Kopan Course No. 11 (1978)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kathmandu, Nepal November 1978 (Archive #394)

The following is a transcript of teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Eleventh Kopan Meditation Course in November 1978. 

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

Section One

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Session 1

…research in that way. So this a great cause of problems. Because we blame the outside all the time, the problems of life and disharmony exist—with yourself, other people. All this arises from that. All this confusion arises, fighting each other, harming each other, with the complete belief of the absolute existence of the “I,” and then you fight each other, harm each other, destroy each other, kill each other. Even the big countries are always fighting each other—these are the mistakes of the unsubdued mind, ignorance, anger, attachment, in the minds of the people in the country. 

For instance, Vietnam. America and Vietnam. For years, during one person’s life, there is fighting all the time, killing each other at times, destroying each other. They spend lifetimes like that, fighting each other, destroying the cities.

At the very beginning, the place is very primitive, nothing. They put so much effort, worries, incredible time talking and consulting each other. They put so much physical energy and mind energy and they build it up, they develop that city. They spend incredible money to build all these things. Incredible numbers of people, sentient beings, work so hard making all these huge buildings that touch the sun, the moon. I am joking. All these bridges, factories—they spend incredible unbelievable time and energy to build them up.

Then one day they completely get destroyed, completely get smashed, upside down, in pieces, and all the people are destroyed—look in one city how many creatures, animals, birds are on the ground—uncountable numbers all get burnt, incredible. It’s unimaginable how much harm destroying one city brings to other sentient beings. People are the smallest number. So what is this, ? The essence of the whole thing …..[pause]

In one’s own country first of all one puts incredible time, materials, and expenses, and then asks for help from other countries to develop. For many years billions of people put energy to build it up, then one day the whole thing completely get destroyed. All this comes from the unsubdued mind, the three poisonous minds, ignorance, anger, and attachment, in the minds of the people of the country. Because they harm other countries, they destroy the happiness, perfections of the other countries, they destroy even their own happiness and perfections, of the people. Following the three poisonous, unsubdued minds, ignorance, anger, and attachment, there is no happiness and perfection for other sentient beings or for oneself. In one country there are many different parties fighting each other, even in a football match, and because they are more competent, one starts to and things like that. And then the jealous mind, pride arises, this poison in the subdued mind arises because you can’t win all the time, so you break the other person’s leg. You harm the person who can play better, and they lose a foot or an arm so they can’t play, and they won’t win.

Then afterward everybody knows who has injured the other person’s leg, and then everybody criticizes, and instead of receiving benefits, instead of winning, that person gets much criticism. Even in such a small thing like playing makes people unhappy and angry, and this is a mistake of that person’s pride, the jealous mind.

Then you see in one family that they fight each other, and there is always disharmony—the parents don’t talk to the children, and they defy the parents. They always criticize each other. Even in couples, there are always problems in their life. The wife doesn’t do all the time what the husband wishes; the husband doesn’t do all the time what the wife wishes, and then anger arises and they fight each other, one day fight, seven times, eight times. In the morning time they fight three or four times and in the evening time they fight three or four times and in the night-time they fight three or four times. It is very clear how all these conditions happen from anger and attachment.

When their wishes don’t become successful there is much aggression—these are the mistakes, shortcomings of attachment. Attachment is being fixed on the object of pleasure, and when you don’t get it, feeling much aggression, depression, and confusion, and the mind becomes unhappy.

Also there are many problems with friends. When one has lost one’s boyfriend or girlfriend it’s like one has lost one’s own heart, sort of like that. Life completely collapses, like this house. This person’s mind is like that. There is no sleep at night time, no taste in the food, the mind full of worry, you don’t know what to do all the time, what is that? All the problems come—with friends, disharmony, from the poisonous, unsubdued mind.

So if one is always aware, if one’s own mind checks up, everyday if one is aware of one’s own mind, always examines one’s own mind, then it becomes very clear, like watching a movie, how all the difficulties of life are created by my own mind, by this unsubdued mind.

All this is the result of the previous actions, the negative actions that we did. In the past life, we were jealous of other people and caused disunity among them. While they were in harmony, peaceful, you caused disunity, and they divorced, they separated, so because of that negative action that was done in the past, from one’s own side however much one wishes to be with that friend, the other person doesn’t like you, and one has to separate from that person. This happens with one after another, however much one try. All these things are created by one’s own mind, one’s own non-virtuous mind. Either in the past life or in this early life.

Then there is having shortage of life. Even if one is born as a human being, one dies early, in the mother’s womb. There is not enough life to finish to study or the plan, one has a short life. This suffering is also created by that person’s non-virtuous mind of anger or attachment. In the past one has caused others to have a short life—not necessarily another person, but any type of sentient being. You were attached to the meat or the skin of an animal, so you killed them.

Or you have stolen things all the time, so now all of your things get stolen. No matter how much you try to keep them, they get stolen. No matter how many locks, or safes. This is all created by the non-virtuous thought, anger, ignorance, or attachment. This is the result of past karma, negative action.

Or the person is always scolded by other people. Wherever he goes, wherever he stays, people scold him. He is never respected and never able to say things very quietly—they are rude to him.

Wherever he goes, people says things that hurt his mind. This is created by the person’s mind—in the past life, with anger, with jealous mind, he scolded other sentient beings. So that’s how it is created by his own mind.

Similarly, a person has to live in a terrible ugly place, where there is not much water, where it’s very dry, no rain. No crops. The crops are not going well—even if they start to grow there is much hail and they get destroyed. Or in the desert, where it is very hot, and lots of thorns grow, no beautiful plants, no food growing from that country.

Or in a place where before there was much good food, and many jewels in the ground in the mountains, and oil, but now there is nothing any longer. The whole thing is completely changed, and this is a result of that sentient being’s mind. In the past he created negative karma, with non-virtuous thought—being jealous of others, taking other’s life, stealing from other sentient beings with negative mind, with wrong view—all this was created by one’s own mind. Not by virtue, by non-virtue.

So then another one, ill will.

[Part of tape inaudible]

…At Kopan, if you came to learn meditation from me, if that’s the plan, there is not so much hope that I can benefit you, because of many reasons. I myself do not have any experience of meditation and have no understanding of the Buddhadharma that is like infinite space, like the Atlantic. I have like one drop taken from Atlantic, or one atom taken from the earth. So I have the understanding of Dharma, and also I don’t practice. My practice in everyday life is eating, sleeping, like a pig. So I don’t think that is very beneficial to you, unless from your side, with effort, you have correct listening, pure motivation, listening to the teaching with the right motivation, with the good heart, with fortunate intelligence, not having the little mind that is concerned only with today’s difficulty, tomorrow’s difficulty, just few days difficulty, not concerned with freeing oneself completely from all these sufferings, but only from temporal difficulties. Without a big mind. You don’t think very far, you think very short. The person who has that mind doesn’t have the right motivation, the skillful intelligence, and doesn’t project very far, only with the concern of a few days’ difficulties. That person’s mind itself becomes a hindrance to the teachings becoming effective for the mind.

[pause]

There are so many different levels of useful. That means there are so many different ways you can talk about useful. It’s useful if you understand each word, even just having intellectual understanding, but it won’t be effective. This itself becomes a distraction. And somehow I have to do this job, try to talk about dharma, even though there’s no understanding, because it is the order of guru…

[end of tape]

…when it disturb other people’s works. With that ill will, harmful thought, you disturb other people’s work. So that’s why in this life, nothing become successful. Any work that one tries, nothing become successful. And then it is possible also that whenever one starts retreat or one wants to take teachings, there is a distraction, something that blocks it. All the time, something happens, all the time. The police come suddenly—you have found a highly qualified guru who gives teachings, a perfect guru who gives the perfect teaching, right teaching, and you are just about to receive, just about to enjoy the Dharma, then suddenly from immigration, the police comes, and he kicks you out of the country. Many people have this experience. There can be other karma too, but it could be that in the past time one harmed others, disturbed others from practicing Dharma, made wrong prayers to not become successful, with a jealous mind, praying “May his retreat not be successful, may he get sick.”

We’re talking about bad side. Now we’re talking about the good side, which makes our mind happy. This time we do not have a chicken body, we have a human body. We have a beautiful or handsome body. This is all created by our mind. Not having a chicken body with a beak or full of hairs or these feathers, you can visualize clearly. Not having that kind of uncomfortable body. Having a handsome or beautiful body is created by one’s own mind, by the virtuous mind, by one’s own virtuous thoughts. In one’s past lives one has protected moral conduct. One has created good karma with the virtuous thought.

Having a good body is created by one’s own mind. Having a good complexion, having a good color of the body and a good shape—not only having a human body but having a human body in good shape, not a human body in a terrible shape, that nobody wants to see, or people dislike. That is created by one’s own mind. How? In the past one has practiced patience. It’s created by one’s own thought of patience. As one has practiced patience, it created the karma and the result of a human body having good color and good shape.

So all the happiness is created by one’s own mind, what each of us will experience is created by each of our own mind. The virtuous thought.

There has to be some conclusion, you see, my point why I am talking this. The conclusion is that what we do not wish is suffering. No doubt, if you ask somebody do you like suffering, the person might say no. We wish for happiness. The creator of happiness and suffering is only one’s own mind, not the mind of other people.

[break in tape]

From the listener’s side there should be the good heart, good motivation, to listen to the teachings. Then the meditation or the teachings becomes the practice and the unsubdued mind that you have now can be trained, can be subdued. The unpeaceful mind can be made peaceful.

For what aim should we do this meditation course? For what reason? The Dharma that is shown by Buddha is called the Buddhadharma. The meaning of that is guidance. Protecting the sentient beings from suffering—that is the meaning of Dharma and the function of Dharma. It benefits the person, the individual, it guides that individual, that person, from all suffering. And it grants all the happiness that one wishes. The person can achieve all the happiness he wishes for. And he can be free from all sufferings.

What we haven’t said yet that is ultimate happiness also happens by our mind.

There is not one suffering that we haven’t created before. Therefore there is not one suffering that we haven’t experienced. All the temporal pleasures we have experienced many times, numberless times. From the beginningless past lifetimes, even though we don’t remember.

The pleasure and the suffering that one experiences are both created by one’s own mind. Anyway, this is just an introduction but gradually as you go through retreat you’ll understand more and more. Especially when you understand more and more about karma, you will understand more and more clearly.

I think finish today.

[pause]

If you think like this without pointing out the cause of the suffering as something that exists outside, other sentient beings, or a phenomena that doesn’t have mind. If you check the mind, without concentrating in that way—you will see that it is created the mind, by the person. Then it is very easy to understand this conclusion, how the sufferings of life are created by the mind. Normally you completely concentrate on the external cause of suffering, and therefore we never become aware and we are unable to recognize that the individual mind is the cause of the suffering, that the mind is the base of suffering.

And you don’t become aware of how it produces suffering, how it creates suffering. Because you are not aware, you complete concentrate outside, and blame all mistakes, all suffering, whatever we experience, all our problems, on other people, on other sentient beings. On outside phenomena. We believe, “I am right, I am right.” I’m pure with no mistake, completely pure and very good all the time. Very positive, very pure all the time.

Session 2

...if not she asks other people to teach or she sends them to school, by making much material expenses. As this person my mother has been kind like this, so each of the sentient beings has been extremely kind, in numberless past lives. So being concerned only for one’s own pleasure, only for one’s own comfort, not being concerned with the happiness of other sentient beings, that is a very poor method, a very poor quality of mind. That is a selfish motive. Even if one wishes to achieve this blissful state of peace, release from samsara, even if one is concerned about that, not having the concern for the happiness of other sentient beings, completely renouncing, completely giving up doing the works for other sentient beings, only doing the work for one’s own happiness, even if it’s to achieve the release from samsara, the blissful state of peace—that is still a selfish motive. A very poor quality of mind.

That is like this. For example, if you are on the top of the tree and the mother is down there and being attacked by the tiger, letting her be attacked by the tiger, without going down to help her, to protect her from the tiger, and standing on top of the tree just watching and laughing and singing—how terribly upsetting.

Being concerned only for oneself to achieve the blissful state of peace, release from samsara, not doing work for other sentient beings is a very selfish motive. So even if one has achieved the blissful state of peace, the release from samsara, the benefit is nothing.

As sentient beings have been extremely kind, one should repay them. Mother sentient beings don’t have Dharma wisdom, they don’t have the Dharma wisdom eye, knowing what is the cause of suffering, what is the cause of happiness, that virtue is the cause of happiness; non-virtue is the cause of suffering. And they haven’t met the leader, the virtuous guide, leading them in the path to enlightenment. You know this better than other mother sentient beings. You have a little bit of the Dharma wisdom eye, to discriminate, to recognize the cause of happiness, the cause of suffering. And you have met the teaching, the leader leading one in the path to enlightenment. The virtuous friend or the virtuous guide, who has Dharma.

[break in tape]

To receive this release from samsara we must complete and destroy the root of samsara, the cause of samsara, which is disturbing unsubdued mind and action, karma. These form the aggregates of mind and this body are in the nature of suffering. This is what I am talking about, samsara.

Samsara is formed by the disturbing unsubdued mind and its action karma. In our past life, with this state of unsubdued mind, we have accumulated karma. The disturbing unsubdued mind and karma are the cause, and the result is samsara, this suffering realm, this mind and body in the nature of suffering. This result happens.

So normally in the teaching it is said the aggregates are formed with the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma. So this is what is called samsara, this suffering realm. In order to be completely free from this samsara, we must cease the cause of samsara, we must destroy the cause of samsara. It is not sufficient for only oneself to achieved the release, and destroy the cause of samsara, the disturbing unsubdued mind, and its action karma. There are numberless sentient beings, there is not one sentient being who has not been one’s own mother. As the continuation of consciousness has no beginning so the continuity of life has no beginning, and there are numberless sentient beings, each whom have been one’s own mother.

It’s not only the sentient being who is this present life’s mother who gave birth to this body. All sentient beings have been one’s own mother. As this present life’s mother has been extremely kind to oneself, and cared for oneself…

[break in tape]

We have the opportunity to repay the kindness of mother sentient beings. What they need is happiness; what they do not wish for is suffering. So the best way to repay the kindness of mother sentient beings is to bring them to the highest, blissful state of enlightenment, buddhahood.

Giving temporal needs to mother sentient beings is not the best way to repay their kindness. Numberless times in the past times, one has given them to mother sentient beings, numberless times they themselves have been born in the realm of the gods, the worldly gods, and also as human beings who are extremely wealthy. Mother sentient beings themselves have been king numberless times, with all the material possession, millionaires; numberless times they took the body of the happy transmigratory being who has all the material possessions. They have been born numberless times as worldly gods with incredible material possessions, material power, jewels, incredible enjoyment, food, clothing—much better quality than what the human beings have.

However much food and clothing they themselves had in their past lives, if it were piled up, collected from past lifetimes, they wouldn’t have an inch of space left, but that didn’t help them to be completely free from samsara.

So therefore, helping the sentient beings by giving food, clothing, that’s not the best way to repay them. The best way to repay is to free all the mother sentient beings from suffering and bring them to enlightenment, the highest blissful state. I have the opportunity to do this. However much mother sentient beings wish for happiness, however much they desire happiness, they always destroy the cause of happiness. And however much they do not wish to experience suffering, all the time, day and night, they voluntarily, willingly run to create the cause of suffering. Day and night, they keep themselves busy creating the cause of suffering. If they are not creating karma with attachment, they are creating karma with the jealous mind. If they are not creating karma with jealous mind, they are creating negative karma, the cause of suffering, with prideful mind. If they don’t have prideful mind, they have the wrong view, the heresy of thought. Then with this negative mind they create negative karma. Ill will arises, and again they create negative karma with that mind. So one after another, the disturbing unsubdued thought arises. When there is no anger, the mind is occupied by attachment, so they constantly follow attachment, create negative karma. They continuously create negative karma, the cause of suffering, like this.

They should be devoid of all the suffering. They should do it for themselves, this is what they need, but will they do it by themselves? No, they won’t do it by themselves. They’re unable to do it. They don’t have all these opportunities that I have, they don’t have the Dharma wisdom eye to discriminate. As I have the opportunity, it’s my responsibility to make sentient beings achieve the blissful state, the highest blissful state of enlightenment, completely free from all the suffering. So therefore I must achieve enlightenment myself.

The principal cause of enlightenment is bodhicitta, the thought wishing to achieve enlightenment, the thought of benefiting all mother sentient beings. I must generate bodhicitta, the principal thought of the enlightenment.

So anyway, I am going to stop here.

So this, this is the motivation that I was emphasizing this morning, the sort of motivation that you should have to practice meditation or to take the meditation course. If one does the course with such a motivation in the depth of one’s own heart, all the time, then it’s the very best. If one listens to teachings with this motivation, with the motivation of bodhicitta, whatever you do, the whole thing is to accomplish this work, to achieve enlightenment yourself for the benefit all mother sentient beings.

If it becomes beneficial to other sentient beings then ultimately it becomes beneficial to oneself. The main consideration that we should have, even in normal life, is the thought to benefit to others as much as possible. However, especially when one practices Dharma or practices meditation, we should have the thought to benefit others and to make whatever one practices beneficial to other sentient beings. That is extremely important. That is an utmost need.

If one wishes to benefit other sentient beings, the best work is to try to achieve enlightenment, to work in the path to enlightenment. After one has achieved enlightenment, how one is able to work for other sentient beings—after having achieved enlightenment, there is perfect understanding, full understanding, the omniscient mind that fully understands, fully sees each sentient being, their different personalities. The omniscient mind can fully see all these various methods that fit each sentient being without one single mistake. After one has achieved buddhahood state one has perfect understanding. And not only that, one has perfect power to be able to reveal, to be able to show all the various methods, to be able to actually function for the sentient beings. The buddhas show many hundreds of millions of transformations to guide one sentient being, according to their level of mind.

They appear in the form of buddhas, or animals. Tiger, lion, elephant, whatever, snake or turtle or fish, whatever is necessary. Buddha appears all these various forms to subdue the different sentient beings. When Guru Shakyamuni was a bodhisattva he took many different forms of animals and guided sentient beings from various troubles, disease, all kinds of things.

For example, one time in India there was an epidemic disease, and many people died. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took the form of a fish called hida, with an incredible gigantic body. The fish announced to the whole city, in a big shout, from the sea calling everybody, everybody please come here to eat my meat. The people came and they took pieces of the fish meat and they all ate the fish meat and those people completely recovered. There have many stories like this in the past time.

Once there were 500 traders in a ship. And the ship was starting to sink. [pause] Anyway not necessary to tell the whole story, and I don’t remember completely. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took the form of a turtle, and he didn’t let them to drown and die. They reached the land. That was also one of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s transformations.

And then also as a crazy person, possible…Buddha was working in the form of a hippie also. This is possible in these days.

I am not just joking but I’m talking about actual sincere, true things. As your fortune increases, as you meet the Dharma, the buddhas also appear in different forms and give teachings. As you develop you see them in better and better aspects.

Even if Buddha has perfect power, if Buddha doesn’t have compassion for all sentient beings, there is the danger that Buddha won’t work for every sentient being. It would be possible that he works for some but not for others. But he does have great compassion for all sentient beings, so he works like this.

After we achieve enlightenment, because there is great compassion, one continuously, unceasingly does the work for other sentient beings. Each ray of the holy body has the power to bring numberless sentient beings, many hundreds and millions of sentient beings, to happiness. To be devoid of suffering and live in happiness.

Session 3

We are not purified, so therefore any work we do depends on effort, it depends on motivation. First we have to think how to do and we will make a lot of mistakes even if we put effort. Things don’t become right, don’t work well, you don’t get the result, you don’t accomplish it. So then like that.

After one has achieved enlightenment there is no superstition, there is no mind effort. Just like we don’t have the motivation to send the shadow of the body on the ground, but it automatically happens. The way Buddha does the work for other sentient beings without any effort, it’s like that. Like when the moon rises, there is a reflection appearing, and the moon doesn’t have the motivation, thinking, “I am going to appear.” It is like that. There is not one single mistake in regards guiding the sentient beings, if one has achieved enlightenment.

So therefore first oneself should achieve enlightenment to do this extensive work for other sentient beings. Not only guiding the sentient beings from some problems, not only guiding them from the rebirth of animals, not only guiding them from the rebirth of those other suffering realms, narak or preta from the temporal suffering from a particular disease—not just this. But to make sentient beings devoid of all sufferings and lead them to enlightenment, then one must achieve enlightenment.

So then it’s like this. Without having achieved enlightenment, the state of omniscient mind, without having purified all these obscurations, the disturbing unsubdued mind, not having actualized the whole path, the whole knowledge of dharma is not completed, it’s like a blind man trying to guide another blind man. Or like the armless mother trying to save the child that is taken by the river. Therefore first oneself must be enlightened.

More details on this come in the part on refuge. In order to achieve enlightenment, the principal cause is the bodhicitta. In order to generate bodhicitta one must generate the mind renouncing samsara, the mind that sees all the aggregates in the nature of suffering. In order to generate this pure thought of renouncing samsara then one should understand karma. Without understanding karma, there is no way to generate this realization, the pure thought of renouncing samsara.

Understanding karma depends on understanding reincarnation, having faith and understanding of reincarnation. I am not going to talk so much on this point. I am sure there is not much difficulty in understanding this, you know. It should not be difficult anyway. Everybody is very intelligent, so this is not a difficult subject, you know. Actually you can see it from your own experiences, whether there is past life or future life, you know.

Just very briefly talking about this, if something cannot become an object of knowledge it is not existent.

Besides the principal mind there are fifty-one secondary thoughts. Each one has all the different thoughts and its own definition. In the text, each of the different thoughts are clearly explained, very clearly shown. You read, you try to understand, first understand the definition that is explained in the teaching, in the text, by Buddha about the phenomena of mind. If you don’t understand the definition, if you don’t understand the meaning of those, there is no way to recognize this; it’s kind of all mixed up.

Generally talking, what we have is body and mind, two things. Then the knowing phenomena or the mind, the different types, the divisions, then the consciousness—there are six types of consciousness, and fifty one secondary thoughts including all the feelings, all the things, you know, contact, all those you know, different types of thoughts.

So the five consciousnesses or the five senses, the consciousness of the body, eye, tongue, and ear, the nose—those gross consciousnesses do not continue from one life to another life. At death time, when we die, those things they stop. They do not continue to the future life. Now, which consciousness continues to the future life? The mind consciousness. The Tibetan term is yi kyi nam she. Yi is mind. So mind consciousness continues from the past life to the future life. Each consciousness of the five has its own function—like the consciousness of the ear is able to hear sound. Then the consciousness body is able to experience what’s soft or rough, hot or cold, like that. Each one has its own particular function understanding its own object, the differences of the object.

Like an Indian train, you know, having no space left inside, you know, crowded with people, in the windows, outside the doors—inside there are all kinds of people. Bad and good, all kinds of people, many kids, who specially came to steal in the train—I am joking. This train passes from country to country, carrying all these thousands of people, like that. The consciousness of the mind is like the Indian train.

So this train carrying a thousand people goes through one country, and some people go out, some people come in, and then the train carries them to another country. Then some people go out and other people come in. It goes round like this, you know. Consciousness is like that. The consciousness mind is like that, like the train.

So the karma that the consciousness carries is like the train carrying all kinds of people. There are good people and bad people; wealthy people, poor people, and there are good karmas, many negative karmas, and so forth.

So in this life, as some people come out of the train, and others get inside, as the consciousness continues on and enters one body, sometimes we experience a miserable life, sometimes we’re happy—without choice, without any choice. Even if one doesn’t wish it, it happens.

[end of tape]

So in this life, someone who practices Dharma accumulates much good karma. This is possible. Then somebody who has never met Dharma, who doesn’t know Dharma, collects more negative karma that.

Then this consciousness continues to the future life, to the next life, you know, takes another body, then again some potential for karma is created by the conscious mind, experienced in the life as a human being, a worldly god, or an animal, whatever it is, different sentient beings. Either a happy life or a miserable life, or a mixture, like that. Then again that life creates much more karma. What carries the potential of the karma is the consciousness of the mind. And this also experiences suffering by being in the suffering realm of the narak, or by taking a human body, practicing Dharma, going to the buddhahood stage.

I think I stop here. Should be fine?

Student: Can I ask a question?
Rinpoche: No, not possible. It’s impossible to ask any questions. Go, go on. If I know then I’ll answer.
Student: In Yakka Valley a student asked Lama Yeshe a question, is it possible to follow the Dharma if one doesn’t believe in reincarnation? And Lama Yeshe’s answer was, yes, it was. Now I asked that same question to Lama Zazep in Alice Springs and he said, no that that it wouldn’t be possible.
Rinpoche: I say, yes and no, both. Then what are you going to do? So now which way are you going to believe?
Student: I’ll believe yes.
Rinpoche: That’s right then, that’s right. No, it’s possible if somebody has a good heart. Even if he doesn’t believe in reincarnation, it’s possible that his actions become Dharma. It’s just a matter of having a pure thought, you know. To practice Dharma doesn’t have to depend on reincarnation. But to have accomplish Dharma, then that’s a different thing. To accomplish Dharma means to achieve enlightenment, at least to be free from samsara, and to do that one should generate the thought of renunciation and understand the nature of suffering. So therefore that depends on understanding reincarnation.
Student: what is a good way of being able to arrive at an understanding of reincarnation?
Rinpoche: Generally by studying the extensive scriptures, which give details about reincarnation, with much logic, with many reasons. You know, proving how there is reincarnation, preventing all the wrong conceptions, all the different theories, wrong. But even if you studied these basic scriptures, if you don’t make purification, if you don’t purify the obscurations then, you have the intellectual understanding but you don’t get the feeling. So the main thing is purifying the hindrances, obscurations.

At death time even the mind consciousness stops. It gets absorbed and so it becomes finer and finer, more and more subtle at death time. At the very last moment of death, the other consciousnesses do not function anymore. They start to get absorbed while the person is having the breathing trouble. After the breath stops it becomes much more subtle, the gross consciousness of mind gets absorbed just before the consciousness leaving the body the subtle consciousness of death appears.

So after the subtle consciousness becomes visible then it stays there for a certain length of time in the person’s body, in the person’s heart, in the middle artery, and when the period is finished the consciousness leaves from the heart, in the middle of the two breasts. It goes through the different doors of the body, the ear, nose, mouth, eye, or crown, or from the lower part of the body, the door of peepee, of excrement—that’s according to the person’s karma, whatever rebirth the person is going to take depends on that.

This is in the meditation, the course which was put together in the Wish Fulfilling Golden Sun. It is there, so those who want to understand it can read.

After the consciousness leaving this body, if the person is going to be born as a human being, the consciousness takes the body of the intermediate state being. It stays in that intermediate stage for a certain length of time depending on his own karma.

Then after that, it finds a place to take birth in the mother’s womb, according to his karma. Then the five consciousnesses gradually start.

When the cows have babies, right after they came from the mother’s body they go to suck the milk. It is the same with the puppy. In the west you say this is an instinctive action or something, not taught by the mother. Mothers who have babies have the same experience. So all those things are signs of the existence of past lives. These happened due to previous karma, previous habits. Small children, at birth time, even when they are very young, some have a very compassionate nature, and some are very violent. Even if they are born in the same family they have a different personality. And they have different desires, you know. One child from youth wants to become a nun or a monk or has no desire at all to harm other beings. And the child’s mind get upset to see other people suffering, having problems.

And some children, you know, as soon as they see creatures, flies, right away they want to kill them. They like hunting. And they want to live that life. So even they are born from the same parents, they have different personalities. But all this is due to previous karma, habit. The mind was so habituated with that personality, with that action, with that kind of behavior. There are so many things like that, which are signs of existence of their past and future lives. If there is a past life, automatically there is a future life. If the mind were only atoms, then there would be a certain number of atoms, anger, attachment, ignorance, knowledge. Someone who can speak ten languages should have a language atom, and all the realizations would be atoms. In that case it would be easy to get more knowledge. You wouldn’t have to go to University, or to school. Or to have friends, to take exams. Or to do anything.

Session 4

The person’s brain should become bigger and bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger. Then after awhile it would become bigger than his house, if it were due to atoms. But this consciousness is not part of the parents’ mind. There might not be any doubt like that but it is good to know. The children’s mind are not part of the parents’ mind. If all the minds were part of one big mind, and that big mind became parts, became pieces, taking different bodies, then actually all sentient beings are just one person.

Then whatever different life one has, it should be the experience of each person. All the experiences of your life should be my experience. Whatever life you have should be my life. Whatever work I do should be your work. Then there should not be not be separation, because there is no separate thought. Then whatever knowledge one person has everybody should have. It would just be one mind, with different bodies. Then if somebody here went to the west to steal, it wouldn’t become stealing, because it belongs to everyone. It is my possession, so it doesn’t become stealing, so everything he possesses, his apartment, everything, is mine. There would be no reason to fight and to go to court, to make laws—all these things would not happen.

Anyway, it is very easy to understand that we have separate minds; it’s our own experience. And then there are many people in the west or in Tibet who can remember their past lives, who can see their future lives. There are many children, also in America and many countries, and many primitive places. There is one American, a professor, Steve something, from America, New York, who wrote a book about it.

But reincarnation is not an object of knowledge for general people. So that is not the general concept in the country. It isn’t the normal belief. The people who have this experience are recognized by the majority of people as crazy people, and told that they have to go see the psychiatrist, to change it. To bring it back to a normal life.

Also, an old woman that I met near California is able to tell not only the present life but the past and future lives. She tried to keep the secret knowledge and she told me because I am not interested in this life but I am interested more to find out about the past life. She is a fortune teller. She wanted to check my hand, and told me that she has to be very secret because if she tells other people that she is able to tell these things they will call her crazy. She said that the minds of the people in India are more advanced than minds of the western people in the west,.

In previous times when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India, somehow Guru Shakyamuni Buddha blessed people to be able to remember their past lives. There are also stories talking about lamas in Tibetan, so many stories. And there are incredible amazing stories about His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation, all the signs how it happened, all these incredible signs, amazing signs that happened, which identified His Holiness the Dalai Lama, when he was very young child. If you read those books, you know, there are amazing wonderful stories.

There was one lama in Tibet, in Lhasa, the capital of the kingdom of Tibet, in a monastery called Dengye. I don’t know what happened, but this lama was very poor, a simple monk, who didn’t have any reputation later achieved great Dharma knowledge. Somehow he gave much teaching and became very famous the monastery also became famous. It developed so much. The Tibetan people they didn’t like that monastery—the basic problem, I didn’t know. But somehow some dozen of people completely burned the monastery, destroyed it. They killed that lama, I think, I am not sure. Anyway he passed. And one of the very powerful people in Tibet, a government person, made the signature that this lama, Dengye Rinpoche, cannot be reborn in Tibet, at all. That nobody should not recognize the reincarnation of Dengye Rinpoche.

So Dengye Rinpoche, the head lama of this monastery, reincarnated to that governor person who made the law. So afterwards he became his own child, so he had to recognize him. He had to change his whole idea, his whole mind.

Those higher Tibetan lamas who have the freedom over birth and death play games like this.

In ancient times many things happened like this—there were pundits, highly realized, who are proven reincarnations. They promised to be born in such place, in such a family, and there were witnesses, and afterwards they were born there.

I think I told you several times, there was one pundit called Chandragomin, an Indian pundit. One day he met the founder of the anti-inner beings, who follow a different religion, opposite to the Buddhadharma. He said, “ I disbelieve that there is reincarnation. If you really show me I will accept, otherwise I won’t accept.” They were debating. So Chandragomin said, “I will show you.” Chandragomin asked the king of that country to be the witness. Then Chandragomin explained, “I will be born to the king Vishisaka.” Then he passed away with a mark of red powder on his forehead, and a pearl in the mouth. And his body was kept by the king, in the box, to check up later. Afterwards the pundit Chandragomin was born to this king. After he came out of his mother’s womb, he had a mark here and the pearl in his mouth. Then he was identified and all the people in that country knew this. Then this anti-inner being, this founder, developed faith in reincarnation, because he actually saw that it happened.

Afterwards then this king of the country gave many gifts to the pundit’s family. Right after he came out of his mother’s womb he prostrated to his mother and he said, “Oh mother, didn’t you get exhausted for ten months.” The parents thought that was very inauspicious, the child speaking right after the birth. So the mother said, “Keep quiet.” Then he kept quiet for seven years, he didn’t speak at all. He lived just like a mute person. Then later the followers of the inner beings wrote a text, poetry containing contradiction to Buddhadharma. It reached Chandragomin’s family house. The father found this book. He wanted to contradict it, to write an answer back to the author who wrote that book. So the father was unable to give the answer, and couldn’t understand what it was written about. One day the father was out, and the son was around, at the house. S he read the book and the child himself wrote the answer, completely. So afterward the father came home and he was very surprises to see this—who gave this answer, who did this? The mother said that nobody came to the house but the foolish child wrote it. The answer that was given was so perfect and so sharp. It was so hard to understand what was written in that book. Anyway Chandragomin went to see other pundits, and he received tantra teachings and teachings on the Abhidharma text. Just by hearing it one time, he was able to understand the whole meaning completely. He had incredibly sharp wisdom, great wisdom.

[end of tape]

The knowledge of sound involves the way the letters are working, the way of putting together letters. One king called Bakara was studying the knowledge of sound, and had a daughter called Tara. He wanted Chandragomin to marry his daughter called Tara. But Chandragomin thought, “Oh her name is Tara, the same name of my deity. I can’t marry her because she has the name Tara, the same name as the buddha in whom I take refuge.” Then the king said, if you don’t marry her I’ll put you in a box and throw you in the river. So he was put in a box and thrown in the River Ganga. He prayed very hard to Tara and after some time he was able to escape from the water. Then he went to Ceylon and there were many problems in that country, wounds that spread from one person to another. These things are often caused by nagas. In order to prevent this, he built a temple to the buddha Sangeta, the Lion Sound. This prevented all these epidemic diseases, the naga offences. Then as predicted by Tara and Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha, then he became an upasika.

However, in everyday, simple talking, people who practice Dharma, or who don’t practice Dharma, have difficulties to keep the mind calm and peaceful all the time, not under the control of ignorance, anger, attachment, pride, and those things. One finds this very difficult control. It’s very good to check up like this. Why can’t it be the other way? What makes that? What makes it difficult to control this disturbing unsubdued mind.

Why was I born like this? It’s good find out. Even if there is mind, why can’t there just be the mind without all those other disturbing unsubdued minds. It is very good to find out.

Why do we have attachment? Why did I wake up with those disturbing unsubdued minds? Because it existed yesterday. It was not removed yesterday, so it exists today. It was not removed yesterday, it existed before yesterday. Why I was born with it, why? Because in the life just before this, the continuity of the disturbing unsubdued mind was not ceased by me, so I was born with it.

To have a calm and peaceful mind is very difficult. Extremely difficult. Even if you go to a jungle. You get fed up the family in the city, you get fed up with traffic, and you go to the jungle. One day you think, “I am completely fed up with this city, with this old environment, one day I would like to go completely in jungle by myself, alone, with nobody.” And then something will happen. Even if you go the jungle alone, even if you go on the very top of Mt Everest, it is difficult to be in a state of peace. So much distraction. If there was no past life there wouldn’t be the disturbing unsubdued mind. There wouldn’t be any trouble at all. And there wouldn’t be any trouble at all, there wouldn’t be any difficulties to practice Dharma. If there were no past life there would be no reason to be born with the strong conception of the “I” grasping. We would not worry about other sentient beings; how they are suffering, how to make them be devoid of suffering. Or how to obtain happiness for others.

So this, why? The same reason, why we are born with this. If those things did not come from the continuity of “I,” the strong conception of “I,” this intuitive, simultaneously-born, “I”-grasping conception…we were not free from this wrong conception. We did not destroy this wrong conception. We were born in the mother’s womb with the strong “I,” the grasping conception in the mother’s womb.

If you don’t think that’s the reason then you should find some other way. Then check more, you know.

Also, by making certain retreats or by reciting mantras or things like that, there’s a way to remember past lives. There are Hindus who do not practice the dharma, who follow their own religion, but by achieving certain meditation, are able to remember past lives. Actually remembering past lives isn’t surprising.

But is there anyone who really realizes there is no existence of past life, future life? No. So anyway, this present life’s mind continues from the past life, the continuity of the disturbing unsubdued mind, ignorance, didn’t have beginning. So how can it be ended? But there is the possibility to cease it.

So will it always continue or will it be ended? If one practices Dharma, it can be ceased. If one does not practice, it is not ceased. It becomes endless.

There are some people who have less obscurations, who are a little bit fortunate, and even if they do not study, without needing anymore reasons, they just feel it. They recognize it. The faith just comes and they recognize that this is true. For others, after thinking for some time, meditating, the recognition or the faith in reincarnation comes. For some people who don’t have much fortune, it is very difficult. No matter how much you explain, no matter how clear it is, whatever way you talk…

[end of tape]

...what blocks his faith or feeling or recognition is obscuration. So he needs purification. If he practices the meditation, if he does very strong purification, if he follows those different methods, then he will have the recognition of karma and reincarnation, all those new subjects. As the obscuration become thinner, thinner, the feelings about karma, reincarnations, refuge, Buddha, Sangha, all those subjects, comes stronger, stronger, more and more real, like that. Before you were completely hallucinating, like a blind person. So anyway purification and accumulating merit, creating the cause to understand Dharma or to receive the realization, the path, that is an extremely important thing.

I will mention, sometime tomorrow, the visualization of the Buddha, the particular Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha. The teaching is based on thought training, the seven point thought transformation, so in order to understand the teaching better and to be able to generate stronger loving compassionate thought, bodhicitta, we are going to do purification. We are going to visualize the Buddha, the Compassionate Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, and this is the visualization that we can use during meditation.

Jang chub sem chog…

Session 5

As in Jor.cho, they absorb through Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, if you have visualized him in an elaborate way then all the surrounding buddhas are the deity, the merit field, the bodhisattvas, dakas, dakinis, protectors—all the lineage lamas absorb through Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. As you have visualized the guru seated on your head, when you recite palden lama, the total aspect of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha absorbs into the guru. And then we repeat the Seven Limb Prayer and mandala offering, and as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha absorbs to the root guru who is seated on your head, to request the merit field, please grant the blessings to my son to receive the realizations of path to enlightenment quickly.

Then all the dakas, dakinis, bodhisattvas absorb within, and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha came down and absorbed into the root guru, so the root guru transforms into four-arm Avalokiteshvara. Then again we practice the second seven limb practice, this meditation, then short mandala offering, then we make request to Guru Avalokiteshvara, like this.

Those who visualize, those who know and do the prayer, this is what should be visualized the second time you recite the seven limb prayer. Visualize Guru Avalokiteshvara above your crown, sitting on the moon and the lotus seat. Not touching on your crown, you know, but four inches or a little bit higher. You should not think, oh, he is feeling uncomfortable with my long hair, like sitting in the bushes, you know.

[Chanting]

Cultivate the pure motivation, the best heart, which is bodhicitta, thinking that I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the kind mother sentient beings. Therefore I am going to listen to the thought training, the Mahayana thought training teaching.

Yesterday somebody asked a question here, whether there is need to have faith in reincarnation in order to practice Dharma.

It’s a good point to think about and understand. Generally for a person who doesn’t have any faith in reincarnation, for his actions to become Dharma, it is possible. Good karma is possible, even though it doesn’t become Mahayana Dharma. The person doesn’t think, doesn’t have the motivation to achieve enlightenment for the benefit for other sentient beings, to do the work for the benefit of all the sentient beings, and also the person doesn’t have the motivation to achieve nirvana, the release from samsara, or to find a good rebirth in the future life. He doesn’t have any specific motivation but he does have a good heart, concerned for all sentient beings—he sees a wounded dog, or a starving dog, a sick person, some person who has a problem or something like that, and he is concerned for that person, that particular sentient being, and he wants to help. He wants to give medicine or he wants to give food or whatever he can. By talking, by giving materials, with a good heart making charity.

Even if he doesn’t have the particular motivation concentrating on the happiness of future lives, even he doesn’t have a specific motivation like this, but he does actions with a good heart, I would say those become Dharma.

And another thing, you know, the person gave help to other people without expectation for himself, without having the motivation to benefit his own life, his own reputation. But I would say that person who doesn’t know the definitions of Dharma, for him it is hard, because there is no wisdom recognizing the cause of happiness, the cause of suffering, karma. It might be possible for the person to create a small good karma, like the example that I mentioned before.

Even if that person doesn’t have the motivation that makes the action Dharma, he has compassion for that wounded dog or that sick person or starving person or somebody who has problems. So that is virtuous Dharma. And also, when the anger start to arise thinking, oh there is no point, oh what’s the point to get angry, trying to bear the pain.

Actions that become Dharma without depending on motivation include prostrations or making offering to the holy objects, respecting the holy objects, the buddhas, the bodhisattvas, even the statues of buddhas, even the holy idols, even the paintings of Buddha. Even just looking at the painting, the statue of Buddha, it becomes purification. It is explained by Buddha in the sutra teachings that of one looks at the one who passed away in the blissful state, which means enlightenment, while his mind is angry, he accumulates good karma to be able to see hundred millions of buddhas. So if, while your mind is angry, you look at the figure, the drawings of holy body of Buddha on the wall, on the cloth, on the tables, drawings or even statues, this itself becomes purification, purifying obscurations. As one looks at the holy objects, one collects the karma to be able to see or to be able to meet hundreds of millions of buddhas in the future life.

There are many stories of the very close disciples of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, who had the opportunity to always to be with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, to offer service Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, to do the work for other sentient beings. This has been their experience.

Sharipu was an arhat who was a close disciple. Many times you see in the tangkas Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in the center and the two disciple standing, one to the right and one to the left holding the implements of the full monk. One of those is Sharipu. He was able to receive teachings from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha directly, all the time, and be with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha all the time, and the way he collected that karma in was in one of his previous lives when he was traveling, going from one place to another place, and he stopped on the way at a lodging place. His shoes were torn and he was fixing them. He was sewing his shoe and it was night time and there was a very small light. He was facing to the wall, on which there was a painting. After some time he saw the painting, a painting of Buddha, the figure of Buddha on the wall. He said, oh, how beautiful this is. While he was sewing he looked again and again at that painting, you know, how beautiful it is, like this, so amazing like that. Then a strong came in his mind. He thought oh, if I can become like that, how wonderful it would be.

This wish accumulated karma, and due to that karma when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was born as a prince in India, Sharipu was able to be a direct disciple of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. He had the opportunity to always to be with him and receive teachings. And not only with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, but many other buddhas too. Keep this in mind now, and even if you don’t feel it now, the more you understand about refuge, later on, then it will be useful.

This was not the subject, it just went in the wrong way.

So these kinds of actions can become good karma without depending on a particular motivation. Why? How it become good karma if the person doesn’t have a good motivation, doesn’t have a virtuous motivation. That is because of the power of the holy object, the fully enlightened being, due to his power.

Also in the stupa down there, Boudhanath or Sarnath, many buddhas have blessed. It was built for the benefit of other sentient beings, to purify sentient beings. To lead sentient beings in the path to happiness. So the action of circumambulating this stupa does not depends on the motivation. Even if one doesn’t have a virtuous motivation, just circumambulating, you know, because of the power of the holy object, the stupa, the action of circumambulating, making prostrations, all those things naturally become virtue, good karma.

This is true not only for humans, but even animals—flies or dogs, anything. How can that be proved? Some people were animals in their previous lives, and they circumambulated the stupa, and later on they became arhats. This been experienced by many sentient beings.

I have many dogs here, so I thought, since they are around here, I should benefit them. I should do something, instead of their always hanging around and barking. I should help them, something.

So one day I thought it will be useful to take to the stupa down there and to circumambulate. Circumambulate together, you know. I had to go by taxi and there wasn’t enough space in the taxi for all the dogs to come. And it was quite difficult to control the big dog.

First I thought to take all but finally it did not happen. Only two dogs I was able to take down.

[end of tape]

Gomchen, the great meditator, didn’t create karma by biting the goats and the Nepalese people. Here they create so many negative karma everyday continuously, of course, they don’t have any wisdom of Dharma, but all the time, you know, they hear the very profound holy words of the Buddha teachings. As the monks start reciting, they are able to hear if they are around. So this plants the potential, the seeds, in their mind.

So sometimes with the hope to benefit them, as they are around hold them up in the hand and let them see the holy objects of buddhas, the altars, the paintings of buddhas, the statues. Otherwise there is not much method, to help.

[BREAK]

So for the person who doesn’t have the understanding how practice Dharma, or how to transform the action of Dharma, who doesn’t have understanding of karma, his actions rarely become Dharma, good karma.

A person who meditates, who has the wish to benefit all sentient beings, who practices bodhicitta, how powerful is the good karma that you accumulate. Depending on the greater understanding, the higher motivation, how much more powerful, like that. The karma is that much more powerful.

In order to generate this realization, the thought of renouncing samsara, he should realize his samsara, this mind and body in the nature of suffering. We believe, oh how happy, how happy it is, how beautiful they are, these birds, they fly around, how beautiful they are, how happy they are. The horse is running, you know, oh how happy they are. The fish is running in the water, how great they are enjoying. How beautiful they are, they have all kinds of colors, producing electricity.

Especially in the west, it seems as if they have no suffering at all, so happy, great bliss, all the time. That don’t starve and they don’t have fear, incredibly enjoying, they don’t have pain. Even if the person doesn’t have interest in his own body, it doesn’t mean he has total renunciation of samsara. Just wishing to have that body is because of not having, not understanding how the samsara is nature of suffering, you know. They don’t have the freedom even to receive temporal pleasure. They don’t have even the freedom and their life always in the great fears, hunger, torture, so many problems, not understanding the mind of those sentient beings.

One doesn’t think that he will have to reincarnate to those different bodies, in the nature of suffering. There is no way for him to understand. So there is no way to really generate the thought of fully renouncing all samsara. To be free from samsara one should have the thought of fully renouncing all samsara. One should generate this in order to enter the path and receive the great release from samsara.

So whether you should have faith in the reincarnation to practice Dharma depends on what way you think.

To obtain happiness for future life the daily actions should not become the cause of suffering and should become the cause of happiness, you know. So after this point, I stop here. Some details on this point I will mention tomorrow with the motivation.

There are followers of the Hindu religion who generate partial, not complete, thought of renouncing samsara. They are kind of just fed up with the sense pleasures, getting bored of sense pleasure, having aversion to the sense pleasures and having the wish to seek the inner pleasure, the pleasure derived from concentration, meditation. They have no interest in rebirth as a human being.

[end of tape]

They will be born in the form and formless realms because they have attraction to those, and they don’t have the thought fully renouncing samsara, because they have not realized how those other samsaric realms are in the nature of suffering. So if one practices Dharma and follows the path there is, one can completely remove the obscuration, the disturbing unsubdued mind, even though the continuity of that has no beginning.

So therefore, how it is possible to completely destroy and remove the obscurations, the disturbing unsubdued thoughts.

These minds are not permanent. The objects of the disturbing negative thoughts are always changing. From where do all these disturbing unsubdued thoughts and minds arise? The ignorance, anger, attachment, and pride, the doubts, the wrong views, and many other delusions, the twenty secondary delusions and the branches of those delusions—there are eighty-four thousand delusions. All these arise from the root, like the mother bee, the king of the disturbing unsubdued mind, ignorance, the “I” grasping ignorance.

Where does ignorance come from? Not realizing the “I” as empty of inherent existence. The person believes the “I” is as it appears, self existent, inherently existent. Grasping. Very strongly believing that the self as it appears to oneself is inherently existent, “That’s true. That is exact … that is true, no doubt, like that. It is absolutely true. There is a fully existent ‘I’.” In the depth of our heart having the definite unshakeable kind of conception or belief. Like that. This is the king or the mother who makes many babies. This is the root from where all the different types of disturbing unsubdued minds arise.

To be free from samsara one must cease the continuity of the cause of samsara, the disturbing unsubdued mind, karma. So the whole thing depends on destroying or extinguishing the “I” grasping ignorance. This is the most important work. This is the basic, essential work, the method to be free from all samsaric suffering.

The “I” is existing dependently, labeled by thought. The way to destroy it is to realize the “I” that is empty of inherent existence. By developing continuously this wisdom realizing voidness, the object, the false object of the “I” grasping ignorance is destroyed. As one develops this wisdom one does not cling any more. One doesn’t believe in the appearance, the inherently existent “I.”

Like, you know, at night time when the sun has set, when it’s not clear, you know, kind of shimmering, while you are walking in the path, you see a sort of tiger coming and you have much fear. So scared. Your mind is so scared. Then you try to find out how I can escape from that. How can I escape from that or how can I kill the tiger. There is all kinds of talk like this, you know, because of fear. As you go closer, closer, suddenly, it is not a tiger, it’s a bush. It has kind of yellow leaves, kind of like that, and there is no tiger. The tiger that you believed in before, that object, completely disappeared. Completely disappeared, nowhere existing. There is no belief, oh this is tiger. There is no more belief. You discover you have been crazy, “Oh I have been crazy completely. I didn’t take any drugs.” I am joking.

So, then even though you go away you still see that bush, but there is no belief that it’s a tiger. You might have the appearance, you know, when you look from faraway, there might be the appearance, but there is no belief that there is a tiger as before. Like that, the “I” grasping ignorance gets completely destroyed by having realized the voidness of the self. Then gradually by following the path one becomes an arhat.

So one can completely remove the cause of suffering. That is the whole conclusion. This is to understand to figure out how the enlightenment is possible to achieve.

Session 6

As I explained this morning, one can be free from the cause of the suffering, the disturbing unsubdued minds, such as this “I” grasping ignorance, it can be destroyed. The details are explained in Aryadeva, one highly realized pundit who achieved enlightenment in one lifetime.The Four Hundred Stanzas.

One should have a little bit of an idea, at least, that one can remove the cause of the suffering, you know, the possibility. All the obscurations can be purified. Therefore enlightenment is possible to achieve.

So far, you know, numberless other sentient beings have achieved enlightenment. Even after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took the form of having achieved enlightenment in India, and turned the Dharma wheel, incredible numbers of sentient beings have achieved enlightenment, due to actualizing the teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. We haven’t achieved enlightenment yet because we haven’t finished completely the work of purifying the obscurations.

In regards obscurations, one obscuration is the disturbing unsubdued mind. Without purifying this there is no way to achieve even the release from the samsara, nirvana.

In Tibetan term this obscuration is called nyön dib. The reason I call ignorance, anger, attachment, all those, “disturbing unsubdued minds,” is because they are delusions, obscurations, but in English there isn’t much difference—obscuration, delusion—somehow they don’t seem so much different. So anyway, “disturbing unsubdued mind,” because it describes the function of the mind.

Lama Tsongkhapa who is the transformation of the Buddha, gave the definition of this type of mind. That is called nyön.mon.ba in Tibetan. This is the negative mind that has the function of making the mind of that person unpeaceful, unsubdued, unhappy.

Ignorance pollutes the person’s mind. It obscures the person’s mind, making it unpeaceful, unhappy. So because of the functions of these types of negative minds, they are called disturbing unsubdued mind. They do not benefit. They disturb your peace. So it’s very clear. The Tibetan term nyön.mon.ba means unclear, the nature of mind that is unclear, unsubdued, ignorant. Like very dirty water, not calm, clean.

So in order to achieve the release from samsara to nirvana, one has to remove these disturbing unsubdued obscurations. These are called nyon.dib in Tibetan.

The reason one is still not enlightened even if one has purified this disturbing unsubdued mind is because there is still the subtle obscuration, in Tibetan she dib.

[end of tape]

...the ignorance that believes the “I” is truly existent, and that the objects of the senses, everything, all existences are truly existent, self existent, inherently existent, and the impressions of the ignorance of true existence is the subtle obscuration. The dual vision, which is an illusion, which has risen due to the impression is the subtle obscuration, in Tibetan she dib. Obscuration of the omniscient mind, I think maybe easier to understand.

As long as we don’t purify the subtle obscuration, this she dib, there is no chance to achieve omniscient mind and there is no way to fully see all the three times’ existence—the past existence, present existence, all the future existence. This subtle obscuration obscures the mind from fully seeing all existence without any exception.

How it is possible to completely remove this obscuration? A simple way to understand—the white cloth that is filthy, full of smell, very dirty, black—it is possible to clean this white cloth. Why? Why? Because the white cloth itself is not oneness with the dirt. The cloth itself is not dirt, you know.

Not a good example to hear after lunch, anyway.

Another good way to understand—someone who has diarrhea in the pants, you know, kaka, you call it dirty but you don’t have to throw them away, you can clean it and wear it again, you know. That is because the cloth itself is not kaka. So in the case of our present mind, even though our present mind itself is obscured, is ignorant, the mind itself is not the obscuration. It is not mixed, not oneness with obscuration. Just the cloth is temporarily covered by excrement, our present mind is temporary obscured.

To clean the cloth you wash it in the water, with soap, and the dirt goes away. The smell goes away, then again you wash it in clean water. You clean it gradually. Similarly, one has to follow the graduated path, the remedy, which removes the obscurations.

To receive nirvana, the release from samsara, there are five paths that one has to approach, you know. The path of merit and the path of action and then the right seeing path—you will find there are several books that describe these paths. There is one book Geshe Ngawang Dhargye, one yellow book, Tibetan what tradition?

[Student: Tibetan Tradition on Mental Development.]

Oh mental development… That’s right.

That book contains descriptions of those paths, so you can read that book if you want to know more details and also His Holiness Dalai Lama’s book, The Opening of the Wisdom Eye. That is very profound. It’s very deep, some parts are difficult to understand but you might get some idea.; it gives the basic introduction of the path, you know.

Anyway, just to have a little idea, I’m just, you know, going through this.

There is the path of meditation, the fourth, then the path of no need training. There are five paths to achieve nirvana, the release from samsara. Then also the path to achieve nirvana—there are two paths, the path of the hearer and answer and the path of self-victorious one, the Theravada path.

Then again to achieve enlightenment by following the bodhisattva’s path, again there are five paths. The titles are similar. The Mahayana path of merit, the Mahayana path of action, [pause] the merit of the Mahayana path, the action of the Mahayana path, and the right seeing Mahayana path, then the meditation of the Mahayana path and no need training of the Mahayana path. To achieve enlightenment there are five Mahayana paths of the bodhisattva path.

So to achieve the, to achieve the highest goal, enlightenment, one should approach gradually these five paths. The door to the Mahayana path to receive enlightenment is bodhicitta. So if you have generated bodhicitta you enter the Mahayana path. As long as the bodhicitta is not generated within your mind there is no way to enter the Mahayana path. There is no way to approach this Mahayana path. The door to the Theravada path, the lesser vehicle path, is the pure thought renouncing samsara. As long as the pure thought fully renounce samsara is not generated, as long as it’s not in your mind, there is no way to enter this path… it is impossible to approach, to generate these five paths and impossible to achieve nirvana.

However, if one is going to become an arhat, going to achieve nirvana, then as one approaches on those five paths, when one achieves the right seeing path, as one continuously meditates on voidness, on shunyata, as one has generated the remedy of the path of right seeing, it removes a certain number of the obscurations, the disturbing unsubdued minds. Then after that one achieves the path of meditation, and this removes the rest of the disturbing unsubdued minds. Like that. As one has generated the remedy, the path of meditation, you know, which removes those types of the disturbing unsubdued thoughts—anyway, this involves very much detail. It has a very long description.

When the monks study in the monastery, first of all they study a condensed small text—introductions, definitions, meanings, how many delusions it removes. the numbers of the path, the definition of each path, the meaning of each path. Within each path there are also branches, you know … divisions. In the path of merit, there is the small path of merit, the middle path of merit, and the higher path of merit, greater path of merit. So there are books about this basic idea, the introduction of these five paths.

At very beginning, at the very beginning, the very first thing they study is what I mentioned the other day in the introduction of beginningless mind. The meanings of form and formless, how many branches, the meaning of colors and then how many different colors there are, the definitions of each object of the senses. You know, what’s the meaning of the object of sense of ear; what’s the meaning of the object of tongue? And then it gets more and more complicated. As you come further and further, study more and more, as you go through the text, it gets deeper and deeper, wider and wider. Then after it talks about cause and result, you know. First of all there is a small text that talks about cause and effect, then there’s another text, great cause and result, another text, with more detailed explanations.

So what I was saying yesterday about the mind and all these definitions of existence, impermanence, permanence—the definition each one, all these branches. Here, even the very little monks, the youngest ones, the real little ones, the tiny ones, if you ask them what’s the meaning of ten.bo, what’s the meaning of she.pa, what’s the meaning of existence, they will answer right away. They have already memorized it. They have gone through these subjects. These are beginner’s subjects. Actually the subjects they study are kind of very surprising, according to the west and even for grown-up people. In university, if you spend thirty, forty, fifty years there and study all the .. psychology, everything, everything that is taught, and then you ask one question, on these basic things, just what’s the meaning of consciousness, he might say come tomorrow. Anyway, I am joking

I mean, of course you can help other people by studying … I am not criticizing studying psychology. I am sure you can benefit others. As long as you can benefit other people, other sentient beings, of course it’s very good, anything, anything. But generally regards subject, studying this Buddhadharma, even if you study for ten days or five days, what you can understand is so much. Everything is so precise, so clear, no mistake.

So then like that. If you ask these small tiny boys, they can answer right away. Then the subject becomes more deeper and deeper, more and more clear and more and more clear; deeper and deeper like this. Then afterwards then there are texts that become more and more difficult, more and more complicated, like this. Anyway, once you understand there is no confusion. It’s not complicated.

Then after having studied this basic small text there’s one text involving reasons. Then there is another text that contains only descriptions about mind. These boys, not the tiny ones, small ones, but most of the boys have studied these things. They study the root, basic, the small text that gives a general idea of the whole path, definitions, the divisions, and the whole basic idea. Then they study details, the long text, such as the Maitreya Buddha’s text, which has eight chapters. Then the details of all the path. They memorize all the root texts, they memorize commentaries. They memorize and then they gave recite them, you know, by heart every night, like that. And then they take teachings from the teacher, and they have to think, they try to understand, because the teacher has given so many questions, so much doubt. And then he has to try to find the answer by himself by thinking, reading the text, or by debating the other monks. Then sometimes you find the answer from your own wisdom, or from other monks, those who have the answer. If you are not sure, you check with the teacher. This style of studying the Dharma is very, very deep and very extensive.

Then of course, of course at the same time they do this form of study, debating like this, memorizing, all these things, and not including the prayers that they do in the morning. And at the same time they meditate also on the lam-rim, and they try to watch their own mind, observe their own mind, you know, try to practice Dharma. They try to not create negative karma, to protect oneself from rising the disturbing unsubdued minds.

They develop intellectual understanding. They also try to develop experience. A person who does meditation practice and studying together in this way finds the answer quicker. And all those doubts get removed. If the person hasn’t studied extensive scripture like that, you know, doing only practice meditation with a small understanding of lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, from a small text, and then they meditate on this graduated path to enlightenment—I mean one can find the answer to the meditation if one’s meditation is working well, the practice of Buddhadharma. But it takes time, much time to find the answer. To release the doubt.

I think that’s about tea time?

Student: How Buddhism approaches people with mental illness in reference to reincarnation … what happens with that people with their karma?
Rinpoche: The person who died with mind, who died was born?
Student: With mental illness.. how do they reincarnate and what opportunities do they have?
Rinpoche: Their past life or present life?
Student: In their future life.
Rinpoche: The future life depends on his karma, whichever karma is stronger that he has accumulated in previous…

Session 7

…by having generated the tenth level of the path, having completed the meditation on voidness, shunyata and having finished accumulating merit of virtue and wisdom, the subtle obscurations are completely removed. Whenever the subtle obscurations are completely removed then, then you see, he achieves the state of omniscient mind. That’s how he becomes a fully enlightened being, that bodhisattva.

So as we reach higher and higher paths, the obscurations become thinner. At the beginning, there are very heavy thick obscurations, then afterwards the remedies are greater, and what has to be purified, removed is thinner…

[end of tape]

So, when this mind, the continued nature of consciousness, becomes omniscient mind then the absolute nature of this mind becomes the absolute nature of the omniscient mind, the sambhogakaya, the holy state of the absolute nature, like this.

So the stages of enlightenment that you will achieve by completing the path, purifying obscurations, are like this—rupakaya state of enlightenment, and Dharmakaya. Rupakaya and Dharmakaya. They are like this.

Rupakaya has also two types, sambogakaya and nirmanakaya. Sambogakaya and nirmanakaya. Again Dharmakaya has two things—the Dharmakaya of the transcendental wisdom and svabhavakaya, like this.

The nirmanakaya has two divisions—the transformation of the craftsmen and the reincarnated transformation, the incarnated transformation. The transformation of the craftsman is the transformation of Buddha, such as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s transformation without taking the form of birth. He transforms wherever there is the necessity to subdue sentient beings. There was one king in the worldly god realm who played the violin very well. Guru Shakyamuni subdued that king with his transformation.

Anyway, the details of this enlightenment, the qualities of enlightenment, the qualities of Buddha, later on, if you take teachings on the Abhisamalankara, this extensive scripture, written by Buddha Maitreya, in the eighth chapter there are details of the qualities of Buddha, details about enlightenment, detailed information about enlightenment. If you see commentaries, books on that chapter, you will get a much more elaborate understanding about enlightenment.

In order to achieve this fully enlightened state, what kind of path should you follow in order to achieve this goal? You should follow the Dharma that was shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that has been handed down from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.

To achieve this fully enlightened state, Buddhahood state, depends on the virtuous friend, the virtuous friend, in Sanskrit term, the guru. One should have a guru who is able to show perfectly without mistake the whole graduated path to enlightenment.

It is not sufficient to meet a guru who is unable to show the complete path to enlightenment but who is able to show the some part of the path—who is only able to show the method to find a good rebirth future life, the path of the lower capable being. The teacher who is able to show only that method cannot lead the disciple to enlightenment. Cannot lead oneself to enlightenment. Then there is the teacher who shows the path to receive only nirvana, the release from samsara, but is unable to show the Mahayana path to enlightenment. Again, again that teacher can’t lead oneself to reach enlightenment.

So therefore in order to reach enlightenment, where one wishes to be, one should seek a perfectly qualified guru who is able to show the whole path, from beginning up to end, enlightenment, the highly qualified, the perfectly qualified teacher who is able to show the graduated path of the lower capable being, the middle capable being, and the higher capable being, higher capable being. Then, if one wishes to achieve enlightenment swiftly then by practicing path of the secret mantra, one should meet, seek the perfectly qualified guru who is also who show the path of the secret mantra or the quick path to achieving enlightenment. So therefore, the first thing, the most important that is to seek and to meet the perfect guru.

If one meets the wrong guru, who does not emphasize cherishing other sentient beings more than oneself, who does not emphasize this at all, then it is impossible to achieve enlightenment with that guru, to obtain only one’s own happiness. One who does not emphasize that it is more important to make preparation and work for the future life cannot save the disciple even from the rebirth of the suffering transmigratory being. Cannot save from the animal rebirth, cannot save from preta or narak rebirths, because he does not emphasize renouncing attachment, clinging to the happiness of this life and working for the happiness future lives. He doesn’t show the method. He emphasizes how to make this life happy, only the works of this life. So what he teaches is worldly work, only to obtain happiness for this life.

When one dies, as one has not renounced attachment seeking happiness this life, as one dies with this attachment, clinging to happiness this life, that person dies with this type of mind, and is reborn in the realm of suffering transmigratory beings. If the guru doesn’t understand karma, doesn’t understand the cause of happiness, suffering, he teaches many wrong methods, such as burning oneself in the fire to receive nirvana, things think like that. If you sacrifice yourself then you’ll born in heaven or whatever, or if you jump on this spear, you know, and it goes through the body, straight through the body, then you will receive nirvana.

Then sexual misconduct—as an offering, as a path, there are many conceptions that believe it to be a kind of good action when it is actually creating negative karma, which only makes the disciple fall in the naraks, fall in the lower realm. It is extremely important to check well, to examine the guru well before one’s teachings, before one makes the relationship, guru and disciple.

It is impossible to achieve enlightenment, to generate bodhicitta, to receive realization of the wisdom realizing voidness, to achieve release from samsara, without a guru. Many people think, what’s the point of having a guru? There are books written in English—if you read the book, what’s the point of having a guru, then you just meditate. Then, you know, that’s enough. That’s enough.

Many people have this kind of idea, and that is a mistake, lack of understanding Dharma, not having understood lam-rim teachings, or not having heard the teachings from the graduated path to enlightenment. However it is impossible to receive the realization of the graduated path to enlightenment—without the guru, there is no way to understand perfectly. However if the teaching is received from the guru with experience then the disciple, by perfectly following the guru and practicing that teaching, is able to generate quickly the realization to the path, you know, without much difficulty.

Anyway, there are numberless buddhas, great yogis, you know, like this, in India, Tibet, many countries like this, and there hasn’t been anyone who achieved enlightenment without the guru, by only reading books, especially in English.

Any action, any work that we do in the daily life, for that to become a cause of happiness, and not to become a cause of suffering, it depends on having good motivation or good heart. To become a cause of happiness it has to become Dharma. If the action does not become Dharma, there is no way for the action to become the cause of happiness. For the action to become Dharma, then first of all, the motivation of the action has to be Dharma. If the motivation is not Dharma, it is not virtue. If it didn’t become Dharma, didn’t become virtue, then the Dharma that the person is practicing doesn’t become Dharma. Meditating or reciting prayers or reading books, Dharma books, the person is keeping silence, fasting, whatever he is doing and believing that I am doing Dharma, I am doing something positive, or some kind of pure action or something like that—it doesn’t become Dharma if the person’s mind is not virtue, if the motivation is not Dharma.

Therefore it is extremely important when one has some opportunity to practice Dharma to do some meditation or study Dharma. During those periods it is extremely important that those actions become Dharma. Then even in general life, in the daily activities, it is extremely important to have a good motivation, good heart. If the daily activities—eating, drinking, sleeping, working, all those things, talking, making business—are done without being possessed by the three poisonous minds.

If the motivation is virtue, pure, without being polluted by this negative mind seeking only the pleasures of this life then all those actions become Dharma. This is definitely beneficial for the happiness of this and future lives, even if the person is not concerned about that at all.

This is easy and useful to understand. Normally I mention the examples of the different levels of motivation as they were explained by the guru of gurus, whose holy name is Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, who did immeasurable work for sentient beings, the complete path of sutra and tantra.

There are four people reciting prayers. The first recites with the motivation only of happiness for this life—to have a long life, to not get sick, to have material wealth, or to have power. The second recites with a little higher motivation—the happiness of the future lives. The third person recites with the motivation not only…

[end of tape]

…not having that much offering to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, the merit field, and not having made continual requests to the gurus or buddhas or the deities. Even if one has met Dharma, even if one is trying to practice Dharma, then sometimes these problems arise. So that much, at this point…

A little emphasis on the guru. You have to examine, you know, basically like that what was explained yesterday. Those are the very basic ones. And then especially if the guru himself, you know, doesn’t have any understanding of the two truths, or understanding of voidness, the meaning of selflessness, if he himself doesn’t have this experience, if he has completely false understanding, wrong understanding about voidness, he cannot help the disciple cut off the root of samsara, the “I” grasping ignorance. He cannot guide the disciple to be free from samsara. So this is one basic thing, one basic quality of the teacher to check.

For instance, one example. Atisha heard for many years from many learned people about Lama Serlingpa—how he was a great bodhisattva, great holy being, with the achievement of bodhicitta. Many transformations of buddhas had told him it is necessary to generate bodhicitta to attain enlightenment. So he decided to go to Serling, which is in Indonesia, I think, to see the guru Serlingpa. He stopped on the way to see Lama Serlingpa’s disciples in their retreat place. He checked with those disciples—how is Lama Serlingpa, despite his famous name. In spite of having heard all those things, he still checked with those disciples. Then he decided to seek his Guru Serlingpa. He spent twelve years taking all the teachings on bodhicitta. And he generated bodhicitta when he was living with Serlingpa.

Nowadays, general people don’t check so much when they seek their guru—their practices, their realizations, experiences, teachings, and method. Whether it has been beneficial or not to other disciples in pacifying the unsubdued mind. They just follow by rumor whoever is most famous, without any doubt, without checking.

The guru who is perfect is able to show the whole teaching, the whole method to obtain temporal and ultimate happiness, to free from samsara and achieve great enlightenment. His mind is the qualified experience of the path. There are perfectly qualified gurus in the world who are not famous and are unknown, whose practice is not announced to the world, and who have very few disciples. But there are many disciples who follow the wrong guru. That is because there are less sentient beings who have the fortune to meet a perfectly qualified guru who is able to show the whole path. That fortunate disciple who is able to meet such a guru is very rare.

At the beginning it’s extremely important to check up. Then after one has finished making the relationship, you know, the guru and disciple, having received Buddhadharma, even if one did not receive a complete teaching, a complete text, but just one stanza of Buddhadharma, the relationship is already done. There is nothing to change, there is nothing to renounce, there is nothing to give up. If, after has received, you know, one stanza of Buddhadharma, if one renounces the guru and heresy arises, one creates the heaviest negative karma. Anyway, this point you will gradually you understand as you study.

So therefore it’s important at the beginning to check up and to be skilful, like that. So after one made the relationship, took the teachings, then one should follow perfectly, correctly, doing the practice of the guru. How important it is—that is like this example. The practice of guru is the root of the tree, like that. If the root is burned, dried, the stem does not grow, the leaves do not come, and there are no branches, no flowers, no fruit. Then you don’t have chance to enjoy that fruit from that tree. The right practice of the guru is like the very root of the tree. And then the branches, the stems are like the graduated path to nirvana, to enlightenment. And enjoying the fruit is the achievement of nirvana, then having achievement of enlightenment.

So the results, temporal happiness, ultimate happiness, all these things, generating the path, the whole thing, are completely dependent on the root, the very root, the correct practice of the guru.

I did not recite this prayer in English today, but it is here at the very beginning, at the very beginning. This is the prayer which contains the essence of the sutra path and the tantra path.

[Student:...]

The ninth, but I am not going to read the whole thing now. I am just going to read one part out, the very first paragraph, relating to this talk and that’s all.

“The guru is the basis from which I receive all my knowledge. He’s extremely kind and venerable, understanding well that following the guru correctly is the root of the path, please grant me blessings to follow with great devotion and dauntless effort.”

This subject might take seven months to explain, you know. Just by reading this, you know, new people cannot understand so much from that. However there is a specific meditation on this.

Anyway the conclusion is, if one is able to receive this realization, seeing the guru in the essence of Buddha, it is possible to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime by practicing the path of secret mantra or tantra. This is the very root of this realization. This method causes you to achieve the enlightenment, the unified Vajradhara, without following the path for many eons, without depending on practicing Dharma for many lifetimes. So by having this realization, one can achieve enlightenment in one lifetime or in a second lifetime, third lifetime, very swiftly, without much difficulty.

So this realization, this realization, seeing the guru in the essence of Buddha, is the root of the whole path, the whole realization. Many people talk about Vajrayana or the tantra path as the shortcut path to enlightenment—if you practice this then you will enlightenment, without much difficulty. Anyway, it is true, it is true, it is explained like this in the teachings of tantra, and numberless great yogis in the past have achieved enlightenment in one lifetime, by having generated very strong unshakeable realization, seeing the guru in the essence of Buddha. Such as, you know, the great yogi Milarepa, you know,

So the practice of guru yoga is not only meditating, visualizing the guru in the aspect of Buddha. But it is trying to realize the guru is in essence the Buddha. How? By meditating on the subjects of the guru, especially as explained in the lam-rim teachings. By using all the reasons in the meditation, and the quotations. Doing this, try to identify how the guru is in essence Buddha.

There are eight benefits of perfectly following the guru, and if one makes mistakes in the practice of guru devotion, there are eight disadvantages.

Then there are four basic outlines—maybe I just mention just briefly the eight benefits. By coming closer to enlightenment and pleasing all the buddhas, one is not afflicted by evil friends—one cannot be misguided by the people who have wrong view, or by maras.

Next, all the negative actions and disturbing unsubdued minds are ceased. All the realizations of the path are increased. Then even after one dies, in the future lives one will never become poor, not having the perfect guru. There are two kinds of poverty—material and Dharma wisdom. This is poverty of not having the perfect guru.

Then also, one does not fall into the suffering realms. Then whatever one wishes to do for the benefit of others becomes successful. And the conclusion, the main benefit—by perfectly following the guru one achieves enlightenment quickly.

Then there are four basic outlines to justify seeing the guru in the essence of Buddha, through the person, through oneself. One has to meditate on these things as it’s explained in the teachings of the graduated path to enlightenment. This time why I mentioned at the beginning, is just to give you an idea of it and the importance of it. Like that.

For those who wish to practice Dharma, it is extremely important to receive teachings on this meditation. I didn’t ask anybody here, please come to listen my Dharma, so you have to think of your own life, you know, one has to decide.

Session 8

Remembering the stories, how they received the showers of realizations, realizations like rainfall after having generated this realization of guru yoga practice. Those are very useful to understand and to remember. Also to destroy the laziness and to encourage the mind. Especially when you feel hopeless—how can I achieve realization? How can I practice Dharma? When all kinds of thoughts arise, especially those times it is very useful to read about the meditators, the great yogis, and their earlier lives. Milarepa has disharmony with his uncle and aunt, and then the mother sent Milarepa to learn languages and he met a teacher who taught him black magic and then at his aunt and uncle’s party he used the black magic to kill almost everyone. I think his aunt or uncle alone survived. He accumulated heavy karma in early life, then in his later life he became fully enlightened, having met his guru Marpa and perfectly following his advice. He did incredible hardship practices—building nine story towers three times. His guru Marpa told him to do this, and then told him to take them down, stone by stone, back to the place he had brought them from.

[end of tape]

Whatever orders were given by Marpa, he followed them. By doing this accumulated infinite, incredible merit and did unimaginable purification. He purified unimaginable obscurations, all the negative karma he had collected in that life and in past lives.

He bore all these difficulties without heresy or wrong view arising to Marpa. He waited for so many years for teachings, and he got none—just beating, scolding all the time. No sweet nice words for Milarepa. He also got the difficult jobs. Marpa gave teachings and initiation to others, but if Milarepa came in he kicked him out. At the end, after many years, Milarepa’s mind was ready and Marpa appeared in the form of Heruka, in that actual aspect, and gave him the initiation. He transformed the mandala with his holy mind and gave him the initiation. Then later Milarepa actualized the whole Vajrayana path. The finished the fundamental path of the mind renouncing samsara, bodhicitta, the wisdom realizing voidness, and having generated the realizations of the whole path of secret mantra he meditated on the winds, and the chakras opened and all the knots of the arteries released through the practice of tantra. Because of this Milarepa was able to give teachings or chant the hymns containing the Dharma subject, in the form of beautiful poems, without any difficulties, without any resistance, without depending on effort. So then like that.

Why he was able to … why he was able to do that? Because through practice of tantra, path of the secret mantra, he was able to release the knots of the artery of the speech, the chakra, the speech chakra.

Like this he was able to do great works for other sentient beings, after having achieved the unified state of Vajradhara, the Buddhahood state. He had eight disciples who achieved enlightenment in one lifetime.

Even now, even now, you know, even just his holy name does such great work for other sentient beings—even just hearing, remembering his biography, how he practiced Dharma. So effective, so beneficial for the mind.

However, it’s going to be kind of long, anyway. In the past there was a bodhisattva called Always Crying. He was able to see many buddhas but he was not satisfied and he wanted to meet the guru with whom he had karmic contact, the Bodhisattva Choepa. This is very, very long, long story, but by perfectly following his advice he was able to finish the work of accumulating merit and purifying obscurations within seven years.

When Atisha was in Tibet, his translator was Dromtonpa, his closest disciple. Atisha was able to do great work in Tibet, and destroy many wrong conceptions. One day Atisha was sick, taking the form of being sick, and he make urination and kaka on the bed. Dromtonpa cleaned it up without any discrimination, without any thought of it being dirty or anything. He just took it out with his hand. This and following the orders of his guru, and translating for him, became a method of purification and accumulating extensive merit. All of a sudden he developed clairvoyance without resistance. He was able to see clearly many sentient beings for many hundreds of miles, and read their thoughts.

One of the lineages of lam-rim in this teaching, the followers of Atisha, are the Kadampa Geshes. One Kadampa Geshe called Cheolwa was very obedient. Whatever order was given by the guru, even if he was in meditation, whenever he heard his guru calling him, without completing the practice, without completing the offering mandala or the session, he would get up and offer service anyway. So one day he was cleaning his guru Chengawa’s room, not with vacuum, electricity, but very kind of primitive caves—according to the west it’s wouldn’t be worth even a toilet. He had collected all the garbage in the room, and he was going outside to throw it out.

When he reached the third step, he saw an incredible number of buddhas, having purified unimaginable obscurations, and having collected much merit by offering all the service to his gurus, following his guru Chengawa’s order.

There are so many stories also like this, previous great yogis, meditators, how they achieved the realizations of the path, so many stories. If you read the life story of each of them, great devotion will arise. For example, one of the great lamas in Tibet, Sakya Pandita, whose guru’s holy name is Trakpa Gyaltsen. When his guru Trakpa Gyaltsen was taking the form of being sick, Sakya Pandita, day and night without concern for food and sleep, took care of his guru, like his own life. After some time then his guru Trakpa Gyaltsen gave Sakya Pandita the practice of Manjushri Guru Yoga, and he practiced the Guru Yoga meditation technique that he was given. And then afterwards he, he saw his guru Trakpa Gyaltsen actually as Buddha Manjushri. Then after that, Sakya Pandita became expert in all the knowledge of the points, the logic. He became so far famed, and could not be controlled by human beings, or non-human beings. Even the king of China was subdued by Sakya Pandita’s teachings.

There are so many stories like this. Experiences of those great yogis and meditators. As I’ve already mentioned, one of the advantages of following the guru is that all the realizations of the path are increased. This advantage has been experienced by this great meditator. Anyway, I think, that much, just some emphasis on this point, I think it’s a nice time to take a peepee break.

In the previous courses, the meditation subject or the teachings followed the outline of the teachings on the graduated path of the lower capable beings, then some outlines from the teachings on the graduated path of the middle capable being. This time, more or less, I am going straight to the thought training subject.

One important thing for the teachings to be effective to one’s own mind is how to explain the teaching from the side of the teacher and how to listen to the teachings from the side of the disciple. There are details on that. Anyway, without need to talk about all those details, you know, what it is explained in the teachings, emphasizing some of the important points, you know, the rough points, important points, in the teachings it is said that there are many disciplines from the side of the teacher to explain the teachings. The most important thing is that the motivation explaining the teachings not be possessed by attachment seeking the happiness of this life. The teaching should be explained by the guru without pride, without this poisonous mind. This is the main most important main discipline.

I myself don’t follow those disciplines, coming from the room with much big pride, you know, with big pride, with enormous pride, bigger than Mount Everest. pride, you know, then with much attachment. Seeking the happiness of this life, without one single thought to benefit others, only to get reputation. Only to benefit oneself.

For the teaching to be effective, to be beneficial for one’s own mind, the mind should be devoid of three mistakes—not like the pot upside down. If pot is upside down, you know, whatever you pour, honey, milk, you know, doesn’t go inside, doesn’t stay inside. If the mind is not paying attention to the teaching, not listening, but the body is here, and the mind is shopping in Katmandu, or the mind is in the west, somewhere where there is beautiful beach, no matter how profound the teaching that is given there is no place to stay. Do the mind must not be like the pot upside down. And then the listener’s mind being devoid of the pot with a hole. If the pot has a hole, whatever you pour, precious juice or nectar, it won’t stay there, it will go through. If the person does not try to comprehend or does not try to hold it, if he doesn’t try to keep it in the mind, this does not benefit the mind. Then the listening mind is like the pot, you know, the filthy pot, the pot with a bad smell. If you put anything inside, you still smell the smell. This is like the listener listening the teaching with an impure motivation; not listening to benefit one’s own mind. Or listening teaching with attachment, seeking the happiness of this life, thinking, I can go back to the west and teach so many people, so many people will follow me and I will be very famous.

In the teachings it is explained that one should listen to teachings with the six recognitions, six recognitions. The first is recognizing the teacher explaining the teachings as a skilful doctor. And that the teaching itself is medicine. And that the listener oneself is the patient.

To practice Dharma for a long time, having the recognition that you will recover from the disease by doing the precise practice of Dharma. Also having the recognition that the arhats, buddhas, bodhisattvas, and those who have achieved path are holy beings.

Anyway, these three—seeing the teacher as the doctor, the teaching as medicine, and oneself as the patient. These three are extremely important to remember frequently or firstly at the beginning of the session, so the rest of the teaching should become effective for one’s own mind.

We are actually patients because we have the disturbing unsubdued mind disease. 

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