Wednesday, April 17
(Puja with Zong Rinpoche held during the day.)
“I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings, therefore I am going to listen to the holy profound teaching on the graduated path.”
The listening subject, the holy profound teaching is on the graduated path. According to the outlines that we have, there is persuading one to take the essence and how to take essence. This part is how to take essence—how the human life is impermanent and fragile and how death is definite, and the actual time of death is indefinite. Then, there is the suffering of the three lower realms, which is definite that we will experience. Then the method of refuge.
Generally, when you do meditation on refuge, it is very useful to think of suffering first, because thinking of suffering makes the refuge stronger. When you think of suffering, strong fear will arise. Sometimes, if the mind has no fear of suffering, then the mind has no reason to take refuge, not that much desire to seek refuge. When the person has no trouble, when the person is not kicked out of the country, when the person is all right physically, the person does not take refuge because nothing is wrong with the physical, material situation. When the person has trouble with the situation, because of recognizing that trouble, because of this fear, the person wants to seek refuge and wants to ask for guidance and help. He takes refuge in order to save him from trouble, in order to get away from that trouble and suffering situation. This is the example.
If you don’t have the strong feeling of suffering, which means the fear that arises by understanding suffering, if you don’t do meditation on suffering, then you won’t have a strong feeling, and refuge will be just mere words, without much feeling in the mind. Just mere words becomes very dry, not heavy refuge, very dry. So just like this worldly example, the person who thinks he’s all right, that there is nothing wrong with the situation, has no purpose for taking refuge. The person who recognizes his situation as suffering has the cause to take refuge, to ask for help. Just like this. However, doing meditation on suffering, remembering suffering, makes the fear stronger, so that your refuge becomes stronger. As I already told you, to receive refuge it is necessary to receive those two causes in the mind. By doing meditation on suffering, as you are feeling stronger and greater, your desire for seeking refuge is also stronger, and your refuge will be much more pure. So it is very useful, whenever you do meditation on refuge, to first of all remember to do meditation on suffering—besides on samsaric suffering, on the suffering of the three lower realms. After this life, which is more definite? The suffering of the three lower realms. So I do not desire suffering, I desire a happy life, happiness in my future lifetimes.
The method is practicing refuge, which is the door of the teaching of the Enlightened Being, and having belief in karma, which is the root of all happiness. This happiness includes all samsaric happiness, and happiness that is beyond samsaric happiness, including the most supreme happiness of enlightenment. So these two are the methods.
Also the last part, which I was explaining before, is about refuge related to the short prayer “La.ma sang.gye la.ma cho,” the very beginning prayer (page 10). One thing, generally, when you take refuge, one especially powerful technique that makes refuge powerful, much more beneficial and effective, is to take refuge relating to this subject, “La.ma sang.gye la.ma cho.” In this way, as you take refuge, visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and also remember this. This is very effective.
I can do this. Sometimes you can visualize him in the ordinary aspect of the guru, and then do checking meditation as I told you about before. Vajradhara said, or promised, that, “The guru is Buddha”, therefore, the guru is Buddha. I just gave you the outline and the points. There are infinite buddhas. Even before, when they were bodhisattvas, they worked for all sentient beings, and therefore, even when they were bodhisattvas, they were working for me. So they received enlightenment in order to enlighten all sentient beings, so they received enlightenment also for me. Therefore it is sure that infinite buddhas are working for me. This is definite. But how do they work for me and guide me? How are they saving me from suffering and leading me on the path to enlightenment? Their helping or benefiting me does not depend on me seeing the actual manifestation of Buddha. Because my mind has not reached that level that can see the actual manifestation of Buddha, it doesn’t depend on my seeing Buddha. So these infinite buddhas help me from another way. These buddhas, including Vajradhara, definitely help and benefit me. They are definitely working for me. They work for me in many different forms and ways, in order to save me from suffering and lead me in the path to enlightenment.
The essential thing, the best way they benefit, the best thing in their work that they do for me is showing teachings, the best work, the essential work, among the different methods. Therefore it is definite that this ordinary aspect, this guru, is the essence of all the infinite buddhas, the manifestation of all the infinite buddhas. This is the manifestation that is shown by all the infinite buddhas according to the level of my karma. He is the creator of all the buddhas’ actions, the creator of all the infinite buddhas’ works.
For example, when the United Nations General Assembly members come to each country, each representative is the worker for the people of that country. Also, all work of all the people in that country has to be done through this person. In the same way, the guru is the doer of all the infinite buddhas, all the infinite buddhas’ purpose or work. Without depending on this person who goes to meetings, without depending on him, the purpose of that country, that population, cannot be fulfilled. Same thing, without depending on the guru, infinite buddhas cannot do their work, cannot benefit me. For instance, as the people in that country wish to obtain a certain purpose, the member who goes for the meeting, who does the actual thing, also has a similar wish. Also all the infinite buddhas and the guru, as in the example, their omniscient mind is the totality of all, and all the infinite buddhas’ omniscient mind manifests in this aspect, in the aspect of the guru, with which I can communicate, and whom I can see. Thinking of the guru as the embodiment of all infinite buddhas’ omniscient mind, I should see the guru as faultless, perfect, and pure, always right, and as oneness with Buddha, the real Buddha, having all those holy signs of the holy body.
His being the embodiment of all the infinite buddhas, his being the manifestation of all the infinite buddhas’ minds does not depend on the way I see it. It’s not determined by the way I see it, how I see it, because my vision is not definite, is not sure, is not true. It is not true, because through meditation it is possible to see and realize that it is oneness with the enlightened beings, and through meditation you can realize that the guru is oneness with all the infinite buddhas. Also, as the mind is purified, you can see the guru as the real manifestation of Buddha, such as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and different forms of deities. Also, as one reaches the path, as one reaches higher and higher paths, also you see the manifestation of Buddha, the essence of the totality of all the infinite buddhas. Also, through purification, the impure vision finishes, and for the purified mind, the object is always pure. At the moment my mind is illusive, not purified of illusion, and not purified of delusions, not released from illusive visions. As my mind is that ignorant, that deluded, that impure, so I see the holy objects that are real, the enlightened beings, the guru, in an ordinary way. I see it in an ordinary way, as it is projected by this deluded, ignorant, impure mind. The way I see the object in my view is only a creation of false mind, so it is not true. Just as in the example, the man who has blue spectacles sees the white mountain as blue. As the blue mountain doesn’t exist from the side of the mountain, in even one atom of the mountain, so the ordinary form in which I see the guru is a mere projection of my deluded, illusive mind. This is the example. The ordinary form that I see does not exist at all, does not exist on any part or atom of the guru.
Also, think like this, “Even in the period of Guru Shakyamuni’s existence in the form of the nirmanakaya, his followers, such as the monk Lokpae Karma, often saw Guru Shakyamuni as false, as a liar. Even though Guru Shakyamuni was completely enlightened, this disciple, who lived a long time with Guru Shakyamuni, always saw Guru Shakyamuni as a liar, as false, always making mistakes. It is quite a long story. Anyway, whenever Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was invited by the benefactor’s families as he went around begging, he always predicted, “Due to this cause, this offering, the result will be such and such.” Every time he predicted this, his omniscient mind saw the result that the person would receive by creating that cause clearly; each time Guru Shakyamuni saw this. Even though this disciple was always with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, he always told lies, he did not understand anything but always told lies. Even though great numbers of other followers saw Guru Shakyamuni as an enlightened being, as the nirmanakaya, as faultless, having the most supreme, perfect knowledge, power that they didn’t have, this disciple Lokpae saw him like this.
Once this disciple had another guru, a wrong founder—which means someone who had wrong theory—and he believed in him more than in Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Once he got sick, the wrong founder of the wrong theory got sick, so Guru Shakyamuni told Lokpae Karma that he should not take brown sugar. He said, “If he takes brown sugar, he will die this week.” I think it was after one week. Guru Shakyamuni had already predicated this, but Lokpae Karma never believed him, and believed that Guru Shakyamuni was telling a lie with ill-will, wanting him to die. He thought that if the wrong founder took sugar he would live, but if he didn’t take sugar he would die. With this wrong conception mind, he went to tell the founder of the wrong theory, his teacher, “Guru Shakyamuni said that you shouldn’t take sugar, otherwise you will die after one week; and I think he’s telling in the wrong way, I think he’s telling with ill-will.” He said this to the founder of the wrong theory, and he suggested, “You should take sugar so that you can live, you won’t die.” He thought that Guru Shakyamuni was saying the wrong thing with ill-will, wanting him to die. The founder of wrong theory followed what Lokpae said, and after one week Lokpae went there to see how he was, and he was dead. He took the sugar and he was dead. Guru Shakyamuni hadn’t been there, hadn’t seen this, but Lokpae Karma went back to Guru Shakyamuni and couldn’t tell the truth; he couldn’t tell him that the wrong founder was dead, because he would become the loser. However, Guru Shakyamuni told as he realized. And as Lokpae Karma was following the path, he heard some noise—and it was the noise of a preta, who in his previous life had been the founder of the wrong theory.
So Lokpae Karma, and also Guru Shakyamuni’s relative Lhae Jin, evil Lhae Jin, even when these two were together with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, they saw him a wrong way, as a liar, a negative person. Also Milarepa, and the great pandit yogi Naropa, when they saw their gurus for the first time, they saw them as very ordinary people. So even those great pandits and yogis saw in this way at the beginning. This is another long story. So why not me, who has such a limited mind, whose mind is so deluded? Of course I see him in an ordinary way.
Then think that this is a mere creation—seeing the ordinary form of the guru is a mere creation of my impure mind, so actually it does not exist on any part of it. It doesn’t exist anywhere, so make it empty, visualize emptiness. At the same time, before you visualize the ordinary that you see, when you think this, check it, try to see that form in the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, thinking, “This is an actual manifestation. The other one that I see usually doesn’t exist on any part of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, not inside, not outside, nowhere. It is oneness with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, it is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.” Then think of the guru that is the omniscient mind of all the infinite buddhas, manifesting this way, in the aspect of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and he is totally the essence of all the infinite buddhas, but in the aspect of Shakyamuni.
Now you can see the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, but what is the guru, the total essence of all infinite buddhas? Actually, the manifestation is Shakyamuni Buddha’s aspect, but the essence, actually the creator, is the guru. That’s why Guru Shakyamuni is La.ma ton.be chom.den.day. The meaning, the connection is this. La.ma means guru. Chom.den.day is another way of saying Shakyamuni Buddha. First of all comes guru, at the beginning, as I told you before, having many different names—founder and so forth. Then Chom.den.day, the destroyer having all knowledge, passed away to everlasting happiness, having ceased all ignorance completely. Then dra.chom.pa, arhat, fully enlightened. Then pal.gyal.wa shak.ya tub.pa la, many different names. It begins with guru because the guru is the creator of all this, has the knowledge of all this. The very beginning, the root is the guru. How that works is in this way, as I have just told you, like this.
After you visualize the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, remember the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, as I told you before. Then remember the knowledge, and how they guide, all these things. Then do purification. It is very good, this way—this becomes Guru Yoga practice, which is the most important thing. This is the most important technique to pacify the hindrances for following the path to enlightenment. It is the most beneficial and powerful technique to totally stop the hindrances to receiving enlightenment and the path, and also for the mind to go to the Dharma. Anyway, what I have just said is a very brief outline, but actually this is the most profound subject. It is not something that you can easily understand, but the reason I say it is this—of course, how can you understand everything right away, as you hear the word? How can you expect it to be that way? Without understanding and listening to this subject, how can you realize it? Without practice how can you realize and discover this? In order to really realize and discover this, it is necessary to do guru yoga practice. Therefore, it is necessary to understand and explain, and for this purpose I have given this brief explanation. Through this brief explanation, you have to do checking meditation, you have to work by yourself with your wisdom. I think I have already said this once before.
After that, one most important thing to understand is that any good karma that you create with this object, the guru, has the greatest benefit—such as karma created by pleasing the guru by doing Dharma practice, and meditating. Any merits that you create with the guru as the object, by depending on the guru, such as making offerings, following orders and instructions, anything, all these merits have great benefit—much greater and more infinite than the merits you create by depending on the infinite buddhas. For example, starting from the parent’s of the present life—offering service and helping the parents, creates much more benefit than helping other people’s parents. This is because this present life’s parents are the one who produced this body, who helped you to have this body, who gave you this body that you can use to obtain all happiness and higher advantage. Because of this, there are more benefits created by helping or working for your parents.
Making offerings, working and offering services to the Sangha creates more benefits.
Making offerings and following the instructions of the arhats creates more merits than the first.
Making offerings to the bodhisattvas, pleasing and offering services to the bodhisattvas creates more benefits than doing so for the arhats.
Then, making offerings to one buddha creates more merits than doing so for the bodhisattvas.
Then, making offerings, following the instructions, and offering service to all the infinite buddhas creates much greater benefits than doing so for one Buddha.
Then, following the guru’s instructions, following the instructions of the actual leader with whom you communicate, who actually gives teachings by showing the different methods, giving different teachings, giving ordination, leading one to enlightenment—the work that is done depending on this object, following his instructions, pleasing him by achieving realizations, doing Dharma practice, observing karma—the merits that are created by depending on this guru are infinite, much more infinite than the merits that are created by depending on infinite buddhas.
Anyway, this is just giving you an introduction, but there are so many quotations, so many reasons to support it. In regards to kindness, it is also like this. In regards to one’s parents, the arhats are more kind, and those higher beings, such as bodhisattvas and infinite buddhas are more kind. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha who is the founder of this present teaching is more kind than other buddhas. The present guru who communicated to you, who shows you the different teachings, is more kind than Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. However, like this, all the past, present and future happiness is received by the kindness of the guru. How? The cause of all happiness, the virtue, is the work of the guru, the infinite buddhas. The virtue that brought all the infinite happiness of the past, present, and future, including enlightenment, is like this. This is just a brief introduction—with details there is too much to talk about, so this is just a seed. But you can study this, you can have a long meditation on this subject, which will be the most useful thing to do. How quickly you receive the realization of the path, the meditations, all the Dharma, depends on this—this is like the key. If you want to get the jewels, any kind of materials from the museum, this is like the key. If you have the key, you can open it, you can get anything you want from the museum. It is important like this. Without the key, you cannot go in, you cannot gather the materials that you want.
So tomorrow morning, do meditation on the seven Mahayana techniques as much as you can follow it. First of all, start with the equilibrium meditation, then do the rest of the meditation on the seven Mahayana techniques. But don’t just read it—as you read, do checking meditation. Then perhaps tomorrow in the afternoon, we will have a brief talk on the benefits of refuge, then karma; then a brief talk on the following meditations.
But actually, about karma—from the beginning of the course until now I have been talking about karma, especially as part of the eight worldly dharmas. That’s the whole talk about karma; that is the main point—to recognize what is the cause of samsara, what is not the cause of samsara. This is the actual definition, the most important thing. That’s why I spend more time in that—that whole talk is about karma.
Also keep, as our holy guru Zong Rinpoche said, the essence of what he said, whether your life is suffering, whether your life is happy, don’t renounce Dharma—the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This has much taste. However, it is very important. Why is it important? Why does he emphasize that we should not renounce Dharma, even if the whole life is happy or in problem? Why should that not be renounced? Why? Because renouncing that destroys; it causes use to lose so many other hundreds and hundreds of other future lives. In not renouncing this, it causes one to not be born in the suffering lower realms. Even if one is born there, it will be quick, maybe a short time of suffering, but one will be quickly born in the upper realm, receiving a perfect human rebirth. This is the essential thing that causes one to receive a perfect human rebirth again, many times in many future lifetimes, and also to meet the teacher of the Dharma. If one did have devotion, and did not renounce the Dharma, the mind relying on this object, because of these merits and impressions, it makes the arrangements again for one to meet the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in the future lifetimes, and to receive the path, higher realizations and enlightenment. Not renouncing reliance on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is the source of all future happiness.
Maybe tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, I will check up as Guru Shakyamuni, sorry ... (much laugher) nice to hear anyway! As Guru Thubten Yeshe suggested, the reading of The Knowledge of the Path to Enlightenment, written by the great bodhisattva, Atisha, and The Great Graduated Path, the commentary written by Guru Tsongkhapa, are the fundamentals of these teachings. This is in this book, where these teachings come from, The Knowledge of the Path to Enlightenment in Tibetan is called Jang.chub La.ma Yon.ten. So maybe tomorrow in the evening, or the day after tomorrow.
Question: Today we received a lung from His Holiness, Zong Rinpoche, and does that involve any practice or mantra?
Rinpoche: He instructed you also to recite the mantra as you know it; to recite it as much as possible—the Avalokiteshvara mantra, the mantra of the Compassionate Buddha. Actually this morning he gave the reading of the long and short one, the blessing of the reading. It means this. The purpose of reading that doesn’t involve any explanation, because it is the lineage from that guru, from another high guru like this. Receiving the lineage, receiving the blessings of reading that. By the way, by hearing this, it leaves an impression on the mind, and also you receive the blessing that continues through the lineage.
The short mantra is Om Mani Padme Hum. The short mantra of the Compassionate Buddha is this. Anyway, I think it is late now, so perhaps if there is time I will try to talk a little bit about the meaning of the mantra. This short one is not difficult to say; the other is long. Of course you can always make it easy. It can become easy; the more you say it, it is easier and easier. However, the short one is very easy to say. Om Mani Padme Hum—six syllables, about six syllables.
Anyway, he’s saying not to renounce the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This is work that benefits the future lives. Also, it benefits all future lives until the achievement of enlightenment. So therefore, it is really important, whether you know, whether you practice, whether you are purely living in the Dharma or not, like this. Dedicate the merits that are created by doing meditation, listening to teachings, thinking, “Due to these merits may I achieve enlightenment soon in order to enlighten and release all sentient beings from suffering.”
Thank you so much. I am sorry, it got very late, ten minutes after nine, my mistake; but please sleep well!
Thursday, April 18
Think briefly of this impulse, “I have been experiencing samsaric suffering, particularly the suffering of three lower realms, from beginningless previous samsaric lifetimes. I will experience samsaric suffering unceasingly in the future, due to being under the control of delusions and karma by following wrong conception—thinking of impermanent things as permanent, and impure things as pure, and non-self-existent things as self-existent. Thinking of how much we experience suffering and thinking about our endless future experiences, if you really check up in this way, according to evolution, it is something that will make the tears come out and make us feel very upset. It is something that we will not get bored with. But due to these wrong conceptions and ignorance, we never get tired, as we don’t realize these evolutions. In the past, present, and future, we never get tired, never get upset. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha received enlightenment, and enlightened infinite sentient beings through having met the guru and observing these precepts of ordination. I can do the same thing, because sentient beings are my mother; the source of past, present, and future happiness; also, they are the best, principal, main helper at the beginning of Dharma practice, and even in the middle and at the end. They have been kind from beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now. Until I achieve enlightenment and get out of samsara, they will be kind. Therefore, in order to repay them, as I am their son, in order to help mother sentient beings, the best way to help repay them is to enlighten them. In order to enlighten them, I must receive enlightenment. Therefore, I am going to take this Mahayana ordination.” At the end of the third repetition, think that you have perfectly received the ordination in the form of light from your head down to your feet, all in the form of light.
Then, repeat also the prayer of the precepts, thinking, “I will observe precepts until tomorrow morning, as previous arhats followed the precepts.”
Also repeat the mantra for purifying broken precepts and to revive.
Dedicate the merits of taking ordination, “Due to these merits, may all sentient beings achieve the two kayas (the two kayas means the two enlightened holy bodies) that is created by the accumulation of fortune and transcendental wisdom.”
Maybe one minute sit down, please.
Anyway, I think the prayers for taking this ordination are in the part of the notebook from the previous courses (see Appendix One of this notebook), so it will be very good, even if you are in your own country, to take them, even if you can’t take them every day, such as on the full moon day. Maybe three times in a month or five times in a month, or maybe once in a week, something like this. According to your business, according to your life. If you can do like this, it is very good. Actually, this is the actual thing—you are taking the essence out of this, taking the essence out of this life, out of this body that you received at this time, the body that you received once, after all these previous lifetimes of suffering. This is one of the best ways of using the human life and human rebirth. Then before taking ordination, cultivate the motivation purely. Try to cultivate the motivation as purely as possible. Dharma—that is still not sufficient. In order to take the ordination, in order for it to become a Mahayana ordination, it is necessary that the motivation be the thought of bodhicitta. We don’t have actual bodhicitta received, but it is the thought of bodhicitta, it is meditating, training and meditating in the thought of bodhicitta.
However, even though you cannot spend much time in meditation, meditating, even though you can’t live purely in the Dharma, if you do like this, life doesn’t become empty. There is always something, your existence, your having human rebirth, your having this precious human rebirth received at this time, your having this precious human body—during one month, during one year, it’s always meaningful, it is always meaningful, it is always well used. So taking ordination like this three times at least in a month, makes it well used. Your existence for one month does not become completely empty and meaningless. It is the same thing with the year, this is really very good. Even though you cannot take precepts in this lifetime, this is very confident, just one day—you have a choice! Even when you want to create another day! If you want to give freedom to your negative mind. Anyway, like this.
If you take ordination three times in a month, in twelve months—how much? Thirty-six times? I am sorry, my mathematics are poor. I didn’t learn. When I was in school there was no mathematics subject. Then, when I was on the mountain at the beginning there was no other helper. I had the money expenses for the workers for building the center, and I had to give it to them. To do multiplication, numbers, to know how much to give, and how much left—this is easy to understand! Because from how much you spend, you can figure out how much to spend after you realize this. That is easy. Like three rupees, six for common workers, and if they had food then three rupees extra. For common workers six rupees, for those who were by themselves, six rupees. Then for the stone cutters, I think, about twelve rupees: and for carpenters, different carpenters, seven rupees.
The head carpenter who built the tower, after he finished building the center on the mountain, he got sick for one month and went to the hospital. Today I went to see him, and the next day he was dead. Before he died he became a non-person. His eyes could not move much, and he didn’t have much power; his physical body could not move much. I tried to talk to him but I think he couldn’t speak. But I think he heard it, he recognized the person because when I was leaving he tried to move his hand, tried to make prostrations like this by putting all his effort into it. Anyway, there was nothing to do, so he couldn’t speak. So I loudly told him that ... however, he has died. I thought it would benefit him--"You should not be attached to relatives, possessions, money, whatever; you should not have attachment, should not be attached. Because death is definite, death will definitely occur, it will definitely happen, and there is no meaning, no essence to being attached to these things. Always consistently, spontaneously think of the Western pure realm and remember Buddha. Only desire this.” Anyway, he couldn’t speak at that time, he couldn’t speak. However, after we left, in the night time or the morning, one of these times, he died.
I used to figure out forms with small numbers; you write many of those small numbers, then make big numbers, and then again make many of those numbers, so it comes slowly up. It is quite interesting. Then through this it gives me understanding of how much is left. So then I used to divide, and then thinking of the new projects and new things, think that maybe that much goes for this, making a kind of rough figure ahead of time, so that it was easy, making me more relaxed while I continued the work. Anyway, this is just nothing, a story.
So I think thirty-six times in a year. According to the length of your life, the life that you have had until now, you will have that many numbers of days in this life until death is meaningful, not empty. That much time you are working for, always working for each of the sentient beings—which includes your parents, enemies, friends, everything, which is very good. Impartial work that is much higher than worldly work, ordinary work, which is only done for ones’ own comfort. This is higher than just only working for ones’ own everlasting happiness. Working for enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings, infinite sentient beings that equal infinite space, is really a fantastic job. Also, even at death time you are not that upset, there is not that much worry, because you did something, your life wasn’t empty. Also, because of these powers, the mind will be happy also due to the benefits as I told you before.
Then, when you say the prayer, when I repeat, when you take them from a monk—Loponla means guru or teacher, or leader. This refers to the leader who is taking you on the path to enlightenment, the leader who is leading the disciple on the path to enlightenment by showing you the teaching. But when you take ordination, you have to visualize.
First of all, clean your face and teeth. Then clean your room, and whatever you have, pots, whatever, bowls, clean them well. When you clean the pots, at the same time think that you are cleaning the negativity and obscurations, the illusive mind of yourself and all other sentient beings. You are cleaning them, wiping them off. Then no matter if there is one, two or three, put them near the altar. It doesn’t matter even if there is no statue or symbolic object or picture—it doesn’t depend on this. It is not only determined or defined by having something there. Even if though are no pictures, as I told you before, the omniscient mind covers all existence; just his speech covers his holy body as well. Anyway, you should not have the idea that, “They are not here in my room, that they are so far away.”
Then, usually there is invocation and prayer. Ma.lu sem.chen kun.gyi con.gyer.ching (page 13). The purpose of invocation is, although there is no doubt that the beings are there, you use invocation in order to make your mind satisfied, in order for the belief that they are there to arise. Because of your invocation, your mind becomes more comfortable to think that they are there, just to play tricky. Invocation doesn’t mean that they are not there, that they come from some place, from Tibet, from the United States. I am joking! It is not like this. Then, those who can do those prayers, do them according to that. After, make offerings. Then fill the bowls with clean water, fill them up; not so full, not so little. Some people, some students, when they offer their water bowls they fill them halfway. Not like this; offering like this also causes one to not develop Dharma wisdom. They should not be too full, because then the wisdom would not be that perfect, it doesn’t become perfect. Sometimes the bowls used to have lines around them. Sometimes they purposely make them inside, these lines. However, the bowls should be not so full and not so little.
Then whatever you offer, flowers or whatever, offer them as if you are offering in the presence of a king, a president or something. At that time you offer with much respect because you see him really existing, and just like this, with the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by the infinite buddhas, bodhisattvas, and arhats, even though what you offer is just one, you can visualize it as infinite, as whole space, infinite all-encompassing space full of offerings, beautiful flowers, incense, different offerings. There is also a very sweet sound. Think that all the objects of the five senses are giving infinite bliss to the buddhas, bodhisattvas and arhats. You can visualize like this. As much as you visualize, that much you can dedicate, showing the opposite of miserliness. Visualize, imagine as wide as possible, and it creates that much benefit. Then you take the ordination. Then, when you take ordination, you say this first prayer three times, and instead of saying Lobon kong su sol you say chog.chu na.shu.peh, which means, “Please think, please pay attention to me, all the buddhas and bodhisattvas who are living in the ten directions. Please pay attention, think of me,” requesting. You say this—it must be in the book—say this three times and do the following prayers as usual. Then, say the mantra about twenty-one times like this.
Then before you go to bed, dedicate the merits; before you go to sleep, dedicate the merits. Generally, as the holy guru Zong Rinpoche suggested, it is very good to make three prostrations every time in the morning when you get up, by remembering the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Also when you go to bed, make three prostrations by visualizing Guru Shakyamuni himself, thinking that he is the total leader, the guru who is the omniscient mind of all the infinite buddhas, who appears in the ordinary aspect, who appears in the different manifestations of buddhas. Remembering the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in the aspect of the total leader of all the buddhas, make three prostrations at night when you go to bed, and in the morning when you get up, by remembering this.
Before this, as you get up, remember death and the impermanence of life, and also when you go to bed, remember this. That persuades your mind to not be lazy and gives a job to your mind in order to create some good karma. Because even though we know the words, we don’t do that. Because of laziness and the old habit of negative mind, even though we know there is something we can do, that we are capable of dong. So remembering death as you wake up and go to bed is very good. Very good.
Then, when you make prostrations, think as it is in the book (page 14), when you make prostrations to Guru Shakyamuni, think of the number of the atoms of the galaxies, that there are that many Guru Shakyamuni Buddhas, infinite bodhisattvas, on each atom. In the presence of each of the objects, there are infinite numbers of yourself—all of your beginningless previous lives in the form of human beings, or you can visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddhas. All are making prostrations, saying prayers. This makes the benefits of making prostrations many thousands of times greater. Say this mantra first, as on page 15.
Then you can say Lama ton.ba chom.den.day. Then visualize like this, thinking that all your previous lives are saying this mantra, and also that light and knowledge rays are coming from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and all your previous lives are purified of all the negative karma that you have created from beginingless lives, and all the delusions. This is very special. Then, each time think, “Now the body is purified, the negativity of speech is purified, the negativity of mind is purified.” Each time you make prostrations, do like this. Also in the early morning time. Perhaps I can talk about this later on.
In regards ordination, if you can do this, it also has meaning. You are attending a one month course, which makes it worthwhile that you came from so far away, from such a distant place, making much expense, and with much effort. The result is incredible; the result you bring is incredible profit, more than the expenses you have for coming here. This is just my suggestion, my subtle suggestion that came this morning. I think that’s all. Perhaps if there is time, later on.
“I must achieve enlightenment in order to release all sentient beings from suffering and enlighten them right away. Therefore, I am going to listen to the holy profound teaching on the graduated path.”
The listening subject, the holy profound teaching, is divided in three—the gradual path of the lower being, the gradual path of the middle being and the gradual path of the higher being. The gradual path of the lower being is the art of the subject talking about future lives—there is suffering in the future life after this life, one has to experience the suffering of the lower realms again. So therefore, the second thing is showing the method for the future lifetime’s happiness. Showing the method for the future lifetime’s happiness is taking refuge and observing karma, having belief in the evolution of karma—these two are the essential things. Then, taking refuge.
The refuge is the prayer, La.ma sang.gye la.ma cho. The guru is Buddha, the guru is Sangha. (Prayer, page 10)
“All creator is the guru,” means the guru is the creator of all Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The creator is the guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and also oneself—individual, one’s past, present and future happiness, the creator of all that is the guru. That does not mean it rises, does not mean it happened without you creating it, without depending on your own action, without depending on creating your own virtuous action. It does not mean this. As I told you, a virtuous action is an action of the enlightened one, the action of a guru. So in this way, this action is work, and these virtuous works, the virtues that we create, leads us to enlightenment and cause us to finish, because the accumulation of merits is completed.
Also thinking this way. The guru is the creator all the past, present, and future happiness. Past, present, and future happiness also arises by depending on the Dharma and the Sangha, and that arises by depending on the Buddha. So also the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha also arise by depending on the original guru. There is no such different manifestation of Buddha existing separately without depending on the original creator, the guru.
So actually, whatever infinite buddhas, whatever different manifestations they have, whatever different manifestations—all different names, Maitreya, Tara, Avalokiteshvara, this and that, even the compassionate Buddha Avalokiteshvara has different manifestations, six arms, 1,000 arms, wrathful aspect, for example as in this tangka we have. Anyway, even Avalokiteshvara has different manifestations, and whatever they are called, all of them are the creator, the action, the actual thing is the guru. Like the person who acts in the theater, he comes with a costume as a king. For instance, like this. Then people call him king, and he comes dressed as the army, with weapons, but as the same person. He is dressed as Tibetan, called Tibetan, then dressed as a European, then he makes the shape of a so-called Westerner. Just like this example, there is one person who comes in different costumes, with different manifestations and aspect, and according to that different names are given. Just like this, it is the same thing with the buddhas.
So if you think like this, if there is no omniscient mind, let’s say—another way to say it, to make it clear how the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha depend on the guru without omniscient mind, how can there be Dharma? Without Dharma, how can there be Buddha? So without Buddha, how can there be Sangha? Just like this. Without Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, how can there be virtue? How can there be virtue, each sentient beings’ virtue, each of our individual virtues, from which we receive all past, present, and future happiness? This is the way to make it a little bit clear, how everything depends on the guru. It is important to know. When you see a different aspect of Buddha, hear a different name, but have the idea, the feeling in the mind that it is one person, this is important. If one can think this way, it is very effective because this is actual evolution, the way it works, how it happens, and in this way also one understands what the guru is. Otherwise, there is no understanding of what guru means.
Actually, guru means the leader, the leader leading from infinite samsaric suffering, releasing from it, leading us in the path to enlightenment. One’s own individual guru means this. If you understand this point, then you have the real understanding of guru, how the guru works and how it is. Like this. Also, when one does meditation on Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, wrathful aspect, peaceful aspect, female aspect, male aspect—whatever it is, each time having this understanding of the guru, in this way you receive blessings. Also in this way you receive the blessing, you receive the special technique to think this way. Also, this is the essence of the Guru Yoga practice.
The brief benefits of perfectly following the guru:
1. Becoming closer to enlightenment. This means following the orders of the guru or offering service, and by offering, we become closer to enlightenment.
2. Then, pleasing all the buddhas, making the guru pleased. The guru who contacts you, who actually works and corrects your behavior, and gives teachings, living in the path to enlightenment by showing the different methods. However, pleasing them pleases all the infinite buddhas, because he is the representative, the embodiment of all buddhas; he is the totality, the total essence of all buddhas. If the guru is not pleased, if you do something wrong with him, creating negative karma but on other hand make a lot of offerings and things like this to the other buddhas, as much as you make offerings to the other buddhas, it doesn’t make them pleased, there is no way for them to be pleased. Even just giving one flower or one water bowl, even this is like making offerings to all the infinite buddhas. However, since he’s the totality, following his orders is like doing so for all the infinite buddhas, as I talked last night about the great benefits. That’s why it is always recognized, collecting incredible, infinite merits is guru yoga practice. Anyway, there is much to talk about—how ancient yogis and meditators practiced this, and how they received realizations from this. Many things. However we will leave it this time. Then, like this. If the guru takes it, it is like infinite buddhas taking it. It creates benefits offering to all infinite buddhas, Usually making offerings to other buddhas, you may receive the benefits of offering, but you may not get the benefits of them taking it. These are the essence.
3. Also, you cannot be hindered by evil friends and devils, the inner and outer devil. So third, perfectly following the guru, the person cannot be hindered by evil friends. Then what. Inner and outer devils—the inner devil is your delusions and the outer devil is spirits. However, the person who perfectly follows the guru has always much less hindrances. For instance, they cannot be influenced in the wrong way by evil friends who don’t observe karma, giving bad influence. They cannot be influenced by them, cannot be drawn by them.
4. Then, next, one instinctively stops the delusions, the vices, the evil, the non-virtuous behavior, the negative actions of speech, body, and mind—all these get instinctively stopped. If the guru is living in much discipline, for example, a disciple who is with a guru who is living in discipline very strictly, because of the guru’s influence, that disciple follows that influence—naturally he doesn’t do, the vices get stopped. Besides the evil, wrong behavior, even the inner delusions such as anger and greed, these negative minds are instinctively stopped because of the influence and discipline of the guru.
5. Then increasing the realizations and experience of the path. By depending on the holy object, the guru, as much as you follow the guru, since the relationship happened, at the same time that you are following his order, it is all a method that causes you to receive realizations more quickly. And also, it purifies the delusions and negative minds more quickly. It is the same thing, not only following their instructions and orders, but also doing whatever he wishes, whatever physical work, whatever it is.
This is just like the great yogi Milarepa. His guru Marpa didn’t give him any teachings for a long time, even one sentence. However, he had him build a nine story tower three times—build it up and then ruin it, and take the stones away and put them back where he took them from, and then again build it up—three times like this. Actually, Milarepa was practicing Dharma and actually this was the path to enlightenment, the method to enlightenment. The method was a kind of meditation, sitting with crossed legs, kind of teaching orally, something. However, the reason he achieved enlightenment in this lifetime was because he did such incredible purification by exactly, correctly following his guru Marpa’s orders without breaking them, without making mistakes in following the guru. So by going through all this, he developed a wound in his backside, like an animal—so many troubles he bore, incredible difficulties, and even though he had a wound he still carried the stones. He worked for his guru as a dog would, as a servant or as a dog. Because of this, because of bearing the great difficulties of this, it becomes incredible purification. That’s how he achieved enlightenment in that lifetime. Then after this big purification, he got purified, and after that Marpa gave him initiation. His mind was ready, and then after a long time, after many years, his guru Marpa transformed a mandala in space, in the form of a special deity who is oneness with Marpa. I think you heard before about Heruka, in the puja that we did yesterday. Anyway, Marpa is really Heruka.
Milarepa saw Marpa first as an ordinary person, working. Milarepa was coming, and as Milarepa met Marpa, Marpa was plowing and had dirt on the forehead, all over his face, and was drinking wine and wore a wooden hat on his head and had dirt on his face, just like an ordinary person, plowing the ground. Milarepa came and as he saw his guru Marpa, he asked, “I came to seek Dharma, Guru.” He said, “You being evil is not my mistake. Why throw this word to me, why is it so important that you should throw this word to me?” Milarepa said, “I am an evil person, I came from the upper place of Tibet.” Then Marpa said, “Which one do you want, I can’t give both. Dharma or temporal means of living—which do you want?” Milarepa asked for both.
Then he offered the first offering to his guru. He brought a big pot, a big copper pot. He offered it empty, not having anything inside. Because this was inauspicious, in his lifetime Milarepa lived an ascetic life, bearing the difficulties of the temporal needs and food. However, his guru Marpa, with his profound deep consideration, made it auspicious. As he received this empty pot, he beat the pot with a stick, and the sound of the pot covered the area. This became auspicious. There were infinite yogis who received enlightenment in their lifetimes, but this great yogi, Milarepa, was well far-famed, even in the west, besides the east. Why was he well-known even in such far places? Because of Marpa’s beating the pot. Then afterwards Marpa filled the pot with butter and added a wick and lighted it. So this was auspicious for Milarepa to complete all realizations in this lifetime. My point is this—what I want to say is this. It includes all the realizations. The fundamental reason was that besides following orders, and practicing the teachings that Marpa gave, he physically worked according to Marpa’s holy thought. So it became a big purification. That’s how Milarepa received all his realizations in that lifetime, he got enlightened in that lifetime. That was because of the benefits of this also. There are so many other histories of other previous yogis.
6. Anyway, the next benefit is that you will not lose the guru in the future lifetimes. This means that perfectly following the guru in this lifetimes makes many lifetimes in which you will find the perfect guru. Even if the present lifetime’s guru is very cruel, however you see it, however it looks, from your side, from the disciple’s side, perfectly following him as he is oneness with the buddhas creates the good karma to meet a perfect guru who has all the teachings in many other future lifetimes—such as Maitreya, Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, or like Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. For instance, the disciples who received teachings from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha when he was in India in the form of a monk, the nirmanakaya, those are not simple people. They created so much good karma; they are special, highly fortunate sentient beings. They practiced Dharma and created many merits in their lifetimes, that’s why they met Guru Shakyamuni. They also perfectly followed the guru in their previous lives, and that’s why they met Guru Shakyamuni.
However, you should think with concern on your side about your future lifetimes, with concern about your own mind. In place of trying to make corrections outside, try to make corrections inside. A person who has eyeball disease sees white colors as yellow, but does not try to paint the outside white. It is more worthwhile to try to correct the disease of the eye that causes you to see yellow. Also, when you get incredible anger, you see the ground as yellow. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
7. Not being born in the lower realms. By perfectly following the guru, a person doesn’t get born in lower realms.
8. Then, fulfilling all the temporary and ultimate purposes of this life and of many other future lifetimes by perfectly following the guru. For instance, if I give one example. In Tibet, usually like this. Monks or lamas who study, perfectly following the guru, with a little study they gain incredible knowledge, spending only a little time. Also, their life never gets into problems. Also, they become very beneficial for sentient beings, for teaching Buddhadharma to sentient beings. The person becomes very useful, beneficial, all their life is happy. Also he can practice, receive teachings, practice Dharma, receive realizations as he tries, as he wants.
Those who don’t perfectly follow, as much as they study, they never get progression in their Dharma study, even in regards understanding words. There are so many hindrances for practice. Even if the person tries to practice, they find much difficulty in receiving realizations. It takes much time and as much as one person tries to do, to meditate or to do something, they make mistakes in following the guru—such as reacting to the guru, getting angry, breaking orders, heresy towards the guru arises. A person who does this receives hindrances much more easily—besides inner hindrances, there are outer hindrances, such as the person committing suicide, being taken by spirits or the mind becoming crazy. Also, many monks, even though they are expert in words, in Dharma explanation, because of the mistake of not perfectly following, later on they become crazy. Something happens, terrible things happen, even in this lifetime. As wise as they are, they are useless for other sentient beings. This is just brief, some example. I didn’t plan to talk that much, but it happened. I thought to finish quickly. But someone is pushing me, someone tells me to explain! Like this. Anyway, this is just a few examples. Then, one quickly receives enlightenment.
Also, there are eight total benefits of perfectly following the guru. Then, by the way, I want to mention the shortcomings of not perfectly following the guru.
1. Heresy arising, complaining because he doesn’t give the right teachings, complaining, belittling, abusing, criticizing, renouncing the guru, which means not having enough devotion, reacting, which means you get angry when his orders don’t bring harmony, don’t agree, and speak harshly—doing these things to the guru is like doing them to all infinite buddhas. Criticizing, complaining, abusing all the buddhas—that much heavy negative karma, like doing those negative things to all infinite buddhas.
2. Anger rising towards the guru. As the shortest second passes, for each shortest second you are angry, you are born in the worst suffering stage, the lowest suffering stage, the unceasing suffering stage, which is called the increasing suffering stage. You are born there to suffer for many eons, even middle eons, great eons—like this. For instance, when anger rises for a bodhisattva in the mind of a person who has not received bodhicitta, we create the negative karma to suffer for thousands of eons. So if this is the case with a bodhisattva, why not with one Buddha? Why not with infinite buddhas? And why not with the guru, more and more. As I talked about the benefits yesterday, same thing, the shortcomings increase. Those created with the guru are the worst, have the most shortcomings. If one gets angry for one hour, then as there are that many numbers of short seconds, there is that much negative karma. It doesn’t matter if the person is not with the guru—even if he’s sleeping or lying down with an angry mind. Then also, it destroys that much merit. Even if the merit is dedicated, it only puts off the result for many eons. Then even if you try to practice tantra, you don’t achieve the most sublime realizations. There are general realizations and most sublime realizations, and then you cannot achieve even one; if they try to practice the higher path of tantra, they cannot achieve the most supreme realizations and achieve enlightenment, no matter how much the person knows the tantric teachings, all of these profound teachings, the texts that explain the tantric teachings. No matter how much, how wide, how vast are the teachings he knows, the person who has made a mistake in following the guru, even as much as he tries by bearing difficulties, even if at night he does not sleep, as much as he tries to practice Dharma, he doesn’t make profit. It’s like working, it's like trying to attain the narak suffering.
3. Also, you lose and degenerate the knowledge and the realizations that you have received before. Also, as I said before, even in this temporal life you experience much suffering with different sicknesses, and many other things and hindrances. There is much suffering, one after another, like this, always problems. There are people like this. If someone tries to do something, besides becoming successful, they receive suffering, wandering in the suffering realms.
4. Then, because of making mistakes in not perfectly following the guru, it causes one to not find a guru in many future lifetimes. Also there are so many examples here. Even in modern times people do not find a perfect guru. They do not even find a guru who knows correct knowledge, no matter how big or small. They do not even find a guru who knows the one method, the one single method of achieving enlightenment. Also in modern times, many people suffer, not finding the guru. Their lives finish without finding the guru, even though they try to seek it. Instead of finding the perfect guru, they become empty of the guru who can lead them in the path to enlightenment. Also, they may meet the wrong guru, the wrong leader. Instead of leading them in the path to enlightenment, to everlasting happiness, they are always led into samsaric suffering, the suffering of the lower realms, by being shown the wrong path. Think that this can happen in future lifetimes, even if we are born as human beings. This is terrible—in this lifetime we try to create the good karma to be born as a human being, but then we meet such an imperfect leader as this, which ruins many other future lives.
These are the eight shortcomings of not perfectly following the guru. As I told you, the benefits of following the guru, then, not perfectly following, making mistakes…you meet the guru, and after you make the relationship, not following the guru perfectly—these are the eight shortcomings. Then, as there are eight benefits of following the guru perfectly, if one doesn’t follow the guru then the opposite of those eight are the result. Your not following the guru perfectly causes you not to receive those eight benefits. So as I told you at the very beginning, there is no way to achieve enlightenment without depending on the guru. So now you have a little idea. But if I tried to explain this at the beginning, it would make the mind crazy, it wouldn’t make any sense.
Generally, with each of these benefits there is too much to talk about—quotations and stories of previous meditators, how they practiced, how they received realizations, many things. Also for the shortcomings, like this. But this is a brief talk on the explanation on the practice of the guru. To emphasize, this brief explanation includes these things.
The purpose of telling you this is that if you don’t understand this important point, then no matter how much meditation you do, no matter how much you understand, it is possible that you will create karma, incredible karma that you will have to suffer from for a long time in the lower realms. Instead of coming closer to enlightenment, you come further from enlightenment. There is the danger that it will happen like this, a great danger that it will happen like this. Just like this, fuel can be used for driving cars, for many machines, for the stove—it can make many different kinds of machines work, such as airplanes. Just like this, this guru yoga practice is important, like the fuel that makes so many things function, work, and be useful. By understanding guru yoga practice, by understanding this as the most important thing and by perfectly practicing or following it as much as possible, it is like this. A small ant, an animal, an insect crawls and sees a tall person walking. The small ant is also going, but the tall person has long legs; both are going, but the ant takes so much time, while the tall person makes long steps, and can reach there more quickly. Just like this. Practicing Dharma without the guru and with the guru can be like this. Different. Practicing with guru yoga will be like the tall person who, with each step, gets so much closer. A small ant takes much time, just like this. This person, the man who walks, gets so much finished, gets so close, like this. Also, if the person makes mistakes following the guru, no matter how much he tries to do meditation, tries to study, as much as he tries, his enlightenment, working for enlightenment, going to enlightenment, will not be quick; it will be extremely difficult. Not understanding this point is like the person who wants to drive the car or the airplane, not knowing the need of the fuel that makes it work. So, anyway, you understand.
I think it’s important at the very beginning—to find the right guru, not the wrong leader. How it is important is because many other future lifetimes’ happiness, whatever you want, so much of this depends on the guru whom you follow. Not only the present life depends on him, but also so many things. Really the most important thing is to find the perfect, right, not wrong, leader. Not the wrong leader is so important.
However, there are many degrees of knowledge. There is the Vajrayana guru, the paramita Mahayana guru, the Hinayana guru; there are levels of knowledge. The Vajrayana guru who has knowledge of Vajrayana, the Mahayana guru who has knowledge of Mahayana ... like this, living in the teachings, living in the realizations. Anyway, there are so many details. However, one who is living in the three trainings—the trainings of moral conduct, concentration and wisdom—is worthwhile to follow as a guru. Generally, there are many degrees like this. But the guru having knowledge that you don’t have, higher knowledge, Dharma that you don’t have—however, totally, if I say it should be the guru we find, it should be like this. If I make it total, simple and clear, at least it should be like this, the guru who always points out, who always emphasizes, who always obliges, always emphasizing thinking that the future life is more important than this life. It should be like this, this is the least—one who obliges the disciple to work more for the future life than this present life. That comes if the guru’s goal and concentration is in that way. As he is concerned more with the future than this present life, he emphasizes that the disciple consider the future life as more important than this one, and obliging the disciple to work more for the future life than the present comes by the way. However, the disciple always makes arrangements for the future life, always works for the future life. In this way the disciple always creates the possibility to practice Dharma in this way, virtue or Dharma. So there is always the arrangement for good karma created for the future life’s happiness, so there is no misguiding.
But the guru who doesn’t think in this way, who thinks that this life is more important, who has no idea of the future life, who also emphasizes more this present life than the future life, cannot be a guru, because with that idea he influences and obliges the person to work only for this present life’s comfort. In this way, there is no way for this disciple to be guided. Again, what the disciple is obliged to do is all negative karma, all evil action done for the comfort of this life, only negative action, negative karma. No matter how much the guru has a reputation, is a good speaker, how much he looks—like flying—I am joking! However, then there is no way for him to guide you from suffering. This guru always obliges you to work for the comfort of this life. So the action that you do does not become the opposite of your negative mind. It does not become the remedy for your mind. Always it becomes the cause of samsaric suffering, so therefore it is misleading you. Therefore, it misleads not only the present life, but many other future lives get ruined, get misled, destroyed; many other future lives’ happiness.
Therefore, at least the guru whom you follow should be like this. Then, the guru from whom you take teachings should be like this—with this idea, thinking that there is no way to get misled, also secondly, thinking that receiving perfect, everlasting happiness, the cessation of samsara, is more important than samsaric happiness.
Especially the guru who shows the Mahayana teaching should be like this: emphasizing that one should take care of other beings more than oneself. It should be like this, thinking of taking care of others more than oneself, and also emphasizing for the disciple that taking care of others is more important than taking care of oneself.
Then enlightenment, the cessation of samsaric suffering, nirvana, just the cessation of samsaric suffering and enlightenment, thinking that enlightenment is more important than the achievement of everlasting happiness, and also emphasizing for the disciple that enlightenment is more important than receiving everlasting happiness, and the cessation of samsaric suffering. So it should be like this.
Take for instance, this great yogi Atisha, when he was going to Ceylon to follow and find his guru Serlingpa, the great bodhisattva. Of course Serlingpa’s name is well far-famed, but Atisha left with many disciples. After he arrived in that place, he didn’t go to see his guru right away. Before that, he stopped and checked up with those disciples; he stopped and waited for some time. He checked the guru Serlingpa—how is his daily life, what does he practice, what is his daily life, what is his main consideration, main practice? He checked up everything, then as he discovered it was good, many knowledges, he went to see the guru Serlingpa with many offerings. The guru Serlingpa also came to hold the reception for the great bodhisattva Atisha, who was coming there. They made a procession for him with many offerings, banners, and religious spiritual instruments. Then, for about twelve years, the great bodhisattva Atisha received teachings on the bodhicitta techniques from his guru Serlingpa. The way he checked up with his guru was like this.
What is the reason I tell you this, how the guru should be and what kind of guru should be found? Then after you find him, how to follow him. It is necessary to be careful, not like a dog jumping for meat.
Benefits of Taking Refuge (Page 73)
Three worlds—actually world is not the definite sense here—this world of sense, and the world of form and the formless world. If the benefits of taking refuge appeared in the form of matter, even these three worlds would be small for the path. This is from the sutra teachings.
Like this ocean, the Pacific—counting the benefits of taking refuge one-two-three, taking each handful of water from the Pacific, still the Pacific would not be enough. It wouldn’t cover the benefits of refuge.
1. Nang means inner, and means the possessive world. I think the way the word happened is like this. Buddha means Buddha; generally, it means realizing the absolute nature. But this is a general Sanskrit term. However, the actual Buddha, the one who received the logical meaning, the true meaning, is the one who has the complete realization of omniscient mind, fully seeing all existence. This being who received true meaning is Buddha. Like this. The path, the teaching that was explained by Buddha, I think is called Buddhism. I think Buddhist is English, not Sanskrit; Buddha is Sanskrit I think. As there are things like this—lama, Lamaist. English scholars gave the name “Lamaists” which is not necessary, it makes more confusion. Then each person should be an “ism” because each person has a different name. So if a person’s name is Peter, then it should be Peterism, which is not necessary, which makes confusion, gives ideas to other people. Confusion; they think the Dharma that the Tibetan monks practice is not the Dharma that is shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, is not the Dharma that was practiced, brought from India and practiced by the pandits in India. This gives different ideas to people, confusion; it gives wrong understanding.
Lama is a Tibetan term which literally means heavy, but in knowledge; in Sanskrit it is guru. Why lama? Lama because it is a Tibetan word, Tibetan term. Actually Guru Shakyamuni is a lama, and all Buddhists are lamas, yogis are lamas, pandits are lamas.
Question: What is necessary for a monk to be called a lama: what is the difference between gelong and lama?
Rinpoche: Usually it’s like this. The incarnate lamas are called lama. There are different ways to call them. First of all, the guru from whom you received teachings, the leader who leads one in the path to enlightenment is called lama, because he has higher knowledge than the disciple. However, it is not even just that but many things. So first of all, this is the way lama goes. It does matter, from your side—this is a lama according to this relationship. Then generally, incarnate lamas are called lama. Also, the abbot of the monastery, the high senior monk, was called lama because in regards knowledge the abbot is higher. There are different ways that the lama receives this. Usually the guru from whom you receive teachings is like this. Lama is like this. In India people besides monks are called lama, Tibetan lay people are called lama. Also there is one special animal that I saw in Darjeeling, that looks like a horse and a peaceful animal is called lama. I think the spelling is not in that way. Two “l’s.” There is one at the zoo in Darjeeling.
I just read this quickly. The teaching shown by the Buddha is called Buddhism. Then the people who practice are usually called Buddhists, but the actual term is “inner being.” Buddhist and Buddhism are made by English people. However, the general term is nang.pa; nang means an inner being who has met the Dharma, Buddhism, who is living in the Buddhadharma, following the Buddhadharma. Anyway, according to the Tibetan term, it called an inner being.
In order to become an inner being, you have to have the achievement of refuge in your mind. Then, as you have refuge, the person becomes an inner being; not an outer being but an inner being—having met the Dharma and living in the Dharma, following the Buddhadharma, like this. If the person doesn’t have refuge, these two causes, then no matter even if person is in robes, or on a high throne explaining Dharma, one cannot become Buddhist. This is only determined by the realization, by the mental level, not by the exterior way he acts. This is only a mental level, a mind that you reach from having this refuge; that person is an inner being. No matter even if he has long hair, far out looking! He is an inner being—higher than the person who doesn’t have refuge in the mind, who wears robes, thinking he’s important, always showing that he’s a Buddhist person, praying, doing rituals, whatever it is. If the mind doesn’t have refuge, the person is nothing, not Buddhist. If you make Buddhist in the sense of an inner being, then the person is not Buddhist, like this. All is created by the mind level.
So you understand how it is not easy, how it does not depend on external change, but only depends on inner change. So you should not have the conception that something is outside, external looking—it should not be determined by this, otherwise the meaning is limited. It cannot be pure, because anyone can shave their hair, this is not surprising. Because an inner being becomes a bodhisattva or a buddha by working through the mind. Therefore, becoming a Buddhist or an inner being is not easy. Even to be in the line of this, to be part of this is difficult; it is difficult because your mind has to be at this level, your mind has to have refuge. Like this, also there are many who act, pray, who always do things, and are externally not Buddhist, not anything. They are the opposite, outer beings, like this. These things are important to know. That’s enough.
2. Ordination. Ordination is based on taking refuge, having refuge. Without refuge the ordination cannot be received. And also, whenever one renounces or avoids the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, not caring what Buddha says, such as observing karma, saying, “I know what Buddha says but I don’t care.” Being careless, renouncing Buddha, Dharma and Sangha makes one also lose one’s ordination. If you take ordination and lose refuge, renounce it, then you lose the ordination also because refuge is the foundation of the ordination. Just like the earth, the ground-building cannot go past it. Such as the five precepts, the eight precepts, any ordination—it is all done with refuge.
3. If the person takes refuge, if he follows Dharma, and observes karma, also all previous negative karma gets diminished.
5. The person who has refuge strong and pure has less hindrances of outer spirits, of living things and non-living things. Also the person who has stronger refuge cannot be hindered even by the spirits, the other living beings, because of the power of the refuge, because they rely on and have full confidence in Buddha. Because of the power of Buddha, even other living beings cannot hinder that person, like this. Take, for instance, saying the refuge prayer La.ma ton.ba cho den.de—even just saying this refuge prayer purifies much negative karma. All this is the power of the Buddha. Reciting the mantra Ta.ya.tha purifies negativities that have been created over 40,000 eons. These are purified by saying this mantra once, so how much you purify with this mantra depends on how strong the inner refuge that you have is. Generally, it has power like this. Mantra has so much power to purify and accumulate. Saying the prayer of refuge has much power to accumulate much merit, purifying so much negative karma. However, our negative karma is not something that we create in one year, something we create in one life—it was created in billions of previous lives, created in so many previous lifetimes, so much, incredible. So it is not easy. So many numberless karmas, so strongly created, are so difficult to purify. It is not something that all gets purified by saying a mantra. Also mantra helps the refuge prayer. Mantra, as I told you, blowing on the corpse of a dead living being can affect, can help. At death time, reciting this—also when there is danger, reciting this, danger can be stopped. Anyway, there are so many stories, so many examples.
Thank you. In regards benefits, there is much to talk about—examples, previous stories, many things. Anyway, this time that much is enough.
Then perhaps in the evening, I think there will be time to talk a little bit. Then tomorrow morning, I think Guru Thubten Yeshe will give refuge, and for the people who want to take bodhisattva ordination and the upasika, the five precepts.
The Benefits of Taking Refuge (Page 73)
Besides the fact that refuge is useful and beneficial to obtain temporary results, refuge is also the fundamental thing to obtain the ultimate purpose. Also refuge is the best protection to guide your present life from dangers and problems.
In previous times in one country, in India I think, in one country there was a law made that any person who is guilty, who is criminal, would be punished by the king—taken away and left at the cemetery at night. Usually, the body never stays there—it gets eaten, the body never leaves there. It was a very mischievous cemetery. So, one person was punished by the king, and he left the person at the cemetery; so this person was extremely frightened in the night. He put a piece of red cloth on his head, and thought that it belonged to the Sangha, and then kept on saying refuge. He relied on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha that night. The whole night he did this. However, he was saved that night. Usually this was a place of spirits gathering in the night time, but on that night there was nothing happening, nothing bothering him, nothing happening because of the power of his refuge, his completely believing and relying on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, like this. There are so many examples.
One part here (5)—you cannot be hindered by even non-human beings. It means this, that you cannot be hindered by living beings and non-living beings. Refuge is very wide and very powerful. Also in Tibet, one man was licked by an animal that harms human beings. He met this animal and it licked his head, caused a great wound. Afterwards, he asked one lama about this, and the lama told him to take refuge, he explained refuge. After that he met this animal again, but as he was taking refuge the animal didn’t harm him, the animal just passed away. The animal smelt him and passed away without harming him after he received the explanation on refuge and took refuge.
Also in Tibet there was one meditator who was meditating in a cave, a hermitage. One day a thief came to this meditator’s place, and from the small window through which the meditator receives his food, he looked through this hole and he saw one rich cloth, a shirt. It was a cloth that used to come from Bhutan or India, usually recognized as genuine or good quality. The meditator had something like this hanging near his bed, on the top of the wall. So the thief saw it, and he made a plan to steal it. The thief asked the meditator, “Give it to me.” So the meditator knew that he was the thief and he tried to check up, wanting skills to release from that danger and not make the thief steal. Then the meditator asked him to put his hand inside the hole. As he put his hand through the hole, the meditator tied his hand with a rope to the post inside, otherwise he would get beaten by the thief. His hand was tied, but he was outside; the thief was outside, but his hand was inside tied to the post. Then the meditator came out and beat him with the rope, saying, “Go to refuge to the Buddha, go to refuge to the Dharma, go to refuge to the Sangha.” He beat him, stronger and stronger. First of all a little, then the next time stronger, then the next time very strong. The thief was so scared that he ran away, and he couldn’t get the things he wanted. There was a little rocky cave near the bridge; he was very frightened, so he spent the night in the cave under the bridge, the whole night. There was nothing to do, no method, so he remembered what the meditator said while he was getting beaten—he didn’t know the meaning, but he remembered the words the meditator had said. There were no other methods, so he was reciting what the meditator said as he beat him, “Go to Buddha, go to Dharma, go to Sangha.” He kept saying this. Also, after he was beaten by the meditator, as he was coming down, he thought, “It is so good that there are only three, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; if there were more I would get much suffering.” He spent that night in the cave remembering this, reciting this, and that night nothing happened, nothing bothered him; the spirits going through on the bridge that night stopped because of his saying this prayer.
Usually refuge is not only something that simple people do. Even the ancient pandits, whenever they had great work to do, like to go to another country, or take a very dangerous trail, such as in previous times when they came from Nepal to go to Tibet and there was no good road—they would have to go through forests with many mysterious animals, not like this modern road—every time, who did they rely on like their parents or their friends to do all this work, to go to another country to spread Dharma or do any great work? Whatever work they did, they always did by relying on the Buddha, Dharma,and Sangha, praying to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Refuge is not a simple thing. Also, any time, when we do puja, and when Tibetan monks, even ancient Yogis, previous yogis, before they gave teachings, they take refuge. They always do this by relying on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. So refuge is not a simple thing that only ordinary people do, but not the highly realized ones—it is not like this.
Also in India where there are monk camps, Tibetan concentration camps, there were many elephants. When they met the elephants, by praying and remembering the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the elephant just passed away. Many times this happened without causing danger, like this. In India at this place where we lived for several years, the monks usually touch and catch snakes. Because that place is very hot in summer, very, very hot—if you even sit in a room without taking your clothes off, wearing very thin clothes, you are still very hot. You are very hot and you don’t hear much because of such great heat. There are lots of snakes. Sometimes snakes fall down. Anyway they know how to catch them; they catch them with their hands like this. But anyway, I never heard of one monk that got bitten by a snake. But the Indian police who kill the snakes right away as soon as they see them, get bitten by snakes. At one time there was a big platform with so many monks making daily prayers. After half an hour of prayers, they did debate. All of a sudden a big snake came—I think it was very big, maybe bigger than this very long one. Then one of the monks caught it, and as he caught it the snake got shorter and shorter. This is the animals’ skill, to get loose like that. As the monk was holding the snake, the snake got short, and as it got shorter it got farther. So the monk threw it out. Then it was seen by the police, and they threw kerosene and burned it, and later on it died, I think. That is also due to refuge, how the monks catch snakes and do not get bitten.
And also keeping precepts and ordination because of that power is based on refuge. There are many stories.
Also on Solo Khumbu mountain, where many European people make expeditions, there are two parts, two different areas—one place is called Rolwaling, and the other place is Namche Bazaar. One side is called Thangme. Between them, as you go from that place to Rolwaling, you have to cross over snow mountains. They are rocky, and sometime it takes one day or sometimes two days, depending on how you make the trip and on the trail. Usually the person who crosses over it knows just the direction of the mountains—you have to cross this and that, but there is no actual trail. You have to go on the rocks or on the snow. It is a very, very dangerous mountain, a very high mountain; not just a mountain, but water and stones coming. Water and stones fall down, big stones and small stones, there is much falling down, but you have to cross when you get to that part. You have to go like this from Rolwaling to Namche Bazaar, you have to go up; when you come back, a little bit down, it is easier. But when you go there you have to go up, and it is very dangerous. That’s one of the most dangerous parts. I was carried once or twice. I have one guru who taught me the Tibetan alphabet with whom I lived for seven years, and he carried me. Another time I was carried by other people. The other people had very heavy luggage, so when they went there their hands were shaking like this and they prayed very hard, as strong as possible. Maybe at that time, while they were passing through, maybe that’s one of the times that they relied, really taking refuge in their lifetime. They were reciting, they were taking refuge by mentioning the names of different manifestations of Buddha according to the individual—Padmasambhava, or others—they recite the names of buddhas, and then they also take refuge in the guru, like this. From the mouth they say this, and the hands shake like this, and they crossed this. It’s very funny because they went four times, but every time just the people got there, just after they finished crossing over, a storm came. Many times it happened as we crossed over, just after we reached here, a storm came—a big storm, a small storm, with much noise. So I think that at those times nothing happened to any of those people. I think this is also the power of the Buddha and their taking refuge, relying on it. Like this.
However, this is not a small subject; we should not think of it as a small subject, or an unworthy practice.
Karma (Page 74)
Then, karma. What one should do after taking refuge? Taking refuge is relying on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha with these two causes. What is the essential way that they guide us sentient beings? Through observing karma, which means avoiding negative actions and creating good karma. Therefore, the explanation of karma comes.
Karma has to be thought about. There are principal minds and secondary thoughts. There are about fifty-one secondary thoughts that surround the principal mind, the consciousness of mind. Karma is the secondary thought, such as the action of the mind. Each time the karma is created it leaves an ability or impression on the mind, on the consciousness. The impression itself is not the mind, and what the karma leaves on the consciousness is not mind—it is impression, ability; it is impermanent but it’s not mind. Many people have the idea that people who don’t know or have belief in karma don’t create karma, because they don’t know. This is a big mistake. Knowing karma is having the wisdom understanding karmic evolution as the cause of suffering. But people think that only those people who believe or know about karma can create negative karma, and that people who don’t know about it, don’t create it. But it would be ridiculous if Shakyamuni and all the buddhas caused suffering to others by explaining karma. It is not like this. Even in the country, if a person who doesn’t know the law does something that breaks the law, he is still recognized as guilty, he gets punished. In that case, only people who know the law would be guilty, and those who didn’t know it and did the opposite would not be punished because they don’t know. This is in a worldly way, of course, not a Dharma way. Many people have this idea.
As long as one does not purify, one does not destroy the ignorance, ignorance which is the creator of karma, the cause of the rising negative karma. Until one achieves the higher path, the full realization of the absolute true nature, which is the opposite of ignorance, there would be negative karma created, because of the existence of cause. People do not have the idea to purposely steal, to be a thief, but because of having desire for the object of attachment, they try to get it through different methods—peacefully, knowingly, or without knowing, without letting others know, by talking, telling sweet words. Even though the person stealing things does not have the idea to be a thief and steal, even though he doesn’t know that it’s stealing, the action can become stealing. This does not depend on the person knowing what is negative and what is positive; it does not depend on this. If there is the cause, if there is ignorance, the cause of ignorance, the negative karma comes—the person creates negative karma no matter whether the living being recognizes it or not.
He means this—maybe it doesn’t come exactly in English—it means that everything that you do is karma; it is not up to what you wish, but up to karma. If it was up to our wish, then we wouldn’t need to meditate that long. As we thought of enlightenment, we would receive right away; at the same time as we thought it, we should receive it right away. If it was up to your wish, the mind would be like this. Because it’s up to karma, even us, as much as we do not desire suffering, we have no freedom, no control to stop it right away. If it was up to the mind, then as we think, we do not desire, it should be stopped right away, it should not happen. That is because things are up to karma, not up to your wish.
Since you have to work with karma, whatever you want to be, whatever happiness, whatever happy life you desire, you have to work with karma. Without depending on karma, the good result, whatever the person desires cannot be received. For instance, a person making business may fail many times. However he tries to make his business, he fails, and as he loses he tries to make business another way, and again he loses, many times. The evolution is the opposite of his wish, the opposite of his mind and what he expects. The reason that he doesn’t have the chance to make the work successful, to enjoy the result, is because of the cause. Also, the cause of the result that he wants was not created, so because there was no karma created to bring that result, it doesn’t happen. So as much as the person tries to do, tries to receive this good result, the pleasure that he wants to enjoy with things, as much as he tries, because he doesn’t work through karma it doesn’t happen. He doesn’t receive the result. As much as he tries, he loses. Some people don’t have to work that hard—just by thinking things they instinctively happen. Whatever the person wants to receive happens instinctively. This is because the person has created the karma, the cause to receive this result, to enjoy this result.
However, no matter how smart you are, or how sneaky, or how wise in politics, without going through karma, nothing works. Without relying on karma, nothing can be done. Receiving pleasure of this life by having reputation, by possessing many places, factories, many things, no matter how wise the person is in politics, there is always a mistake. He doesn’t get any satisfaction, he cannot make his life really happy, with satisfaction. There is always a mistake. Even though the person thinks the politics are a good method, in the future politics become the cause of suffering, because it’s the wrong method. Then other people complain, it is their fault, this and that—because of that, all these problems come. Like this. Anyway, no matter how wise, how smart, all these things, he doesn’t get satisfaction, life doesn’t become happy, and there are mistakes. Things do not happen exactly as he plans. He does not exactly receive what he needs, totally the pleasure, because of the problems that he has to suffer, has to meet, as wise as he is, as smart as he is in things, worldly actions, worldly politics, things like this, no matter. The reason he cannot stop it is because he wishes to be happy all the time, never getting suffering, not one tiny suffering, but the reason that doesn’t happen is because he cannot escape, he cannot do things without depending on karma, without working through karma.
Also, why karma, problems without choice? Because he doesn’t do anything with karma, doesn’t make the change, try to stop karma, doesn’t work out any of his previous karma, the cause that brings the suffering problem. Those results arise without choice, without wish. So the usual proverb is this, “It doesn’t happen as it appears in the mind, except up to whatever the karma does, whatever the karma leaves.”
Actions arising from hatred, greed, and ignorance are non-virtuous.
Maybe I will put some questions. Are all the virtuous actions done without ignorance? Someone answer on behalf of all people.
Answer: It has to be the correct motivation. An action can be right, but unless it’s got the right motivation it is non-virtuous.
Rinpoche: The only pure action is bodhicitta action, and you only receive that when you get rid of ignorance.
Answer: If that were true then it would be impossible to create virtuous action.
Answer: We could create different subtle levels of negative action, but the only pure action is bodhicitta action, and you can’t get rid of that until you get rid of ignorance.
Answer: How can you create virtuous action before that time?
Answer: The only pure action is bodhicitta action, so you only create different levels.
Answer: How can you get rid of obscurations if you create negativity?
Answer: You’re going towards something; it’s not this or that.
Answer: But how can you be going towards that if everything is negative action?
Answer: You’re not creating, you’re becoming aware. You are not doing that karma, you’re not creating bad karma, you are becoming aware of it.
Answer: Lesser and lesser degrees of bad don’t make it good.
Answer: I think the answer to the question is “yes,” but I forget what the question was!
Rinpoche: I don’t understand.
Answer: He can’t remember the question but gave an answer anyway; he said yes!
Rinpoche: You can create good karma out of ignorance if you are aware of what?
Answer: Good karma, you create it because you are aware.
Rinpoche: Aware in regards to good karma?
Answer: You are aware of whether the karma you are creating is good or bad.
Rinpoche: So I am saying ... Yeah, I see.
Answer: It must be true that you can create a virtuous action from ignorance or else we would have never received the perfect human rebirth.
Rinpoche: She’s very smart! But here it says, Nagarjuna says in the quotation, “With ignorance, greed, and hatred, the action that arises is non-virtuous. Non-greed, non-hatred, non-ignorance—the actions created with these are virtuous.” What do you think?
Answer: You could start your action, doing an action in opposition to greed, before that action becomes in opposition to ignorance. For the action to be completely without ignorance it would have to be with the recognition of the absolute true nature, so for an act of charity to be perfect, without ignorance, you would have to see the absolute nature of the person giving charity. Without that realization it could be virtuous, but it wouldn’t be perfectly virtuous because it wouldn’t be without ignorance.
Rinpoche: Without realizing the absolute nature of these three, then doing, making, creating charity is virtuous, but not perfectly virtuous. There is a virtue that is not perfect? What is missing?
Answer: You can create the cause of the perfect human rebirth by doing acts of morality and charity, but you could be lazy at the same time.
Rinpoche: But just the action itself, creating charity and morality resulting in the perfect human rebirth?
Answer: It depends on the motivation.
Rinpoche: Are all those ... what motive? Non-greed, non-hatred, non-ignorance?
Answer: Pure motive, without greed or hatred but done with ignorance.
Rinpoche: That’s what I am saying then. The quotation is a mistake. The Nagarjuna quotation is a mistake. The action created with greed, ignorance and hatred is a non-virtuous action, then the action created with non-greed, non-ignorance and non-hatred is a virtuous action.
Answer: Can you have non-greed without non-hatred and non-ignorance, only one, just non-greed or just non-hatred, and can that action still become virtuous even though it doesn’t have all three? Of course, these actions done with non-greed, non-hatred and non-ignorance are virtuous, but I think maybe it doesn’t need all three.
Answer: Every action is done in non-greed ...
Answer: With hatred.
Rinpoche: Then the action of greed is also non-hatred.
Answer: We have two kinds of ignorance, one of karma and one of absolute truth, so if you did not have the ignorance of karma then you could have the ignorance of the absolute nature.
Rinpoche: This is what this means. The ignorance, as Nagarjuna quotes, “The action that is created with greed, ignorance and hatred,” this ignorance means ignorance of karma, like this. For instance, like sleeping all the time and expecting to receive a human rebirth, to get much chance to sleep and to receive always a lot of good clothes and delicious food. In order to receive this result, the person thinks that they should eat a lot of delicious food and wear a lot of good clothes, and sleep a lot, in order to find a human rebirth in which they will experience much enjoyment, delicious food, clothes, and the opportunity to sleep a lot. Another thing, sacrificing animals in order to receive a human rebirth, in order to go to heaven to receive a human rebirth in the next lifetime. These things are done with ignorance of karma, not knowing karma, the evolution, the cause of the good result.
Question: Christians think that going to heaven afterwards is good thing. Do they create good karma if they don’t know about karma?
Rinpoche: Generally it depends on knowing the karma—the cause of happiness, the cause of past happiness is virtuous, and the cause of suffering is non-virtuous. Generally it is done through this understanding, but sometimes even if the person doesn’t know the terms good karma and bad karma, it is possible to create good karma because the action itself is positive; from the action’s side it is positive, so even if the person cannot say it, creating good karma is possible. But usually, for the person to try to stop creating negative karma and to create more positive karma, in order to make this practice, it is necessary to know. Otherwise, how can the person stop creating negative karma? To make this practice, one has to know.
These actions are done with ignorance, not knowing karma, this evolution, like this. It’s wrong belief to do this wrong cause, to do this work, believing that it’s a cause of happiness, a cause of future happiness, when it is not the cause of happiness, and creating that action for it. Just like this. If the person is sick from poison, and suffering with much pain, he thinks that taking poison is the medicine. His thinking that it is medicine doesn’t mean that it can cure his disease—this is his wrong belief, that the poison is medicine. Of course, taking that poison doesn’t bring the result, the cure—it doesn’t happen. So his thinking that it’s medicine doesn’t mean anything. So the suffering not being cured and bringing more suffering is a wrong action. Expecting to receive the result of happiness by creating the cause of suffering, creating negative karma but believing that it’s the cause of happiness is like the example of taking poison as medicine.
So, what Nagarjuna means is ignorance of karma. There are many examples like this. Even if there is a virtuous action that is done with ignorance of the absolute true nature, it doesn’t become the remedy to the cause of samsaric ignorance, because the remedy has to be completely opposite to the ignorance. It doesn’t become the direct method, direct remedy. Any virtuous action created with the concentration of shunyata, that virtue, of course, becomes the opposite to ignorance. It hurts the ignorance, the cause of samsara—that can become a direct remedy.
Then do meditation on refuge as in the brief explanation made last night or this morning. Then maybe the brief explanation on these following subjects.
First of all I will read the part about karma a little bit quicker.
Paragraph 5 (Page 74)
As in the other example that we were talking about this afternoon, this negative action done with ignorance of karma cannot become virtuous. It cannot become virtuous because it has no purpose; it is not positive karma, so there is no way for it to become virtuous. Also generally, like this, such as a butcher who is always taking other’s lives. It looks like he’s making his life comfortable and peaceful, the job that he’s doing helps his life, benefits his life, because that job brings money. He can receive money by making the business like this. Such as the army, because he can receive a reputation, a salary, so that he can support his life with it. These things, for them it seems to benefit, but actually it is not benefiting. However, the person using that money that he received by giving harm to other beings, things like that, is not beneficial work or beneficial action. Why it is not beneficial action? Because the actual result of that action is only suffering. There is no one single happiness in the result of that karma, that negative karma that is done with the ignorance of karma—there is only the suffering result.
So sometimes it can be possible that it will ripen in this lifetime, or in other future lifetimes. For the person, those beings who are evil, who created so much negative karma, sometimes the result of that negative karma is not experienced in the suffering lower realms. Also, besides experiencing the suffering result in this life, that person gets born in the suffering lower realms and experiences that for a long time. However, all that negative karma, the result of all that action is only suffering, so therefore, according to the evolution of karma, according to the actual evolution that kind of life never brings happiness; that action is only the cause of suffering.
But temporarily, in this lifetime, while he is creating these negative actions, he does not experience, does not get into trouble, does not experience suffering right away. That does not mean that what he’s doing, the life that he’s having, the work that he’s doing is pure, okay, nothing wrong. It’s better, actually, to experience the suffering result of that in that lifetime, rather than having to be born in the lower realms and suffer for many eons, for a long time. But because such heavy negative karma has been created, so many seeds have been collected, so many causes of suffering have been collected in order for him to suffer in the lower realms, even though during this lifetime he has no problems, no miserable situation, that does not mean that he will never suffer, he will never experience the suffering result of his actions. It means that for such a long period he will experience the suffering in a future lifetime.
However, the comfort that the person receives, the happiness with its enjoyments, is the result of another previous karma. But the person thinks that the enjoyment that he receives and the life comforts that he enjoys are the result of the job that he’s doing. He has a big wrong understanding. That it is the result of the job that he’s doing—the life comfort, the pleasure, the enjoyments. So because of this, the person carries on the similar job, that negative karma; that person really doesn’t have the understanding of the actual evolution, he doesn’t have the recognition of the cause, the actual cause of happiness and the actual cause of suffering. The person thinks that with the temporal things that he receives by this job, he can enjoy life; he finds a little comfort, pleasure, and thinks that this is the benefit. So the person cheats himself with this big wrong conception; he thinks this is the result of his job, and because of this wrong conception he carries on and goes in circles, not realizing that this temporal pleasure that he receives with enjoyments is the result of previous karma.
Question: If temporal happiness is in reality only suffering, why should good karma produce temporal happiness, because it is going to mislead you more?
Rinpoche: But like this. Creating good karma to receive the perfect human rebirth for the further Dharma practice and for the Dharma, it is necessary to not have hindrances. If you are in the suffering realm, how can you practice Dharma? If you are feeling hungry all the time you cannot practice Dharma, cannot meditate. The temporal comfort, according to the person will be, according to individuality, the cause of suffering. This depends on the individual, the way he uses it. If he’s attached to it, then it’s used in the wrong way; if it’s used for the achievement of enlightenment, if it’s used in a positive way, then it doesn’t become the cause of suffering, it doesn’t become a hindrance to you. It depends on the individual way of using it.
Question: Is it possible that good karma would lead to suffering if that suffering would help one to reach enlightenment?
Rinpoche: For instance, like this. The good karma that we created in order to receive a perfect human rebirth is not out of samsara, but still in the bondage of suffering, still living in samsara. But that has to be received to do further Dharma practice. The perfect human rebirth is temporal like this, is of temporal use. For instance, while you have suffering, while you have pain and sickness, you have to take the medicine, but what’s the point of taking medicine after the sickness gets cured? There is no point in taking medicine. For instance, you have diarrhea and then you take medicine, but after you get cured of diarrhea there is no point in continuing to take medicine to stop diarrhea. So the perfect human rebirth, even if it is something that is not out of suffering, it has to be received for further Dharma practice. Until you can achieve the cessation of suffering, it is necessary to go through this, just like medicine; medicine is of temporal use, just like this. Such as surgery— generally, when you don’t have any problems, surgery, cutting off the wound, cutting pieces is no good; it is harmful, hurting. But when you have a problem, then it is necessary, it is better to have surgery than not to have surgery. Even though it is not a completely peaceful thing, through this you can cure this problem, the disease, like this, it is of temporal use. Without going through the surgery, the disease cannot get cured, so therefore it is wise to have treatment. Due to this temporal method, the disease can be cured. So it is worthwhile: the surgery is not completely peaceful, it is hurting, but still worthwhile—such as injection, these things—but it is still worthwhile because you are doing these things in order to cure the big problem, the disease, and after you are cured of the big problem, the disease, there is no need to continue surgery. Like this, in order to receive the perfect rebirth in the future lifetime, it is necessary to not have a suffering life. If it is a suffering life, one cannot practice Dharma. For instance, it is clear to understand this. Making plans for Dharma practice in order to get out of samsara is worthwhile. Just like the example.
The person believes in a way that is completely wrong, and because of this conception, belief always cheats him, and makes him circle in this job, not realizing that it is the result of previous karma, not realizing that those pleasures are the result of virtue. So we should not take the influence thinking that there are so many people who do these kinds of jobs but nothing happens; they enjoy so well, they have all the materials that they need, nothing is wrong, they have families, people that they need, other things, they are not starving, things like this. Nothing happens, so maybe such actions are not so bad, not so negative. Thinking in this way cheats you, deceives you: then you take the influence thinking that maybe it is not that bad, but then you also try to act in the same way. There is danger, like this.
The Ten Immoralities of Body, Speech, and Mind (Page 78)
1 (b). In this lifetime the person’s life finishes by being killed by another person; this can be similar. The result which is similar to the cause: the cause is that, for example, in a previous lifetime a person harmed someone, and made another’s life short by killing him. This is the cause that he created for another being, and he then experiences the similar result from someone else.
(c). The place where the person is born is inauspicious, unpeaceful—there are always so many terrible things going on in that specific place; there is always fear or something, always problems going on in that specific place. However, as the person is born and lives there, there is a reason that the person enjoys that place. By living there, the place is possessed by the person who uses it.
2. For example, taking the things of large groups of Sangha, using their things without permission. Like this. Like taking off the cloth that covers the book. Like taking off the statue’s clothes, stealing these things that are offered, such as jewels that adorn them.
3. (b) Always having problems.
(c) In a beautiful place. Sometimes there are specific places, there are people, families who are situated in certain places, and somehow, even though the place is terrible, the family has to be situated there somehow. This is also due to such karma.
Also, there is a difference between just laypeople or women or men, and one who is living in ordination. Creating sexual misconduct with one who is living in ordination, that karma is more heavy.
5.(b) Such as always being separated by divorce between husband and wife. Sometimes the person, as much as he tries to make a family, never gets together, always gets changed, like this. This is the result of the karma caused in previous lifetimes—causing disunity for other people in previous times.
(c) Sometimes those places are not happy, not really, on such high mountains in really cold places. Somehow they have the karma to live there, no matter how bad it is, with such bad trails, even though it is very long to go up. Sometimes people think why? This family is crazy living in such a place; why aren’t they in the city somewhere, instead of such high mountains? Sometimes when we get to such a place, funny ideas come—why do they have to be situated in this specific place, where one gets tired climbing up, all these things, so far? Anyway, there is a reason. Because they have created such karma, so this lifetime, the result happened like this. They have to be situated at such a place, like this.
8. (c) Solitary place. Sometimes also families are situated alone, away from other villages, and also have trouble being away, suffering, feeling lonely. Other troubles come—being isolated.
Last Paragraph (Page 79)
(iv) This means the completion and the goal. After finishing the goal, the action is completed.
Then generally, when you make karma it is also good to remember, to think sometimes, to think of these ten immoralities. Then you do meditation on karma, do checking meditation on these four outlines of karma (page 76-77).
1. Karma is definite; do checking meditation on how karma is definite.
2. Then the increase of karma.
3. Not experiencing the result of the karma that wasn’t created.
4. The result of the karma that was created never gets lost.
Then do checking meditation; it is good sometimes to think, to read the ten immoralities, then do checking meditation on the basis of these outlines—how the karma is definite, how it increases, all these things. Like this, however, just briefly talking.
Karma is Definite (Page 76)
Karma is definite, so like this. The seed that was planted in the ground will definitely bring the result. It will definitely produce the stem. It will definitely bring the result, and just like this, karma is also definite. Whatever the karma, positive or negative, it will definitely bring the result—either a suffering result or a good result. The seed that was planted in the ground is not definite, because it can be destroyed by making the condition. Due to the condition, the co-operative cause, it can cause it to not bring the result. Pouring hot water, or no water, or burning the seed can cause the result not to come. So therefore how is the result definite? It is like this. The seed planted in the ground will definitely bring the result, unless it is destroyed. Unless the seed is burnt or destroyed, gets rotten, until the seed meets the condition that interrupts its growth, that interrupts the production of the result, it is definite that it will bring the result. If it doesn’t meet the condition that hinders it, that interrupts its growth—in the same way the karma that we create is definite. From beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now, there is karma whose result has not finished yet. All this karma, negative, positive, that we have created. These ten immoralities will definitely bring the result unless we purify all of our negative karma, destroy all of our negative karma, cause it not to have the ability to bring the suffering result through following the path, through making confession by following the path, or not allowing it to meet the condition that causes the karma to bring the result. This also happens through confession and also by following the path. Like this, just like the seed. For instance, this rice has the ability to bring the result, but it can be burnt. It can be caused not to bring the result by being burnt in the fire. Even if it is planted, if it meets the imperfect conditions, the conditions that interrupt its growth, it cannot bring the result. Same thing, similar like this.
Karma is Expandable
Karma increases like this: if the confession is not made, for instance; even in the day, if the karma is created in the morning, it increases even in the day, as the time passes. Also then, after the second day, if it is still not purified in the first day, it becomes double. On the third day, that much more double. It always increases—it is always necessary to make confession at the end of the day, before you go to bed, or in the early morning before the other day appears. So it is necessary to make confession. Making continual and powerful confession causes the karma to not bring the result, to not meet the condition, to not bring the result of suffering, like this. But if it takes a month, a year, if it passes month by month like this, it becomes more and more difficult to purify. If it is confessed right after the action is done or in that day, it is much easier.
It is Impossible to Experience the Result Without Creating the Karma (Page 77)
Like this, then like this. Not meeting the result for which the karma wasn’t created. You see, if there was such thing as experiencing suffering and experiencing good result without depending on creating karma, then there would be no point in practicing Dharma or creating merits, if there was such a possibility as this. In order to achieve enlightenment, it depends on creating the cause—purification, merits, so many things, understanding Dharma, so many causes. The reason it doesn’t happen right away like this, without depending on the cause created, these infinite merits, is because the result, such as enlightenment, cannot be experienced if the karma wasn’t created by oneself. Therefore, only wishing it, you to approach that level—it does not happen without creating the cause. Even samsaric happiness is similar. Enlightenment is like this, and even samsaric pleasure is like this. Without the cause being created by oneself, there is no way to experience the result, the pleasure. I think I told you before, a potato doesn’t grow by planting an orange. For instance, like this. The rice cannot grow in space because there is no seed existing in space. First of all, just like this, without creating the karma, each result cannot be experienced—either suffering or pleasure. Therefore we have to work for individual enlightenment. For your future enlightenment you have to work by yourself. Not enough, there is the existence of infinite buddhas.
The Result of the Karma Created is Never Lost
The karma, whatever has been created, doesn’t get lost. Even if it has been billions of eons, even if it took that length of time to bring the result out, to experience the result, it can never get lost. Since it not destroyed or purified, since it was not made devoid of ability through confession, such as following the path, it is definite to experience the result. So briefly like this on karma.
Confession: The Four Powerful Remedies
Anyway, I will briefly explain. Many people desire to know how to make confession. Relating with other specific meditations, I am not sure, so I will check up—the confession relating to specific meditations on tantric deities, special deities. Anyway, I will check up and then perhaps tomorrow Guru Thubten Yeshe will give—anyway I will check up. However, I will briefly tell you how to make confession, since it is an important thing to do, the most important work, the method to stop experiencing the suffering result, purifying negative karma. So even if one person does it, it still helps him.
So anyway, it is like this briefly. You can do with it Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Also visualize like this, like ordination time surrounded by infinite buddhas, bodhisattvas, and arhats. Or you can think that he’s the totality of all the buddhas and the guru in the aspect of Shakyamuni, the nirmanakaya. For those who took precepts, especially this is good, for this who took five precepts such as the bodhisattva precepts it is good to visualize being surrounded by all infinite buddhas and bodhisattvas like this. As you took precepts by visualizing this, you make the vow, the visualization in this way. This means you are in the presence of the guru, so it is good to make confession by making confession in the presence of similar objects. Just like this; anyway, it doesn’t matter.
1. So first of all, the faculty of object. Generally it is called the “Four Faculties of Remedies.” Remedy to what? Remedy to negativities, delusions and sinfulness. The first one is the faculty of object. However, first of all think, “I will take refuge in you until I achieve enlightenment,” which means you will completely rely on them. “I will completely rely on you until I achieve enlightenment.” This is first.
2. Secondly, feeling upset, repenting the negative karma that you have done in this lifetime. “Just in this lifetime I have been creating negative karma, breaking precepts such as the general precepts, the bodhisattva precepts and the tantric precepts.” First of all, I will say it generally, then I will make it specific— "Which will oblige me to experience suffering in the lower realms for eons for eons. So besides this, breaking the guru’s orders, arising anger, arising heresy, and criticizing, which is more heavy than the other one, breaking precepts. Such as rising anger, which is much heavier, even with bodhisattvas, for one thousand eons you will have to suffer. Then with Buddha there is more than that. Then with infinite Buddhas, there are more than that. Then even the surrounding of the gurus—the surrounding beings, servants, even animals, the relative disciples—there is so much more heavy karma than one creates with infinite buddhas. Then of course, why not the negative karma one creates with the guru.
“Anyway, such incredible ... like this. What makes me experience such a great number of eons, that you cannot guess, that your mind cannot even guess? Such heavy negative karma that I have created. Then this is only in this life. So I must have created other such negative karmas, similar to those created in this life, and also many other heavy negative karmas in other previous lifetimes. As my lifetimes have been beginningless, I have created negative karma; it has been created in all those previous lifetimes. Only thinking of the negative karma created in this present life, it is an impossible thing to receive enlightenment. Just checking how this present life creates negative karma is infinite. If it could manifest in matter or form, it would be infinite like space. Then there is all this negative karma created in all previous lifetimes. So it is incredible, really incredible.
“So as much is it is an incredible, unbelievable thing, since I desire happiness, since I do not desire suffering, I should try to not experience this suffering result. I must cut off all this negative karma, all this suffering. So then, when should I do this work, when I should cut this off? I should do it. If I don’t cut it off in this present life, because of my negative karma it is definite to be born in the lower realms. So if I am born as an animal, I will only increase my negative karma; instead of diminishing it, I will make it less, only increasing more. Such a terrible thing I have created, and still I am making more infinite negative karma; this is foolish, terrible. How can I do such a foolish thing? I have created this much negative karma that I can’t cut off and purify, so how can I create more?” Then think, “This is impossible if I am born in those lower realms. So I must do this work, cutting off this negative karma and suffering, I must do it in this life while I am a human being. But in this life when should I do it? I should do it right away, otherwise it is almost definite that I will be born in the lower realms, right away. Right away, it is almost definite that I will leave my body just at this place, on this bed, and be born in the lower realms. This is not the narak stage, suffering on the hot red burning iron, or in a cold place in darkness, storms, unable to see anything, being under the ice mountains, unable to move the body, getting cracks, catching cold, getting cracks, wounds, blisters, or so many insects eating me. Right away, if I did this, if I was born like this, death would occur like this, and what to do? What to do? It is almost definite that it will happen like this, so therefore I must purify all this negative karma and suffering, right now.”
Try to build up the desire as strong as possible, wanting to purify it right away. Then, with this feeling, you ask, request the guru, Shakyamuni Buddha, surrounded by infinite buddhas and bodhisattvas like this, and make the request, “May I become purified of all this negative karma that has been created from beginningless previous lifetimes until now, may I be purified of this right away. Right this second.” Ask, “Please grant me blessings to purify, to finish all this right away.” You make requests with this sincere strong desire. You know, you make this feeling, sorry like an excuse, like excusing, apologizing. It’s not saying, “Please, don’t get angry,” not like this, not that kind of thing. It doesn’t mean the other person, the object, gets angry; not like this.
4. (Note 3 and 4 reversed order in book) Then, after the request, you make the promise to not create it again. Such like, “I won’t do it today,” like this. Because if one does this, then if you create it tomorrow, if something happens like that danger, it doesn’t become telling a lie, but still the following day you observe it possessed by this. You make the vow in the presence of them. Either you make the vow to not do this in the lifetime or today, like this, as you feel.
Then, like this. Visualize knowledge rays coming from the holy body and do the purifying meditation in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings and to purify all this negative karma in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings. Then, visualize knowledge rays coming from the holy object and recite the mantra, saying the prayer like this. Then as you receive the knowledge rays, you gradually think, “Now all the negativity of breaking precepts, such as that negative karma created with the guru, totally all the negativity of body that has been created from beginningless lifetimes; completely purified, nowhere existing. It is the same thing with the negative actions of mind, created from beginningless lifetimes.” Try to feel purity, try to feel the body becoming very light; such as when you take a bath, after you take a bath, you feel kind of light; just an example, idea. Try to feel very light, the purity—thinking that you are really getting purified, like this. Then also with purification think like this.
Usually this is the way to make confession. So taking refuge, if I divide it in four:
1. The first one is the faculty of the holy object.
2. The second one is the faculty of seeing the delusions and negative karma as shortcomings, faults, as mistakes.
3. Then the third is being reversed in the form, reversed again from vices, negative actions, because of making the vow. Not getting involved by making the vow again.
4. Then the faculty of following the remedy. That means purifying, making prostrations, reciting mantra, meditating, reciting prayers with the knowledge rays coming, saying the prayer of refuge, reciting other deities’ mantras—there are many forms.
But the action that is the remedy to purify can be many different things, such as reading a text, reading the sutra teaching, the teaching that explains about the absolute true nature. Such as doing meditation meditating on bodhisattvas, like this. The action can be many different ways. It doesn’t have to be specific. Like this. Making statues—there can be many different actions that are remedies to purify, like this. As strong as your desire and repentance is, the vow you make will be that much stronger. If you don’t make that strong of a vow, it will not be strong. So the vow depends on how much strength you have. This is how to make the confession. Those who want to make confession do this. That’s all.
It is very good to do this either three times in the morning, in the afternoon, maybe after lunch, then at night time when you go to bed. Or then, whatever negative karma you have, at least maybe once at night time before falling asleep. It helps a great deal. Powerfully and continually purifying, continuously making it powerful, helps a great deal to cause the karma to not bring the result. So this depends on your confession—the negative karma also gets destroyed, finished. Also, even if it is not complete, it can cause it to not bring the result, like this. So it is a very important thing because it stops, so if you make confession that day, it does not increase, it becomes double the following day. Very important. Even though the negative karma you have created today is not completely purified by that one confession, it is worthwhile to make the confession; it helps to stop the karma bring the result. That’s all.
Then tomorrow morning, at 2:00, at dawn time, then you receive enlightenment! Anyway, however I think we will start from 5 a.m. Tomorrow morning we are just reading The Path to Enlightenment, the holy text written by the great pandit, Atisha, as Guru Thubten Yeshe has suggested. Then in order for it not to be completely empty, in order to leave the impression of the graduated path, maybe a little bit brief, straight meditation, direct meditation. Then the bodhisattva or the true nature, shunyata.
Dedicate the merits, “Due to the merits of taking ordination, making meditation, listening to teachings, all of this, may I achieve enlightenment soon in order to release all sentient beings from suffering and enlighten them.”
Thank you. One thing, tomorrow as Guru Thubten Yeshe will give ordination, the five precepts and bodhisattva ordination, those who will take these have the same feeling. Actually you know, it is not an easy thing, but at the moment our mind does not realize the evolution of karma. That doesn’t mean—our not understanding, our not seeing—doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or work in that way. It is not defined by not having a heavy suffering result if you break it. Your understanding or not understanding is not the definition. Whatever you think is not the definition. So, no matter, even though at the moment you don’t respect what the Enlightened Being has explained about karma, even though you don’t respect that, that doesn’t hurt the Enlightened Being, it doesn’t decrease the Enlightened Being’s knowledge, it doesn’t do anything. Does the enlightened mind gets hurt like an ordinary person? Not like this. This is only cheating oneself. However, whether you respect it or not, whether you believe it or not, it is just like this.
When all of a sudden we get sick, all of a sudden when we meet problems, just like this, without choice, without wish, it happens like this, terrible things happen like this, the future heavy suffering such as breaking precepts, these things, telling lies to the teacher or the abbot or the one from whom you take ordination becomes telling a lie to him, and also to the buddhas in whose presence you made the vow. These temporal problems cannot expectedly happen, and you have to experience them without wish or freedom. It is the same thing with the future suffering of karma. Whatever karma has been created will definitely be experienced, will definitely come; the result will definitely come, the experience will come, ripen on each individual. It has to be suffering by the individual himself, there is nothing that you can share—you give suffering to another person, asking the other person, “Please will you experience that suffering for me?” So at that time, methodless, finished.
So if one tries to be careful ahead of time, to recognize it as clearer, wise, then the benefits of taking it are incredible. Even just making one step, even just with this idea, for this reason you are making one step. Taking ordination has incredible benefits. Even just making the plan to take it has incredible benefits just making the decision; then psychically, even making one step, to take that ordination, each step creates benefits.
One thing is this. As our Guru Rinpoche said, “In previous times, in ancient times, when the time wasn’t degenerated, it was a happy, fortunate time. There were so many others, great numbers of people keeping precepts. It was an easy time, but keeping ordination in that time, in that fortunate happy time, and keeping it in such a poor degenerated time where there is much confession arising, much negative mind strongly arising, so much suffering and confusion happening, more problems, more trouble, such as the last period of the teaching, the last period of the Buddhadharma, then keeping the precepts is a surprising wonderful thing. Practicing in difficult times, compared to this, has incredible benefits and knowledge, more than keeping ordination in those previous happy fortunate times. Like this. Because it is something that, besides benefiting oneself and other beings, it also benefits the Buddhadharma. Because the ordination itself is the teaching. It also helps the teaching to exist, to be emphasized, to be developed. So the teaching is the source of the sentient beings’ happiness. The happiness of sentient beings arises from the teaching. The teaching is the root. That depends on the existence of the teaching, like this. Anyway, as I said before, check up, first of all, really check up, make a good decision. You check again, check again, then make a really good decision about taking ordination.
Also, the fundamental thing about the ordination is the strongly renouncing mind. Why it is necessary to make strong renouncing mind? Because as much you can keep the precepts, as much as you purely took ordination, depends on how strongly you renounce negative actions; strong renouncing mind that renounces negative actions, which is the opposite of the precepts. By abstaining from negative actions, one is keeping precepts, ordination. In order to not get involved in that, to not create it, you have to have the mind renouncing it—the mind renouncing it causes you to not do it. Like this. Therefore, the renouncing mind is important for taking ordination, like this.
According to the Hinayana, Mahayana, Paramitayana and Vajrayana, there are different ways of following, different forms of practicing, following the guru. In the Mahayana way it is like this. If there is something, an action that you cannot do; if the guru tells you something that you cannot do, that you think is not right, then you can discuss it, you can check up, you can ask again, you can check up, you can ask again precisely. So by checking again precisely like this, if that is serious, then it has to be done, like this. But it can be checked. When you feel something then, in orders, instructions, it can be checked again precisely like this, two or three times like this. That is the Mahayana way. Anyway, generally it is like this.
I think that’s all. It’s10:00.
Friday, April 19
As the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, said in his teaching called Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “The bodhisattva who received the holy jewel, to his holy body I prostrate. The bodhicitta, the holy thought of this bodhicitta, always working for happiness, always working for happiness, always working for others, even the beings who received harm from him. To the root from which all the happiness arises I prostrate.” So like this.
First, this is easy to understand. The second one, as much as this bodhisattva got complaints from other sentient beings, as much as other sentient beings harmed him, as much as they afflicted him, without partial thought, this bodhisattva who has the precious jewel of bodhicitta always works for all others, for every other sentient being’s happiness, despite all of this harm. This is showing the knowledge of the bodhisattva; as the bodhisattva always works for each and every sentient being’s happiness, it all arises from that, so therefore Shantideva prostrates to this, the pure thought of the bodhisattva. So therefore it is also necessary that we prostrate and receive it, and try to actualize this within our mind.
So think, “I must receive enlightenment for the sake of mother sentient beings, therefore I am going to listen to the holy profound teaching, the brief outline; therefore I am going to make straight, direct, brief meditation on the graduated path.”
The subject, the holy profound teaching, the listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads fortunate beings into enlightenment. It is the teaching that is well expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga, and the profound teaching that is the essence of the great bodhisattva Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy mind. It is the teaching that includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni, and is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment. This graduated path is the path of all the past enlightened beings who received enlightenment.
This graduated path has four outlines:
1. In order to show the logical, pure reference, the knowledge of the authors.
2. Then, in order to cause devotion to arise for the teachings, the knowledge of the teachings.
3. How to listen and explain the teaching which has two knowledges.
4. How to lead the actual disciple in the path to enlightenment. That has two:
a. The way of following the guru who is the root of the path, and
b. How to train the mind in the path to enlightenment.
The first one we briefly discussed yesterday and the day before yesterday. So then how to train the mind in the path to enlightenment has two:
i. Persuading the mind to take the essence, and
ii. How to take the essence.
In order to take the essence of the perfect human rebirth, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth and the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth. Then, taking the essence is divided in three:
1) Training the mind in the path of the lower being.
2) Training the mind in the path of the middle being.
3) Training the mind in the path of the higher being.
1. Training the mind in the path of the lower being:
a. Seeking pleasure, seeking happiness for the future life, seeking desire, seeking the future life—that means the happiness of future life, such as perfect human rebirth and
b. Following the method of that brings the future lifetime happiness.
a. So, rising the desire for seeking the future life, the happiness of the future life, remembering that, remembering death, that this life does not last, that it is not permanent, it does not last, and thinking of the definition either of suffering or happiness after this life. Then remembering death, and the six shortcomings of not remembering death, as we talked about. The other one is not remembering death, secondly the six, the summary, the total benefits of remembering death.
Then, remembering the actual evolution of death. Such as I briefly told you, the actual way, the actual remembering, the actual evolution of death, remembering death—such as Guru Tsongkhapa’s profound technique, which is not in other teachings, which is a special technique to quickly receive the experience of this meditation. Thinking that death is definite in three ways, and that the actual time of death is indefinite, and that only the Dharma can benefit at the death time, nothing else can benefit. Each of these has three outlines.
Then, in regards to thinking either of the suffering or happiness after this life, such as the suffering of the upper realms and lower realms that will be experienced after this life. So, there is the suffering of the lower realms, particularly the animal, narak sufferings. There is no need to go over the details with the outlines of those definitions of suffering.
Then, following the method that brings happiness in the future lifetimes. That is practicing refuge, which is the holy door of the teachings. To enter into the teachings, to follow the teachings there is a door, a holy door. The first thing, the door is taking, practicing refuge, following refuge, and developing devotion in the evolution of karma, which is the source of all happiness.
Then, refuge: with what causes should refuge be taken, and in what object should refuge be taken? The definition of going for refuge, the benefits of taking refuge, the practice, the instructions, the precepts or instructions of the refuge, what should one observe by taking refuge as we talked about before, those three things. So briefly like this, without going through the following outlines of refuge.
So then, about karma. Developing devotion in karma, which is the root of all happiness including enlightenment. Then thinking about general karma, which means thinking how karma is definite, how karma can increase, how the result of the karma that isn’t created cannot be experienced, cannot be met; and thinking that the result of the karma that was created is definite to be experienced, to be met, and cannot get lost.
Then secondly, particularly thinking about negative and positive karma, like this. Thinking of the ten immoralities and the ten moralities. As we talked about last night, the results of the ten immoralities and also the ten moralities, and their opposites. Then, by understanding these things, trying to avoid negative karma and create positive karma. So there are also other outlines, so briefly like this.
2. Now the path: from how to train the mind in the path of the middle being down to karma is how to train the mind in the path of the lower being. Then how to train the mind in the path of the middle being. Developing the thought of seeking liberation, and showing the nature of the path that leads to liberation. Developing the thought of seeking liberation, such as the four noble truths: showing suffering, the cause of suffering first, that is thinking of the general samsaric sufferings in the eight ways—the eight sufferings as they are written in the book: the suffering of birth, of old age, of sickness, of death, of not finding desirable objects, of meeting the ugly objects that you dislike or releasing from the beautiful objects that you like, to which you are attached, the suffering of the deluded body. These are very useful to think about—old age, sickness, death and rebirth—this part relates more to human suffering. There are eight ways of suffering, and also six ways of doing meditation on samsaric suffering.
i. The shortcomings of the indefinite samsaric pleasures. Any samsaric pleasure is indefinite, it doesn’t last forever, it is indefinite. Even beings who are in the realms of gods, such as beings in the human realm, the pleasure that we have, experience, doesn’t last, always gets changed. Even in this life, and besides that, it gets changed after this life. Nothing is definite, any samsaric pleasure, nothing is definite. So therefore there is nothing to be attached to.
ii. The shortcomings of dissatisfaction—any enjoyments, any samsaric enjoyments that we try to receive for pleasure such as food, clothes, any of these things. These things are not new, what we are enjoying in this lifetime isn’t new. Even for those gods drinking nectar, nothing is new. They have been collected from beginningless lifetimes, what we are enjoying. If they have been collected, they would fill up all of space, if they were in material. Still there would be no satisfaction. As infinite as space, but that much we enjoy the objects of the senses, we often try to enjoy them; so there is the suffering of dissatisfaction.
iii. Then, whatever body we take in samsara, how beautiful, how good the body is, the rebirth that we take, we always have to leave it again and again, one after one. After this body, then we go to a lower realm as insects, completely different, opposite, taking an ugly body after taking such a beautiful body, like this. Nothing is definite. The shortcomings of leaving the body again and again are like this.
iv. Then again continuously joining suffering, the shortcoming of continuously joining suffering, such as the continuity of the mother. For instance, the present life’s mother and that mother join from another mother, like this. They always join like this. Suffering is infinite like this; it cannot be counted—even if the earth was made of pills and counted, it could not be counted.
v. And the shortcomings of—even if you are a king in this lifetime, in the next lifetime you will become a servant, born in the narak realms, suffering. In this lifetime, even if it is certain that the gods who have such high enjoyments in the body, higher rebirth, will be born in their next life as a preta or animal. Up and down, up and down, always up and down like this. So nothing is definite, there is nothing to trust, to be attached to. Suffering, the suffering of going up and down.
vi. Then the suffering of not having a helper in suffering. When you die you have to die alone, when you get born, you are born alone; without any friend, helper, without a companion, husband, wife, or parents. You have to come alone, make the trip alone, no matter how many friends you have in the lifetime.
Then the six sufferings. Also those sufferings can be included in three: the suffering of suffering, changeable suffering and pervading suffering.
1. Suffering that can be recognized even by animals, such as the suffering of sickness, physical troubles, these things. Even the animals can recognize the suffering of suffering.
2. Changeable suffering is a little bit difficult to recognize, even by people it is difficult to recognize. All the samsaric pleasure is changeable suffering because it changes in suffering, it doesn’t last. It changes in suffering, just like sweet fruit, just like the example of the sweet fruit becoming another taste. By keeping it a long time, it changes to another taste, like this. All the samsaric pleasure is like this, all samsaric pleasure changes like this. So it is all changeable suffering. Before I was talking about how samsaric pleasure is suffering, because being attached to that causes one to be born in the suffering lower realms. The second reason, the precious samsaric pleasure is suffering because it is changeable suffering, it doesn’t last. So this one, even we people do not recognize it, especially people who do not practice Dharma, who don’t hear the teachings on the graduated path or samsaric suffering.
3. Then pervading suffering which is more difficult to realize than changeable suffering. Pervading suffering is something that covers all over the body. There is no part of the body on which you don’t get suffering. From this pervading suffering comes changeable suffering and the suffering of suffering.
Then each of the realms: the human realm has its own suffering, all kinds of suffering. Then much suffering and much fighting. They always get killed, the body cut in pieces but they don’t die unless the neck is cut off. As much as the body is cut off, it always grows. Like this, fighting with asuras because asuras have many beautiful women and the suras always steal from them. There is always much suffering, much fighting, and the asuras have much avariciousness, much miserliness with their wives. Whenever they fight they always die, like people they easily get killed, but suras, no matter how much their body is cut off, unless the neck is cut, it always grows. Also, suras have many sufferings—the suffering of death, going through five signs which are sixteen times greater than the suffering of the narak stage. For the suras who go through the five death signs, mentally there is greater suffering. And then, even during the lifetime, there is suffering such as being deported from their country, being controlled by other suras who have much power.
Then, showing the nature of the path to lead to liberation. First of all thinking of the cause of suffering, the delusions, such as these six root delusions and twenty secondary delusions. Greed, ignorance, anger, pride, doubt, then wrong realization. Anyway each of these always has details. So briefly like this. With these delusions, we create karma, then death happens and joins us the future life.
So, also there is samsaric suffering, the suffering of being involved in the chain of the twelve links. So like this. As the twelve links are definite, there are seven results, two actions, and three causes. Each of the samsaric beings goes through the twelve links, each time the samsaric rebirth is received through the twelve links. Each of the suffering beings in a suffering rebirth or a lower rebirth goes through the twelve links. Meditating on the twelve links is a useful way of doing meditation on samsaric suffering; it is extremely helpful, and gives a much deeper understanding of samsaric suffering and evolution.
The twelve links finish either in two lives or more—the whole twelve links cannot be finished within one lifetime. They have to be finished either within two lives or more than that—either in three consecutive lifetime or one hundred eons. It can take even one hundred eons between the cause and result. Then after that the result gets experienced, depending on which karma of that rebirth is stronger. This time, why we are born as human beings? Because just before this rebirth, whatever our previous life was, during the death time the karma that we have created either in that life or previous life, many, many eons ago—to experience the result of the karma of the human rebirth stronger than others, much closer, much more like this. That’s why the result is received at this time. Usually we have created so much karma to be born as different beings, but this time—the causes of delusions, ignorance, craving, grasping, delusions, and actions—karmic formation and becoming, becoming; becoming and karmic formation; two actions and three delusions, ignorance, craving and grasping. So ignorance creates karmic formation and craving and grasping, these two delusions, produce becoming. There is ignorance, karmic formation, and then craving and grasping, and then becoming. The way it arises gradually: ignorance, craving, grasping, these two delusions, then becoming, like this. Then the rest of the seven results.
So, talking about finishing in two lives—the delusions and the two actions finish in this life, and the seven results finish after this life. Then when it takes one hundred eons to experience the seven results, the ignorance and karmic formations finish in this life, and then it takes a certain length of time as the karma is stronger. Then afterwards, whatever is stronger than the other karma arises, and then the craving, grasping and becoming, and these three arise and finish. Then after that whatever the result—human being, animal, whatever it is—gets experienced.
Each of the rebirths has twelve links. We have created these twelve links starting from ignorance. Even in one day, so many times, we create the twelve links—from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, we have been creating so many of the twelve links to take different rebirths. There is that much that we have finished, completed within the twelve links of different rebirths, and the seven results. We have experienced their results and those are finished. But of those that we have created the cause for, the actions and delusions, but not yet experienced the result, there is so much left to experience. Now, at this time, we experience the seven results of a human being—what is left? We are going through old age, then rebirth finishes, name and form, contact, feeling, etc, these are finished. Now what is left is old age and death, like this. So in this way we can really see, without breaking the continuity, the chain or circle of the twelve links—in order to escape from them you have to break them—so as long as you don’t break it, you always have to circle from cause to result like this. For instance, now we are in the result of experiencing the karma of the human rebirth, the twelve links of the human being. But while we are experiencing the result, we create so many twelve links of different rebirths, different samsaric bodies, in this lifetime. Since we have created the karma, the cause, unless we destroy or cut it off, unless we do something to not experience the result of the cause, unless we do something, we are not free, we have to uncontrollably go through this chain. It is really tight—actually, if you mentally check up like this, we are bound, like we are in the sack and bound by many numberless billions of ropes tied like this. Even if one round rope is taken out, still there are more. Even if the person tries to make one round rope loose, they still make it extra round and tight, like this.
Then what kind of rebirth can cease samsaric suffering, and what path should be meditated on and practiced, like this. Each equals true cessation and true path.
3. Then, training the mind in the path of the higher being: generating bodhicitta and the way of practicing bodhicitta. Then the way of practicing the six paths, the four divisions of the bodhisattva deeds, the essential four divisions of bodhicitta, receiving this after suffering samsaric suffering. Then equilibrium: making all sentient beings equal. Try to see all sentient beings as equal—as enemies, friends, strangers, equal—there is nothing to be attached to one person thinking, “This is my friend,” feeling hatred, feeling, “This is my enemy,” there is nothing to trust, nothing true, feeling indifferent. Saying, “This is friend, enemy and stranger,” is not true, because all sentient beings are equal. There is no friend, enemy or stranger; no such moment in which this being did more than that friend, enemy, or stranger.
Then all sentient beings as our mother. Also, there is no such thing as this sentient being, this present life’s mother doing more as a mother. Why? One’s own individual life is beginningless; as well, their previous lives are beginningless. We are not always born to the previous continuity of this present life’s mother. As this continuity of the present life’s mother was a mother for a previous living being, during that time we were born as another living being’s mother. Like this. Therefore, there is no such sentient being that was never our mother, like this. That’s how all sentient beings are our mother.
Then, during the time when they were our mother, they were extremely kind, taking care, keeping care of you in the stomach, taking care during the time of growing up until death time, like this. Like the animals, it is the same thing with people. Then like this kind. As their being our mother has no beginning, in the same way the kindness has no beginning, each sentient being’s kindness has no beginning. Actually, I usually make this motivation in the morning.
Actually, even when they were not our mother, they were extremely kind. For instance, the whole day’s eating, drinking sitting, working—everything depends on mother sentient beings’ kindness. The enjoyments of the clothes that we wear, for instance, what we wear, is received by other sentient beings who work for it, make it, going through the difficulties. Our food—many other sentient beings work for that, many sentient beings die for that—insects, worms die in the ground when planting crops or taking crops out. So many sentient beings are dead, killed because of that, and many people suffer working for that. Our food is received through others’ difficulties and suffering. So without depending on sentient beings feeling suffering, without going through difficulties and all these things, without depending on sentient beings’ kindness, we cannot have any enjoyments; we cannot even work like this.
This includes all the previous life’s kindness; the present happiness and future happiness, including enlightenment. Everything depends on sentient beings, on receiving all previous, present and future happiness—it is all received by depending on the kindness of each sentient being.
There is no need to explain—next lifetime. But as you do meditation on this part you will understand by yourself. Because it is the nature of wisdom, if you try to develop it. According to this book, the way it’s set up, after remembering the kind news then you will be willing to repay them. Just as when you see your present mother or some very kind friend, you want to help them, to use your body, to do something for him, in the same way you want sentient beings to not get into problems, you want to repay them. Then making one and the other equal. Equal in what? Making them equal means that usually we think of ourselves as important, so the same thing there is no reason why other beings are not important. We always take care of ourselves better than others, thinking that my life is more important that their life, so equaling one with another means making them equal in your mind. The Mahayana technique, thinking like this, equalizes your feelings. As you feel you are more important, in the same way you think that others are more important, the same.
Then, the shortcomings of the self-cherishing thought. All suffering arises from this, therefore it is worthwhile to avoid. Then, all knowledge including enlightenment arises from taking care of others more than oneself, therefore it is worthwhile to practice it. Then, exchanging oneself with others, which means that before we have been taking care of ourselves with the utmost care, and now we think that others are more important than oneself. Exchanging oneself with others means this. Because of the reason of being our mothers, and their kindness even in the time when they were your mothers—because of all of these reasons.
Then, doing the meditation taking all sentient beings’ suffering with compassion, especially with compassion; then, especially with great love, dedicating all your merits, pleasures, and possessions, everything, for other sentient beings, for their achievement of enlightenment, for their happiness, in order to release them from suffering. Then after this, that is not enough, it should be done by oneself, with great will, wanting to enlighten all sentient beings by oneself, oneself taking all responsibility, taking the responsibility of releasing each sentient being from suffering by oneself.
Then rising the bodhicitta to achieve enlightenment. I have no power now, so who has the power? Buddha. So I must achieve enlightenment in order to do this, in order to enlighten all sentient beings.
Then after this, the six paramitas, the bodhisattva’s holy deeds, and the four divisions of the bodhisattva’s deeds.
Then making meditation on samadhi and shunyata. In regards shunyata, doing shunyata meditation on the ... there is no need to go through samadhi; doing shunyata meditation first on oneself, then later on the skandhas, the body, later on like this with logic. This is the king of logic. Like this: I am non-self-existent because it is dependent. This logic is the king of logic, the most useful logic. Think like this.
Then after this, then Vajrayana teaching comes, that’s all.
Actually the lung of the The Knowledge of the Path of Enlightenment, this commentary, so I don’t find the text, but there is the essence, shorter than that written by Atisha. So think ... in order to receive ... “I am going to listen to the holy profound teaching on the graduated path to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings, and also to benefit sentient beings by receiving bodhicitta as the great pandit Atisha.” So it means having to concentrate on the sound.
(Rinpoche reads text)
I am not going to read the whole thing, don’t get scared! There is one prayer which is very powerful, the prayer to say for prostrations to the thirty-five buddhas for confession. This is very powerful to say, especially to say with prostrations. This is useful and very beneficial—that was Guru Tsongkhapa’s practice. He purified, in his retreat cave, by doing this, and he saw all thirty-five buddhas in his cave by doing purification with this prayer. So later on, maybe you can try to find the text and learn the prayer when you make prostrations.
(Rinpoche reads text)
This is from the sutra teaching Dung Shake, making prostrations by mentioning the thirty-five buddhas; this means also for confession, and comes through prayer, very useful.
Dedicate the merits in order to achieve enlightenment. All the merits of creating virtuous actions during this one month meditation course—think totally, “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 right away in this lifetime, in order to enlighten all sentient beings as quickly as possible and also for the mind to go in the Dharma, and due to these merits, may my mind go in the Dharma, becomes oneness with Dharma, to not waste this life, this time, this life from now until death.” Also dedicate the merits, thinking that you have given them to each sentient being and that sentient beings have received them, and all that becomes the realization from guru yoga practice up to enlightenment. Sentient beings who have not received realizations yet have received realizations from guru yoga practice up to enlightenment and sentient beings who have received them from guru yoga practice up until enlightenment and sentient beings who have received realizations but not completed them do receive them. Then think that all sentient beings become enlightened in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, receiving the two kayas, and all the obscurations, mental defilements and delusions are all completely purified.
kye wa kun tu yang dag lama dang
trel ne cho kyi pal la long cho ching
sa dang lama gyi yon ten rag tsog ne
dorje chang gi go phang nyur thob shog.
This means, “May I achieve enlightenment,” Dorje Change means the enlightened stage of Vajradhara—”by meeting the perfect guru in all my future lifetimes and complete all the realizations.”
jam pel pa wo ji tar khyen pa dang
kun tu azang po de yang de shin te
de dag kun gyi je su dag lob chir
ge wa di dag tham chi rab tu ngo
du sum sheg pi gyal wa tham che kyi
ngo gi ge wa tsa pa di kun kyang
je po cho chir rab tu ngo par gyi.
Think, “I will dedicate the merits wherever the past, present, and future buddhas dedicated all their merits.” The object to whom you dedicate, the buddhas and sentient beings are non-self-existent, yourself is non-self-existent, your merits that you dedicate are non-self-existent. This prayer includes about ten countless great bodhisattva’s prayers, very powerful, I think they must be in the notebook.
So anyway, there is nothing to talk about! Anyway, there is nothing to talk about but two or three words! They are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—these are three things, which are the source from which all our previous life’s happiness arises. You must not renounce, you must always keep them in the mind as your friend, as your parent, as your teacher. Because this is something you have to depend on and rely on, in all future lifetimes. However, as much as you rely on it, it’s impossible to be betrayed by them. One single hindrance is impossible, therefore this is the fundamental thing, the main thing that can help temporarily and also ultimately. Temporarily is fear—we are in the suffering of samsara, including this life. Ultimately it helps to achieve enlightenment and to enlighten all sentient beings. The goal, the final goal, is achieving enlightenment mainly oneself, to enlighten all sentient beings, which helps to do this.
Then on the basis of this it would be very good to do meditation, however much you are busy in the day, do meditation for one hour, for a half hour, every morning and reading... there is one page, (page 41) called Direct Meditation, which includes the whole graduated path. Read that and then do meditation. Do meditation one day first, the second day, the second meditation, like this. Then again go back and do this. However it makes your mind conscious during the day, how it keeps your mind in the Dharma, it can help. Whether you can live purely in the Dharma, doing meditation like this, that much your mind gets trained, not empty, always your mind gets trained in that meditation, little by little, always gets trained. Even though you are in the cave living like Milarepa, it is also necessary to train the mind in meditation, even though you are in the city working in the day, it is necessary to do this. Because we do not desire suffering, we don’t want suffering, so we don’t also want the cause of suffering since we do not desire the result of suffering. That’s all.
Then we can think of the karma, observing karma, the actual method, that’s all.
Then also, always thinking of bodhicitta when you go to work, when you do your job always thinking of bodhicitta is a great help, it is like doing meditation. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, like this.
Then, it is definite that I will die, that you will also die—it is definite that in a time it will become completely empty. There is great change, and then of course there is still karma, the karmic relationship, so perhaps I will see you soon.