the graduated path, observing karma, practicing the graduated path at the beginning up to enlightenment, the whole thing that each individual practices causes one to become Sangha and Buddha. Also, in this way the individual Buddha guides us from all the suffering, even the subtle veils. And also this way the Sangha, the individual Sangha, guides us from suffering. Even before we achieve the actual path, the Dharma is the practice of the graduated path that leads us to receive the path, and guides us away from the rising negative mind, creating negative mind, suffering, many things. Just like the example I told you this morning, even the person keeping one precept is practicing the Dharma. This guides him away from negative karma and the negative mind and the result which is suffering, which is caused by that negative action, opposite to the precepts. That’s how his Dharma guides him, even just a little action like this. So there is no need to mention meditation on the graduated path.

This is such a beautiful way, yourself becoming a guide. As Guru Shakyamuni said, “Oneself is also a guide, oneself is also an enemy.” Oneself is also a guide, oneself is also an enemy. If you follow the method shown by the Enlightened Being, through this you can become a guide. Before, when we didn’t follow the method, didn’t practice it, it was generally like this. Most of the time, from beginningless previous samsaric lifetimes until now, we have been the enemy, each individual has been the enemy to himself. The reason—there is no need to talk, that you can guess! Then, once one is first enlightened, there is everlasting happiness and the cessation of samsara. Practicing this method that is shown by the Enlightened Being, we become the guide by changing from the previous situation. I will read from the part on refuge.

Refuge: Asking for Guidance (Page 68)
Milarepa Quotation

Eight restless stages—we talked about the eight freedoms, the opposite of the eight freedoms: being born in the preta, narak and animal realms, then being born as long-life gods and born as heretical beings, and barbarians, in the period or place where Buddha has not descended, or as dumb, or a fool.

This is a very helpful, powerful, beneficial teaching, this quotation. Actually, it includes the first meditation, the second meditation, like this. Just this shows who is the true guide, the holy guide who never betrays, upon whom we can completely rely. Also it says that in order to escape from suffering, in whom one should take refuge, who is the deserved guide in whom we can take refuge, in whom we can rely. Then also the method that should be done after taking refuge, what one should do, what is the essential work, taking refuge in the perfect guide, the holy savior, the holy guide, and what is the essential thing to do in order to escape from suffering.

(a) 1-2. This is the obscuration that mainly interrupts the achievement of nirvana and the last one, obscuration that mainly interrupts the achievement of enlightenment. The second one is a mental defilement—she is mental, dip is defilement. This second one can only be purified, can only can be ceased by following the Mahayana path, the paramita path. Paramita means the gone-beyond path. The Mahayana path is the general paramita path, and the Vajrayana is the tantric path. The second mental defilement can only be purified by following the Mahayana path. Without following the Mahayana path, it cannot be purified. That is why following the path of the Lesser Vehicle, enlightenment cannot be received. Because the path only purifies the first delusion, nyon dip. This is just the general meaning, but inside there are so many divisions and so many degrees within them. By following the path, gradually proceeding on the different paths, the delusions are gradually removed. Even after one achieves arhathood, nirvana, everlasting happiness, still there is the second mental defilement. By following the path of the Lesser Vehicle, the Hinayana path, when the delusions are completely purified, when the follower receives everlasting happiness, nirvana, so the person becomes an arhat. The Tibetan term is da chom pa. Da means those delusions. Chom means destroy. Lama Ton ba Chom pa. Da means those delusions. Chom means destroy. La ma ton ba chom den de shin sheg pa da chom pa. Da means enemy. Chom means destroy. What is the actual enemy that has to be destroyed? That is the delusions which mainly interrupt the achievement of nirvana. This enemy has been destroyed. Who has removed this inner enemy? That holy being is called da chom pa, arhat. The meaning of arhat is this.

Rinpoche: Who does create beginningless mind? Is there any creator or creator-less? Maybe none.

Answer: I don’t think it has a creator. Maybe ignorance.

Rinpoche: I see. Ignorance.

Answer: No, ignorance is not the creator. Christians say there is a creator of the universe: we have no creator of beginningless mind ... (Some missed, but question answered by Pema Chödun)

Rinpoche: It has no creator. It is not creation, beginningless mind is not creation?

Answer: It can’t have a creator. How can you create something that has no end?

Rinpoche: It is not a creation?

Answer: It is not a creation or doesn’t have creation, what are you asking?

Rinpoche: Hasn’t it creation?

Answer: How can you create something that doesn’t have beginning? It has no beginning therefore no beginning.

Rinpoche: Not creation. I see. So mind is not created by anyone? Mind is not creation?

Answer: No, I don’t think so.

Rinpoche: Mind is not creation. Mind is not causative?

Answer: You mean the ultimate nature of mind?

Rinpoche: I am asking only one word, mind. I have no complicated words.

Answer: I don’t know. Does mind cause something or does something cause mind?

Rinpoche: I don’t mean created with machines. Anyway the mind, isn’t it causative?

Answer: Could you clarify the question?

Rinpoche: Is the mind causative? I think it comes from cause, cause and causative.

Answer: You say it comes from cause, it has creation, but how can something beginningless be created?

Rinpoche: I am asking you.

Answer: I don’t think it can be.

Rinpoche: So you say it is not causative?

Answer: It depends, if you are talking about ultimate ...

Rinpoche: It does not depend on my mind, but depends on your mind.

Answer: Ultimately real, then it has no beginning. If you talking about something permanent.

Rinpoche: I am not talking anything permanent. I am not talking anything. I am talking only mind. I am not ...

Answer: Are you talking about ultimate mind, ignorant mind? I don’t know.

Rinpoche: Your mind.

Answer: My mind is obscured.

Rinpoche: So is that causative or not?

Answer: No, because there is only cause for the obscuration but not cause for the mind itself.

Rinpoche: It is cause for the obscuration, delusions, there is cause. So then beginningless delusions, what about this?

Answer: Do I think delusion is beginningless?

Rinpoche: I am asking you.

Answer: I think each delusion has a beginning.

Rinpoche: Each delusion has a beginning? Your delusion has a beginning? Your ignorance has a beginning from a certain time? In such a special period it began, ignorance was born in such a special period?

Answer: I had to do some kind of sin to cause the delusion. I can’t think of when it began.

Rinpoche: So your present mind, your present delusion is what? Is causative isn’t it?

Answer: It is caused by something, yes. Is that what you mean by causative?

Rinpoche: Yes, causative means which has cause, having cause.

Answer: My obscurations have cause, yes.

Rinpoche: Your obscurations have cause. Who created the cause, who made you create the cause?

Answer: Nobody made me, my karma.

Rinpoche: So your delusion has cause?

Answer: Yes.

Rinpoche: Why does this have cause and why does the original delusion have no cause?

Answer: Did I say it didn’t have any cause?

Rinpoche: You said delusion began in a special time. I’m joking. Not special. You said it has beginning, so I am asking why the present delusion has cause but original delusion has no beginning?

Answer: My present obscurations are caused by my sin and ignorance. I don’t know any original sin that I did or original ignorance, but I can’t think of any time when it had a beginning. I don’t know of any time my ignorance and mind had a beginning. I can’t say that it has a beginning, like saying they were permanent; I can’t say that.

Rinpoche: What about the Tushita manager? Has your mind a beginning? Has your beautiful mind a beginning?

Answer: My beautiful mind will have! My ignorant mind wouldn’t have.

Rinpoche: So your ignorant mind has no beginning. Has your beginning ignorant mind creator?

Answer: No.

Rinpoche: No creator. It has no creator. It is not causative. Ignorant mind is beginningless, it is not causative?

Answer: Yes it is causative, it depends on conditions.

Rinpoche: He’s really the manager of Tushita! Slowly qualifying! It has conditions, that makes the mind beginningless?

Answer: No.

Rinpoche: But it depends on conditions, mind beginningless depends on conditions!

Answer: It depends on conditions, so it is causative.

Rinpoche: Therefore it has cause, beginningless mind has cause?

Answer: Yes.

Rinpoche: So it is created by the cause, so it has creator?

Answer: Yes it is created by the present conditions. Created by the conditions in the present. By the instantaneous conditions, the conditions themselves.

Rinpoche: Created by present conditions?

Answer: What I mean by present is the instantaneous conditions.

Rinpoche: Good answer. So what are the conditions? It is not created by mind? Isn’t the creation mind beginningless, ignorant mind, beginning?

Answer: No.

Rinpoche: Hasn’t it creation? Creation does not have to be created in a time?

Answer: It is created in the sense that it is presently arising.

Rinpoche: It is created in a time?

Answer: Yes.

Rinpoche: Creation started in a time. Beginningless mind starts in a time.

Answer: Only in the time that is constantly the present time. It doesn’t originally have beginning but at each stage of time the mind has been created by the conditions.

Rinpoche: So you are saying it is created by what? It has no beginning but it is created by present what? Arising what?

Answer: It is the mind ... the mind is not form but it is arising, presently arising in the present moment, and it is dependent on the conditions in this moment.

Rinpoche: But who does create the conditions?

Answer: The conditions are karmically created by the actions of the former arising mind.

Rinpoche: So it is created by mind. Conditions are created by mind totally?

Answer: Yes.

Rinpoche: Good, very good. Like this. It depends on time and depends on condition; it depends on time and depends on all the pieces, the hours and minutes and split second, many split seconds, it depends all this. But isn’t the beginningless mind permanent? Is the beginningless mind permanent?

Answer: No it is not.

Rinpoche: Permanent because it doesn’t change?

Answer: The mind that is dependent on conditions is changing because the conditions change. The mind’s nature is permanent.

Rinpoche: Anyway, I don’t want talk about natures. So beginningless mind is changing. Beginningless mind changes, you said?

Answer: No, beginningless mind doesn’t change, it is permanent.

Rinpoche: Does it change, does it change?

Answer: No.

Rinpoche: It doesn’t change. It doesn’t change. So it is permanent?

Answer: Yes, it is permanent.

Rinpoche: I see. So it is not created by cause? Anyway, you check up. Thank you.

Dedicate merits thinking, “Due to the merits of keeping precepts may I receive enlightenment by receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, bodhicitta, and the fully renounced mind of samsara only for sake of enlightening sentient beings and releasing them from suffering.”

Then, tomorrow morning first do purifying meditation with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha; then do quick meditation on the impermanent life and death; then do meditation on samsaric suffering. There are two ways to meditate as are written in this book—through the twelve links and the eight sufferings. That’s all, thank you.

Day Twenty-Four
Sunday, April 14
5 a.m.

Before taking the ordination, for the mind to go to the Dharma, just that is not enough. In order for the action to become the actual cause of enlightenment, it is necessary to cultivate bodhicitta. Therefore think, “I must cause all sentient beings to be released from suffering and have all happiness, therefore I must receive enlightenment. To receive enlightenment depends on controlling the negative actions of speech, body and mind. Therefore, I am going to take this Mahayana ordination.” Then visualize as explained before, while repeating the prayer.

Prayer No.1

At the end of the third repetition think that you have perfectly received the ordination in the form of light, that your whole body is in the form of light.

Repeat the prayer of the precepts.

Prayer No. 2, Mantra

Prayer No. 3, Dedication Prayer

Dedicate the merits of taking the ordination, “Due to the merits of taking ordination may I receive enlightenment soon by receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, bodhicitta, and the fully renounced mind of samsara for the sake of enlightening all sentient beings by releasing them from suffering.”

9 a.m.

(No morning puja, extra long recitation of mantra)

This morning we are reciting mantra on behalf of that puja.

Generally, the person who practices has so much disturbance. More disturbance than the person who creates negative actions. That is more successful. Less disturbance. Usually it is like this, much easier, less difficulty. Like this. Practicing Dharma, doing something good is usually difficult: to be good is difficult.

Generally, usually to be generous, to be gentle and generous—not physically but mentally, not only physically looking generous but mentally, the most important thing is mentally. It is good physically to try to be generous, but it is not enough, not completely, not completely generous. To be completely generous ... what I mean by generous is having a good personality, good character. People who have good character, good personality, usually please other people, please other people more than disturbing them, causing trouble to other people. Usually, it is like this. One who can sacrifice himself for other beings’ happiness, who can work himself, who can use himself, who can devote and give up, who can use, give up, work and use himself for other beings’ happiness, thinking others are more important than oneself. He does this when the situation is happy, but even in a difficult situation, he thinks about whatever is necessary, whatever other people want. Even in a difficult situation he cares more about other people, thinks more about other people, feels that other sentient beings are more important than himself, instead of reacting and showing anger, reaching through words and the physical aspect if there is a situation, trouble, something, with other people who are not recognized as having good personality, good practice.

Generally, in the world there are so few numbers of people who are generous, noble, who don’t feel pride of other people, who have knowledge, possessions, who don’t feel jealous, have ill-will even when other people cause trouble, who do not react back, but try to have a long mind, try to be patient, and instead of reacting in a wrathful way, react with patience, which is the best way of reacting. This behavior or action is harmonious to the Buddhadharma, especially bodhisattva action. It is discipline or a part of bodhisattva action—no matter how much other beings cause trouble, reacting with patience, being peaceful. However, generally, in the world to be a good person in such a way, to be a good person, there are many developments. Someone physically tries to be something but the mind is opposite, completely opposite; the mind is not in the same situation as the physical act. As they physically try to be humble, the mind is not humble. It is the complete opposite; the mind is not generous. Anyway, like this. Especially people who practice Dharma have so much disturbance for carrying on the Dharma practice and even starting the Dharma practice. There is so much disturbance from inside, so much disturbance. First of all, mainly from inside, there is the negative mind. Then because of inside hindrance, the negative mind makes the connection that causes outer hindrance. The inner hindrance, delusion and negative mind, causes the outer hindrances—non-living things, living beings, black spirits and white spirits, all kinds of different spirits, white and black, like this. Black spirits always interrupt people who practice Dharma. They transform in different ways. Just an example, for instance like this.

In Tibet three meditators went to a solitary place to meditate, but somehow they interrupted the spirits. Somehow they received some grains and they thought to plant them in a field. They found a field and planted them, and this gave them more and more work, so there was no time for meditation. Like this. The spirits disturb and hinder. This does not mean that you get bitten, wounded, not like this. You see them coming, some very fearful things. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Not like this. In many ways, sometimes through people, sometimes through material things, they hinder. Whatever the person is interested in, the material thing, it can interrupt them through giving things. Also there is one thing. One meditator got a pen, so the spirits transformed it and somehow gave him the pen. So this meditator devoted most of his time to writing, someone offered him a pen and ink so he spent time writing—more and more writing, more and more. The more he wrote, the more he got interested. He devoted all his time to that. He couldn’t meditate. The other one who had the field, somehow afterwards he married or something happened, because he needed to work in the field. There are many stories.

Question: Are white spirits asura?

Rinpoche: Not definite, not definite. They can be, but not definite. They can be also suras, upper ones, such as gods of the senses.

Anyway, it happened many times like this. Things like that can be possible, there are many ways they can disturb the person’s interest. Also sometimes as the person meditates, maybe the person is not doing enough purification. There are white protectors as well as white spirits also, enlightened beings manifested in wrathful aspect in the form of protectors. There are different protectors to help keep precepts pure and also protectors to help one receive bodhicitta, or receive realization of shunyata. There are different protectors like this. It is also necessary that they help. The purpose is this. The enlightened beings manifest in a wrathful aspect to control the hindrances, the inner hindrances, and also the outer hindrances, more quickly. There are reasons like this, so they manifest in the wrathful aspect. The protection is quicker, as they manifest purposely for that reason to protect the meditator, serious Dharma practitioners. Also their protection is quicker, quicker.

However, it is necessary also to rely on them, to ask, to request them for help for the completion of the Dharma practice, for the Dharma practice to not have hindrances. Usually meditators, besides doing purification, taking refuge on the basis of that. They rely on the Enlightened Being, the Buddha, and the Dharma and Sangha. Besides relying on the Guru Buddhas, there are also protectors’ pujas—making offerings to these great protectors so that they will look after one and one will have less hindrances for Dharma practice, inner and outer. Usually, like this. But generally, it is the same thing that we discussed yesterday. Receiving help, as much as they protect, as much as they guide, this also depends on how seriously and purely the person practices Dharma, how purely he keeps morality. The more the person does correctly, following the teaching, the vows, as he made the vows in the presence of the guru—tantric vows, bodhisattva and general vows—and also how the more pure the person keeps them, that much more quickly the help from those protectors comes. And also it becomes closer. From their side, they also take care more. Whenever the person gets in trouble, whenever something is needed for Dharma practice, they can help.

But as we talked about, mainly how much the person is protected is up to the person, and depends on how seriously and correctly he practices Dharma. Also, there are some people who strictly meditate, try to meditate very hard at the beginning, and then after sometimes get crazy. One thing is lack of not doing much purification. Why is there outer hindrance like this? The person has not made any purification inside, for the inner hindrances. That’s why even if the person tries to meditate, tries to push hard, due to not doing enough purification, creating merits, then it is possible, even if the person tries to push very hard in the meditation, sometimes outer black spirits interrupt. Because of that there is something like that, the mind situation is like that. So according to that they find a connection to disturb the person, and the outer black spirits interrupt and hinder, so the person gets into trouble, so the person gets crazy, or freaks out, things like this. Before he was good, later on he gets changed; also like this.

One who doesn’t follow correctly the guru’s instruction, who has created negative karma with the guru from whom he has received teachings. There are many different form of creating negative mind by breaking instructions, also by rising anger, negative mind, heresy, many other things. Abusing, many things. These things can cause problems besides sickness; such as becoming crazy in this lifetime. Without talking about the future, great continual suffering in the narak stage, the worst suffering stage of the narak realm like this. Why? Why can such a result ripen and be experienced in this lifetime? Because it is the heaviest karma, so the result can even be experienced in this life, without talking about experiencing the result for eons in the worst suffering stages for a long time. Without talking about this, there can be many problems in your life that are the result of it. Anyway, there can be this, spirits hindering you in different ways, making the mind crazy, letting the person do other things by receiving things, many ways.

Generally, why is Dharma practice hindered? Why does it have more hindrances, and people who create negative karma all the time, who always run and are busy creating negative karma—such as a butcher, who kills many animals for instance, who kills other person—have less. To do any negative thing is easy, very easy, less hindrance is easy. Very easy. It is very simple. Usually in the world people who sacrifice their life, devote their life and their entire body for Dharma practice are less than the number of people who sacrifice themselves for a fight, thieving and robbing. Sometimes there are special people who can be hired for fighting, for killing other people, many things. Anyway, so many numbers. That number is an incredible number. Why are there so many numbers of people creating negative karma? Because there are less disturbances. Practicing Dharma and creating merits is the main disturbance for that, but why doesn’t it happen? Why is it so difficult to receive this disturbance? For the negative mind to be disturbed or hindered is extremely difficult. It is totally like this. This is why there are more numbers of people who do this. It is much easier, so easy, so much less disturbance. But Dharma practice has so much disturbance. Even to study—to study means to listen, understand, many things. Each of these has a disturbance, much hindrance. Then besides disturbances to listening and understanding there are disturbances to practicing, then disturbances to continue practicing, then to receiving realization. There are so many other disturbances to receiving realizations. Also there are hindrances for explaining Dharma.

All these black spirits try as much as possible to hinder, to lose the Dharma, to lose the teaching of the Buddha, to lose the Dharma practice. People who practice Dharma are hindered in so many ways. When a person is strongly practicing Dharma, the white spirits win over the black spirits, because the white spirits come to protect the practitioner, the teaching of the Dharma, anyone who does good. That thing works according to the person’s work, whether he creates more negative karma or less. If his Dharma practice is stronger, more pure than other samsaric work, evil work, the white spirits can control the black spirits. This is according to the person creating more good karma and practicing stronger Dharma. It is the same thing with countries. When there is a lot of fighting, so many problems of the negative mind arise so strongly, getting bigger and bigger, doing all kinds of evil work. When this evil work is very strongly done, then also during that time the black spirits' power becomes stronger. Then they fight, and the black spirits win over the white spirits. Also, when people in the world create more good karma. When they create more evil work, when this is very strong, then that time also suras lose in the fighting, many things. Anyway, anyway, like this.

The reason that Dharma practice has much more disturbance than evil work is because it is related to our mind. It relates to our mind because we ordinary beings have more negative mind, our negative mind is much stronger than our positive mind. The negative mind is so much stronger, so much stronger, so much stronger. Generally, we are under the control of delusion and karma. The negative mind is much stronger. You see, the virtuous mind is less powerful, so therefore, because of this, Dharma practitioners have so much more disturbances than people who create evil work. That is because the mind, the creator of the evil work, the negative mind is much stronger—so there is less hindrance; less inner and outer hindrance, like this. Therefore, purification is so important, very important, very important. Just only knowing the words, just only meditating is not enough. It takes much time also even to realize, and to understand more deeply. Besides receiving the experience, it takes much time, and also much distraction. Also sometimes the person feels discouraged because nothing is happening, so he gives up, like this. Quickly realizing the meditation, receiving the experience of meditation, depends on much purification, creating merits. Like this. So if it is very powerful, so much creation of merits and purification, then even if the person does little meditation, he or she can receive the experience quickly. It can be received without taking much time. Purification and creating merits stop the hindrances and cause one to continue, which cause one to receive the realizations. Like this. For that reason, it is like this.

The purpose of doing this puja before giving the teaching is like this. The offering cake is symbolic, but it is symbolic to offer to the enemies, the outer interferers who disturb listening, explanation and practice. To offer to them. Actually, if it is not symbolic, just this cannot cover all spirits. What they receive is the needs and the food—drinking, eating, whatever it is—the needs according to their desire. So it is like this. If there is a person who wants to disturb us, we give him a present, “Please don’t disturb, excuse me, please don’t disturb.” Then we will stay peacefully. Like this. “Please go away.” Like this, then if it is not okay peacefully, then do something else. Because the peaceful method doesn’t work then. This is the reason, so the purpose of doing this puja is like this. Generally reciting mantra also has much power to help a lot. Usually reciting mantra is very useful; it can help a great deal for your meditation and Dharma practice. I mean reciting mantra words, but also the most important thing is the mind, having refuge in the mind. This is the most important thing. Bodhicitta, having a good mind, a pure mind like bodhicitta. The person has to have refuge in order to achieve bodhicitta. It is impossible without having refuge in the mind to receive beatitude, like this.

Question: What do you mean by refuge in the mind?

Rinpoche: The meaning of refuge is as explained. Completely relying, as I said yesterday, same thing, having refuge in the mind is this. I told you of two causes—to receive refuge it is necessary to have two causes. One is fear and one is full confidence in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, in their power, in the enlightened beings’ most supreme perfect power and knowledge that guides sentient beings from suffering, that guides oneself from all these sufferings and fears. Same thing, then, the knowledge and power of the Sangha. If the person has these two causes in the mind, then the person has refuge in the mind. The fear and then completely relying on the perfect guide who has the knowledge of the Enlightened Being, completely relying on this being with full confidence in his supreme, perfect knowledge and power, like this.

(Pee-pee bell)

Today you make pee-pee inside. You cannot make pee-pee outside! Make pee-pee in the stomach.

Anyway, like this, it became a little bit of a long talk. This is generally like this. The reason is that some people ask, “What is he doing, what is he praying, what is so important?” This is just the idea.

Then, the purpose of making three prostrations is the practice of the lineage of the gurus, how they do it. The prostration is made to the ... anyway, it doesn’t matter. The object is all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, protectors and Guru Tsongkhapa. All these are on the throne and then all these get absorbed. Like this. This is how the gurus practice. Also remembering impermanence, one person sitting on the bed or throne, all the impermanent things are just like water dew, like a thin flame in the air, like a phantom, like a bubble, like lightning, like a dream. There is a purpose—not to feel pride, not to have pride arises. There are many other purposes, many things. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, like this.

So everyone think, “I must achieve enlightenment right away, in order to enlighten other sentient beings from suffering, therefore I am going to listen to the holy profound teaching on the graduated path.”

(a) 2. The second delusion, “the subtle dualistic mind preventing enlightenment.” The illusive, dualistic mind is, I think, the illusive mind that has dualistic vision due to the defect, due to the mind being defected by the impression of ignorance which is the conception of the truth. Another way of making this clear—truth-clinging or the conception of self-existence, same thing. Like this. Even if the first delusion is ceased, even if it is finished, even if it is avoided, there is still the impression that defects the mind. As it defects the mind, my mind becomes the illusive mind that has dualistic vision. That object exists without depending on the creator as long as there is the impression there, the impression of the delusions, the impression of ignorance truth-clinging. This philosophical term “truth-clinging” means the conception of self-existence. Conception is ignorance, that is the main ignorance, that is ignorance, so as long as there is the impression there is illusive mind. There is always dualistic, illusive mind producing dualism up until the person achieves enlightenment. If one is enlightened, it is completely purified. When the person is enlightened, there is no illusive mind producing dualistic vision existing in the object as a self-existent nature without depending on the creator, the mind. How do you explain the sentiment, how to explain this? (Answers: emotional attachment, no ... sentient being, sentiment means emotion or feeling, the root of both words is feeling) and living beings, sentient beings? What I want is the general name, term ... what I mean is that, in regards feeling, there is happy, suffering and indifferent feeling, and also feeling, cognition, thoughts, the ability that makes you recognize things—this is this, and this is this. Thoughts, wisdom, many things. This is the general name for all this. There must be sentience according to the Tibetans. It has to be a general name that means all things, a capability that includes wisdom, all these things that make you recognize or remember, the ability that makes you remember previous things, all these things that are formless, the general name of this. The Tibetan term is she cha, which means knowing all these things. She cha means knowing, she cha is a formless thing. There is body and then formless things, she cha. The meaning of it is clear. First of all I use the Tibetan word, okay. Having clear and knowing is the meaning of she cha. For instance, when you hear sound, sound. The same thing when you touch, when you look, when you remember—there is clear and knowing.

Ann: The lam-rim book from Dharamsala calls them mental attitudes

(Suggested German word empfindung meaning all you can find in yourself.)

Rinpoche: So anyway, whatever; mentality and mind, what’s the difference? Attitude is a kind of form of function of the mind. Attitude is not just the mind but the form of the function. Anyway, thank you. Like this, the second one is like this. Oneness subtle, oneness gross, like, for instance ...

Question: Is she here the same as she cha?

Rinpoche: Yes, dip means obscuration and dip means existence. She means the subject that feels, that recognizes, that remembers all these things, that is formless but does all these things, that understands all existence, every existence. She means the subject, cha means those two combined, means the object of the knowing, the object of the knowing mind. The object of knowing then becomes obscuration. How? There is the object of knowing, then obscuration. The obscuration obscuring existence obscures the phenomena, which is formless and knowing, for the subject from fully seeing every existence. Even if there is no gross delusion, before achieving enlightenment this obscuring phenomena which is formless and within every person obscures the subject knowing, to know, to fully see every single existence. I mean, for the mind that is in that level before the achievement of enlightenment, the object that it perceives is incredible, but still there are very subtle things that the mind does not fully perceive, that is obscured. By what? Obscured by this phenomena, this development. This obscuring phenomena is called mental defilement, she dip. Also, this causes the mind to be illusive and produces the dualistic vision.

Dictionary definition of sentient: 1. Having the power of perception by the senses. 2. Characterized by sensation.

What I want to say is this. There is a pot that smells very bad from the food you put inside. After you purify the gross defilements, the delusions that mainly interrupt receiving nirvana, it is like the very bad smell in the pot is taken out. After avoiding the delusion, there is still this mental defilement, this subtle illusive mind, mental defilement. It is like this. The dirty food that was in the pot is taken out, but it is still not cleaned. It has to be cleaned with water, even if there is no food, it still has the residue, the smell. Just like this, in order for the pot to become completelyclean, it has to be cleaned of the smell, otherwise there is no way the pot becomes completely pure and clean.

(a) First he released himself from all fears

(b) This is just a summary. There are all his knowledges. First of all, he has extensive skill, such extensive skillful method in saving every sentient being from fears of delusion and its impressions. For instance, when he was giving a Dharma sermon in India in previous times in the form of the nirmanakaya, in the form of a monk, that time in Rajgir, nearby Bodhgaya, he was also giving the middle sermon, the Dharma circle, the middle circle that explains shunyata for higher beings, then showing the form of truth for the lower intelligent beings at Varanasi. Then the other place, but I don’t know what it is in English, the last Dharma circle was for the different levels of intelligent beings. The living beings for whom he showed phenomena, the lower intelligent beings. Then to little higher beings. Then higher than that, he showed the middle Dharma circle, for the higher intelligent beings. This is why he showed the different methods as levels of different intelligent beings—because besides he himself being released from all fears and suffering, he has such extensive great skillful methods, therefore he can give different teachings as they fit beings’ level of mind. At the same time also he gave tantric teaching in different manifestations—in Vajradhara manifestation, in the form of the nirmanakaya, in the aspect of a bhikshu monk, in the aspect of Vajradhara tantric deity. Vajradhara is one aspect of a tantric deity. Anyway, in this manifestation he gave tantric teachings in the southern part of India for the highest beings, the beings who had the highest level of mind, whose minds were ripened, ready, like this.

[Rinpoche checked up on the time. The clock on his table stopped working.] I was supposed to leave at 10:30. That’s okay. So I complete this talk. So like this.

This was not in different times. At the same time, in different places, he gave different teachings for different followers who had different levels of mind. Showing at the same time is also his skill. This was also his great, most wise skill, which shows his control. Showing different teachings is a most wise method. He also showed different aspects, and showed the three Dharma circles like this. I think I carry on, there is nothing to leave. So perhaps maybe, doesn’t matter, like this. As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was taking princely rebirth, descending from Tushita and taking birth on the earth in the human aspect, at the same time in other worlds he gave Dharma. At the same time, also in other worlds, he took the form of receiving enlightenment, like this. Different works and different places at the same time, in different worlds like this. It doesn’t mean his taking birth, taking princely life was something like us, very limited. When we are in Nepal we are not in America, as much as we wish it. If our body is sitting here meditating, at the same time our body cannot be in America at a party, dancing. I am joking! Anyway, not like that, limited, limited, not like this. At the same time many things were happening; he did many things at the same time in different aspects. This incredible enlightened being has incredible great skill, working for other sentient beings as the method fits each one.

When you think of knowledge, I think it is the back side of page 70. It is good to think when you do meditation on refuge, when you remember knowledge such as the Buddhadharma, the four kayas, and many knowledges of the Buddha’s holy body, holy speech and holy mind. The knowledge of the Buddha’s holy body is just like the example that I have just told you—at the same time teaching in India and giving other teachings in different manifestations, in different worlds. Taking birth in another world, giving Dharma in another world, taking the form of enlightenment—this is the knowledge of his holy body. Also, at the same time he is in the aspect of an ordinary person such as a beggar, such as a crazy lady, such as a rich person, such as a king—many different aspects. Sometimes he is in the form of an animal, according as it benefits. The method is done with knowing mind, omniscient mind, knowing that it can help guide others from suffering as his omniscient mind sees. Also, at the same time in the pure realm there are many things. His holy body can manifest in numberless billions. We cannot even do this with just one body—each of the atoms of the body cannot work; the whole body has to be wherever our feet are; wherever our head is, our whole body has to be there together. For him it is not like this.

Each atom of his body can manifest in numberless billion of different manifestations and then work for other sentient beings’ minds. As omniscient mind sees it can benefit others and release them from suffering. Each atom of his holy body, each pore of his holy body has that much knowledge and power. Also this is the knowledge of the power of the holy body, but also each pore of his holy body, can, besides manifesting in different ways many billions of times, each of them also has capability and power to give different teachings through the knowledge of speech. And each of the manifestations that is transformed by each pore all have omniscient mind. So for instance, from one that is transformed in many billions of different manifestations, each manifestation was transformed into more, different manifestations. From another transformation, manifestation, like this spreading, coming; it is transformed, without any effort, intuitively, without any effort. Thinking like this, there is the knowledge of the holy body. Thinking of yourself and also Guru Shakyamuni—then you remember how much great knowledge Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body has.

This just to have a little idea how much infinite power and knowledge his holy body has. Also like this, the knowledge of his holy speech is like this. Even if infinite sentient beings asked a different question to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha at the same time, the knowledge and perfection of his speech is that by giving one answer each, it becomes the answer to each sentient being. It becomes the answer according to each of the sentient beings’ questions. There is a different answer according to each of the sentient beings’ different questions. The answer fits the person, like this, different answers. Even if the people’s question is the same, because of their different level of mind they will hear different answers according to the level of mind. So as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave tantric teachings, the power of speech. Also, when he was showing the first Dharma circle at Varanasi, Sarnath for the followers who had low intelligence, as he gave the Dharma to one follower he said, “This is impermanent.” Some of the followers understood “this” to be suffering, some other beings understood “this” to be non-self-existence, shunyata. So like this, they received different teachings, different answers, different teachings according to the level of mind. There are knowledges of his holy speech, like this, different answers to the different beings who have different levels of mind.

By giving the first answer, through that, the student’s wisdom increases. As it goes higher, then his mind becomes receptive, ready to hear higher teachings, to hear the correct answer. The actual answer comes like this, gradually. Guru Shakyamuni, whose holy mind is so skillful, first of all gives an answer which is not the actual thing. The reason that he gives this is that he fully sees through his wisdom that his mind will become ready in order to understand the higher teaching, the right answer, the teaching. Then he shows it to the person’s mind gradually, and the student slowly gets the understanding of the right answer, right teaching, which means the direct teaching. What’s the meaning of “parable”?

Answer: Story to explain something, symbolic story.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes the parents, the father and mother, are the object of killing. This not an actual thing, but for that person, that very low-minded person, he doesn’t kill the parents but according to his interest, through this somehow the mind becomes ready to slowly understand the cause of suffering and the true cause of suffering, as it is the object to avoid and the parents are not the object of killing. This skill is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s skill. As he shows the method, he fully sees ahead of time the benefit of that.

These are the knowledge of his holy mind and the knowledge of his holy speech. There are also many other examples, teachings, which are shown for a certain level of being, so many people make mistakes. They think that the people don’t really study, so they find complications, and why do they talk of different things? What is the purpose? They don’t understand the purpose, the reason that Guru Shakyamuni said this. So the person finds confusion in the mind, complication, like this.

Then, knowledge of his holy mind. If all the bushes and trees growing in the different worlds, even in one world, are all mixed, put into very small pieces, tiny pieces, mashed, ground, then put into the Pacific, then stirred well, then picked up, and then one asked Guru Shakyamuni Buddha where such tiny pieces are from, his holy mind has such incredible knowledge and power that it fully sees where they are from—from which country, wood, mountain, from which part of the mountain. Everything is so clear, from which kind of tree, everything. This is just a rough idea. And also, at the same time, he fully sees the past, present and future existence. It is like this for us—while we are thinking of the past, we have no time to think of the future; while we are thinking of the future, wehave no time to think of the present. We don’t know even what’s happening behind us. We don’t even know what the mind is, that we have had from beginningless lifetimes. Also, besides this, we see only with our eyes the front object, the relative object. Sometimes even we make mistakes, even when we are close to the object we make mistakes. Also, we don’t even know how many worms there are in the stomach! Anyway, I am joking. That much is maybe not true.

Guru Shakyamuni’s omniscient mind has power and incredible knowledge to see every single atom, physically talking about every single atom, every single existence of the atom. Besides this, without talking about different things like this absolute true nature, besides talking about these things, each tiny atom, physical atom of all causative phenomenal existence, all that is not formless, each atom of this, every single atom, Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind fully sees it at the same time. Not at different times, at the same time. When we think of one object, we cannot think of other objects.

For instance, when we completely pay attention to someone talking and read a book, we cannot understand the meaning. When we have complete attention to the meaning, even if we hear a sound we don’t understand its meaning. Sometimes we don’t hear even the sound. Anyway, the holy omniscient mind sees every single existence at the same time. Also, the functions of existence. As there are infinite sentient beings, the omniscient mind fully sees each of the sentient beings’ minds, and what they are thinking. For instance, here each person thinks different things. At the same time, Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind sees very clearly at the same time. As his omniscient mind realizes other sentient beings’ infinite minds. Without effort he can read, without effort, like this.

In previous time, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India—sometimes in the villages there are certain paths, and Guru Shakyamuni always goes out to do different things in the manifestation of a bhikshu. To work for sentient beings. So sometimes there were people, who, for some reason, wanted to see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. They wanted to see the arhats, so they stood by the road just expecting him. Guru Shakyamuni’s omniscient mind always watches with great compassion for other sentient beings, and his omniscient mind sees wherever the person is waiting.

However, whatever we do, meditating, even if we are in among people, even if we are in our own room at a certain place, at a certain quiet place, it does not mean that Guru Shakyamuni does not see or understand, that Guru Shakyamuni is not there. It does not mean this. Wherever his understanding is, there is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. That’s why the Buddha, the enlightened being is everywhere. There is no such place where there is no enlightened being. Wherever his holy mind is, wherever his holy mind covers, his holy speech covers and his holy body covers, like this. It does not depend on a specific quiet certain place. Guru Shakyamuni’s existence does not depend on any kind of temple or monastery or something. This is important to know, especially for one who wants to meditate. We should not have the idea that he’s not here, that he’s not in my room, that he is only in idols, statues, or pictures; we should not have this idea. This is a mistake, thinking, “He does not know anything about what I am.” If you think at your bed, at your place, every time, “He’s really here existing,” because of the knowledge of omniscient mind, whatever the knowledge of omniscient mind covers, also the speech covers, and at the same time the holy body.

So like this, logically, your devotion for his existence would be stronger as you think this. Then also in your room you feel kind of heavy, kind of blessed. Also, you cannot any longer make mistakes because of his existence. You don’t want to make any mistakes, even in your bed, even if there is no other person, no animal. This is very useful. Also by thinking like this about an altar, you will not think they are just pictures, this and that, but you will really think when you make offerings of flowers and incense, think that he himself is really living there. Like you are making offering to a king or an important person, with good behavior, in the same way thinking that he’s really existing there. Then you make offerings like this. Also, by the way, thinking that your place is Guru Shakyamuni’s place, so there is always Guru Shakyamuni here. This can be protection; it blesses your room to think like this, and there will be less hindrances for you. Also it blesses your meditations, and there will also be less hindrances. There is much importance to this. Slowly, through purification like this, as the devotion gets stronger and stronger, it is also possible to see these altars in the form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Sometimes you see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha with as deep purification as you make and have, on the basis of deep devotion like this. Thinking like this can be the cause of actually seeing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Also it can be the cause ... that’s all.

Then perhaps in the afternoon, I am not sure, perhaps in place of the usual teaching schedule discourse, you do meditation. Because probably at night-time I may have to make noise! Unless you say shut up! That’s all. Perhaps Guru Thubten Yeshe may come to give question and answer if there is time.

Day Twenty-five
Monday, April 15
5 a.m.

“From beginningless previous samsaric lifetimes I have been experiencing the suffering of samsara, particularly the suffering of the three lower realms, which is the usual place that I have been experiencing incredible suffering in, for many eons. If I do not try to do something to cease the continuity of suffering through Dharma practice, then it is definite that as well as having these wrong conceptions, I will spontaneously suffer in samsara. It is not enough that oneself not be born in the lower realm, and oneself be released from samsaric suffering; that’s not enough, not sufficient. There are infinite sentient beings who are suffering more than I am suffering now. Most of them are suffering in the lower realms all the time, all the time. As they are my mothers, as they are also the source of all my past, present, and future happiness, and also as they have been kind, and they are still kind, until I also am released from samsara or achieve enlightenment they will be continuously kind to me, and as I am their son, I am responsible for taking care of my mothers as they are in suffering, and to repay their kindness. The best way to help is to try to achieve enlightenment in order to enlighten others. So I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings as quickly as possible. That depends on subduing the negative actions of speech, body, and mind. Therefore, I am going to take Mahayana ordination.”

Visualize the person granting the ordination as surrounded by buddhas, bodhisattvas and arhats, and that you are taking the vows.

Prayer No.1

Think that now you have received the Mahayana ordination in the form of light, and that your whole body is full of light. Also think that you are going to observe the precepts until tomorrow morning as the previous arhats followed them.

Prayer No. 2, Mantra

Prayer No. 3, Dedication Prayer

Dedicate the merits of taking the ordination, “Due to these merits may I achieve enlightenment soon by receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, bodhicitta, and the fully renounced mind of samsara only for the sake of leading sentient beings to enlightenment and releasing them from suffering.”


Then think that you are keeping precepts, think that you took precepts in order to enlighten each sentient being. You are keeping the precepts for each sentient being, including those who are close to you, those who are nearby you. Think, and try to persuade your own mind in order to be careful, in order to keep the precepts well. As you are observing precepts for such an infinite number of sentient beings, not just for one or two people, briefly try to think this frequently.

Then, this morning do meditation starting from perfect human rebirth down to death. Thank you.

9 a.m.

From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, “If even the beneficial action that has to be repaid is temporarily admired, the action that is well done without asking, the help that is well done without asking, why not admire the bodhisattvas?”

The meaning of this is that even things such as saving someone from suffering, guiding them from suffering and trouble, giving someone help so they are not caught or punished, even these little things, such as saving someone from hunger and cold, and giving them their temporal needs, even this kind of help is thought of as worthy of being repaid, because it is help that relieves someone from troubles. We admire these things, and think that it is necessary to repay them. As that is so, even for these little things, then why shouldn’t we admire the bodhisattvas? The bodhisattvas help without being asked; their help does not depend on our requesting them, unlike the help of ordinary people. Even when we ask ordinary people for help, we don’t get it. But help from the bodhisattva does not depend on asking them, because of their incredible compassion, the fact that they take care of others more than themselves, that they dedicate themselves and live for other beings. Even though the bodhisattva is not asked by someone, he is always concerned, day and night, the whole time he is concerned about how to guide other beings, how to save them from suffering. Without asking, the bodhisattvas cause us to create good karma, they persuade and help us in this way, influencing us, causing us to create good karma so that we can be saved from suffering. So why don’t we admire these bodhisattvas who help us in this way? Why don’t we admire them? Why can’t we repay them? If it is so worthwhile to do so for ordinary beings who give us little help, then why not admire and repay the bodhisattvas?

The best way to repay the kindness of the bodhisattvas and enlightened beings, the thing that pleases them, is to do as they wish us to do. What do they wish us to do? What do they want? What they desire us to do is to release from all suffering, and from the cause of all suffering, and to become enlightened as quickly as possible. This is the wish of the enlightened beings and the bodhisattvas. As this is their main concern, this is the best work. So this is the best offering to the bodhisattvas and buddhas, to fulfill their desire, their wishes. This is the best offering to the bodhisattvas and enlightened beings.

Fulfilling the desire of ordinary people depends on receiving material things; this is what causes them to be pleased. But for the enlightened beings and bodhisattvas, the best offering, the thing that pleases them the most is Dharma practice and the attainment of realizations, pure Dharma practice. Dharma practice is oneself totally trying to escape from suffering, following the method to escape from suffering in order to achieve enlightenment and nirvana. So releasing oneself from suffering, try to achieve everlasting happiness, just this is the best offering, because these beings are concerned about us, not themselves. Ordinary beings are concerned about themselves, not us. So for ordinary people, even if the other person is enlightened, it doesn’t make any change, it does not please their minds. Their minds are only pleased by receiving temporal material things. As many realizations as they hear another person has, this and that, omniscient mind, they wouldn’t care. For an ordinary person hearing that someone has realizations or omniscient mind doesn’t make any sense, no matter what that person has achieved. It is like the sound of the river—he doesn’t feel anything. The person understands clearly the sound of the river, he recognizes that clearly. But the person’s mind would be more pleased by receiving ten or fifteen rupees than by hearing that someone has the achievement of realizations. Generally, if such things are given, the mind gets blown. But if someone says, “He has omniscient mind, he has bodhicitta,” it doesn’t make any sense. “What’s that?” It doesn’t make any sense.

But for the bodhisattvas and buddhas, the really best offering is releasing yourself from suffering and bringing yourself to everlasting happiness and enlightenment. This is the best offering to them, because they are more concerned about us than themselves. This is the knowledge of the buddhas, the enlightened beings, the bodhisattvas. Pleasing them does not depend on receiving something. The best way for sentient beings to please them is to cause themselves to release from suffering and to be enlightened. We try to meditate and practice Dharma purely as much as possible for this goal. This is the best offering, even though you don’t go to a holy place, to a temple or where some special thing is built up, with statues inside. Even though you don’t go there to put flowers or something, you try to realize the absolute nature, you try to escape from suffering by following the Buddhadharma. This is the best offering for them. This is what they want, rather than you dressing up and going to church or temple or whatever it is, or bringing flowers—things that are similar in form to going to the movies—dressing up, and the mind getting nothing, the mind always creating and working opposite to the wishes of the enlightened beings or bodhisattvas. Physically going and offering and making beautiful things cannot please them that much.

Merely exterior things cannot make them pleased. Also, for those things to become Dharma is extremely Dharma, because for the action to become Dharma, the action has to become the remedy of the negative mind, the remedy of the delusions. If the motivation is always living in the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, there is no way for those actions to really become Dharma. It is extremely difficult.

I have one story. One geshe, a meditator, the same one we talked about before with the field and all this, who stole at night and robbed during the day, was in a cave in a solitary place and his benefactor was coming up to see him. Before that, he cleaned his room and made offerings, very clean. He performed the offerings of water bowls very well, because the benefactor was coming. Then all of a sudden he checked up his actions and his motivation and he discovered that the motivation was the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life. The action was only done because of the benefactor coming, so that the benefactor would say how clean it was, and how good he was. He found this out by checking up this evil thought, the ego, the negative mind politics. All of a sudden as he discovered that this is not Dharma, he took a handful of dust and threw it all over everything—the water bowls and everything, and made it all a mess. And then it became a really pure offering. Before it was an impure offering; it looked clean, but it was not really clean. It was externally clean, but the offering was not really clean. Why was it not clean? Because it really doesn’t become Dharma. It was not clean because the motivation was done with the eight worldly dharmas, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Therefore that offering, even though it externally looks clean and neat, it was not really sincere, not really a pure, clean offering. So the second time it really becomes a pure, clean offering. Like this. Why does it become a clean offering? Why? It is because the second time, even though he threw dust all over it, the action was done with the mind renouncing the evil thought that is attached to reputation, attached to the comfort of this life, the reputation that the benefactor would see this and think how clean it is and all these things. Even though he threw dirt, he did so with the motivation of the mind renouncing the evil thought, renouncing the worldly dharmas, the comfort of this life, and reputation. Because the mind was in the Dharma, the action done with it became pure Dharma, became the best offering. The previous offering did not please the enlightened holy beings, but the second practice did.

At the same time, there was another great yogi in Tibet, Phadampa Sangye. He heard about this geshe, this meditator whose name was Bon Gompol, and how he had thrown dirt all over when the benefactor was coming, doing the opposite of what his evil thought was telling him. As the great yogi heard this, he highly respected this meditator. He said, “If anyone makes an offering, it should be like this offering.” Many other meditators highly respect this practice, saying, “This is the essential puja.” Puja means offering in Sanskrit.

Offering does not mean giving something, the way we usually understand it; it is not like this. The actual meaning of puja is not this, something material, giving something that is matter. The essential meaning of puja, the actual thing, the offering, is renouncing the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. That is the most pure puja. On the basis of that puja, even if one makes material offerings everything becomes a real puja. Also, a pure clean offering is like this. An offering that is done with the evil thought is called a poisonous offering because the motivation is poison, the cause of samsara, the cause of suffering. So it is recognized as a black offering or a poisonous offering, like this.

So actually, offering, clean offering does not depend on how much you clean with cloth. It really does not depend on not having dirt or having dirt. The actual cleaning depends on the motivation. Ordinary people don’t care whatever the person’s motivation is; nothing depends on motivation but depends on material, how much it is clean. But for holy beings, it is not like this. The offering does not depend on that. But for enlightened beings, holy beings, even though you are offering peepee, kaka, for them it is not peepee or kaka. For enlightened beings it is not peepee or kaka. All are nectar, nectar, in the nature of infinite bliss, having such a fantastic sweet taste. Why? Because of the enlightened being’s complete realization. They are complete because he has completed purifying the obscurations and has completed creating merits. Because of the power of this, there is no such thing as the object having no good taste, an unsweet sound; no such ugly thing, like this.

In previous times in India, one of the followers of Guru Shakyamuni, I think his relative, the younger son, used to be an evil person. Somehow this evil person was always trying to interrupt and hinder Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, trying to kill him; in so many ways he tried to hinder him. Once he hindered other people from offering food to Guru Shakyamuni’s followers and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Somehow someone offered rotten rice, and then it was shared with Guru Shakyamuni’s followers, the arhats, and also offered to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. There was very little or something, there was some problem. One of Guru Shakyamuni’s disciples called Kungawo thought, “Even if Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has the trouble of not receiving good things like this, why not us.” He thought something like this, and he told others. Somehow Guru Shakyamuni took out one little rice grain from his tin, then let his disciples taste it. Just by tasting one tiny rice grain, it satisfied him and he received such an incredible taste, very sweet, even though it was rotten rice. Others didn’t receive as much taste as Guru Shakyamuni did. Actually, Guru Shakyamuni himself doesn’t need food, doesn’t have to depend on food. He is an enlightened being who has the achievement of omniscient mind and doesn’t have to rely on food, but this is the way they look at it, how they see it, how the followers view it according to the level of their minds, like this.

So anyway, therefore, the best thing, the best offering that pleases the enlightened beings and bodhisattvas is practicing bodhicitta. Cultivate the pure motivation, thinking, “I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. For that reason I am going to listen to the holy, profound teachings on the graduated path.”

The graduated path—there is no need to go through the original fundamental outlines—then perfect human rebirth, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, the difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth and how it is impermanent, how it is impermanent and how death is definite, because we are living under the control of delusions and karma, living in the cycle of death and rebirth, so therefore death is definite.

Death is definite, death is definite. “As death is definite, it doesn’t matter, even if death is definite, let it happen.” Then what happens after death? It is more definite that we will be born in the lower suffering realm, because in this life more negative karma has been created. It is the same thing in all the previous lifetimes. More negative karma has been created than positive karma. Even such as actions like this, even negative actions, even the negative actions such as telling lies, such as killing chickens or butterflies, even one negative action can result in the person experiencing suffering for a long time. The person may be born as a butterfly many times and get killed, not just once, but the result has to be experienced many times, even though the action is just one. We have created these actions such as killing not just once, but many times. As we have created such negative actions in this life, for many lifetimes we have been creating it. So therefore it is incredible. Numberless, infinite karmas have been created from beginningless lifetimes. Therefore, it is more definite to be born in the suffering lower realms.

Then what about, “It doesn’t matter even though one is born in the suffering lower realms?” Once one is born in the suffering lower realms, it is extremely difficult to come up. For a long time, so many eons, one has to spend life down there suffering, not creating any good karma. Besides this, one does not have the chance to create even one positive action, and is always creating more and more negative actions, always. So it always goes round just there, one gets born and dies there, suffering, suffering in all this. Very rarely, only sometimes, one comes up, just like this.

Therefore, if you don’t want to experience suffering, even five minutes of suffering, touching fire, feeling cold, somehow a little flea biting, even if it blows the mind, frightens one, then how can we experience these sufferings for a long time? Therefore, of course, we have to take care of these sufferings, to not be born. Therefore, when should it be done? How should it be managed? So what can help you to not go down at death time? Nothing can help, only Dharma can help, Dharma is the only method; nothing else can help at death time. Also even to stop death, to not go through the door of the suffering realm, the only method that can help is Dharma.

As death is definite, Dharma practice is definite; it should be definitely done, like this. As the actual time of death is indefinite, as we are not sure when it will happen, therefore we cannot put off—for one, two, or three years—practicing Dharma. “Now I cannot practice, but maybe when I go back to the west and go through all of life again and maybe get tired and come back to the east and study Dharma.” Not like this. Some people have an idea like this, very strong attachment. “I am not at the right time to start Dharma. I am not ready, I must go through this life and then, perhaps, I may get tired, then slowly, slowly there will be time to practice Dharma.” That kind of idea is something that cheats oneself and causes one to live in suffering for a long time. When this person thinks like this—first he must go through all this, then after some time there will be time to do it—"First you must go through the trip of the lower realm suffering for a long time, then practice Dharma.” Actually, it is like this. Even if the person doesn’t understand, actually what it becomes is like this, the trip that the person would make is this. Therefore, as the actual time of death is indefinite, so we should practice Dharma. After death is finished we can do nothing. The method to guide us from that danger should be done before the danger arises. So it should be done right away.

What is the essential thing? What is the essential thing? What is the beginning of Dharma practice? What is the essential method to guide us from suffering? To really practice Dharma, to follow the teaching of the Buddha depends on refuge, asking for guidance, relying on someone. But it is necessary first of all to have the perfect object that never betrays, which has the perfect power and knowledge to cause one’s release from the suffering of the lower realms, the suffering of samsara, which has the power to release one from all suffering, all wrong conceptions, suffering, obscurations, from all illusive mind, that causes one to achieve enlightenment and everlasting happiness. The object in whom we take refuge should be like this. If we make a mistake in the object of refuge at the beginning, if we take refuge in the wrong object, which is imperfect, which cannot guide, as much as we take refuge there, it can betray, it can cheat us. Taking refuge is life’s work. If you make a mistake and take refuge in the wrong object in this life, it destroys so many future lives. So to not make mistakes in whom you rely on, the object, and to have a perfect object is the most important thing, more than anything else, because for all other future lives to be good, it depends on this life; this life is like the key, to lock or to open. So much of the future life depends on this. It is so important, very important. Who you rely on, who you follow and take refuge in, for that to be correct is the most important thing. People who are prisoners cannot guide each other because they all in the same prison. So you should rely on the person who’s out of prison. You should ask someone who’s out of it for help.

First of all think as you have visualized Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, then check, during the refuge time, do meditation as usual, with the rays and knowledge coming. Do this: knowledge rays come from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body and one is surrounded by all sentient beings in the form of human beings; even though they are suffering, their form is that of a human being. Then while you are visualizing, do purification for all sentient beings and yourself by the knowledge rays that come from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body.

Then you check, after the meditation on suffering, first think of the object. “It is necessary to take refuge in order to be saved from this suffering, from samsaric suffering and the suffering lower realm, and even from this subtle illusive mind and to cause all sentient beings release from suffering. It is necessary to take refuge, so from whom do I take refuge? The perfect object is the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.” Then think, “He is perfect, if I take refuge in Buddha.” First of all think that Buddha himself is the Sangha himself—”So if I take refuge, is he capable to guide us from all these sufferings?” Think that he is capable, he has perfect power and knowledge. Because the path that he followed, many other enlightened beings also followed, and they received the perfect power of compassion, the perfect knowledge of certain powers, the perfect knowledge of omniscient mind. As Guru Shakyamuni followed the path as it was shown by the other enlightened beings, Guru Shakyamuni achieved the same thing. Therefore Guru Shakyamuni has all these powers to guide one from suffering. “If I follow the path that was shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, then I will achieve the same level of knowledge that he has achieved, the completion of perfect knowledge, great compassion, omniscient mind and powers.” Also, think whether the Dharma has the capability, the power to guide one from all these sufferings, to make other sentient beings enlightened and also to release them from samsaric suffering and release them from the suffering of the lower realms.

Before checking whether the Dharma has this power, check Buddha’s knowledge; you are also capable of doing it by following this path. Then check up the knowledge, check like this. “He is capable, he is a perfect guide who can guide because he himself is released from all suffering, not having even a subtle illusive mind, also having the perfect supreme power to guide other sentient beings from all suffering, from any suffering, from any obscuration. But if he has power, if he’s capable, will he guide us or not, if we rely on him and take refuge, will he guide us or not, will he work for us or not, will he work for me to save me from suffering?” He will work because of his compassion, which is infinitely stronger than that compassion that one has for oneself. Because of this he guides, he helps all suffering sentient beings without having any partial thought. For instance, ordinary people, ordinary samsaric beings, ordinary beings such as kings, such as samsaric gods, they help. Even though they have little power, their help is given with partial thought; they give only to those who are closer to them, they don’t give help to others who are not close. So there is partial mind. The help is not equal help. It is partial help. Ordinary samsaric gods such as people, kings, as they have ordinary minds, same thing—they help, for people who like them, they help, but people who complain to them, who don’t like them, they don’t give help. But the Enlightened Being is never like this; he is completely opposite, no matter how much sentient beings complain about him. He helps both with impartial, infinite great compassion. So because of this there is no doubt, besides his having power, perfect supreme power, that he would save me from suffering. Also it is not dependent. Ordinary people who have little power such as samsaric gods give help to the people who benefit them, and to those who don’t benefit them, to those who disturb them, they don't give help. The Enlightened Being is never like this, he is the complete opposite. He gives equal help; he guides both sentient beings who benefit, and those who don’t—he guides all sentient beings away from suffering. Therefore he will definitely guide me from suffering. Then check up the knowledge of his holy compassion and the knowledge of his supreme holy mind, and then the knowledge of his holy speech and holy body as we talked about yesterday. You try to remember.

For the knowledge of his holy body (page 69), there are about eighty examples. There are eighty signs signifying that he is a holy being, that he has such realizations. The signs that signify that he has such achievement of realization are called pe.je. Then there are thirty-two other examples signifying the holy body. Each signifies that he is a holy being.

Each of the eighty signs and thirty-two significations has a cause that was created when he was following the path. He has created the cause of each, like the perfect human rebirth. There are about eighty; each of these causes was created in other previous lifetimes. So just like these eighty and thirty-two holy signs, there is a cause that was created by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha for a long time, when he was following a path like this. For instance, like all the arhats—there are two different followers of the Hinayana path—so taking all these, the Lesser Vehicle followers, and all the ordinary people in the world and on the earth and even the king of the universe, and collect all their merits, making one total, one hundred times that much merit brings the result of one tiny part of the holy body of an enlightened being, like a pore. One hundred times that much merit brings the result of one pore, such a small tiny part of the holy body. Like this, one hundred times the cause of this piece brings the holy sign of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, the pe.je.

There are many holy signs on the body. There are divisions, parts. The holy signs on Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body are included in the pe.je, and the holy signification of the holy body which are called the holy signs—the Tibetan term is tsen.sang. One hundred times the cause of the pores brings the result of the pe.je, the holy signs. For example, the fingers are very long and the nails have a copper color, the hairs are not mixed, and they are so soft, with good smells. Anyway, I don’t remember—all these are in the Abhisamayalamkara, the philosophical text that was given by Maitreya to Asanga. In this text, all this is explained. I have learnt it, but now I don’t remember.

One hundred times the cause of this pe.je brings the result of the tsen.sang, the holy signs of which there are thirty-two. Then one hundred times that cause brings the result of this forehead curl, between the two eyebrows, the curled hair. It is called zo.bu in Tibetan. It is something that can be stretched out and can go on naturally and stays there, curled, like rubber. Then, one hundred thousand times of the cause of bringing this result of the curled hair brings the result of the hair-knot. The Tibetan term for that is zo.bu, which means center, the center. Then many trillions of times of this cause that brings this hair-knot brings the result of the holy speech, which has sixty-two knowledges. The holy body, the holy mind is just like this.

So even just to achieve one pore, it is necessary to create that much incredible merit. Even the merits collected by the king of the universe, all ordinary beings, and even followers of the Lesser Vehicle path, if all these merits make one total, still it does not become the cause of this, still it doesn’t bring this. One hundred times that much merit brings the result of the pores of the Enlightened Being’s holy body. Thinking like this is very useful. Even a tiny of that bit of that incredible merit has to be created. In this way it gives some idea of the knowledge of the Enlightened Being’s holy body, and how it is precious, and how it is created by the collection of extensive merits.

Then also, the knowledge of the Enlightened Being’s compassion, as I said before, is impartial, equal for every sentient being. It is not like for some thousands of sentient beings—for all sentient beings, but excluding one or two sentient beings? Not like this, the compassion for all sentient beings. Not excluding even one sentient being, like this. Because of this we are also objects of their compassion. Also, if someone cuts us in pieces from here, from the right side, if someone loves this part, caressing one side, cuts it into little pieces and then waits for some time, and then cuts one piece, and waits some time, not even cutting them all together at one time—so both, having compassion equally for both, one who loves and one who cuts, having equal love. The knowledge and compassion of the great bodhisattvas and the enlightened beings is like this. To think like this is useful.

Then Dharma. “If I take refuge, does the Dharma have the knowledge and power to save me from suffering?” It has power. Because why? Guru Shakyamuni became enlightened having all this knowledge; having such knowledge of the holy speech, body, and mind. So the Dharma made it possible for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to achieve enlightenment—all this knowledge, all these perfections, knowledge and power, omniscient mind. So also many other numberless beings who follow Guru Shakyamuni’s path received enlightenment through being released from all this suffering. So it is definitely possible, they have definite perfection, knowledge, and power to save me from suffering and enlighten me.

Same thing, the Sangha. The enlightened beings themselves are Sangha, as well as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself. They are Sangha because they have Sangha knowledge, what is necessary. Without depending on their being Sangha, we cannot achieve the path, cannot achieve enlightenment, cannot complete the path. Also, the enlightened beings such as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, before they achieved enlightenment they were higher beings, Sangha. Because of that they gradually became enlightened, so that’s how we received the teaching. That’s how he has power to guide us. So thinking like this, even before he achieved enlightenment, Guru Shakyamuni achieved enlightenment. Guru Shakyamuni being Sangha before, even that helped me, even that guidance saved sentient beings from suffering. Also, it has the power to save me from all the suffering. Also other Sangha, because of their achievement of realization, influence us. Arhats and those higher bodhisattvas who are Sangha, because they have achieved those realizations, have influence. Because of their influence, we copy and follow their path. That’s how the Sangha also helps us to follow the path, and gives us desire and interest in following the path because of their powers and influence.

Then think, also check up through your own Dharma practice, your own Dharma, starting from observing karma up to enlightenment, from perfect human rebirth up to enlightenment, all this. Meditate on how it guides one and saves one from suffering, and causes one to achieve enlightenment. First of all, it causes one to become Sangha by releasing one from the heavy gross delusions. It causes one to achieve enlightenment by releasing the mind from the mental delusions, all the delusions, mental defilements, and every single illusive mind. That’s how one’s own Dharma guides oneself. It is easy to think how the Buddha guides one, but how does one’s own Sangha and Dharma guide? Think like this, it is clear like this.

Where did I stop yesterday? Page 68, I think I stopped here.

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Also think how Buddha is the founder of the refuge. What refuge? What is the actual refuge? That is Dharma. Dharma is the actual refuge. The Sangha is the helper on the path. For example, Buddha is like the doctor, the Dharma is like the medicine, and the Sangha is the nurse who takes care and helps the patients. We are the patients.

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1. 2. These are the two causes for how one should take refuge, the way of taking refuge. I must completely rely, I must ... (read number 1 and 2).

The Knowledge of Buddha (Page 69)

A. 1. Svabhavakaya: ngo.wo nyid.ku

Ngo is essence, nature. Nyid is self. Ku is body. At that time it is finished, so completely purified, like this. This svabhavakaya is the nature of the enlightened being’s mind. At the moment the nature of our mind—anyway, like this: when we achieve enlightenment, the mind becomes omniscient mind, and the nature of our mind becomes the nature of the omniscient mind. The nature of omniscient mind is the continuity of this present mind, the svabhavakaya. At present our mind is living in both delusions, both obscurations, so when the mind becomes purified of both obscurations it becomes omniscient mind, and its nature becomes the clear light nature of Buddha’s holy mind, which has complete purity of those two delusions and obscurations.

2. Dharmakaya

That means seeing all existence like seeing the fruit in the hand. Omniscient mind sees all existence like that. But we cannot see, we only see outside, we don’t see inside the apple, whether there are worms or things.

3. Sambhogakaya

The sambhogakaya can be seen in the pure realm, such as the pure realm of Ogmin. After receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, one can always see the sambhogakaya manifestation of Buddha. Sambhogakaya—sometimes it is translated like this—the holy body of enjoyment, perfect enjoyment. I think in His Holiness’s Book The Opening of the Wisdom Eye it is translated like this. After receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, one sees the sambhogakaya, one receives teachings without much effort. One can always see the sambhogakaya and one can receive this.

Actually, it is a very vast subject, studying the knowledge of the enlightened being’s holy body, speech, and mind. It is a very vast subject. One can only understand the details, with little details, if one studies very carefully extensive discourses, philosophical texts, which explain many details. Then one can understand a little bit. But this is just to have some idea, just a drop. Only when you achieve enlightenment do you fully understand the Enlightened Being’s knowledge, holy speech, body and mind. Therefore it is very deep, so even just to perfectly know the knowledge that is symbolized by one statue, one painting, takes so much time; to understand the knowledge symbolized by each line, each decoration, each thing, to completely study it, you have to spend many lifetimes. You fully understand only when you achieve enlightenment.

You think that these things are easy, simple, but it is not like this, not simple. You cannot understand from a little text; it is not something that you can easily understand even though you study all the philosophical subjects that talk about tantra and sutra teachings, giving details, but still not completely fully understanding. It is not easy. It signifies infinite knowledge, it signifies the path, the knowledge of enlightenment—the whole knowledge, complete knowledge, is signified by that. There is a little talk in this book why they should be respected; that comes later on. There are always reasons why they should be respected. Like this book—it signifies knowledge; even one line signifies incredible knowledge. Anyway, it is not easy. The reason it should be respected is because the infinite enlightened beings’ knowledge is symbolized by each of the lines. I think it is better to stop here.

The most important parts of refuge are briefly finished, except a few readings, but of course, actually explaining it is something that cannot be finished until we achieve enlightenment. At that time the explanation is finished because you have complete understanding.

7 p.m.

The refuge object of the Buddha is absolute and relative—the dharmakaya, as we said this morning, and the clear light nature of Buddha’s omniscient mind, the svabhavakaya are the absolute Buddha jewel. The relative Buddha refuge object is the nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya, the holy body of perfect enjoyment.

It is the same thing also with the Dharma. The absolute refuge object, the Dharma, is the cessation of suffering, and the true path that leads to the cessation of the suffering. The true path means the path that leads to the different levels of true cessation of suffering. There are about five paths. Also, the Mahayana path has five paths to achieve enlightenment. For instance, any being who has the achievement of the right-seeing path, the third path, is recognized as a higher being, a transcendental being. Starting from that, the deep concentration that is done when the follower is on each of these paths causes the release from that level of obscuration. Each of these five paths, the third, fourth, fifth, each of these paths becomes the remedy to purify the obscurations. Also, generally, they can be recognized as the graduated path to achieving enlightenment. The relative Dharma, the refuge object Dharma, is the twelve divisions of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching; the 84, 000 teachings of Guru Shakyamuni is included in the twelve divisions that explain the basis, path, knowledge and enlightenment, that is the relative refuge object and Dharma.

Anyway, the Sangha. Anyone who has the achievement of the true path and cessation of suffering has received the right-seeing path, the third path, and that follower becomes Sangha up until enlightenment. Once you achieve that path, you become Sangha. Generally, there is so much knowledge to talk about in terms of Sangha, according to the philosophy. There is too much to talk, so much knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

You have to be very careful about the object on whom you rely, in whom you take refuge. There is nothing to trust even in those who can give much material help. There are spirits and samsaric gods, many things. There is nothing to trust. In Tibet—just one example—in previous times, as some people were going down. In Tibet, in the mountains there were spirits of one village being situated. A Tibetan man had a big goiter, and he was going back to his home and he was late. He slept on the mountain on the way, near a great heap of stones. In Tibet, where there are spirits, they always make a heap of stones or a little square kind of wall, a little bit higher, and then they put prayer flags. I don’t remember the name of the spirits, but the person slept near there because it was very late. At night time, the spirits have meetings, they always have meetings and invitations of meat. This also is one other suffering—they always have to find, to go outside to far places to find flesh. It goes in turn, the invitation. So the person slept there and the spirits cut and took out his goiter. He slept there, almost like taking refuge in the spirits, relying on them, so the spirits took the goiter. After he woke up, no goiter. Then he reached home and all the people got a big surprise—he came home without the goiter. There was also another person who had a big goiter, and he got the idea to go there and spend one night. He went up to the same mountain and slept. That night there was an invitation, but the goiter wasn’t delicious so they didn’t use the first goiter, and they put it on top of the other person’s goiter. Then he got a double goiter. So just like this, there is nothing to trust.

This is just an example, but there are so many other things. There are also spirits that if you rely on them, you can receive any material such as food, clothing, temporal needs; there are spirits who can help. But however, there is nothing to trust, they are not worthwhile objects of refuge.

Anyway, like this. In order to escape from samsaric suffering and in order to make sentient beings release from suffering, for this purpose it is necessary to receive help, to rely on the guidance of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; all three together. But generally, in order to rescue someone from a little temporal problem, we don’t need all three. Each of them can save from little temporal problems, but to not be born in the lower suffering realms sentient beings need to receive the guidance of all three objects. Many times it has happened that people, when they are having problems, they pray as they remember certain manifestations of Buddha, specific manifestations of Buddha, when they are in the danger. By praying they get released from it. Like this. In previous times in Tibet, when a man was about to be taken by a tiger, the person all of a sudden remembered Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha. As he prayed to Avalokiteshvara, the tiger, all of a sudden leapt onto the ground and left. So he was released from the fear of the tiger. There are many stories like this with different manifestations, such as Tara, many other things. Each of the objects can save us, can rescue us from temporal dangers. Also in previous times, one king called Sangyal was harmed by the King of the Nagas. The King of the Nagas made weapons rain down on the other king. There was one arhat, Guru Shakyamuni’s closest disciple, who had such high psychic powers. The King relied on this arhat Mongalipu, and the arhat turned this weapon rain into flower rain. There are many other examples that are not necessary.

To rescue from all suffering, it is necessary to have all those—the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Just as the patient needs the person looking after him, and then doctor and medicine, like this. Just having the doctor and medicine is not enough; he has to have a helper to look after him, like this.

So about the Dharma. Just briefly talking, there are about five paths in the holy Dharma. There are two divisions, and each has five divisions. Also the Mahayana path has five divisions. From the third, the right-seeing path, the followers who are following sutra, then from this right-seeing path up to enlightenment there are about ten levels. After one approaches this, the third path, the right- seeing path, one gradually achieves the practice and also the higher paramitas, the six paramitas. Also in the first level there are about ten levels, which start from the right-seeing path. Before achieving enlightenment there are ten levels.

The bodhisattva who is in the first level can manifest in one hundred different bodies. Also, each of these bodies is surrounded by hundreds of bodhisattvas also realizing the one hundred eons, realizing the past one hundred eons, realizing the future one hundred eons, which means the bodhisattva on the first level has the power to realize the past one hundred eons and then at the same time also having the power to see the future one hundred eons. Also it has the power to shake one hundred different worlds; such as having the power of a thousand concentrations, and the power to see hundreds of enlightened buddhas, receiving blessings from hundreds of enlightened buddhas, and transforming hundreds of pure realms, and also showing the Dharma in hundreds of different ways. Also, the bodhisattva who has the achievement of the first level has the power to make hundreds of sentient beings’ minds ripen, to make it ready, ripen. There are about 12,000 knowledges for the bodhisattva who has the achievement of this first level.

The bodhisattva who is at the second level has more thousands of knowledge then the third-level bodhisattva, about one hundred thousand times more knowledge. The fourth-level one has about one hundred million times more knowledge. Then on the sixth level, one hundred million times more knowledge than on the fifth level. The bodhisattva who has the achievement of the seventh level has many times more, and the bodhisattva who has the achievement of the eighth level has even more. The bodhisattva who has the achievement of the ninth level has countless thousands more. Then the bodhisattva who has the achievement of the tenth level, has such unspeakable knowledge that equals the number of the atoms of the galaxies. They are like this.

There are countless great eons. There are five paths, until the great eon. Then from there, from the first level up to the seventh is the second countless great eon. Then from there up to the tenth, that is the third countless eon. So in the sutra way, it takes three countless great eons, if it is divided like this ... (bell rang for the end of session) it takes time! So I read a little bit the last part.

The Knowledge of the Perfected One’s Body, Speech, and Mind (Page 70)

1. Buddha’s holy body

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It means it has power, as I talked about before, each tiny part of his holy body has the power to realize all existence as the omniscient mind does. That is like this, totally like this. There are billions and billions of manifestations that are the embodiment of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, speech, and mind. Even in Tibet there are very high lamas who are recognized as embodiments of Buddha’s holy speech, body and mind. Different embodiments, manifestations. The enlightened beings have this: their holy speech has the power to work as the holy body and mind. Same thing, the holy mind has the power to work as the holy speech and body. Same thing, the holy body has the power to work as the holy speech and mind, not like us. Our speech does not have the power as the mind has or the body has—it is all separate, separate; the body itself doesn’t have the power to work as the mind and the speech.

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The “seed” means the generation, which talks about clear light, the mind nature which is clear light.

Instructions in the Practice of Refuge (Page 72)

There are the practices of refuge. “When I take refuge in Dharma I cannot give harm to any sentient being. When I take refuge in Buddha I cannot follow any false leader who shows the wrong path, who has wrong realizations.” The Dharma is that, not giving harm. The Sangha is not following heretics who have wrong belief, wrong understanding; because of that influence, if you follow, there is always the danger of influence or another person’s belief, or another person’s wrong influence. If you are influenced by the follower in that way, with the wrong conception like this, you cannot be saved from suffering because you are creating the cause of suffering. I think that’s all.

Then tomorrow morning do the equilibrium meditation, and the meditation on samsaric suffering and the third and fourth meditations. First of all meditate on the twelve links, then on equilibrium meditation. Perhaps if there is time to meditate tomorrow!

Dedicate the merits of keeping the teachings, meditating, “May I achieve enlightenment soon in order to enlighten all sentient beings by releasing them from suffering.”

Day Twenty-Six
Tuesday, April 16
5 a.m.

Before taking ordination, in order for the action to become Dharma, it is necessary for the mind to go to the Dharma, and for it to become the cause of enlightenment, it is necessary for the action to be possessed by the pure motivation of bodhicitta. So briefly think, a short impulse, “I have been experiencing samsaric suffering, particularly the suffering of the three lower realms, from beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now. Not being reborn in the lower realms and being born in the upper realm is not enough, because I am born now in the upper realm but I am still living in the cause of suffering and suffering. So I must release myself from samsaric suffering.

Just releasing myself from samsaric suffering, achieving everlasting happiness, is not sufficient. Most of the sentient beings in suffering are my mothers, those who have been kind in the past, who are kind in the present, and who will be continuously kind in the future. Sentient beings are the cause from whom I receive my past, present and future happiness. They are the main helper that is of the utmost need for the beginning of Dharma practice, and also for the middle and the end. Therefore I must repay them. I must look after them, as they are the source of all my happiness and kindness; I must repay them. The best way to repay them is to enlighten them and release them from suffering. This should be done by myself, because I have received a perfect human rebirth, having met the teaching, had the guru explain them, and have the wisdom to discriminate what is negative and positive actions, what are the causes of happiness and suffering. As most sentient beings have not received such a precious chance, I am responsible for working, enlightening them and releasing them from suffering; this should be done by me. In order to do this I must receive enlightenment, and in order to do this I must purify the negativity of my speech, body, and mind. Therefore I am going to take Mahayana ordination.”

Prayer No. 1

At the end of the third repetition you think that you have perfectly received the Mahayana ordination in the form of light and that your whole body from your head down to the feet is full of light.

Repeat also the prayer of the precepts, thinking that, “I will follow the precepts as previous arhats followed them.”

Prayer No. 2, Mantra

Prayer No. 3, Dedication Prayer

Dedicate the merits of taking ordination. “Due to these merits of taking ordination, may I achieve enlightenment soon by receiving the full realization of the absolute true nature, bodhicitta, and the fully renounced mind of samsara in order to enlighten all sentient beings and release them from suffering.”


9 a.m.

Before listening try to cultivate the pure motivation. Think, “I must make all sentient beings receive enlightenment and release them from all suffering as quickly as possible, as the suffering that they experience now is unbearable, and they cannot bear it even for a second. For that reason, first of all I must achieve enlightenment. Without achieving enlightenment I won’t receive the supreme perfect power and the knowledge and all the methods to lead sentient beings to enlightenment by showing these different methods. Because of these reasons I must achieve enlightenment. In order to achieve enlightenment I must complete the realization of the whole graduated path. For that reason I am going to listen to the holy profound teaching on the graduated path.”

The listening subject is the holy profound teaching on the graduated path. According to this book, the perfect human rebirth, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, the great difficulty of receiving a perfect human rebirth and how the perfect human rebirth is fragile and impermanent and the actual time of death is indefinite, then what comes? If the mind continues, what comes after death? In which realm is it more definite that we ordinary people will be born? In the three lower suffering realms—the suffering of the naraks, the suffering of the pretas, and the suffering of the animal realms.

In order to not be reborn in these suffering realms, what is the best method? Also, what is the method to not only be saved from samsaric suffering and the subtle obscurations, and besides releasing oneself from samsara, causing all other sentient beings to be released from suffering. What is the method that helps all this? The fundamental method that has as its lowest purpose closing the door to the three lower realms, stopping rebirth in the lower realms, is refuge. Taking refuge is the fundamental thing, is the principal method. Like this.

In order to take refuge, we need to recognize the objects of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. And who is the worthwhile object that has the power to save us from these sufferings, to grant help, to release us from these sufferings? The perfect object that can never betray is the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the three objects. The ultimate refuge object is the Enlightened Being, Buddha, like this. In regards to cause and result, the connection, Buddha comes from each cause with continuity, and the Dharma and Sangha arise from the cause of Buddha. Who are the perfect objects having perfect power? These three. How are these three worthwhile, how are each of them worthy objects for taking refuge? I briefly explained that yesterday. This is very important—besides recognizing—recognizing, yes, but you do checking meditation on how the Buddha works for taking refuge, how the Dharma is a worthy object to take refuge in, and the Sangha is a worthy object to take refuge in. It is important; totally, the worth is this—you have to think of the knowledge of Buddha, the knowledge of Dharma, and the knowledge of Sangha. Buddha has knowledge, but does he really guide you? Does he really guide if you take refuge? Think of the reason that, besides having compassion, he guides without depending on sentient beings’ like or dislike. Why does he definitely guide us? Because he does not have partial thought, and his compassion is equal for every sentient being.

It is the same with the Dharma. Also think of the knowledge of Dharma, the knowledge of Sangha. In this way you can think that they are worthy objects in which to take refuge. Also, this way you can also think, besides the checking knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, also think of the way it works, the way Buddha guides, the way Dharma guides, the way the Sangha guides. This also becomes the reason that they are worthy of taking refuge in. If they do not guide us, there is no point in taking refuge in them, because we are not sure whether they will guide us or not. With this object there is no question—from your side, if you take refuge completely relying on or following them, there is no question of their not guiding you, just like this.

If, let’s say, we fell down into a deep hole, way down where there is a fireplace, and we were suffering in the fireplace down there in the hole, we would be powerless. Without relying on something, we would be powerless. Without depending on someone, we could not save ourselves, we could not get out of that problem, we could not get above the earth. We would be suffering way down there, powerless. With that much suffering, we would have the desire to get out, but we would be powerless, so we would make noise, ask someone to help us. We would ask someone who’s outside, not someone who’s inside, suffering with you, who could not help. Someone inside could not even get out himself, so how could he help you out?

The outside person sends a rope; the method that he uses is a rope. The path, the Dharma, is like the rope. So when the person sends down the rope, if you hold it, the person can pull you out. If you don’t touch the rope, if you don’t hold it, even if the rope is on your head, in front of you, then as much as you are suffering down there, and as much as you do not desire that suffering, if you don’t touch the rope, the actual refuge, the Dharma, you can’t get out, you cannot be saved. Dharma is the actual method, the actual refuge, and it is as important as that rope. If you hold onto the rope that was sent down, it is definite that the person who is outside will definitely pull you out. If you from your side hold the rope, and he pulls it, from both of these efforts, work from your side and work from theirs, you can be released from suffering, from danger, and you can get out of this place, this hole. So it does not depend only on our side, on ourselves alone holding the rope. If there is not someone else who pulls it, you cannot get out.

Our getting saved from suffering, just like this example, depends on holding the rope. The rope was already there, the person outside sent it, so in order to escape from that problem the person has to hold onto the rope, the actual method. If you don’t touch the rope, the actual method, then nothing works and you can never get saved and released from that problem. Just like this, the Dharma is like the rope. The Sangha, the Buddha are like the beings who are outside the hole. We cannot expect that it will work without trying anything from our side, without catching, holding and following the methods that were shown. Exactly like this example, without the person holding the actual method, the rope, he will never get out of that hole.

When there is rain and the crops do not grow well and are destroyed, the Nepalese villagers always say, “God did it.” What to do? If there is a good thing, “God did it.” What to do? They do not really think that the creator is them, that the suffering and happiness, whatever it is, is created by them. They do not really understand the actual evolution. If the person has this understanding, if he understands that he is the creator, everything is opened. Since he realizes he is the creator, he realizes that suffering, whatever trouble there is, is all caused by him, and the cause that he created to suffer like this—to always be cold, in the rain, in the tent, sitting on cold ground. If there is pleasure, he checks how he created it, what its cause is, and how he created the cause. Checking like this makes the person aware. He does not desire suffering, so he thinks, “What should I do in order to stop the suffering? I desire peace, everlasting happiness, the cessation of suffering, so what cause should I create? I am creator myself, my mind is the creator.” Since he realizes he is the creator, so many things clear up. It works correctly because that is the actual evolution. The way it works is this. Just like this.

In a country where there is a big problem such as famine, most people are in trouble, but one or two people are not in trouble. Even in war sometimes some people get killed, but at the same place, one or two do not get killed. All kinds of different things. Sometimes you try to shoot one person, but it goes to another person and he gets killed; you don’t expect that. This depends on the other person being the creator receiving the bullet, getting killed. This person killing the other person is the creator of the negative action; the other person gets killed, he is the creator of the suffering. Why does the other person not get killed when the other person expected him to? Why do the problems not happen to all people? Because those who didn’t get into trouble did not create that bad karma of suffering, so they don’t get the suffering result. The cause of the suffering result was not created by them, so there was no reason for the suffering result to happen. Anyway we will come to that part.

It is a big mistake to think like this. Not understanding that the cause is created by oneself, and thinking that everything is up to God. If someone is sick, they say it was given by God, what to do? Frankly, if one tells it straight, it is like the person saying that God is the enemy, God is the cause of suffering. That’s how it becomes. The person who is experiencing this is faultless, perfect, good, and all his problems and everything are the fault of God. This conception is—for this kind of belief, this kind of faith, you have to believe that in the sky there is a blue man, Christ, a beautiful glass palace. It is not like this. This is so clear, this is true mental evolution. In the other way, nothing is logical. Even if you don’t understand Dharma, if you check up correctly, the creator of suffering is you. If you check up correctly and wisely, you can discover this. It is simple, very simple, like this—you put your finger in the fire, and then you suffer. If you don’t put your hand in the fire, you don’t suffer. So simple. Understanding this doesn’t depend on understanding a profound, deep Dharma subject. It is so simple. Unless you think you are God, all sentient beings are God, God is a sentient being—I am joking. These are just words. That kind of talk becomes like this—you are better than God, you are faultless, and all problems and suffering are created by God, who is the enemy, the worst evil, while you are holy and perfect. With this example, it is up to you what you want to be.

In the same way, releasing from the cause of suffering is mainly up to us. Just like the example of putting the finger in the fire—if you don’t want to suffer from the fire you should not touch it. It is up to us—receiving everlasting happiness and enlightenment. As I said before, “Oneself can be the guide, oneself can be the enemy.” Just one work that Guru Shakyamuni said in the teachings; it is true, very logical. If there is God, why do all sentient beings keep themselves so busy, suffering, working, working, suffering, to take care of the life, of the body? Why doesn’t God do it? If there is a creator, then why doesn’t God do it? If you think of the example of the rope, then you can understand that it is necessary to get out of suffering, necessary from our side to follow the path and the method as they have shown it. Their work is finished.

The definition of taking refuge, checking with these two causes, is like this. So then if you take refuge, how do they guide you? Then check the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and your inner Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Your Shakyamuni, for example. Also check the way the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are other separate beings, as they guide. So now, how does your Buddha Dharma and Sangha guide you from suffering? Check, “If I take refuge, how do they guide me?” Like this.

Then, what should be done for the practice of refuge, and what should not be done. When you take refuge in the Buddha, you should not follow the wrong founder. “Wrong founder” means a founder of wrong theory or a theory that is the opposite of Dharma. Following the wrong founder that has the wrong realization, the wrong understanding and the wrong theory, you will be misled. Besides this present life, it ruins many other future lives.

So the same thing, by taking refuge in the Dharma, one should not harm other sentient beings. Why? Dharma, the essential Dharma, is to benefit other beings, not harm other beings; the essential Dharma is this. The Dharma is something to benefit oneself and other beings; the Dharma is this. Dharma is the method to rescue one, to save one from suffering. So Dharma is something that helps oneself and other beings, like this

By taking refuge in the Sangha one should not follow those who are heretics, who have wrong understanding, wrong belief, wrong realizations, and wrong behavior. There is a danger if you follow wrong founders, there is a danger somehow that you will be influenced by them. Then there is the danger to create negative karma.

If one does these things, one’s refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha does not become pure. Also in that way, it cannot save you. Why? The person does the opposite of refuge because he creates the cause of suffering. He may still have devotion in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, thinking that it is good, but why can’t his refuge become pure? Why? Because it is like this. There are many reasons. You create the cause of suffering. In place of that, the fundamental way, the essential thing, like the fuel of a lamp, like the wheel of a car, the essential thing that guides you from suffering is, first of all, taking refuge by completely relying on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The essential thing, the Dharma, the essence of the Dharma that takes you out of suffering is observing karma—that’s why karma comes after refuge. So like this. This is the essential thing. If there is a vehicle, it cannot be used for travel if there is no wheel. The wheel is the most important, and karma is much more important than that.

Observing karma means avoiding negative karma, stopping the creation of negative karma, and creating positive karma. Try to create positive karma as much as possible, trying to avoid negative karma as much as possible. Totally like this. Observing karma is the real thing, the essential Dharma that usually leads us in the path and to enlightenment. All this is karma, observing karma. This is the most important thing in any Dharma practice. This does everything. Therefore, even if you have a kind of devotion, if you follow things like this, there is no way the Dharma can guide you because you are doing the opposite, your action is the opposite to the Dharma, opposite to the method that was shown by enlightened beings, the founder. You are not doing what the Enlightened Being says, so you are doing the opposite of the method that he has shown. The work that is the opposite of the method of Dharma as shown by the Enlightened Being is the cause of suffering. The opposite of the cause of suffering is Dharma, the method that they have shown. So like this, in this way, even though you think it is good, if your action is the opposite of the Dharma method that they have shown, there is no way, the refuge cannot be practical and pure, and there is no way the Dharma can guide you.

The way the Dharma can guide you is by you observing karma. Fundamentally, basically, observing karma is the way the Dharma guides you. As I told you before, keeping one precept, two precepts, three precepts, just like this—making the vow to not do the opposite, negative action. Each of these—for instance, someone tells you bad things, complains about bad things—and in your mind, you desire everlasting happiness and enlightenment, so try to be conscious. “If I get angry and react, I will destroy my enlightenment and my everlasting happiness, so I must be careful; so I should not react, I should not get angry.” This is good karma because you are doing the opposite. At the same time you are thinking this, you are avoiding negative actions of speech, saying something. When you want to react through the physical body, with a negative action that arises from anger, and when you think like this and try to stop it, this is good karma, this is the cause of peace. Even without receiving the result of everlasting peace and happiness at the same time, there is peace. At the same time as the person makes the decision there is peace, because the arising of anger and all this is not peace, it is suffering. This itself is peace; the anger arising is not peace. It is done, the person creates the negative karma that has a suffering result. So the same thing, at the same time the person is in that suffering. Even if the person is not in the lower realm physically at that moment, it is similar, it is a matter of time—one hour, two hours, one day, two days, two months. It is a matter of time, that’s all. If you check up in this way, a person who observes karma has incredible peace. If you check like this, at the same time there is peace. Also, one is not creating karma so there is no suffering result; there is peace. Also, you are not creating karma so what you are doing is the opposite, so there is no way the Dharma can guide you. Because we always act opposite, work opposite, do opposite things, mainly because of this, still we are suffering, and still infinite sentient beings are suffering because of this.

The actual refuge is Dharma. That is, the essential thing of the Dharma is observing karma. Observing karma is the actual refuge, like this. So how can a person be guided? If he works the opposite, he is like the doctor who has given medicine to the patient, but the patient always takes poison. How can medicine help to cure the sickness if the patient always takes poison? That’s why Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained it, and in order to make refuge practical to guide you, he gave you those disciplines to not follow. By taking refuge in the Sangha, you should not follow those who are heretics, like this. But it does not mean that you should completely renounce that mind, it does not mean this. It does not mean that you should get angry, kill. That is the opposite to the Dharma; getting angry and killing cannot be done. You have to take care—the whole thing is dangerous to get involved in, to mislead someone. So you have to be careful, you have to be careful. Like these people. You know, when you go to America among friends, lot of freaks, you act in the same way. Then you come to India where you are surrounded by swamis, and then you act like they act. When you are surrounded by Tibetan people, you try to act like Tibetans. This is very important.

Refuge, these instructions to avoid these three things are very important. You have to be careful about what influence to take, what to do. Just like this. This does not mean getting angry, it does not mean you should completely renounce. You cannot renounce from this mind. Especially if you have taken bodhisattva ordination or tantric initiation, even just beating one person without compassion breaks a root vow—even a dog, anything—breaks the root vow of a bodhisattva and the tantric root vow. Especially bodhicitta, the practice of bodhisattvas means that you are the servant of each sentient being; it means you have to always work for each sentient being’s happiness and enlightenment. Really, totally like this. How can you renounce them? Renouncing any sentient being, even a mosquito taking a bite, getting angry at it, really not liking it, not caring whether he dies or suffers—that is breaking precepts, the opposite of bodhicitta. In tantric precepts you break a root vow by giving up working for it, the thought. There are two bodhicittas: the first bodhicitta wills to receive enlightenment for them, and giving that up breaks the root vow. Mentally you cannot renounce them, you should have compassion and love like this. Physically not being together, being away, does not mean giving up the person, not having great love, compassion; this does not depend on being together. It is mental work, not physical work. Then also like this. These are the three practices of avoiding the opposite. This is important. Then another three are this. I think if I read it quickly, that will be enough.

Instructions in the Practice of Refuge (Page 72–73)

Like this. There is no need to talk much. As I told you before, each (statue or painting) line has incredible knowledge that we are going to achieve, that causes us to release from suffering. Just that, the figure itself explains Dharma. If you have the wisdom understanding it, it explains. That’s why it is a holy object. Also, each time you respect, it creates good karma, remembering Buddha’s knowledge, the Enlightened Being’s knowledge. Even if the statue is broken in half, even if it is not complete, still it creates good karma. Even one little part of it still contains the knowledge.

So also thinking like this in regards to statues—"I like this, I don’t like that, this so ugly, I don’t like that kind of shape, I like this peaceful Mahayana one.” Judging like this, you create negative karma; renouncing that manifestation of Buddha. Also keeping the statue, things, paintings which are only good ones on your altar, and keeping bad ones somewhere in the corner, or putting them in the garbage, things like this cannot be done, because those objects signify knowledge and also are examples, figures, of that manifestation of Buddha. So both are the same, whether they are made of brick, mud, gold, or silver—both are statues of Buddha. The way you respect it is material, you don’t really respect Buddha.

A picture or whatever it is should be left on a clean place, like this. It is free from each of these infinite, samsaric sufferings, and leads one to enlightenment by showing them the path. If we have to respect pictures of the president, pictures of our parents, why not this—the ultimate refuge object, the source of happiness?

And also in previous times, the Buddha himself, when he was a bodhisattva, prayed to be born with others. Others prayed to become the founder of Buddhadharma only in good times—such as the one hundred age time, such this very degenerate time, in which there is more negative mind, stronger and stronger negative mind, more suffering, this terrible time. Others don’t make promises, don’t pray to be the founder of Buddhadharma, to descend onto the earth. Tamson Gyatso Dol was shocked because no one made this vow, this promise to be responsible, to work in this terrible time. There are about five degenerations—living degeneration, anyway, I don’t remember, but there are five things. He was so upset and worried, and his heart was beating because of the suffering of such a terrible time and no one else made a promise, so he took responsibility, and promised to be the founder of Buddhadharma and work for sentient beings in this period, the one hundred age time. He prayed, even from that time, to exist for five hundred years, and even after that, to increase his statues, to increase them even after he passed away in the world, in different worlds, and for his example, the statues and relics, to work for the benefit of other sentient beings, to be the object of other sentient beings’ creating good karma, doing purification; he prayed like this. Somehow he made five hundred prayers in the presence of the Buddha Rinpoche Nyingpo; four of them made promises like this. Others are the previous Buddhas who came before Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. So anyway, also like this. There are very long stories. With his great bodhicitta, he worked for the future suffering of ignorant sentient beings like us, so therefore, the purpose of his statues existing was this.

One thing is this. There has to be some symbolic example of his figure because we, at the moment, don’t have the karma of mind. We are not at that level, we don’t have the karma, we are not at the level in which we can see the actual nirmanakaya, not to mention the sambhogakaya.

Guru Shakyamuni wanted a manifestation in which he could give teachings, a nirmanakaya emanation for those sentient beings in that period. But at that time, the sentient beings’ karma to receive teachings with that manifestation was finished. The karma of the sentient beings who, in that time, had the karma to see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in the form of the nirmanakaya and to receive teachings was finished. And so, later on, his existing with that manifestation was also finished, because it worked according to the sentient beings’ karma. It was not something up to him, it was up to the sentient beings. We don’t have the karma to see that form, so as our mind is so limited, with obscurations, impure, we only see statues, like this. Even just having the chance to see a statue, and also understanding the knowledge of a statue, its significations, even just to see an Enlightened Being’s holy figure also purifies.

Usually, when you see a statue like this, don’t think, “This is a stone statue, it is made of mud or something by someone.” Or thinking like this, “This is made by a Nepalese, someone.” Buddha is not made of something, or by Nepali blacksmiths. The shape of the statue was formed by him, the shape of the material, but not Buddha. So when you see a statue, instead of thinking that it is made of a material thing, think, “This is a manifestation of the Buddha, the Enlightened Being’s manifestation, that fits to my karma, to work for me, to save me from suffering and lead me to enlightenment, making purification.” Think like this, instead of thinking that it is made of material or something. Make your mind empty of this ordinary vision and try to see it as an actual living Buddha; and then remember the knowledge and make prostrations, make offerings, whatever it is, like this. Sometimes it is possible to attain enlightenment. In the teaching, it is said, “In degenerate times I will appear in the form of letters, as an ordinary person, as statues, things like this.” This is done according to our karma, our individual karma.

Also, by the way, everything, the way we see, everything depends on level of our mind, on our realization, how pure the mind is. When different people see something, the thing they see is not the same. Even when they look at one person there can be different feelings towards the person they look at. That is because each person sees one person according to their level of mind. The object that they see in their view is the creation of one hundred people who look at it. All creation, what we see in our view, the object, the way we see it—it is all a creation of our mind. The more our mind is down, as the mind slowly gets purified, reaches a high level, it is the same thing. The view changes, we get a higher projection. When you receive the five paths I was talking about yesterday, when you receive the path, then you see Buddha as the sambhogakaya, like this. As the level of mind gradually goes higher, gets purified, also the view, the projection gets changed, like this. Even at that time, when you receive the first path, the path of accumulation, even though you used to see statues before, at that time you see the nirmanakaya.

Also in Tibet there are very famous temples, and the statues there are made by the embodiment of the bodhisattvas, the gods. So many times it happened in Tibet, that the people who came to see the statue—this is in central Lhasa, one very famous statue that was formed by the previous kings, bodhisattvas, the embodiment of the compassionate Buddha—every day they see this statue, and all day there is a line of people, people coming from all over, because people recognize that whoever sees the statue is very fortunate, and also they pray in front of the statue, some kind of precious jewel going round. When they come down to the special place together, everything that they pray for becomes successful. There is much long story about this. Same people do not see the statue when they come. It is completely black, they don’t see anything. Not seeing anything. After they do much purification then they go there and they see a few other things, maybe animals, dogs, something. Then again they do purification. Many it happened like this. Also, one lama, when he was giving teachings, reading a text, one person among the listeners saw the lama all day eating meat, great heaps of dried meat. All day he was eating meat, not seeing the text, all the time eating like this. There are so many other examples that happened.

So mainly, how you see it is up to you. Because we don’t have the karma, our mind is not at that level, as an ordinary person, so therefore we should think like this, “This is the manifestation according to my level of mind and karma.” Thinking like this, we should respect them. However, we should respect it even if it is a broken statue, made of kaka, whatever it is. It doesn’t matter what the material is. We should remember the knowledge, then make offerings.

It is the same thing with the texts. Usually English is very difficult, because English is all over, on the road, under the shoes, all over; on the cloth, in the toilet, anywhere; so it is something that you can use. Anyway, respecting the Dharma subject. It is possible for those people who don’t know Tibetan, manifesting omniscient mind, manifesting in the form of letters, English letters, to work for sentient beings, to purify sentient beings, to cure sentient beings’ suffering. It is possible, and the reason we should respect it is because it explains the path to enlightenment, the nature of suffering. This is a subject that has meaning. By understanding this, it is a subject that, through understanding, purifies our ignorance, makes our mind holy, enlightened, and causes us to escape from suffering, to escape from all the infinite samsaric suffering. It has too much knowledge, incredible knowledge. Also, we should respect it as a refuge object, the Dharma.

You should respect the statues and those things as it is the refuge object of Buddha; they should be respected. As you respect them like this, instead of thinking it is just matter, material, visualize him as living, real, then make offerings, remembering the knowledge. As this wisdom develops, as devotion increases, also sometimes these things can be seen as an actual living Buddha. In this way also you receive blessings in the mind. It has many purposes. However, it is something that we have to create. Seeing Buddha from your side is something that your mind has to create. It all depends on your mind, the creator, your mind has to create it. If it is to see it as pure, the mind has to work to stop seeing it as impure. These things are so important to know.

Also, in previous times pandits, many pandits had talking, speaking statutes in Tibet and India that predicted things. This was not only because of the material; it was actually the Buddha himself contacting them, communicating with them, but in the form of a statue. Once there were two pandits who were debating. One pandit was so quick, a little bit slow to give an answer. However, when he gave an answer it was an incredible answer . While this pandit who gave slow answers was in his room, the other pandit came in kind of a sneaky way. He was communicating with the statue that was near his bed; the statue was talking, explaining the teaching to him, the Dharma, giving him the answers. As the other pandit was coming in, all of a sudden the statue stopped speaking; and at the same time the hand and fingers stopped moving. It was possible to see that statue even afterwards. There are so many stories in Tibet, so many. Therefore, statues, things, tangkas that you keep for your altar should not be thought of as ordinary things. Because your level of mind is that low, you see them only in the form of statues, in the form of that material. So therefore, it is useful, as I told you before, not thinking about the material but thinking that these things are really living in that manifestation. It is useful, and also it becomes a method purifying your impure view, and it also makes arrangements for you to be able to see the actual manifestation of Buddha, such as the nirmanakaya.

With Dharma books, even if there is one page, however, it is necessary to respect it. The reason is like this—it causes one to be holy, enlightened, and released from suffering.

Question: In your room, it is better to not walk round without clothes on?

Rinpoche: As you are devoted, as your mind thinks that the real actual living being is in your room, as this is stronger, you can no longer do any wrong conduct, vices, any unrighteous actions. As the devotion, this confidence, this thought is stronger in your room, that much more your unrighteous, evil actions become less. It is like when the teacher is near the disciple, the student dare not play, dare not do naughty things. This is very useful for not creating negative karma. Anyway, thinking like this has many other benefits. Also there will be less fear, less hindrance in your room, many things.

Also books, as with the statue, cannot be left on the ground, in a dirty place. They cannot be used for a bed to sit down on, taken off, and used for cleaning pots, many things. It doesn’t matter whether you know how Dharma is or what Dharma is, it doesn’t matter; even if you don’t know how it helps or benefits, because of the object, the action itself becomes a negative action.

Then the Sangha are also like this. If you see the general Sangha, this being doesn’t have to be in robes. Actual, one Sangha doesn’t have to be in robes—it can be a woman, a man, or a layperson. But generally, when you see the one who has robes on, always from your side, no matter how pure the person, how enlightened, from your side, in order to create good karma, in order to receive enlightenment, you have to think that they are helpers. Think, “They are my helpers to release me from suffering.” Also, you should respect even the robe—a piece of red or yellow, respect it. This is also the practice of refuge, remembering the Sangha, the Sangha’s knowledge. Remember the Sangha knowledge and do not disrespect it, thinking that the people who put this on have knowledge—knowledge of the precepts, knowledge of moral conduct, higher knowledge. The person who puts that on has higher knowledge. Think like this and remember the Sangha, the noble beings, Sangha, knowledge, these things, respecting, not going over, putting it a little bit up, putting it somewhere. Things like this also create good karma. Generally respecting, there is a difference. Respecting ordinary Sangha, who are living in ordination, and respecting a layperson, even though he is wise in science and psychology—respecting one who is living in the precepts of moral conduct creates more good karma than respecting the ordinary layperson who doesn’t have that much knowledge, even though he’s wise in general things. The object is much different; the object living in the precepts is that much higher, more pure. Among the people who have that level of ordination, from another person who is keeping more and more precepts, his body is that much higher and holy—this also is respecting them. Even among them, respecting them, offering to them—as there are benefits like this, from one to another, it is the same thing with creating the negative karma with a layperson. Between complaining and getting angry with a layperson and getting angry at one who is celibate, who is living in the precepts, the latter is more heavy, the suffering result is more heavy. Among those who are living in higher and higher precepts, your creation of negative karma is that much more heavy.

Question: If you have notes and copied them, what do you do with the old ones?

Rinpoche: You collect them and, in place of throwing them in the garbage, you put them some place. Also, you can burn them with special mantras; also you can burn them by saying specific mantras. In Tibet there is always some kind of place where they put all the missing and torn texts together. Also, there is danger with paintings of Buddha that you make.

So, just like with things, with the person. It appears in the form of an ordinary human being, so through purification we see afterwards who is in an ordinary embodiment, ordinary manifestation, and can be seen as a real nirmanakaya. As the tantric deity, whichever method you practice, following with any manifestation of Buddha, you can see it if you do purification, as you do the practice of purification.

Morning Prayers: Refuge in the Holy Guru (Page 10)

“Refuge in the holy guru, the total embodiment of infinite Buddhas.” Have we gone through this before, the prayer? First we say the prayer. Also this prayer is effective and powerful. It contains such a vast subject, it has such profound meaning; it has such a vast meaning, subject, very profound. Also the words are very interesting and it is very good to say. This can be used for making prostrations, such as those who take refuge; also to make offerings for grace when you drink tea, when you eat. It doesn’t matter, you can say it from the mind or the mouth, and even though you say it loudly or say it mentally, it is very useful to say this, because of thinking of the meaning.

1. The absolute or the actual guru is the omniscient mind. Then there is the relative guru, that is the one whom you see in your view, who shows the path to you, who shows the suffering nature, who shows the path to escape from suffering, the knowledge of enlightenment. The one you can see in your view, who you can contact.

Some people may think when I say this that, “He is admiring himself, because as he talks Dharma he is praising, admiring himself.” This is a mistake. Anyway, that guru has to be a holy guru. I am not holy, however, I don’t reach that place. But there is importance. If I don’t explain, there is danger in the Dharma practice, so it is my responsibility to explain. So just a few words in this case. At the second course I tried to explain this, and it took three or four days. There were, I think, about twenty or thirty people, and they didn’t know anything about following the path, so somehow they had the kind of karma to explain this first. I don’t think there were hindrances at that time.

One thing, how quickly you achieve enlightenment, how quickly you make Dharma practice successful—everything depends on this practice. There is just one page talking about that, and usually it is important to know more about this and the practice of it and how to practice it, because it makes everything successful, it is like the root. As I said at the beginning of the teaching, it is the root of the path, so therefore, just from that, you can understand how it is important. If one makes a mistake in this, then the following practice doesn’t become successful. If you do not take care, there is a danger no matter how much or how long the person makes meditation, it is difficult to receive realizations. There are disturbances, hindrances, many eons of not receiving enlightenment. So there are many dangers.

As it says, “The total embodiment of infinite buddhas.” Before, all the buddhas—briefly telling, why the infinite buddhas—before, they were bodhisattvas. Even when they were bodhisattvas, they prayed to receive enlightenment to work for every other sentient being; that includes us. So even when they were bodhisattvas, they made the decision and worked for us, even when they were bodhisattvas. So they always work for enlightenment, to achieve it only for the sake of sentient beings. That includes us. So why not, if they even work for us when they are bodhisattvas, why not after they achieve enlightenment? It is definite that they work for us, as they achieve enlightenment. It is definite that the infinite buddhas always helped and worked for us. So how, then how? As I told this example, how Guru Shakyamuni gave teachings with different manifestations, in an ordinary form, as a beggar, king, an animal, a blind man—in many different ways. Also the enlightened beings are working for us, working for us. As I said before, according to the level of our mind, and karma, they appear in different manifestations that fit us. With that ordinary manifestation, they give teachings and work for us. They guide us by giving us teachings, they lead us to enlightenment by showing teachings through many different ways, with different methods. So also as I talked about with the statues, same thing.

However you see the relative guru, however you see him in your view, is only a creation of your mind, is only a projection of your mind. As your mind gets more purified, the view, the way you see the person showing the teaching is seen in a different way. You see with more knowledge, you see that being as oneness with Buddha. Through meditation practice you can see like this. Through just Guru Yoga practice, you can see him as oneness with the guru. Also, one can see him in the actual form of the deity like this. However, all the infinite buddhas work through this manifestation as it fits us. Sometimes he appears in the form of animals, or other things, so we are lucky to see him in the form of a human being. In the form of an animal we cannot contact him, so we cannot receive teachings orally like this. So he is like a member of all the infinite buddhas. The actual guru is the embodiment—his mind is the totality of all the buddhas’ omniscient mind; just as his mind is like this, his embodiment, his body is also all the infinite buddhas’ embodiment, as is his speech. So this is like a big temple in which these are infinite buddhas and bodhisattvas. The person, since he is following his guru, since he received teachings, as he is the guru and the other one is the disciple, his following this guru is like following all the buddhas’ instructions.

Anyway, first I say this. Vajradhara promised that the gurus are the real buddhas, and also because of that reason, he also is buddha, because even in this time, infinite enlightened beings are working for me, to lead me to enlightenment by showing different methods. How it is done? Through this person, this guru, in ordinary manifestation. He gives teachings, he works, showing the method, to release me from suffering and lead me to enlightenment by showing different methods. Whether he’s Buddha or not does not depend on the way we see him.

First of all, Vajradhara Buddha said it is a real buddha. Secondly, all the infinite buddhas worked in previous time besides now, so why not for me? There is no other thing except this, one who shows the teaching, gives the method to release from suffering and reach enlightenment. Also, whether he’s Buddha is not up to me, because my view is not always true, not sure; it is indefinite, like this. By gradually practicing a pure kind of mind through meditation, you see him as a real buddha, a real manifestation of Buddha, oneness. So it is up to the creator, my mind. So it does not depend on the way I see him. According to my level of mind, I always see him as ignorant, selfish, many things, because my mind lives on that level. According to the level of the creator I see the projection—just like through glass, blue glass, you see the mountain as blue; through yellow glass, you see the mountain as yellow, like this. Thinking he’s real is only because of impure mind, but actually he is the embodiment, the totality of all buddhas. Without this method, besides going through this, there is no other way for infinite buddhas to work for me. This is the only way.

By remembering the meaning of this prayer in English, like this. So same thing, also all the merits, all the happiness—for instance, my past, present, and future happiness—are created by virtuous actions, my virtuous actions. My virtuous actions bring all this result, each happiness including enlightenment, the release of each suffering, everything. This virtuous work itself, the action, that itself is the work of infinite enlightened beings. That itself is the work of the guru. Without depending on the guru or the infinite buddhas, without depending on the guru, without receiving the guru’s help, there is no way to receive the infinite buddhas’ help. So by completing gradually the merits, when the merits are collected, the mind is completely purified, becomes omniscient mind, the same nature as the guru’s, oneness. It becomes the same nature as the other omniscient mind, the other enlightened being’s omniscient mind.

Creating negative karma with the guru is like creating negative karma with each buddha, very heavy. Also good karma, doing something according to their wish, practicing Dharma, meditating, whatever it is, pleases him and is like pleasing all infinite buddhas. The most important thing is to know the dangerous part—any negative karma created, however small, is like creating negative karma with all the infinite buddhas, so that is the worst of everything. That’s all.

Then, you do meditation. If you don’t finish doing meditation on equilibrium, then do meditation on this, do meditation on equilibrium, then the seven Mahayana techniques as much as you can go through.