Again please listen to the teachings well, by generating at least the creative bodhicitta, “I am going to listen to the teachings, the commentary of the steps of the path to enlightenment, to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings.”
This morning’s subject, the path of the morning subject was the lower capable being and the general path. The middle capable being and the general path, is mainly for the benefit of myself, to cheat, to have a little bit more time over the teachings of the middle capable beings, hoping to elaborate on the basis of the outline, as much as possible, the middle capable being and general path. That has two basic outlines, how to generate the thought seeking the liberation—this is not women’s liberation. This is not the liberation to be able to work in the same office and sitting on the same chair, not that type of liberation. To go to work at the same time as men goes or to be a pretty police! As the men become police, the women become police, anyway I’m just joking.
How to generate the thought of seeking nirvana; the second outline is showing the nature of the path which leads to nirvana. The first subject, which comes from how to generate the thought of seeking nirvana, that part is done first, meditating on the suffering of samsara, the general suffering of samsara and the particular suffering, the realm of the happy transmigratory being. The explanation on the true suffering, of the four noble truths, true suffering, is explained first. To explain the other way, first the result of suffering, and the true cause—that is the way Guru Shakyamuni Buddha turned the Dharma wheel. When he turned his first Dharma wheel that was the way it was presented.
This has two outlines; the graduate evolution, the way of circling samsara, the all-rising samsara; the second outline, the actual body showing the nature of the path, which leads to nirvana. Reflecting the graduated circle, the samsaric all-rising, has three outlines. 1) How the delusion arises, and with that 2) How the karma is created, how the karma is accumulated and 3) How death and the transference of consciousness work.
How the delusion arises has four basic outlines: i) recognizing the delusions ii) how they arise iii) the cause of the delusions and iv) the shortcoming of the delusions.
All suffering, the whole mental and physical suffering comes from the aggregates of craving and grasping. The whole suffering, the mental and the physical suffering, came from where? Why are they called craving and grasping? This explanation will come later, you will understand it later more clearly. Even now I can’t tell in one minute—it has great meaning. So now the whole suffering came from these aggregates, and if all suffering came from the aggregates, from the craving and grasping, then what cause has created samsara?
The cause of the suffering, the creator of samsara is the all-rising karma and the disturbing unsubdued mind. The cause of samsara, that which forms the samsara, these aggregates, is two: karma and the cause, the all-rising truth—normally we say the true suffering and the true cause of suffering. The true cause, all-rising: karma and the disturbing unsubdued mind. What has obliged us to carry the burden of the aggregates, the samsaric aggregates of craving and grasping, is karma. There is much karma that has been accumulated in the past times. Then, by the cause, karma, by having these aggregates of craving and grasping, samsara, however much we suffer, without choice we have to carry this burden. That karma is created by the disturbing unsubdued mind.
Even there is much karma that has been accumulated in the past time but you see, if one does not have the conditions together, the disturbing unsubdued mind, craving and grasping—however much karma has been collected numberless times in the past life, those karmas cannot bring the result, rebirth in samsara.
For example, even if one has planted a seed in the ground, if the conditions such as heat and water do not arise, it cannot produce a flower. Like that, if one has ceased the craving, disturbing and unsubdued mind, however much karma has been accumulated in a past life it cannot bring the result of rebirth in samsara. If there was no karma accumulated in the past, this could not happen. Then that resultant rebirth causes again the aggregates of craving and grasping in the future life. This is how delusion and karma oblige one to circle in samsara. Those higher beings, higher bodhisattvas, the aryan beings, who have achieved the right-seeing path, have ceased the bringing-together conditions, disturbing unsubdued minds, craving and grasping. So even though there are many karmas collected on the consciousness, because those together conditions have ceased, the karma cannot throw, can’t bring the result, the aggregates of samsara.
So the very root, from where samsara comes, what creates samsara is the disturbing unsubdued mind—ignorance, attachment and anger. It is clear how these types of mind are unsubdued. They do not give one single benefit to the person who possesses them. The moment they arise they make the mind unpeaceful and unhappy. So there is not one single benefit for letting the delusions arise.
It is extremely important to recognize the root of the disturbing and unsubdued mind, from where the samsara comes—if one does not recognize the disturbing cause of samsara, then even if one knows the remedy, the meditation, one doesn’t know the necessity of why one should practice the remedies, the meditation, following the path. Also one doesn’t know how to apply, how to practice the remedy, the meditations. It’s like, without having recognized the outside enemy whom one has to kill, just shooting somebody, without having recognized the enemy.
Having recognized the disturbing and unsubdued mind, the root, there are the root delusions and secondary delusions. The root delusions are about six: attachment, anger, pride, ignorance, doubt and wrong view.
Attachment, the nature of it, the definition of attachment is the thought when one sees the beautiful object—which may be possessions, body, food, drink, ice-cream—when one sees this beautiful object, the thought rising not wishing to separate away from that object; by looking at that object, not wishing to be separated from it.
Those other delusions, such as anger and jealousy, are easier to control, easier to overcome. Those other delusions are like having dust on the cloth, by shaking the cloth the dust easily separates from the cloth. But how the attachment is, how attachment clings to the object, how is it? How attachment clings to the object is like oil sinking into the cloth. The oil when it gets on our cloth it sinks through it, becomes kind of oneness, and then it spreads. A small drop of oil, when it drops on the cloth, it sinks, kind of becomes oneness. It spreads, it gets bigger, so it is very difficult—not like dust, which can be easily separated from the cloth—so much soaking inside, very difficult to separate the oil from the cloth.
When one has seen a beautiful cloth in a shop, attachment rises to that object, like oil sinking in that beautiful cloth. Then one wants to look at it more and more, then one wants to touch—then touch the money. The attachment rises stronger and stronger, very difficult to separate away from that, becoming more and more difficult, becoming in the mind more and more difficult to separate, for the mind to separate from that object, becoming more and more difficult; like this the attachment grows, it becomes stronger and stronger. Such attachment is the one, this is the one that ties oneself to the prison of samsara. Why we are not free from this samsara is because the attachment, this craving has tied oneself to this prison of samsara. So whatever suffering rises, without choice, one has to experience.
So attachment is the main hindrance, which disturbs to generate the mind renouncing samsara. The craving, the attachment is the main tying rope, the rope that you tie animal, what do you call, this name? tether? It is like tether? Harness? So you can think whatever you like (laughter) harness, tether, putting like the tether, which is put on the head of the animal to capture it, and by capturing then the animal can be killed, like that. So attachment is like that. That is the main rope, which ties one to samsara.
The same thing, if one see a beautiful woman, who has an outside-looking good shape, a tiny body, long hair and skinny body, joking, as soon as one has seen that, right that minute, as one is seeing, the mind is sinking in that, like a thorn has gone inside, like water sinking into the sand, like that the mind sinks, then very difficult, becoming more and more difficult to separate from that, more and more difficult, more and more and more and more. And then that much closer and closer and closer it makes to go, nearer and nearer. The attachment pulls you there, that much closer and closer, then talking, then you start that. First talking, first trying by talking, action of speech comes. Then after talking, the attachment generates, instead of generating stronger and stronger bodhicitta, you know, compassion (Rinpoche laughs) it generates stronger and stronger attachment, this much comes up, this much comes up, and this much comes up? Then the action of body comes after, wanting to touch, wanting to kiss, then attachment gets stronger; then can’t control at all, completely overwhelmed by the attachment, completely sucked by the attachment.
Then, if it did not happen due to some difficulties in that day, keeping it in mind, meditating day and night on that visualization, doing fixed meditation and analyzing at the same time, the whole night without sleeping, even while eating. Then again try to find out what her name is, the whole thing. Then the next day, if she has suddenly left for Indonesia, or somewhere, Bali or Hawaii, even if you don’t have enough money, then borrow the money, then go to the airport right away. Then, at the beach, saw her with another boyfriend, then the mind terrible (Rinpoche laughs) the whole world is collapsed! (Laughter) For his mind, the whole world is collapsed, even the whole world is not collapsed but for him it is, then there is much pain, deep pain, like the thorn is gone inside the heart, right inside the heart, like that so much pain. Then again, with so much pain you stay inside the hotel, smoking two hundred cigarettes, maybe kill that boy, kill that boyfriend. Like this, the nature of attachment.
If one does not try to control the attachment, if one completely follows the attachment, there is danger of accumulating many negative karmas, killing other people, also putting oneself in danger of life, also committing suicide oneself. When you can’t do anything, when the attachment, the desire is not fulfilled, then you can’t do anything, then one commits suicide. Even there is no other person, no other being to kill oneself, nobody who says “you should kill yourself,” you kill yourself. Because of that anger rises, and jealous mind for the other friend, the boyfriend, rising anger and all those negative minds, so one accumulates much negative karma. If one does not try to control, there is great danger like this to happen, if one does not try to control the attachment, if one completely lets oneself under the control of attachment.
The way to control that is—you see, attachment rises by thinking the object is beautiful, so the way to control the attachment, the method is to think, to look at the object as ugly.
In order not to rise the attachment think that the body, the object, which is object of attachment, is completely red, the body made of iron, iron oneness with fire, like that, kind of untouchable body made of red hot iron, untouchable. By just thinking completely red, completely in reddish color, also the attachment doesn’t rise.
Or completely disintegrates, like the sand, completely disintegrates. In the teachings it is said, the method with such incredible attachment, when one wants to touch women, one wants to kiss, is like this. Meditate the body has completely disintegrated and there is no object to kiss, completely disintegrated into atoms. Also, visualizing the skeleton, we are not visualizing without having skeleton, there is a skeleton inside, only it is hidden. Like, it is really incredible, here so many skeletons are sitting. One is talking, sitting on the bed, actually it is very frightening. It is like having a grave, this is like a big cemetery. Similarly, the cities, streets, like a big cemetery, full of skeletons in the shops, in the restaurants, at the beach, swimming in the water; some skeletons are well dressed, with ties, the airplane is full of skeletons, some skeletons live in first class and the rest of the skeletons in the second class. Nature is like that. There are skeletons that are driving cars, some skeletons are serving food, being recognized as waiter, and asking at the beginning, “How are you” and then answering, at the end saying, “Have a nice day,” or something like that, telling other skeletons who had lunch. Your cities are like great big cemeteries.
In fact, when you look at it without looking at only the skin, if you look inside, if you look at the nature of the whole thing, it is very frightening than a great cemetery, more frightening than the cemetery, the place where the bodies are buried, that place you don’t see, you see lots of flowers, it is a beautiful park. So the actual city, where there are millions of people, is a great cemetery. There are many thousands of skeletons watching, sitting on the bench, many skeletons are dancing at the theater, one skeleton singing, some skeletons are clapping hands to some other skeletons, those other skeletons who are dancing, feeling kind of happy, clapping hands. All this is the nature of the samsara, terrifying, frightening, terrifying, which makes one laugh. One way is very frightening, one way makes only to laugh, the whole thing, how the whole thing is. Then, whether he or she, whose body one is attached to, is in front of oneself, it is very good to meditate on that, the object of meditation is right there, you don’t have to go to search.
Whether it is there or not in front of oneself, after having taken off the skin, the outside cover, put it there in one place, either fold it or put it straight. Then the pieces that are tied by the veins, then you put the pieces of the flesh in one place, lungs, heart, all the pieces, veins, all in one place on the table. Anyway, I’m just joking about this table. What is left is only the skeleton. Then you watch well the skeleton, then you think, “Where is the object that I’m attached to? I believe there is a beauty, there is a beauty there, where is it?” You search, from the head down to the toe, all the pieces of the bones, cannot find. Then you search on the pieces of flesh that are left there, you check with each one, cannot find what the truly beautiful one, cannot find there. You check the skin, cannot find. Now you put the flesh back, the pieces of flesh, you put it back then you put the skin, then again watch how it is. Inside you can’t find any beauty on the flesh, the skeleton. After it is completely covered by skin, when it is well covered, not having any wrinkles—you stretch it well, if there are wrinkles, attachment may not rise, you see. Without leaving any wrinkles on the face or hands, then again you watch. If one still sees beauty after having fixed all, having covered the skin, then…
The skin is a group of atoms, like a house made of cement. That house is a group of atoms, formation of atoms. Like that the skin is a formation of cells and atoms, so think, in your mind try to be aware of the formation of atoms, the cells. Be aware it is just a group of cells, atoms; concentrate on that group of atoms. Then also think, like the sand grains, each cell is disintegrating. Then again check where it is, the truly existing beauty that one has seen before, what one was believing before, where is it? Search on the cells of the skin. Again, one couldn’t find the beauty that appears from that body, one could not find on any cells. Then check again, check whether it can be found on each cell.
By first disintegrating you check, you examine, then after you put together all the cells in the shape of skin. Again on that group of atoms, the cells, check, while you are aware it is a group of cells or atoms, check—the beauty, which appears from that body, where is it? Check whether it exists on that group of cells, while you are aware that is a group of cells.
You see, even after thinking of the skeleton inside, the flesh, etc., even after examining how the inside is—after the skin is covered, still finding beauty on that. When you don’t check, don’t examine the cells of the skin, each part of the body, the group of the body and the group of the cells, you find beauty; when you check you don’t find but when you don’t check, you see beauty there. While you are examining like that, as I mentioned before, searching whether it is real beauty, which appears from the side of the body, you cannot find. When you are not examining, when you are not aware of it as a group of atoms, on that object, the body, beauty is appearing to you. That is what is the truly existent beauty, that is what the object of the illusive mind is.
You see, while you are examining, you could not find. When you don’t examine, when you just leave it, on that object is appearing real beauty to oneself—that is the object of the hallucinated mind, illusory mind. That is the object of the ignorance of true existence, and that object is completely empty in its nature. Because it is empty, because it is completely empty in its nature, other than one is seeing that way, due to the hallucinated mind, even there is no truly existent beauty, from the head down to the feet, on any atoms. Even though it doesn’t exist at all, while one is not examining, then seeing like that, appearing like actual beauty, seeing there is real beauty on that object, the body. The nature of that is completely empty, it is non-existent. Because it is non-existent, when it is searched or when it is examined, it cannot be found.
Just like a magician has transformed a stick into a beautiful woman or a beautiful man, and the other person who looks at it, his mind is defective by the power of the magician, his mantras or whatever, so his mind is hallucinated, and he doesn’t see the stick; it appears to him as a beautiful woman, and then he believes, he holds it as a truly existent beautiful man or beautiful woman. But in fact, as it appears to the watcher’s mind, the person who looks at it, what he believes doesn’t exist. How he believes, that beautiful man or woman doesn’t exist in fact. The fact is similar to that.
Also, when very strong attachment arises, look at it this way, meditate like this. Meditate on the beautiful object, the beautiful body, the truly existent beautiful body, which is empty in fact, try to see it in that nature, as it is; try to look at it, try to meditate in that nature, the emptiness. If one has understanding of shunyata, one can meditate.
However, like the previous one, as I explained, taking the inside, taking out the pieces of the flesh, meditating like that, trying to find that real beauty, the object that one clings to.
Also think, this body looks very beautiful outside, but if you put a tiny needle like this, blood comes. If you put a tiny needle inside or something, if you make a little scratch on that beautiful body, blood comes out red, which you dislike to see. That you don’t want to look at, it frightens you, you become frightened of the object, you dislike to look at it. When a drop of blood comes out, it is frightening. That which frightens oneself, that one dislikes to see, that is what is contained inside of that. It is full of that. Not only that, it is same, having skin, having bones, having flesh, the whole thing is same.
Just because of having one extra piece (Rinpoche laughs) the male sex organ, having one extra piece down there (laughter), because of having that it is called a “man.” Only because of that it is called a man. The other one doesn’t have that extra piece hanging down there (laughter, Rinpoche laughs). So then, just small different shape of body, other one doesn’t have that, having small different shape of body, one who doesn’t have that is called a “woman,” it is labeled that, it is believed as a “woman,” other one is believed as a “man,” that’s all. Just that, otherwise, while we are not examining, seeing beauty; while we are not examining seeing a beautiful man or seeing a beautiful woman. That completely doesn’t exist. The truly existent man or woman, which appears to our mind, which we believe, that doesn’t exist.
I think I stop here.
“I must attain enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings; therefore I am going to listen to the commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment.” Please listen to the teachings well, by generating the pure motivation of bodhicitta.
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching, which leads the fortunate one to enlightenment, which is well expounded by the great, highly realized pandits, the propagators, Nagarjuna and Asanga. The profound advice, as if it is the essence of the highly realized bodhisattva, Lama Atisha and the Dharma king of the three worlds, Lama Tsongkhapa’s the infinite knowledge. This lam-rim teaching contains the essence of all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without missing anything, and all this is set up for the gradual practice of one person to achieve enlightenment.
This commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment has four basic outlines. The last one is how to lead the disciple by showing the actual body of the teachings. That has two basic outlines. The last one is how to gradually train the mind in the steps of the path to enlightenment by following the guru. That has two outlines: persuading the mind in order to have the essence with this perfect human body, and how to take the essence with this perfect human body. Persuading the mind in order to take the essence with this perfect human body has the meditations on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, the usefulness, and the difficulty of receiving it again.
One might feel, “Oh, I’m not like those other people who do not practice Dharma, who haven’t met Dharma, I’m not like those people. I have been creating so much good karma, I’ve been doing so many good things, and I’ve been so pure, completely white, like the snow mountain.” I’m joking . Sometimes we might think like this, “Oh, I’m pure, I have always been doing good things. So, for me such a thing as rebirth in the lower realms is impossible, impossible for me. Yes, those other people who haven’t met Dharma, who don’t practice, but not for me. I often recite a mantra, I always keep a mala around my neck, around my wrist, I always make offerings to the holy objects, I didn’t kill any human beings. I didn’t go hunting,” thinking like this. “I didn’t kill any human beings, I didn’t kill horse, pigs, so I’m definitely pure.” Sometimes you might think like this.
Even if one has been keeping the precepts, five or eight, thirty-six, 253, even one has been living in ordination, when you don’t examine well it seems, “I’ve been living in ordination, this and that, so therefore I’m pure, definitely I won’t be born in the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings.”
Even if one has been living in the ordination, in the precepts, if one examines neatly, other than that one has made a vow, even one has been keeping it, mostly not having degenerated and nothing broken, it’s difficult to find any precepts that have been kept very purely, by examining whether each one has been kept purely. Even if one thinks, “I have been so good, I have been keeping the precepts purely,” if one examines one’s daily life activities, the attitude each day, the shortcomings of the disturbing unsubdued mind, what I have been explaining in the teachings, when one thinks of this, it is difficult to say, “I won’t be reborn in the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings.” Even though it seems one has accumulated much good karma.
The great bodhisattva Shantideva said in the teaching, “Even the negative karma that is done in one second makes one to abide eons in the unbearable suffering state of narak, no need to talk about not transmigrating in the realm of the happy transmigratory beings… with the negative karma that has been accumulated since beginningless lifetimes in samsara.”
What great bodhisattva Shantideva is explaining, is mainly talking about heresy and anger shortcomings, how they are so dangerous. Just two days ago I talked about dedication, you remember, about how heresy and anger arising for one second can cause incredible danger, making one to be born in the lowest stage of narak, called the Unbearable Suffering State, which karmic length of life is one eon. Depending on how much karma there is, that many eons that sentient being has to experience suffering in that state.
If I clarify this point, anyway, we understand one part of the meditation guru practice; it is a part of that, the shortcomings of having made wrong practice. Rising anger, same thing heresy… there are two ways to count, the sound of a finger snap, according to the lower, previous doctrines, I don’t know Sanskrit names, the very first one, when you count the four doctrines, the very first one, in Tibetan it’s called je dra ma ba, [Student: Vaibhashika?]. According to that doctrine, how many seconds is counted is 65 seconds in this (finger snap), I think. However, the Middle Way doctrine, the very last doctrine, according to their philosophy, the explanation of the number of seconds within the sound of a snapping finger is 365. When you click the camera, as you count the many seconds, or split seconds, it is similar.
If anger has arisen to one’s virtuous teacher, of whom one has the relationship guru and disciple—one who has revealed the teachings, given the initiation—if anger has arisen that much length of time (finger snap) it has 365 seconds. So the karma one has accumulated is 365 eons in the lowest narak suffering state, unbearable suffering state, experiencing that suffering. Not only the virtuous teacher, also bodhisattvas. The danger is much greater according to whom we get angry. If the person has higher realizations than oneself, level of mind is higher, however much that person’s mind, realizations, is higher than oneself, rising anger to him causes that much danger. Destroys that much merit, that much length of time one has to experience suffering in narak.
So if one arises anger to the highest object, the virtuous teacher, the Vajrayana teacher, one receives the shortcomings of getting angry to all the buddhas. In Vajrayana practice it is meditated as the guru being embodiment of all the buddhas. Especially in Vajrayana, teachings of Secret Mantra, this is a particular practice. For one who practices lam-rim, trains the mind in the meditation of guru devotion, that is the essential thing, the essence, also one tries to realize the guru as nature of all the buddhas, tries to realize that way. By having criticized the guru, one receives the shortcomings of having criticized all the buddhas. Doesn’t matter from the guru’s side whether he is Buddha or not, whether he is actually Buddha, whether he has omniscient mind or not—the virtuous teacher is the representative, who works for oneself on behalf of the, doing the work of all the buddhas, for oneself, like the members of the country who goes to other foreign countries to do the work for the whole population. The subject is getting bigger.
Similarly the opposite, the benefits are much greater of pleasing the guru, whatever, by having generated realizations or by having practiced pure Dharma, pleasing the virtuous teacher who reveals the teachings to oneself; or having made offerings. The benefits are that much greater. Just as the greatest shortcoming is creating negative karma with the virtuous teacher, likewise the greatest advantages are by pleasing him, pleasing all the buddhas. It works the same way. Having made offering is the same as having made offering to all the buddhas. Like that.
So particularly what I am talking about is the shortcomings of anger. You see, if anger or heresy has arisen for one hour its unbelievable—if this much time of anger is that much, then one hour is unbelievable—half a day, if one spends half a day with anger its unbelievable.
Also the great bodhisattva, Shantideva mentioned that the good karmas that have been created by making offerings to the buddhas, keeping precepts, etc., for a thousand eons, get destroyed by one anger. I don’t remember exactly, this is in the Madhyamaka teaching, one who doesn’t have bodhicitta gets angry with the higher bodhisattva, or the one who has generated, new bodhisattva, gets angry to the higher bodhisattva, 1000 eons merit gets destroyed—I’ve forgotten, I don’t remember exactly. How much merit gets destroyed is explained in Madhyamaka teaching: if the one who doesn’t have bodhicitta gets angry with the new bodhisattva or the higher bodhisattva, how much merit gets destroyed is explained.
You see, we don’t know who is bodhisattva and who is not bodhisattva, we can’t see, we cannot discriminate who is Buddha, who is not Buddha, cannot discriminate. There are many bodhisattvas, there are many transformations of bodhisattvas, there are many transformations of buddhas, in different aspects, in the form of beggar, in the form of woman, in the form of man, in the form of crazy people, in the form of hippies, taking dope, I’m joking… anyway, nothing definite, nothing definite regarding the transformation. It should be like this, there is nothing definite, like karma. Karma is not definite so that you could say “it should be like this,” there is nothing definite; there are so many incredible, unimaginable varieties. So, transformation is nothing definite—“it should be something like this, something commonly recognized.” It is in the aspect of spirits, in the form of kings, in the form also of ants, in the form of prostitute, many different forms.
It takes time if I say the quotation of what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said about how he would manifest to work for sentient beings. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said, before he passed away, to the disciples, the bodhisattvas, he will manifest in the future degenerated times, he will manifest as virtuous teacher, giving teachings, giving initiations, things like that. In many different aspects, whatever fits, according to the level of different sentient beings’ karma. Whatever method fits, whichever aspect is necessary to benefits, manifesting in that form. “I will pretend as crazy, even if I am not blind I will pretend, I will manifest as blind.” There are many quotations like this that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained to his disciple, the bodhisattva called Tonwa Tandin, which means “meaningful just by seeing it.” To the bodhisattva Tonwa Tondin, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained, “Even if I manifest like this they won’t recognize me, they won’t recognize me as Buddha.”
There are so many stories on this point that happened. One story from Tibet, at the back of, I don’t remember which monastery, but in one monastery in Tibet, probably Sera Monastery, there is one teacher and one disciple. The teacher, I think, every night he was counting money, after the disciple had gone to bed, counting money while the disciple sleeps, like this, counting money every night. The teacher had much miserliness in material possessions, in money. One day, the disciple saw the teacher had gone out quite far from the house—at the beginning I don’t think that the disciple knew that he was burying the money under the ground outside. But the disciple saw quite often that he was going to that place.
One day, the teacher passed away. In Tibet, when somebody died, either when it’s the time of the death or before dying, when the person has great sickness, they invite lamas, monks to make puja, especially after death. Of course, they especially invite to do puja right away. So, after the teacher passed away, the disciple tried to find the money in the room, to invite the monks and to make puja. He could not find the money in the room, no way could he find the money, so then the idea came that he used to go there somewhere on the ground quite often, maybe the money might be outside. So he went outside, where his teacher used to stop and there was a flat stone covered on the ground. He took the flat stone and then I think he shook out the dust. There was a crab, grabbing the money with all his limbs. The money was in a small sack, put in there instead of clothes, and the crab was completely holding with all his limbs, grabbing, embracing the money, not letting go, not letting to separate.
The disciple was very shocked, so what he did I think, he left there and went to see a very high lama in Sera College called Puchog Jampa Rinpoche, who is the recognized embodiment of Maitreya Buddha, one who wrote debating texts for the beginning classes, what the young boys debated, those texts written by him; one very high Lama, who is also the lineage holder of lam-rim teachings. The disciple explained the teacher died, there was an animal embracing the money like this, what to do? “What shall I do?” Then the lama advised the disciple, “You take that crab, go to the back of the Potala (H.H. Dalai Lama’s palace in Tibet, Lhasa) go back of that, there is a butcher, give that animal to him.”
Then the disciple took the animal, the crab, right away and went to the back of the Potala, where he met the butcher, and the butcher said, “Why have you come here? Who sent you here?” Kind of very wrathful way he spoke, asked the disciple, and the disciple explained, “I was sent here, I was advised here to come here and see you, I was advised by Puchock Chumba Rinpoche.” Then he accepted. What he did then, he took the animal, what he did? He took the crab, he cut it into pieces, he made him in half, and half he ate, the other half he threw into space.
Then the disciple went to see the lama and explained to the lama. The lama said, “Now it’s alright, if he accepted then it’s alright.” Then the lama explained that the butcher was a transformation of one deity called Yamantaka, one tantric aspect of Buddha, the deity called Yamantaka. Why did he throw away? What happened was, the lama explained, he transferred that teacher’s consciousness into the pure realm.
There are many stories like this. The form, the outside form, looks like ordinary form, butcher, so many things very ugly looking, dirty looking, beggar, all kinds of things, prostitute, wine seller, all kinds of things, like that. There are so many stories.
So the conclusion is, the one we get angry with, we don’t know whether they are bodhisattva, or buddha. We don’t know the level of their mind, only how we see according to our karma. So, check like this, how much anger rises in one day, within one month, how many times anger rises within one year, from the child time until now, how many times we got angry to other beings? Those are very useful to…
...you know, depending whom we get angry, that much it destroys the merits. As I mentioned the quotation, what the great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying, if one second of anger causes that much danger, the negative karma that has been accumulated with anger or heresy, how long we have been accumulating, not only in this life but from beginningless previous lifetimes until now. So, there is nothing to talk about, whether one will go in the realm of the happy transmigrating being or not. That’s what the great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying.
To remember this quotation is extremely beneficial, especially to control the pride. Details like this to check up with anger and heresy.
The conclusion is it is very difficult to practice the moral conduct and charity, to keep precepts, so hard, even just to take, how hard it is, to accept it. At least even one took the ordination, even one took the precept, then how difficult it is to continuously keep it purely. When one checks like this, how the cause is difficult to create.
In regards the meditation, checking the numbers. This way of meditating is very effective for the mind, this way of checking. Just trying to be aware how few the human beings are, then the perfect human rebirth. Just generally checking, how there is incredible number of creatures, the animals in the water, under the ground, in the space, how incredible, even by taking one handful of dust, so many tiny creatures. The number of people living in the village and one handful of dust, the tiny creatures, there are more creatures than the number of people living in that village. When you meditate on the numbers, the difficulty to find the perfect human rebirth again, by the numbers, it’s very good, it’s more effective. The numbers of the sentient beings, can be seen very easily by our eyes, so it’s nothing difficult.
The animals are so easy to be born. If the fruit is not kept in the refrigerator, outside and little bit old, how easily it becomes full of worms. Even within our body, due to the food that we eat, a certain combination of food, whenever the condition is met in the stomach, immediately, they get born there, in the excrement. There are so many tiny creatures coming white, having black heads. Wherever the conditions are they easily get born, even in the bottles, if you keep some material, some food or stuff in the bottles, soon it becomes full of thousands of the tiny ones.
But human beings are not so many. You see, human beings, many couples, many people, they never get child. How much they try, so hard for many years, to get child, they never get child. There are many couples like this. That is because in the intermediate stage, there are so many sentient beings who died from one realm and they are in the intermediate stage seeking the place. So many of them are just about to be born as animal, so many sentient beings just about to be born as preta, just about to be born as narak beings. So many are ready, seeking place—that’s how the animals, the tiny creatures, easily get reborn in the bottles, in the food and those things. If the water is left in the container, just stays there for a day or two, it becomes full of worms, tiny creatures, like that.
How they happen, thinking this way is good, you concentrate on the cause and the attitude, how that happens. The numbers in the lower realms are so many. First you watch all the creatures in the ocean, the fish, the tiny creatures, the big fish, the snake, the crabs. I don’t know names, the crocodile, the tortoise—incredible, unbelievable animals, huge like mountains, or such tiny, small things. In Indonesia, we didn’t see but we heard that there are so huge, like mountains, tortoises living in the ocean. Tourists go to see there. Anyway, we didn’t get the time to go to see. I wished to see because it makes me understand more, it makes more effective, a more definite understanding of karma, get more understanding of lam-rim.
You just watch all day the attitude. Don’t look at the body. The attitude, you look at the attitude. The attitude is in depth of their heart, what they have, the thought that they have is only the thought, “If I can be happy, if I can be happy. If I don’t have suffering, if I can be happy.” Just in this life, each day of life, every minute, each hour, “If I can be happy.” That is all, that is the whole aim. That is the only thought in the depth of their hearts.
For instance, practitioners of Mahayana teachings, what they keep in their heart; like the bodhisattvas, what they keep in their hearts is only sentient beings, only sentient beings. Their actions are only to free sentient beings, only the method to free the sentient beings and lead them to enlightenment. The concern is only how quickly it can be done. So, the attitude they have, only this, nothing else, no other thoughts at all.
When another animal is attacking: “If only I can be free from this fear, if I can be free.” “If I can just find food now; if I can eat that animal, how I would be happy.” Their only thought is the happiness of this day, that moment’s happiness, so constantly either running, constantly seeking the means of living, to obtain the moment-to-moment happiness; or escaping from fear, from the danger of another animal attacking, to obtain the moment-to-moment happiness, that is all, the whole life is kept busy with that attitude, how much they live, 1000 years, 100 years. It’s the same thing, those who are on the ground, those who are in the space, flying mosquitoes, those big birds, same thing.
After this, check the attitude of the human beings; you watch the attitude of the human beings, see the attitude, the attachment clinging to the happiness of this life. That’s the seed of non-virtue, all actions done with that are non-virtue. What is the result? Only suffering, rebirth in the lower realms.
That is the attitude the animals have. Now check up the attitude of the human beings, who are living in the city, those who are going on the water. You watch the attitude of those who are flying in space. Watch the attitude—same thing again. The ones who accumulate virtue, who practice the Dharma, so little number; most of them don’t accumulate merit and don’t practice Dharma, don’t accumulate virtue, same as the non human beings. Those other sentient beings, the attitude they have, those who are living in the city, who are in the shops, who are in the car, busy going back and forth in the car, all this, in the airplane, those who are going in space, who are in the water, the attitude of most of them is nothing else, no other thought, except the thought only of the happiness of this life, only this. Again the same thing: each day trying to obtain happiness for each day.
Deep in their heart is only the thought, “If I can be happy, without having problems, if I can be happy.” That’s all. No other thought except the happiness of this life. So constantly, because of that, the delusions, the disturbing unsubdued minds arise, one after another. Anger rises; when anger does not rise, attachment rises; when there is no attachment, pride comes. When there is no pride, jealous mind comes; then ill will thought rises; one after another, like this, one after another. That is the nature of the mind.
So similarly, also think of oneself, examine one’s own mind, from morning when one gets up until night time, with what attitude one does all the actions. The cow who lives in the shed, when he gets up in the morning, he gets up with the evil thoughts of worldly dharmas, the thought of the happiness of this life. When he eats grass, it’s the same, with the thought of the worldly dharmas, seeking the happiness of this life, only with this thought. When he drinks water, it’s the same thing, no special attitude. When he gets tired, when he goes to sleep by putting together his limbs—same attitude, again the evil thought of worldly dharmas, seeking the happiness of this life. So that’s all; in one day, whatever the cow does, there is not much to do, just eating grass.. Man has more things to do. One day, sitting, working, sleeping and eating, it’s the same, whole day the attitude is that.
Now oneself, one who lives in a rich house, who has very comfortable house, full of decorations, sleeping on such incredibly comfortable bed, which nothing hurts; how much one falls down, nothing hurts. The cow gets only same type of food, grass. Oneself who lives in the house has hundreds of varieties of food, hundreds of clothes, even the cloth is not finished, not torn yet, after putting on two to three times, then it needs to be changed, it is easy to get it off, like this. Wearing expensive clothes, eating delicious food, not walking, going in vehicles, how much the person has reputation, how much it is recognized that he has great education, professor, scientist or philosopher, or what else, having reputation, being recognized, having great education, living on big salary.
However, morning time when one gets up, same thing, there is no special attitude in the mind different from the cow who gets up in the morning. “I will lose my head if I come late to the job.” Job comes into the mind. Fear of losing the happiness, the comfort, by losing the job. There is no money so one loses those comforts; one can’t pay for the expenses. However, when one gets up, nothing else, the attitude is only the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, seeking the happiness of this life. Same thing when one washes, no thought to benefit others, no special attitude. Again the evil thought of worldly dharmas. No other thing; how to make other people respect me, how to make it attractive for other people, something like that—evil worldly dharmas.
When one eats breakfast, there is no thought to transform the action in virtue. There is no understanding; one doesn’t remember the kindness of the sentient beings, transform the action in virtue, again the same thing with the evil worldly dharma. Only for the comfort of oneself, like the dog eating meat, kind of big rush. There is no other special thought, except immediately eating it, finishing it. Then when one goes to work, same thing, in order to obtain happiness, to make this life happy, thinking, “If I can be happy,” with that attitude, the eight worldly dharmas, one goes to work. When one has lunch again, with the evil thought of worldly dharmas, completely only seeking the happiness of this life; again at dinner time the same thing, even one talks with friends in the evening in the office. In the evening time, in the parties, when one goes to a party, when one goes to see movie in the evening time, there is no special attitude, again with the eight worldly dharmas, the thought seeking the happiness of this life; completely with this attitude one goes to the party, one goes to see a movie, all those things; then during the movie, attachment rising, anger rising. Watching the movie, the mind is very busy; the person doesn’t know what he is doing. What karma he is accumulating, what is happening in the mind. He is only looking there, only watching outside. The movie, what’s happening in his mind, he doesn’t watch.
At parties, people who come to the house, what the person talks to other people, either with jealous mind criticizing some other people, how that person is terrible, how he is bad, how he did mistakes like this. In the office, he talks about some people in the office, and then he visits the professor, teacher, then criticizing another professor, “That professor is blah, blah, blah, he doesn’t know anything. He doesn’t teach me well,” put down some other professor, criticizing, whom we dislike. Then creating negative karma by rising jealous mind to somebody at the parties, in the meetings, either hurting somebody, letting them to rise jealous mind. Letting them to rise anger, besides oneself has anger and jealousy, letting others, letting surrounding people have the same thing, mostly trying to show “how good I am. The good things I have done…”
If you are not criticizing other people, not putting down other people, then others’ talking is what? When you are not criticizing, you are praising yourself. If you are not criticizing other people, when you are not gossiping, “Oh, how that wife is terrible, and she has gone to that man, and he did, and she did this, and how she is terrible.” How some other friend, woman is so good. When one does not criticize other people, then one talks how good oneself is. “How great understanding I have, what capability I have,” or “I am a special person, having psychic powers, I have seen this, and that. I have seen light. I have seen all kinds of things.”
Anyway I stop here.
Please listen to the teachings with the motivation of bodhicitta. “I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all mother sentient beings; therefore, I am going to listen to the commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment.”
The subject is the teaching on the middle capable being general path, showing the nature of the path, which leads to nirvana. That has two outlines. The first one is thinking the graduate evolution of samsara, or graduate entering samsara, it means the same. All the suffering of samsara, what has created samsara, the cause of samsara is the all-rising disturbing unsubdued mind and karma. In order to renounce the disturbing unsubdued mind by practicing the remedy, the path, first one should recognize the nature of the delusions. One should understand the definition of each of the disturbing unsubdued minds, their different natures. One should recognize and one should realize the shortcomings of the disturbing unsubdued minds, and the cause of the disturbing unsubdued minds.
So in regards attachment, the remedy the meditation to control attachment as explained yesterday afternoon about the impure body and the different parts of the body—this meditation is very effective for the mind. One gets uncontrollable attachment rising so that one is in danger of creating great confusion in relationships, confusion between so many people. When one is in such danger of rising uncontrollable attachment, it is very effective to practice the remedy, the meditation. Just by examining the body, looking inside, looking at it in the nature of impurity, the attachment goes away immediately. It’s very effective, very powerful.
Somebody who doesn’t have much experience of shunyata, who is unable to recognize what is the object of ignorance of true existence, who doesn’t have much understanding of shunyata, only understanding the words, but actually not recognizing the meaning of the words, unable to meditate in that way; for that type of person it is much more powerful, meditation on impermanence and death is immediate, at those times remembering impermanence. Not just thinking, “Oh I will die, she will die,” not just that. Especially one should think that the actual time is indefinite, that one might die at any time, this hour, this minute, tonight, tomorrow, at any time. Also, she will die at any time; “She will separate from me at any time, like this minute, this night, who knows, tomorrow? Tomorrow, maybe she is gone and I am left in the room, who knows?”
The actual time of death is indefinite, this is very important. This is very powerful, very effective and very important actually always to remember, especially when the mind is so confused. Completely overwhelmed by attachment, things like that. In such times, the meditation on impermanence and death is very beneficial. Again, it is immediate, it is instant method, which immediately controls, stops, crushes the attachment—there is no object to be attached and so the attachment goes away, it stops rising. So beginners, such as me, this meditation is very simple, very easy to understand, but very effective; nothing very complicated, but if it is done, the practice is very effective for the mind. It works right away, it gives immediate relief from the heavy pain of the attachment, it is like a tranquilizer. I have one teacher, who is the very first teacher from whom I started to learn the debating subjects, Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, who has been extremely kind to me. One who has been teaching for many years, one who is now in Switzerland. This meditation is one of Geshe Rinpoche’s favorites, his favorite meditation, the meditation on the skeletons.
Also, in regards to controlling, the meditations to remember, the remedy to control attachment, these six general sufferings of samsara, their shortcomings, like the shortcomings of samsara: nothing is definite, shortcomings of samsara, having no satisfaction at all, how much one enjoys, how much one possesses; also relating to one’s own body, renouncing attachment, clinging to one’s own body, the shortcoming of leaving the body, again and again, all those things. The last shortcoming of samsara, not having companion, not having helper, companion. Those also are very effective, especially when there is very strong attachment arising, also when anger arises, also very useful.
Then also think, what is the difference if the flies, which are attached to the body, following after the rotten body, attached to that, following wherever it goes, the fly follows that—what is the difference from me, who is attached to the body? Check like that, the worms that are attached to the body, which are living in the flesh, between those and me, who is attached to the body, the flesh—what is the difference? What is the difference between them and me? Check like this, compare like this. What is the difference between their attitude and my attitude? Think like that. “Same thing, they also follow other bodies, attached to the body, that flesh, then same thing, I am also following that body, attached to that flesh.” Like that.
I thought to explain a little bit about the shortcomings of desire, the attachment, as it is explained in the Bodhicaryavatara, by the bodhisattva Shantideva, just some part of it. Shantideva is saying about the families, those who have family. One goes there and asks, in order to get the woman, make much request to them, “I want her to live with me.” First one makes much request. In order to get that woman, whatever negative karma, lying, whatever has to be done, even one doesn’t have material possession, then maybe stealing, go to rob bank, or whatever negative karma one has to accumulate. Also, whatever bad reputation comes by stealing other material, or by stealing from others, things like that, by telling lies, even bad reputation comes, one doesn’t care, in order to get the wife, one doesn’t care.
One becomes completely careless in order to get the woman, like the bad reputation. Maybe killing some other person, who wants her also, who is going to possess her, disliking him and killing him; by creating negative karma like, breaking the law of the country. Like that, even killing the police, even they put oneself in the prison to punish. Being kind of careless, whatever the trouble one goes through, one doesn’t care in order to get that woman. Even one doesn’t care, even there are dangers of, even there is danger to get. Even if there is very dangerous trail, the vehicles are not safe, one doesn’t care, even there is danger to one’s own life, one doesn’t care, in order to get that. How much danger there is, taking airplanes, ships, how difficult it is, one doesn’t care. Wild animals attacking, dogs biting, the tigers taking, even it is very harmful, very dangerous, one doesn’t care about those things. However, one person completely concentrates on that, in order to get it.
Then, one buys a lot of things for them, all kinds of ornaments, rings, earrings for ears, for fingers, I’m not sure for the lips; then ornament, clothing, so many perfumes, all the different kind of smell; different colors, one for the eyes, for the lips. Oh, there are hundreds of bunches of things, money that one had borrowed, stolen, spent all on that. Then use all this, give all this to her, finishes all this, all the hundred of things, which goes on another body, from the head down to her feet.
So one invests and finally, after all that, when one completely embraces to that body, to that woman’s body, one is kind of extremely happy. In fact, being completely hallucinated, completely in a hallucination; the fact, the object of this strong attachment, whom he is embracing, is a skeleton, skeleton alone, nothing else.
Shantideva is saying that, since it is like that, a skeleton alone, nothing else, then why not? Without clinging, without having even a small doubt in regards to the beauty of that body, object of attachment, to the woman who is possessed by oneself, or other woman who is not possessed by oneself, the body… without clinging, without having even a small doubt, why one shouldn’t go to nirvana? If the object of attachment is a skeleton, if it is that, then why not, the very first time renouncing the very strong clinging mind, without even having doubt in it. The woman who is possessed by oneself, the woman who is not possessed by oneself, other women, the body, and in the entering to the path to nirvana, why one does not do it in the very beginning?
Since object of attachment is like that, in the nature of impurity, dirty, frightening, there is nothing to find attraction in that, nothing to find attraction in that. Therefore, by renouncing desire, one should attempt the path to nirvana.
Then, the second thing is the body, this object of attachment, the woman’s body, what happens at the end, the last thing that happens is to throw the body in the cemetery. There is no other thing, except throwing the body in the cemetery. The first time, when they are having, when they copulate, when they have sexual intercourse, the first time, even the man looks at the woman’s face, very neatly, looks at it well, then after looking well at that face, taking off the clothes. Even the clothes are taken off, the woman feels shy and unable to look at the man’s face, keeps the eye down, look down.
When this woman’s body is taken to the cemetery (laughter) whether it is seen by other people or not, the face is covered by cloth. The face to whom one is attached, if right now actually it happened like this, like at the time of death, at the cemetery, the vultures, after the cloth is taken off, after it is exposed, all the vultures, while they sit on the face, the vultures, when they put the beak on the face like this, at that time why one gets frightened to look at it, why one should scare away, why?
If one is attached to this face, that time when the vultures eat the face, the body is completely exposed, the clothes are taken off and the vultures eat the face, what Shantideva is saying “Why one should scare away? Why should you run away? Is it worthwhile to be attached at that time?”
If it is worthwhile to be attached now, then it is worthwhile to be attached at that time, while the vulture is eating; there is no point to run away. These are two ways to understand, I think one thing is relating to the future, that time, if instead of being attached you become frightened, it becomes a frightening object to oneself. The vultures, when they eat the pieces of flesh, the limbs, the brains, that time if one gets scared, if one runs away, same thing—what’s going to happen in the future, the body that will become frightening object like this, which makes you to run, that is this body, this present body, nothing separate, not something else, that is this one, which you are going to be frightened of. So therefore, even now there is no point to be attached. At that time if one doesn’t get attached, one gets frightened of it, so same thing, even the present time there is no point to be attached.
So there are two ways to think, bringing back to the present or thinking of the future.
The third thing is that it is not worthwhile, one’s own body and the bodies of other men or woman, to protect it with miserliness. How it is not worthwhile to protect it with the miserliness. The great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying, “Now, when other men look at your wife, what happens now in the present time, when other men come around and touch her, or going with her for shopping or movie, for parties, to the beach, to the mountain, even just other men, without touching, just with the eye, even another man just looks at your woman, you feel extremely jealous of her, and get angry at the other person. The question arises, “Why should he look at her, she is mine, why he should look at my wife?” Then the anger, the jealous mind rises, trying to protect the woman from the man, not letting him to see, not letting him to look at her. Suddenly taking her to some other place, or putting curtain, or putting something, or standing in front of that person.
Anyway, no question if one’s own wife is going with the men, taken by other men to movie, outside, then of course, the mind becomes extremely berserk. Even if some other men look at her, one completely protects. What Shantideva is saying is, “Even if somebody looks at the woman, you completely protect her. That woman’s body, which is protected by you now, even when some other men look at it—in a year’s time, when the vultures eat her body, you the miserly one, why don’t you protect her at that time?
It is worthwhile at that time, when the vultures eat that women’s body, to be attached and to protect her, as you are doing now; that is the same body, which you are protecting now. Same thing as before, when the worms eat, that time you, the miserly one, don’t protect, you don’t look after, you leave it at the cemetery, you don’t protect, so at that time you are not attached to that. So as this is the same body, also at this time there is no point, there is nothing worth being attached to or to protect, with attachment, not worthy of putting on ornaments.
At the cemetery, the eagle or vultures, the wolves, the vultures and the foxes, those animals, the fox, wolves, the vultures, those animals when they eat, by seeing the body of flesh, by seeing this they eat it. So why do you make offerings with the ornaments, flowers, flower garlands, the sandals, gold and diamonds, with all this, why are you make offering of these ornaments to the food of those vultures, wolves and the fox? Why you give ornaments to their food? (Laughter)
So, again the same thing, with the attachment if it is worth to make offering like this with all those ornaments, to her body, then it is worthwhile also at that time, while those animals are eating that woman’s body. At that time, as one doesn’t make offering with these ornaments with attachment, so, same thing now, not worth to make offerings with all these ornaments, with all the attachment, during the lifetime.
When that woman’s body is at the cemetery, seeing only skeleton, which has no movement, not moving, just sitting there, even it doesn’t have a single movement, you get scared and you stay away. If you do like that with the skeleton, which doesn’t have one single movement, which has no mind, which has no movement you get scared, you run away, if you do like that, this present one is like the zombie, like zombie. I’m sure that there are a lot in the West. It happened before in Tibet, there are so many stories, the dead body possessed, the moving spirit entered inside that body, occupied that body, then moving, that is object to be scared, so like that, this present body, which is the skeleton, which is moved by the mind and the air. Why one doesn’t get scared of this? Same thing, the skeleton, which is at the cemetery, it doesn’t move, and one gets scared—this is the same thing, the same skeleton. If you get scared by that skeleton, which has no movement, this present one has movement, it is moving by the mind, by the mind and the wind, so the same thing, there is no reason why one shouldn’t be scared of his present one. If one gets scared of the skeleton, this same one that will be left in the cemetery then why that one, there is no reason why one shouldn’t be scared of this present one, which has movement, which has the mind and the wind. I think wind, he is talking about the vehicle of the mind, the wind.
So what the great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying, one can look at it this way, one can look at the same thing, one can look at the present body, and the same way how it is going to be in the future, at the cemetery, and by understanding that, besides being attached to the present body, that woman’s body, it is something that one should be more scared of, which has movement, which has got mind and wind, and which has got movement, than that skeleton which has no movement.
So it’s similar, the zombie, the dead body in which a spirit has entered, which makes it move. You see this body, also consciousness came from another realm and entered in it, took place in it. The disturbing unsubdued mind took place, like a spirit entered in the body, like that the disturbing unsubdued mind, the deluded mind, entered into this body, and then moving. So, as one has no attachment to that dead body possessed by a spirit, as there is no attachment, same thing with this present woman’s body, there is no reason to be attached. By giving examples, reason like this, Shantideva is giving advice to cut off attachment.
Next one: one can’t be attached to the woman’s body that is covered with clothes. Now the body, which is covered with clothes, one gets attached to it. Shantideva is saying the body, which is covered with clothes, you get attached. When the body is left at the cemetery, without the cover of the clothes, why can’t you be attached also in that time? It is the same thing, if you are attached now to this body, which is covered with clothes, if you are attached now, why can’t you be attached when her body is left at the cemetery without clothes. Same reason, one can be attached in that time too, with that body, the uncovered body.
Then again same things as before; if one doesn’t get attached at that time to that uncovered woman’s body, same reason, this is the same body, it’s just a matter of being covered with clothes or not. That’s all. It’s the same body. So also, there is no point in being attached now to this present body. If there’s no point in being attached to the uncovered body, which is at the cemetery, then the present body, which is covered with clothes, why do you embrace? Why do you embrace that body, which is covered with clothes? That uncovered woman’s body left at the cemetery, that’s dirty. As that is dirty, same thing, this present body, which is covered with clothes, is also dirty. So, what’s the point in embracing the present body, which is covered with clothes? What he is saying is, covered or uncovered with clothes, it doesn’t make a difference.
Then thinking about the present living body, one cannot be attached to the contact, the object of contact, touching the woman’s body, why cannot be attached to the contact. Shantideva is saying like this, if you say, “I like her lips, to contact her lips, the water that comes from her mouth.”
The cause of the water that comes from her mouth and the kaka, the cause is one, that’s the food. So, from one cause two results: the kaka, which comes from the down below door, and the water, which comes from her mouth. They came from the same cause, the food, both of them, so there is no reason, if you like the water, which comes from her mouth, why don’t you like the kaka as well? It is the same thing. It’s just a matter of coming from a different door, just coming from different holes. Then if you dislike her kaka what is there to be attached to her mouth-water? Saliva? Saliva? What’s the difference between saliva and spit? [Students: No difference.] Then what about the hard one? It is the same thing, conclusion is this, because the food that she ate, what is going inside the stomach, that is dirty, similar to the result. What came out also is dirty, as the cause is dirty.
The conclusion is, what Shantideva is saying, there is no point to be attached. First of all, it is similar, it is same reason, as they came from one cause, the food, as there is no worth, as one is not attached to the urine and the kaka, same thing, there is no point to be attached to the mouth-water. The second reason, the cause from where those two things came, down there, for instance the rice and vegetable, after she chewed it well, after she chewed it well, she spat it, vomited, before going to the stomach, chewed, bit well, then threw it in the plate—then check, whether you eat it or not.
Before going to the stomach, it didn’t go to the stomach, already it becomes dirty, just being in the mouth, after chewing well, after biting well, then what has gone inside the stomach, after she vomited in the bucket, let’s say it didn’t go down, but it came out, it came through this hole, the upper hole, then all this juice, vegetables and rice, came—whether you can eat it or not. Even you don’t want to look at it, so you cover it with toilet paper or something, or you throw it out, or you cover it with leaves. You don’t even want to look at it. If the question arises, because it came from the mouth it’s different from things that came from below, it is different because it came from the mouth, then one should also be attached to food that is vomited, which came from her mouth. That proves the food that has gone inside her body is dirty.
Those two results, one that came from the mouth and one that came from down-below door, both are dirty, so there is no point to be attached. Then if the question comes, I’m attached to her body because it is very soft and very red looking, brown looking, so soft and smooth; that is why I am attached, that is the need to be attached. Because of that reason, one gets attached, because of this soft and smooth one is attached, for that reason one gets attached. If one gets attached to this physical contact, sexual intercourse, then, cotton is very soft and very smooth, so why one doesn’t get attached to and have contact with that, just as you do with the woman’s body, for the same reason, very smooth, so soft?
So the conclusion of what he’s saying is: the point to be attached, having physical contact, the worth of doing that, because it is smooth and soft—cotton has the same thing. So, as you are not at all attached to this, there is no point to be attached to the women’s body, even though it is soft and smooth.
Then more reasons why there is no point to be attached. More reasons, the woman’s body, container of dirty things, full of dirty things; these filthy, bad smells come, run out from her body, from the dirty things, like the garbage, from the ears, from the nose, the mouth from the lower doors things, the dirty things run out. The cotton, the bed or the cotton pillow don’t have any dirty things, to run out through the holes, there’s no dirty things to run out. In regards to clinging, soft and smooth and clinging, attached to the woman’s body, then the cotton is soft and smooth, and nothings runs out, no dirty things, it doesn’t contain any dirty things, nothing comes out, but not being attached to the cotton. Having a strong attachment to the woman’s body, believing it smooth and soft and clinging—that is being hallucinated or being ignorant, believing impure things, her body, which is in the nature of impure, believing it to be pure, believing it clean and pure, being hallucinated, like the desirable person, attachment rises from his mind.
I think I stop here.
“I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings. Therefore, I am going to listen to the commentary on the teachings of the steps of the path to enlightenment.” Please listen to the teachings well, by generating at least the creative bodhicitta.
The listening subject is the Mahayana teachings, which lead the fortunate ones to enlightenment, which is well expounded by the pandits, the propagators, Asanga and Nagarjuna, and is the profound advice, the essence of the highly realized bodhisattva Lama Atisha and the Dharma king of the three worlds, the great Lama Tsongkhapa, the infinite knowledge, as if it was taken out. It contains all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without missing anything, and all these are set up for the graduated path for one person to achieve enlightenment.
This commentary has four basic outlines. The last one is the graduate how to lead the disciple to the enlightenment by showing the actual body of the teachings. This advice has two outlines. The graduate, how to train the mind in the steps to enlightenment by following the guru, has two outlines:
1. Persuading the mind to take essence with this perfect human body
2. How to take the essence with this perfect human body.
The perfect human body, how it is difficult to find again, by number, what makes it difficult to find again, by example, by number and by cause, what makes it difficult to find it again. What I was trying to explain yesterday morning was mainly emphasizing the attitude, trying to examine the attitude of, first of all, the animal beings, then secondly, the human beings; after examining the animals, checking that, then the human beings. Then, besides checking the other human beings in the world, also checking one’s own attitude, how the whole day attitude has been under the control of the disturbing unsubdued mind and the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, completely possessed, completely being under the control of that, the whole day, all the time, day and night.
Even at the times one talks, does the action of talking, either with pride, either with anger, either with attachment, either with jealous mind, either with ill-will, with the different disturbing subdued minds. In short, with the thought seeking the happiness of this life, even the action of talking is done, which makes to develop this disturbing unsubdued mind, the three poisonous minds, pride and all those things, which makes to develop more. Not so much beneficial to oneself and other sentient beings.
So, when one checks like this, the animals outside and the people who are living with oneself, the worldly persons who are living in the house, the animals who are living outside in the shade, living in the grass, living on the water, one checks up the attitude like this, one cannot find any higher. The worldly people who live in the rich house, there’s not any higher attitude in regards to the way of thinking, nothing high, nothing special than from the outside, those non-human beings, the dogs and the cows, the worms crawling outside; in regards to the attitude, nothing is high, nothing is special. Even the worldly people who live in the house have human body, in regards to the attitude, it’s the same thing.
Like this, very upsetting, nothing higher, nothing better, by taking the human body, oneself and those non-human beings, the attitude is all the same. Since the attitude is exactly the same, day and night, all the time, it’s like as long as one does not practice Dharma, as long as the mind does not become Dharma, having the thought of seeking only the happiness of this life, passing the whole time, the whole life with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas.
In regards to that, what many people in the West think, they believe life has no meaning, human life has no meaning, that’s what it becomes. The person makes his own life meaningless, nothing higher or better than those non-human beings, who haven’t human body. That’s exactly what it becomes. Other sentient beings do not make our life meaningless, but one makes one’s own life meaningless, oneself makes no purpose to being born as a human being. The purpose of being born as a human being is to practice Dharma, to make preparation to obtain happiness beyond this life, up to enlightenment. That is the purpose, to work for the happiness beyond this life, up to enlightenment—to work for that is the purpose of being born as a human being. This time, why oneself was born as a human being, having a human body, not having the body of a spider, not having the body of a dog, full of hairs and a long nose, anyway I’m joking, this time having human body, which has the freedom to practice Dharma, is to be utilized in order to make preparation for the happiness beyond this life, up to enlightenment.
So, that is why the human body was taken this time. There is a purpose to be born as a human being. If one spends one’s life completely under the control of the eight worldly dharmas, seeking only the happiness of this life, one who has met the precious human body has no purpose, having no purpose, meaningless. If one does not practice Dharma, by renouncing the thought of seeking the happiness of this life, if one does not practice Dharma, doesn’t make any difference whether this life, whether one has taken human body or not. If the whole life is spent doing the worldly work, doing the works of this life, only with the thought of seeking the happiness of this life, this is what the non-human beings do, this is the attitude that those creatures have. So, in regards to that, oneself, this time it is like not being born as a human being in fact, as if one had not been born as human being, because the way of living the life, the attitude is the same as those other sentient beings, who are not human being, who don’t have a human body. That’s why the highly realized bodhisattva, Shantideva, said in the teachings, “With such this my action, with such this my conduct, even the human body cannot be found. If the human body is not found, there’s no virtue, except negative karma. While there is the fortune to accumulate virtue, to enjoy virtue, if the virtue is not accumulated by oneself, then, when one is born in the evil-gone realm, experiencing suffering, deeply ignorant, that time, what can I do?”
What the great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying is, while we have the human body, having the perfect human body, having great fortune to accumulate virtue, the time while we have fortune to accumulate, to enjoy virtue, if the virtue is not accumulated by oneself, then, after this life, if one was born in the realm of the suffering transmigrating beings, the preta, naraks, animals, one of these realms… why is it called evil-gone realm? The Tibetan term is nyen.song. Nyen means evil and song means gone. Why? Because the lower realms, the preta, animal and narak beings, how they have gone in the lower realms, by creating negative karma they have gone there, not by creating good karma. By creating negative karma they have gone down, they have gone in the lower realm. So, evil means the negative karma. It shows the cause and the result, evil-gone, by the title it shows, that is just my understanding, straight translation from the Tibetan term, nyen.song.
So, after this life, when one was born in the evil-gone realm, experiencing suffering and deeply ignorant, that time, “What can I do? Nothing else that I can do, there is no method at that time, nothing else I can do. Now, this moment, while I have this perfect human body, I have so many methods that I can do, that I can try, to go from happiness to happiness in all the future lives, to enlightenment. There are so many methods, so many possibilities that I can do. So that time, once if I was born in the evil-gone realm, there is nothing that I can do.”
Shantideva is saying therefore, it is important to be careful with this life; in regards to utilizing this precious human body, one should be very careful. The conclusion is this. One day less virtuous thoughts, non-virtuous thoughts arising, more non-virtuous thoughts, less virtuous thoughts arising in the mind of other human beings and also in the mind of oneself. No virtuous thoughts arising, only non-virtuous thoughts. Even if virtuous thoughts arise, it’s very little, figuring out in one day, very rare, very little; much non-virtuous thought rises, so much. The virtuous thought is so difficult to rise, even just one virtue, so difficult to create, one has to make much effort. As difficult as it is for a river to flow upwards, from down below to the top of the mountain, how difficult it is, like that. How easily non-virtuous thoughts, disturbing unsubdued mind rises, uncontrollably rises, like a river that flows down from the top of a mountain, without effort, like a waterfall. This is the main reason what makes the perfect human body difficult to find, this type of attitude.
So that is why, to be born in the realm of the happy transmigrating beings is such a little number, so difficult, like for the huge stone at the bottom of the mountain to come up. How it is extremely easy to be born in the realm of the suffering transmigrating beings, how it is so easy, is like the very high mountain with the precipice; so many rocks, they easily fall down, so many, like rainfall. Checking this way makes it very clear, if one checks the attitude like this it makes it very clear. Otherwise it is difficult to figure out. Just saying it is difficult to find by example, difficult to find by number, by cause it’s difficult, one doesn’t get definite understanding, one doesn’t get clear understanding, how it can be possible for a human being to become animal, how it is possible.
That kind of question is put, how it can be possible for a human being to go back to the animal realm, how it can be possible? That kind of question expresses the sign, where the block is in his mind. The person who asked the question, his mind is concentrated only in the physical evolution. He is not concentrating on the every-day attitude, he is not concentrating on the nature of the mind, not examining the nature of the mind. Because he is concentrating only on the physical evolution the question comes, “How can it be possible going back—the only way to happen is from an animal to become human being, coming up, not going back.” Then this difficult conception rises.
So many times this question comes up. This is due to, it is the mistake of not having examined the nature of the mind and reflecting only on the physical evolution. Even if one thinks physical evolution, there have been people, gradually, in the early life the person has a human body and in the later life, the two legs joined, by karma, gradually joined; even though the body was perfect before in the early life, in the later life the limbs contracted. In the later life different changes happened to the body.
Then, it happened in the previous time in China, this is a story that is known, but there can be many stories that are not known, which are not in many countries. In the previous time in China, one person wrote a book in which he criticized the learned people of those days and compared them to snakes. He wrote a book criticizing all the learned people in the world. Then, by that karma, what happened in his later life, his head cracked and his body gradually changed into the form of a snake, the head of a snake came; his earlier body, his human body, the head of the human body cracked and gradually the head of a snake came out. Then gradually the rest of the body changed. The legs joined together, gradually changed. Then there are other stories of having changed the body later.
With questions like that, it is good to ask back, “Why is it difficult to rise the virtuous thought and why is it so easy the non-virtuous thought, such as the three poisonous mind, why are those types of mind so easy to rise? Why the thought, which is not anger, which is not attachment, which is not ignorant, why are those difficult to rise?” It is good to ask back those sorts of questions. Then you can meditate.
As the great pandit Tsentagommi, who was a highly learned, far-famed pandit said, “Just like the animal being attached,” I think this way is better, “Just like the animal that is strongly attached, for a few bites of the grass, without having found it, fell down the precipice, the human beings who seek the means of world, or the happiness of this life, who only seek the means of living of this world, the happiness, are also like that.” Like that, means the other previous example, the animal.
What the great pandit Tsentagommi is saying is, for instance, a goat sees on the edge of the precipice, on the rock, some bunches of grass, they see some small bunches of grass that they can have some bite of. The grass was seen there, on the edge, and the goat was strongly attached and ran towards that to get it. When he gets there, without having even found it, without having chance to receive the pleasure of having a bite of that grass, the goat fell down the precipice. Like that, the human beings who only seek the means of the world, which means the happiness of this life, also like that, so strongly attached to the small pleasures of this life, putting so much effort and time and energy in that, in order to get it. Like for instance, in order to get a little bit of money, to get little bit of food, in order to get a few material possessions, they put so much effort and time. Then, not having even the opportunity to receive that pleasure, to get that money, they fall down in the precipice of the lower realm, because of the non-virtuous thought, the evil thought, seeking the happiness of this life.
As I mentioned before, as Dromtonpa asked his guru, Lama Atisha, what the result will be of actions done with ignorance, anger and attachment, then Lama Atisha said “That action done with non-anger, non-attachment, non-ignorance, the rebirth will in the worldly gods, then human beings. The actions done with those three poisonous minds will be animal, preta or narak.” Like that, Lama Atisha answered his disciple. Dromtonpa.
In the airplanes, when I was flying to the West, sometimes there are crowds of people, it makes to wonder when I look at the people, each person has their own, the people in the airplane, they drink, they smoke so much, each of them has their own business, work, some nature of that in his life, traveling back and forth, different work, business, something to obtain, what they have in the mind, nothing else. To obtain the preparation for the happiness of the future nothing, no idea, no idea, no understanding, nothing, totally, except only the thought of this life, concerns only of the happiness of this life, then trying to do various things, business, or various things for that, having not even the slightest understanding, not even the small understanding of the difference between virtue and non-virtue.
So, when I watch them, when I look at those people, no matter how well-dressed they are, they eat delicious food, for me, for my mind I feel very itchy, very uncomfortable, kind of very itching, like when there is an animal on the rocks, on the dangerous rocks in the mountain, the dangerous, very steep rock, when you see those sheep, you feel kind of uncomfortable in the mind, you feel very uncomfortable. Kind of, how to say, there is high tension, kind of very uncomfortable, when they are going to fall down, kind of slip, when they are going to slip on the rock; you feel very uncomfortable.
Maybe themselves, in their own mind very comfortable, there is no doubt, nothing about future life, nothing, completely relaxed in regards to that point—not because by understanding. If there is no future life then whatever one does, it is okay, if it is just one life. So when I think of the future life of the surrounding people, who are in the same compartment, it makes it kind of uncomfortable, uneasy. The idea is like somebody, a friend, who is on a very dangerous bridge, which is not safe, your mind, while you are watching him, you feel very uncomfortable mind.
Padmasambhava said in the teachings, “How much the samsaric work, how much one attempts, how much effort one puts in the samsaric work, there is no way to get finished. If one puts effort into practicing Dharma, it quickly gets finished. The samsaric work how much it is good at the beginning at the end one becomes lost. But the result of enjoying the Dharma, practicing the holy Dharma, is impossible to finish, to get finished.”
What the great yogi, Padmasambhava is saying, the samsaric work, the worldly works of this life, how much one puts effort in it, there is no end, there is no way to finish it. Then, if there is an end to finish, by putting effort in it, it would have happened a long time ago, that is ended, because we have been doing the samsaric works since beginningless previous lifetimes until now; so it should have happened a long time ago that it ended.
What Padmasambhava is saying is from beginningless previous life times we put that much effort in the samsaric work, by following the desire, the evil thought of the worldly dharma, yet still it is not finished. So, how can it not be finished? There is no way to end, even one puts effort, there is no way to have end. But how much effort we put in the works of this life, the samsaric works, if we put that much effort in Dharma practice, the works of the holy Dharma, that quickly gets finished. If we put that much effort in achieving the work of enlightenment, one quickly achieves enlightenment; when one achieves enlightenment, state of omniscient mind, that time the work of the holy Dharma is finished.
For instance, business, even if it is good at the beginning, you get profit, but you see, it is uncertain that you will always get profit, it is uncertain. This is one of the confusions in the world, people they break their nerves down by too much trusting in it, always having incredible expectation, the evil thought of the worldly dharma. When they don’t get it, they collapse down, physically and mentally. Always the work of samsara, even if it is good at the beginning, you make profit, like playing games, horse race, car race, all those things, the football match, those things, even you get profit at the beginning, even you win in the beginning, it doesn’t work that because you win at the beginning, you win all the time, you will get money all the time. In the nature of the samsaric works, even if it is good at the beginning, always it ends up with loss, with loss.
Many times, the people who make business get profit in the beginning and, because of that craving, it causes great expectations, causes the dissatisfactory mind, that craving, it makes the mind have expectations. Then at the end what happens, when you try more and more, at the end, when you continue with much effort, with much expectations, then at the end it gets completely lost, that person is in great debt. Then he came back home, then wife fighting, screams over him, instead of receiving compliments from the family, from the wife. Even if it is good at the beginning, it is nature, it doesn’t work always, it doesn’t become better and better. The more one does, the end is loss; that is the nature of the samsaric work.
Then enjoying the holy Dharma, how much one enjoys the holy Dharma, the result all the time increases; how much one practices, how much one enjoys the holy Dharma, how much one practices, the result constantly, the result does not change; at the beginning good and at end loss—completely opposite to that. The more and more one enjoys the holy Dharma, the greater and greater is the result; the resultant happiness is greater and greater. The result is unceasing, it is impossible to degenerate, to finish enjoying the result, but that work, the work of the holy Dharma, the work to achieve enlightenment, can be finished, that can be finished by experiencing the result. That doesn’t get degenerated, experiencing the result of the holy Dharma; once one has achieved enlightenment, it is impossible to degenerate or to lose the enlightenment or for the mind to separate from that state, it is impossible. Experiencing the result is impossible to degenerate, one can experience all the time.
By understanding the shortcomings of the worldly work, the works of samsara—that it only cheats oneself, only makes to lose—renouncing the evil thought of the worldly dharma, the attachment of seeking the happiness of this life, it is important to practice the holy Dharma.
How harmful the evil thought of the worldly dharma is, you see, day and night whatever action, we do, day and night, not becoming Dharma, not becoming holy Dharma, that was caused by the evil thought of the worldly dharma, the attachment seeking the happiness of this life, it is that what disturbs. The evil thought of the worldly dharma is the most harmful, is the greatest distraction to practice holy Dharma. Whenever we start to practice holy Dharma, this is the one which doesn’t let the thought to rise, to practice Dharma, this is the one, when even the thought has risen, which doesn’t let the action to become holy Dharma. The attachment seeking happiness of this life, the evil thought of the worldly dharma, this is the one that wastes the perfect, precious human body, which is qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, which is highly meaningful and which is difficult to find again; which makes us waste this precious body all the time, day and night, all the time, without letting the action that is done become Dharma. Even Dharma practice that is done doesn’t become holy Dharma, not letting it become holy Dharma. The evil thought of the worldly dharma is the one who obliges to waste the precious, perfect human body, which is highly meaningful and difficult to find again.
Of course, those times when we were not practicing Dharma, even in the times when we try to practice Dharma, this evil thought of worldly dharma comes to disturb us, like having put poison in the food. Even when we try to listen to teaching, even when we try to reflect on the teaching, even when we try to do meditation, this evil thought of worldly dharma again it comes, whenever we do this, it always comes and the holy Dharma that we try to do it makes worldly dharma. Instead of becoming holy Dharma, the evil thought of worldly dharma, this poison has arisen and makes the holy Dharma, which we are trying to do, worldly dharma.
I stop here.
“I am going to listen to the teaching of the commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the sentient beings.”
The listening subject, the teaching on the middle capable beings, and the general path has two outlines: how to generate the thought seeking nirvana, and showing the nature of the path that leads to nirvana. The second outline has two outlines: the evolution of how one circles in samsara, and the nature of the path that leads the practitioner to nirvana.
The first one, the cause of disturbing unsubdued mind and karma, how the disturbing unsubdued mind rises and then how the karma is created, then the death transference and joining to the rebirth.
This has four outlines: recognizing the disturbing unsubdued minds, and how those other delusions arise, then the causes of the delusion, the disturbing unsubdued mind. So, particularly here, after having recognized what attachment is, that attachment is the main one that ties, the main rope, which ties oneself, which has been binding oneself to samsara from beginningless previous lifetime until now. The reason one has not been liberated from samsara until now is because of not having tried to control the attachment, not having tried to cease the attachment, the cause of samsara. One did not try to cease the continuity of attachment by meditating on the path, the remedy. So, if one wishes to be liberated from samsara then, as one has the freedom to practice the remedy, the path, one should understand the meditations, the methods to control the attachment.
Ceasing attachment is an individual experience. Some people do not have much problem with the body, attachment with the body, but have more problem with food. Some people have more problem with material possessions, with money, maybe with old shells, old antiques, broken antiques, pieces of bones, things like that. Generally, with material possessions, food or clothing, it is easy to control the attachment; most people find it easy to control. The attachment to the body, other sentient beings’ bodies, attachment rising, generally it is more difficult to control. In the seven points of thought transformation, one of the commitments of the thought training is to practice subduing whichever of your delusions arises more strongly. If one has stronger anger, practice the remedies to anger. If one has stronger attachment, practice the remedies to that. Since we are seekers of nirvana, of enlightenment, we should practice like this. If we are not seekers, there is no need.
In yesterday’s subject on being attached to desirable things, someone rationalized, “I like the woman’s body because it is clean, soft and smooth.” But cotton is also these things and the person is not attached to cotton. As this is the case, there is no point in being attached to the woman’s body. What Shantideva is saying is that whatever you believe about the woman’s body is a wrong conception—completely hallucinated. Believing that which is impermanent to be permanent, to be truly beautiful from its own side, and clinging to that, due to the deluded mind of ignorance. Projecting this and completely believing it.
Then saying, do you embrace the woman’s body in a cage of bones, wrapped over the ribs with flesh put over it? It is filled with many dirty elements, saliva, snot, brain liquids, kaka, blood, pus—this is like being attached to a sack of dirty things.
Then being dissatisfied with one’s own body—the way to remove attachment to this is the same, looking at one’s own body in the nature of ugliness, as a sack filled with dirty things, saying there is no point to be attached. Then the argument comes, “I am not attached to the contact with the cotton but I like the flesh of other’s body, so that’s why I want to look and touch.” But you don’t like the dead flesh, which has no mind. And you don’t like the cotton.
“But cotton is not flesh, and the other is. Therefore I want to look and touch.” But you don’t like the dead body’s flesh which has no mind. So there is no point in being attached to the body.
Then saying, “My reason for attachment is nothing to do with the body; it’s very profound, how I am attached…” No, Shantideva didn’t say that, I’m just joking. But you do say, “It’s nothing to do with the flesh, I like her mind!” I’ve heard so many people say this. He doesn’t have interest in the body, what he likes is the mind. But most of the time this is not true. Shantideva is saying, if you are attached to the mind, which you cannot touch or look it, what’s the use of embracing the body that has no meaning, and no benefit?
The next subject—the shape as the object of attachment. If this is what you are attached to, then the young lotus also has beautiful color and shape, and you renounce that. You are not attached to that, but you cling to the dirty ribcage. The conclusion is that there is no point to be attached.
The next subject, the body is the place where all dirty things come out. If you dislike the dirty places full of kaka, vomit and dirty smells, how can you be attached to the place where all these dirty things come from? Your body came from the mother’s womb and is formed of the seed and blood of the parents. Your body came from the originator of all this dirt—urination, kaka, slimy, dirty things—so there is no point to be attached.
Then showing that the body is dirty—why get attached to the body that is so dirty, when you are not attached to the small worms that come from the stomach and the kaka? Why get attached to the body that is in the nature of so many dirty things, born from the thirty-six dirty elements? If you are not attached to the small dirty worms, why get attached to the body? The worm is dirty, and the body is also dirty.
Then reflecting how one’s own body is dirty—after eating medicines, chemicals, beautiful plants and fruits, they come out and make the place filthy. This waste is not an object of attachment, so there is no point in being attached to one’s own body. Then doubt arises, maybe the body is clean and pure. But Shantideva is saying, if you look at others’ bodies in the cemetery, with the skin opened, fear rises just from seeing it. You get frightened. So why do you get attached again and again to your own body and a woman’s? There is no point in being attached.
One should renounce attachment by remembering what is inside when the skin is cut or opened, which makes you frightened. It’s just a matter of whether the skin is covered or not. So Shantideva is giving two methods: one is to remember the inside things, what one’s own body contains and what others’ bodies contain, and then to see one’s own body and the other’s body as a corpse. By remembering these two, by meditating like this, one should renounce the attachment.
Then the question comes, even the body is dirty, doesn’t matter. The body is perfumed with sandal wood, those different flowers, it has a very good smell, so even if the body is dirty, it doesn’t matter, it has very good smell that is worth being attached to, because it is incense, the body is incense—I’m just joking. If someone says this, Shantideva says the person is hallucinating—that’s the smell of the camphor, or sandalwood, or rose-flower—what’s the point of being attached?
What’s the point to be attached? There is no relation, those plants from where the smell come, and this body, there is no connection; the smell of some other material, put on that, what’s the point to be attached to that body? If the body has smell, without putting anything on that body, if there is smell coming from the body, natural smell from the body, that is bad smell, the natural smell which comes from that, which was not put on that; isn’t it better to not to be attached?
Being attached to the body is the cause of much suffering. The worldly people who are attached to the body, which has no meaning—in order to give attraction, for other people to be attached, to find attraction to one’s own body, one perfumes with sandalwood and good smells of sandalwood or rose-flower. Those good smells, for instance, that good smell is the quality of the sandal wood, it is not the quality of the body, the good smell is the quality of the sandalwood or those other flowers, so, since that good smell is the quality of the sandalwood or those other materials—the body doesn’t have any—since that good smell is the quality of the sandalwood and those other materials, how that good smell of the body came is from the quality of those other materials. The body doesn’t have any of those good smells. From the side of the body, there is no one single good smell—so what’s the point to be attached to that body because of the smell of those other materials? This is a very good reason.
You see, normally, when you don’t examine, when you don’t check up, times when your mind is not aware, times when we don’t check up, that time, we think, whenever there is good smell, the intuitive conception, we think it is the quality of that beautiful body, as if the nature of the good smell came from that body. When we don’t examine, that’s how it appears and that’s how it is believed when you don’t examine. So, the great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying: because there is not one single good smell from the side of the body, because of this reason, similar to the sandalwood or those flowers, there is no point to be attached to that body. What Shantideva is saying is that it’s a wrong reason, being attached to that body because of the reason of the smell of some other material, that is wrong reason, there is no point to be attached to that body.
“At any rate, I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all mother sentient beings. I must achieve it quicker and quicker for the benefit of all mother sentient beings, so therefore I’m going to listen to commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment.”
Please listen to the teaching well, by generating at least the creative bodhicitta. The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching, which leads the fortunate ones to enlightenment. It is well expounded by the great pandits, the propagators Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is profound advice as if the essence of the highly realized bodhisattva, Lama Atisha and Lama Tsongkhapa’s infinite knowledge, was talked out, and this is the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without missing anything. This is set up for the graduated practice for one person to achieve enlightenment.
This commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment has four basic outlines. The last one is how to lead the disciple in the path to enlightenment, by showing the actual body of the advice. That has two basic outlines, the last one is the graduated, how to train the mind in the path to enlightenment by following the guru. That has two basic outlines: persuading the mind in order to take the essence with the perfect human body.
So, the part of persuading the mind, in order to take the essence of this perfect human body, eight freedoms, ten richnesses, the usefulness, the difficulty of receiving it. Then what is the thing which always obliges one to waste the precious human body, which always doesn’t let whatever actions are done become Dharma, the greatest hindrances to practice Dharma, the greatest hindrance that makes the mind not to become Dharma, which doesn’t allow the mind to become Dharma? That is the evil thought of the worldly dharma, the attachment seeking the happiness of this life. So, like this.
First of all, it doesn’t let you to practice Dharma, then you see, even if one tries to practice Dharma, it doesn’t let it become holy Dharma. First of all, it doesn’t allow oneself to practice Dharma, any action that is done, it makes it to become always non-virtuous action; even if one tries to practice holy Dharma, the evil thought of the worldly dharma transforms the action into non-virtue, it doesn’t let it become holy Dharma. The evil thought of worldly dharma doesn’t allow the mind to become Dharma.
Even it becomes holy Dharma, the evil thought of the worldly dharma doesn’t let the holy Dharma become the path, it doesn’t let to become the path to nirvana. Even if one generates the path in the mind, the evil thought of the worldly dharma disturbs the, to become the path to enlightenment, to not become, even if one has generated the path within one’s own mind, the evil thought of the worldly dharma disturbs to not become the path to enlightenment. This is the one that makes it very difficult, which doesn’t allow to start to practice Dharma, to begin to practice Dharma; this is the greatest distraction to begin to practice Dharma.
How it is, the way to begin to practice Dharma, the very first thing of the holy Dharma, what is that? That is renouncing this life, the very first thing, the way to begin practicing Dharma. That is this, renouncing the attachment clinging to the happiness of this life, which is the source of all confusion, also the suffering of the future lives. So, renouncing this is the way to begin, the first thing, the very first step. If one is going to California from here, first walk from the room, then go by taxi, then go by airplane to California. The way to start is the first step from your bed. You cannot fly the airplane from your room, from your bed to California. So, like that example, the very first thing of the holy Dharma is renouncing this life, which means attachment seeking the happiness of this life.
As one Kadampa geshe said, “Examine, check up the very first thing of the holy Dharma, renouncing this life, whether it is within one’s mind, oh-ho!”
The Kadampa geshe is saying: Oh-ho! without having done one single Dharma practice, one single holy Dharma practice, but feeling pride, “I am a Dharma practitioner, I am a religious person, I am a Dharma practitioner,” how foolish it is. These are very effective. In the practice, how much retreat one did, how many years one did, how many mantras one recited, how much Dharma one spoke, one has been teaching, how much Dharma books one has been reading, how much meditation one has been doing, how much one has been doing work for others.
In the practice not one single thing becomes holy Dharma, the pure Dharma, but feeling pride, having incredible big picture in the mind, “I am a religious person, I’m a Dharma practitioner, I’m different from other people, I am much higher, purer than the people who are living in the city, who are living in New York,” thinking like this, fooling oneself. If one checked up today, yesterday, this week, last week, last month, this year, last year, if one checked up, how many actions there have been that really—reading books, meditating, all those things, working for others—if one carefully checks up, how many from those actions became real Dharma, hardly find any, couldn’t find any thing that really became Dharma, action which was done with pure thought, with the thought of renouncing this life, couldn’t find anything, studying Dharma, whatever has been done. So, that’s why the Kadampa Geshe is saying, “Without having done one single Dharma practice, feeling pride that you are Dharma person; that is foolish.”
Even if we are trying to practice Dharma all the time, the evil thought of the worldly dharma comes to disturb whatever we do, listening, studying, meditation times, whatever is done. Saying prayers, during the meditation time, not having good concentration, not having lasting concentration is also a shortcoming of the evil thought of the worldly dharma. Even if one is doing one-pointed concentration on Buddha, even if one is doing analyzing meditation on the lam-rim, finding very hard to start, even just to start, if it is one hour meditation, first of all, half hour or fifty minutes it takes time to start, at the beginning finding it so difficult to start, to bring the mind to the subject, subject of the meditation; so strong the figure of the objects that come in the mind, one after another.
Even if one is able to bring the mind from the distraction to the meditation subject, even if one is able to concentrate, doing analyzing meditation or fixed meditation, but maybe few seconds, like the fly drops there and then after few second goes away, or the fly makes just a touch on the table, then as soon as it touched, it goes away—like that, even if one is able to bring the mind to the meditation subject, as soon as one does, it goes away like that. Even if one has two hour meditation session, more time, the session of the distraction, more time, within two hours, there is more time having more distraction, more time the distraction, less time the actual meditation, that you are actually meditating on that subject, more time; when you put together all the seconds, the minutes, only few.
How it is caused by the evil thought of the worldly dharma? the picture that comes in the mind, you see, most of the objects, the picture of the objects that comes in the mind, those are, mostly what comes in the mind for use during the meditation time, objects of attachment, or sometimes the object of anger, object of dislike, dislikeable object; because there is such strong attachment seeking the happiness of this life, the strong anger arises. One remembers, somehow one can’t forget easily, one can’t give it up easily, without thinking of it, there are pictures of dislikeable objects, enemy, those are coming and that is because there is such strong attachment seeking the happiness of this life, one finds it hard to forget it. Most of the principal objects are objects of attachment, desirable objects.
You see, there is stronger attachment seeking the happiness of this life, there is more distraction in the meditation, mind is that much more uncontrolled during the meditation time, as there is stronger the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the more distractions during the meditation sessions, more difficult to keep the mind calm—this is something that we can recognize easily, from our own experience, if we just be aware of it, be aware of the distractions, pictures that appear in the mind, pictures of objects.
Even if one lives the whole life on the mountains, on the solitude place, in the hermitage, without having doors, without having holes, completely covered with mud, in the cave, the whole life, living in silence, not seeing any people, even the person is meditating on the nadis and chakras, those things, meditating on the heat, the flame, even the person has tantra meditation like that. Since the person, even he spends the life living in the cave, keeping the evil thought of worldly dharma inside the heart, without renouncing it, keeping the evil thought of worldly dharma inside the heart, even he lives the life like this, practices like this. “If I do like this I will have far-famed reputation, all the people in this country will believe that I am very pure, great yogi. Not seeing anybody, not eating food, they will always praise me, everybody will talk about me and praise me all the time, then maybe they will write my name on the rocks when I die, even if I die, years and years the people will talk about me.”
The motivation living in the hermitage, however, even if one lives the life like this, practicing such those meditations, the Secret Mantra, the whole thing, how many years he spends doing practice with the evil thought of the worldly dharma, nothing of those becomes holy Dharma, everything becomes worldly dharma. No difference, his living in the cave without seeing any people, without eating food, living on the pills, the tablets or whatever it is, anyway, it completely becomes worldly dharma, no different than the non-Dharma practitioner who lives in the city, every day who follows the evil thought of worldly dharma, who always works for the evil thought of the worldly dharma.
The only difference is physical, only physically there is a difference, the other person is living in the hermitage, way up in the mountain, there’s not one person around, he don’t see anyone. But in fact, way of living the life, whatever action is done not becoming holy Dharma, only worldly dharma, the life is completely wasted, even though he believes that he is doing pure Dharma. Many times when we plan to do retreat: so that I can record beautiful stories in the diarrhea—what is it called? Diary! Sorry! Many of my friends they have done retreat in Nepal, Dharamsala, many places, “I didn’t do any, I didn’t have any experience of retreat, should have some stories, I should have some story to record in the story of your book,” things like that. Again, even if one tries to do something, the evil thought of the worldly dharma is coming to make the retreat worldly retreat, not retreat of the holy Dharma.
Even if one becomes monks or nuns, what is necessary, the cause of ordination, is not there: the renunciation. Even there is no creative renunciation of samsara, renunciation of even this life. Even if one becomes monk or nun, takes ordination, again this evil thought of worldly dharma disturbs to not have renunciation of this life, which is the main cause of the ordination. Unless it changes during the ordination time, if there is some kind of explanation, some explanation of meditation, unless it changes during that time. Maybe thinking, not really having the understanding of Dharma, or not really having the faith in Dharma, but kind of finding attraction to that life; wearing robes, wearing warm robes, saying lots of prayers, making big noise like the tiger roaring, anyway, I’m joking.
Also not because of the reason of having faith in Dharma, not that, by seeing the advantage of that practice, living in the ordination, not because of the reason of having that understanding, the advantages of living in the precepts, the benefits, just kind of looking nice, beautiful, other people kind to those wearing robes, following those traditions or customs. Other people finding attraction to that, they follow that, they are like that, just because of some, “I also would like to try that, it’s kind of nice, let’s try, let’s do the whole thing and see how it goes, let’s follow the customs, maybe it’s very…”
However the main motive is just seeking. “Oh, maybe my life would be more happy than this present life, more happy if I take that life, if I do that.” Kind of basic motivation in seeking the reputation, finding easier food and clothing; not exactly same, can be various motivations but however, seeing the happiness of this life. Even if one tries to take ordination like that, tries to wear robes, specially if there is no explanation, the motivation, all these things, what is necessary as it is explained in the teachings of the ordination regarding the shortcomings of samsara, all these things, very difficult to have pure motivation, to change the mind during that time.
Then seeing the Dharma as enemy; while one listens to the teachings, the teaching becomes kind of enemy, hurting one’s own mind, appearing like that. Not understanding it is a method for subduing one’s own mind, interpreting, appearing to the person, thinking that the teaching that is explained by the virtuous friend, by the guru, is enemy, hurting me. That is also shortcoming of the evil thought of worldly dharma, because the evil thought of the worldly dharma, clinging to the happiness of this life is very strong. If one is more friendly with the Dharma wisdom, then whatever teachings that explain the wrong conduct to oneself, how much the teachings that show one’s own wrong conduct, how much it is explained, how much one listens, it only becomes to subdue one’s mind, the three poisonous minds, one finds it is only medicine. The Dharma wisdom and the evil thought of the worldly dharma, the attachment, if one is more close, more friendly to the evil thought of the worldly dharma, the attachment… the teachings what one listens to, the Buddhadharma, is opposite to the disturbing unsubdued mind. If it is a pure teaching, if it is holy Dharma, if it is Buddhadharma, it’s opposite to the disturbing unsubdued mind, it is revealed in order to pacify the disturbing unsubdued mind, the evil thought of the worldly dharma, so of course, it is opposite; the teachings and the evil thought of the worldly dharma are against each other, of course it is opposite.
When one is very close, very friendly with the evil thought of the worldly dharma, of course the attachment doesn’t want, the evil thought of the worldly dharma doesn’t want to hurt himself, to be pacified, so, as one is being friendly with the evil thought of the worldly dharma, so the teachings being against the evil thought of the worldly dharma and pacifying the enemy, that which makes always one’s own mind unhappy, pacifying this evil thought of worldly dharma, not understanding this, the evil thought of the worldly dharma makes the teachings to appear as enemy, hurting oneself. So like this, by being under the control of the evil thought of the worldly dharma, being friendly with it, that’s how it disturbs even to listen to the teachings. Not recognizing it as benefiting oneself by pacifying the evil thought of worldly dharma, the attachment, not realizing this, thinking “it is hurting me”; the teaching, being remedy to the evil thought of the worldly dharma, interpreting, seeing as “it is hurting me.”
In our daily life, having a lot of time to do the worldly actions, finding a lot of time to do the worldly actions, works of this life, but not finding time to practice holy Dharma, that is also shortcoming of the evil thought of worldly dharma. Even though there is wish, even though one knows that practicing holy Dharma is good in all the life, that it has a great advantage, but finding a lot of time, all day and night, finding a lot of time to do the works of this life, so much time, able to spend so much time, much effort, much energy, but not finding any time to practice holy Dharma, or finding very little time to practice the holy Dharma, finding very little time to meditate. What makes it difficult is not finding time, to find very little time to meditate on the lam-rim is the evil thought of the worldly dharma, being friendly. How it is caused by the evil thought of the worldly dharma, that is by letting oneself be under the control of the evil thought of the worldly dharma, being completely friendly with the evil thought of the worldly dharma all the time, being very obedient, being very humble, friendly to the evil thought of the worldly dharma. That’s how the thought of the worldly dharma makes, in our every day life, finding a lot of time to do the works of this life, to work for the evil thought of worldly dharmas, but not finding time at all to practice holy Dharma, or very little time, finding it is very difficult.
Even though there is time to meditate in the morning or in the evening, there is a lot of time, we find a lot of time to sleep, we find a lot of time to eat, a lot of time to talk, talk unnecessary things, but kind of not finding time to meditate, to practice purification, collecting merit. Not finding time, finding it very difficult, that is shortcoming of following the evil thought of the worldly dharma. Unable to get up early in the morning, unable to meditate in evening time, finding a lot of time to do other things, the works of this life, going to see movies and other things, finding a lot of time. Not finding time to practice holy Dharma, to meditate, even though there is a lot of time for the works of this life. That’s the shortcoming of following the evil thought of the worldly dharma. That is how the evil thought of the worldly dharma disturbs to practice holy Dharma.
We often say and think that in the West it is very difficult to practice holy Dharma, life is very busy. The whole difficulty, the mistake is following and listening to the evil thought of the worldly dharma, following the attachments, seeking the happiness of this life. It is obvious that how much more the person follows the evil thought of the worldly dharma, he finds that much less time to practice holy Dharmas, finds it much more difficult to practice holy Dharma, more busy to do the works of this life. How much the person follows less, the person himself can be that much more enemy to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. How much he can be against it, that much less he follows the evil thought of the worldly dharma, that much he finds time to transform actions in Dharma. How much more one finds time to transform the daily life action in Dharma, that much more one finds time to meditate, to do the different practices. So, finding it hard in the West to practice Dharma is not same for everybody, it’s not self-existent, it’s not truly existent, it’s not the same for everybody.
As I just said, individually, himself, how much he is friendly or against the evil thought of the worldly dharma, depending on that, that much the person finds it easier to practice Dharma. Person who follows less the evil thought of the worldly dharma, who is that much against the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, finds more time to practice Dharma, easier to practice Dharma. Like this, easy to transform the daily actions in Dharma, easy to protect karma. Who doesn’t become enemy to the evil thought of the worldly dharma, who fights, who tries to attack, who tries to fight the evil thought of the worldly dharma, finds it easier to practice Dharma, less confusion in the daily life and then much easier to protect karma, like this.
If it is truly existent by being in the West, finding it hard to practice Dharma, if it is truly existent, self-existent, finding it hard to practice Dharma in the West. If that is truly existent, then in that case there wouldn’t be any person who has renounced this life, you see, there wouldn’t be any pure Dharma practitioner in the West; and any lama and holy being who goes to the West would find it hard to practice Dharma, not having time to practice Dharma in the West, being so busy.
That did not come from the side of the time, that did not happen from the side of the time, by the nature of the time; it is created by one’s own mind, only it is created by one’s own mind. There is no kind of difficult time existing from its own side, not having time to practice Dharma, there is no such thing existing from its own side, except one’s own mind created it, formed it. Where did it come from? And what has made the decision of that? Is that decision made by the body, the time or by the mind, what has made the decision?
That decision in the morning, even the thought to get up and meditate, even the thought came, “It is so comfortable now, so warm and comfortable now, it is so warm and comfortable, what’s the point of rushing? If I don’t sleep well, if I don’t sleep long time, I might become unhealthy, I might get sick, anyway it’s so comfortable, what’s the point to rush, to get up so early and to meditate? There is nobody who pushes.” Anyway, this I’m just joking.
However, by thinking like this, even the thought came, one hour goes like this, two hours go like this, three hours go like this, then it’s time to have breakfast and then in a big rush go to work. I’m just giving an example, just one example. So the decision is made by the mind, not by the time, not from the side of the time, but created by the mind, one’s own mind, what has obliged to make that decision, seeing it is important, practice Dharma is good, but seeing it is more important, at least right this moment, to do the work of this life, to be comfortable, warm, it’s more important, right this moment to do the work of this life, than practicing holy Dharma. What makes to think that is by the evil thought of the worldly dharma; that is how the evil thought of worldly dharma disturbs, doesn’t let one practice holy Dharma.
You see, if there is no time to practice Dharma from the side of the time, there wouldn’t be also time to do the works of this life. If there is no time, from the side of the time, to practice holy Dharma, then it would be same thing, there wouldn’t be any time to do the work of this life.
I think I have to stop here.
Please generate motivation of bodhicitta. “I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all mother sentient beings therefore I will listen to the commentary of the steps of the path to enlightenment.”
The listening subject is the graduated path, the middle capable being and general path. That has two outlines, the second one: showing the nature of the path which leads the practitioner to nirvana. That has two outlines, the second one is: showing the actual body of the teaching, the path which leads to nirvana. That has three outlines.
The first one has four basic outlines, first one is recognizing the delusions, recognizing the delusions and after having recognized what the attachment is, how to control the attachment, the different remedies. And here, particularly the attachment to the body is the strongest one, more difficult to control, so what remedies that one can think of, what one can meditate, what the great bodhisattva Shantideva has explained in the Bodhicaryavatara, is very effective for the mind, if one is able to meditate as it is explained here.
Actually, all these are analyzing meditations. This is not just to read or to explain, it’s not only that, all these are actually analyzing meditation, like the reasons that are contained in the teachings in the Bodhicaryavatara, what is explained by Shantideva. The way Shantideva has explained the teachings, the remedies of attachment, first he brings up normal reasons, which we often have in our mind. Those reasons often rise in our mind, and then, by rationalizing, or by putting that reason, then attachment rises. This is the common reasoning, not bodhisattva Shantideva’s own idea, which has no relationship to our life, which we don’t think of; not like that. The reasons that make us attached, Shantideva brings up the discussion, they start with those reasons… and then, if that is, and then, if that is, the reason to be attached. Then he puts more reasoning, those other objects also one should be attached to—he gives different reasons like this.
What Shantideva explains in the teaching is normal reasons, the rationalizing, what makes us be attached. This is what we often think when attachment rises to the body, to others’ body, normally we put these reasons, these different reasons what Shantideva has explained. We put these reasons, then attachment rises; more and more we put this reasons, the attachment gets stronger and stronger, gets more and more built up.
Can you hear? At the very end, if you cannot hear, then you will go to bed and have nice dreams. I think it is suitable weather to go to bed, so it is very good to do in this way. First if you haven’t got the idea, if you haven’t got clear idea how Shantideva has explained, this part of the teaching, how to look at the body in ugliness, to realize that there is no point to be attached, if you haven’t got a clear idea, then you read this part, the chapter of concentration, I don’t know how it is said here… meditation? It is the chapter before the chapter on Wisdom, chapter of Meditation.
The reason all the remedies, the meditation on attachment, the shortcoming of the desire, why it comes in the chapter of concentration, or the meditation, why does it talk about shamatha? I think, in order to achieve shamatha, meditation, the tranquil abiding, the greatest hindrance, as I said this morning, is attachment, not having realized the shortcomings of desire, the attachment, the shortcomings of desire, the shortcomings of the object of desire, not having realized this and then being constantly being attached to objects of desire. That is one of the greatest distractions to achieving tranquil abiding, the shamatha meditation. Without having achieved the shamatha meditation, tranquil abiding, one cannot achieve higher seeing, the path of the next realization, the higher seeing, one cannot receive the realization of higher seeing. So, first, here it talks about the shortcomings of attachment, then he gives details about how to control these hindrances of shamatha. After that he talks about the peace, living in a solitude place, by renouncing the object of attachment.
I’m just going to read maybe one page, just few lines of the following subject from where I stopped yesterday. If I go through the commentary, I think it takes much time, and then I think it won’t be finished.
Bodhicaryavatara, Chapter 8.
68. [Rinpoche reads, in heavy rainfall.]
Rinpoche: I’m not going to mention number of airplanes.
[Reads v. 69, v.70]
Rinpoche: I hope you have seen the moving skeletons last night.
[Reads v.71… “…without paying a price.”]
Rinpoche: I am sure individually you can remember...
V.71… “…In order to obtain them I exhaust myself..”
Rinpoche: Running up and down, and going round and round...
V.72… “…being an old man, what good will sex be then?”
Rinpoche: Quite a difficult point to reach.
V.73. “Some evil and lustful people
Wear themselves out by working all day,
And when they return home (in the evening),
Their exhausted bodies lie prostrate like corpses.”
Rinpoche: What he is saying is some evil and lustful people work so hard to take care of their body and to take care of the woman, the wife, work so hard in the day time, so much to make money, then what happens is when they come back in the evening, when they return back home, completely exhausted by working so hard in the day time, completely tired, so unable to make... you know... unable to enjoy themselves, to have sexual intercourse, completely exhausted, after having arrived home. What they do is just lie down to rest, they cannot even have sex, this is what it means. Even though the purpose of working so hard is to collect money, all this to collect material possessions, to take care of himself and the wife, and also always to have physical contact, like that, even though the purpose of working is for that purpose, but unable, can’t do, being terribly exhausted.
V.74. Some have the suffering of being disturbed with travel
And having to go a long way from home,
Although they long for their spouses,
They don’t see them for years at time
Rinpoche: So, here, without making the whole commentary, the conclusion is because of having not seen for a long time, once they are able to return back home, see the man or see the wife, whatever, they embrace for a long time and whatever things happen around, they don’t feel this, they don’t recognize.
V.75, 76. Some sell their own bodies
And without any power are employed by others.
Even when their wives give birth
Their children fall at the feet of trees and in lonely places.
Rinpoche: I have heard in Kathmandu sometimes, the women all of a sudden, maybe they don’t know the exact time, all of a sudden they get child, just in the street, the child comes out from the mother’s womb, she is wearing sari, the sari becomes completely wet, red, kind of, so afterwards police come and take her to hospital. Like that such suffering, object of compassion...
V. 77. Some fools who are deceived by desire
Wishing for a livelihood think, I shall earn my living (as a soldier)
Then, although afraid of losing their lives, they go to war
Others become slaves for the sake of profit.
78. Some lustful people even cut their bodies,
Others impale themselves on the point of sticks,
Some stab themselves with daggers,
And others burn themselves—such things as these are quite apparent.
79. Due to the torment involved in collecting it, protecting and finally losing it,
I should realize wealth to be fraught with infinite problems.
Those who are distracted by their attachment to it
Have no opportunity to gain freedom from the misery of conditioned existence.
80. In the same way as animals drawing carriages
Are only able to eat a few mouthfuls of grass,
Likewise desirous people
Have many disadvantages such as these and little (profit).
81. And since even animals can obtain this (little profit)
Those who are pained by their (previous) actions
Waste these leisure and endowments so difficult to find
For the sake of something trivial that is not so scare.
82. The objects of desire will certainly perish
And then I shall fall into hellish states.
But Buddhahood itself is attained
With just one millionth of the difficulty
83. Involved in continually exhausting myself
For the sake of what is not very great.
(Hence) the desirous experience, greater misery than (those following) the awakening way of life -
But (for them) there is no Awakening.
84. When having contemplated the miseries of hell,
(It will be clear that) there is nothing comparable
To the harm caused to desirous beings.
By weapons, poison, fire, ravines and foes.
85. Having in this way developed disillusion with desire,
I should generate joy for solitude,
The fortunate ones stroll in peaceful forests.
Devoid of disputes and disturbing conceptions.
86. (They live) in joyful houses of waste flat stones,
Cooled by the sandal scented moonlight,
Fanned by the peaceful, silent forest breeze,
Thinking of what is of benefit for others.
I think I stop here... if anybody wants to go out, pee-pee break or want to rest.
If one has great problem to control attachment, especially if one’s greatest problem is attachment, then especially this part of the teaching, the Bodhicaryavatara, is very effective to read again and again. Not just to read it; while you are reading it, you visualize the body that is the object of one’s own attachment, the body to which one has strongest attachment. If it is actually there, then that’s the best. If it is not actually there, then visualize, then read this part of the chapter, especially this part of the chapter read, and then do the analyzing.
The way to use the subject, this part of the teaching, probably this way may be very effective and very good, whether the body is actually there or not. However, if it is not there, you visualize, then you just question yourself, “What is that makes me to be attached, what is it?” You question yourself and see what answer comes out, what rationalization comes out, and when the reason comes out, “Because of that reason, I’m attached, that makes me to be attached.” After the reason comes out, depending on which reason, then what Shantideva explained for each of those reasons, in the teachings, you remember that, the remedy, what to think relating to that reason, the reason that makes attachment rise. It is false reason, it is not logical reason, it’s not worthwhile reason, which makes to be attached. The different meditations Shantideva has explained, how to think, the remedy to the different reasons, which proves that those reasons are not really worthwhile, logical reasons to rise attachment.
This is the way to use the subject for meditation. Generally, the Bodhicaryavatara is like an elaborate commentary of lam-rim, about renunciation of samsara, shunyata, bodhicitta and the bodhisattva’s actions, the six paramitas. The Bodhicaryavatara is like an elaborate commentary on the lam-rim. In the monasteries, in the classes they don’t use this as a main subject for debate, they don’t do this, but in the monasteries they memorize all the root text, and many of these subjects do come in the lam-rim teaching; especially in the lam-rim teachings and also in many other teachings it is referred to, because it is written by the Indian pandit.
Many of the teachings contain quotations of Shantideva. It is a very practical teaching, which one can apply in every day life, it’s very practical teaching, showing also how to conduct, how to behave, how to deal with the people; it talks about how to live the life, how to live in every day, it teaches that. So, the monks they memorize the root text completely and they try to understand the meaning of that with commentaries, there are many different commentaries. Quite often, in the night time, in the day time, of course they don’t have much time to learn it by heart, because they have to study and attend the classes, debate, all these things, very often taking teachings, many things. So, in night time, they say by heart in order not to forget, because they have memorized by heart, so in order not to forget, sometimes they say half in the late night, half in the morning. Many monks, those who have memorized many texts like this, four or five hundred pages, those who have memorized say it without sleeping, after they have come back from debating, from the big courtyard where they debate till eleven o’clock. Usually, they sit outside the house, then they recite all night until they finish. When the light starts to come around, the late dawn time, without sleeping they recite the text all night, by heart. Often they do, so they don’t forget what they memorize. But it is not the main text that they use in the classes for debating. In order to subdue one’s own mind, those who want to study Dharma should read the Bodhicaryavatara again and again. Not only just reading it, but as one understands, as much as possible putting into practice—that is the way the realization of the path gets generated within one’s own mind.
How to practice the remedy in order to control attachment to the body; in regards to attachment to food and those things, if the attachment is to meat, then think how that sentient being has gone through great pains when it was killed. When one remembers all the suffering the sentient being has experienced, has gone through, what incredible unbelievable pain that sentient being has experienced, has gone through, when one remembers this, one completely loses attraction to that. When one thinks of the suffering, uncontrollably, when you think of the suffering, what great pain he experienced and the consciousness, without choice, the consciousness left, transmigrating in another realm—the more one thinks like this, the more compassion gets generated, instead of finding attraction.
When one thinks of the suffering and pain of the other sentient being, what he has gone through, by being completely trapped in the hands of the human being, completely under the control of the human being, besides not finding attraction, when one thinks of that it makes tears come out, besides unable to eat. Similarly, one who has received the initiation, one who practices the Vajrayana, there is a way, there is meditation to do with this to transform it into nectar, there is a Vajrayana way. In the Vajrayana, there are ways to practice; there are ways to utilize everyday life actions in the path to enlightenment, with the profound Vajrayana method. In the Vajrayana, transforming oneself into the deity and transforming the ordinary food into nectar, with the understanding of shunyata, like that, those ordinary objects one transforms into pure objects; there are a lot of meditations to be done, profound meditations. Whatever action one does, eating, sleeping, every daily action one does, walking, whatever one does, there are very profound methods in the Vajrayana teachings.
However, the single way to control attachment to food, after having eaten, when the food is in the stomach, this food, which is in the plate, after few minutes becomes kaka; just even visualizing the excrement, just by visualizing that the attachment goes away, one doesn’t find attraction. One way is similar, like meat, like rice, vegetables, things like that, the farmers spray the vegetables, then how many creatures got killed, how many suffered, got killed for this. For this, same as the meat, one sentient being suffered, but one sentient being accumulated negative karma for this food, for this piece of meat. One sentient being suffered terribly and one sentient being accumulated negative karma, heavy negative karma to be born in the narak, for one’s own food, this piece of meat, which is in the plate. The vegetable which is in the plate, so many sentient beings who have been one’s own mother got killed, suffered so much, with the spray. Then the farmers, others died, killed, but so many sentient beings created negative karma.
Same thing the rice; here in Nepal they don’t have that many machines to use, tractors, things like that, to use on the field. However, when the machines fertilize the field, so many creatures, unbelievable number of creatures get killed. Snakes get cut into pieces with machines, so many ants, millions of ants who are living under the ground get destroyed, then, there are so many worms, small, tiny, long ones, so many worms get cut. Just one time, so many of them experience much suffering, being killed, being hurt like that, so many other sentient beings; human beings created much negative karma. Again, this vegetable, which come from another seed, again in order to get that, again so many sentient beings get killed, and again so many sentient beings created negative karma for that. Again that rice comes from another rice, again for that rice so many sentient beings suffered, those who get killed, one’s own mother, those who created negative karma, also one’s own mother.
So, unbelievable number of sentient beings, if one thinks all the continuity of the rice, which is in the plate, the small quantities of rice, which is in one’s spoon, if you think all the continuity of those rice, how many sentient beings suffered, get killed for that, created negative karmas—uncountable number. Again, when you are aware of the suffering of other sentient beings, that they have created so much negative karma in order to bring this food, in order to actualize this food, unbelievable number of sentient beings create karma themselves to be born in the lower realms, but the food is received by you, who eats the food. Oneself alone eats the food, but how many sentient beings suffered for that is uncountable number. Those who worked for this, those who suffered, accumulated negative karmas, they get born in the lower realms—in order to get this food.
So, you see, by eating the food, there is no way to relax, we can’t relax, there is no way to sit comfortably without doing something, just eating, fill up the whole stomach, as much as possible, then just waste the time, waste the life, just relax. Without having one single concern for other sentient beings, practicing Dharma in order to remove the suffering of the sentient beings, not having one single thought like that; not having one single concern like that, having the concern of only one’s happiness all the time, “How can I be happy?” All the time, but living on the food, living on the material possessions belonging to sentient beings. The numberless sentient beings who have been one’s own mother, kind all the time, they are the ones who suffer for this, they are the one’s who made possible these material possessions, all this things, all this comfort for oneself, food, all this selfish mind alone. With only the thought concerning one’s own happiness, without having one single thought to benefit others, living on those enjoyments, which are actualized by the sentient beings, by suffering so much, by creating so much negative karmas themselves, who suffered for these material possessions, enjoyments, food, who make even the place. They are in the lower realms, suffering now, not having one single method, how much they suffer, not finding one single method to escape. However, if one thinks of the suffering of other sentient beings, how much negative karma they have collected, again, one doesn’t find attraction in the food; the attachment goes away.
If you think carefully the details, if you think well like this, after having eaten the food, that numberless sentient beings suffered, created negative karmas, experiencing suffering in the lower realms, eating this by oneself alone. It’s something that one can’t stand without renouncing the works of oneself, doing the works of others. Without doing the work, benefiting other sentient beings, without practicing holy Dharma, just thinking, “I’m happy,” just relaxing, it’s kind of terrible, kind of careless mind, shameless kind of mind.
Also, there are many other different methods of meditation, those various remedies, to those who have disturbing unsubdued minds, when those various disturbing unsubdued mind arise, the remedy, the different meditations that can be done; also there are many thought training practices. If I explain now here, the whole subject will be mixed up. When it comes, at that point when it comes, then the subject won’t be confused, it will be neat.
When somebody gives material possessions, gifts, offerings, things like that, either visualize the material gift as hot burning coals, hot fire, kind of untouchable, the gift, when attachment rises, think of the hot red coal, the fire by touching it, what it does, it just burns the hand, burns the body. That alone, touching the hot red coal, that alone doesn’t make oneself to be born in the lower realm—that doesn’t make one accumulate negative karma, it doesn’t throw oneself in the lower realm. But this material gift, if one is a practitioner, then as soon as the person brings some material gift, as soon as one sees, think, “He is giving me something which throws me in the lower realm.”
Also in that way, “How does this person give me something that throws me in the lower realms, how is it? Because he is giving me this material thing, I get attached, so this attachment throws me in the lower realms; that’s how that person is giving me material possessions and throws me in the lower realms. So, actually this material possession what the person is giving me is worse than the hot red coal; this clothing, material possession.
Also, in this way, the mind discriminating, “This is my friend,” suddenly the mind clinging to the person, “He is my benefactor, he is my friend, how sweet he is, how beautiful he is, how nice he is, that he is giving me a cake, how nice he is, he sends me some cake, how nice that person is.” You see, mind gets attached to that person, attachment rises, then discriminating him as close. Also this attachment clinging to that person does not rise, by thinking in this way, “Now he is bringing me something which throws me in the lower realm,” by thinking in this way, it stops rising attachment to the person as well. While you are thinking like that, one doesn’t cling to that person; particularly the clinging to that person does not rise.
Also thinking like this, “This gift, this material possession he is giving me, it pollutes my mind, it pollutes my mind, it makes to degenerate the realizations.” Because of the pollution it makes degenerate the realizations. Also as the attachment rises to these material possessions, food, clothing, reputation, other people praising, all those thing, attachment rising then, it ties oneself longer to samsara, it doesn’t allow to liberate oneself from samsara.
And then, the attachment obscures to quickly generate, to quickly see the right view, to quickly realize the right view, the absolute nature, the meaning of selflessness, the absolute nature of the “I,” clinging, rising attachment to food, clothing, material possession, reputations, those things, the samsaric perfections, clinging to the samsaric possession. It obscures the mind, it pollutes the mind.
“It pollutes my mind; it obscures my mind to realize quickly the absolute nature, the selflessness, the absolute nature of the ‘I.’” Remember this when somebody starts to praise, how good you are, how sweet you are, praises the beauty of the body, the shape of the body, praising how you gave nice talk, how you spoke well in regards to education.
Anyway, when nobody starts to praise, if there is no danger, if there is no attachment, then one doesn’t have to think of those things, it is not kind of fixed, it is not like a law, not kind of fixed up. When there is attachment rising, that time, if one is a practitioner, one should think like this. These various remedies, the meditations, whenever you see somebody bringing something, some gift, material possessions, or when somebody starts to praise, when there is danger to rise attachment to that, think, “Now he is bringing me something, which throws me in lower realm, Oh now he is talking something, which brings me in the lower realm,” try to remember like this. When there is danger to rise attachment, “Oh now he is saying something which throws me in the lower realms.” When you remember like this, when you are aware, the attraction, you see, how much the person exalts you, makes you high, how much the other person praises, it’s like fire sparks coming from the fire, fire sparks dropping on one’s body, coming from the fire, one doesn’t find one single attraction in it. How many beautiful words he says, either there is no particular dislike, there is no particular like; either this, or the opposite to attachment, dislike, which helps, by being dislike in praising what happens is that attachment doesn’t arise, one does not create negative karma.
Same thing in receiving material possessions, either no particular like, not attached, no kind of particular hate or unhappy with it, not attached, neither that nor the other one, no particular dislike. Just like dreaming, in the dream when somebody is praising you so much, when you know that it is a dream, it’s not there, whether the person criticized, there is no particular dislike, nothing particularly terrible, does not make any difference whether he criticizes or not. It doesn’t affect the mind, there is no particular dislike, no particular like, whether the person praised, you see nothing particular, it doesn’t make any difference whether the person praises or criticizes.
However, object to which we are attached, for beginners it is more effective to transform, to make it dislike. If one thinks like this, how it pollutes the mind, makes it difficult to realize, to quickly see the absolute nature, those things, throws me in the lower realms, then the attachment does not rise.
The main danger, the main thing is the attachment, the mind, not the outside material possessions. The main danger, as I said this morning, to renouncing this life. One who has renounced this life, one who has renounced attachment, like Milarepa, like the bodhisattvas, even if Milarepa has the whole world’s material possessions, it doesn’t cause any danger for him, there’s no danger to pollute the mind, there’s no danger by a person to be born in the lower realms; there’s no danger. The main problem is the mind, not the material possessions.
One who has not renounced attachment, samsaric perfection gives harm, you see, gives harm. These samsaric perfections give harm, one receives harm from them. One who has no attachment, however much samsaric perfection there is, how much luxury life there is, how much luxury life they possess, jewels like mountains, there’s not one single danger, only receiving benefits from them, instead of receiving harm from these samsaric perfections, enjoyments. Like the previous bodhisattvas who were kings; they had incredible material possessions, hundreds and thousands of wives, thousands of sons, incredible material possessions. Like the reincarnations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tibet. But there was not the slightest attachment, not even the size of an atom, it didn’t mean that they have not renounced the thought of this life. There was not one atom of self-cherishing thought, “This is my material possession.”
The previous reincarnation, on New Year’s, when he had to wear new robes, there were so many material possessions, unbelievable, robes and so many things. Of course it was completely in his hands, he didn’t have to ask others, but on those days he asked permission from the servants and governors. In the storeroom, in the boxes containing all the treasures and many things, he asks for permission from the managers, servants and the governors “Can I wear this tomorrow? Can you lend me those robes?” “Can you take it out? Can I wear it? Can you give me permission?” Like this the previous Dalai Lama asked the servants, the managers and the governors. Actually he doesn’t have to ask them, it’s in his hands, the whole thing—whatever the best material possessions, whatever the best in Tibet, His Holiness has, but asking permission like this from the managers, servants and the government shows. Like we think with our material possessions, ”These are mine,” “This camera is mine” or “This coat ...this jacket is mine! This sleeping bag is mine!” Possessed by self, we use with self-cherishing thought for one’s own self. Well those high bodhisattvas, these high lamas, however wealthy they are they have not the slightest attachment to those things. They don’t possess, “This is mine!” They don’t possess in this way, like we possess with our belongings.
The 13th Dalai Lama asking the servants and the managers permission to use—even though he has everything, he’s very wealthy, it shows that he’s ascetic, it shows that he’s a pure Dharma practitioner, a holy being, having renounced this life, a bodhisattva who doesn’t have self-cherishing thought.
So, the power of attachment is that much. There are ways to train. As one meditates more and more on the shortcomings of attachment, shortcomings of samsaric perfection, then eventually when someone brings you a gift, aversion arises. There’s no clinging. One feels the person is the enemy, disturbing you from reaching nirvana or enlightenment, from practicing Dharma. So attachment does not arise, it doesn’t make the person tighten up. All the confusion, hindrances, all the disturbing minds that arise by being too close with that person, all the different disturbing unsubdued minds that arise do not happen. So oneself has independence, not being under the control of, not being in the hand of that person, not being completely occupied by that person, oneself has independence, freedom. Then one has always the condition to continuously practice Dharma, without hindrances.
So, next one is anger. The object is other sentient beings or non-living things. The nature of anger is the very rough mind. Rough? Rough? Rough mind. The nature or anger is very rough mind, extremely rough mind, wanting to give harm; extremely rough mind wanting to give harm by having seen or by looking at an object, either sentient beings or non-living things.
In the teaching it is said, among the negative karmas, there’s no heavier negative karma than anger. Among the hardships, among the austerities or bearing the hardships, there is nothing greater than patience. In order to obtain the happiness of future lives, to receive the body of the happy transmigratory being, to receive nirvana, to receive enlightenment, the most harmful thing is anger. In the teachings, it is said, the weapon of the anger cuts off the life of the hell realms.
If you wish to receive the body of the happy transmigratory being, the cause is merit; if you want to achieve nirvana, the cause is merit; if you want to achieve enlightenment, the cause is merit. Anger is the most harmful thing to destroy the root of the happiness of future lives, nirvana and enlightenment, because it destroys completely the merit. If it is undedicated, it completely destroys, and even if it is dedicated merit, what it does it is destroys, but the way it destroys the dedicated merit is it puts off—as I mentioned before, depending upon with whom one gets angry—one hundred years, one thousand, one hundred eons, a thousand eons, like that. Even the dedicated merits, it will take that much time to bring the result. Like tomorrow morning, around the dawn time, if you are ready to generate the realization of bodhicitta, but if you get angry today to somebody who has a high level of mind, high realization, then depending on how high it is, then receiving the realization bodhicitta tomorrow is put off for another hundred eons or another thousand eons, it puts off. Even with the dedicated merits it is like this, so therefore, it’s emphasized in the teachings how important it is to control the anger. One must try not to get angry. When there’s danger to rise anger, one must try to control the anger as much as possible. For which there’s not one single use for the benefit...there’s not one single use for oneself or also for other sentient beings.