As I explained this morning, those examples, in regards to the motivation, it is necessary to listen to the teachings by generating the motivation of bodhicitta. “At any rate, I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all mother sentient beings, therefore, I’m going to listen to the profound commentary of the steps to the path to enlightenment, by listening to the Mahayana teachings, which lead the fortunate one to enlightenment.”
It is well expounded by the great pandit propagators Nagarjuna and Asanga, and it is profound advice as if the essence of the highly realized bodhisattva Atisha and the Dharma king of the three worlds, Lama Tsongkhapa, who has infinite understanding of the holy Dharma, as if the essence of the holy mind is taken out, then the teachings on the steps to enlightenment. It contains the essence of the 84,000 teachings, all the teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without missing anything, and these are set up for the graduated practice of one person to achieve enlightenment.
This commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment has four basic outlines. The last outline, how to lead the disciples, revealing the actual body of the advice of the teaching of the lam-rim, they know how to lead the disciple in the path to enlightenment. There are two outlines, how to follow the guru, which is the root of the path, and how to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment.
How to follow the guru, the root of the path, has three outlines; the practice of the preparation and what to do at the beginning of the session, before the actual day of the meditation, then the actual body of the meditation, and then what to do at the end. The actual body of the meditation, which I did not clarify yesterday, that part of the outline.
From beginningless previous lifetimes until now, the mind has not been under one’s own control; from beginningless previous lifetimes until now, oneself has been under the control of the mind. The mind has not been in one’s own hand, oneself has been in the hand of the mind, or something like that.
The other way is a bit difficult to understand. The mind has been under the control of the disturbing and unsubdued mind, you see, oneself has been under the control of the mind, has been under the control of the disturbing and unsubdued mind from beginningless previous lives until now. One has been completely under the control of the disturbing and unsubdued mind from the beginningless previous lifetimes until now. Without the delusions, without the disturbing and unsubdued mind being under the control of oneself, this is how it has been from beginningless previous lifetimes until now.
So from now, by meditating on the lam-rim… practicing the lam-rim, what does it mean? From beginningless previous lifetimes until now it has been like this, the mind has been under the control of the delusions. From now on, by practicing lam-rim or meditating on lam-rim, not letting the mind be under the control of disturbing and unsubdued minds, not allowing oneself to be under the control of the disturbing and unsubdued minds. Then by actualizing, transforming the mind into bodhicitta and the wisdom realizing shunyata, transforming the mind into the path, then by progressing along the path, the delusions completely get eradicated. Transforming the mind in the path: transforming the mind in the bodhicitta, transforming the mind into the mind renouncing samsara, transforming the mind into the mind realizing voidness, that is what is called meditation, training, transforming it in the path. That is what is meant by meditation, training the mind in the virtuous object; it is the same meaning, the whole meditation, from the beginning of guru devotion up to enlightenment, the general lam-rim and the path of Secret Mantra.
Then the actual body of the meditation, how it is done; how to do at the end and how to do in the break time. The second outline: how to train the mind in the steps of the path to enlightenment by following the guru.
Before one meditates on the perfect human rebirth, the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, one takes refuge and generates bodhicitta, after having visualized Guru Shakyamuni Buddha above one’s own crown or in front of oneself, whatever is more comfortable. After having visualized Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in front of oneself, then do the practice of taking refuge and generating bodhicitta, then short mandala offering, then think like this, “From the beginningless previous lifetimes until now, what is the root mistake? What is the samsara, what is the root mistake? That is not having generated the realization of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses; it’s the lack of this. Not having realization in the mind. So now, in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings, I am going to meditate on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses.” Think like this.
Then you make the request, “Please grant me blessings to immediately generate the realization of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, the realization of the meditation of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. Then meditate on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. Even when one does the request, one can visualize also purifying the hindrances, purifying with the beams, the particular hindrances of generating these realizations, and think the realization of the meditation of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses is generated within my mind. One can think like that.
Think, “When a fire spark jumps on our body, a tiny fresh spark jumps on our body, on the hand, during that time, am I able to meditate? Am I able to practice Dharma? No. I can’t practice Dharma, I can’t meditate, can’t stand it.” As you have read about the suffering place of the naraks, those sentient beings, then remember, visualize. “Right now, if I was born in the naraks, in the hot, burning iron house, completely burning, being oneness with the fire, right now—all the fire energy put together, compared with the fire of the naraks, there is no way to compare; the fire of the naraks is a hundred, thousand times much more powerful, much greater than the whole fire on this earth; due to their karma.” Like for some people it is cool, for some people it is extremely hot, you can’t stand that heat, for some people who live there in the same house in the same country, it doesn’t feel unbearable, for him it is very good, a good climate; some other people can’t stand it.
By visualizing this, “If I were suffering in the narak place, how would it be? Could I practice Dharma? Is there an opportunity to practice Dharma? No, there is no opportunity, only the unbearable suffering. There is not even a second, not even a minute to practice Dharma.” Then you came back, after that you remember this, “I am highly fortunate.” Then think, try to recognize how fortunate you are. “Now, not being reborn in the narak realm, having found the perfect human body, having the previous human body qualified by the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, having the opportunity to practice Dharma, how fortunate I am,” thinking like that, “How fortunate I am. So now, without wasting this precious human body, without wasting even one hour, minute or second, I will practice pure Dharma.” When you say this, remember, “I won’t let myself be in control of the eight worldly dharmas.”
This is what one should understand, the meaning of practicing pure Dharma, not to be under the control of the evil thoughts of the eight worldly dharmas for even one hour, minute, second—elaborately, the extent of the meditation.
With this freedom of not being born in the naraks, having the opportunity to practice Dharma, with this freedom one can achieve three great advantages, or three great purposes. Remember, bringing back the meditation, understanding the three types of usefulness of the human body, perfect human body, the three great advantages of the perfect human body, that understanding. “This freedom is highly meaningful as I have the three great advantages.” When you say the three great advantages in the mind, remember the highly meaningful, to obtain the temporal happiness; highly meaningful, the ultimate happiness, to obtain nirvana and enlightenment; even this freedom is highly meaningful in an hour, minute, like that. “With this freedom even in an hour or minute, whatever I wish to obtain, the temporal happiness or ultimate happiness, however much I want to create, to cause, how much I want to obtain temporal happiness, how much I want to obtain the ultimate happiness, however much I want to obtain, whatever I want to obtain, within an hour, minute or second, I have the opportunity. There is a great opportunity because of having this freedom.”
When you say, “With this freedom I can achieve three great advantages,” with this you can remember the meditation on the usefulness. You think, “This is highly meaningful, this freedom cannot be found again, this highly meaningful freedom can be lost at any time. I am not sure how long I have this freedom; it can get lost, it can be stopped at any time, it can be lost, it can be stopped right this minute.” Then make determination, “So, from now on, this year, this month, especially today, without wasting one hour or minute, without wasting, even a second of my life,” make a determination, “Especially today I will attempt to practice bodhicitta without wasting even one hour, one second—I will practice bodhicitta,” make a determination like this, not to separate the life from the practice of bodhicitta for even one hour, minute or second.
“Even when one meal is delayed, I think, ‘I didn’t get it at the right time,’ and can’t meditate, I can’t control my mind, I can’t stand the suffering of hunger, I can’t concentrate on teachings; nothing except food in my mind.” How it is when the electricity stops. You know I’m talking about Kopan. I’m not talking about the past life, just this life, if you remember the incredible hunger that you had before, especially if you were in the supermarket at those times. Anyway I’m just joking. But that becomes a teaching for one’s own mind. Even with that suffering you can’t practice Dharma.
“Now if I was born as a preta, who does not find a drop of water, even one grain of food, even one bowl of food, even rice the size of bean, for five hundred years, having the whole life living in starvation, hunger or thirst,” put yourself in that situation, put yourself in that life. Think of oneself as a preta, then put yourself in that life, then check how it is; put yourself in that life, then think it is the opportunity to practice Dharma. Think how it is, is there opportunity to practice Dharma? No, it is impossible, only suffering, unbearable suffering; be aware of the present life. This meditation, when you meditate on these eight freedoms, when you remember those suffering realms, as you go through this meditation which involves remembering those other suffering beings. It is useful looking at them, like watching television but more effective, it is more effective putting oneself in those situations, as if oneself is there now, visualizing that. This is more effective for the mind, to strengthen the mind in order to practice Dharma. It is more effective then just looking at it.
Then think, “How fortunate I am now, not being born as a suffering preta being, and having the perfect human life qualified with the freedoms and opportunities, having the opportunity to practice Dharma,” think like that. “So now, without wasting even a second I will practice pure Dharma.”
Then think, “With this great freedom, I can achieve the great advantages.” Remember how this is highly meaningful, this freedom is difficult to find again, and can be lost any time. This is nothing definite, it can be lost even this minute, this breathing in and out, all this freedom is completely lost, nothing difficult, one doesn’t have to cross Mount Everest.
Then, after that make the determination, “Without wasting even a second I will practice bodhicitta.”
Then I think, peepee break.
Then put oneself in the place of a dog. “If I was born as a dog, how would it be now if I am a dog?” How it is, put yourself, as if there is a dog in front of you, “If that were me.” How it is.
Imagine yourself as those sentient beings, think, try to feel, “It is very effective for me to destroy the lazy mind,” thinking like that—no matter how much body is healthy, no matter how many hundreds of years being an animal, no matter how many hundred years one lives, what is the use, there is no use, there is no benefit for living. Even if the animal lives for four thousand years, that’s a long time, by being a dog even if one lives for a thousand years, there is not the opportunity to accumulate merit by reciting one mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum and so on. There is no opportunity to accumulate one single good karma, by reciting one mantra, one time. There is no way to understand Dharma at all, the mind is extremely poor, can’t tell even what one dislikes, what one likes; even that, one can’t tell, completely poor, completely ignorant. What it does is biting people, chewing meat, bones, nothing it can do that accumulates good karma.
Check whether there is the opportunity at all to practice Dharma, then think, “How fortunate I am this time, not to have been born as an animal, having the perfect human body, qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, having the opportunity to practice Dharma. Without wasting this even an hour, I will practice pure Dharma.”
Then again, think, “This freedom is highly meaningful, again I can achieve the three advantages.” Feel this by remembering the three great advantages that one can achieve with this, feel how it is so precious, this freedom, not to have been born as an animal, having perfect human body and this freedom to practice Dharma, how precious it is. When you remember with this you can achieve the three great advantages, when you remember that, then you feel naturally, this freedom, how precious it is! How precious it is! You feel it. How incredibly precious it is, you feel it. Then this freedom, this cannot be found again, again this highly meaningful freedom, this can be lost at any time. Not sure, it can be lost in this minute.
“So therefore, without wasting time, what I’m going to do with the rest of the life, what Dharma, is bodhicitta,” emphasis on the practice of the bodhicitta. It is the same, whatever one says, “I will not be separated from the practice of bodhicitta,” whichever way it is stronger one can make the determination like that.
“Now if I was born as a barbarian who has no understanding of Dharma, the mind is completely dark, then, as regards to the cause of happiness, the cause of suffering, there is not one single understanding, the mind is completely dark, like the darkroom, there is not one single light. Having only the thought of this life, nothing else, not having one single thought, no matter how many years, 200 years, not having one single thought to make preparation for happiness of the future life, not rising even a second, just completely concentrated on only these few years, the few months; only this life, which has a few years, a few months. Constantly, due to ignorance, not having opportunity to accumulate merit, good karma, the cause of happiness; what karma is accumulated constantly is non-virtuous karma, thinking this is the cause of happiness, this brings happiness, this is the cause of the happiness, believing.
Think, you put yourself in this situation of the person who has not one single understanding of Dharma, karma, constantly following the disturbing and unsubdued mind; nothing else, then that. How it is, then put yourself in that situation, where you cannot accumulate one single merit, where there is no opportunity, no understanding, day and night, every day, everyday, everyday the same thing. One day, the whole work is completely done only for this life. The second day the same thing, the third day the same, the fourth day the same thing, the fifth day the same thing, the whole life the same thing like this, having not one single understanding of Dharma in the mind.
After you meditate, putting yourself in this situation, then think, “This is the opportunity to accumulate merit,” then you return back by jet airplane, I’m just joking. Then you think now I am not those sentient beings, the barbarians. Having perfect human body, having the opportunity to practice Dharma, you see, having that much understanding in Dharma, what is the cause of happiness, what is the cause of suffering, you have that much understanding of karma, so having opportunity to accumulate merit at any time, “Whenever I wish, there is opportunity because there is understanding how to accumulate merit, how to create good karma; there is understanding, so there is opportunity at any time, whenever I want to accumulate, there is opportunity. So, without wasting this opportunity, each hour and minute I must practice Dharma, the pure Dharma,” make determination.
“With this freedom I can achieve the three great advantages.” Then you feel how it is extremely precious, the freedom. “Then this can be lost at any time, there is difficulty to find them, even now, even this present freedom that I have now, it can be lost at any time, even right in this minute, so what I am going to do with the rest of my life, I will never separate even for a minute from the practice of bodhicitta.”
Then, those worldly gods, put oneself, first think, “How is it if I am a worldly person, then having so many things around, so many material possessions around, having so much of sense pleasure around,” think how it is. Having so many machines, the televisions, so many, all those machines, playing things, and to look at things, all those things around, all those things around, you know how it is, the mind gets occupied by them, one can’t relax the mind, always easily gets distracted by them, very difficult to control the mind, very difficult.
I’m just showing the example, showing what he can do. Even if you find, to meditate it is difficult, distracted by the senses and having great enjoyments around. “Now, I am a sura being, who has incredible great enjoyments, living in the jewel mansion, jewel palace, jewels, having all the enjoyments around, whatever, one wishes, having hundreds, so many friends, having incredible enjoyments, sense pleasures.” Check whether there is the opportunity to practice Dharma or not, putting oneself in that situation, visualizing yourself as a sura being.
In regards to material possessions and enjoyments, just to give an idea, the king of the sura realm called the “thirty-three realms,” even his earring, if all the material, all the jewels on the human earth, are collected, put together, the value of this and the value of his earring—there is no way to compare. There are incredible great enjoyments, sense pleasures.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple, the arhat called Shariputra, had one disciple who was a doctor, I don’t remember the name. When he was in the human realm, when he was a human being, a disciple of this arhat, Shariputra, this doctor, even if he was riding on an elephant on the road, and sees Shariputra, his teacher, from afar, all of a sudden, without having time to come down slowly, suddenly, as soon as he sees his Guru Shariputra, suddenly he jumps down from the backside of the elephant; he had incredible respect for his Guru, the arhat, Shariputra. Then after that disciple, the doctor, past away, Shariputra, this arhat, has incredible psychic powers, so he checked up where this doctor, his disciple, was born. When he discovered with his psychic powers that this disciple, this doctor was born in the sura realms, Shariputra, this arhat, with his psychic powers went in the sura realm, where his disciple was, went to give teachings. When he saw the disciple, the disciple did not pay attention to Shariputra.
So, thinking how difficult it is to practice Dharma; the mind is completely distracted by the sense pleasures, the great enjoyments, the enjoyments of the desires, then think, not being born as those worldly gods, and having the precious human body, qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, and having the opportunity to practice Dharma, think, “How fortunate I am.” Make determination like this, “Without wasting an hour, a minute, I must practice pure Dharma.” Then think again, this freedom, having opportunity to practice the holy Dharma, without being born in the sura realm. “With this I can achieve the three great advantages. Then this can’t be found all the time, this is highly meaningful, the freedom with which I can achieve the three great advantages can be lost any time, even at this very minute. Therefore, I will never separate away from the practice of bodhicitta, even an hour or a minute.” Make determination like this.
Then, the beings who have wrong view. You know, who follow the wrong path, who believe there is no such thing as karma, there is no such thing as reincarnation, past life, there is no such thing as karma, who only believe in just one life, or those who believe that “I” ceases at the death time, the self ceases at death time. Again, the mind is completely dark, completely ignorant; it is like those beings, having wrong view. It is like following the wrong path, having wrong view, having the doctrine or belief, wrong conception like this. It is like drinking poison but believing it is nectar, like that; or where there is a precipice, not seeing that there is a precipice, then completely believing there is no precipice, there is a straight road going to the place that one wishes to go. Completely believing this, then running towards the precipice. However, having completely hallucinated, double hallucination, being completely hallucinated by the wrong conception, like that. Think, put yourself in that situation, then think, how it is, if there is opportunity to practice Dharma or not.
Again you see, there is no reason, there is no Dharma wisdom that understands the points of practicing and avoidance, the difference of the virtue and non-virtue. Then try to feel there is no opportunity to practice Dharma. Think, “How fortunate I am not to be born, not being… having precious human body qualified in the eight freedoms, ten richnesses, having the opportunity to practice Dharma, how fortunate I am. Then, without wasting this great opportunity, even for one hour, one minute, I must practice the pure Dharma.” Again think, the same thing, the three great advantages (and) of the freedom, emphasizing, to make determination not to separate from the practice of bodhicitta even for one hour, one minute.
Now if I am in the place where Buddha has not descended, there wouldn’t be teachings. So how it is, whether there is opportunity to practice Dharma or not, if there is opportunity to practice Dharma at all. There is no opportunity to practice Dharma at all. As there is no opportunity to practice Dharma at all, one doesn’t accumulate merit at all, so, no point to be born as human being, no difference from being born as an animal.
Since there is no opportunity to practice Dharma, then think, “Now, this time not being born at such place, where there is no Buddha, then having the perfect human body, having the opportunity to practice Dharma, how fortunate I am. Without wasting even an hour, a minute I must practice pure Dharma. I must do the meditation with the freedom.”
Then visualize the fool person, there is no way to communicate, there is no way to understand Dharma at all. You remember that person, how it is, then put yourself in that situation, whether there is opportunity to practice Dharma at all.
“If now I am like that, how it is, there is opportunity to practice Dharma or not? There is no opportunity to practice Dharma, because there is no way for the fool person to understand that, having perfect human body and having great opportunity to practice Dharma. Without wasting an hour, a minute, I must practice the pure Dharma.” Again do the same, at the end emphasize not to separate away from the practice of bodhicitta.
The fool people in Australia, you know, in many countries they are kept in a group, autistic, you think of those children even though they have thirty, forty years, still the same thing. How much people try, people try so hard, as much as they can think of, what they can think of, the means, how to say, to be able to understand, to be able to communicate, how much the organization will try so hard, very difficult to become better even at that stage, even they spend twenty or thirty years, still the same thing, intelligence not getting better, nothing progressing. So if my mind in this life is like one of those, how it is? What can I do? So then think, whether there is opportunity to practice Dharma.
I think I will stop here.
I think I will do the discourse in the morning instead of the meditation, then the meditation can be done later, at nine o’clock, to attend the procession of Serkong Dorje Chang, the great yogi who passed away a few days ago. His holy body was offered fire down below the Swayambhu Mountain, in front of one of the monasteries courtyard, so the relics from that holy body, and then the ashes, those things, have to be taken back to the Monastery. So tomorrow, the monastery is doing as much as possible auspicious, the procession as elaborate, the best they can, when they bring up the relics, the ashes of the holy body.
Now, the meditation on the ten richnesses.
“Now if I were not a human being, it would be extremely difficult to practice the holy Dharma, there is no freedom. If I had taken the body of the suffering transmigratory being, even the body of the happy transmigratory being, it is extremely difficult to have freedom to practice Dharma, so this time, not being those other beings who do not have the freedom, the opportunity to practice the holy Dharma, how fortunate I am. By having received the richnesses, how fortunate I am. Without wasting even a minute of my life, even one hour, a minute without letting myself under the control of the evil thought of the worldly dharma, then I will practice holy Dharma, the pure Dharma. Then again, with this I can achieve the three great advantages.”
Again, you emphasize at the end of the conclusion, “I will always practice, for the rest of my life. Firstly, I will always practice bodhicitta. If I were not in the religious country, where all the teachings exist, all the verbal teachings and the teachings on the realizations; and ordinations are not degenerated, being in the place where the lineages of the ordinations are existing; there would be no opportunity to practice the holy Dharma. Even if I wished to keep moral conduct by taking the ordination, if the lineage is degenerated, there is no chance to practice the holy Dharma. So, how fortunate I am having received the richness of being in the center of a religious country.”
There are two ways to recognize the center of a religious country: one is from the side of the place, one is from the side of Dharma. Mainly, the center is recognized from the side of Dharma. The center of a religious country, from the side of the country is California—I’m just joking. Mainly, where there are lineages of ordinations, the female gelong, the high ordination. In India and Tibet, it is a long time ago since the lineage of bikshuni degenerated, but other lineages exist in other places.
Then again with this richness, think, “I can achieve three great advantages,” and then make the conclusion, “I will practice bodhicitta.” Think as I explained yesterday, “It is difficult to find again and can be lost at any time, even right this minute. So what am I going to do with my life, for the rest of my life, the time that is left? I will always practice, make it highly meaningful by practicing bodhicitta, by constantly practicing bodhicitta.”
“Then, if I were born having imperfect organs, kind of blind and deaf, missing limbs, missing nose, there would be no opportunity to practice holy Dharma. Even if I wished to take ordination, this is a hindrance to the Pratimoksha, the ordination of individual liberation. Ordination cannot be granted to a person who has imperfect organs, the abbot cannot grant ordination. Generally, deaf or mute, blind people have no opportunity to practice Dharma, very difficult to practice successfully. But having perfect organs, how fortunate I am. Without wasting even an hour I will practice the pure Dharma.” Again, you think, “I can achieve the three great advantages with this,” down to bodhicitta.
Then, not being in the extreme action; there are two ways to think about it. Among the karma, the heaviest negative karma are called the five uninterrupted actions: having taken father’s life, or your mother’s, or an arhat’s, causing blood to a tathagata, like when the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India. At that time one king called Madrita, I think, he shot…
However, causing a tathagata to bleed, causing disunity among the Sangha--those are the five uninterrupted actions. Why uninterrupted, why? Because, the karma has been accumulated in this life, without any change, and after this death there is no change. Straight away the person gets reborn in the lowest suffering stage of the naraks, which is called unbearable suffering, the stage that has the heaviest suffering of the naraks, which lasts for more than one eon, fixed by the karma; therefore, this karma is uninterrupted karma. If one committed one of these, doesn’t have to be all five, one doesn’t have to worry to not having committed all five, one in itself is sufficient. So, if one has committed one of them, one has committed the uninterrupted karma.
Not having committed these uninterrupted karmas is called not being in the extreme of action. The extreme, that action is among the negative karmas, the heaviest negative karma, which is worst that you can do (Rinpoche laughs). That is called the extreme action. So, if one has committed such extremely negative karma, it becomes a hindrance to take ordination, even if one wishes to take ordination. If one is in the extreme of the action once, then the abbot cannot grant the ordination.
It is not something that doesn’t have any purpose, why the ordination is not granted in these cases. The whole purpose is to benefit the teachings, without talking much detail. One who has committed such heavy negative karma, uninterrupted karma, has very thick obscurations, and they become a hindrance to quickly generating the realizations of the path.
So think, “Not being in extreme actions, how fortunate I am, having the opportunity to practice Dharma.” Then again make the determination, without wasting an hour or a minute, to practice pure Dharma, and then the conclusion of bodhicitta.
Then if one did not have the richness of devotion to the teachings—for instance, in Tibet, India or Nepal, in the country there are numberless holy beings, like stars at nighttime, incredible realized beings, who have all the realizations of the path, sutra and tantra. The teachings are spread in the country like the rising sun, but still there are so many people who never pay attention, or have devotion—even when they live their lives the entire time in the country where Buddhadharma purely exists. Think, “How fortunate I am that I have devotion to the teachings.” In this text, specifically we are speaking of the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment. Again make the conclusion with bodhicitta.
“If I was born before Guru Shakyamuni Buddha descended, there would be no use. If I was born in the dark ages, there would be no opportunity to practice holy Dharma. But I was born in the time when Buddha has descended, so because of that, there is the opportunity to practice Dharma.” Again make the determination to practice pure Dharma and generate bodhicitta.
Even if Buddha has descended, there are times that Buddha took the form of having received enlightenment, but doesn’t reveal the teachings right away. During these times the teachings were revealed. “How fortunate I am, having received this richness—the teachings were shown.”
Make determination to practice pure Dharma with bodhicitta. “Even if the teaching was revealed, if in this time the teachings have been already degenerated, what could I do? There would be no opportunity to practice the holy Dharma. There is no use for the special advantage of being born as a human being. What can I do with this? Even if I was born as a human being, what can I do with this? If was born after the degeneration, what is the use? There is no opportunity to practice the holy Dharma. If I was born in the time before the Buddhadharma disappeared, like the candle flame, the very last one, about to stop, it is enough to see the light right before it stops. It is enough to catch the teaching, right before the Buddhadharma disappeared. However, having received the richness of being in the time and place where the Buddhadharma exists; the pure verbal teaching and also realizations existing.”
Then also having followers, attainers, who follow the path and who attain the path. If there are no examples of followers who attain the path, there wouldn’t be that much will or interest. If there are no examples of other beings achieving the path, one wouldn’t get devotion, one wouldn’t get that much interest to follow the path. The general definition that exists in the teaching, that’s mainly the sutra and Secret Mantra, from those two, the general definition of whether the teaching exists or not in the country is mainly the sutra teaching, the Vinaya teaching; mainly, whether there are sangha—the community of monks—in the country or not. If there is a community of monks in the country, existing, then the teaching exists. If there isn’t, then the teaching doesn’t exist. How much the teaching of the Secret Mantra is revealed is varied in the country. Again it has an explanation—the reason the definition of the existence of the teaching is mainly regarded by the existence of Vinaya teaching; then also having followers, other persons, examples of nuns and monks living in the precepts, living in the ordination, things like that. Again think: “How fortunate I am to have received this teaching, having the opportunity to practice the holy Dharma.” Make conclusion like this, up to bodhicitta.
The last one is the richness of receiving help from others with compassion, with loving thought and compassion. The main point is receiving easily the means of living in order to practice Dharma. The means of living, receiving easily from others, by help of friends or parents or things like that. However, receiving this depends on others. Coming easily, receiving easily from others, receiving from benefactors. If others didn’t have concern for oneself, no concern for oneself, if they did not have love, compassion and concern for oneself, one cannot receive easily from others. So, receiving means living from benefactors, to practice Dharma and receiving teachings from the guru, the spiritual friend, with compassion. “If I don’t have this richness, there is no opportunity to practice Dharma. How fortunate I am, having received this richness, having the opportunity to practice Dharma; without wasting even an hour, a minute, I will practice the Buddhadharma,” making conclusion up to bodhicitta.
I think I stop here.
Mahayana Precepts November 25th
The purifying Mahayana ordination is the eight precepts, the same number of precepts as the ordination of the Pratimoksha or individual liberation. The difference between these two ordinations is in this particular Mahayana is the holy object, those whose presence you take the Mahayana ordination, in the presence of buddhas and bodhisattvas, we take this ordination. One difference is the object, in whose presence we take the ordination. The second difference is the motivation. The other one was taken only with the motivation to achieve nirvana for self and this ordination, the Mahayana ordination, is taken with the motivation of bodhicitta, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of mother sentient beings. So, there is a difference, because of the motivation.
This Mahayana ordination can be taken even by those who are living in the thirty-six percepts, monks and nuns who are living in thirty-six percepts, and even full monks who are living in 253 precepts. This ordination can be taken by anyone. This is one difference between Mahayana ordination and Pratimoksha ordination. This particular Mahayana ordination, this teaching, from where it is taken is the tantric teaching. I think that’s why, in the Kriya tantra teaching, that’s probably one of the reasons that one has to be strict in the diet, not having black food, having only white food. Black food makes the body dirty, pollutes the body, harms the wisdom; pollutes the body and mind. This teaching has been taken from Kriya tantra, it’s very much emphasized in the practice of the Kriya tantra.
So, because we are taking the Mahayana ordination it is extremely important to generate as strong as possible the loving compassion thought of bodhicitta. On the basis of the strong mind renouncing samsara, without wandering mind, try to follow as much as possible, at least such as the short motivation.
“Myself and all the sentient beings have been experiencing the general suffering of samsara and particularly the suffering of the three lower realms numberless times, from beginningless previous lifetimes.” Feel the beginningless experience of suffering in samsara. “Myself and all the sentient beings, when I deeply figure in my heart, depthlessly experiencing the suffering of samsara until now, it is something that makes uncontrollable tears come out; can’t stand from now without doing something. It is something I can’t stand for even an hour, a minute without doing something to stop the continuity of experiencing the suffering of samsara.” It is something that if there is the method to cease the continuity of suffering of samsara, then I must cease by obtaining the method. I and sentient beings have been experiencing the suffering of samsara...”
What has been causing oneself and sentient beings to experience suffering in samsara is because of the wrong conception believing the “I,” holding the “I,” while the “I” itself is empty of truly existing, while the “I” itself is empty of true existence, believing the ignorance holding it as truly existent, believing the “I” as truly existent, as naturally existent, that which exist by its nature. Because of this wrong conception, the wrong conception of permanence has risen, believing, even if the life is short, there are only a few days left, but believing we will live for thirty or forty years. Believing the self is permanent because of the ignorance holding true existence.
Then the wrong conception believing in the impure things as pure; even this body is a sack, a container of the thirty-six impure ingredients, thirty-six impure elements, a container of thirty-six garbages. In fact, the nature of the body is the impure formation of the parents’ sperm and blood. Completely believing, not recognizing it as impure, completely hallucinating, believing it to be clean and pure. Then, the wrong conception, even though the self and life are in the nature of impermanence, believing they are permanent.
“If I still follow these wrong conceptions, I will endlessly experience suffering in samsara, more than I have been before. So, when I carefully, deeply, think from the heart, of the endless suffering of the samsara, it is something that makes me dare not to sleep, unable to fall asleep, unable to eat food, something that cracks the heart. When I carefully, when I deeply think of the endless future suffering of samsara, it’s like this.”
Something which affects us like this—like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took Mahayana ordination and completed the Mahayana path, achieved enlightenment and enlightened numberless sentient beings. Even now, he is an example; he is leading us as we are taking ordination today; listening to the teaching, meditating on the steps of the path to enlightenment and taking ordination. This is how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is leading us in the path to enlightenment, guiding us from the realm of the suffering transmigrating, saving us from the sufferings of samsara and leading us in the path to enlightenment.
“As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha did infinite work for other sentient beings, for me, I have the same capability and potential to receive enlightenment for other sentient beings.”
Seeking happiness only for oneself, even nirvana, this motive is not different from the animals’. Animals, when they find water, when they find a small bunch of grass, they have no thought to save it for the happiness of other animals, have no concern for other sentient beings, for other animals having the same problem. A motive like this is a selfish motive. The mother sentient beings are the field from which one receives the past happiness, every single person’s happiness, all the future happiness, temporal happiness and all the ultimate happiness, including enlightenment. Mother sentient beings are the field from where one receives all the three times happiness; as long as one is in samsara, one will have to depend continuously on the kindness of the mother sentient being. Without depending on the help, without depending on the kindness of the mother sentient being, there is no way to begin to practice Dharma, there is no way to continue, there is no way to complete. So, mother sentient beings are the most needed helpers to practice Dharma.
“Mother sentient beings are devoid of happiness, temporal happiness, ultimate happiness. They are constantly experiencing suffering. It is my own responsibility to free them from all the sufferings and to lead them to enlightenment. In order to fulfill this, I must achieve enlightenment.”
Without having accumulated, without creating the cause, enlightenment is not achieved. The root of the path to enlightenment is moral conduct, keeping the precepts, protecting karma, such as protecting these eight karmas, protecting one from accumulating eight negative karmas; this is the root of the path to enlightenment.
“Therefore, I’m going to take Mahayana ordination until tomorrow for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings.”
The lama who grants the ordination has to be visualized in the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha aspect, surrounded by numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas. Saying like this is not admiring or exalting, not praising myself, but normally there are practices that, from the side of the practice, if one practices like this, there is a great advantage to transform, to generate the realization of the path quicker in the mind. There is great advantage for the benefit, for the sake of the practitioner, to visualize or meditate. So think, as you are visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, think as you are following, that you are repeating what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha says.
“Please gurus pay attention to me, that I may receive for myself the temporal happiness and the perfection of samsara.”
While one is in samsara—each precept is the cause of nirvana, cause of the enlightenment. As we have taken each precept with the motivation of bodhicitta, as you are taking the precept, each good karma is the cause of enlightenment, makes it possible for the mind to become the omniscient mind, to reach the stage of enlightenment. Each of the precepts, as we have taken them with the motivation of bodhicitta, as we are taking, as we are keeping, think it is creating the cause for the enlightenment by keeping the precept, keeping the ordination.
It doesn’t happen all the time. Here, for many of us it is the first time to attempt to create the cause of hundreds of temporal happinesses and perfections in the future lives up to enlightenment. So also, in the future we cannot say how much time there is, how many days there are, how many chances to take ordination, to keep the ordination, we cannot say. By remembering the rare opportunity to take the ordination, feel great rejoicefulness at having received the ordination at this time.
“As the previous tathagatas observed and protected the eight precepts, until tomorrow morning I’m going to keep these eight precepts, to free each sentient being from all the sufferings, including my own parents, father, mother, enemy, friends and all the rest of the sentient beings, to free each of the sentient beings from suffering.”
If one has children one can also think of children and rest of all the sentient beings, to free each of them from the suffering of samsara and to lead to enlightenment. I am going to keep the precepts until tomorrow sunrise, make the determination like this.
If one experiences much hunger, instead of thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t have taken the ordination. This morning I shouldn’t have come. How enjoyable it is those other people eating in the evening,” by seeing other people eating, kind of feeling rejoicefulness, feeling repentance like that for having taken the ordination. That becomes wrong repentance, non-virtuous repentance. Having repentance for negative karma, that is the virtuous repentance. This kind of feeling repentance at having taking ordination is wrong, the non-virtuous repentance accumulating another negative karma, especially purposely accumulating another negative karma, like that.
However think again and again, especially in the break time, constantly think, “Today I am doing a great work, today I am doing a big job, to free each sentient being from suffering and to lead them to enlightenment. I am doing a big job today—keeping the eight precepts.”
As you see birds, as you see dogs, as you see lice, as you see people, its very effective to think, “Today I am offering, today I am doing something for them, today I am doing something for them, I am benefiting, doing beneficial work for other sentient beings. Usually I give them harm, but today I do some beneficial work for other sentient beings. Usually I don’t do beneficial work for other sentient beings, usually I don’t do beneficial work even for myself, mostly harming myself.” Think like that.
“I am doing some greatly beneficial work for sentient beings; I am doing a great beneficial work for the sentient beings.” Then as you see people, as you see other sentient beings, remember, “I am doing something.” When you see ants, “I am working for them, it’s very good. This reminds me of the responsibility that one is doing today.” So, you see, when you are in danger, when you feel very hungry, even your hands touched on the biscuit, giving blessing to the biscuit… I am joking. Anyway, if suddenly you remember this, “This morning I did the work for sentient beings, I am keeping eight precepts for the benefit of sentient beings. So, how dare I, how can I cheat the sentient beings. It’s not one sentient being, two sentient beings, three sentient beings, not ten sentient beings, but numberless sentient beings, how can I cheat the sentient beings, the mother sentient beings, my kind mother sentient beings. How can I cheat the holy object of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, in front of whom I took the ordination?” One can remember these things, the benefits.
One thing is to remember the preta suffering, those who are very hungry, rising such strong attachment, remember preta suffering. Then it stops; it becomes medicine.
Then, with the same visualization, make three prostrations, visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
End morning precepts.
Generate at least the creative bodhisattva, listening to the subject of the Mahayana teachings, which leads the fortunate ones to enlightenment. It is well expounded by the great pandits, the propagators Asanga and Nagarjuna, it is profound advice. These lam-rim teachings, profound advice, the essence of the highly realized bodhisattva, Lama Atisha and the Dharma king of the three worlds, Lama Tsongkhapa’s holy minds, as if it was taken out. This, as it contains all the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without missing anything, all this is set up for the gradual practice for the one person to achieve enlightenment.
In this commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment there are four basic outlines. The last one is how to lead the disciple by showing the actual mode of the teaching. That has two outlines; the last one is after having found the guru, then how to train the mind in the path to enlightenment.
It is not particularly mentioned in the way the teachings are set up in the outlines, but however, the path after having following the guru, by following the guru one trains one mind in the path.
To get the general whole idea of the path—the graduated paths of the lower capable being, middle capable being and the higher capable being up to enlightenment—in order to generate the gradual path of the higher capable being, such as bodhicitta, depends on having the preliminary realizations of the gradual path of the middle capable being, such as the mind renouncing samsara. In order to generate these realizations, the realization of the path of the middle capable being, what is needed is the preliminary realization; that is necessary to generate within one’s own mind, preliminary, from that the fundamental realization that is needed in order to generate the realization of the gradual path of the middle capable being. The practice of the three higher trainings depends on having the preliminary realizations, the realization of the gradual path of the lower capable being, the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, the perfect human rebirth, impermanence and death, the meditation of the suffering of the three lower realms, refuge, karma and those things; the gradual path of the lower capable beings.
By meditating on and having generated the realizations of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, precious human rebirth, impermanence and death, that cuts off the attachment clinging to the happiness of this life, which does not let one be a Dharma practitioner, which does not allow oneness to practice Dharma. So, this is the fundamental realization, this is the first realization that we would generate: refuge and karma. Those are the methods for the happiness of the future life, just giving a general idea—after the impermanence and death, starting from the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, impermanence and death and the meditation on the lower realms. Having those realizations cuts off the attachment, destroys the evil thought of the worldly dharmas
Refuge and karma: that is the method to obtain the happiness of the future lives. In the outline it is like that but one should not think literally, as it sounds, as it is written, by practicing refuge and karma, that it only benefits the future life, it does benefit. To make preparation for the happiness of the future lives, life after life, starting after this life, up to enlightenment; the whole happiness, from the happiness of the life that comes after this, starting from that then up to enlightenment, the whole is obtained or received from the principal method, the fundamental method, refuge and karma; the practice of refuge and the karma, protecting karma.
It is emphasized that these two are the principal method. By the way, even if one doesn’t aim to obtain the happiness of this life, even if one doesn’t practice refuge and protecting karma to obtain the happiness of this life, even if one didn’t practice particularly with that aim, it benefits. Even the practitioner doesn’t aim for the happiness of this life, he benefits by practicing those two. By practicing he receives the benefits, the happiness even in this life, even though from the side of the practitioner he makes aim for the future life, to receive enlightenment but, by the way, the practitioner always, that advantage he received this life, the happiness.
After having meditated on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, when you finish the analyzing meditation, then again do the fixed meditation for a short while after that, generating the feeling, the strong recognition, how this is precious, how this is so precious. The body qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, how it is so precious; after having generated the strong recognition, the feeling of preciousness, by holding that feeling you do fixed meditation, by continuously feeling this is so precious, doing fixed meditation for a little while. Each freedom, the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, is extremely meaningful, highly meaningful. Even each minute, second, in such short time, whatever one wishes, the three great advantages, whichever one wishes one can achieve.
The richnesses are extremely precious; there is no comparison to the whole of this earth piled up with all the precious jewels, piled up with diamonds and gold, big piles of jewels, the whole of this earth piled with those precious jewels. There is nothing to compare with this example; with these material possessions alone one cannot achieve the three great advantages. By having each of these freedoms, one can achieve the three great advantages. So even in such a short time, a minute, wasting these, if even one freedom or richness is lost, it is like wasting numberless possessions, all of this earth piled up with precious jewels, diamonds, gold, numberless times. Wasting it, not making it meaningful, is more waste than having lost numberless times. We have more feeling for eighteen dollars than we do for these eighteen things.
If someone gave you a choice between the big pile of jewels and gold, the size of a mountain, and this body, which would you want? According to our wish, there is more feeling for the golden mountain. Right away one would choose the gold. That is because one sees very clearly what one can get for one dollar—how many chocolates, coffees, milkshakes, candies. What you can get with one dollar is very clear. When you go to pay in the shop and your dollar is gone, there is great shock and upset in the mind, but with this perfect human body, how much we waste. There is a great feeling of loss; how dare he take this one dollar from my hand. Even though it is useful for some other person, it is in the hand of the other sentient being, it is useful for them. Still we feel a great loss. But with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, you don’t feel that loss or waste.
So compare, as I mentioned in the beginning with the example; what a great loss, a great waste. By meditating like this, feeling this, have great happiness in the mind, thinking, “Maybe I’m dreaming, having this precious human body, qualified with the eight freedoms and the ten richnesses.” One can’t imagine that one has received all these eighteen things together, wondering if it is a dream. “Having found the body qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses is a dream, maybe it’s a dream.” By meditating on this an incredible happiness arises; and also when such a thought arises, kind of believe that oneself has received all these eight freedoms and ten richness. “Maybe it’s a dream.”
When a beggar finds a diamond unexpectedly, the beggar who has no clothes, no food to eat at all, unexpectedly found a diamond in the garbage, in the big can, the container of garbage—then carrying back, checking the garbage to see what else is inside the can. I’m just joking. At the same time, the beggar was trying to find whether there was any other food, leftover ice creams or leftover cakes, or what else. Well things like that, something which maybe was left in the paper container. While he was picking through it, he found a jewel. While he was picking up things, putting in his old sack, then suddenly he found the diamond. Then he couldn’t believe it. “How is it possible, how is it possible?” he thinks, “Maybe I am dreaming, maybe this is not serious, maybe I’m dreaming,” rising incredible happiness.
Rising such as this, that time, when the mind is in such a state by meditating on this, then that time one has generated the realization of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses.
If you feel very hot, there is air conditioning. There is air conditioning, but it is just not working, so, we have to wait until it works. There must be something wrong with the electricity or with the wire, or something like this. I’m just joking.
So this, eight freedoms and ten richnesses, all the time, even if it is found, it is missing something. Even if there is the freedom to practice Dharma, the mind is foolish and there is no opportunity to practice Dharma. Even if one wasn’t born in the narak realm, one was born a foolish person with no opportunity to practice Dharma; like this, all of this is missing. Even if one was born in the center of a religious country, not having received the richness of having devotion to the teachings; even if one has received the richness, having devotion to the teachings, even if one has received the richness of devotion to the teachers, one has not received the last one, the last richness; not having found a qualified guru who reveals the teachings; not receiving material help; not receiving teachings; having poverty in the means of living; one doesn’t have the opportunity to practice Dharma, things like that. These days to get the conditions together that we have is very difficult.
Then think, after coming from the West, having interest in the Buddhadharma for many years, for several years, waiting to find the qualified guru, who was able to teach, collecting money for that, to come to the East, the person met always the wrong guide, who always gave wrong direction. Not what he expected to meet, either meet business people, some shop keepers, some business people, then returned back to the West, thinking that is the Lama, the one who sold the statue. I’m just joking.
However, after traveling to many places, still one did not find, even if one met, said “Blah, blah, blah, this and that, guru this and that, I can teach this, blah, blah, blah, this and that, this meditations, that meditation, you can fly and you can do this and you can do that, you will become healthy, you won’t get sick, you will have long life, you will never have fever.” I’m just joking. Met somebody who shows the wrong path, even if one has met, met the wrong guide, the wrong teacher who shows the wrong path, who misses this. Instead of showing the method to free from samsara, who gives wrong conception, who obliges to create karma to be longer in samsara. Then spend years and years in that trip, not realizing, not recognizing, believing it is the right path, not having recognized actually how wrong it is; not wisdom, no understanding at all, the mind is completely dark, then spend the whole life in that, even though completely it is wrong path, completely hallucinated. Either did some trip in the East, then go back, having met some guru who showed wrong path, something that didn’t bring satisfaction, didn’t bring any peace in the life, didn’t make any change in the mind; then returned back to the West, complete nervous breakdown, completely wasted the whole money that was collected for so many years in the West, traveled to the East, couldn’t find a guru and all those things.
Even if one met some people, after 30 or 40 years the person discovers it didn’t give any satisfaction, didn’t make any change to the mind; how much the person dedicated the life for that, didn’t make one single change, didn’t bring any wisdom, didn’t make any problems less. Then after some time, the mind is a little bit aware, tiny hole is opened, a little bit aware, thinking, seeing, maybe it’s not right, maybe it’s not right, something wrong with it. Then maybe, check up Buddhism, see how it is. Those people, what they practice in the path, check up what is, how it is. Finally, one tries to check up, tries to understand, after having wasted all that many years of life checking the west, finally, even if one has met a guru who shows the Buddhadharma, he hasn’t met a perfectly qualified guru who is able to show the whole path from beginning up to enlightenment. Even if he met a guru who knows one, two or three meditations, part of the path, or even if he meets someone who is able to show the whole thing—his visa or passport expires. I’m just joking. The police come; he has to come back to the West. Or he runs out of money. There are many hindrances. So it is extremely difficult to have all eighteen things together.
So think first of all, each one is extremely difficult. Secondly, that having all those eighteen together is almost impossible, like a dream, something you can’t believe yourself. Then again, after thinking like that, make determination to make the life meaningful, “I will practice pure Dharma, bodhicitta,” like that.
The precious human rebirth, qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, is highly meaningful; with this one can achieve the three great advantages. The temporal purpose and the ultimate purpose; this perfect human body is highly meaningful, each hour, short time, a minute, highly meaningful. How it is highly meaningful, to achieve the temporal purpose, whatever I wish to achieve, whether human being, body of the worldly gods, whichever of the body of the happy transmigratory being I wish to have in the future life, I can achieve. How? With this perfect human body, by creating the cause, by protecting the moral conduct I can achieve.
Even if I wish to have perfect enjoyments, to be wealthy, to have certain material enjoyments, to be a millionaire, to be a king, like that I can obtain this. How? With the perfect human body, creating the cause of charity, I can obtain perfect enjoyment in the future life. Even if I wish perfect surroundings, even if I wish to have perfect surrounding, to help one, I can obtain. How? With this perfect human body I create the cause, by practicing patience in this life, not finding difficulty in this life.
Not receiving helper, not having good surrounding people, not having helper. Always having problems in the relationship, surrounding people and friends, in the family, always having confusion is because, in the previous life, not having practiced well the patience. Of course, if one wishes to have the problem in the future, to have the same confusion in the future life with the relationship, one can do the opposite: practice anger. Then if one wishes to have perfect surrounding people in the future life, if one wishes like that, what one should do, it is important always to practice patience, not getting angry with the surrounding people, to try to control it. However, even if I wish to receive perfect surrounding people, I can attain with this perfect human body. How? With the perfect human body, I can create the cause by practicing patience. So like this, whatever the happiness or perfection in the future life I want to achieve, I can make them, with this perfect human body, by creating the cause.
Then, even if I wish to find again the perfect human body qualified in the eight freedoms, ten richnesses, again to practice Mahayana teachings in the future life, it can be attained. How? With this perfect human body I protect the moral conduct purely and practice charity. With this perfect human body I can create the cause, the cause of the perfect human body, the pure moral conduct. I can create the conditions, of charity, the condition that benefits that. Then I can say the pure prayer, which makes to join, after this life, to join the perfect human body. The moral conduct, the cause; charity being the condition, which supports that; and the prayer is the one that makes connection from this life to that future life, the perfect human body.
In this life, by following the Mahayana path, the steps of the path to enlightenment, the lam-rim path, even if one could not receive enlightenment in this life, by completing the path, by being born, at the death time, in the intermediate stage, being born in the pure realm, the pure field of the Buddha and then complete, actualize the rest of the path, which one hasn’t completed in this life, then receive enlightenment in the pure realm. Even if I wish like this, I can attain this. How? With this perfect human body, in this life, practice the cause, renouncing attachment to the surrounding family; create the cause, renouncing this evil thought of the worldly dharmas, attachment, clinging to the happiness of this life; then practice pure moral conduct, charity, doing pure prayers to be born in the pure realm; and practice one of the causes, bodhicitta, renouncing attachment, the clinging of attachment. However, all the happiness of this life, the same as the cause of the perfect human body, then, special among them, practicing bodhicitta.
By doing those with this perfect human rebirth, I can create the cause, by practicing those fundamental things, and also special teachings of the Secret Mantra, Vajrayana, the special techniques to transfer the consciousness in the pure realm.
How it is after being born in the pure realm, how is it, the body? There are a number of different ways being born, such as one doesn’t get born in the pure realm depending on the parents, one doesn’t get reborn from the parents; one takes the entering birth, consciousness gets born from the lotus. Like that, the bodies are not like our bodies, which go through old age, sickness, all those things, which experience these things, the body of bone, flesh and skin. This is a spiritual body, which means body formation of light. So there is no old age or sickness, these kind of things.
Then, all the necessary things, all the enjoyments, whatever one wishes, whatever one thinks of one just achieves in the hand. All the food and drinks are nectar, not like our enjoyments, which cause to develop the attachment delusion, those nectars do not cause.
Then trees, the landscape, the whole thing beautifully decorated, the whole landscape, the whole place is beautifully decorated, the trees are wish-granting trees, the plants of trees which are growing, are wish-granting trees, whatever one wishes is grown from that tree, wish-granting tree.
The whole place is full of bodhisattvas, buddhas and bodhisattvas. One is able to see the pure realm, whatever pure realm of Buddha it is, one is able to see that Buddha, and receive the teachings directly from his holy speech, his holy mouth, one can directly receive the teachings. Then always, all the time nearing teachings, the bodhisattvas in the form of animals and birds, like that, flying around; whatever noise they make, giving teachings, hearing teachings, from the wish-granting tree. Even from the birds, transformation of bodhisattvas.
The whole place is beautifully decorated with all kinds of incredible flowers, which we cannot find, see in our world, incredible big flowers like a room, flowers, petals, like that, many beautiful pools, swimming pools, many beautiful beaches. Anyway, like this... cars going by itself, without driver. This, I’m just joking. The whole space is full of scented smell, the goddesses are throwing flowers in space and making rain flowers.
However, if I receive teachings directly from the buddhas, directly from the buddhas’ holy mouth, then complete the rest of the path and achieve enlightenment in that life, complete the Vajrayana path in that life, receive enlightenment in that life. So, even if one wishes, even if one is unable to achieve enlightenment in this life by completing the path, the steps of the path to enlightenment, at the death time in the intermediate stage, if one wishes to be born in the pure realm, to receive enlightenment soon, if one wishes like this, then, with this perfect human body that one has now, one can attain, with this one can create the cause.
Even if one wishes to receive nirvana, the ultimate happiness, the ultimate purpose, even if one wishes to receive nirvana, this can be achieved. Why? Because with this perfect human body, one can follow the path, the fundamental path to nirvana; the higher training of moral conduct, the higher training of concentration, the higher training of wisdom. With this perfect human body, one can follow this fundamental path to nirvana.
In order to generate the realization of the higher training of wisdom depends on the higher training of concentration and that depends on the higher training of moral conduct. In both those two, the realization depends on practicing the higher training of the moral conduct. The cause of the moral conduct, to take ordination, to keep the precepts, the cause is the thought of renunciation, the thought of renouncing samsara; that is the cause of moral conduct.
You see, in order to take the ordination, to take the moral conduct, what is needed, what cause is necessary to have is the thought of renunciation. With that thought, one takes ordination, one protects the moral conduct. Even in the realms of gods it is extremely difficult to take ordination, to practice moral conduct. The reason why it is so difficult to take ordination, to practice moral conduct in the realm of gods, that is because in that realm it is very difficult to generate the mind renouncing samsara, to rise the thought renouncing samsara, it is extremely difficult to generate. They have incredible great enjoyments; they don’t have different life as human beings in the human realm. In the human world, one can see various different types of life, some rich, some poor, they experience different sufferings, old age, sickness… one can see many problems in the life. In the realms of gods, that they do not have different types of life, having so much suffering, like it is in the human realm, so it is very difficult to realize how samsara is in the nature of suffering, very difficult to realize this, so it is very difficult to practice the moral conduct with their body.
Even in the human continents, this continent in which we are living is the southern continent, the other continents, the eastern continent, the northern continent and the western continent, the human beings, just by being human being they don’t become worthwhile object to grant ordination, they are not objects to grant ordination. So normally, before the ordination is granted by the abbot, at the beginning there are questions: Are you a human being from the northern continent? Are you a worldly god? I don’t remember, but I think there is one question also like this. Before the ordination is granted, there are many questions like this, so if the person says “Yes,” if the answer is “Yes” he cannot, then he has to run away. Just being a human being, just having human body is a worthwhile object, object that ordination can be granted to, then the eastern continent human beings and the western continent human beings, even those realms it is difficult, even though they are objects to grant ordination, but is difficult with the body to practice moral conduct. In those other continents, such as the northern continent, they have fixed length of life, one thousand years they live, they have fixed kind of life, not like human beings in the southern continent who have nothing definite. In that northern continent, they all live one thousand years, and they have great enjoyments, they have incredible enjoyments, so it is difficult with their body to see, to generate the thought of renunciation, because it is difficult to see the suffering, how the samsara is in the nature of suffering.
The other continents have great enjoyments and also fixed length of life, and so this continent has more, the human beings have more variety of life, more suffering. When one experiences, by seeing the examples, how the human beings in this world are experiencing suffering, being in the different life, it is much easier with the body that you have found in this continent, with this body, especially with this perfect human body, very easy to generate mind renouncing samsara. Very easy to realize how the samsara is in the nature of suffering; because it is so easy to see suffering it is very easy to practice moral conduct.
The conclusion is with this body, which can be found in this continent, it is very easy to practice this moral conduct and in other human continents it is very difficult to practice moral conduct, so no question why one can’t achieve nirvana. It is only from one’s own side, whether one tries or not, the question is whether one tries to follow the path or not. So like this, it is very easy with this body to practice the moral conduct, and also it is very strong, so very easy the rest of the realizations—so that is how, even if one wishes to achieve the ultimate purpose, nirvana, it can be achieved with this perfect human body. Then even if one wishes to achieve enlightenment, the great nirvana, the state of omniscient mind, it can be achieved within three lifetimes, within sixteen lifetimes.
Whether one follows the path of the Secret Mantra or not, the principal cause of enlightenment is bodhicitta. The principal cause of the enlightenment is the bodhicitta. As I already mentioned with the moral conduct, it is the same thing, the preliminary realization that is necessary to generate in order to generate bodhicitta is the mind renouncing samsara. With this perfect human body, it is easier to generate the mind renouncing samsara, also strong. Because of that, the bodhicitta that is generated with this perfect human body is much easier and what is generated with this perfect human body is much more powerful, much stronger than the bodhicitta that is generated with the body of other transmigratory beings, with the body of the worldly gods, even with the body of other human beings.
There are quotations from Nagarjuna’s teachings but translating it makes more confusion, not by the teaching but by my language, so no need to translate. Saying that such a powerful mind that makes the bodhicitta by the human being, cannot be found by other sentient beings; powerful bodhicitta, bearing the burden of other sentient beings, bearing the work of other sentient beings, bearing the burden, the responsibility by oneself, carrying the burden, carrying the work for other sentient beings, by oneself. Such powerful bodhicitta, which is found with the body of the human being, cannot be found with the body of other sentient beings. This is the conclusion of what Nagarjuna said, the reasons as I explained before, stronger and easier to generate the thought of renunciation. Because of that, you see, from one’s own side, if one tries, there is no reason why enlightenment cannot be achieved. Because of these reasons, the principal cause of bodhicitta, with this perfect human body one can easily generate the bodhicitta.
Then, after having taken the initiation of the Secret Mantra, even if one does not meditate on the path of the Secret Mantra, if one just keeps the vows, if one just keeps purely the root vows of the Vajrayana, after having received the initiation, if one doesn’t meditate, does not do any meditation on the Vajrayana path at all, if one just keeps purely the root vows of the Vajrayana, after having received the initiation (there are fourteen root vows and then there are branches) if one just keeps purely the fourteen root vows, inevitably, there is no need to doubt that the person will achieve enlightenment within sixteen lifetimes. This is the benefit of how it is powerful to keep the root vows of the Vajrayana, the benefit, how it is powerful, how it is a good method to achieve enlightenment, the benefits explained in the Vajrayana teachings. It happened, like the stars in the sky, so many great yogis achieved enlightenment in their lifetime, pandits who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime, in India, in Nepal and in Tibet, such as one previous king, Indrabodhi, King Indrabodhi, who achieved enlightenment within three years, who was highly fortunate. There are many teachings mention receiving enlightenment in one brief lifetime, they say three years. Then also I think Aryadeva, there are many pandits, who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime.
Then, those great yogis, whose holy names are far-famed, are popular with many people in these days, the great yogi Marpa and the great yogi Milarepa, who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime; then the thousands of disciples whom he led in the path to enlightenment, in bodhicitta, led in the path of wisdom, shunyata; but among the thousands of these disciples to whom he gave teachings, who he led in the path, even the great yogi Milarepa himself had eight disciples who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime. There have been many other lamas, like one very high lama, who is in the lineage of the teachings of Secret Mantra, Gyalwa Ensapa, about whom it is said also in the teachings that he received enlightenment within twelve years.
Like those great yogis, those great pandits, who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime, even if one wishes to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime, it can be achieved with this perfect human body, by training the mind in the three principal paths: the mind renouncing samsara, bodhicitta and wisdom realizing voidness. By training the mind in these three, then taking initiations; one takes the initiation from the perfectly qualified guru, who is able to show the complete Vajrayana path from beginning up to enlightenment.
As it is explained in the teachings of the Secret Mantra, the qualities of the guru who reveals the teaching of the Secret Mantra—after having found the perfectly qualified guru, then take pure initiations, which is explained, which came from the pure tantra; then, by doing special practices of guru yoga, more profound, deeper than the guru practice.
According to the sutra, however, by doing the special practice of guru yoga, keeping purely the root vows of the Vajrayana, then on the basis of that actually, with the perfectly qualified guru, do the extensive listening, reflecting, understanding the teachings, then the meditations, then the graduate tantra, the graduate Vajrayana path, which one is going to practice.
First meditate on the graduated path of generation, the gross and subtle. After having generated the realization of the gross, then generate the realization of the graduated path of generation. When one is able to meditate on the whole mandala, all the deities, the whole mansion of that deity, the whole mandala very clearly, every single detail very clearly, even in the size of a sesame seed, in the formation of light, tiny but the whole thing can clearly visualize; and then concentrate for six hours, without any distractions, without any mistakes in the figures, without mixing up. That one is able to do one-pointed concentration very clearly, a few hours like that.
Then, after having generated the realization of the subtle gradual path of the generation, one meditates on, one practices the gradual path of the completion, which has, by dividing in six numbers: seclusion of the body, seclusion of the speech, seclusion of the mind, then illusory body, clear light, then the unified stage, the unified path, unification. Like this, one has to generate the realization gradually like this, the gradual path of the completion. When one has the illusory body, that is the impure illusory body and the pure illusory body, when one has purified or removed the impure illusory body, then those times, in the tantra path, one removes the disturbed unsubdued mind. One completely removes the disturbing unsubdued mind. Then the rest of the path, by being the remedy of the subtle obscuration, which disturbs to receive the omniscient mind, the rest of the path becomes the remedy to that. So, by completing that, all the subtle obscurations get purified.
Before achieving the stage of Vajradhara, the unified Vajradhara stage, the unified stage of no more learning, the stage of enlightenment, before one achieves that, there is a similar one; while one is training in the path, before completing the path, before having achieved the enlightenment, there is a similar stage of unification. There should be two things; illusory clear light, and by completing that one achieves the unified stage of enlightenment, which is the unification of the Buddha’s holy body and holy mind.
By completing the graduated path of generation and completing the gradual path of completion, one completely ceases the continuity of the ordinary death, intermediate stage and rebirth. One completely ceases the continuity of this circle, of this, the ordinary death, intermediate stage and rebirth; one completely purifies this. Then one achieves the three kayas by completely purifying these three, the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya; these three kayas are achieved by completing these two paths.
Even if one wishes to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime, as those great yogis, from one’s own side it can be achieved, unless from one’s own side one is not following the path, not making attempt to generate the three principal paths and the gradual path of tantra. If one does follow these paths, there is no reason why one cannot achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime. Such as the great yogi Milarepa, he practiced the path by living in the dried cave, in the dried cave, in the bare cave, in the empty, bare cave. His holy body, Milarepa, his holy body, if you saw the holy body, how it seemed at that time, if you were able to see now, it is something that we can’t believe, we can’t imagine, we can’t believe that it is Milarepa, the great yogi, Milarepa. His holy body is very skinny, not like our body, very healthy, very fat, very shiny, not like that. The color or his holy body is kind of blue, very thin, like very easy to fall down, kind of very easy to be blown by wind.
If you see, we might think he might fall down very easily, he might be blown by wind very easily; his holy body is not like our body. The great yogi, Milarepa, doesn’t have hundreds of clothing to change, kept in the cupboard, to change every day, he doesn’t have hundreds of shoes, to wear in different seasons, under the rain, the sun, there is no way to change in different shoes. The great yogi Milarepa doesn’t have in the cave various foods like we have; breakfast in the morning, after the sun has risen, what we call breakfast. Then around twelve we have what is called lunch and in the evening time, around six or eight o’clock is what we call dinner. Then there are so many tea breaks in between. There are so many teas and coffees, then many biscuits, many chocolates, again many other pieces in between those times. We have bread or subje for the breakfast, something corn flour, corn flakes, anyway it doesn’t matter. There are many choices; there are many different choices of breakfast, to have even for breakfast.
For the great yogi Milarepa, what he called breakfast is nettle; if it is lunch, whatever is called lunch or not, it is only nettle; whatever it is called, dinner or not, it is only nettle; then even though it is called, sugar, it is nettle, cheese is also nettle, salt is also nettle. There is only nettle, no other thing, no other ingredient to make it tasty, flavor, it is only nettles.
As you can remember from the story, some thieves came, I think they came in the day time, they might come in the day time, so actually to steal they came in the night time. They came to steal things in Milarepa’s cave. So then Milarepa told them, “How can you find in the night time? I cannot find even in the day time.” He told the thieves, as if actually he was giving teaching to the thieves. He told the thieves, like that.
Well there is the kitchen, or dining room or sitting room whatever it is called, it is just, how many years he lived in that cave, it is still one bare cave, what it is called kitchen, ordinary room, or the bedroom, or whatever it is called. He didn’t have electricity in the cave, cars outside. However, the clothes, the robe that he had, this scarf, and he had one pot, that which he used to cook nettles. Even that was broken one day, the clay was broken but inside, because it was never washed, what happened was, even though the clay was broken inside, the nettle became very thick inside, residue of nettles. Even the clay was broken, the inside was left there in the shape of the pot.
However, by living in the bare cave, there’s no mattress, no carpets, living like that, then with one scarf, the only food is nettle, practiced the path, his holy body is very thin. However, Milarepa, the great yogi Milarepa, by following the path with much hardships, received enlightenment a long time, a long time ago. But we, we have many hundreds of clothing, and even the bed to sleep, spring beds, by pressing down it comes up, so soft, nothing hurts the body, nothing to hurt the body. Even one day, one has many variety of food, enjoyments like this, having much variety of food, having many different rooms, having much luxurious life, things like that.
However, even though we have so many material possessions, the body being healthy like this, having much luxurious life. Still, us, we have not reached enlightenment, we are still left in samsara. Those great yogis like Milarepa, those great pundits, who didn’t have the luxurious life like this, by following the path, with much hardship, have reached enlightenment ages ago. The living conditions, the means of living, we are that much more rich, incredibly richer than these great yogis, so therefore, there is no reason why, by following the path, we can’t achieve enlightenment, as they did,
It is only the teachings, the teachings of lam-rim, the teachings of the Vajrayana, the whole teachings, which show the complete path, from the beginning to enlightenment. That is not degenerated yet, that is existing, existing in the holy minds of the holy beings, the high lamas. The teachings have not degenerated; they still exist in experience, not degenerated now. If they are degenerated, then it is not possible to reach enlightenment, to quickly reach enlightenment by practicing the Vajrayana path. So, the whole teachings, the teaching of the complete path is existing. Therefore, there is opportunity, by listening, understanding and by meditating on those teachings, to receive enlightenment quickly.
And if there are no virtuous teachers who show the complete path, if there is no virtuous teacher who shows the complete path, from the beginning up to the end, if there is no virtuous teacher, then of course there is no opportunity to receive enlightenment in one brief lifetime. Now there are, at this time there are perfectly qualified virtuous teachers, great lamas who are able to explain the complete profound teachings on the Secret Mantra; they are existing, now they are existing. The whole method is existing now and there are virtuous teachers who are able to show, reveal the method, the method to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime.
From one’s own side, having found the body qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. All these three are the necessary conditions from one’s side, the body qualified in the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, and the whole method to receive enlightenment in one brief lifetime is existing, the Vajrayana teachings are existing, there are holy gurus, the virtuous teachers who are qualified to reveal the method, the profound method, the Vajrayana method. Still it is existing. There are all the conditions now. So, it’s only a matter, it’s only a question from one’s own side what one practices, what one attempts, to follow this path or not. It is completely in one’s own hand how quickly one receives enlightenment, whether one will receive enlightenment in one brief lifetime or not, is completely dependent on oneself. It is not because one of these conditions is not existing. The inner condition, the perfect human body and the outer condition, the virtuous teacher, also the whole teaching, is existing now, the sutra and tantra.
Even now, the perfectly qualified virtuous teachers, the high lamas who are able to reveal the whole method, even now they are getting less and less, gradually they are passing away. So, sooner or later, there is nobody, even though there are scriptures, the texts are still left, still you can see the text, the books, which contain and explain the methods to achieve enlightenment, even though you can see the books, how much one has wish to follow the path, which brings enlightenment, there are no qualified virtuous teachers who are able to show, who are able to give the complete teaching without mistake; one cannot find anymore, there is no one left in the world. Sooner or later this will definitely happen. That time, even if one has the whole text, there is no way to really understand the teachings, no way to generate the realizations of the path. However, now all these conditions are existing. It is only a question from one’s own side that one doesn’t attempt, except that. If one attempts from one’s own side, there is no reason why enlightenment cannot be achieved in one brief lifetime.
Therefore, it is extremely important without discouraging, instead of discouraging oneself, “I can’t do it, I can’t practice, I don’t have this and that, I have this problem, that problem, I can’t achieve enlightenment. I can’t achieve the realizations of the path.” Instead of discouraging oneself it is time to encourage by understanding that, having received the three necessary conditions it is time, instead of discouraging, to encourage. It is time to have wide thoughts, to have wide thoughts. To make a big project, to be able to listen to all these teachings, to be able to understand, to make a big project in order to practice this entire path, as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has gone through this path, and the numberless great yogis, pundits achieved enlightenment by following this path.
“Myself, I have the same potential as they have, I will also attempt in this way to achieve enlightenment by following this path for the benefit of the sentient beings.” It is necessary to have great will. This perfect human body is highly meaningful even within one hour, within one minute, a second. The temporal purpose, the ultimate purpose, what you attempt within such a short time, an hour, a minute, a second, even the time of finishing one candle, within the time of burning one candle or one stick of incense, whatever temporal happiness or perfection one wishes to achieve, even in such a short time, this perfect human body is highly meaningful.
How much one wishes to achieve temporal happiness and perfection one can achieve with this perfect human body, even within such short time one can achieve so much. One can create a cause within such a short time, the ultimate purpose, achieving nirvana—how much one wishes to create cause, this perfect human body is highly meaningful. There is much opportunity, one can do as one wishes, how much one wishes to create the cause, the virtue. Within such as short time, the ultimate purpose, receiving enlightenment, the cause to achieve that, within such a short time one can achieve so much of the ultimate purpose, one can create so much as one wishes, one can create so much cause to receive enlightenment within such a short time with this perfect human body, which is highly meaningful; even in such a short time, an hour, a minute.
For instance, when we generate the motivation of bodhicitta, while we are saying the prayer, “Sang.gye che.dang chog.gyi chog.nam.la,” when we take refuge and generate bodhicitta, “I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, therefore I will generate bodhicitta.” “I will follow the bodhisattva’s path.” Just by thinking, during that short time, repeating one time “Sang.gye cho.dang chog.gyi chog.nam la,” the mind thinking of the meaning of the prayer like this, within that short time, such short time saying the prayer like this, within such a short time saying the prayer one time, just by thinking that with just short time, one has accumulated infinite merit, infinite merit, infinite merit that equals infinite space. The cause of enlightenment, the infinite cause of enlightenment, which equals the infinite space, that much with just the short time, while one is reciting this prayer, such short time, one is able to accumulate with this perfect human body. Then, when we recite this prayer three times, the mind thinking of the meaning that is contained in that, the meaning of that prayer, within such short time, infinite merits, cause of enlightenment are accumulated, with this perfect human body, within such a short time.
Also when we generate equanimity, when we generate the equilibrium thought, wishing all the sentient beings to be free from hatred and attachment, again, just by thinking that: “How wonderful it would be,” just by thinking that, such a short time, again, with this perfect human body, just merely thinking of that, in such a short time we accumulate immeasurable merit.
When we generate the immeasurable joy, the great love, the great love, “How wonderful if all the sentient beings had happiness,” and then generating great love, “I will do it, I will cause them to have happiness by myself,” by a simple thing like this, generating the great love, the great love, at the beginning, “How wonderful it would be if all sentient being had happiness,” then when we generate Immeasurable Joy, within that short time, with this perfect human body, you accumulate immeasurable merit, the cause of enlightenment.
Then after that, “I will cause them to have happiness by myself.” When we generate the great love, there is no question that within that short time one accumulates the cause of enlightenment, which equals the infinite space. Again, when we generate the pure great compassion, just by thinking, wishing sentient beings to be free, to be devoid from suffering, and making requisition like this, “I will make all the sentient beings free, devoid from suffering, all the sentient beings to be free, to be devoid from suffering; and then making request like this, “I will cause them to be free from the suffering by myself,” generating the great compassion like this, within that short time, again, with this perfect human body, we have accumulated infinite merits, cause to achieve enlightenment, infinite principal cause of enlightenment, the principal cause of bodhicitta, within such a short time.
The same thing, again, when we generate the thought for sentient beings to not separate from the higher rebirth, the supreme bliss of liberation, and “I will cause them to not separate,” then again, within such short time, by merely thinking like that, with this perfect human body, we accumulate immeasurable infinite merit, like this.
In the beginning of each session, in the beginning of each discourse, whenever we generate the motivation of bodhicitta, thinking, “I am going to listen to the teachings in order receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings,” when we generate motivation of the bodhicitta, with this perfect human body, we accumulate infinite merits, cause to achieve enlightenment, like that.
For instance, within one hour, you just repeat, either you just keep on practicing these four immeasurable thoughts, you keep on, you go over and over the prayer and generate the immeasurable thought; within one hour just keeping on repeating the sang.gye cho.dang cho.gyi.chog nam.la, this prayer, taking refuge and generating bodhicitta, within one hour, as much as you are able, saying the prayer, meditating on the meaning of that subject, at the same time thinking of the meaning of that. If one has done a hundred times within an hour, a hundred times, then a hundred times, the infinite merit, the cause of enlightenment, is accumulated, with the perfect human body. Then if one, all day, from morning until night, one meditates on this, just keeps on repeating this and meditating on the meaning of the prayer, generating bodhicitta, from morning until night, after the sun has risen until it sets, however many times one is able to say and then meditate on the meaning—incredible, unbelievable number of the cause of enlightenment is created with this perfect human body.
Making one prostration to buddha, by visualizing buddha, having made one prostration with this body, in such a short time one has accumulated infinite merit with this perfect human body; this is without counting the motivation of bodhicitta, just simply the body making prostration to Buddha.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said in the sutra teachings, I think it is the Lankavasura teachings, how many atoms there are under the body, how many atoms are covered by the body, one will accumulate the merit to be born as a wheel-turning king a thousand times, equaling the number of atoms that are covered by the body. The number of atoms, when one makes prostration, especially when one makes long prostrations with the complete body, all the limbs stretched on the ground, when one makes complete prostrations, the atoms that are covered by the body, starting with this surface, and down below to the end of the earth, by measuring straight down, how many atoms there are is uncountable, how many atoms there which are covered by the body. To be born one time as a wheel-turning king, one should accumulate infinite merit. The wheel-turning king has incredible power, fortune and enjoyments, like the king of the sura realms, like the king of Shambhala, like the king of the pure realms, like the king of the pure realm of the Buddha called Kalachakra, the pure realm of that Buddha, called Shambhala, like that, those kings are wheel-turning kings. In order to be born like that wheel-turning king, one must accumulate infinite merits, so Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, he is not telling us, “In order to be born as a wheel turning king make prostration.” Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is giving the example of the wheel-turning king, just to get an idea how much incredible merit one accumulates, equaling the number of atoms, by making one prostration. To be born as a wheel-turning king, one must accumulate infinite merits, so by making one prostration, one accumulates incredible merits, equaling the number of atoms, a thousand times.
If there is only one atom under the body, although we cannot make a prostration over just one atom, but just to get an idea, if there is just one atom under the body, then the person, by making just one prostration, has accumulated merit to be born a wheel-turning king one thousand times. I think you might have understood. As there are many atoms, there are many thousands of wheel-turning kings, equaling to the number of atoms.
So like this, from morning until night, whatever action we do, such as eating food and drinking, by visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in the heart, each time making offering, each time as you eat food, with the cup, “I am making offering to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha,” by visualizing nectar and making offering to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, from the time you start eating food until it finishes, until the whole plate becomes empty. Equaling the number of food you have taken from the plate, within that time, one hour, half hour, how long it took, incredible number of merits, the cause of enlightenment with this perfect human body. Any action one does, from morning until night, sitting, talking, eating, drinking, sleeping, whatever one does, all these actions, done with the motivation of bodhicitta, constantly, from morning until night create incredible cause of enlightenment. One whole day of life has become highly meaningful, without wasting it, with examples like this, if one meditates on, how it is highly meaningful. Meditating like this, by remembering this example, is very effective; the thought, how it is precious in such a short time so to not waste, strongly rises, then as this strongly rises, that makes the perfect human body, all the time highly meaningful.
I think I stop here.
I think it is very important, if you have extra clothing, to keep warm, in the mornings it is cold. But generally, bearing the difficulties to do the worldly works of this life, bearing the cold, hot and pain, has not one single benefit, it is completely empty, not one single benefit, this life, no question, it does not result in happiness, it is completely empty. Like the farmers who only obtain happiness for this life, bearing all these hardships, under the rain, cold and hot, and these things, hunger and thirst, all these things; then those who travel, who make expeditions, who travel the whole world with much hardships, being cold and hot, and pains, exhaustion, all these things just to gain reputation for the happiness of this life; well those are completely, no happiness, no peace, no happiness from that in this life, no happiness in the future life. Except completely wasted the time all these things, not one single benefit in this life, no happiness in this life, no happiness in the future lives, only suffering; the result, the works of this life, all these difficulties, what one has experienced, borne. Besides not having the result of the happiness in this life, beside not having happiness in the future life, the result of which only comes suffering, so all the hardships one has experienced are completely wasted, completely empty. But the hardships the hardships that one has experienced for practicing the holy Dharma, inner hardships that one has experienced for practicing the holy Dharma, such as feeling hot, experiencing heat while one listening to the teachings, while one is meditation, while one is taking ordination, or feeling cold for practicing Dharma, how much harder it is, it is better. For worldly works if it is much harder, it is a complete waste, there is nothing to show.
All these things that one bears for practicing the holy Dharma, all this becomes much harder, greater purification. Normally Avalokiteshvara, the Compassion Buddha, there is one retreat called the nyung.ne, which involves the retreat of body, speech, and mind. Without talking much about those details, during retreat—the first day is one meal, second day is not eating, not even a drop of water, completely fasting. One also makes a lot of prostrations, many prostrations with an empty stomach. Then there is a very long session, and one has to make a lot of prostrations. One is feeling hungry, and the hardship of experiencing much hunger and thirst purifies all the negative karmas to be born as a preta, which one has accumulated numberless times. Experiencing the hot and cold becomes purification for rebirth in the hot and cold narak realms. By bearing the hardships of not sleeping, we purify the karma of rebirth as an animal. So all of this becomes great purification, and generally it depends on the individual capability of mind, but if one doesn’t have much capability, better to keep warm. It is definitely true that it becomes great purification, but if we don’t take care, we can’t handle it anymore, we completely collapse—but the whole thing becomes Dharma. Whatever happens then it is okay. I think I stop here.
Mahayana Precepts November 26th am
The reason it takes the title Mahayana ordination is because we take the ordination with the motivation of bodhicitta, without letting the mind wander. By being under the control of the four wrong conceptions, while the “I” is empty of true existence, believing or holding the “I” as truly existent, due to this wrong conception, we believe self and all impermanent phenomena are permanent. We believe that about samsaric pleasure. In fact it is only labeled pleasure and is actually in the nature of suffering, but we believe it is real pleasure. Oneself and all the sentient beings have been experiencing general suffering of samsara from beginningless past lives. Remember, and then try to feel the suffering of each realm, sura, asura, human being, then the three lower realms, all the problems that I have gone through with each human body, the suffering of each realm’s experiences numberless times from beginningless past lives. Feel the depth of this experience. Feel this.
“What I experience with this human body and this life, in this life is not the first time, it is not the first time, numberless times I have experienced in the past lives. Well then, as long as I follow these four wrong conceptions endlessly I’ll have experienced the suffering of samsara.”
Feel this again. By following these wrong conceptions, the problems that one has gone through, that one is experiencing, one will have to experience them without end in the future lives, besides suffering in other realms.
“Well then, if I had all the endless future suffering by following these wrong conceptions, it is something that I couldn’t stand without doing something to cease the continuity of the suffering of samsara; every minute, every second without doing something for that—there is no time to be lazy. I can’t stand not practicing the holy Dharma every minute, hour, second,” something that gives great shock, which makes to beat the heart.. As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took the Mahayana ordination and followed the Mahayana path and became enlightened, I have the same potential to be able to work for sentient beings to generate the whole path and achieve enlightenment,” the attitude that is concerned to obtain happiness for other sentient beings.
Day and night, all the time, constantly being worried, concerned for one’s own happiness, only attempting to obtain happiness for oneself; this attitude is not any higher than the non-human sentient beings, goats, horses or sheep. Then having found this human body is nothing special. It looks different but it is nothing special.
The mother sentient beings from whom one receives all the past, present and future happiness, even the smallest pleasure, having one sip of water or tea, including the supreme bliss of enlightenment, the whole thing is received from the field, the kind mother sentient beings.
“I need their utmost help, at the beginning of the Dharma practice, in the middle and at the end, to complete it. Without them it is impossible to practice holy Dharma. At the present time, having found this body qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, this is received by the kindness of my present mother. This is given by her. As this is received from her kindness, this is received by the kindness of all the mother sentient beings. With this body, having opportunity to practice the holy Dharma, having met the virtuous teacher, all these things, these necessary conditions, have been received by the kindness of the mother sentient beings. The cause of this is virtue, it isn’t non-virtue, it is virtue. Without depending on the kindness of the mother sentient beings, there is no way to accumulate virtue. These kind mother sentient beings, who have been kind to me since beginningless past lives up to now, are devoid of happiness and constantly experiencing suffering. I must free them from all the sufferings and lead them to the sublime bliss, enlightenment, by myself. I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings; therefore I am going to take the Mahayana ordination until tomorrow sunrise.”
The lama who grants the ordination, visualize—I’m not telling that I am Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, it might seem that way, to visualize the kaka as nectar, but as I told in the beginning, enlightenment is created by the mind, it is contained in this, somebody who has understanding can understand from this—visualizing like this, surrounded by numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas, recite the prayer, thinking same as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
You should take ordination the first time from the lama, then since you have received the lineage, at one’s own home or places where there are no lamas one can take ordination in front of holy objects, the altar. Even it doesn’t depend on having an altar, you can take by visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as I explained just now, one takes ordination by repeating these prayers. When you take alone, you should start to say the prayer by mentioning “all buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions.” When taking with the guru you start with …
Dedicating: Like we are dreaming now, dedicating the merits, doing the practice of dedication as if it is in the dream, by remembering the right view: The nature of these things is emptiness and dependence. Dedicate the merits.
“I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. Therefore I am going to listen to the commentary on the steps of the path to enlightenment.” So please generate the pure motivation, at least generate the creative bodhicitta.
Remember, when we meditate on the perfect human body, which is highly meaningful in a short time, even in each minute, each second, how it is useful in that time, those different examples. Remember those examples that I gave yesterday. The conclusion is, within such a short time within an hour or a minute, the temporal purpose, the ultimate purpose, is to achieve nirvana, to achieve enlightenment; whatever temporal or ultimate purpose one wishes to achieve. Within this short time with this perfect human body, how much one wishes to obtain the bliss purpose, one can obtain, one can create the cause for this, as one wishes.
Also Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s mantra TADYATHA OM MUNÉ MUNÉ MAHAMUNAYÉ SOHA, in some teachings it is said that by reciting this mantra one time the negative karmas that have been accumulated for 80,000 eons are purified. One of my gurus, the great bodhisattva Khunu Rinpoche, who passed away several years ago, told us that reciting this mantra one time has the power to purify the negative karma of 40,000 eons. Especially if the mantra is recited perfectly, with the motivation of bodhicitta, which is the most perfect way to recite the mantra. If one recites the mantra with the motivation of bodhicitta, the mantra becomes much more powerful to purify the negative karma. So much more negative karma gets purified. Also, by reciting with the motivation of bodhicitta one accumulates infinite merits.
Also, if one does the meditation, purifying the sentient beings, especially if one does this visualization, purifying other sentient beings, wishing the sentient beings to be free from sufferings and to purify oneself, by transforming oneself into Guru Shakyamuni Buddha while reciting mantra, then purifying the numberless sentient beings, again it becomes unimaginable purification, accumulates infinite merits. As the sentient beings who we wish to be free are numberless, and who you purify are numberless, so you receive the merit. For example, by generating compassion for the number of the people who are here, one accumulates that much number of merit. As there are that many human beings on this earth, by generating compassion for that many human beings on this earth, one accumulates that much merit. Generating compassion for all the sentient beings, as they are uncountable, the merit is also. Like this example, generating compassion, the number of the sentient beings, there is no such figure that one can calculate. As I mentioned before, the merit that one accumulates by generating compassion, the number of people who are on this earth, or if one generates compassion for all the sentient beings, the merit that one receives is numberless.
By generating bodhicitta, in each second how one is able to collect infinite merit, or numberless merits. How one is able to collect numberless merits is like this. For instance, in Nepal, if a king plants rice in the fields, he gets that much more rice based on how many fields he has. By planting rice in numberless fields, he gets unaccountable numbers of rice. This is external.
At the moment it is difficult for us, for our mind, as Buddha explained, the benefits of bodhicitta, as it is said in the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment of the great bodhisattva Atisha and in many sutra teachings, it is explained, the benefits of bodhicitta, of the ordination. In the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, Lama Atisha has explained that the person who has taken the bodhisattva’s ordination, even while he is sleeping, while he is unconscious, while he is eating, working, whatever he does, constantly in each minute the person accumulates merit equal to space. The idea is the same. The bodhisattva ordination is taken for the benefit of sentient beings, to free the sentient beings from suffering and lead them to enlightenment.
The basic idea is, because the sentient beings are numberless, the merit equal to space, how it is received, the way to understand that, the way to think, the reason is like that. Actually, at the moment we cannot comprehend the subjects, at the moment, with this limited power of mind we cannot comprehend, until the obscuration of the eye, until the defect of the eye gets recovered, we cannot see the whole thing at the moment. With this limitation, there are many things that our mind cannot comprehend at the moment, cannot get clear, like we see how the car is running, we cannot get…
Like you see the PAM [seed syllable], like looking at the figure of PAM, at the moment with this limited power of mind cannot comprehend, cannot see so clearly. Many of these subjects, like the qualities of the Buddha, with this limited power we cannot reach, cover, it is unimaginable with this limited mind, we can’t figure it out. On the basis of what Buddha has explained, the fully-knowing one, Buddha, has explained in the teachings… like those previous scientists wrote down how to make the atomic bomb, they explained. Then Einstein, it wasn’t made before but it was written there, by believing those explanations and putting into action, the atomic bomb was created.
Many of these things, such as the subject of karma, and the incredible actions of the higher bodhisattvas, you cannot imagine. Leave aside the Buddha, even the higher bodhisattvas’ actions, how they work for sentient beings, is something we can’t imagine possible, with our present limited mind. We cannot imagine, cannot comprehend it. Clearly seeing how it is done is completely experienced when we reach that level, when we reach those bhumis. Similarly, all the qualities of Buddha, how Buddha works for sentient beings, like numberless buddhas—especially this we can’t imagine—manifesting many fields of buddha in one atom, numberless buddhas on one atom. There are many unimaginable actions of Buddha like these, which come in the bodhisattva prayers. All these things, the subject of karma, clearly seeing the whole thing, every single suffering being, are the object of Buddha’s omniscient mind.
Only by recognizing what the omniscient full-knowing one has explained, the teaching, in regards the internal evolution such as karma, all these things, such as bodhisattvas’ incredible actions, Buddha’s qualities etc., which we can’t imagine, by recognizing all the teachings as conventionally true then, the main thing, putting them into action by following the path, then gradually one gets experience. As one proceeds on those higher and higher bodhisattva and tantra paths, as one reaches, oneself gets the experience; when one really understands, comprehends is at those times, especially when one achieves omniscient mind. That is the only time there is not one single existence that one cannot see or understand.
If the whole existence can be realized, clearly seen or discovered just by talking blah blah blah like this, then there is no need to follow a path, because then there is no need to remove the obscurations. If it is easy just by talking blah blah blah like this, everything can be discovered without need to follow, without need to practice, then there is no need to meditate at all—no need to remove the delusions if the delusions can be removed just by talking, the obscurations to fully seeing the whole existence. If omniscient mind could be achieved only by talking, in that case, if there is such a thing, Buddha must be crazy, giving extra work for sentient beings!
Similar, the benefits of the mantras; we can understand some problems, sicknesses, can be recovered by reciting mantra—but how much, how many eons of negative karma can be purified, all these things, at the moment it is not an object of the present limited mind. The only way we can understand, as we don’t have the knowledge to understand what can be done, the only thing is having faith in the truth of what the fully-knowing one said. What’s left to do, the way to get profit, advantage for oneself, is to have faith in the truth of the fully-knowing one. That’s what is left in order to benefit oneself and to benefit other sentient beings. There is nothing except that, that we can do at the moment, only that that we have the ability to do. By generating faith in the teachings of Buddha such as karma, which are explained and which with our limited mind we cannot comprehend, cannot see clearly.
To generate faith in those things is also difficult, one way it is not easy, having faith in the teachings is not easy; to have faith in the teachings of the full-knowing one, the Buddhadharma, the person has to be very fortunate one. If it is an unfortunate person, one who didn’t make much contact with Buddhadharma in the past life… some people’s individual experiences… I have had so much experience about other people’s experiences, I’ve learned so much, actually, meditation courses are one of my studies of the mind, so far many courses have been done.
Anyway, without talking much, some people, even though they haven’t heard Dharma at all in their life, the very first time they hear about reincarnation, karma, any subject they hear, they feel nothing new, as if they have heard the teachings before they attended the course. They haven’t heard but it is as if they’ve heard, like the Tibetan people coming to take teachings. It happened to many people like that, who feel so familiar with that subject, so used to it and easy to understand. And some, I remember from the very first, third and fourth courses, those beginning courses, I remember, even when the one-month course is about to finish, not that many people, only a few people—which is fortunate— still, not like these courses, only the introduction was given, no personal discussions, during those times there wasn’t much personal discussion, at the beginning time, three, four or five days were spent on reincarnation, even one month course is about to finish, still the person has the same question about reincarnation. Still couldn’t figure it out.
I’m not saying he doesn’t remember, he doesn’t have full knowledge and cannot see others’ or his own past reincarnation, I’m not saying that. Just the idea—having reincarnation, not having reincarnation the idea—mind is closer to having reincarnation than not having reincarnation; I’m not saying like that. The mind is not even close to the idea of reincarnation, let alone complete faith or trust in it, even the idea his mind is not close to. Supposedly, after discussions etc, mind becomes a little close to the idea of reincarnation, but not having even that, reincarnation is completely non-existent! However much it is explained with logic, even if the person can’t identify with the logic, however much it is explained with reasoning, there’s no sharper reason, nothing else to say than that, still the person got stuck and couldn’t figure it out.
In regards conception it’s like when the flies get into the room, the window is open and there is a lot of space they can go out, but somehow these flies, they don’t see this big space, they always jump and bang their bodies on the screen, even though the space is there open, they never go that way. They bang their bodies many, many times, push, push, push like this, then afterwards I think they get exhausted, maybe knocked so much, bodies must be full of pain, so they can’t fly any more, they drop down to the floor. Even you try to catch, try to help them out, they run away from your hand. Those minds’ nature is very interesting, you know. I’m not saying people are flies—just giving idea, example, in regards conception. How one gets stuck with small things.
This is not the main thing I am talking about. Those who find it very easy from the very beginning, even if it’s the first time they have heard the Dharma they find it very easy, that is because that person has very strong contact with Buddhadharma in past lives, met Buddhadharma so many times in past lives, practiced Buddhadharma, had strong devotion, karma, things like that, so in this life found it very easy. Even most people have some idea, some faith in karma and reincarnation, some people’s minds are close, in the question of karma existing or not existing, their mind is close to having karma.
Even most people, their wisdom is that much developed, they still find it hard, regarding these points that are difficult to understand, to have faith in—that is very hard. Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, how much the qualities of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are explained they find it very hard, one or two people find it very hard, somehow arising a mind of dislike. That is the result of previous karma. In past lives having wrong view of karma and reincarnation, having met wrong doctrine then got wrong conception, intellectual understanding—non-existence of karma, having criticized and had wrong view of the Triple Gem. Because the previous lives caused wrong view, those things; as you remember from the ten non-virtuous actions, three actions of mind, the last one is the wrong view. So the result—as there are four results, one is called experiencing the result similar to the cause, that is this, in this life finding it very, very hard to understand the teachings in general and finding it very, very hard to generate faith in karma and Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. However much one reads or explanation is given, person takes much time. As there are four results, one is called experiencing the result similar to the cause.
So conclusion, what I was going to say, why it is difficult for faith to arise, what we can do now in order to realize the path and achieve omniscient mind, which fully sees the whole existence, all the subtle points of karma, all these things—at the moment oneself doesn’t have the knowledge to see clearly all these points as explained in the teachings, such as the subject of karma etc., the benefits of refuge and bodhicitta, as explained in the teachings. By creating the cause of morality, pure conduct and charity, making pure prayer, receiving the resultant perfect human body, those things; and by accumulating non-virtue receiving the resultant suffering, future lives, rebirth in the lower realms, those things. Oneself at the moment doesn’t have the knowledge to clearly see the whole subject of karma. So, in order to clearly see the whole thing, before that one has to complete, actualize the whole path to enlightenment. Before fully seeing all existence and seeing clearly every single point of karma, every single evolution of karma, all the subtle points, one must complete the path. Before completing the path this omniscient knowledge cannot be achieved, cannot receive the result before the cause. So one has to attempt the cause of enlightenment, complete the path within one’s mind by listening, understanding and meditating on that. Without completing the path, without listening, understanding and meditating, one can’t get the complete knowledge to see all existence, to clearly see all the subtle points of karma.
The answer is simple: if you like the suffering of samsara, if you don’t want to be free from the suffering of samsara, then alright. As you have been circling in samsara and experiencing suffering from beginningless previous lifetimes, still endlessly you want to continue, that’s okay, that’s all right. Then give up listening, understanding and meditating on the path, give it up, no need. If you like your problem, if you like the problems that you have gone through, if you don’t want to remove the root of the problems, then as much as possible every day create more causes, the other way from morning until night as much as possible continuously create the cause of samsara, create the cause of the problems, practice the other way. The answer is very simple you see.
Of course there is no wish. Since there is suffering, there is no wish to have that. Of course there is no wish to have problem. Everybody always keeps their lives busy, always they try, make arrangement to not have problems, hoping to not get problems in the life. With that hope always they will try, they will keep themselves busy. If the answer is given, according to what one wishes and what one doesn’t wish, what one feels from the heart, of course one doesn’t want the suffering of samsara.
So now to be free, to be liberated from samsara and to receive enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings, one should do the listening, understanding and meditating on the steps of the path to enlightenment, but then there is no faith in what should be done, the subject of karma and those things. Finding it difficult to generate the faith, that is also because of thick obscurations. As I mentioned before, different people, some people, just by hearing they understand, they do not find a single confusion or difficulty in that subject. Some find it extremely difficult, can’t figure out such subjects as karma, those things, like the benefits of bodhicitta, reincarnation—like the horn on the rabbit’s head, like the flower that grows in the sky without touching the ground, which are non-existent.
However, what one should do—is there method or not? There is a method. The hindrance is the thick obscuration, which makes it difficult to generate the faith, which makes difficult to understand. So what it needs is very strong practice of purification; that is the conclusion.
Then after having meditated on the three usefulnesses of the perfect human body, one meditates on how it is wasted. By following the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, the attachment clinging to the happiness of this life, how much the life has been wasted from child time until now. One thinks this. While this perfect human body is useful to obtain any temporal purposes; by following the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, clinging to the attachment of this life. You see, constantly the mind being under the control of that, so all the actions, every day until now, life’s activity has been non-Dharma, has been non-virtue; didn’t become Holy Dharma, become worldly dharma, non-virtue.
How the life has been wasted until now by following the self cherishing thought, while it is useful to achieve the great purpose, the ultimate and great purpose, enlightenment. Even each moment or second wasted, while it is useful to utilize, to achieve so much whatever one tries, the temporal purpose, which means temporal happiness and perfections, the body of the happy transmigratory being, the perfect human body; even wasting such a short time, a minute or second is a greater loss than universes filled up with billion dollars.
Then having wasted such a short time, while it is meaningful to obtain the ultimate purpose, nirvana and enlightenment, how much one wishes to utilize to create the cause, while there is opportunity to achieve these things, how it is greater loss than having lost a whole universe pilled with dollars or a whole universe piled up with wish-granting jewels. Wish-granting jewels; by praying to that you receive all the perfections, all the enjoyments, whatever one wishes, the material possessions, anything, the means of living, whatever one wishes, one is able to receive by praying to that wish-granting jewel. Like that, among the material possessions, the most precious possession is the wish-granting jewel. Greater loss than having lost universes piled full of wish-granting jewels.
Meditate like this.
As the great pandit, one highly realized pandit, the Aryan Pawo, said in the teachings, word by word completely the whole teaching I can’t remember exactly, but he said that, relating to oneself, in order to receive this present human body qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, in order to receive this result, in numberless eons in past lives, so much of the merit, the virtue was collected by the past lives. Not just only one lifetime, incredible, so many eons of past lives have been practicing moral conduct, making so much charity, so much prayer all the time. In so many lifetimes, the past lives prayed in order to actualize this result in this life. Finally, after all that incredible merit has been accumulated in the numberless eons, the past lives, having received this human body—then after all that, having received the result of all that virtue, after having found this, not accumulating one single merit, by being under the control of ignorance, not accumulating one single merit in this life, with this human body.
As this great pandit said, those beings who don’t accumulate one single merit, after having found the human body, by being under the control of ignorance, those beings will go to the future life, when they go beyond this world, they will enter the unceasing suffering house.
What this great pandit, Pagpa Pawo is saying is that one who doesn’t accumulate one single merit with this human body after having accumulated virtue from numberless eons from the past lives, then after having left this body, where they will go is not the realm of the happy transmigratory beings, but the realms of the suffering transmigratory beings. They will enter the unceasing suffering house means the naraks; they will enter the karmically created unceasing iron house house, the narak beings’ karmically created iron house. They will enter that and experience suffering unceasingly for incredible length of time.
Those people are like the business man who went to the land of jewels and came back home with empty hands. That is how it becomes. After that many eons, working so hard all these past lives, working so hard to find this human body, and once it is found, this present life, then if one wastes completely this perfect human body without accumulating any merit, being under the control of ignorance; if the death happens, spending the life like this, then what the future life will be? As the great pandit Pagpa Pawo explained, while having found the perfect human body, with which one can achieve any temporal or ultimate purpose, anything; not utilizing for that is like the business man who reached to the jewel land, land where there are all the jewels, that he can pick up as much as wants, he can transport as much as he wants—he reaches the jewel land, but didn’t pick up one single jewel, and went back home with empty hands. In the world, if somebody did like this, the person is recognized as very foolish, completely crazy. So like that, not accumulating any merits with this perfect human body while there is opportunity is more crazy, more ignorant then that example.
Mahayana Precepts November 27th am
Take the Mahayana ordination with at least the creative bodhicitta. Without wandering mind, please make at least this short motivation.
By following these four wrong conceptions, these four clingings: the attachment clinging to this present life happiness; clinging to samsaric happiness and perfections; clinging to the non-self existent or non-inherently existent objects as inherently existing or self-existent; the self-cherishing thought. By following in each life the attachment to that particular life’s happiness, and also in this life so far not having done one single pure Dharma practice. By clinging to samsaric happiness perfections from beginningless previous lifetimes until now, oneself still not liberated from samsara. Not having achieved nirvana even. Because one has been clinging, believing the non-self existent, non-truly existent objects as completely truly existent and clinging to it, holding these objects as truly existent, because of this, from beginningless previous lifetimes until now one has been unable to cut the root of samsara. Then the self-cherishing thought, clinging to self, renouncing others, cherishing oneself more than others.
Because of following this clinging, these wrong conceptions, from beginningless past lives until now, still one hasn’t achieved enlightenment. Because of these four clingings one has been experiencing suffering of samsara, suffering of narak beings, cold and hot, numberless times, preta suffering of hunger and thirst numberless times, without beginning, and animal suffering, being eaten by others, mind being extremely foolish, again without beginning. Also the suffering of the human beings, the eight types of suffering, rebirth, old age, sickness and death, all the eight sufferings one has been experiencing from beginningless past lives numberless times. It is the same with sura and asura beings’ sufferings.
If I still follow these wrong conceptions, these four types of clingings, I will never make pure Dharma practice as I am all the time clinging to each life’s happiness, clinging to samsaric happiness and perfections, holding non-truly existent phenomena as truly existent, cherishing oneself, renouncing others. As long as I follow these wrong conceptions I will never make pure Dharma practice. Because of the first wrong conception I will never be liberated. I will never achieve nirvana, release from the bondage of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma. As long as I follow the attachment clinging to samsaric happiness and perfections I will never cut the root delusion of samsara, the ignorance of true existence. As long as I follow self-cherishing I will never achieve enlightenment. As long as I follow these wrong conceptions there is no hope to achieve any of these goals, any of this work. I will experience suffering in samsara without end, as I have been.
Just as Guru Shakyamuni took the eight Mahayana precepts, followed the path that is the remedy to these four clingings and completely ceased the four clingings, achieved enlightenment in this way by removing these four clingings and enlightened numberless other sentient beings. Even now Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is benefiting us, benefiting numberless sentient beings including us, including oneself. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha generated the path, achieving enlightenment; practiced Dharma, generated the whole path, removed the disturbing unsubdued mind, all the obscurations, and achieved enlightenment, by accumulating extensive merits for three countless great eons. In so many eons, for the benefit of each sentient being, he generated the whole path and achieved enlightenment, by the kindness each mother sentient being.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, all the buddhas in whom we take refuge, who we request to generate the path in our mind, to save from the suffering lower realms, samsara, to achieve enlightenment to be free from the bondage of the blissful state of peace. All these buddhas, the Dharma which came from Buddha, the Sangha which came from Buddha, all the Triple Gem, came by the kindness of mother sentient beings.
At present the kind mother sentient beings are devoid of even temporal happiness. Those who have the opportunity to experience rare temporal happiness are devoid of ultimate happiness, they constantly experience suffering. It is my own responsibility to free each sentient being from all the suffering and lead to enlightenment; therefore I must achieve enlightenment. Without following the cause of enlightenment, such as protecting moral conduct, enlightenment cannot be achieved, so I am going to take Mahayana ordination for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings, until tomorrow sunrise.
During that life there won’t be much disease, one won’t get so much sick, such as the contagious disease. According to the power of karma, for example even one lives for more than 100 years, during that life not having that much disease, having comfortable life, not having disease, or extremely rare to have disease or discomfort. During that life, again having opportunity to practice moral conduct, avoiding non-virtuous actions like taking others’ life. One doesn’t do again the action of killing so again one has the opportunity to create good karma; this gives opportunity to the future life. This life giving ourselves opportunity, giving good karma; by keeping precepts gives opportunity in many future lives to have opportunity to practice moral conduct, to create the cause of liberation.
First result is the ripening aspect, receiving human body, the body of the happy transmigratory being. Second result, having long life, not having disease, other beings not giving harm, shortening one’s life—experiencing the result similar to the cause. Then, again practicing good karma, renouncing the non-virtuous action of killing, having opportunity again to attain the cause of nirvana; that is creating result similar to the cause. Then place where one gets reborn is very beautiful place, beautifully decorated, beautiful landscape, beautiful trees, flowers growing, magnificent looking, having very good vibration, which doesn’t upset the mind. Meanwhile, while one is in samsara, one receives results of temporal happiness like this. Also it allows one to practice Dharma in future lives by having received these things, which are the conditions that give opportunity to practice Dharma. Just one good karma from keeping moral conduct, not taking others’ lives, has that much. According to how powerful the karma is, the result can be experienced not only one time, it can be experienced in many future life times.
So remember each of these good karmas, besides cause of incredible temporal happiness each is a cause of enlightenment, cause to be able to do extensive work for the benefit of each sentient being. Knowing this, feel happiness in one’s mind, instead of feeling depressed or feeling regret at having taken ordination, or having come here! Having been caught in the prison of Kopan! So make the prison worthwhile!
“As the previous tathagatas took the precepts I will also take the eight precepts until tomorrow sunrise.”
Dedicate the merits for enlightenment. The sentient beings, for whom we dedicate, think there is not one single thing existing from its own side except by merely labeled, see as a dream.
“Due to this merit may myself and all living beings complete the paramita of moral conduct, to fulfill the bodhisattva’s prayer.” A bodhisattva never makes one single prayer that harms sentient beings. The bodhisattva prayer is all the time for sentient beings to be free from suffering and to have happiness and to gradually achieve enlightenment. That is what the bodhisattvas pray, day and night, all the time. If the bodhisattva prayer is fulfilled, one is also included, that means all one’s own wishes, to achieve enlightenment, temporal and ultimate success, are fulfilled. So if one doesn’t know how to pray, just praying, “May the bodhisattva prayer be fulfilled,” is sufficient because all one’s needs and wishes are included in that. If the bodhisattva prayer is fulfilled, the whole six realms become empty, cease. The samsara of all the sentient beings ceases.
“I must attain enlightenment quicker, 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.” Generate at least the creative bodhicitta, and then listen to the teachings.
Listening subject is the Mahayana teaching, which leads the fortunate ones to enlightenment, and it is well expounded by the highly realized pandits, the great propagators, Nagarjuna and Asanga; it is the profound advice, as if the essence of the great bodhisattvas, Lama Atisha and Lama Tsongkhapa’s infinite knowledge is taken out. It contains all the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without missing anything; all these are set up as a gradual practice for one person to achieve enlightenment.
The commentary of 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 outlines. The last one is by following the guru, how to train the mind in the path. According to how the outline is set up, that has again two outlines.
What I mentioned yesterday, the gradual path of the three capable beings. It is not directly said in the outline, the way it is set up by Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, the text of the basic outline that is translated into English, according to this outline that is set up by Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo. The outline here, reading what is mentioned in the text, has two outlines: by following the guru, gradually training the mind in the steps of the path to enlightenment.
That has two outlines: in order to take the essence with this precious body, qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, persuading the mind, in the mind making request to take the essence, making long request. The second one is 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 three meditations: eight freedoms and ten richnesses; then usefulness; then the difficulty of finding finding it. The quotation, which I mentioned yesterday morning, after that, the great pandit Arya Pawo said, “Without becoming path of the ten virtues, it cannot be found later; it will not be found in future life. Without having received the human body, how can there be happiness, only suffering?”
What this great pandit is explaining is the reason why we have found this precious human body in this life is because numberless times in the past lives, we protected the virtue, we protected the common path the ten virtues, practiced the ten virtues numberless times, so this precious human body is found in this life. Therefore, while one has this precious human body which is the opportunity, with which one can practice the ten virtues, the cause of receiving the body of the human being in the future lives. Not practicing the ten virtues in this life then the precious human body cannot be found in the future lives. If one does not practice the ten virtuous actions in this life, then this body, the happy transmigrating being human body, cannot be found in the future lives. If one does not find the present body of the human being, one gets reborn in the realm of the suffering transmigrating beings and then experiences only suffering.
This pandit said there is nothing more ignorant than this: while one has this opportunity to create incredible causes of the body of the happy transmigrating being, utilizing this only to accumulate non-virtue, there is nothing that is greater ignorance than this. There is no greater cheating oneself than this. This is like disappointing the past lives, when you practiced moral conduct hoping to find this perfect human body to follow the path and gradually receive enlightenment.
Then, even if one can produce fire, flames and water from the body, one can show miracles, making things disappear, any of these things, they are not the meaning of the human life, it is not the main purpose why we are reborn as human being. Even if one practices chakra, tum-mo, the flames, those things, one is just meditating on the fire. It does not have meaning; these things are not the real meaning of the human life. Even if one has achieved the eight siddhis still it is not the meaning of the human life. If one has spent the whole life not meditating on the lam-rim, just only making prostrations, just doing only the preliminary practice without meditating on the lam-rim, doing the prostrations alone, reciting only mantra, not meditating on the lam-rim—it is good, it saves one from the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings after death, but by making prostrations alone, reciting only mantra without meditating on the lam-rim, still it is not the most skillful way of spending the life.
The way to make the life most meaningful, as I mentioned at the very beginning of the course, is doing direct meditation on such abbreviated lam-rim teachings, which contain the essence of the path, sutra and tantra, to enlightenment.
At the beginning, as one does not have this fundamental realization, even if one receives tantra teachings, until these realizations are generated it is more important to put most of the effort into the three principal paths. The best is after having generated these realizations, the most perfect way is having generated these three realizations, then initiations, then one practices the path of Secret Mantra, the Vajrayana path. If one doesn’t have these fundamental realizations generated, then one can’t do that. Also if one waits until one gets the realizations of the three principal paths, it might not happen in this life, so you may not meet the tantra teachings until a future life.
In this eon there are 1000 buddhas who descend into the world. Buddhas do not descend when the human age is becoming longer and longer, up to 80,000 years, only when life grows shorter and shorter. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the fourth of the thousand. But every time a buddha descends, will there be teachings of the Secret Mantra? No. There are only three times, even though there are a thousand buddhas who descend on this earth, the times when there will be teachings of the Secret Mantra are only three. The first time is in this period, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s time, then after several other buddhas, then a buddha called the Lion Roaring Buddha, whose holy name is like this, who is the embodiment of Lama Tsongkhapa. During this time there will be teachings of the Secret Mantra revealed, and then the very last buddha prayed that, whatever the teachings all the other buddhas have revealed, whatever work of the sentient beings they didn’t do, he will do. He prayed, promised like this before, so kind of hoping the very last buddha when he descends there will be teachings of the Secret Mantra. So, there are only three times, the teachings, so the Secret Mantra is revealed in this world.
As one has meditated on all those lam-rim subjects, renunciation, wisdom, shunyata, after one has created, completed the creative experience in these meditations—even if there is no creative experience, the extra realization—one can take the initiations, receive the teachings of the Secret Mantra. But in regards to practice, what is most skillful after having received initiations, after having received commentary on those Vajrayana paths, then just concentrating on that because it is very profound, it makes the mind high—if one is not skillful, instead of becoming a cause of achieving enlightenment quickly, it will become the opposite. So anyway, it is the more skillful thing, until one generates these three realizations, to put more effort in these three especially bodhicitta.
If one is going to practice the profound path of Secret Mantra, the Vajrayana path, then what is necessary, what is extremely important, is bodhicitta. From the shunyata, bodhicitta is an extremely important thing. Even if one has wisdom of shunyata, wisdom having realized voidness, if one does not practice Vajrayana, the teaching of the Secret Mantra, it doesn’t become successful, it doesn’t become a cause to achieve enlightenment. So, bodhicitta is the most important thing at the beginning—the two types of bodhicitta, the absolute bodhicitta, shunyata, then the conventional or all-obscuring bodhicitta. From those two, our main practice should be bodhicitta. Where we should put most of our effort should be bodhicitta. If one practices bodhicitta, one accumulates infinite merits all the time. That makes it easy to realize shunyata, by practicing bodhicitta. That is the most skillful way of doing it.
As one female aspect of Buddha, called Tara, advised to one great yogi, Longto Rinpoche, who can see Tara all the time as a mother—he kind of screamed to Tara like a baby screams for its mother—Tara advised him by practicing bodhicitta, such as tong-len, taking other sentient beings’ suffering, dedicating one’s body and material possessions to all sentient beings, without taking much time one realizes voidness, shunyata, and then one receives enlightenment. Without explaining the quotation word by word, realizing shunyata is not easy, one has to create much cause, incredible extensive merit; one should make much purification. So, practicing bodhicitta itself becomes the method. As the great bodhisattva Shantideva said in the Bodhicaryavatara, “It burns the great negative karma in one second, like the fire of the end of the time.”
You see, when the world starts to degenerate, at that time seven suns rise. It’s so hot, everything, the whole planets, the whole country, the whole thing gets burned, completely burned. Even the rocks melt. Incredible, so hot, even the realms of the suras and the asuras, even the realms of the gods of desire, those suras, who have been situated on Mount Meru, and asuras, who have been situated at the bottom of the Mount Meru. Anyway, without talking much detail, all the four human continents, including this continent, the whole thing, all the oceans get completely dry, even the rocks melt completely, so incredibly hot, like the fire of the end of the time. At that time there are no beings left on this earth.
How powerful it is, how bodhicitta is so powerful to purify negative karma, like the fire of the end of the time. Therefore, what is called bodhicitta should be held well. Keep the practice of bodhicitta in the heart, day and night, what Shantideva is saying, day and night, all the time, by thinking, by understanding, by remembering the preciousness of bodhicitta, one should always keep it, always practice it. And even if one has generated bodhicitta, without degenerating it, one should keep it well.
As the great bodhisattva Shantideva is saying in the teaching, the Bodhicaryavatara, “Even by merely thinking to benefit, one accumulates much more merits than by making offering to Buddha.” This is not exact, not word by word, not making literal translation, just making the quotation easy. By merely thinking to benefit, one accumulates much more merits than by making offerings to the Buddha. What is needed to talk about, actually, attempting the work for every and all sentient beings; how incredible much more merit one accumulates by, not only thinking to benefit, but actually attempting to work for sentient beings, every and all sentient beings. Like this the great bodhisattva Shantideva has explained.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has said in the sutra teachings, similar, “How incredible the merit one accumulates, just simply thinking, merely thinking to generate bodhicitta for the benefit of all sentient beings.”
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained like this: the universe filled with the seven different types of jewels, diamonds, gold, silver, all those things, and the number of universes filled with jewels equaling the number of the sand grains of the ocean, the Atlantic ocean; the number of the offerings is that much, what one offers is that much number of universes filled with jewels. The length of time is as many eons as there are sand grains in the ocean; for that many eons one makes offerings to all the buddhas, to that many buddhas. The merit that one accumulates and the merit from putting the palms together at the heart and merely thinking, “I will generate bodhicitta for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings.” By merely thinking to benefit the mother sentient beings, only rising the thought to benefit all the sentient beings, which merit is greater, this or the other one, the offering? This merit of putting the palms together and thinking: “I will generate bodhicitta for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings,” this merit can never be compared by the merit of making offerings to all those Buddha. Incredible number of universe filled with jewels for that number of eons equaling the sand grains, that merit, what is accumulated is very small compared to this merit that one has accumulated in such a short time by thinking like this, by merely rising the thought of benefiting all the mother sentient beings, even one doesn’t actually do it for the happiness of all the mother sentient beings, even if one isn’t doing the actual work.
If one wonders, “What is the best way, what is the quickest way to receive enlightenment quickly?” That depends on completing the work of the merits and making purification. What is the most powerful, the quickest way to accumulate merits? That is bodhicitta. What is the most powerful, the quickest way to make purification? That is again bodhicitta, practicing bodhicitta. So anyway, if one has generated bodhicitta, then enlightenment is close. How many realizations one has, if one has no bodhicitta realization then impossible to achieve enlightenment, whatever tantra realization one has. Even if one wishes to achieve quickly in order to benefit, to do extensive work for the benefit of sentient being, what is the most skillful way, the most skillful method; that is bodhicitta. There is no more profound, there is no more skillful than this.
The meditation on shunyata, if one has not the correct understanding, if one is not skillful in the meditation there is great danger to rise heresy, to rise heresy. There is danger to accumulate negative karma, more than having killed one hundred million human beings. There is great danger if one is not skillful in the meditation of shunyata. Like the meditation of Secret Mantra, such as Chakrasamvara, if one is not careful, not skilful, there is great danger to become crazy, to destroy the mind.
The bodhicitta, practicing bodhicitta has no danger as other meditation has. Besides not having danger, the great advantage one achieves in each second, each minute; one receives great advantages. The reason I’m telling precisely those things all the time, there is even a one month course, there is always question, “How should I meditate on the steps of the path to enlightenment? How should I make my life, what is the best to make my life highly meaningful?” Still the question rises, even though the things were explained already. The same, always the question rises, “What is the best for me? How I should make my life more meaningful?”
It is as if not having heard the lam-rim teachings during the discourse, not having understood the main points. Then the question rises, even if the whole lam-rim teachings are completed, even if the answer was already given during the discourse. Therefore it is important to understand the thing that I am emphasizing, the main point. If bodhicitta is the main practice, the heart practice, the main practice that one is practicing day and night, all the time, there is great peace within one’s own mind, and also one can benefit a lot for the surrounding people, other sentient beings. The mind is constantly practicing bodhicitta, the mind is in a subdued nature, then one’s action of body, speech naturally become like that, so it benefits the other sentient beings. It makes oneself happy; it makes one’s life happy. The mind becomes more and more in love, the loving thought becomes greater and greater by practicing bodhicitta, like that, extremely beneficial for the mind—if one wishes to benefit sentient beings, it is the best way, the most skillful way, the best method.
Every tantra teaching begins like this, “By having trained the mind in the general path.” Any meditation on the deities begins with refuge and bodhicitta. So in regards to the realizations, there is nothing to jump over. Make the mind closer to bodhicitta, year by year, month by month, week by week and day by day. This is the most skillful way of living the life. Each year you have a better and better heart. Trying to make the heart better and better each year; trying to have less and less anger, pride and attachment each year; trying to have more and more compassion and love; this is the most important thing for the happiness of oneself and for the happiness of other sentient beings. So you see, the question, the way to do that is by the listening, understanding and meditating on the lam-rim.
We do the Jorcho practice until one has complete understanding of the complete lam-rim meditation, until one has the whole idea. “If I put more effort now, I can generate the realization of this,” until the mind reaches that level. “If I do more meditation on this subject, I think I can generate the realization of the meditation.” After having reached that level then you think, “Now, if I can put more effort on this meditation, I can generate this realization.” Then generating the realization of that meditation depends on how skillful you are in the session and in the break time.
The fact that it is highly meaningful, the perfect human body, whether it can be found again and again, it is extremely difficult to find again, then by example, it is difficult to find again. By example, by number, by the cause, how it is difficult to find again—you meditate on the details.
First you think well of the example, of the blind turtle coming up every hundred years to find the golden ring, which is always pushed by the wind, the blind turtle’s neck went though the ring. First think well of the example, kind of an almost impossible thing to happen. It is more difficult to receive the perfect human body than the example, the wooden ring. Having met the teachings doesn’t mean having seen Dharma books, having seen the library.
The number of the bodies of the happy transmigratory beings is like, when you scratch the earth, the dust which you get in between the nails, like that, such a little number. Rebirth in the lower realms, there are as many as there atoms of the earth, like that, so much. So you check by number, by cause. By understanding how difficult the cause is to create, then one can feel how it is difficult to find it again.
I think I stop here.