Kopan Course No. 08 (1975)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1975 (Archive #089)

These teachings were given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Eighth Kopan Meditation Course at Kopan Monastery, Nepal in 1975. The transcripts are lightly edited by Tsultrim Davis.

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

Section One: Lectures 1 to 5

LECTURE 1: November 9, 1975 (morning)

RENOUNCING A LIFE OF IGNORANCE Before, so far what we have done, all these various things, prayers, these different things, all this is purification. Purification is a method to pacify mental and physical suffering, and each of these are different forms of practice, with so many different explanations. I will describe them another time.

Anyway, you people are not satisfied with normal life. What you’ve been doing, and wanting to search for, is a new method, a new way that brings satisfaction, real happiness in your life, trying to seek something new by feeling that what we have been doing so far, the method that we have been using, you know, is not perfect, something is wrong with it. Because of this, we are meeting each other, and I am happy. I am happy. Why? It is not just because you people have come here to Kopan, not just because of that. It is because, you know, we are waking from sleep, from the ignorant sleep, and starting to receive peace.

If we don’t wake from the ignorant sleep, we will live in the darkness of ignorance, and there are always continual problems in life. There is no way to cease any problem, no way to receive any perfect peace. So I think, this time, as we are born as a human being, we have started to wake up. That is something for which I can feel happiness, and you can feel it from your side. It’s also something worthwhile, starting from the tiniest creature, which is difficult to see with the eye sense.

Your coming here didn’t happen because the government called you to come in, like the army, and if you don’t come you go to prison and punishment. It's not like this. Your coming here to study Dharma is a decision made by yourself, you're not being controlled by Tibetan lamas or something. One reason we are meeting each other like this, at this time and this place, is that from your side you have created the reason or cause, what is called karma, in a past time. Also, from my side, I created karma in a past time to meet you and to talk about Dharma with you, to help each other like this. This karma is the one thing that has made the decision that happened like this. It was fixed in the past. Because of this, even though I have no experience at all in meditation, no understanding of Dharma at all—the Dharma teaching is incredibly extensive like an infinite ocean but my understanding is like a little drop out of the infinite ocean—I am speaking about meditation to you. How is it possible to explain to you to subdue your mind if I cannot change my mind? One thing is, because of karma, even though I have no knowledge to explain about Dharma, to talk about meditation, I am explaining to you because of the previous karma that was created by us, from both sides. It is also the order of the depthless kind guru for me to talk about Dharma to you. So because of this, by following this, perhaps this little talk can benefit.

Yesterday you may have been interested to hear what Dharma is and why it is necessary to practice. There are three emphases in the introduction and they are very simple. Starting from the tiniest creatures that are difficult to see with our eyes, starting from those up to human beings, all living beings do not desire suffering and do desire happiness. We want to pacify the suffering and gain the happiness. However, in regard to happiness, there is ultimate happiness and temporal happiness. All happiness is not the same, there are all kinds of different happiness. Ultimate happiness, perfect or ultimate happiness, whatever it is called, is the same; then there is temporal happiness, which is by nature is completely different from the ultimate happiness. However, any happiness depends on Dharma. That arises from the Dharma. There is no other way to receive even temporal happiness without depending on Dharma, without talking about ultimate happiness. One’s interest is in happiness.

I am not going into details why everything depends on happiness. I am not going into details why everything depends on Dharma, I am not going to talk details at this moment, but you will understand gradually, if you wait for a few days, with a bit of patience. Gradually you will understand—that's very important, extremely important.

If you hear something that I say, it is one little boy saying something, but if you understand how it is, if it is a correct thing, a logical thing, of course you can believe in it. If you see it as a logical thing, if you understand how it is, do completely renounce, but if you do not understand it do not completely give up—maybe there is some benefit if you try to understand, if you check up. If you try to understand, maybe there is some benefit inside of this. Inside of this talk, some benefit, if you try to understand. If you try to check up, what is wrong or right, if it is the right thing—if you discover it is right, of course, and if you discover it is wrong, also wrong logically this is also helpful, as it dispels the wrong conception. Even though you discover it is logically wrong, or even though you discover it is right, both are useful.

SUFFERING AND HAPPINESS ARISE FROM INTERNAL FACTORS
Oh, why is Dharma the only cause to cease the suffering and gain the happiness? Because gaining the happiness and pacifying the suffering arises only from the internal factors. It doesn’t arise from the external factors, from the material conditions. For instance, simply like this: Eastern people are primitive people, living in the mountains. Let’s say he left for the West, he starts to drink coffee, and at first it has a burnt smell, you know, like leaves or grains, kind of roasted, or burnt. He may not get a good taste, you know, he may find it very strange, he may not like it. But once he drinks it twice, a third time, fourth time, the more and more he drinks, gradually his discrimination changes and his taste changes. Then afterwards, he finds it more and more delicious, he is more and more happy with it. Then, he can’t live without coffee, you know. He can’t stand it without drinking a cup of coffee. But the smell and taste are the same from the side of the coffee. The change came from his mind. So, totally it comes from the mind, and now we can understand the changes from the beginning—the delicious taste, that feeling, and after one month, year, that taste is pleasant, good. But the differences are a creation of his mind.

So the suffering, happiness, do not arise only from external factor, they rise mainly from the internal factors. Another example, for instance, is like this: one person who harmed you in the past times, as you sit on the bed, you think of that person, "In the market, when I met him he told me such horrible words, the way he looked at me with his eyes was so terrible," and inside your mind you try to remember the face he showed as he was talking. The more you meditate, the more you think of this, your heart or your mind becomes more and more heavy, uncomfortable. Something incredible, an unbearable thing arises from the depth of your heart, and then afterwards anger becomes so strong and even if person is [far away] in the West, he manifests in your mind and you become nervous, unhappy and are suffering, your mind is in such an unhappy state. But if all of a sudden you change your way of thinking, giving up this negative way of thinking, remembering how this person has been kind to me, how he gave me a cup of tea—I’m joking, anyway, you know. He said something fantastic about me, or even a small thing, remember his kindness at that time, and don’t discriminate him as the enemy. You feel he is a friend, you feel he is a relative. You feel loving, you see him as beautiful, good, and you feel happiness, joyfulness. Just by this different way of thinking, the way you think of the person changes, and the picture of that person that rises in your mind, you know, is different.

So, both are the creation of your mind. They have arisen only from your mind, the internal factor. They are just a matter of different conceptions of how you believe, or how you think of him. So the arising of happiness or suffering with that object depends on your mind. So, that’s why I’m saying, this experience does not only arise from external factors, but by the material conditions. This introduction is mainly for the new people who did not attend the meditation course before, and who did not receive many Dharma teachings. So, briefly talking it’s like this. Just like this example that I have mentioned before, use similarities with the rest of your experiences. Any suffering or any happiness, this evolution, is something that becomes more and more profound, the more you check up, the more you understand.

Ever since this earth evolved, since the human beings started to live on it and started to make external developments, so far the more they have made the external world has been becoming mentally and physically more and more busy. However, the problems have not ceased yet, and the ultimate peace has not been received yet. The only effect from that method has been physically and mentally keeping oneself more and more busy. This century people are more and more busy like this. At the very beginning the human beings were so much more relaxed, they didn’t make the external development by machine. Like in the present time, as you know very clearly through history, life has been more and more busy, more and more busy. In the same way, the world's problems, instead of becoming less are becoming more, they have been increasing more, becoming more and more dangerous.

This means there is something missing in the method that has been used from previous time until now. The human beings who are living on the earth, the method that they have been using, there is something wrong, something is missing. The method that has been developed in the mind, in order to increase the peace or happiness in one’s mind, the method is missing due to ignorance, not knowing, not recognizing the method. Due to ignorance and the wrong conception, the external development is believed to be the only method, the only way to receive happiness. This is the thing that has been keeping us in problems all of the time, instead of the mind becoming more and more pacified, peaceful.

The person who has everything, every material thing, whatever he wants, everything around him, and still no satisfaction, still wanting more, getting bored with what he has, even though it was an admirable object before, he has such dissatisfaction, wanting more, discontent, and suffering arises from the mind. This is the experience of many people who live by begging. If they only relied on the material conditions then the people who have everything, all the material conditions, whatever they want, their mind should be so peaceful, more and more peaceful, more and more happy, more and more satisfied. Whenever there is dissatisfaction, there is unhappiness. So you see, they should be more and more happy, more and more satisfied, well content, if it was only up to the external conditions. It should be like this; it would happen like this.

However, it isn't like this. You can check up on this. Even if he is the most famous, most famous, even he is the most wealthy person and though he has title such as president, king, or this and that, he has so much, so much worry, so much worry to lose his material power, to lose the reputations which he has through material power. He is worried to lose, worried to not gain any more and worried that, "Maybe the other people will become more rich and begin controlling me," you know. He has so much worry, he also has worry that he is unable to protect his possessions, unable to protect the surrounding peoples also, like a king or president or things like that. He has so much, so much worry that even to have comfortable sleep, even to relax the mind in the night time, is very difficult. There is always so much criticism from the people so much criticism, from the people so much complaint, so much, all the time there is something wrong. So much worry. When we have even just one or two friends who are complaining, who get angry, you know, how much unhappiness our mind feels, can’t stand it. So, when the whole country, the whole value of people don’t like you, then the mind is very difficult to relax.

Even someone whose feet never seem to touch the ground, you know? No matter how beautiful, how rich looking, living, eating, wearing, someone is, their mind doesn't enjoy those things, it doesn’t feel the way it appears to us.That person has no time to taste the food, lunch, no time to even enjoy those things. Contrary to that, however, is the beggar, who doesn’t have that much responsibility, who doesn’t have that much wealth, material possessions, things like that. He just takes food. Other people don’t criticize that much, or complain about him, and if he gets his lunch, he is satisfied. I’m talking about different people’s experience, like this.

So, when we think of it in this other way, we find that the beggar has more peace in his mind, more happiness, even though he doesn’t have reputation. The whole thing is the mind, mind problem, internal problem. We think the external people who disturb our happiness are absolute, real enemy, but even if we kill all the living beings who are on this earth and make only non-existent all people on this earth, even you did like that, still, still there is no peace in the mind. Still there is no peace in the mind. Because there is still the anger existing in the mind, which discriminates, which causes you to view other living beings as enemies.

Even if you could do that, kill everyone else living on this earth and be alone, still your enemy is not finished. Your enemies are not finished, not destroyed. Your real enemy is not destroyed. Why that person is still not free from the enemy is because the real enemy is anger. Anger makes you see other beings as enemy, to discriminate enemy from friend. Even if you are alone many problems arise, like feeling lonely and all these things. That’s also mind problem, the mental suffering. Even if you are with other people, and if, again, instead of feeling peace, harmony, you have so much confusion, so much unhappiness, that is also one’s own mind problem. Suffering rises from the mind.

Like this, even when one doesn’t have this physical body, even when this physical body disappears, still that does not mean the mind is free from suffering. Even when the body disappears, that does not mean the person is free from sufferings. It doesn’t mean this, because the mind does not disappear with the body. At the same time the physical body disappears, because mind and body are different things, they have different evolution, the mind doesn't disappear. It is just like this.

The mind and body are like a man who is riding on the horse, like that completely. The horse and the man who is riding on the horse are completely different, and like this the mind and body are completely different. For instance, you know, if the horse dies, if the horse is dead and its body disappears, that doesn’t mean the man who is riding the horse also dies and his body has to disappear, it doesn’t mean that.

So, like this example, even this body, you know, the body which is the vehicle of the mind, even if this disappears, the mind doesn’t have to disappear at the same time, there is still mind, there is still mind continuously existing. So therefore, even if there is no body, that does not mean the mind is free from suffering, it doesn’t mean that. Mind is still bound by the three poisonous minds, ignorance, anger and attachment. The mind is living in suffering, not free from the suffering, so, even though there is no body existing, mind is still existing and not free from suffering. So the self, the person, is not free from suffering.

THE THREE POISONOUS MINDS
As the person’s mind is bound by the suffering, by the three poisonous minds, the self is not free from suffering, because the self is bound by the three poisonous minds. Like this, anger is very dangerous. Anger is very dangerous. Anyway, more details will come afterwards, but however, anger, just as an example of how dangerous it is… O ya! O! It is like ... it is like the flame, fire, you know, very dangerous. Oh, that it can burn, it can destroy all your objects of the enjoyment! It can burn the beautiful objects, the possessions, the house, and it can also burn oneself, it can cause danger to the life. Many times in the West there is danger of the fire, burning the apartment and destroying many possessions.

However, anger is, you know, very violent, very, very violent to the mind, and it is of great harm, very harmful to one’s own peace, and also is of great harm to the peace of others, other living beings, very harmful, anger. As the anger arises, then you get angry with your family, you scold, you beat them, and you kill them, and also, beside that, you kill many others with anger. When this mind arises, this violent mind arises, you kill many hundreds of people, thousands, millions of people, and also it causes danger, it cause danger to oneself, puts oneself in the danger of death, killing and being killed oneself. Oh, there are many things, also breaking one’s own possessions in the house... It is necessary to break, it is no use, no use to break the possessions, things, tables, plates, things like that. But once you get angry, you break things, like the TV, oh, things like that. It is not necessary, it doesn’t help, it doesn’t help at all. Like this, many unnecessary things, problems you create.

However, anger is just like that, which destroys all the beauties. To say it simply, it is very harmful to one's enjoyment of this life. It is like this, and the attachment, attachment is like the black ink, the black ink when it gets on the clothes, when it gets on beautiful clothes, on the papers, the papers, where there is beautiful paintings, drawings or letters. When the black ink, when the black ink gets in the papers, it obscures, it obscures the beautiful painting, the beautiful drawings, there, you can’t see it, and it is not like you put something like a drop of water, that you just wipe it off. The black ink, the black ink, when it gets there, it becomes kind of oneness with the paper and it obscures the drawings. You can’t see clearly. It is difficult, difficult all of a sudden, to separate the black ink and the paper. This nature, the nature of attachment, is like this, this is the reason why I say that it obscures the ability to see the beautiful drawings, the letters, drawings on the paper. That is the example of this. The attachment, by rising, obscures the ability to see the truth of self; it obscures the truth of the self, it obscures the ability to see the truth of others.

Truth, you know, truth, many people use the word, "truth." They often, especially young people, they always talk about truth, they seek truth, they think they see truth. In the East, they always talk about truth, to seek truth—maybe hashish? I’m joking! Anyway, truth that only Nepalese sells.

Anyway, however, like this: by the rising of attachment, it causes you to hallucinate, it causes you to see yourself, to see yourself with the wrong, with the wrong view, which is opposite to the self that is actually existing there, the view that sees my hat as really existing there. And it hallucinates you to see others, to view others completely in the wrong way, completely in the wrong way, which is completely opposite to the existence of the other person. That object, that person, attachment causes you to hallucinate and see that object in completely wrong form, wrong view, in a way which is completely opposite to how it is, completely opposite of the object, the person, of how he really, how he really exists there.

So, as the attachment rises, we see ourselves, we see our own self, in a completely, completely wrong way, a way which does not exist AT ALL. From there we see others, attachment causes us to view others, completely in the wrong way, a way which does not exist AT ALL. So this is the way, this is how attachment obscures the ability to see the truth, to see the nature of the self, to see the nature of others.

So, like this, another way of explaining the nature of attachment is like, and this is not actual meaning, but, just an example, a way of explaining, is just like we got stuck. If it was water, and we fell down in the water we could swim, now, especially you people can swim, you know, you can easily swim, if it is water, but the mud, dirty mud, the mud that you can’t comfortably swim in, oh, then difficult, difficult, difficult to get out of that. You get stuck, completely stuck in the mud and drown, because it is difficult to get out of that. Another way to describe the nature of attachment is like that. Our mind being bound by the attachment, is another way, is like that, oh, like this.

The meditation that is this afternoon, first is the breathing meditation and after the breathing mediation then you, the people, who, especially the people who did not attend the Meditation Course, who did not receive teachings on the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, meditate like this, checking the life of the mind, that today's mind continued from yesterday’s mind, yesterday’s mind continued from the day before yesterday, and day before yesterday’s mind continued from the other previous day. This one-week mind has been continued like this, and this this-year-mind, continued from the previous year, that previous-year-mind continued from another previous year, that mind continued from another previous year, going back like this. Try to go back to child time, baby time, then from the baby time you try to go back that mind continued from mother's womb, so you try to go back inside mother’s womb. Then as you get in mother’s womb, then there try to think, try to remember or visualize, or try to think about that time when the mind was conceived in the mother's womb, that moment when mind was conceived, taking place in mother's womb. You try to remember that time, you know, try to remember, or try to think.

As your mind is in that time, then you try to check up, try to check up what picture comes into your mind, what picture of the previous life, picture of the different, different living beings that you were in previous life-times. Check up on that, what picture comes in your mind while you are in the mother's womb, try to check up. What was my previous life? What was my previous life? Try to check up, try to check what you can see, whether you can remember or not, try to check up. And what was it? Check up, you know, what picture comes into your mind, then, at that time. That mind continued the previous-life-mind, that previous-life-mind continued another previous life mind, oh, like this, like this, going back like this it has no beginning, no beginning. So, when you get to the point going back like this, when you feel the beginninglessness, then at that time you just concentrate, you hold the feeling of beginninglessness, the continuity of life, and you just hold that feeling, concentrate on that, hold that feeling for some time, for some time, hold that, just concentrate on that feeling. Oh yeah, I think that’s all.

[Rinpoche recites prayer]

As Marcel says, it is more easy to say the offering prayer before receiving the food, before the food is in front of each person. So, as Marcel has explained in the before, like that, when you, individually, yourself, when your receive the food., you can think the prayer at that time. Also, at this time, when the food is in the kitchen, you can dedicate, you can make offering, even though food is not in front of you. Offering food is a dedication, offering food is a mental offering; offering is a mind of renunciation. So, it doesn’t matter wherever the food is. Even though it is in America, in the supermarket, it doesn’t matter, you can make offering from here. The offering doesn’t depend on whether the food is with you, it does not depend on that. Offering what is from the Buddhadharma, offering that is dedicating. Then, renouncing the attachment, renouncing attachment is the best, the most genuine and perfect quality of offering, the best offering. So, you can offer the food in front of you, and that which is in the kitchen you can offer, also, even if it is in one big pot. There is each individual’s food there, that belongs to each person, so you can dedicate that, you can dedicate, you can renounce that attachment, by making offering.

 

[Ge wa di… Dedication prayers]

LECTURE 2: November 9, 1975 (evening)

THE THREE POISONOUS MINDS (CONTINUED)
So, like this, the nature of attachment, how it is, I am just briefly talking about that. Just like the anger, attachment also causes so much problem, in one’s own life and also in other peoples' life, it causes much problems. First of all, as one’s mind is bound by that attachment, just that is never one’s only life problem. And then, in another way, it’s just like the glue—if, your hand is covered by glue, then whatever subject you meet, you get problem, you get stuck to problems with the object. No matter how clean the other thing is, you know, whatever you touch, then, anything gets stuck. You get stuck to that object. Another way of explaining it is like this: You get stuck everywhere, you are not free, and even if you leave one thing, you get stuck on another one. Like if our fingers have got honey or glue, or something like that on them, then we get so attached to things. Even if you throw something out, then you still get stuck there. You throw something out and you get stuck there, like this. Oh! It is like that, how the attachment functions, how it functions and how it causes problems in one’s own life and others’.

Also, our usual daily life problems, they arise from the thought, the attachment. The usual daily life problems, such as, especially, disharmony—not getting along enough, not even for a day, family or couples, the relationships, disharmony—all this confusion arises from attachment. If there is no attachment in the first place, this wouldn’t happen. Many times because of attachment to an object it is very easy for anger to arise. When something goes wrong with your object of attachment, when you don’t receive it or something wrong happens, when it is possessed by other people, occupied by another person, something bad happens, it is very easy to generate anger, jealousy all these things. That anger is very harmful. That is another way attachment is also very harmful.

How the anger is harmful is quite easy to understand, but how attachment is harmful, that is really difficult to understand because the harmfulness of attachment for our mind is a little bit obscure. Really it is not obscure, it is so clear, all the time we are experiencing the problems, going through them, but we are not aware, so for our mind it is quite difficult to see clearly how attachment harms. It is obscured. It is extremely important for our minds that we should be extremely aware of the functions of attachment and the effect or result of attachment and how it harms—that is extremely important. Extremely important. Not only the attachment, but also anger, ignorance, any other type of delusions. Always investigate the functions of that and the results which are harmful. How is it harmful? It is important all the time to check up. To have a deep understanding.

And now ignorance. Ignorance. As I said before, the attachment rises, it obscures the truth, nature of oneself and others. Another way saying this is that attachment obscures the reality of self and the reality of others. This means attached mind makes for oneself more ignorance, it causes the ignorance and also anger to increase, more and more. Ignorance, just a little idea how ignorance is such a harmful mind is like this. Ignorance is like, at night-time, when there is not any light, no stars, no moon, it is completely dark, and you are thinking, believing, that you are walking on the right path, but in truth you are walking where there are stones, thorns etc. Then you get thorns in your feet and you fall down and get wounded. You think there is a wall, protecting you from a precipice, and you don’t recognize there is danger to fall down, there is no wall, you don't know where the precipice is, creating a dangerous situation. You travel at night with a wrong belief. So ignorance is harmful like this. Causing oneself much trouble with wrong conceptions. Ignorance is like this person with wrong conceptions, the person who cannot do anything clearly, not knowing that he’s going to fall down. Nature of ignorance is like that. Just as that person is not seeing how it is harmful, like that. This is just an example to give some idea how ignorance is harmful, but actually there is no way to compare the great harm of ignorance, no way to compare that with this example. I mean, the person walking with the wrong conceptions, falling down, breaking leg, falling down precipice, causing death – this is still nothing when compared with such incredible, unbelievable harmfulness of ignorance, which we have to experience for a long time, and the various other harmfulnesses, that we experience not just one time, but various times. Compared to those, this example is nothing, the harmfulness of this example, nothing.

So, however, like this: these three minds are called usually “three poisonous minds.,” It is quite right, the three poisonous minds, calling it poison, it is very meaningful, very meaningful. It makes much sense, much meaning. For instance, like this: by eating poison, as the poison goes inside the stomach, inside the body, the person doesn’t become healthy, person gets sick. So it is like this, but that poison, that is an external thing, it is made of matter, and the other poison, the great ignorance, the anger, attachment, this is inner. The other is the outer poison, these three minds, inner poison. So by taking the outer poison you get sick, you are overwhelmed with hallucination, vomiting, there is danger to for life, things like this, and similarly, by having these three poisonous minds, by having these three poisonous minds, oh, constantly we get sick, constantly we get sick.
First of all, as the mind is bound by the three poisonous minds, you know, the mind is not healthy, not healthy mind, sick mind. Then, along with these, with these three healthy minds, there is sick mind. Then, with these three poisonous minds, then we create, we produce, unrighteous actions, unrighteousness. Another way of saying this is that we create negative actions. With, you know, with speech, with body, with mind, we create wrong actions. So, by creating, by creating the wrong action, which is the wrong method, the result, the effect, that the person receives, is always suffering, it is always a problem; it is not happiness, not happiness. Even for the person who did the action with the expectation that he will gain happiness from that action, it is like this. For instance, like this, a person is eating honey, which is mixed with poison. The ignorant person is not knowing it is poisonous honey, just believing that it is pure honey because it tastes sweet, and keep on taking it, oh, then what the result? What the result? The result the person receives, is, then, his body becoming more and more uncomfortable, more and more pain rises.

Just like this, with anger, with any of the poisonous minds, anger or attachment, or ignorance, whatever action we create, that we do with speech, with body, mind, is a mistake, it is wrong action, just wrong action, just like this a person who is eating the poisonous honey. The person thinks that he is enjoying, that it really is pure honey, not poisonous. He thinks that nothing will happen by eating that, that he will only enjoy. So, our normal minds are like this example.

As these three actions of body, speech and mind, produced by these three poisonous minds are wrong, are negative action, so, the result is always something which is in the nature of suffering, which doesn’t make the life happy, like this. So, the physical, mental, sufferings, unhappiness, what we have been experiencing in this life, in this life since we are born until now, anyway, all these life problems are the resultof the action, the wrong action that is done with the three poisonous minds. So, these three poisonous minds are the cause of all the suffering, all the unhappiness.

So therefore, without depending on the method, without depending on Dharma, oh, instead depending on any external things, without depending on the method Dharma, nothing can destroy the cause of the suffering, the three poisonous minds, nothing can destroy it, without depending on Dharma.

THE PRACTICE OF DHARMA IS RENOUNCING SUFFERING AND ITS CAUSES
Another way of practicing Dharma, it is not kind of, it is not involving kind of traditional things, kind of rituals, chanting or ringing bells, things like that, playing drums, kind of involving traditional things, it is not like this. Practicing Dharma means… In the same way as you do not like, we do not like diarrhea and stomach pain, but of course, although we don’t like, we have to experience. We don’t like, but we have to experience, we have to experience. It is like this, the problem is this, the problem is we do not desire the result, but we constantly create the cause by ourselves, we constantly create the cause for diarrhea, stomach pain, these qualities, we constantly create the cause by ourselves, by the individual himself. So actually, the person does not desire the result, but the person actually did not renounce, actually the person didn’t really renounce, is not really facing up to this problem. Why is it like this? Because he constantly creates the cause of the problem. He doesn’t renounce the cause of the sufferings, this is the problem. The biggest problem that we have, is, we don’t renounce suffering. We do not desire the suffering, but we don’t really give up the suffering, we don’t really give up the suffering… Why? Why we don’t really give up the suffering? Because we constantly create the cause of the suffering.

Like the small flies, they jump into the light, of course, they feel hot there, they feel hot, because they can’t stay, they can’t stay, after, after going to the light, they can’t sit there, so they move, they move around, they more around, they jump here and there because it is hot. So, they stop there on the light, the bulb, and because it is hot, they jump around and then they touch, go around like this, until their legs get stuck to the light, or until they fall down, until it’s burnt. So, like this, sort of like this example, even the insect, the fly doesn’t, like the suffering, the hot, the burning, but somehow constantly creates the cause by going there ... he jumps there, and he goes there.

So, like this example, however practicing Dharma, that means renouncing, renouncing suffering. Renouncing suffering is not just renouncing the temporal suffering, temporal suffering temporally, but renouncing, even the cause of suffering, the three poisonous minds. So, renouncing the three poisonous minds, that is the essence, the essential Dharma practice. That is what it means, practicing Dharma, that means renouncing action, that is renouncing these three poisonous minds, which are the root of the whole mental and physical suffering. So, practicing Dharma, practicing Dharma from your side, from your mind, each, individually, your own mind, renouncing these three poisonous minds, these delusions, this, this is Dharma. This is Dharma. So this is Dharma which you created, which you individually created, through your own understanding. You created Dharma, you practiced Dharma.

For instance like this, for instance it is like this: Anyone who has sickness, can take Tibetan medicine. In order to take that Tibetan medicine, one doesn’t have to become a Tibetan. One doesn’t have to become a Tibetan. Just like this, anyone who has a disease, anyone who has that problem, anyone who has that disease, sickness, can take that medicine. So, same thing, so like this, in order to practice Dharma, whether it is called Tibetan, Mahayana, whether it is called Mahayana or Tibetan Buddhadharma, whatever it is called, one doesn’t have to be specifically, you know, Tibetan looking, or what. One doesn’t have to be a Tibetan, like this. Anyone, anyone whose mind is sick, by having these three poisonous minds, anyone who is not healthy, who desires happiness, especially the ultimate happiness, the perfect happiness now… What is the perfect happiness? The perfect happiness is the cessation, the cessation of the cause of suffering, these three poisonous minds. That is, the ultimate happiness, the perfect, the everlasting happiness. Without, without ceasing these three poisonous, without ceasing, finishing these three poisonous minds, no way to receive ultimate happiness, the perfect everlasting happiness.

So, I am saying, that anyone whose mind is sick, by having these three poisonous minds, and who is sick, missing happiness, especially ultimate happiness, without, without depending on Dharma, without depending on Dharma, without practicing Dharma, there is no other way, no other way to gain happiness, especially the ultimate, the perfect happiness. Simply it is like this: when your finger gets in the fire, there is pain, suffering, but when your finger is not in the fire, when you have taken your finger out of the fire, then there is pleasure. So, like this, just through this example you can understand clearly the Dharma. Without depending on Dharma, which means renouncing, which means facing or renouncing the three poisonous minds, without depending on this, on Dharma, renouncing these three poisonous minds, there is no way to gain the perfect everlasting happiness. Just like the person, when he is putting his finger in the fire, even though he expects that, even though he expects to feel the pleasure of coolness, even though he expects that, while he puts his finger in the fire, there is no happiness, he cannot receive both experiences at the same time. Like that, like that. As long as the mind is sick of, mind is sick with these three poisonous minds, the person, even though he expects to receive ever lasting happiness, has no way, no way to experience it. Oh yeah, so, briefly, it like this.

OBSERVE KARMA
In order to experience this perfect everlasting happiness we desire, to receive this we have to cease these three poisonous minds. In order to cease completely, completely finish the three poisonous minds, the delusions, we have to observe karma, we have to observe karma. Karma, which we have to observe, we have to observe, is words, is action. If we don’t observe karma, action, the negative karma, or the negative action will increase. These negative karmas cause the delusions to continuously exist, continuously. Not observing karma, not observing the actions, this makes the delusion to continuously exist and also to increase. In that way we can never escape from the suffering. In order to cease or finish the three poisonous minds we should observe karma, not let negative karma cause delusions to continuously exist or increase.

In order to observe karma, in order to really observe karma, to completely destroy the cause of the suffering, we should understand existence, we should understand the continuity of our life. How this present life continued from the previous life, how this present life will continue to the future life. To understand life continuity one should understand the mind continuity, the continuity of mind. Without understanding the life continuity, the mind continuity, without understanding like this, how this life continued from the previous life, and how this will continue to the future life, this life continuity, one can’t really understand, can't understand karma. One can’t really understand the evolution of karma, there is no way really, there is no way really to deeply understand the karma. One doesn’t have the understanding of the evolution of the karma. If one doesn’t know, if one doesn’t know the evolution of the karma, if one is not understanding the evolution, then that opens one to the harmfulness of the delusions. In this way, then in this way, then the person understands the evolution, he can find it much easier to face, to destroy, the delusion.

NATURE OF THE MIND
So, however, like this, first of all, what should be cleared up is the relationship betweenthe mind and the body. The mind is that phenomena, which is changeable, it is a changeable phenomena, which is not constituted of matter, atoms. It is a changeable phenomena, but it is not constituted of atoms. The body, the big difference is, the body it is made up of, it is constituted of atoms, of matter. So therefore, the mind is not matter, it is not like certain atoms, the egg, becomes, you know, becomes mind. It is not like this, that certain atoms become mind, not like this.

Like out of the mud you make a vase, the mud becomes the form of the vase, or like the seed takes the form of the plant. And also the mind, the changeable phenomenon, the mind, the nature of the mind is clarity and perceiving objects. Its nature is clarity and perceiving objects. The Tibetan term for that is she-pa. She-pa means knowing. The nature of the mind is clarity, and perceiving objects. This includes all the changeable phenomena, which are not atoms. Besides this we have something else, besides she-pa, which is in the nature of clarity and perceiving objects, we have a physical body. The consciousness that travels from life to life is included in she-pa. There are two things: form, physical body, and formless, mind.

Now what I’m talking about is consciousness, and this did not come from the parents’ consciousness. It is not part of the parents’ consciousness, like a physical thing that is divided, shared, like a cake of raisins—it is not like that, it is not matter, it is formless, it is a different thing. If it were in the same way as a physical thing, if the child’s consciousness is the same as of the parents', then the child’s mind is at once the father’s mind and also mother’s mind. Then when the father is patient, and not angry, and the mother is angry, the child has both parts, father’s mind, mother’s mind. So therefore, the child should be angry and patient at the same time. If there was one object that the father likes, mother doesn’t like, then the child also would like and not like at the same time. Whatever experience the father is having, the child should have. In this case the child himself becomes father and mother both, because he has both minds, father’s and mother’s mind. So there would be no difference between him and the parents from whom he received the body.

Perhaps you may think, “My body is partially from mother and father, and mind can also be like this, but I do not experience what they experience.” It is not like this with the mind. You can’t mix with the physical things that you received from the parents with the mind, it is not the same. For instance, you know, if the father is dead, his corpse at home, when the father is dead, somebody asks, “Is your father at home?” Then they say, "My father has become empty, my father doesn’t exist,” but that doesn’t mean his body doesn’t exist. The body is lying on the bed, but we say “father doesn’t exist, father is not living at home." It does not depend on the existence of his body. So normally, we say he is not existing. So, why ? Why is it defined by the mind? If the mind is existing at this place, we say he is there. If the mind is not existing at that place, we say he is not there. Why we should define him like this? Why should we call it like this?

So, that’s why I’m saying. Physically, this body is received from parents but mind is a different thing. We can’t argue the same thing with the mind. So, if my mind is part of mother's mind, part of my father's mind, then I become also father and mother, both, because of the mind. If I were to have the parents' minds, why would I become parents? Because when the father’s mind exists there we say, “Father is there,” and when the father’s mind is not there even though the body is, we don’t say “Father is there.”

Oh, there you check up. Also the new people, you do the same meditation you did in the afternoon. One extra thing, when you get in the mother’s womb, to aid this, also check up this intuitive feeling of “I,” intuitive feeling of “I,” you know, this “I”,”I,”“I,” intuitive feeling, this rising “I”, intuitive, the heavy feeling of “I,” day and night time, day and night, even dream time, where did this come from?

LECTURE 3: November 10, 1975

QUESTION AND ANSWER: REINCARNATION AND THE SELF
The previous topic, the part of the reincarnation which was talking about mind, are there any questions on that? Did you check up? And did you check up that this example that I had given, when the mind exists and then it is said, “Father is there,” and when the mind doesn’t exist it is said, “Father is not there,” but when the father’s body is dead and cold it’s not said, “Father is leaving, father is not home.” Did you check up why? It is like that or not? Has it been that way, that normally people talk about, is it right or wrong? No one has doubt?

Student: One thing that I understand you to be saying is that reincarnation, or the concept of reincarnation, or understanding that principle, helps us to take it and actually begin manifesting the Dharmic truth, as far as you relate to the world and other people. One problem I have with that view is I see the idea of reincarnation as being motivated by egotistical thought about the self because the idea, or one of the basic ideas of this teaching, is that we are supposed to forget about the self, then here comes an idea that says in some ways that the self is continuous, internal, and to me, that contradicts the teachings, to a degree. I’m not saying by all means, whoever believes in reincarnation is egotistical, I am only saying here this is an idea that we get total—and therefore the criteria in spending time on it is dependent on what degree it motivates good behavior, and I see there is a definite temptation, or this idea of reincarnation can breed an egotistical mind.

Rinpoche: Hm, I see, I see, hm, hm, what you are saying is, that, there ...talking about one reincarnation, that talks about oneself, so that makes you think of the self. That makes you think of oneself, so that’s why it is egocentric?

Student: It makes you think of yourself as something of a permanent fixture in the universe, say, the different forms and shapes.

Rinpoche: Hm, yeah, but isn’t there change of our continuity? You don’t accept change of continuity?

Student: I don’t have a final opinion on that yet.

Rinpoche: Isn’t there continual existence? Continual existence, which is changeable.

Student: Are you asking me, because all I can say is what you said, I don’t know.

Rinpoche: Then I think you have to check it up, the continual existence which is changeable, it continuously exists, but it is always changing.

Student: Except in this lifetime.

Rinpoche: For instance, an example that is very simple, what about the continuity of your body? Since you were born until now, there has been continuity of your body, there has been always continuity of your body. So is your body permanent? Has your body been permanent?

Student: Has it been or is it?

Rinpoche: Has it been permanent or is it, permanent, SAME.

Student: I wouldn’t say that it is not continuously existing; it’s permanent, because it has been continuously existing, since you were born until now it has not continued ...So, isn’t it permanent?

Rinpoche: That you should check up. If you think, just because it is continuously existing, if you think that is the definition of permanence, then permanence includes any phenomena that is changeable but continuously existing in certain periods, even it is not forever, but, in certain time it continuously existed, during which it is changing. Though there is a continuity all the time, it is changing. So, there are many things, there are many things which are not permanent, that you should check, check up that one point. If you're feeling responsible to help your parents, is that egocentric? Is that mind egocentric?

Student: No

Rinpoche: Is this egocentric because you think of yourself, you think if self? You think of “I?” I am responsible to help them.

Student: Is not that egocentric?

Rinpoche: If you to help your parents?

Student: That means ...to relate back in terms of reincarnation, that’s very good.

Rinpoche: No, this time I’m not talking about reincarnation, but, you can think of it similarly, but I’m not talking specifically on reincarnation. I’m just saying that sometimes, sometimes a little compassion can arise in your mind, that feeling that “I’m responsible to help, to repay my parents.” So that thought, I’m asking, is that thought egocentric? The thought which remembers, or which thinks of himself, which thinks of the “I.” Is that egocentric thought?

Student: Wouldn’t you have to check up on your motivation?

Rinpoche: Yeah, of course, yes, that of course, yes, yes ...

Student: The question seems to revolve around the definition of self, because sometimes when people say “self,” they mean an “I-self” which is like the personality, likes and dislikes, and sometimes it refers to the self which is more like the essence, which is the thing which is continuous throughout whatever personality it assumes.

Rinpoche: Ah, I’m not clear, first thing is what?

Student: The word “Self” can mean different ...

Rinpoche: Two things, then, first is what?

Student: Like sometimes you say “self” but don’t have ego-thoughts, it is centered around the personality, likes and dislikes, and other times it seems to almost with capital “S” which is Essence-self, which is…

Rinpoche: The capital self

Student: The self that takes on different personality, is a continuous thing throughout the lives ...

Rinpoche: Meaning the continuous self many lives.

Student: [explained by Nick] One is just the self this life. The person, the other self, continues from life to life.

Rinpoche: What’s the usual thing? The common thing?

Student: Different ways of ...That’s something which is really...

Rinpoche: But usually, usually in the West there are… different shades, particulars: the “Self” of this particular life and general “self.” Is there such a thing, life and the self which goes from one life to another life?

Student: Is that the same? Does that mean, like two selves?

Rinpoche: Is there dual things? This-particular-life-Self and then the self which goes to one life to life like his, general self.

Student: I think, usually that comes from a Christian background… it becomes confusing when you have one term like “mind…” (voice trails out)

Rinpoche: You can think of like that, you can, you can think of particular, this-particular-life-Self and general self, that which goes from one life to another life, you can think like that, hm, you can think like that. But people have different conceptions about the self, way of self, so, what about that one? So, I’m asking about the thought of helping others “I must help, I must do something.” I’m asking, is that thought egocentric?

Student: I would say no, of course not.

Rinpoche: It is egocentric, because, that, it is thought of self, it is thought of self. It thinks of self, when you think of that you remember the self, you think of, you ...

Student: You think the self as an agent opposed to one who receives the benefits from your work.
Rinpoche: One thinks oneself as an agent, an actor.

Student: In that sense when you say you are aware of an “I,” an “I” that helps other people, you are aware of that “I” as an agent who brings forth actions, causes, which have good effects on other people, as opposed to the “I” which thinks, the “I” which receives, the “I” that takes the objects out of our greed. I’m just asking to make a distinction between the meaning of “I,” when you talk about egocentric identity.

Rinpoche: Yeah, so you are saying egocentric identity is what, that is talking the object of greed ...when you take object of greed.

Student: Grand “I,” improved your own position, your own comfort, your ...

Rinpoche: Then, now, little bit slowly getting better, like the fog in sky getting cleared up, slowly. Good, really good, yea. So you see, not necessary, so by checking you can see it is not necessary that just the thought of self, just remembering the self, that doesn’t mean that thought is egocentric. You proved that to yourself.

Student: My point wasn’t that, that belief in the reincarnation implies egotism in negative way. I’m just saying that I don’t see as clearly as apparently you do, how it really fosters the greed or good moral behavior, which, to me it is an idea that one can accept or reject and, because one can never have any, sort of absolute certainty on it, personal certainty. So my question is, we are here to learn how to live, simplistically, and I just don’t see how the, the concept of reincarnation really brings, really makes it easier for us, the things we must do, in order to alleviate our own suffering and suffering of others

Rinpoche: Oh! Yes. That takes time, you can’t, can’t understand in one minute or one hour, it takes time. Just, if you had the intelligence that you, if you had the intelligence that you could understand in one minute, or in one hour, then you can, then, you know, then you can understand. If the individual doesn’t have that intelligence, then it takes time. Even to learn ABCs, how many hours that takes. Anyway, yes, I see, but what you say, it sounded like, it sounded like that ...first of all it is quite clear, but secondly ...when you think, it sounded like that when you remember “My, my, mymy pleasure, my suffering, my parents, my this,” is that egocentric?

Student: Well, it depends which way you remember ...also thinking of an “I” is not always bad.

Rinpoche: Yes, that I can appreciate. Let me try again ...I just, well, I know myself fairly well, I know that I really like to think that I’m something special. I’m likely to be sort of lying on myself as much as possible, its very easy for me to do so, because I like to think I am smart, when I am really dumb, and I like to think, that I am somehow approaching an enlightened state, when I am probably backsliding, and so it’s easy under these circumstances for me to say all right, don’t worry about it, and eventually you’ll get there, not in this life necessarily, no matter what happens, but, you know… So to me, its sort of like a crutch, because the fact is that, well, I, well, in my brave moments I believe that, that I’m just a part of nature and a couple of decades down the road I’ll probably be dead and gone and that’s it, and so all the happiness that I’ve had in this life is all the happiness avoidance of suffering I’m going to get. To me, reincarnation is, it can, the belief in reincarnation, it can allow you to postpone and avoid facing issues now, and it can also, if you’re sitting alone and you realize that you are responsible for some negative things in this world and it can give you an outline by saying all right, you know, I don’t have to worry about until as much now, because I can at one for it in a future life.

Rinpoche: [Laughs] Doesn’t matter. You are thinking to meditate tomorrow, is that selfish?

Student: No.

Rinpoche: You are thinking of tomorrow, you are thinking of practicing, to practice meditation tomorrow, is that selfish?

Student: No.

Rinpoche: So, same thing, why thinking, of the future merits, merits, of receiving the merit, ah, thinking of the future, receiving the result of the action, creating merit, why is that selfish?

Student: Would you repeat that?

Rinpoche: Thinking of tomorrow’s meditation, practicing that is not selfish, but thinking of the future life, to receive the result of the action, the meritorious results of the action, thinking to experience the result in the future life, why is that selfish?

Student: Oh, I am not saying that it is wrong for us ...

Rinpoche: Selfishness.

Student: I’m not saying that it is selfishness, it’s our own escape from suffering, my only point is that…

Rinpoche: Think of, think of future merit, is not statement, I mean ... Before you say something, thinking of true merit, is that selfish?

Student: It can be; I mean, it’s OK...to avoid suffering for yourself, but what I see as the danger is that, you are not doing good deeds, etc, with the most important thing as not the good deed itself, but instead your acquisition of merit, and when the acquisition of merit for yourself is more important than the deed, then I think, I would say, it is wrong.

Rinpoche: Acquisition of merits is more important than deeds, the actualization which brings merits, that one.

Student: The goal, or the idea behind moralities, I would say would be not to, not the individual success, not the escape from the cycle of rebirth of one person, but the… I mean its all right for a person who wants suffering, but it can poison the motivation ...you are not doing something for another person just because it is good, rather you are doing it for the acquisition of merit.

Rinpoche: Expecting the merit for doing the action, you are saving, that is wrong, that is against ...that is selfish.

Student: No, no, I’m saying, its wrong… I think it’s wrong when the acquisition of merit becomes more important than the action.

Rinpoche: More important than, hm, hm, why that is wrong?

Student: Why is that wrong, you are asking?

Rinpoche: Yes, by, by thinking the result of merit, that which comes from the action, the person thinking that’s more important ...why that is wrong?

Student: I would say because your first concern would be upon the action’s effect on the self, rather than the action bringing ...removing some suffering in the world, and that to me would seek to some degree for an attachment to the self. [Thubten Wangmo explains this statement to Rinpoche].

Rinpoche: Ah, I see. No need to talk much… However even, even, even the person thinks of the merit, even the person thinks of the merit that can be also two things: not necessary to involve in selfish motivation. Like, for instance, by receiving that merit you have better, you have better understanding, better, more profound methods, you are in better condition, and in that way you can help much better, also you can benefit much better, much better for others. For that, there can be different things, even if you think of future merits, even you think of future merits, important, you know, important, that is not necessary to be involved in a self-cherishing thought, that can be two things.

For instance, if you are making charity to the people, to the living beings, and if you… There can be motivation like this: not so much concerned about other person to whom you make charity, but deep in the mind more concerned of one’s own, ones own future pleasure and happiness, and depends on that, that merit. That, that future plan, one’s own pleasure, and then making the charity, not so much really concerned, not so much concerned by making that charity, or by receiving, by receiving the result of that good karma, not thinking, “I can help quicker the sentient beings to release from suffering,” not thinking this way, thinking just, just concerned of one’s own future pleasure, then there, that kind of thing, that is, that is selfish motivation.

Yeah, however, however it… Hmm... I am sure what you meant is like that, how it is so… Many people think that thinking “My, my, my…” is like this, it is not only you. This is the kind of conception that many people have, so many, so many people have, especially those who read all kinds of books but do not have the experience. They think they have clarity in the mind but it is just a generalization. They know some words, they got some words from book, but they generalize everything, like an artist, like an ignorant artist who doesn’t know where there should be red color painted, where there should be white color painted, where there should be yellow color painted, where there should be different colors that should be painted, and he paints black, all over, it is sort of like his.

Anyway, anyway, thinking my, my this, my this, just that doesn’t mean you are egocentric, just that cannot mean you are egocentric. There are two different things, in among that pot there are also two things, two ways of thinking my: That which is egocentric, and which is not egocentric.

THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE AND THE PRESENT
One thing is this: subject may come afterwards, but if one does not understand, if one doesn’t understand reincarnation, doesn’t know anything about it, one doesn’t understand reincarnation, which has been explained in the Path to Enlightenment… However, many people, this is not just one person, there are many people, many people also think, also think like this, without thinking of the future, not necessary to think of future, ah, just only the present, only the present is important, right, right the present, only the present is important, it is not necessary, not important to think of the future. However, how can you live a life by stopping the thought of future? How to live life tomorrow, this month, this year, without thinking, without thinking of the future? Without thinking of the future, how can you live life? Can you project your life? Without thinking future you won’t, you won’t get, even today you won’t get dinner, and you won’t get lunch? You don’t get anything, don’t, for instance ...in order to come to the East, you have to, without thinking of the future, how can you travel to the East? You collect, you make plans, you make a plan at such time, you want to go to the east, and then you collect money, you work to collect money, so like this, thinking of future can help.

[Pipi time]

Also the present, how the person thinks of present, first of all, it questions: Should one think or should one not think… one mustn’t think of the future, one should think only of the present? Question. Again, what is the definition of “present?” What is assumed by that other question, between eleven and twelve, there is the future and past, even in one minute, there is the future, past, and present, even in one second, there is future, past, present, even a split second has particles; so what does it mean by present?

What I am saying is that the person, putting it into action now, that’s very good. Of course, that is very important, there is no objection, nothing wrong with it, that is extremely good, not lazy, putting it right away into action, but not into wrong action, the right action. But not thinking of the future? How can one do everything in one second? For instance, in this present second, how can you do something without thinking of the future second, without thinking of the second second, how can you finish everything, meditation, everything in one present second?

If you know, if the definition of the present contradicts the future… one hour, one minute, one second, all these also have future, then, those futures also, that kind of person should not think about those, either. It is very difficult to stop thinking of the future, very difficult, almost impossible to think of present without thinking of the future, if you check up it looks like that.

It is difficult to define the present, but anyway the person understanding Dharma, putting it into action right away, like this second, like this minute, like this hour. That is the only object to congratulate, to appreciate, like this.

Also, one thing, actually the more we understand reincarnation, the deeper the feeling of the reincarnation that we have, the deeper the understanding that we have, logical experience, intellectual understanding, the more the person understands the harmfulness of the negative mind—how it has been harmful from the beginningless past lifetime, how it is going to be continuously harmful also in the future. If I don’t cease it this time, it, as it’s been harmful from the beginningless previous time, it will be continuously be harmful in the future, always, you know, give suffering to me.

The more you understand this, this case, the more you understand its nature, it helps to understand better the nature of the delusions and karma, how it is harmful, and the evolutions of karma, and the person’s mind becomes more controlled. At the same time the person seeks enlightenment, the person seeks the perfect everlasting happiness quicker, not being lazy but stronger, that much stronger is the wish in the persons mind to escape from suffering as quickly as possible.

Also, same thing to be of benefit for other sentient beings. The mind is quicker, not only quicker to receive this result, but the mind is much stronger to benefit others. The more you understand this reincarnation, nature of delusions, karma, the beneficial thought for others, your will to benefit others is stronger. Another way of saying, the compassion for others is much stronger.

The discussion comes to the point of karma, karma. You can’t understand, there is no way to really understand the evolution of the delusions. To receive enlightenment in this life you have to follow the path. The path is the medicine removing the suffering of the delusions. To remove the disease we have to recognize the delusions.

If there is a person who doesn’t know that there is such a perfect goal, even though the path can be explained, or reincarnation, without knowing the goal there is no way to really understand delusions or the evolution of delusion and karma. Even if the person meditates, they wouldn’t care so much, because they don’t understand reincarnation. They think their present life began without cause and that in time they will disappear. No more future life, there is no more mind continuity, there is no more. So the person who believes in that, either the mind or the person, ceasing at the death time, no more continuity. That person, he doesn’t have the knowledge, he doesn’t know, or have the thought “If I don’t cause the delusions to disappear in this life, this delusion will be continuously leading my mind, always causing suffering in the future life.” For a person who doesn’t have this understanding, there is no way to understand this. So, if the person is lazy, thinking “It’s good, but not so important, because whenever I die, I no longer exist, after that death there is nothing. Why should I worry, practicing Dharma? Why should I rush to meditate?” That person is lazy, not understanding reincarnation, not thinking, ignoring the cause of ignorance.

If you think the mind began all of a sudden, without any continuity, when you think of conceiving the mind in the mother’s womb… For instance this rice, there is already a continuity. This came from another rice plant, and it grows. You don’t use the word “conceived” except with the mind, not thinking about it in the same way as the mind, like the rice having a continuity. When I plant the rice there in the ground you think, without continuity, “This is coming from another plant, that is coming from another plant, but that rice all of a sudden appeared, all of a sudden it took form.” If you think in this way about conception in the mother’s womb, then, like that, it doesn’t have a cause. The physical body is not the principal cause of the mind. The principal cause of the vase or the pot is the mud, the physical body never becomes principal cause of the mind. If we think the mind is without cause, it just happened, conceived in the mother’s womb, right this second, is the mind impermanent? Or permanent? The first second of mind? What do you think?

Student: Could you define the terms, permanent or impermanent? I don’t know exactly what you mean.

Rinpoche: You were not taught about permanent and impermanent before? The definition of impermanence, the definition of impermanence is the phenomena whose nature is changing second by second, second by second, you know, split second by split second—that is impermanence. The phenomena that does not change second by second, that is the meaning of permanence.

Student: A question on that… When you said permanent is that which is not changing second by second, would you call something that changes hourly, for example, permanent?
Rinpoche The change of hour, how it happened? You see, that is normally what we think, normally without checking, this what we think, because normally what we feel is, our wrong conception, what we believe is in a kind of permanence, and when the pot gets broken after a certain length of time we recognize that it becomes decayed and changes, but until something broke, or something happened, or some big changes happened, we view it with kind of permanence, kind of, “It’s always there, not changing even a second, not changing even a minute,” like this.

Do you feel, when you look at his flower, do you feel it changes in a minute or second? Do you feel that? I don’t think so. That is because the habit of the wrong conceptions. What I’m talking is this, after you understand the definition of permanence and impermanence, the mind is clear, so about mind—

As he raised up the question one hour changes, oh, that’s useful, one hour change, not all of sudden like that happened, starting from eleven o’clock until twelve, between that no change, nothing kind of permanent. You can’t imagine that, there is no way to assume that, there is no way to understand how that one hour changes, no way. If the person who wants to believe in that one hour change, thinks about it, that it happened because of the change of minute, and the change of minute happened by change of second, the change of second happened by the change of split second—it is like this. So I’m saying, without thinking of reincarnation one thinks mind hasn’t any continuity ,it is just conceived, just took place, in the mother’s womb. If it didn’t have a cause, another mind, if it just happened without a cause then there is nothing that makes the first mind change. For the second mind to change, what make it change, how can that cause the second mind to change? If the mind is permanent there is no way for it to change. If you think it isn’t permanent, there is no way for it to exist. If it is not permanent, impermanent, there is no way to exist—the mind doesn’t exist, we just believe there is mind, but mind doesn’t exist. Just like the illusory elephant, the elephant doesn’t exist, the mind doesn’t exist.

However, if the first-second mind cannot cause the following mind to change, so all the following mind becomes permanent, and does not change. But that is completely wrong. Even without need of meditation, you know that the mind is changing, forgetting things, even if you just check up with your own experience, it is clear that it is impermanent, that it is changeable, just to check up with your own thoughts, the changes of our thoughts.

First you do the breathing meditation as you did this morning, after the breathing meditation also check this heavy feeling with the “I,” this tight feeling with “I,” from where it came, from where you received it. You check up when you get in mothers’ womb, whether it continued from the previous life or from the parents or how it happened. If you think it is from the previous life, then you check up again, “What makes me believe like this, what makes me feel like this?” That you check up. Those who have meditated on the graduated path before start to make mediation on the gradual path as you really want to train your mind, or you want to perfect human rebirth, you want to start from that place, or you think the Guru Shakyamuni Yoga is more beneficial.

HOW THE EXPERIENCES OF THIS LIFE PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF PAST LIVES
So, there are different ways to check up like his, about the mind, if you are still not clear after checking about reincarnation, then also thinking like this is useful.

One family, one mother gives birth to children and educates them, she sends to school the children and she made the same plan for them, same degrees, to have the same level of understanding, but each child has a different level of intelligence, different level of intelligence. One child is very difficult, taking much time, very difficult to understand a subject, the mind is more ignorant. There are different levels of intelligence. There are different personalities, and they have different lives. Even if the mother tried to plan for the same life, from the side of the children they have to experience a different life. Even though the family is rich, one child has to live poor, kind of always kind of miserable, in miserable situation, and the other children don’t have that much problem, it’s not the same. Why does each child have a different experience and different life and different level of intelligence? Why don’t they have the same personality, same level of intelligence? Check, like this.

Also useful, for instance, talking in a general way, some students find it much easier to learn one language, like some people find it very easy to learn Tibetan language, but learning maybe Indian language, or Chinese language, or something, he finds very difficult, very difficult to learn, different experience like this. One language he find very easy, very easy to understand, it comes very easily into the mind, one language he finds very difficult, not easy—I’m not talking about the Tibetan people, but I’m saying [laughs]...even foreign people, European people, even though they don’t speak Tibetan language in their country there are different experiences like this. So these things you check up.

How it happened, the parents are not Tibetan, if you think it to do with the atoms, genes or atoms, certain special atoms for language, for Tibetan language, then about the generation of parents? This atom came from them. Also, as you know each Tibetan word, you have that many number of atoms, that much geography you know, and a person who knows so many things, his brain would be much bigger. Very heavy.

Like this, to know each name you have to take each atom. However, the person’s knowledge doesn’t depend on how big the brain is, it does not depend on that. The person who has a big brain, a big head but the mind is a complete fool, a small baby, whose brain is so small, head is so small—you check up, the people experience like this.

However, like this, even from childhood without being taught by the parents and by other people, intuitively they have much strong compassion, not wanting to harm any other beings, not wanting to kill insects, and even if they see someone kill insects they cry, some babies, some very small children.

Some children and babies have very evil or cruel personalities, very impatient. From childhood you can see their faces, feel the vibrations. Intuitively wanting to kill, whatever he sees he wants to kill, kind of destroy, without being told by his parents or another influence. More details you can understand in the part of the karma; this is the result of previous practice, or his previous life—the way living, why the child was born with such compassion, with such personality is because, just before in his previous life he used to be very compassionate for others, because the mind has been trained in that.

Like this, in terms of language, why you find some things easier, so easy, and some difficult, that is also to do with past life experiences, past life mind. It is due to his previous life. In his previous life he was maybe Tibetan, and because the mind was habituated to that, because of the previous imprints, he finds these things easy. When the people learn Dharma, the different philosophies teachings, philosophical teachings, we get different experiences. For some, some divisions of philosophical teachings we find so easy to understand—when your mind reached this subject, your mind is like opening a lotus, so much wisdom comes, like the water coming from the pipe, like the water flowing from the pipe. As you start to study this particular subject the door of the wisdom is opened, the wisdom just flows, the understanding just comes out. By putting a little effort or by thinking a little bit, so much you can see, you can understand, so deep like this—and other Dharma subjects, other philosophical subjects, are like sleeping, like stone, difficult to understand.

There are different experiences like this. For this person, for instance, let’s say, the Madhyamaka subject, the subject philosophical subject which explains shunyata, voidness, the person finds so easy to understand because in his previous life he already studied the subject so much, and because of the impression left in his mind. Therefore this lifetime he has a different experience, he doesn’t find the other as easy as the Madhyamaka subject. Also, meditation. Similar experience with the meditation. A person who used to be a meditator in his previous lifetimes, because his mind was trained in the previous lifetime, in this lifetime he finds it very easy to control his mind, and even if he didn’t read that many texts, even if the teacher did not explain that much, just by understanding a few words, as he puts a little bit of effort in the meditation’s practice, as he starts to mediate in this life, all the understanding, the Dharma wisdom, just comes, it increases his understanding.

Also, actually the experience of our life proves the existence of the past life. For instance, when we are meditating, for even one minute, for even one minute without distraction we find it difficult to concentrate. Even on breathing, just to relax the mind and concentrate on one point. We find it very difficult, you see. It is very easy to get distracted—much easier than to keep the mind away from distraction. So, why is this? Most of the people find the same way. Difficult, difficult to keep the mind away from distractions.

Also anger, pride, attachment, those delusions, while they are arising, even if you think its bad, thinking “I should not get angry, I should not get jealous,” you find it very difficult to control it. You cannot cut it off as it is arising. We cannot cut it off all of a sudden. We can’t stop it all of a sudden, like turning off the light, you can’t stop it like that. Just like that river, so strong are the delusions, very difficult, extremely difficult to stop, too. This experience itself gives the answer, if you check up, to the existence of past lives.

For instance, why it is like this is because the continuity of the delusion has not been ceased. The continuity of mind has no beginning and the continuity of these delusions does not have beginning, so the continuity of the delusion has not been ceased yet, from beginningless previous lifetimes. This is not our first experience. From previous lifetimes our mind has been habituated to delusion or has been has been very familiar, close friend with delusions from previous lifetimes.

So, the previous habits are the reason why, in this lifetime, we find it so difficult to control the thought, even though we think it is bad, even though one thinks, “I should stop it, I shouldn’t get angry, I shouldn’t do this.” In practice, why one finds it is difficult is because of the previous habit, like the person smoking. Because of that previous habit, he finds it very difficult to stop right away, to completely stop, he finds very difficult, you know. The reason the person finds it difficult to stop right away is because of the previous habit. So it is our experience which shows that there is a past life. The question is only because our mind has not been aware. Also through meditation on practice such as shamatha meditation, when the person’s mind reaches certain levels of realization, the person can remember the past life, and also can see the future life. And as the person’s mind reaches higher and higher on the path, the person can see more numbers of his previous life. He can see back two hundred previous lives, thousands and billions. Even from the baby time there are many people in the East and the West who can remember, who can describe the previous life, the place.

In previous times in India there was a big debate between the followers of Buddhadharma and the followers of a different path. They other side was debating that there was no such thing as past and future lives with the pandit Chandragomin, who was not only a great scholar but had the inner knowledge of Buddhadharma and had the mind subdued, living in Dharma. Chandragomin said, “I can prove it to you.” So he marked his forehead with a red color powder and put a pearl in his mouth and then he passed away. His body was preserved in a box. He was reborn to a pandit called Pegesaga, then when he came out of his mother’s womb he was born with the mark on his head and the pearl in his mouth. The other person then accepted the existence of past and future lives.

When Chandragomin was born he spoke to his mother and said, “Dear mother, didn’t you get tired in these ten months?” His mother thought, “This is not a usual thing. This is inauspicious,” so she told him to be quiet. The little boy kept quiet for seven years. He didn’t say even one word for all that time. Maybe other children begin to speak after seven months, but he didn’t speak for so long they thought he was a fool, dumb. One day the follower of the other side wrote a text in the form of a poem, in verse, contradicting the Buddhadharma. The text reached Chandragomin’s parent’s house, and the father saw the text. He was unable to write the contradicting answer and could not even understand the meaning of the subject. But one day when the father had gone out the baby touched the text and wrote down all the contradicting answers.

The father came back and asked the mother, “Who did this?” The mother said no one had come into the house, only the dumb child had touched the book, and given the answers. There was prize offered of wealth and possessions for giving the answers, and Chandragomin received so many possessions, gifts, and so forth from the king of the place. After that he becomes so famous, very well known, and he received tantra teachings, and also the philosophical teachings, like the Vinaya, Abhidharma. Just by listening one time he clearly understood everything. He became knowledgeable, very wise in all the Dharma.

Such wonderful things like this have happened. There are many other, there are many things to talk about, however, like this. However, because of our own experience, we don’t have the experience of the same things, of remembering the past and being able to see the future. Saying, “I don’t remember” cannot prove that there is no existence of past and future lives. We don’t remember how the mind, took place in the mother’s womb, how we came out of the mother’s womb when I was a baby, one month, two months, five months. We don’t remember drinking milk from the mother’s breast—but we do believe that we did exist in the mother’s womb? All that we believe.

We believe that we drank milk from our mothers, that the mind took place in the mother’s womb, all these things, baby time, like this. It’s not because, is not by remembering that we believe. It’s not because of your own experience of remembering, but because of what the parents told, because of the parent’s experience, and they told, they saw and they told you. So that’s why you believe it, even though you don’t remember by yourself. So, same thing, past lives are like this. Existence of past life, future life, these things, such as the karma, such as the karma of present life experiencing the results of previous karma, these things are like this. You know, either positive, either negative oh, all these things. Even though, like our present life’s happiness, all happiness, is the result of precious good karma. Many, so many of the results of that, the good results that we experience in this life, are caused by previous good karma. Same thing, the unhappiness, suffering that we experience is caused by previous life karma.

So, about the existence of reincarnation, about karma, that which is continued from life to life, even if it is not an object of our knowledge, even if it is not our experience, understanding, seeing, it is the buddhas’ knowledge. It is their experience, it is their object of knowledge. So as they clearly, perfectly understand, so with great compassion, understanding compassion, wanting the sentient beings to guide us from suffering, from ignorance, to not create the cause for suffering, so therefore, the buddhas with their infinite knowledge, they record their perfectly clear perfect understanding in the teachings. So, as the parents say, if we believe what Buddha is the perfectly enlightened being, who has not one single ignorance, whose understanding has not one single mistake, then his teachings or explanations are much more worthwhile, because there is no mistake. It only makes us see the thing without seeing the wrong way. I don’t mean that without checking one should believe; it is very important also to check up. It opens the door of your wisdom.

First of all, do the breathing meditation. Then, you think of the mind continuity, you know, today mind continued yesterday, and this mind continued from previous year, from previous life, going back, like this. This has no beginning. I think, first you make breathing meditation, then after checking on them you feel the mind beginningless, continual mind beginningless, you check up with delusion, the three poisonous minds, thinking, “Today’s poisonous mind continued from yesterday’s. This year’s delusions continued from the previous year.” Like this, going back, continued from another previous life, again you try to get the beginningless continuity of the delusions, the ignorance, anger, attachment. You try to get the feeling of the beginningless continuity of the delusions. You try to feel this just like you did with the beginningless mind, with the delusions. Then when you get the feeling of the beginningless continuity of the delusions you think, “As this continuity has no beginning, this delusion has been harmful to me from beginningless previous lifetimes. If I don’t wake up this time, this time, it will continue to harm me.” Like, when we get angry at other people and think, “Definitely I’m going to make a shape to him….” I don’t know if there is such a term in the West, but that is common in Tibetan ... when someone gets very angry, you know, the mind very spiteful, then definitely I am going to make a shape to him. “Shape” means [Rinpoche bangs one hand withthe other] beating, breaking things, body, because it changes shape, so there is the feeling, “I will definitely destroy.” After you check the beginningless harmfulness of the delusions, then you think, “This time I must be careful, I must make a shape to the delusions. If I don’t do it this time, I cannot destroy the delusions. If I don’t do it this time, while I have the chance, I can’t destroy the delusion, I can’t make give shape to the delusion, this delusion will continuously exist in my mind, and will continuously give harm to me.”

Then, after that, when you think this, then the renounced mind rises, and at that time, you start breathing meditation, the purifying breathing meditation, the delusions coming in the form of smoke, coming out, receiving light, wisdom light, this purifying breathing meditation. This breathing meditation is very powerful, very powerful, and this breathing meditation really becomes Dharma practice, pure Dharma practice, because it is facing the delusions, it is a practice opposite to the delusions. So this is all pure Dharma practice.

[Ge wa di… Dedication prayers]

LECTURE 4: November 11, 1975

CONTINUITY OF MIND
The experiences of those who can remember their previous lives prove that there was mind continuity before the present, before life took place in the mother’s womb. Before that, there was mind continuity.

If there is no mind, if there was no mind continuity they cannot remember their previous life. If there was no mind continuity before that, there is no way to remember. The way of thinking in the previous lifetime’s actions was not somebody else’s, it is the continuity of his own mind, so that’s how he can remember.

For instance, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, when he was educated, when he was offered the education, the teaching, when he was offered the teachings by his tutor, as the tutor was introducing the Dharma subject, as he was teaching a few things, His Holiness had many other new ways of thinking of the profound meaning of the teachings, new understandings, that the tutor himself didn’t talk about before. There was incredible knowledge coming from him, he explains such profound meanings of the teachings, new understanding, which his tutor didn’t think of before. When he was baby time, young time.

When he was introducing the subject, he said he was so surprised, seeing much incredible knowledge that was coming out. Also, we have there one young incarnate lama, he didn’t learn so much Dharma after he was born, before he came to the monastery, most time playing, thing like this, but when he talks, incredible things he talks, as if he has all ready understood the teachings. We are trying to teach him how to meditate, then he says first of he is going to check up, how the Buddha Shakyamuni explained in the book, how to meditate.

He not just going to meditate, first he is going to check up, he is going to try to understand how the Buddha Shakyamuni explained in the book, then afterwards he said for six years he is going to make retreat in jungles, in forest, and then he says he is going to come back to help the sentient beings. “How are you going to help to the sentient beings?” they asked him. Then he said, “By putting wings.” He’s going to guide the sentient beings, he is going to release the sentient being from suffering. You know, like bird? He says, “Like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha put wings to the sentient beings and enlightened them.”

So, this topic is a very heavy subject. In Madhyamaka philosophy teachings receiving enlightenment has to depend on the path, method and wisdom. So, for the bird to fly that needs two wings—with one wing it cannot fly, so the two wings are taken as an example, the necessity of practicing or realizing the true path, method and wisdom. So, you see, also ... the two truths, the relative and absolute truth, this is a very big subject, two truths. So Guru Shakyamuni, how he enlightened sentient beings, how he received enlightenment himself and how he enlightened other sentient beings by himself, by achieving these two paths, and how he enlightened other sentient beings by showing these two truths, by showing relative and absolute truth, by showing the true path, method and wisdom to the sentient beings and by the sentient beings achieving these two paths.

So, this is a very big subject, and the Madhyamaka subject is also a very profound subject, and no-one has introduced that since he was born in his from mother’s womb. Until this time he did not study; he had this intuitive understanding. “And also sometimes, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha started to practice Dharma first, did he practice Dharma by playing drums and bells?” Sometimes he had very difficult questions, difficult to be answered, many intuitive understandings, showing that Dharma as a subject is not new to him. As his previous life he studied so many teachings, he was so extremely learned in the teachings of Guru Tsongkhapa. In the teachings especially written by Guru Tsongkhapa, the philosophy teachings, different aspects of teachings, since in his previous life studied so much, was an expert, very learned, and having so much devotion. Even though he is a baby now, small body now, because the previous life had so much incredible devotion for Guru Tsongkhapa, somehow he has much deep feeling with it.

And usually even though he looks like a child, he is very careful in the karmas, in way of observing karma. In his personality so much feeling shines, respecting things—the opposite of a person not feeling shy to do some negative actions, but rather very careful in the karmas and having the personality that shines in creating negative karmas. There are many sciences that prove that he is the incarnation of the previous great scholar who lived in Tibet, who had many thousands of disciples; among them there are many, many experts, very learned.

As the continuous mind is beginningless, the continuity of delusions, the three poisonous minds, are also beginningless. As it has been beginningless, the negative mind has been giving us harm from the beginningless previous lifetimes. So, if we still follow these delusions while we have received this precious human rebirth, if we don’t try to completely destroy the delusions, it is a waste. It is extremely difficult, once we have lost this human life, oh, then, it is extremely difficult to destroy the delusions. Also, not only receiving precious human rebirth but having met the leader leading to the nirvana, cessation of the suffering, the everlasting happiness. So if we don’t destroy the delusions, while we have met the leader leading in nirvana, after we have lost this chance, it is extremely difficult again to destroy the delusion. This time we have met the teachings that show the perfect path that leads to nirvana. So, while we have the chance to follow the teachings, while we have met the teachings, if we don’t try to destroy the delusion, once we have passed from this chance, it is extremely difficult to destroy the delusion.

The cessation of the delusions is the real, perfect happiness, peace, but only wishing for one’s own perfect happiness, not being concerned for other sentient beings, that is a selfish motivation. In the ordinary world, ordinary people think the mother from whom they received the body who gave birth is more kind than other people from whom they didn’t receive this body. There are no sentient beings who have not been my mother, not one sentient being. All the sentient beings have been mother and they have been kind all the time. Just like this present mother took care of me in many ways, she took care my body, for my pleasure, for the happiness for my life, sentient beings have been my mother numberless times, extremely kind to me numberless times, oh, like this. This time, I received a perfect human rebirth and have met the virtuous friend leading in the path to enlightenment. The mother sentient beings have not met the leader leading in the path to enlightenment, they have not met the teachings. Most of them have not received even the perfect human rebirth. So, not being concerned for other sentient beings, being only concerned for myself is, only trying to enjoy myself, is selfish like that.

That is like this: the mother is attacked by tiger there and you climb of top of the tree and watch how the tiger is enjoying the mother, eating the mother. Even if we have received nirvana, the perfect peace, not being concerned about mother sentient beings is like this example, this very, very upsetting example. When the mother is scared, from who the mother should expect to receive help is the son. Whom I should help is the mother. I must repay all the mother sentient beings for their kindness. It does not benefit them even to receive the greatest samsaric perfections, possessions, jewels, enjoyments. Why does it not benefit them? Because it is not new—these mother sentient beings have been having these in numberless times in previous lives, previous lifetimes, but still even though they had those experiences, they are not out of suffering. They are not released from suffering, so, therefore this does not benefit them. So, the best way to repay them is to bring the sentient beings into enlightenment, the most sublime happiness, by showing them the path.

[Pipi time]

UNIVERSAL RESPONSIBILITY TO BENEFIT ALL MOTHER SENTIENT BEINGS
No matter how much mother sentient beings from their side, how much they wish, how much they desire happiness, they destroy the cause of happiness as if it was the enemy. They escape away from the cause of happiness. They are too lazy to create the cause of happiness. Even though they do understand, they do not recognize the cause of happiness. Like me, lazy meditators, even if one can recognize, most of the sentient beings are devoid of happiness. They are devoid of even the temporal happiness and no matter how much they do not desire suffering, all the time, day and night, all the time, they run toward suffering, they are busy creating the cause of suffering. No matter how much they do not desire suffering, all the time they are busy, day and night, to create the cause of suffering. It’s true, very true, very true, if you just pay attention. Animals, human beings, how they lead the life on earth, different countries… if you just watch, is very clear, very clear. What Buddha explained in the teaching is very true. It is very clear, like watching a movie. You can make the movie from one country, like South Africa, where there are primitive people who don’t know how to live, who don’t know how to live the life, who don’t know how to keep things clean, house, kitchen, plates, who don’t know how to eat clean diet. We make a movie of those people and then watching that movie, it is very clear, we eat also like this, we also are like this.

Actually, sentient beings are devoid of happiness, devoid of ultimate happiness and also it is even difficult to receive the samsaric temporal happiness. Constantly suffering, so therefore mother sentient beings should have the cause of happiness and they should be in happiness, they should have all happiness. And I should make the sentient beings receive the cause of happiness and all happiness. The sentient beings, no matter how much they do not desire suffering, they constantly create the cause of suffering, ignorance. They should be devoid of the cause of the suffering and all the suffering. Who should do that? I should make all sentient beings be devoid of the cause of suffering and all the sufferings. That is also not, like, you know, ask someone, “Please, please, I will relax, you help the sentient beings to make them to be devoid of suffering and lead them in all happiness.” Not like this, not like this. Even though, even though there are other buddhas, other living beings who benefit others, who benefit the sentient beings, who help the sentient beings, it is my responsibility, as the sentient beings have been kind to me, been my mother numberless times. By taking the whole responsibility to release each sentient being from suffering and lead them into sublime happiness, the enlightenment, on myself, I will attempt, I will try, by myself, to do this, to fulfill the responsibility and to do this by myself alone.

However, at the moment I can’t guide even myself. I can’t guide even myself from the stomach pain, from suffering, I can’t even guide one sentient beings from suffering, at this time. So, at the moment I don’t have the ability, so who can do that? Who has such ability? That is the Buddha. The perfected being. He can guide the sentient beings from suffering because he is perfect, he has the perfect knowledge, perfect knowledge, knowing each single method, how to lead each sentient being, how to lead each sentient being who has different personality, different mind, to guide them all from suffering. Buddha knows the right methods, having perfect wisdom like this, understanding each sentient being’s level of mind, each sentient being’s thoughts, exactly without one single, tiny mistake, so clearly. However, if there is no compassion, simply by having the knowledge, knowing all this, knowing everything, knowing the minds of all sentient beings in all existence, without the compassion even a person who is educated or intellectual cannot help. So, besides the Buddha having perfect knowledge, he has compassion, he has infinite compassion for all sentient beings, so, there is no question, no doubt, that the buddhas guide.

Also, if there is no power, if there is no perfect power, even there is knowledge and compassion, if there is no perfect power, it can’t be done. Like the armless mother, when the child is being drowned by the river, her baby taken by the river, the armless mother is just watching. She knows know to swim and how to take the child out of the river—she has the knowledge—and she has the compassion, but there is no power, no power, so like this. So, if there is no perfect power, it is like this. Even though you have perfect, knowledge, compassion, infinite compassion, if you have no perfect power you can’t guide sentient beings. There is no doubt, enlightened beings have perfect power. So, therefore, in order to release the sentient beings from suffering and lead into the enlightenment, the most sublime happiness, I must achieve enlightenment, the buddhahood stage. Once I receive the buddhahood stage I can lead numberless sentient beings in happiness, to enlightenment. Each of these rays from the holy body can lead great numbers of sentient beings in happiness, can guide them from suffering. So quick, so quick and easy, because of the knowledge and compassion, the infinite compassion, and power.

THE ESSENCE OF THE MAHAYANA PATH
How to receive enlightenment.? By what path? By following the graduated path to enlightenment. By following this, one can receive enlightenment. The essence of the graduated path, the seed of enlightenment, is the beneficial thought of bodhicitta. Instead of taking more care of oneself, taking care of other sentient beings more than oneself. This is the essence of Mahayana teaching and Mahayana practice. It is not enough that the teachings are the Mahayana teachings, we the subject, the doer, or the person, our mind should be Mahayanist. So, if the person’s mind is Mahayanist, the person becomes a Mahayanist. If the person’s mind is not Mahayana, even if the teachings that the person is receiving, what the person is reading, there is no way for the person to become Mahayanist, unless we change our mind from the previous personality of the mind. How do we change? By training the mind, training the mind in bodhicitta, the beneficial thought, taking care of other sentient beings more than oneself, feeling other sentient beings to be more dear than oneself. By training the mind in this realization, or in this beneficial thought, then there is no difficulty to receive enlightenment quicker, easier, and our benefit to other sentient beings is much more skillful, much wiser. It covers the action that we do for other sentient beings.

The actions that we do for sentient beings with the pure thought of bodhicitta have great benefit, and in this way we create infinite merit. So from your side, and also from my side, the purpose of talking, each word, whether it is helpful or useful or not, or whether it is boring, causing trouble, causing anger, whether it makes sense, the goal or the aim is to receive enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings. You should keep this aim in your life—I’m sure you may have thousands of projects, but this is the most important thing.

Like the person who wants to get the most precious jewel from an island, going by boat, of course he expects to have a comfortable trip on the way. He may have many other things to do on the way, like get a cup of tea, or if he gets tired, but if the temporal things do not become successful he does not care, it is not as important as that jewel. If he keeps this wish in the depth of his heart, that is the main thing. So whenever you meditate, discuss, or listen to teachings at any time, think, “I am doing this to receive enlightenment for the benefit of sentient beings.” All the time, remember this. If one concentrates with this aim, our mind slowly gets trained in bodhicitta. Even if you have diarrhea, cough, or cold, headache, no matter what happens, your mind is happy, not upset. This is different then when you got sick before. Even if the problem was so tiny, small, for your mind it was a big problem. But now your mind is happy to experience the trouble for the benefit of other sentient beings. Training your mind in bodhicitta like this, remembering this, makes the mind very happy. This is the most important thing during the course.

INTRODUCTION TO LAM-RIM
So how does following the graduated path to enlightenment make one receive enlightenment? Just a little bit of clarification on this point. The object of these three poisonous minds—ignorance, anger, and attachment—is not definite, is not permanent. We don’t need meditation to see that the object changes. The object of anger is not always anger, sometimes it becomes the object of attachment. It is not definite. So by practicing Dharma, one can make no single object of attachment and anger exist. How? By ceasing anger and attachment. How to do this? By ceasing ignorance, because anger and attachment come from ignorance, are caused by ignorance. Ignorance is a false conception, false thought that projects falsely. So how to cease and destroy the ignorance? By recognizing the view possessed by ignorance as false. By recognizing the right view as it is existing there. Just by realizing this, ignorance can be destroyed.

Very far away, if my eyes are not clear, there is a bush having a yellow color. From here I see a very wrathful tiger looking at me, so I get scared, believing it is a real tiger. Then as I go further, I see the tiger is the bush. The more I concentrate the more I see that that tiger is nowhere, that tiger is not existing, not on any part of the leaves, any part of the bush. There is not even an atom of a tiger there. So again you see the bush, and by understanding the false view and the real view, the wrong conception that you believed in does not exist any more. This is a simple example. Ignorance can be completely destroyed in this way. So, what explains this method to cease the greed, ignorance, attachment? How to destroy ignorance? What explains the methods, the practice? The teaching on the gradual path to enlightenment. Following that path, one can receive nirvana, perfect peace. I think I stop here.

For the meditation, I think do first like you did yesterday, checking the continuity of the delusions. Then, after that, the mind that renounces these delusions arises, this mind renounced toward delusion includes the renounced mind of samsara, the renounced mind of the happiness of this life, the whole thing. The biggest problem is not the object, not the happiness, not the pleasure itself, the biggest problem is the mind. The delusion is the biggest problem, so renouncing this includes renouncing everything, Then what should be renounced? What should be renounced? This delusion is the main thing, this is the main thing. Even if you don’t know the mind renounced of samsara, the renounced mind of delusion includes that renounced mind of samsara.

Secondly, the gradual path to enlightenment makes it possible to receive enlightenment. How does it make it possible to achieve enlightenment? If the nature of our mind, which is clear light, is deeply mixed with the delusions, then the mind itself has to be deluded, has to itself be oneness with delusions, inseparable with the delusion. Then in that case, there is no way to purify, because to purify is just to stop the mind, just to cease the mind, there is no other way to purify the delusions, because the mind is inseparable from the delusions, the nature of the mind, which is clear light, itself is oneness with the delusion, so there is no way to purify. Like this example: if the white cloth itself is inseparable with the dirt, if it is the dirt, then there is no way to clean it. The only way to remove the dirt is to destroy the cloth, to completely burn the cloth, otherwise there is no way to get rid of that dirt, you can’t separate the cloth, you completely destroy the cloth, and you don’t get the cloth to wear. It becomes ridiculous like this, if the mind is oneness with delusion, if the nature of the mind is deluded, then the only way to purify is to cease the mind.

Generally it is impossible to cease the mind, to cease the continuity of mind. If one thinks that the cessation of mind itself is nirvana, that cessation or that emptiness—then again there is a danger to get mixed up, I don’t mean the emptiness as in the nature of the mind—while the mind is ceased, there is no more mind, mind becomes empty, not absolutely become empty, I mean the relative empty. If that is recognized as enlightenment, nirvana, or something, at that time who possesses it? There is no self to possess this stage, because the mind became empty, the mind is ceased. Self is finished, so there is no possessor, there is no subject, there is noone who experiences that. Anyway, there is no such thing, and even if it were possible, by achieving this how can one benefit others? If the self does not exist anymore, it is ceased, how you benefit other sentient beings? There is no way, no way.

That is like expecting non-existing. If your head is feeling cold ,expecting non-existing to keep it warm! [Rinpoche laughs]. Sort of like this, there are many people thinking like this. Some people have this idea, they think that nirvana or enlightenment is the mind that has been ceased. They think the continuity of the consciousness, that which travels from one life to one life, the whole thing, should be ceased. Many people think in this way, and this is a completely wrong conception. There are certain things that have to be got rid of, but when you clean the cloth you do not completely destroy the whole thing. There are certain things to destroy, there are certain things to wipe off. Same thing with the mind, the disturbances to the happiness have to be gotten rid of, have to be cleaned, but we are not trying to cease the whole mind. So, it is like this.

Why there is a possibility to clean the cloth, the white cloth? Because the cloth is not inherently obscured with dirt. The cloth is temporarily obscured by the dirt, so there is a possibility to wipe, to clean it. Same thing, why there is a possibility to receive enlightenment by following the gradual path? The nature of the mind is not inseparable from the delusions, so by following the gradual path, as the nature of the mind is only temporarily obscured by the delusions, the delusions are purified, get purified, get removed following the graduated path to enlightenment. By following the path, when we receive enlightenment after all the obscurations are purified the nature of the mind becomes what is called dharmakaya, or the svabavakaya. Another way of saying “the holy body of nature” is svabhavakaya, the Sanskrit term. When we achieve enlightenment, the nature of the mind becomes the holy body of nature, the svabavakaya, and the relative mind, that becomes the dharmakaya, the omniscient mind, or the fully knowing mind. That is why it is called enlightenment, because the mind that is fully knowing and the absolute nature of that mind is completely pure. Completely pure from what? Pure of what? Pure of the gross delusions and even the subtle delusions that disturb one from fully seeing all the objects of knowledge, which means the whole existence. The omniscient mind and its nature, which is the absolute truth, are completely pure of these gross delusions and the subtle obscurations. That is what is called enlightenment. Enlightenment is like this, not like empty sky. Many people think, when they imagine, when they try to imagine visualizing enlightenment, it is kind of empty space, kind of like sky, blue sky.

THE TWO LINEAGES
Talking about experience, logically, how does the gradual path makes it possible to receive enlightenment? By following this path, who has the experience of receiving enlightenment? Guru Shakyamuni Buddha had the experience of receiving enlightenment, and then with his complete experience he has shown the gradual path. It is gradual in two, it comes in two divisions: the teaching of the profound path, the teaching of the extensive path. The teachings of the extensive path have been handed down from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to Maitreya Buddha, then Asanga, then gradually there are other various pandits.The bodhisattva Serlingpa, from there, handed down to the great bodhisattva Atisha. The teachings of the profound path were handed down from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to the Buddha of Wisdom, called Manjushri, from there to Nagarjuna, from there to many other pandits. That teaching has been handed down from Nagarjuna, and it has been handed down to the great bodhisattva called Shantideva, and gradually then again the great bodhisattva Atisha received the teachings of the profound path.

Atisha has received both lineages of the teachings, and as he came into Tibet he spread the teachings in Tibet, the lineage of these two paths, profound and extensive paths. He has handed both paths down to others, to other followers, called the Kadampas. Then gradually from there, it went to Guru Tsongkhapa, in the fourteenth century, who was recognized as the embodiment of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri, his mind the same as Padmasambhava, the great yogi who was invited from India to Tibet to destroy the negative interferers and bring the Dharma in Tibet. He received he the teachings of both paths, and handed them down to his followers, and then on to the living tutors of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and other high lamas. Anyway, not necessary to mention the names, but other high lamas who themselves live in the experience of the gradual path. Also, in the present time there are many meditators, like scientists in the West making experiments on the animals, these meditators are making experiments on different things, trying to discover things by receiving the teachings from the living gurus who are living in the experience of the gradual path, training their mind in the gradual path the enlightenment.

So from these three principal gurus, the Dalai Lama and his two tutors, whose kindness can never be repaid at any time, so from them, the unfortunate person, me, I have received these teachings. I have heard a few words, a few words went in my ear. However, all this lineage of these teachings, the guru from whom we receive the teachings, all those who are living in the experience of the perfect gurus, who are perfect guides, who can lead from the beginning until enlightenment is received, who can show the whole path, having the whole teachings, they are like this. Such a person like me, whose mind is not subdued, who only does pipi, kaka, and eating, sleeping anyway, not working to explain this teachings, not having the knowledge to explain the teachings, not having the experience of checking one’s own mind, from those holy beings’ holy mouths according, to level of my wisdom, a few words I heard, so perhaps maybe there will be similar words, so perhaps we can a little bit expect to benefit the mind.

More details may come afterwards but Atisha wrote the teaching, the well-condensed teaching on the gradual path to enlightenment in Tibet, and afterwards Guru Tsongkhapa wrote commentary, very clear. The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment has been already translated by several people and also in Australia one of the professors translated it, and also at the Library in Dharamsala, they have translated it. The commentary to that text written by Atisha is the Lam-rim Chen-mo and many other commentaries written by other Tibetan Lamas, highly realized meditators.

According to the outlines, the text is the lam-rim text written by the highly realized Tibetan Lama called Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, who did great work in Tibet spreading Dharma, who benefited a great number of people. I can’t say for sure that I will complete this teaching, going through all the details, that takes much time, but I think I will go briefly, maybe only the important parts. Then, if I have time I may go through a little bit more details, through the outlines.

This is the Mahayana teaching which leads the fortunate one to enlightenment, it is well expounded by the great, highly realized pandits Nagarjuna and Asanga, and it is the profound teachings of the essence of the great pandits, the unequaled Atisha and the great Lama Tsongkhapa’s infinite knowledge that includes all these teachings, the important points from the 84,000 teachings, shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. All these teachings are set up for the gradual practice of one person achieving enlightenment.

THE GREATNESS OF THE AUTHOR

ATISHA'S BIRTH
The commentary on the gradual path to enlightenment, this has four outlines, and the first one is the knowledge of the author. The author is Atisha, the great bodhisattva Atisha. Why him? The actual graduated path to enlightenment has been experienced before by previous followers, but the title “graduated path to enlightenment” happened after Atisha condensed it, made it simple and easy for people to understand. So Guru Tsongkhapa talks about the knowledge of the author. How he wrote the teachings, and by understanding the knowledge, how the person lived the life, what kind of knowledge he had, how he benefited others, other sentient beings, and how, when you practice the teachings, when you read his teachings, you don’t get the dry feeling, dead feeling, but it benefits your mind so much. It is very effective to your mind, the more you understand the knowledge of Atisha, how he lived life, how he practiced Dharma.

Knowledge of the author, the great bodhisattva Atisha: First of all it teaches how he how he took birth in a perfect caste, and he lived life. Then, secondly, how he received knowledge and third, after he received the knowledge, how he benefited the teachings.

The place where Atisha was born is in the eastern part of India, in Bengal. He took the birth of a prince. His family was surrounded by a huge population and they were very rich, the place was called the Palace of the Golden Banner, with 13 golden roofs, and 25,000 golden banners on the top. How did he find knowledge in that life? When he was coming out of the womb many wonderful signs happened—very beautiful clouds filled space, in different colors, and there was flower-rain, and gods and goddesses singing, and he appeared very radiant, very powerful looking. Everybody saw this. Also in Tibet when there are holy beings taking birth there are many special signs. When I was a child, around six or seven, many times I saw the whole space full of beautiful different colored clouds, like in the paintings and tangkas. But since I left Tibet I never saw!

I think it’s bedtime.

MEDITATION INSTRUCTION 
Do the same meditation, after the breathing meditation. Breathing meditation also like this: if you can’t naturally breathe, slowly as usual without making noise, if you cannot concentrate well, then maybe you can put little bit of effort, maybe you can make a little bit noise, breathe out. When you breathe out, kind of finish the whole thing inside, slowly in this way, you are putting a little bit of physical effort.

So as you are putting the physical effort, the mind is easy to concentrate on that. There is not so much physical effort, it is sometimes possible that you may find it difficult to concentrate, so the last method is to put a little physical effort like this, then you will find it easier to concentrate.

Then after that, as you breathe in, receiving the white light which is the perfect knowledge and infinite compassion, perfect power of the enlightened beings, holy beings, coming from all the directions—you should feel blissfulness. The nature of that white light is perfect power, perfect knowledge and infinite compassion, but also blissfulness, extremely blissful. So as you receive the white light down into your heart, then the whole body becomes full of bliss. It is like when we put the light on, the light fills the whole place, like that the whole body inside becomes full of light, so much blissfulness, so much blissfulness-wisdom-light. Try to feel so much blissfulness, so much blissfulness, so much blissfulness, and think at the same time “Now I have received the perfect knowledge, infinite compassion and perfect power.”

Like this, it is very useful, especially if you have a schizophrenic feeling or your mind is neurotic or you have heart disease, heart attack. Joking! If you have things like Tibetan term lung, wind disease, try to feel like that it’s very useful, it makes you relax your mind, your heart. As you feel this, you don’t feel the other one, the other uncomfortable things here, don’t feel uptight. When you feel this light coming, whose nature is the extreme blissfulness that is received from the holy beings, enlightenment beings, when you feel this other one, you forget. The other, uncomfortable feeling goes away.

Then after that you check, “What I am thinking?” When you are aware of what your mind is thinking, instead of watching the object of mind, you watch the subject mind, watch the mind that is thinking. You concentrate on that. Be mindful on that, hold it. As much as possible you try. Like the California, like the New York police, finding the people who are taking drugs, the sneaky way. As you’ve found it then you just concentrate on that, be mindful of that without letting other thoughts arise, as much as possible. Check up yourself, “How much, how long I can concentrate? How long I can hold the object of concentration? How long I can be mindful?” At the same time also to check up like this, this is also interesting, very interesting, especially if you didn’t do before.

[Ge wa di… Dedication prayers]

LECTURE 5: November 12, 1975 (morning)

EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON MIND
Before listening to the Dharma it is necessary to cultivate the pure motivation. Why is the necessity of cultivating the pure motivation emphasized at this time? Normally in our life when we do something, we don’t hear this. It is not usual to, first of all, emphasize the motivation, the pure motivation, or something like this—no particular motivation emphasized. So why is it emphasized?
In normal life, always we have been making mistakes in our actions, expecting to create the cause of happiness, expecting to receive happiness by doing that cause, by doing that work. Then, all the time, instead of receiving happiness when you experience the result, instead of receiving the happiness which you expected, then all the time the result is only in the nature of suffering, problems. Therefore, since the Dharma is a method to cease the problems, it does not depend on how the action of speech orhow the action of body looks. It mainly depends in the motivation, the mind. If the mind goes in Dharma, the mind transforms into the nature of virtue, so the action also naturally becomes a virtuous action, and that always brings the result of happiness. Therefore, at this particular time, as we have a chance to not make a mistake by misunderstanding the cause of happiness and the cause of suffering, what produces suffering, what produces happiness, as we have the chance to understand this correctly, as we have the clear recognition like this, we put as much effort as we can to not let our minds, our actions, become the cause of samsara, the cause of suffering.

Just briefly talking how everything, the life problems, the sufferings, depends on mind, how that is created by mind, that is very important to understand. It is not created by some other people’s mind or something like that. Normally we think in that way, but it is not like this. It is created by the individual himself, by individual’s own mind. That is the most important thing to understand. If you understand this, you can understand karma, the evolution of karma, that, how one’s life problems are caused by one’s own mind, how that has happened. If one understands this, then one can understand much better karma.

One time in India there were two beggars; one was of the brahmin caste, and they went to beg in the monastery. He didn’t get any food because he went at the wrong time to the monastery to beg, so he didn’t get any food. So he came back from the monastery and was asked by the other boy who was in the caste of king, “Did you get food from the monastery,” and he answered, “I didn’t get any food.” So he was very angry and he said, “I wish that I could cut all those monks’ necks, so their heads drop on the ground.” He was very angry like this, wishing like this, he told the other boy. So, afterwards the other boy went to beg food at the monastery, and he knows the right time to beg food. He reached the monastery while the monks were having lunch, so, he got plenty of food, plenty of food, so his mind was extremely happy, and he wished, “I wish I could make offering to these monks all the time and build many monasteries.”

After some time the two were going along a road in the street, I think its near Bodhgaya around that place, they were sleeping beside by the road. All of a sudden, while sleeping, a horse cart came and, to the boy who was very, very angry, who wished to cut all monks’ necks and to drop them on the ground, the wheel of the horse cart cut off his neck, completely, his head and his body separated. And the other boy was sleeping. The king of that country was dead, so the people were searching very much for a person to take the place of the king. They saw the first boy, who was still sleeping, and they said, “This is a very unusual person, must be a very fortunate person.” So they thought to ask him to become their king. So, afterwards they asked him, and he became the leader of the country and then he become very wealthy, he become very rich. Then as he had wished before, he made offerings to the monks, and built many monasteries for the monks. His enjoyment, his happiness, was a result of the positive mind, and his life become successful and happy, while the other monk who was suffering also experienced the result of the karma that he created not a long time ago.

This is just an example, but our life is full of these things. One day we experience… for instance, sometimes whatever we think to do becomes successful, without experiencing much difficulty, but sometimes so much trouble, nothing happens, no results come. So all our life experiences are like this, the results of karma created by ourselves in previous lifetimes—some in this life, some in previous lives. As the Buddha said, the main creator of all these problems is not our body or speech, it is our mind. The motivation is the most important, the point where we should be careful, where we should watch, where we should be mindful. Therefore, when you hear Buddhadharma in the teachings all the time the motivation is emphasized. Even if the listeners know the motivation, it needs to be repeated all the time, needs to be emphasized all the time, to be careful, to not forget, to be sure.

The feeling that you got yesterday when I repeated the long motivation, it is necessary to feel like that. Even if it’s only a short summary, if you can remember and bring it up, it is very good.

From my side I have received the perfect human rebirth and I have met the teachings and have met the leader leading in the path to enlightenment, and this time I must make myself free from the suffering, samsaric suffering. Only myself releasing from the samsaric suffering is not sufficient, there are numberless other sentient beings who have been extremely kind to me and are continuously suffering, without having Dharma wisdom and method, and it is my responsibility to help release them from suffering and lead them into most sublime happiness, enlightenment. To be able to do this first I must receive enlightenment, the buddhahood stage. To receive this stage, I must complete realizing the graded path to enlightenment. Therefore I am going to listen to the profound teachings on the gradual path to enlightenment, the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate one to enlightenment. It is well-expounded by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga in profound teachings whose essence was extracted by Atisha and the great Lama Tsongkhapa. It includes all the important points of the 84,000 teachings shown by Buddha Shakyamuni guru, which are set as the gradual practice of one person’s achieving enlightenment. This is the gradual path through which the past, present, and future buddhas have received enlightenment.

So this commentary on the gradual path to enlightenment has four outlines—the first one is the qualification of the author, which means the great pandit, bodhisattva Atisha. I received the commentary of this form the most kind root guru, the His Holiness Dalai Lama’s younger tutor, called Trijang Rinpoche, a long time ago, in Varanasi, the holy place where Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave the first sermon.

Pabongka Rinpoche was such a great holy being, he led an ascetic life for a long time and perfectly experienced the gradual path to enlightenment. When he was born, he had intuitive figures on his body the ornaments of Heruka. He had a special relationship with the deity called Heruka. This is another way of saying that Heruka is the tantric deity aspect, but this lama was the human aspect. Like this. This lama wrote many teachings, and his teachings are unbelievable. He himself has the experience. The person who has the experience, when he talks, it is different than the person who has only intellectual understanding. I don’t mean only western scholars, but in Tibet, there are many Tibetans who have intellectual understanding, but from the text you can feel that his mind is living in the experience. It is so beneficial for mind, so clear and so helpful for the mind. I also think, when I think of the benefit of the teachings, by seeing his texts, the benefits that I receive, I feel a little bit of pride that I am so fortunate.

THE GREATNESS OF THE AUTHOR
However, the extra talk was the short autobiography of the great Pandit Atisha. When he was 18 months old, he was invited to a temple and all the people came to see the young prince. As he saw the people on the road he asked his parents, “Who are these people?” His parents said, “This is your population,” and Atisha looked at them with compassion. He made this prayer, “May these people have perfect power and high fortune, become a prince like me and live the life in Dharma. May their lives be fed by Dharma.” He said this in a charming voice and by doing so he became the object of the people’s respect and devotion. When he reached the temple they made prayers for his long life and health. Atisha prayed, “I have received the perfect human rebirth and with undefective senses saw the Three Jewels, and always with respect I will keep them on my head from today on, as my objects of refuge. May I not be bound by the worldly dharmas, or the worldly family life, and may I receive the richness of Dharma by living among the Sangha and always make offerings to the Three Jewels without pride and look at sentient beings with compassion.”

He was such a small baby making these prayers—first refuge, then bodhicitta. The people got surprised. When he was three years old, he became very learned in astrology, in poetry, grammar, the usual education, letters, then when he was six years old, he could make out the difference between the inner being and the outer beings. During those time in India it was extremely difficult, very, very few people could clarify the difference between inner and outer teachings or inner being and outer beings. Then when he was eleven years old, his father the king invited so many women, because he was the king, so he had power to chose any of the women in the country, to be Atisha’s wife. The parents tried so many ways for Atisha to get attached, to live in the family; they made party, they let the women sing and dance, all kinds of things to make Atisha feel the attachment. However much the parents tried, all these things, instead of becoming a cause of attachment, they became a cause of renounced mind. One girl who was the transformation of the deity called Tara, the female aspect of Buddha called Tara, advised Atisha, “You the fortunate one, don’t get attached, just like the elephant gets stuck in the mud.”

“Don’t get attached” means don’t get attached in the happiness of this life. She advised Atisha like this. Then, as she persuaded him, Atisha was extremely happy and he answered her with great happiness, then without delaying, he went to the mountains to find his guru. So, this was his actual aim, and he met his guru called Tsetare. From that guru he received refuge and bodhicitta, and then Tsetare told Atisha to go to Nalanda, the place where there was the famous school, where there were thousands and thousands of pandits, to see Changchub Sangpo.

ATISHA LEAVES THE PALACE AND MEETS HIS GURUS
Atisha went and pleased Changchub Sangpo by making jewel offerings, then, through concentration the guru blessed Atisha’s three doors of speech, body, and mind, and also gave many teachings on bodhicitta. Then again, that guru sent him to another guru, Rigpa Kutshu. Again that guru gave much teachings on bodhicitta. Again that guru sent him to see another guru called Awaduti.

Atisha’s family had two sons, the Essence of the Lotus (Pema Nyingpo) and the Essence of the Moon (Dawa Nyingpo). The middle one, The Essence of the Moon, that is Atisha. His parents said, “You, Dawa Nyingpo, where have you been? Didn’t you get tired? It is good that you came back.” So then, Atisha answered, “I have been to find the guru, the object of the refuge. I have been in search of solitude, a place on the mountains, and wherever I have been, I saw only the shortcomings of samsara. With whomever I have been, explaining the shortcomings of samsara. However, I couldn’t relax my mind, so, please, now give me the chance, I will go to practice Dharma.” Then the parents said, “If you are upset of samsara, take the place of the king, and make offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and make charity to the poor people, and build monasteries and invite monks. If you do like this all the time we’ll be happy.”

Then again, Atisha said, “When I look more and more at the vision of the king’s life, there is not one atom that I am attached to. There is no difference between the prison and the golden palace, no difference between princess and the devil’s daughter. No difference, between sweet food and the dog’s meat, and pus and blood, no difference. Also, there is no difference in being adorned by beautiful clothes and adorned by torn, dirty clothes. There is not a single difference. So therefore, I am going to the jungles, I am going to perform meditation.” So he asked the parents to give a little bit to eat, and milk and honey, and then he wanted to go to see his guru. The parents gave whatever he asked, then again with thousands of servants riding on the horses, they left for the forest.

Then they saw the guru Awaduti. This is the one who sent Atisha back home, but then he received Atisha, and gave teachings on bodhicitta and also tantric initiations. Atisha went also to see one guru called Rahula, who was Atisha’s previous life guru. Lama Rahula knew that Atisha came desiring Dharma, but he wanted to frighten Atisha. So, all of a sudden, through his psychic power, as Atisha was coming, he threw one thousand bolts on the prince. The thunder bolts did not cause danger. They went in another direction, and destroyed a stupa built by followers of the wrong path, so that thunder bolt destroyed the stupa.

The yogis living around this guru Rahula asked, “Who is this lama?” Rahula said, “He is a person who has taken only the body of the very wise pandit 552 times in previous lives, and he is the son of the Dharma King Bangla. So, without being attached to the worldly life, he desires to live the ascetic life.” So, all the yogis had such strong devotion, extremely pleased, and they got up and made prostrations to Atisha. Atisha requested Rahula, “Holy guru, please listen, I came away from home and desire to obtain liberation. Because I have achieved the famous caste, in Bangla, there is a danger for me to get stuck. Still I am not released from the king’s life. Now, I am sent in the presence of you. Please give me the teachings on the Mahayana bodhicitta, and release me from this bondage.” Rahula gave him the complete initiation and teachings of the deity called Gewa Dorje, and offered a new name to Atisha.

Then Rahula sent him home again with eight male and female saints who had very high tantric realizations, without clothes, very fearful looking. Atisha himself practiced the deity Heruka, and put on the ornaments. They reached the palace and they frightened everyone. They stayed for three months acting crazy at the palace. The parents got tired, and finally they all decided he had really given up worldly life. All the people cried.

I think we leave it there.

Meditate on watching the thought. Spend more time on that, as much as possible. Maybe instead do the nine-round breathing meditation three times, and then you spend more times watching the thought, without letting other distracting thoughts arise. Like this, this technique is also like this. It is explained in the Mahamudra teachings. If the thought is distracted, there are different techniques, but as your mind thinks of the object, as your mind thinks of your past life, your past stories, what you see, what you are talking about with friends, one side of the mind is just watching what this mind is doing. Just be mindful what the thought is doing, at the same time knowing what I am thinking.

However, that’s one technique, and then afterwards because you’re mindful, it kind of becomes a method, so afterwards it doesn’t wander the whole time, on and on and on like this. This is one technique, but it is not quick. You can be mindful of what you are thinking, but you still carry on. You know what you are thinking, because you like to think and you still carry on.

So the thing is this ... the quicker technique is, instead of the breath you concentrate on the picture of whichever object. Then, whatever comes, instead of thinking of the object of the thought, as soon as you recognize this as a thought you just concentrate on this object and you forget the thought. If you are mindful of this, then this goes away, so afterwards if this comes again, if you concentrate on this, this just automatically goes, doesn’t stay there, like this. At the beginning we do the recitation of mantra; that’s very helpful for purification.