The whole point of saying the different practices that are done with prayer is that it plants a great impression; it makes great preparations in the mind to quickly generate the realizations.
Here, what we are doing—we are not working at one day’s happiness, we are not working here for one month’s happiness, we are not working here only to achieve this life’s happiness, which is only a few years. We are not working to obtain a few years’ happiness. What we are doing here is a great work; it’s very important, great work, it’s not simple. What we are doing here is not only trying to obtain happiness with just this life, which is only a few years, a certain number of months. What we are doing here is to obtain happiness for all the coming future lives, not only this life, not only just one life, but all the future lives. We are trying to obtain happiness for all the future lives and not only removing, not only preventing the difficulties and suffering of this life, but trying to eliminate or prevent the suffering of all the coming future lives. This life and all the lives beyond this life, all these sufferings, difficulties, we’re doing this work, we’re doing this course in order to prevent them, practicing meditation.
For that reason we are going to practice Dharma. However, not only to obtain temporal happiness for the future life, not only that. To obtain the temporal happiness of the future life is not satisfactory. Now what we are doing here is trying to obtain ultimate happiness. Until there is nothing to satisfy, until we achieve the everlasting happiness, the peace that is the cessation of the disturbing unsubdued mind, until we achieve this ultimate happiness, this peace, which is impossible to turn back into suffering—until we achieve this, having achieved any temporal pleasure is not sufficient, we are not satisfied with it.
Without much talking, we are doing this not only to achieve peace, the cessation of the disturbing unsubdued mind, the cessation of the whole suffering. What we are working for here is to achieve the highest happiness, highest happiness, the highest bliss, the state of omniscient mind, which is purified of all the stains, every single stain and obscuration, which is perfect in all realizations. This is the highest bliss.
In order to achieve this, the highest bliss, the state of omniscient mind, we do not do this for the sake of oneself but for the sake of other sentient beings we try to achieve this. So, the work we are doing here at this time is not simple work. Of course it is difficult work...something that we do only through mental development, working by mind, motivated. We are not trying to achieve this through material development but through mental development, the inner factor, by developing the inner factor of the mind. Through mental development, we achieve happiness, not only temporal happiness but ultimate happiness, or the everlasting happiness. Not only that, but we try to achieve the highest bliss, the state of omniscient mind for the sake of other sentient beings.
There is no other work that is more important than this work, then the work that we are going to do at this time. There is no other work more important, more beneficial in our life, in the world. There is no other more beneficial work than this. Concerning oneself, concerning others, concerning other sentient beings.
Even external development, even that is not easy. One has to go through much difficulty; there are a lot of hindrances to achieve that goal, to become successful in the works of this life. Even for one’s business to be successful, to get as much profit as one wishes, there are a lot of hindrances, one has to go through many difficulties. Even to obtain one month of pleasure, one year of pleasure, there are many hindrances; it doesn’t become as successful as one wishes or planned. What I am saying is, of course, to achieve such a great aim, not only the happiness of this life, but the happiness of all the future lives, the ultimate happiness, not only that, the highest bliss, the state of omniscient mind for the sake of other sentient beings, this of course is difficult, of course this work has more hindrances than the works of the temporal life.
So anyway, without talking much, before the discourse these practices that are contained in the prayers are to purify or to prevent all the inner hindrances and to prevent the outer hindrances that disturb us from quickly generating the realizations of the meditation; to develop the good heart, to practice Dharma; for the meditations to become successful and to be able to understand the teachings, and for the teachings to which one listens to become effective for the mind. There are lots of hindrances, so many hindrances, thousands, thousands of hindrances inside the mind. Because of that, there are thousand of hindrances that one receives from outside.
So for these reasons, there are these different practices which are contained in the prayers. These are done every day, all the time by the meditators, the Dharma practitioners, who practice the state of omniscient mind. The effect of these practices, the benefits of these practices has been the experience of these meditators, who practiced the steps of the path to enlightenment. Through these practices they have received completely the steps of the path to enlightenment and have achieved the state of omniscient mind.
Some part of the prayer will be said in English, and some part will be done in the Tibetan language. And then those who don’t know the meditations don’t have to worry; one can gradually understand the meditations that are contained in the prayer.
“I am going to meditate on the steps of the path to enlightenment, in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the sentient beings.”
...from your countries, people come here to seek a new method that wasn’t actualized before; which wasn’t experienced before. By recognizing the way the life was spent before didn’t bring peace in the mind, that there is some other way, recognizing and understanding this, then coming here to train the mind in Dharma, or another way of saying, to practice meditation. That is very good, it is extremely good, it is an object toward which to feel great rejoicefulness, that the mind is not completely closed and with the freedom for you to open the door of the mind to allow for peace. The door of the mind, the door of the wisdom not completely closed, but giving freedom to yourself to take the essence in the life, to attain peace within one’s mind. You have such a quality; you are giving freedom to yourself.
There is nothing like this to achieve the ultimate happiness, or the highest happiness. This virtuous thought to seek nirvana, to seek the state of peace, the complete cessation of suffering—this is just something that one feels great rejoicefulness in having found, having this positive or virtuous thought in your mind. To seek Dharma, for that purpose, that is the thing, something that one can feel great rejoicefulness in having found.
I don’t think you can receive any benefits to your mind from me. For example, myself here: in order to benefit your mind, in order to subdue your own mind, first of all, the guru, the teacher who shows, who reveals the method, who reveals the teachings, his mind should be subdued; his mind should be subdued, should be well-experienced. There is no benefit that you can receive because my own mind does not have any of the qualities of the guru who teaches the meditation, who reveals the teachings, the methods to enlightenment. I don’t have any qualities! I don’t have any necessary qualities.
What are the necessary qualities or what is explained in the teachings, the lineage lamas from whom the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment have been handed down, all the gurus from whom we have received the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, with complete experience of the path, they had the qualities that are explained in the teachings—my own mind, the personality of my own mind, that is like some street in Kathmandu, (Rinpoche laughs) ...filthy, dirty, where you can’t find one single beauty, completely foggy, in complete darkness, complete, complete darkness, you can’t see the moon, you can’t see stars, completely foggy, completely black, like that, full of pollution. The mind is completely foggy with delusions, completely obscured by the black fog, the delusions, gloom. Pretending it is practicing Dharma, actually not practicing Dharma, a false Dharma practitioner, pretending. So there is no way from my side to benefit your mind. But in this degenerated time, a person like me has to talk about Dharma, because the time happens for a person like me to explain Dharma.
First of all, in order to benefit your mind, in order for the teachings to become effective for your mind, the gurus from whom I have received teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment have all the qualities of the gurus. In order to show the Theravada teachings, or the teachings of the lesser vehicle path, there are qualities of their gurus; and qualities of the Mahayana, the Paramitayana teachings; and in order to reveal the tantra teachings, there are necessary qualities that the teacher should have. They have all that experience of the path. Not only that, they are without any mistake, having explained the teachings exactly as the Buddha explained, as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained. Not only that, they gave periodic explanation without any mistake; they explained the teachings with experience. So the lamas from whom I received the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment are all perfectly qualified. However, my understanding of their teachings is like an atom of this earth. The Dharma is like this great ocean, like this earth. My understanding of the Dharma is like one tiny atom from the earth. So the tiny understanding that I have received from the highly realized, well-experienced gurus, without mistake as much as possible, I will try to explain.
Also, it is one of my gurus, Lama Yeshe’s order to do this; to give the course and to explain the teachings on the steps to the path to enlightenment. For the students who came before, the old students, my vocabulary has not increased. It is still the same, it has not increased. So you will find difficulty in the language, especially new people who have not heard these teachings before. Those who have heard the teachings of the steps of the path to enlightenment before, then even though the language is kind of confused, like the garbage in the can, everything is mixed, they can understand because they have heard the teaching before, they know the teachings. Even if what I speak is upside down. Those who listened many times from me before, they are familiar with my language. Also those who studied much of these teachings, they can understand what I am talking about: “What did he mean?”
So for those new people, if you find something unclear or difficult, if you have not understood a point, if you are confused on one subject, things shouldn’t be left just like that. One shouldn’t worry, shouldn’t think that it’s something that you can’t check or that you can’t ask anybody. It is not something like that. You ask somebody who has studied this subject, who knows the subject, if you ask then it can be clarified.
Without understanding, you can’t check up. First you have to understand in order to check up the subject, in order to check whether it’s correct or not, whether it is wrong or right. Without knowing the subject, without listening, there is no way to check whether it is right or wrong, whether it is useful for you or not. So first, whether it is the right path or wrong path, then whether it is useful for your mind or not. First you have to understand the subject. First you have to try—by listening, one can understand. After understanding, then you can judge. After understanding the subject, the teaching that is given, you can judge whether it is correct or not, you can find out whether it is useful for you or not, after understanding. Same thing, after having taken the medicine you can find out whether the medicine is useful for you or not.
So you check, first try to understand, then check—and whatever is a mistake, leave that part. That which is correct you practice, that you can practice. If it is not useful, if you find that it is not useful, leave it. What you find useful, if you want to practice that, you can practice.
The conclusion to what I am saying: I’m not saying that everybody should practice Dharma, what I am saying is that first one should understand, then it is in your hand whether you want to practice or not. I’m sure nobody here expects to understand the whole Dharma, the whole teachings from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, within one week or within one month.
Usually, the elaborate teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, those who make very deep study, those who make really deep study, extensive study on the path to enlightenment, the lamas, the monks, generally spend 30, 40, 50, 60 years studying the basic subjects. Then, when they have studied those extensive, elaborate commentaries on the steps of the path to enlightenment, when they have finished, after they have done rough study on those subjects, then they study the tantra subjects. They study the very extensive, elaborate teachings of tantra. Those who have done the extensive study of the sutra teachings spend that many years, 40, 50, 60 years. Even though they have spent that many years, depending on understanding completely, without any doubt, completely clear understanding—still it is rough understanding. Then after that they study the extensive subjects of tantra, like that. So the Tibetan monks study in the monasteries for so many years. For their whole life they study and practice and experience the path. All those are studies on the gradual steps to enlightenment, the study of all the teachings of the steps of path to enlightenment.
The teachings on the steps of path to enlightenment, the condensed teaching, which contains all the essence—when the lamas give commentaries, it is still not so expanded, not so elaborate. It is condensed in a quick way; it takes two months, very quick teachings in Tibetan, very quickly explained. Normally the way they do it is like this—in the morning, the disciples meditate. They start about one pm, something like that, and then until five or six o’clock—it depends on the lama. So all afternoon, straight, they give teaching, then the disciples go back to their own room and then they try to remember the meditation subjects that the lama has spoken on that day. Then they try and remember it the next morning. In that way the understanding is stabilized, one doesn’t forget soon. Each day what is spoken by the lama, they try to remember at night, and then the next morning, like that. So very quickly explaining it, it takes two months. It is still not the most elaborate one.
Within one month, in this time, this course, I’m going differently from previous courses. I’m going to follow the outlines, according to the way the teachings, the different subjects of the teachings of the steps of the path to enlightenment, the way the outlines of the meditation subjects are set up. I’m planning to follow the outline. There are subjects that were not spoken of in previous courses, so I am hoping to talk about those. I won’t follow straight like the lamas normally do, going straight from beginning to end, without kind of jumping. By going straight I cannot finish, with much detail, within one month, so some of the sections won’t be done straight.
In Tibet, the subjects are done like that. Because we have different minds from the Tibetans, with their teachings, there is no need to explain reincarnation and such. The teachings right away can be started. Many things like that don’t have to be done. The meditation itself can be explained, can be explained straight.
We are all here, and we are exactly the same—desiring happiness, not desiring suffering. No difference. Even though we are called by different names and came from different places, we are exactly the same in desiring happiness, not desiring suffering. We are exactly the same, no difference. Even if there are different ways of looking, having black hair, having yellow hair, and different names, we are the same. All the living beings are exactly the same, desiring happiness, not desiring suffering. All the living beings who live on this earth are exactly the same. One who practices Dharma, one who doesn’t practice Dharma, one who is not interested in Dharma, in regards to obtaining the method of happiness, things are different. One who practices Dharma, who understands the cause of happiness, who knows how to establish peace within the mind, the way he obtains happiness, is through the mind’s development. One who has no understanding of Dharma, no understanding of the cause of happiness, has no understanding of how to achieve peace through the mind, so the person tries to achieve peace or happiness only through material or external development.
Happiness and suffering don’t arise from external practice, only inside the mind. If the external factors offered happiness, if they were the cause, the base from where happiness comes, then if the person was very much richer, there should be greater peace in his life, greater happiness in his mind. The country that has the greatest material development should have that much greater peace, but it is not like that. As it is our own experience, as we all see. In the present world, America is recognized as having the highest material development, so then there should be the greatest peace and happiness in the minds of the people, but it is not like that. From this example, we understand that this is not the source from which happiness arises. However many material possessions a person has, however much he makes external development, always not having satisfaction in the mind, not having peace in the mind; however much the person has material enjoyment, so much property, many companies or factories, not having peace or happiness in the mind is the lack of development inside the mind.
However much externally one develops, instead of receiving more and more peace, more and more happiness, the mind becoming more and more compassionate and living for other sentient beings, more and more content, satisfied—instead of this the mind becomes more and more dissatisfied, cherishing oneself becomes stronger. Much worry and more fear arise.
The mind has two aspects: the unpeaceful mind and the peaceful mind, and it is the unpeaceful mind that has been developed. What is missing is the development of the peaceful mind. So that is why whatever one tries, whatever different life one tries or wherever one goes, whichever country one goes to live, always there is something—much aggression, depression. This is the lack of the development of the peaceful mind.
The creator of suffering or happiness is the mind. The mind is the creator of all the suffering and all the happiness. How? The mind is ignorant of the meaning of selflessness, of the meaning of reality, not understanding the meaning of reality of the self. The mind is ignorant of the nature of self. Not seeing the self that exists, holding the self as naturally existing, being ignorant of the absolute nature of existence. From this then, ignorance and attachment or pride, jealous mind and doubt, all these delusions, the disturbing unsubdued minds, arise. That’s how all the confusions of our life, all the sufferings are created. All the happiness came from the cause, came from mind. The peaceful mind, the satisfied mind…
…the compassionate thought of bodhicitta—however much the people have meetings, however many organizations they make to have peace in the world, they are not becoming peaceful, not becoming harmonious. The countries and the different groups have much more fighting, many problems in their lives, much confusion for the future—clinging very strongly to happiness of this life, the happiness of one’s own life, cherishing oneself, being careless of other sentient beings, not having satisfactory mind, not having the loving compassionate thought of bodhicitta for other sentient beings. In order to make peace, in order to bring peace in the world, for the sentient beings on this earth to be harmless, to make peace, to completely stop all the fighting or problems, if they can make their minds more satisfied and generate love and compassion and the thought of bodhicitta in their minds, then the fighting and harm and all the problems in life will cease, will be stopped.
Naturally, by transforming the mind or having generated the loving compassionate thought for others, violent or harmful actions are completely stopped. To bring peace in the mind of other sentient beings, or to generate love and the compassionate thought in the mind of the sentient beings—first, oneself is a sentient being who lives on this earth, so first one should generate the loving compassionate thought within one’s own mind. One should transform the dissatisfactory mind into satisfactory; and transform the mind cherishing oneself into cherishing others, transforming the mind that loves only oneself into cherishing other sentient beings. To bring happiness in the mind of each sentient being, to benefit in this way, first one should work within one’s own mind, one should generate the loving compassionate thought within one’s own mind. With this experience, with this peaceful mind, the loving compassionate thought, one can definitely help and give great benefit for other sentient beings.
I think I’ll stop there. So the main subject of the course, the essence of the whole meditation of this course is to generate the loving compassionate thought: to make the unpeaceful mind peaceful and especially to generate the loving compassionate thought for all the sentient beings.
It is extremely important to generate the loving compassionate thought of bodhicitta within one’s mind. First, to create the principal cause of peace within one’s mind is extremely important. In order to benefit other sentient beings, to lead them in the path of happiness, to lead them in temporal happiness, to lead them in the state of peace, or nirvana, and to lead them in the highest blissful state of enlightenment, if one is concerned with doing extensive benefit for other sentient beings, then to generate the loving compassionate precious, holy thought, the loving compassionate thought of bodhicitta within one’s own mind is extremely important.
This loving compassionate thought of bodhicitta, which is the source of all happiness, which is the principal cause of enlightenment, the highest blissful state—one cannot receive this without mind training, without practicing it, without creating the cause. Without depending on its cause, without any need to train the mind, with this just coming in the mind, like rain falling from space—it doesn’t happen that way—like you go to a supermarket and you pay the money and that way you get everything you can buy from the shop, from the supermarket, whatever food you want. Not like those machines, like those calculators, putting money inside, which give change or whatever, or by pressing buttons you get food, or you get what you want, candies or whatever—not like that. We kind of expect to generate the realization of bodhicitta or loving compassionate thought—we can’t expect it to happen the same way as we expect with a machine. Without any effort, intuitively, it does not come without putting great effort in training the mind in the cause of bodhicitta, the fundamental meditations that lead to bodhicitta.
Before generating the loving compassionate thought of bodhicitta within one’s mind, there are many other different fundamental meditations that one should train one’s mind in. One should generate the realizations of those meditations. So, during this course, the main subject is that. The main goal is to be able to try to generate the realization of bodhicitta, the loving compassionate thought of bodhicitta. That is the essence of the whole meditation, and that is the main goal. This will be the main subject, and the fundamental meditations that are the method to generate bodhicitta. One who does not wish to generate bodhicitta, the loving compassionate thought, who does not want to meditate on loving compassion for sentient beings, who doesn’t wish to understand the teachings, who doesn’t wish to achieve the state of omniscient mind by generating bodhicitta for the sake of the sentient beings, one who doesn’t want this understanding, one who doesn’t wish to achieve this—the only thing left is “goodbye.”
So anyway, obtaining the happiness of this life alone is not sufficient. The mind only being concerned to obtain happiness this life is an unskilful mind. Never making preparation for the happiness of future lives, concerned with only the happiness of this life and also working only for that is unskillful, same as the person who is concerned only with the happiness of today, who only works for today’s happiness, who doesn’t make preparation for the happiness of tomorrow, for the next coming years, for all those future years, who never makes preparation for future happiness.
Those who do not work hard to create the material possessions, to make arrangements for the happiness of the coming years, to have no difficulties in the future coming years, who don’t make preparation to not have difficulties, who don’t make preparation to prevent these problems in the future, who just live thinking only of the happiness of one day, today—that person is recognized as unskillful. Someone who is concerned only with the happiness of this life, working only for this, is exactly the same. One who makes preparation, who is not so much concerned for today’s happiness, who works hard in order to obtain happiness for coming years’ happiness, or for preventing the difficulties that will occur in the future—as this person is more skillful, same thing: the person who is not so much concerned with obtaining the happiness of this life, who is much more concerned with obtaining the happiness of the coming future lives, is highly skillful.
[There are those who think that] when death occurs, as the body disappears, also the consciousness ceases. If the kerosene is finished, the flame also stops. When the candle is finished, you know, the flame also stops. Well then, it doesn’t happen like this, the consciousness doesn’t cease like a flame stops when the fuel or wax finishes. The body not existing doesn’t become the reason that the consciousness ceases. After death the consciousness continues. The definition of death is the consciousness separating from the body under the control of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma. Due to this, the consciousness separates. That is the definition of death. But the consciousness continues. It takes the different body according to the powerful cause the person has created in the past. Whichever cause is stronger, more powerful determines the new body. Under the control of the disturbing unsubdued mind and its action karma, the consciousness takes a different body.
If all existence is totaled, it comes in two divisions: permanent and impermanent. All existence is either permanent or impermanent. Impermanent phenomena have three divisions. Those formed of atoms; formless phenomena, called the knowing; and compounded phenomena, which is neither the formation of matter nor the knowing phenomena. The person is neither the formation of matter nor knowing phenomena. The person is compounded phenomena. So every impermanent phenomenon is one of three divisions. The person, the self, the “I,” is the third phenomena—the base on which the self is named, on which one labels the “I.” That is the compounded phenomena, neither matter or physical, nor consciousness. Without detailing the five skandhas, without detailing the five aggregates, making it simply the body and mind, the consciousness, the different thoughts, are the knowing phenomena, which in nature is formless, which in nature is clarity, which does the function of perceiving objects. The person, the “I,” is the group of the body and mind.
However, at the moment what we are going to talk about, what we are going to think about—the mind, the knowing phenomenon, which is colorless and shapeless, took place in the mother’s womb, in the fertilized egg. It continued from the previous…
At death the consciousness continues into the future life. If one thinks that consciousness came out of nothingness, came into existence without depending on any cause or conditions, intuitively born in the mother’s womb—if consciousness came out of nothingness, all of a sudden came into existence, without any previous continuity, if it started all of a sudden in the mother’s womb, without a cause, it would be permanent and independently existent. If it happened all of a sudden, without depending on its parts, it would exist without depending on the cause or on conditions such as the physical body. It would exist without depending on the labeling mind, the base, and it would have intuitive nature. But it is not like that. Is it like that? It is completely the opposite. This life’s consciousness is dependent on all these years of consciousness. One year of consciousness depends on all those months, which are dependent on 365 days of consciousness. One day is dependent on twenty-four hours of consciousness. It is dependent on its parts. Well then, one minute’s consciousness depends on that many seconds, and within the second there are many split seconds. So consciousness is dependent. For instance, today’s consciousness exists in dependence on yesterday’s. By depending on yesterday’s consciousness and tomorrow’s consciousness, today’s consciousness exists.
“Name” covers all the formless phenomena, which is the base of self, all the different thoughts, such as the five consciousnesses, the fifty-one secondary thoughts—all the names that cover all the formless phenomena which is the base of the self. The knowing phenomenon is called the mind, whose nature is clear, perceiving objects. By depending on that function, it is called mind. It is called knowing phenomena. A physical body does not have that nature, doesn’t have that function, doesn’t do that function, so, it is not called mind, or is not called the knowing phenomena.
So therefore, knowing phenomena or the consciousness or mind is not intuitive. It is dependently existent. Dependent on all those parts—that many years, that many months, that many days, hours, dependent on the parts of the previous continuity and the future continuity. It is also dependent on the consciousness, the labeling mind giving the label of “knowing phenomena” or “mind,” to the consciousness. So knowing phenomena or consciousness is dependent on the labeling mind. That is how knowing phenomena is dependent, how it is not intuitively existent, not intuitively existent.
That is how mistakes arise, if the consciousness were intuitively existent or self-existent, in that case today’s consciousness would be intuitively existent and would exist without depending on the continuity of yesterday’s consciousness, without depending on the continuity of tomorrow’s consciousness. In that case, what happens is yesterday’s consciousness and today’s consciousness become like two completely separate persons. Today’s person has nothing to do with yesterday’s person. (Rinpoche laughs) Yesterday’s George who has stolen a car; you can’t blame George today, because today’s George has nothing to do with yesterday’s George. There is no relationship—today’s George has no relationship with yesterday’s George. So, what happens is like you are accusing another person, who hasn’t stolen the car. I think it becomes like this. In that way, because there is no relationship at all in regards continuity between today’s consciousness and yesterday’s consciousness, there is no link. So then there is no way to remember what we did yesterday. For today’s person is a completely separate person. Today’s consciousness is intuitively born, without depending on the previous continuity and without depending on the future continuity; without depending on anything. It is born by itself. Today’s consciousness, today’s person, is born by itself. So, there is no way to remember, there is no link between yesterday and today in one’s own life. So there is no way to remember what one did yesterday, what one did in the past time. There is nothing to remember. Second, there is no link of consciousness. Same thing, if the present life’s consciousness were intuitively existent, then there would be no way to remember past lives. The conclusion is that consciousness is not intuitively existent, not independent, for the different reasons I have explained before—it is dependent on all these things.
If the first moment of consciousness did not depend on the previous continuity in the intermediate stage, then that very first second of consciousness would become permanent. I think this point is important—how it is impermanent, that gives one a more definite idea of how consciousness is continual. You see, at the very first second of consciousness, if that is permanent, not caused by the previous consciousness, if it did not come from previous continuity of consciousness, then all consciousness would be permanent. In that case, all consciousness would be permanent. Then in that case, the baby’s consciousness, which is completely ignorant, the mind that doesn’t know even his own name, would still exist. One would still have that baby’s mind. There would be no such thing as developing consciousness, developing love, developing patience. Today’s consciousness is the cause of tomorrow’s and is the result of yesterday’s consciousness. When yesterday’s consciousness, the cause, finishes, then today’s consciousness, the result, happens. Like planting rice—the stem grows from the seed, and from that the rice grows. By planting it, the same continuity occurs again.
The main point is that what causes today’s consciousness to change or finish is yesterday’s consciousness. This second of consciousness does not last. It changes. What makes it change is its previous second of consciousness. From that, the next second of consciousness arises. This is the same as the example of the grain, the rice. Like that, the very first second of consciousness in the mother’s womb is in the nature of change. What makes it change? It doesn’t change by itself, there is no intuitively born consciousness, there is no such thing as intuitive change. There is no such intuitive existence, there is no such thing. Such consciousness does not exist. It is also not the physical body that makes it change, but its previous continuity. The previous second of consciousness that hasn’t…
… which causes the very first second of consciousness that takes place on the fertilized egg.
This table is in the nature of change. It is impermanent; it changes in each second, due to cause. That is because the previous cause, the wood, the tree, is in the nature of changing in every second. The previous tree was in the nature of change. That is the reason this present table also changes in each second.
The very first second of consciousness that took place in the fertilized egg is in the nature of change, because of the previous second of consciousness that it belongs to, possessed by the intermediate state body, the body of the intermediate state being. Otherwise, there is no way. There would be no cause that makes it change in each second. Just like today’s consciousness is made to change by the cause of yesterday’s consciousness. It is changing each second by the cause of the previous consciousness. It is not intuitively existent and secondly, it is not permanent, it is impermanent, depending on the previous continuity of the consciousness. So therefore, there is definitely the existence of the previous continuity of consciousness. So, there is the existence of past lives.
The second thing is the idea that the consciousness is born from the fertilized egg, that part of the atom of the egg becomes consciousness. There is no way this can happen. Like the earth, which is in the nature of form, cannot become space, which is formless. Just like that, the atoms of the fertilized egg cannot become knowing phenomena, which is formless. So, the principal cause of consciousness has a cause, what is that? That is the previous moment of consciousness, which exists before the result. Before the result, the consciousness that takes place in the fertilized egg, the consciousness exists. First the cause comes and then the result comes from that cause. So like that, the cause and result don’t come at the same time, they don’t exist at the same time. The present life consciousness depends on past life consciousness, so that’s how there is the existence of a past life. The second reason, the second way to think is like that.
The third reason, if one wonders, is it possible for the consciousness came from the parents’ consciousness—of course it doesn’t come from the body, but it can be possible that the consciousness comes from the parents’ consciousness. As the continuity of the body came from the parents, same with the consciousness—the mother gives some parts of her consciousness and the father gives some parts of his consciousness, like they have put together the fertilized egg. So there is the father’s consciousness and the mother’s consciousness living in this body. Also, these consciousnesses live in the body of the father and mother. In that case, you become the father, you become the mother!
When you point out, “That’s the father, that’s the mother,” you do this based on their bodies and the consciousness being with the body. We see this and we see my father’s there smoking, my mother’s there drinking. We don’t say this once the person has died. The body is still there but if someone comes along to the house we don’t say, “Oh my father is there.” Even if the body is still there, one doesn’t say, “My father is still at home.” The reason is because the consciousness is gone. As there is no father’s consciousness with the body, so there is no self. Wherever the consciousness has gone, the self has gone with it. Whatever different body the consciousness has taken, the self has gone too. It is dependent on the consciousness, you see? So if your consciousness is a part of your father and mother, then if your father was angry and your mother was patient, you would be both. Or if your father was happy and your mother was unhappy, you would be both together. That is impossible, it is not our experience.
So because of this, the consciousness did not come from our parents. So where did it come from? Only from the continuity of the past life’s consciousness. So there is existence of future life. From that we can figure out the existence of future lives.
Thank you, we’ll stop here.
This subject relating to how consciousness is not intuitively existent, how it is dependent—this is talking about emptiness, the absolute nature of consciousness, the consciousness that does not exist and the consciousness that does exist. Actually, it is the explanation of the consciousness that is empty and that consciousness that exists. Having some understanding idea of this will help later, when you meditate on shunyata or the absolute nature of the skandhas, such as the body and mind; it will help you to be able to meditate on the selflessness of existence, which is in the nature of the skandhas—the emptiness of mind and the emptiness of the body.
The meditation on the four immeasurable thoughts is a method to increase great love and compassion, and to generate bodhicitta, to increase bodhicitta.
“If all the sentient beings…
In regards reincarnation, there are two ways to check up the mistakes that arise. If the consciousness came out of nothingness without depending on a cause or anything, without depending on a creator, without depending on conditions—the introduction of the consciousness, the knowing phenomena I very briefly mentioned yesterday. That is the very beginning subject, what the little monks study is this subject, the divisions, the definitions of each thing, analyzing the phenomena. The definitions, of course, become more and more detailed, more and more clear. Things become deeper and deeper, the subject more and more interesting. So this is what I mentioned at the very beginning. This is what is learned on the first day, second day, it is not something that in the monastery they learn after several years, after having certain qualifications, then they learn the subject about the functions of mind and the different types of thoughts, the science of the mind, evolution of the mind. This is the preliminary subject that they study in the monastery in their classes. It is not a higher subject. Even if they were studying in the very lowest class, the first thing they would have in mind very clearly is all the definitions of all the different minds, of all the different thoughts. Then they expand this by studying further, more intensively in the other scriptures, and so forth. When they study tantra, when they understand more details about the function and capability of the mind, they understand more. So in the monasteries, from the very beginning they study psychology, science, all together. The have a clear understanding of this—the confused mind, each personality of mind, each thought—how it arises and all the minds of knowledge.
The mistake that would arise if consciousness was assumed to come from nothing is that if something does not depend on a cause, it becomes permanent and could not change each second. That is not our experience. Our experience is that it does change each second, each day, each hour and each minute. Consciousness changes by the power of the previous cause, so it is impermanent.
The very first second of consciousness in the mother’s womb is impermanent, changing every second. It is not the physical aspect, the fertilized egg that makes it change—there is no other cause except the continuity of consciousness from the intermediate stage. The first moment of consciousness in the mother’s womb is the result. There is continuity. If there was a break, there would be no way to say that this was the result and the consciousness in the intermediate state is the cause. If there was a break you could not say that. So the fertilized egg is not the principle cause of the consciousness. It is just the condition. The intermediate stage being’s consciousness is the principle cause of the consciousness taking place in the mother’s womb, and the vehicle of the mind is the condition of the consciousness.
So, if the body is the combination of the parents’ sperm and blood, the consciousness can also arise from the parents’ consciousness. However, that is not the experience—one’s own consciousness is not the parents’ consciousness. There is no other cause of consciousness except the previous continuity of the consciousness. So, there is existence of past lives, and three ways to think about it, to check up like this.
Also when children are born in the mother’s womb and they have a handicap in the body, when there is something missing in the fertilized egg—the physical cause can be like this, but this is just the physical part of phenomena. The fruit and the flower come from the same seed, but why is there such existence?
What made it happen? It’s not talking about the physical thing. There is a reason, a cause, a reason this child is born in the mother’s womb, a reason his consciousness took an imperfect fertilized egg. The answer might be because of time. He was born at such and such a time, so he got this body. If he wasn’t born at this time, he might have received a beautiful body. He was born at the wrong time, and that is the fault of the parents. The cause of the handicapped child’s suffering is the parents. So whether the answer is due to time or the mistake of the parents, that answer is not sufficient. There is again a question to this answer—why was the child born at such a time? Even if it is due to the parent’s fault in caring for the child in the womb with lack of skill, this particular child has a handicapped body. There is a cause that is not physical that causes the child to take this rebirth. The conditions are the imperfect fertilized egg or the way the mother takes care—but the cause is not a physical thing.
Same thing, certain plants or fruits grow in certain areas and in other places they do not grow. There are physical conditions, altitude, etc. But there is also a non-physical cause. The people of that place do not have that enjoyment. There is always a cause.
The living beings who are living on the earth, living different lives, with different enjoyments, poor, rich, whatever they have—the reason these exist, besides the physical cause, physical evolution, is not physical. This is explained by Buddha in the teachings on karma, the cause of all this, which is not physical. This is called karma. As mentioned in the Abhidharmakosha, the various worlds are born from karma. This includes all living beings—whatever different lives and enjoyments they have, the various countries, the various plants, mountains, the whole thing—all these various things, various worlds, came from karma, were created by karma.
The group of sentient beings who live on this earth have accumulated karma in the past, the cause was created in the past time so this whole world came into existence, the various worlds came into existence. That’s why we were born particularly in this time, in this particular continent or in this world. Each person has a different way of living life, different experiences, different enjoyments—the conclusion I am saying is even though the children have a handicapped body, there are many conditions, but the main cause is not a physical thing. The main cause is the karma that was created by the child in the past life, the non-virtue that brings that particular result. Also the parents have created the karma in the past, the non-virtue, to have such a child.
The reason there is this kind of evolution is because of the karma created by the child and the parents in the past life. So there are past lives. Otherwise, there should be another reason besides karma. There should be some other reason that is not physical.
In one family, if there are several children, they have different personalities and different levels of intelligence. One child has more compassion, one has more impatience—what determines that? They are born from the same parents. The parents take care of them all in the same way. These things are a sign of the existence of past lives. For the child with greater compassion, if somebody beats up another child, or an animal, he cries, he can’t bear it. Whatever he has he wants to give away. In a past life his mind was habituated to compassion.
The one who has much anger, very easily impatient, that is also due to previous habits—in his previous life, his mind was more accustomed to anger, so in this life the child has more anger. Each different personality has a reason, a cause, karma that was accumulated in past lives.
In our everyday life, it is easy to get angry and attached. You don’t need big preparation, you don’t have to purposely create it, doing a one month course. With a small, insignificant thing, one, two, or three words, the way they are put together, you are angry and it is extremely difficult to meditate on patience. Pride and so forth are very difficult to control, even though you dislike them. The reason this is so, all these life experiences show the existence of continuity. The reason the mind is so difficult to control is because the mind has become familiar with the unsubdued emotions from beginningless previous lifetimes. Because of these previous habits, in this life it is extremely easy for the unsubdued mind to arise and very difficult to control it.
The conclusion of all this, even though one cannot remember what’s in past and future life, even though past and future life is not an object of one’s own knowledge, it is an object of other beings’ knowledge—those who have clairvoyance, who have knowledge of clairvoyance, who have generated the realizations of the path—it is an object of the omniscient mind of Buddha. One’s own past and future lives exist, because even though they are not the object of one’s own knowledge, they are the knowledge of other beings.
As I have often said, for example, you describe to somebody in a primitive country about television, that you can see the figures of the people there, and they do not believe you. But that doesn’t mean there is no such thing as television in America or no such things as rockets that land on the moon because he has not seen it. Reincarnation is just one example. This covers many other things—past and future lives—such as karma, and how by accumulating virtue we receive the result of happiness and how by protecting moral conduct we receive the body of a happy transmigratory being; by creating the cause of charity we receive the result of enjoyments; by practicing patience we receive the result of perfect surroundings. These are the points of karma.
Then the opposite of not having practiced moral conduct, accumulating non-virtue, is receiving the body of a suffering transmigratory being. By creating the karma of miserliness, the result is being poor, not having the enjoyments, starvation, things like that, by being attached to one’s own belongings, not making charity, things like that. However, such is this point. In karma, from a cause of virtue there is always a result of happiness and from a cause of non-virtue there is always a result of suffering.
Saying that it is not an object of mind, “I don’t understand this, it is not object of my knowledge, I don’t remember that I have, I don’t remember, I don’t see that I have created this cause in the past life, in the past time,” saying like this. Saying that there is no such thing as karma, the result happiness arising from the karma of virtue, the result suffering arising from such a karma of non-virtue, such things. What we experience this life, all the happiness, having the body of the happy transmigratory being, having found this human body, having material enjoyments, surrounding people, helpers, all these things, those are received by creating the karma in our past lives, and all the problems, difficulties that one experiences in this life were accumulated by oneself in the past life. One cannot say that I haven’t created them, that there is no such thing as karma, “I haven’t created, if I have created in a past life, I should remember, I should see.” This doesn’t become logical reason—it is the object of other beings’ knowledge, and as I mentioned before there should be a reason, cause, why someone has such a life. Sometimes happy, sometimes suffering—there should be a reason, cause. There should be a cause that was created before the result.
Saying it does not exist because one has not seen it, or does not know it is not correct—in that case everything that one does not know, all the subjects, are non-existent. Anyway, if the reason is seeing, one cannot see what is happening behind oneself—one cannot see the back of one’s head. Therefore should one say that there is no backside of my head? It becomes very funny, it becomes more and more funny, it becomes only a subject of laughing—the more you discuss, the more you talk about it, a person who believes like this, who puts this reason, the more you discuss, it becomes only subject of laughing. However, this part of the subject, this part of the course, it will help, it is useful understanding more about karma, to receive the definite understanding of karma.
The non-existence of reincarnation is an object of no-one’s knowledge. There’s not one sentient being who has realized there is no reincarnation—the non-existence of reincarnation—even though there are many sentient beings who believe that. There are those who have realized, who believe in past and future lives, there are numberless beings who realize the existence of reincarnation. The conclusion is this.
One more reason: when we are born from the mother we have this strong conception, strong thought of cherishing oneself. We were born with it; it’s not something that started later. And we were born with the strong conception tightly holding the I as truly existent: there is a truly existent, intuitively existent “I.” This strong conception we have in our hearts, all the time, day and night whatever we do. We were born with it, when the consciousness took place in the mother’s womb on the fertilized egg, it was there right at the beginning of the rebirth—it was with the consciousness. Why? Because the continuity of this strong conception, believing this “I” is truly existent existed in the past life. If this did not exist in the past life, we wouldn’t be reborn and now we wouldn’t have this ignorance believing the “I” to be truly existing, we wouldn’t be born with it, holding tightly this conception believing I as truly existent.
This also expresses the existence of reincarnation. Today’s consciousness continued from yesterday’s consciousness and that continued from the day before; this life’s consciousness continued from the past life, that past life consciousness continued from other previous lives’ consciousness—like that the continuity of consciousness has no beginning. Just like the continuity of today’s consciousness has no beginning, the continuity of this life’s consciousness has no beginning, it did not begin with this life, it continued from the previous life’s consciousness—so, going back like this the continuity of consciousness has no beginning.
Same thing, as I mentioned just before, this ignorance tightly holding the “I” as truly existing, this continued from past life, that continued from past life. Same thing attachment, anger, pride, those disturbing unsubdued minds that we have in this life, these continued from past lives’ disturbing unsubdued minds, those continued from other past lives’ disturbing unsubdued minds, like this. Just as the continuity of consciousness has no beginning, so the continuity of disturbing unsubdued minds has no beginning, there’s no beginning. So like this, from beginningless previous life times we have not been free from suffering, all the time suffering by being under the control of these disturbing unsubdued minds. Rising attachment by seeing beautiful objects—again suffering; by seeing ugly objects anger rises; by seeing indifferent objects ignorance rises, the mind becomes confused. We have not been free from the resultant suffering, from the cause of suffering the disturbing unsubdued mind since beginningless previous lifetimes.
By being under the control of these disturbing unsubdued minds one accumulates karma, like this we are always being born in the six realms, sometimes the human realm, sometimes the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings, naraks, realm of the worldly gods, those who live in the planets, sometimes in the preta realm, sometimes in the animal realm—all the time by being under the control of the cause, the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma, then all the time being born in these six realms—die, born, die, born—like this. We have been experiencing suffering in samsara, beginningless death and rebirth from beginningless previous lifetimes until now.
So the continuity of the suffering of samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth, death and rebirth, has no beginning. The continuity of this has no beginning, the suffering of samsara. As the cause of samsara, the disturbing unsubdued minds, karma, has no beginning, the continuity of this has no beginning. Even though this has no beginning…..maybe one wonders, if it is beginningless how can it have an end?
There is a possibility to make it all end: that is because one can end the cause of samsara, the disturbing unsubdued minds and karma. One can end it. From one’s own side, if one tries, one can make the cause of suffering, the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma, end—it can be ceased. If one tries, the suffering samsara can end.
The conclusion is there is a potential, the mind has the ability to do that, to make samsara end, cease the cause of samsara, we have the ability to do that, it’s just a matter of using it.
I stop here.
The realms of samsara, wherever one is born in the six realms, wherever one takes rebirth, are only suffering. Just having taken this body itself is suffering, just having taken this samsara, which is formed by the cause, the disturbing unsubdued mind and action, karma, the suffering samsara realms, which are formed by that—just having taken this itself is the greatest problem, the biggest problem is this.
If we had not taken these suffering realms, samsara, by being under the control of disturbing unsubdued mind and karma, all the sufferings—mental, physical, everyday life worries and fears—not having material possessions, not having enough, being dissatisfied with what one has; worry and fear of meeting undesirable things like the enemy, living or non-living beings who harm oneself and one’s happiness; separating from desirable objects; the four basic problems of suffering of rebirth, old age, sickness, death; and all those other problems which arise every day and night—all these things have arisen, came from the suffering realm, samsara. If we had not taken this samsara, this suffering realm, which is like the field of suffering, like crops growing all the hundreds of various sufferings arise. This samsara is the pot, container of sufferings, the various hundreds of sufferings.
So this is the fundamental, greatest suffering of samsara, just having this body, without talking of other problems in the life, just having taken this itself is the greatest suffering. Why? Because without having taken this samsara, this suffering realm, by following the cause, the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma, if one had not taken this we would not experience all the other various hundreds of suffering which arise from this foundation. From this samsara, these aggregates formed by the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma. Just having taken this body is the greatest mistake, this samsara. That is the original mistake, the very beginning mistake.
If we do not wish suffering we have to break the continuity of the aggregates formed by disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, the continuity, joining again and again in one of these six realms, from one life to another, from one realm to another. There are four different ways to be born: entering birth, birth from womb, born from the condition of heat like the bugs, born from egg. The joining again and again of these rebirths, the continuity of the aggregates formed by disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, formed again and again, from one life to another, rebirth to rebirth, realm to realm—this we have to try to stop. From this, the aggregates continuing to a future life—this we have to stop.
In the six realms, whatever aggregates are formed by disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, whatever one takes, from the very beginning of birth it is in the nature of suffering. The aggregates are in the nature of suffering from the very beginning of life, such as narak realms: on the base of the aggregates, formed by disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, one experiences the suffering of unbearable hot and cold. By taking the aggregates of a preta being one experiences the suffering mainly of hunger and thirst; with the aggregates of an animal one experiences their greatest suffering, the foolish mind and being eaten by others, attacked. By having taken the human beings’ samsara, aggregates, as I mentioned before, there are the four basic sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death, all the sufferings we have been experiencing from birth time and what we will experience until death time.
Same thing in the other realms such as the asuras and suras—by having taken the samsara aggregates of asuras, there is no happiness and much suffering has to be experienced. Their greatest problem is jealousy of the greater enjoyments of the sura beings, those other worldly gods, who are situated in the higher planets. Then always fighting and being killed. By having taken the sura beings aggregates, those in the realm of desire experience much suffering, the greatest of which is that they are possessed by the five different signs of death, they have to experience the five degenerations. Also the fighting with the asuras, bodies being cut into pieces again and again. Then those with less power are controlled by other sura beings who have more power; having much worry and fear of being controlled by more powerful sura beings, being kicked out of one place to another place.
Then there are higher beings, worldly gods called “the worldly gods of the form and formless realms.” In those higher realms they do not have the suffering of sufferings, which they have in the other realms, from the lower realms up to the sura worldly god realms. The gods of the form and formless realms do not have these types of suffering; however, they are not free from the suffering of samsara. Why they are not free is because they have taken the aggregates of compounded form by the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma; they are under the control of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma so they are not free from the suffering of samsara. As they have taken the aggregates formed by the disturbing unsubdued minds and karma they are bound to samsara by disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, so they are not free, they are tied to samsara by the disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, just like us. We are bound to samsara by the disturbing unsubdued minds and karma, so same thing; they are not free from samsara.
So wherever one is born in these six realms it is only in the nature of suffering. It is like there are six rooms, made of iron, oneness with fire. Even if one escapes from one room, from there escaping to another burning iron room, again there is no happiness, suffering. Again escape to another room, again suffering—it is like that. Wherever one is born in the six realms, it is only in the nature of suffering.
Even when one has achieved the stage of an arhat by being liberated from samsara, which is bound by the disturbing and unsubdued mind and the karma—even one has achieved the state of an arhat, even one has achieved the release, nirvana, the liberation which is liberated from the samsara. Even one has achieved the stage of an arhat, nirvana, still, even being free from samsara is not sufficient because still one hasn’t completed the works for oneself, the works for others. Even when one has received the stage of an arhat, nirvana, liberation, one cannot do the extensive works for other sentient beings without mistake, without effort, like Buddha, like Buddha’s skillful action, like Buddha does skillful work, without effort, for other sentient beings. One can’t do perfect work for others. That is because the work for self has not been completed, one’s own work is not complete, the quality of the realizations and the purity is not complete. Even though the arhat has completely removed even the seed of the disturbed and unsubdued mind, the ignorance believing in existence, the arhat has not achieved yet the state of omniscient mind.
Even if one has achieved that stage of an arhat, one has not completed the works for oneself and others, so one can’t do the perfect, extensive works for others and one is just like an armless mother whose child is being carried by the river, an armless mother can’t help to take the child out of the river. Still the works for oneself are not completed, like this. Therefore, one should achieve enlightenment, the state of omniscient mind.
The second reason, the main reason one should achieve enlightenment, the state of omniscience: as the continuity of consciousness has no beginning, the continuity of consciousness of other sentient beings also has no beginning. So in this life, as one was born from this present life’s mother, in the past life when one was taking a different body, one has not been taking the body from the same continuity of this present life mother. In the past life when she was born as a human being, one took the body of a horse, and when she took a horse body, one took a chicken’s body. When she had a chicken body, one took the body of a butterfly, when she had the body of a butterfly one took the body of an ant.
Well anyway, what I was trying to tell you is numberless times the continuity of this present life’s mother took a different body and oneself took a different body. Those different bodies had to depend on another sentient beings’ body, had to come from another sentient beings’ womb. Numberless times one took different bodies depending on other sentient beings. As this present life’s mother has been one’s own mother, all the people here, all the friends here, have been one’s own mother and, all the creatures who are around here, all the birds on the trees, bushes, falling on the ground, all the flies, all the mosquitoes, all the worms crawling on the ground under the earth, even the birds, the animals inside the clothes, in the hairs, inside the clothes, sleeping very comfortably, being very warm—all the sentient beings who are around oneself, all the sentient beings in the six realms have been one’s own mother and they have been one’s own mother numberless times.
Then one should remember. I should remember that he was my mother but I don’t remember that. That is the same thing as the child who was separated from the mother for a very long time and then after many years meets her again and cannot recognize her. That doesn’t mean she is not the child’s mother. This is the same—we are unable to recognize sentient beings as our mothers but this cannot become the reason for their not being our mother. The reason we do not remember is because it was a long time ago.
Anyway, the one who is my mother this year has been my mother different times. As she is my mother, all beings are my mother; as she has been extremely kind, given her body, bearing hardships for oneself, each sentient being has been extremely kind.
When we were in her womb she was very careful in the manners of eating, walking, not doing the hard work, not eating extremely cold or very hot food. With loving care she took care of oneself. Even if there were things she wished to have herself, if they would harm the child she did not have them. Then she bore all the hardship and pain as the child came out, incredible pain, she experienced.
If the mother had not taken care of you while in her womb, if she had had an abortion, there would be no chance for you to live this long and meet the holy Dharma, and practice. No chance to practice the holy Dharma that liberates you from the suffering of samsara, causes you to receive enlightenment. There wouldn’t be this chance. Not only this, all the pleasures, each day’s pleasures that we experience with this human body, all this is her kindness. It is received from her, so if she did not take care of you when you were in her womb, when you were a baby, if she did not take care, there wouldn’t be even this chance to have even this temporal pleasure.
Then once you were born, she took care of you, fed you with the milk from her body, held you with her hands, looked at you with loving eyes…
Whenever the mother calls you, she calls with a very sweet manner. When you are hungry, she takes care and gives you food. When you are cold, she gives you clothing. She gives you the money she earns by working so hard, selling the body to other people, all the time with worry and fear. The mother doesn’t spend much for herself but gives you the best food she can find, the best clothing. Day and night she takes care. Even for five minutes she can’t leave you alone. Even if she is very busy, she hires another person to look after you. She pays them money. Day and night in her heart she worries about you, keeping you in the depth of her heart, day and night she is concerned. Even if for one hour or two hours, even if for a few minutes she is separated, she is away, still she worries. How is my baby? What’s happening? It is like the heart is taken out—holding her own heart, like that she takes care.
If she did not watch you even for one minute you fell down from the chair, bed, or steps—something went wrong. Whatever the baby finds, he puts in the mouth, dust or poison. The baby can’t recognize whether this is poison, this is uneatable, this is fire, it will burn—whatever comes in the hand, they put in the mouth, knives, or any dangerous things. If the mother did not watch, something went wrong, the baby fell down or the baby is in danger. Like this, constantly, day and night, the mother watched after you. You see, without watching for a few seconds, the baby’s life is in danger, without watching two or three seconds, just in the house, inside the room, he is in danger. So each day, your mother saved you from hundreds of hindrances, from hundreds of hindrances of life. She protected you, she saved your life, she took care by paying all these attentions, spending all the energy and all the time, able to dedicate. Unable to use the time for many other things for so many of those years, while you were in the mother’s womb she completely spent the whole time and energy on you, just to take care of your life. Just only to take care of your life, even though she was able to do many other meaningful things. She spent the whole time completely just only to take care of me, all those years, that many years, since I was born in her womb.
Like this, all the material possessions, all the money that they have earned, accumulating much negative karma, going through much difficulty of the body, much worry, they gave you. Besides food and clothing, the children play with the toys. The money that they can’t spend even for their own living, food, and clothing, they spend just to make you happy, just to make the child, you, happy. They sent you to school, to college, to university, in order to educate you. If the parents did not take care, we could not even write our own name.
Now we have much freedom, to be able to do work easily, to write down notes, able to read, able to write down the teachings, able to read the Dharma books—all this is by the kindness of the mother. We can find jobs very easily and have comfortable lives, and easily make money. This is not because one is competent, it is because of the kindness of the mother—if she did not spend the money for education, did not send oneself to college, there wouldn’t be a chance to have even to have these temporal pleasures, comfort. All these are the kindness of the mother.
When oneself was born from the mother, right after one came out of the mother’s womb, you were just a piece of flesh, same as those worms crawling on the ground, just able to move, same as the worms. Not understanding one single word, not having one single understanding of what gives harm, what benefits, the food, not knowing anything, completely, completely ignorant, unable to walk, can’t stand up, unable to speak, like this. The mother taught you how to walk, how to speak, how to eat. Now you are in the line of the human beings, in the group of the human beings able to communicate, able to do jobs, having great freedom. She is the one who put you in the line of the human beings, in the group of the human beings.
She took care of you by giving food, clothing and money by accumulating much negative karma, bearing the sufferings, the bad reputation, even having to steal other people’s material possessions to take care of you or kill other creatures. She even lied in order for you to have a good reputation. She admires you, “Oh how beautiful he is, and clever, able to do this and that,” even if it was not so.
I remember my own mother, when people come to the house, I remember what she was telling other people. Even if the child has a very bad personality, even though you did very bad things, the mother never tells anybody, she hides your mistakes, even if you have beaten the mother, said bad things, she doesn’t tell them your mistakes, but is always telling nice things about you, “how good he is,” just for you to have a good reputation. If the mother had the power to give enlightenment to you, still she would not be satisfied. If there is more, the mother gives.
For me it is very effective when I see mothers and those who have children, kind of feeling much compassion from the heart, seeing how the mother takes care of the child, constantly looking after that child. Even if she is unable to touch her own dirty things, urine, kaka, without difficulty she can clean the baby’s clothes. Changing the clothes all the time, washing all the time like this. From the side of the children, even when they are very young, small, never leave the parents quiet, always disturbing the parents, always screaming at the parents—in return this is what the mother receives: only screaming, only complaints, things like that. When it is a little bit more grown up, then it becomes more violent. Baby time, screaming, less harm; then when that child that was taken such good care of becomes a little bit grown up, physically also a little bit stronger, then it scolds back, fighting the mother, fighting the parents, beating and besides, hurting them with words, also with the body.
So one should feel that if one does not make the life meaningful, beneficial, if one doesn’t make this body meaningful by practicing Dharma, by transforming the mind, beneficial for oneself and for all the sentient beings, if one doesn’t do this, then there is no benefit, one was born only to cause suffering to the parents. By thinking of how the parents suffered so much and remembering their kindness, we see it is something we cannot waste by just doing meaningless works. The conclusion is that the mother has been extremely kind numberless times in the past, and each sentient being has done this, been our mother numberless times.
I think I stop here.
…can be done like that, the five different color beams, from each the Buddha’s five points, absorb to, absorb the five points of oneself; white, red, blue, yellow and green. This is little bit related with tantra practice, visualizing the five different colors, absorbing into oneself. Which ever way you visualize…
(Here Rinpoche leads an actual meditation on all sentient beings as one’s mother and the kindness of the mother.)
The continuity of one’s own consciousness has no beginning, so the continuity of one’s own past life has no beginning. In those other past lives, as this present life mother has been one’s own mother, the other sentient beings, in those past lives, have also been one’s own mother. One took this body from them. As this present life mother has been one’s mother, all the sentient beings have been one’s own mother. There’s no single sentient being who has not been one’s own mother. As this present mother has been one’s own mother numberless times, all the sentient beings who are around oneself here, the Dharma friends who are around, just around here, who are around oneself, all the creatures who are crawling on the ground, who are in the bushes, all the creatures who are around here, and all the rest of the sentient beings, each of the sentient beings, the creatures who are around here, people who are around here, people who are around oneself just here in this tent, in this hut, then the rest of all sentient beings—each of the sentient beings has been one’s own mother numberless times, as this present life mother has been one’s own mother numberless times.
First you feel this, you start the feeling of mother from here, you now, from around oneself and all the rest of the sentient beings. You meditate on this and feel this. First think like this for a little while and generate the feeling the mother and try to generate the feeling of mother and try to generate the feeling of the mother as one has the feeling of the mother with the present life, mother who gave the body just like, try to get the same feeling with all the friends and creatures and with all the rest of the sentient beings. Generate this feeling, and meditate on this now.
You can think of the reasons I mentioned yesterday, how other sentient beings have been one’s mother in the past life, the way to make it clearer. As this present life mother has been my mother numberless times in past lives, here each of the persons around me, each of the creatures around me, birds who are screaming in the bushes, each of the sentient beings around here has been my mother numberless times. Then think of all the sentient beings around you, then you generate the feeling of the mother with all the sentient beings. Count twenty times in your mind, “all the people who are around here, all the sentient beings have been my mother.” In your mind you think each of the persons here has been my mother numberless times, and all the sentient beings have been my mother, think like this twenty times, again and again ...
Also, when you visualize your mother on the left, father at the right, then enemy in the front, friends behind, with this you think the same. The enemy you dislike, the person whom you hate, the father, the friend, the stranger, all the rest of sentient beings, they have been my mother numberless times. Well then, think this over and over... not the words but the feeling: each one here has been mother. Enemy, friends, father have been my mother numberless times. Feeling it is important. “They all have been my mother, how I pity them.” See whether you get the same feeling of the mother as you feel with this present life’s mother, with some of the people here around, the creatures, whether you get the same feeling of the mother, check—do you feel the same feeling of closeness as you do with mother, do you feel like that with all, with some people here, with the creatures?
Make the determination, “All the sentient beings have been my mother, each of them has been my mother. Only this present life’s mother, I haven’t forgotten, I have been able to recognize, just because of the change of birth and death. I can’t recognize the sentient beings who have been my mother, because of the change of the death and rebirth. Because of that I am unable to recognize the other sentient beings who are my mother. With this present life’s mother there hasn’t been change of death and rebirth, so that’s why I am able to recognize her. But other sentient beings, I am not able to recognize because of death and rebirth, which is all due to ignorance. I am unable to recognize that all sentient beings have been my mother numberless times.” So then, make determination like this. All the people here, all the rest of the sentient beings, it makes no difference, this present life’s mother, and all the surrounding people here, all the rest of the sentient beings, they are the same, they are all precious.
Think of this present life’s mother, now remember her kindness—the present life’s mother gave the body and not only has she been extremely kind to give the body in this life, she gave her body numberless times in past lives. Feel this depthless kindness, the kindness of her heart, the uncountable kindness of the mother who has given you this human body numberless times in past lives. First feel this while visualizing the mother on the left side.
Food and clothing that have been given, money, the enjoyments that were given to one by the mother, everything that has been earned, collected by her, collected with her body. Working so hard, selling the body. “If what this present life’s mother gave me in this life was collected since I came out of the mother’s womb, clothing, food, money, all those things oh, it is unbelievable. Every single thing that has been collected, it’s incredible—all the toys to make me happy, it all has been collected. This is not the first time she gave, she has been extremely kind to me, protecting, saving my life from hindrances, when I felt cold, hungry, thirsty, giving drink, then when I am sick, giving medicine, protecting the life from the hindrances. Not only this, but what she did in this life is not the first time she has been kind, saving the life from hindrances. As she did in this life, she has done numberless times in the past life. First you remember this present life, how she has been extremely kind, protected my life from the hindrances. Hundreds of hindrances every day, giving me all these enjoyments, like this she has been kind to me numberless times in the past life.” Then feel the kindness of the mother, that she protected your life, in the past lives; feel this.
“If the milk that she poured into my mouth from her breast was collected from beginningless previous lifetimes, there wouldn’t be any space left. All of space would be filled with milk. Same thing with clothing, food, money—there wouldn’t be any space left if all of this was collected. Her kindness in protecting my life is depthless, countless, even the omniscient mind cannot count it.
“She has led me on the worldly path, education, and this is not the first time. She taught me, who didn’t know how to walk or talk, who was completely ignorant like a worm crawling on the ground—because of the loving kindness in her heart she gave me education, put me in the life of a human being. This is not the first time. That I am able to act like a human being is possible because of her and this is not the first time; she has been kind numberless times in the past lives.”
Again remember, the depthless kindness of this, giving education and leading on the worldly path.
“This present mother has been extremely kind, bearing hardships to obtain happiness for me, for me to be happy, to have a good life, to be happy, she experiences much hardship, much work, giving the body for birth, she has had much hardship. She experienced much hardship giving birth, it makes the mother scream, causes her life danger, and the surrounding people and family worry that the mother will die. Even after I came out, during the baby time, there was incredible hardship, physical hardship; she worried so much in order to protect me, when something was wrong, when I was sick. She experienced many physical difficulties, much worry and fear, protecting my life from illness. If I didn’t get a good education, if I didn’t have a good personality, my life wouldn’t be happy, can’t act, can’t work with other people, can’t live like other people, wouldn’t have a good, comfortable life. All the time so much worry, so much concern for my life.
“If there is a choice she prefers to be sick instead of me. If there were a choice she would choose to die instead of me.” Except that she has no power, according to her wishes she would be sick or die instead of the child. From the side of the mother it is like this, even though there is no benefit for the child.
As a baby the child causes only trouble, worries and problems for the parents. As a grown-up it is the same thing—different problems, greater problems, more worry and fear. Only torture, causing more problems and more worries, instead of making happiness for them and helping them, and in return they have been kind to oneself. In return they have been kind, giving the body, protecting the life, giving education, experiencing much hardship—there is not one single benefit from one’s own side for the parents. One only causes more confusion, problems and fear, and puts their life in danger. No use for them. However much education one has, one is only concerned for one’s own happiness, not concerned for the parents’, in one’s own heart thinking only, “How can I be happy, how can I have a luxurious life?”
Even if the mother physically decays, has many problems in her mind, can’t hear, can’t see and is close to death, we have no thought of her in our mind, no thought remembering some of her kindness. This is not the first time she has been extremely kind in experiencing hardships—she has been kind like this numberless times in the past. Feel the depthless kindness of her experiencing hardship in the past. Feel this.
The father has been also extremely kind like the mother... has given his body and protects the life, giving education and experiencing much hardships just like the mother, numberless times in the past life. Feel this, feel the depthless kindness, how the father and the mother have been kind.
Then, enemy and friend, all the rest of the people, who are around oneself here, all the creatures, all the rest of the sentient beings have been kind, have been extremely kind like the present life’s mother, numberless times in the past life... have given the body to protect life, have given education, experiencing much hardship. First you feel how all these people have been extremely kind like this, and how each one has been my mother.
Think, each person here numberless times has been born as my mother.
Each person here as my mother has given enjoyments, food, clothing, milk—what I have received from each mother sentient being here is uncountable. Then think over and over, twenty times, “all these mother sentient beings have been extremely kind to me,” and by remembering the four types of kindness think, repeat over and over, “all sentient beings have been extremely kind to me.” Remembering past lives, think over and over…
Remember the sentient beings in the six realms, naraks, preta, animal, the suffering beings, human beings, sura, asura, all the sentient beings, they all have been kind, extremely kind to me numberless past lives, think this over and over...
There is not one sentient being that I did not call “Mamma” or “Mummy” with tears coming from the eyes, looking at the mother’s face, putting the finger in the mouth, looking at the mother’s face, tears coming from the eyes, calling mommy, taking refuge, completely dependent on the mother the whole life. There is not one sentient being with whom I did not have this experience, including the enemy whom I dislike, who dislikes me, too. Think of all the sentient beings that have been extremely kind to one, given one much benefit, who are suffering in samsara. “There is not one sentient being who hasn’t been beneficial to me when I was suffering in samsara, there is not one sentient being who has not benefited me—they have all given benefit to me when I was suffering in samsara, they all have been extremely kind giving me benefit, numberless times.”
Then think, “I must repay the kindness of all the mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to me numberless times in the past lives. What they need and the way to repay them is by freeing them from all the suffering. Then they receive the sublime bliss, the highest among all the happiness, the sublime bliss, enlightenment. How I should repay them is to free them from all the suffering, and give them what they wish, happiness, what they should achieve, what they need, and that is the supreme bliss, so this is the way to repay mother sentient beings.”
All sentient beings, who have been extremely kind numberless times in past lives, how they are, they have no Dharma wisdom eye.
I give the example: just like the mother who is completely blind, can’t see anything, where there are precipices or where there are no precipices, her eyes completely blind, can’t see any road; also the mind is completely crazy, the body is full of disease. Then each step that she makes she walks toward the precipice because she can’t see, she is completely blind.
One’s own present mother’s eyes are completely blind, she doesn’t have a guide who leads her, her body is full of disease, her mind is completely crazy, each step that she makes, she makes to where there is danger, the great precipice. One’s own mother is like that, in danger of falling in the great precipice, guideless, like that. One has the chance to help her, to save her. Leaving her alone, leaving her to suffer… while the son has the chance to help the suffering mother, not helping the mother, letting her suffer while relaxing in the beautiful park, relaxing, singing, laying down in the sun in the beautiful park, or singing in the beautiful park, and letting the mother fall down the precipice, the mother who is completely crazy, guideless, blind, thinking only of one’s own happiness; being careless of the sufferings of the mother, thinking only of the happiness of oneself, the sufferings of oneself.
So, anyway, oneself being like that, relaxing in the beautiful park, like this, laying under the sun, playing music, singing like this, dancing, playing with a friend or boyfriend, with a girlfriend, and while the mother is suffering there, being careless of the mother—how it is? How ungenerous that is, being careless to the mother, not helping the mother, while the son has the opportunity to help the mother; no other attitude, except the attitude of one’s own happiness, then how ungenerous it is, very selfish, very poor mind.
So, just like this example, the sentient beings, the mother sentient beings, who have been extremely kind to oneself numberless times in past lives, are exactly like this example, they are like this, their Dharma wisdom eye is blind, they are devoid of the Dharma wisdom eye. They have no guide, no virtuous teacher leading the blind one, and the minds of the mother sentient beings have become completely crazy by the spirit, by the devil of the delusions, completely crazy.
The mother sentient beings, who have been extremely kind to oneself, are constantly suffering, intoxicated by the incredible pain of the three types of suffering. These are the pervasive compounded suffering, suffering of changes and suffering of suffering. The mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to oneself from beginningless previous lifetimes are, how to say, completely intoxicated by this spirit, the incredible pain of the three types of suffering. The mind is completely crazy of the greatest devil, the delusions, all the time completely crazy, completely crazy all the time by the great devil, the disturbing unsubdued mind. Each second, each minute, each hour, they make steps toward the great precipice of the lower realm, the realm of the suffering transmigratory being.
What I am saying is this, the other example, the mother that I mentioned before, as she makes each step toward the great precipice, like that, the mother sentient beings, each minute, each second, each hour, as they move they do work with body, speech, and mind, non-virtuous work. This throws them into the great precipice of the lower realms. So like this. How the mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to oneself, numberless times in the past lives, how they are themselves, actually how they are, is like this. Their nature is like this.
So mother sentient beings are like this, and for oneself, this time, how is it? One has that much Dharma wisdom eye. One has met the guide, the virtuous teacher, and met the teaching. We have met the teaching which makes it possible to receive enlightenment; one has met this, the holy Dharma. If one guides the sentient beings, helps the sentient beings, oneself has the chance to save the sentient beings from their suffering.
As the great, highly realized pandit, Nagarjuna explained in the teaching, if one’s only relative is caught in the whirlpool of the ocean of samsara, drowning in the center of the whirlpool, then just because of the reason of death and rebirth one is unable to recognize it, just because of the transference of death and rebirth, renouncing it, giving up helping the relative. There is nothing more shameful, nothing more ungenerous than that. What Nagarjuna is saying is that one’s own relative, the mother, being drowned in the ocean, in the center of the whirlpool, screaming and screaming so much, in danger of drowning, sinking completely down, right in the center of the whirlpool, screaming for help, and the son in the beautiful park not helping her, not saving her from danger—there is nothing more shameful than this.
Same thing, exactly as Nagarjuna explained in the teaching, the mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to us from beginningless previous lifetimes, who gave great benefit while we were suffering in samsara, who always took the best care of us, are drowning in the center of the whirlpool of the ocean of samsara and we are unable to recognize them because of the transference of death and rebirth. We renounce mother sentient beings, not benefiting them, not attempting to save them from suffering—there is nothing more ungenerous or shameful than this.
Giving food, clothing and material things to mother sentient beings is not the best way to repay them, because they have had these things numberless times in their past lives. Each mother sentient being has been the king of the realm of the gods, the asuras, numberless times, having great enjoyments, incredible material power, like Indra, the Wheel-turning King. There is no material possession they didn’t receive in the past life. They had the experience of being a millionaire, being the king of the universe but still they are not liberated from the suffering of samsara. Also, not having many material possessions in past lives, food and clothing, this didn’t cause them to be free from the suffering of samsara either. Still they are experiencing the suffering of samsara, so what they need is happiness, what they do not need is suffering.
Therefore think like this, make the determination inside one’s own heart, “I must repay all the mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to me numberless times in past lives. How I should repay them is by liberating them from the suffering of samsara, from all the sufferings, and reaching the highest bliss, enlightenment.” So make this determination. Think this. Make this determination, to repay all the kind mother sentient beings in this way.
The mother sentient beings who are in the realm of suffering, transmigratory beings—besides being devoid of the blissful state of peace, the mother sentient beings who are in the lower realms are devoid of even the temporal samsaric happiness, they experience only suffering, devoid of even temporal samsaric pleasure. The mother sentient beings who are in the realm of the happy transmigratory beings, in the higher realm, where there is the opportunity to experience the temporal samsaric pleasure, do not experience samsaric pleasure all the time, only sometimes, and even they are devoid of the blissful state of peace, liberated from all samsaric suffering.
The mother sentient beings who are in the upper realm, those who are experiencing the temporal pleasures, are devoid of the ultimate happiness, the blissful state of peace; however much they wish for happiness, they are unable to recognize the cause of happiness, they are ignorant in the cause of happiness and their actions destroy the cause of happiness. Their wish is happiness all the time but in practice, because of being ignorant of the cause of happiness, they destroy the cause of happiness as the enemy does. They do this by anger, heresy and wrong view—they destroy the merits that have been accumulated. They do this through miserliness, not practicing charity, through attachment, not practicing moral conduct. They destroy the cause of happiness in their practice.
Think, “How wonderful if all sentient beings had happiness, especially the highest bliss. I will make them have happiness, highest bliss.”
While you are remembering sentient beings, how they have been kind, with the feeling of the kindness of the mother you generated this morning, on the basis of that feeling, as you are aware of the sentient beings who are devoid of happiness, generate love. “How wonderful if all the kind mother sentient beings had happiness, especially the highest bliss. I will make them have happiness.” Generate great love like this, three or four times. Meditate like this.
The kind mother sentient beings, however much they do not wish suffering, always run to create the cause of suffering, being ignorant of the cause of suffering. What they do not wish is suffering, but in practice they keep themselves busy, day and night, creating the cause of suffering. Constantly they follow the disturbing and unsubdued minds of anger, ignorance and attachment, and accumulate karma. They accumulate non-virtue—taking others’ lives, stealing…
… such as the non-virtuous actions, one after the other accumulating negative karma by constantly following the disturbed unsubdued mind. What they do not wish for is suffering, but in practice they only create the cause of suffering. Day and night they run to create the cause of suffering. You think of the chicken, meditate on the chicken. Chicken? I thought I was saying something else. Visualize mother sentient beings as chickens. For example, the birds or chickens, think how in this minute, they are on the ground running around, keeping themselves so busy. Meditate on this.
In one hour, how many creatures do they eat? Meditate on the animals who live in the ocean, the fish, those kind mother sentient beings, how they keep themselves busy accumulating negative karma.
So within one minute, one hour, how much incredible negative karma they accumulate to again be born in the lower, suffering realms. In their mind there is no virtuous motive, only non-virtue, attachment, clinging to happiness, so strongly clinging to the happiness of this life. All their actions are done with that attitude, done only for the happiness of their own life. All the movements that these animals do are seeking a means of living.
So like this, by following the disturbing unsubdued mind, they are constantly accumulating negative karma to be reborn again the suffering realm, even though they do not wish to experience this at all.
Now think of the human beings. First think of the mother sentient beings. How they run to create the cause of suffering, being ignorant of the cause of suffering. Then watch the whole city of Kathmandu. Watch the whole city in California—just watch—don’t watch the physical, just watch the attitude of the people who are living in the city in California. Day and night, all the time the attitude is seeking the happiness of one’s own life, seeking one’s own happiness. This attitude is not even seeking the happiness of the future life, but seeking the happiness of this life alone. The attitude is attachment, clinging to the happiness of this life, one’s own happiness, non-virtue.
The activities that are done with the body, speech, and mind in the day and night are done only with this attitude. “How can I be happy? What can I do in this life to be happy?” The whole movement and action is completely done with attachment, with this attitude, non-virtue. So the actions are done with this motivation and become non-virtue. Besides accumulating the ten non-virtuous actions, all the activity that is done is done only for this life. Not for the happiness of the future life, not to liberate sentient beings from suffering and lead them to enlightenment. Whatever is done is only work for one’s own life, this life. So this is non-virtue, the opposite of the virtue of the holy Dharma. So like this, even though what they do not wish, in their heart, is suffering and confusion—the suffering is confusion—they are ignorant of its cause and then constantly, they run to create the cause of suffering.
Even if they are rich, even if they are poor, high class, middle, lower class, whatever, they look different, whatever language they speak, the attitude is like this; the work is done with that attitude, with attachment. Nothing else, only the happiness of this life, seeking only this, then all the activities are done with that.
So generate compassion like this.
Mother sentient beings, who have been extremely kind to me numberless times in the past life, are suffering like this. The mother sentient beings who are in the six realms are constantly experiencing the three types of suffering—first, the pervasive compounded suffering, just having the samsaric body, just having taken the aggregates, of the disturbed unsubdued mind, karma. First of all, that suffering; that is the biggest suffering. Secondly, the suffering of change; thirdly, the suffering of suffering, the suffering of rebirth and death, all those problems that they have been experiencing during their lifetime, besides those other four basic sufferings; all that confusion one is experiencing in everyday life. Well then, same thing, they are suffering in those realms, preta, narak, animal, sura and asura, all the suffering of suffering.
Like this, the mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to me numberless times in the past life, are constantly experiencing the three types of suffering... the mother sentient beings who are born in the realms of the happy transmigratory beings, who are experiencing the great opportunity to experience temporal happiness, even though they are free, they are released from the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings, again they are accumulating non-virtue, which will cause them to go back again, to be born again in the lower realms. Like this, being ignorant of the cause of suffering, so like this mother sentient beings are suffering.
So think, “How wonderful it would be if all kind mother sentient beings were devoid of all the sufferings, and I will make them be devoid of all the sufferings.” Think this several times. “How wonderful, if all the kind mother sentient beings could be devoid of the sufferings, and I will make them be free from the suffering.”
Generate great compassion. “In the family, even though the mother has other children who help the mother when she is suffering, when she has difficulties, even so, it is my responsibility to help the mother because she has been extremely kind to me. When she is suffering, to save her from that suffering is my responsibility, even though there are other children who help her, even though there are other daughters and sons who can help—it is my responsibility, for she has been extremely kind to me, so it is my responsibility to look after her. So like this, even though there are numberless buddhas who work for sentient beings, it is my responsibility to free the mother sentient beings from all the sufferings of samsara and to lead them to enlightenment. It is my responsibility, it is my turn to help mother sentient beings, to free them from the sufferings of samsara, and to achieve enlightenment. Because the mother sentient beings have been extremely kind to me, it is my responsibility to help them. Also, when the mother is suffering, if the son doesn’t help the mother, then who should help the mother when the mother is having difficulties, who should help the mother? It is my burden, or my responsibility to lead them to enlightenment.”
At the moment one has not the capability to enlighten even one sentient being, so who has the power to enlighten sentient beings? Only Buddha has the power to enlighten sentient beings. If one has achieved the state of omniscient mind, enlightenment, then each beam that emits from the holy body of the Buddha can free infinite numbers of sentient beings from suffering and lead in the path of happiness. Each beam that emits from the Buddha’s holy body has that much power to do the works for other sentient beings. When the moon rises, even though the moon itself doesn’t have motivation, doesn’t think, “I am going to reflect in all the oceans, in all the water, streams, in all the rivers, in all the waters, dew, even the waters dew, the dew, tiny drop of water which is on the plant, wherever there is water in the world, wherever the numberless water there are,” as the moon rises, at the same time without any effort, without any motivation, numberless reflections arise naturally from all the waters. Like that, after having achieved the state of omniscient mind, enlightenment, if I achieve this then I am able to do perfect works for other sentient beings without any effort, without one single mistake. Each pore of the Buddha’s holy body manifests billions of different forms to guide one sentient being, to manifest in the different forms, whatever fits according to the different levels of the sentient beings’ minds, and able to give teachings with his speech, perfect power, to sentient beings who have different levels of mind.
Then, there is the perfect power of the holy mind, able to see all the three times, able to fully and clearly see all the three times existence and able to see every single sentient beings’ thought, the different personalities. According to that, Buddha does work for other sentient beings with his holy body, speech and mind, and reveals different methods.
There is the perfect power, Buddha’s perfect power, complete, perfect understanding, omniscient mind, perfect power to liberate by any necessary methods, and not only that, there is also infinite compassion. Even if there is perfect power, if there is not infinite compassion for all the sentient beings, again it is possible that Buddha doesn’t help other sentient beings. So there are all these three.
“If I achieve the state of omniscient mind, then I can do perfect works for other sentient beings. Therefore, in order to free all the kind mother sentient beings from all the sufferings of samsara, to lead them to enlightenment, I must achieve the state of omniscient mind, the enlightenment, so this thought is bodhicitta.”
When you have this thought, without any effort, automatically rising, day and night all the time, without effort, if it rises like attachment rises, without any effort, uncontrollable, without need to meditate, without need to motivate—feeling the suffering of sentient beings like an arrow, unbearable, like an arrow gone inside one’s own heart, like a thorn has gone inside one’s own flesh—you can’t stand it. Even a minute, a second, you can’t stand it. There is no other thought except the thought to receive enlightenment, like at the moment for us there is only the thought that oneself be happy. By changing that, by transforming that, there is no other thought, only the thought to receive enlightenment, feeling the suffering of other sentient beings is unbearable, unable to stand it for even a minute or a second, day and night, constantly, without the thought to reach enlightenment—that is the actual bodhicitta, the best mind or heart of bodhicitta.
So it is extremely important at the beginning of each session, discourse, or meditation to generate this motivation of bodhicitta. It is extremely important to do the meditation in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all mother sentient beings. This is extremely important. Each time we do this, the mind gets the impression of bodhicitta, the essence of the path to enlightenment, the principle cause of enlightenment. Each time it leaves an impression, the mind becoming closer to the realization to bodhicitta. So at the beginning of each meditation session, especially the teachings, before the discourse, it is extremely important.
So the conclusion—what I explained before about reincarnation—because there is the continuity of consciousness after this life, it is important to prepare for the happiness of the future lives, to work for this happiness. This is more important that working for the happiness of this life. That is the motivation of the lower capable being. This is the lowest motivation that becomes Dharma. To become free form samsara, to receive nirvana, the stage of an arhat, that is the middle capable being’s motivation. Then to free mother sentient beings from suffering and lead them into enlightenment, that’s the higher capable being’s motivation.
I think I stop here.
One geshe from the largest monastery in India, after Tibet was occupied by the Chinese, where monks who wanted to continue their studies—they make studies on the Dharma all their life and I did not study anything like that—what I did is not worthwhile to be called study of Dharma. Their study is not just a baby playing a game with books. What I did is not called studying Dharma—so if you have profound questions, there’s no doubt you can get answers…
There are three different levels on which to take refuge—the lower capable beings’ refuge, the middle capable beings’ refuge and the higher capable beings’ refuge. Another way of saying it is: the refuge of the lesser vehicle path, the refuge of the followers of the lesser vehicle path, the Hinayana beings’ refuge, and the Mahayana beings’ refuge. These two are the Hinayana beings’ way of taking refuge, and then the higher capable beings’ refuge is the Mahayana way of taking refuge.
So however, taking refuge in Buddha, in the Triple Gem, for one to be free from the realms of suffering transmigratory beings, that is the lower capable being’s refuge; the middle capable beings’ way of taking refuge, taking refuge in the Triple Gem, Buddha and Sangha is for oneself to be free from samsara. Those two ways of taking refuge are the Hinayana beings’ way of taking refuge. The higher capable beings refuge, how to say, the way the higher capable beings take refuge, that is the Mahayana way of taking refuge. I think it is described in this text with the elaborate visualization of refuge.
“I must achieve enlightenment to free all the sentient beings from the sufferings of samsara and to lead them to enlightenment. Therefore, I am going take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.” This is the Mahayana way of taking refuge, or the higher capable beings’ way of taking refuge. Asking for guidance or help, in order to free sentient beings from the sufferings of samsara and to lead them into enlightenment, this is the higher Mahayana way of taking refuge; the motivation is different. Then after you set your motivation like this, do the visualization—the single one or elaborate one, whatever you wish, whatever you can.
Be aware while you are meditating on immeasurable equanimity, as we mentioned on this subject, be aware of the sufferings of the mother sentient beings, who have been kind to oneself, their sufferings. The whole world’s problems, human being’s problems, the whole world’s problems, remember how all problem’s are based on the three poisonous minds—hatred, ignorance and attachment. Always they have to make much organization, always they have to make much meetings, they are trying very hard, you see, from their side they are trying so hard, different kinds of ways, as they do not wish to experience the result suffering, but the result of the problem, the anger, attachment, ignorance never becomes any less, because of ignorance of the method.
“If all the sentient beings… [reading Foundation of all Good Qualities]
So, “perfectly following” is better, “perfectly following.” Personally I would feel, perfectly following—not necessary to discriminate but if it is something opposite to what Buddha explained, if it is opposite to the path that Buddha has shown, the gradual path to enlightenment, if it is opposite to that, opposite to what Buddha said in the teachings, then just leave it, skillfully just leave it, it just happened. When you hear more teachings, you can understand gradually these practices.
In order to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings, without following the cause of enlightenment, omniscient mind, without following the path to enlightenment, without needing any effort from one’s own side, without need to work for enlightenment—just by wishing, enlightenment doesn’t come, doesn’t drop into the mind.
So, one should think of the cause of enlightenment. After that, in order to receive enlightenment, one should follow this path. The practice, the steps of the path to enlightenment, one should practice. In order to generate realizations of these steps of the path to enlightenment, one should meditate on this; one should make the mind familiar, one should train the mind in the steps of the path to enlightenment. To do that one should understand; and in order to understand correctly, in order to receive perfect and correct realizations of the steps of the path to enlightenment, first one should meditate correctly. In order to meditate correctly, perfectly, one should have correct, perfect understanding. In order to have perfect, correct understanding of the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, one should receive correct teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment—one should listen correctly. So explaining correctly is my responsibility. Listening correctly is, I don’t know whose responsibility it is, anyway, so like this.
In order to have understanding of the steps of the path to enlightenment, one should listen to the teachings—understanding doesn’t just come without having done extensive listening to the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment. The profound extensive understanding, if there is not much correct understanding, realization will not come easily, one cannot do the meditation perfectly.
In order to listen to these teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, the root is for the motivation for listening to these teachings be virtuous; that is the root. That’s the first thing; the motivation must be Dharma, the mind that listens to the teaching on the steps of the path to enlightenment must be Dharma. That’s the very first thing. If you want to listen to the teachings on the steps of path to enlightenment with a non-virtuous motivation, then listening to the teachings doesn’t become Dharma, doesn’t become virtue, it doesn’t become the cause for happiness, the action in itself becomes non-virtue. It is not sufficient even if the motive is virtue, just any kind of virtuous motive is not sufficient. Listening in order for oneself not to be reborn in the lower realm, in a future life—that is virtue but that is not sufficient.
The virtuous motivation to free oneself from samsara and receive nirvana is better than the previous motivation, but still that is not sufficient to listen to this teaching on the steps of the path to enlightenment. In order to listen to such as this teaching on the steps of the path to enlightenment, the motivation that is necessary is the motivation of bodhicitta. We should listen to the teaching for whom? For the sentient beings, for the sentient beings. The main goal is to free sentient beings from the suffering of samsara, leading them to enlightenment, bringing sentient beings in the highest bliss of enlightenment. That is the main goal. In order to fulfill this work, in order to fulfill this aim, the method is for oneself to receive enlightenment, not the other way round—the main goal is for oneself to be happy and receive enlightenment. If I receive enlightenment I will be very happy so I can relax. Then use the sentient beings for that. Use the sentient beings like a broom, to clean the room, saying, “Oh, I’m cleaning the room,” anyway, I’m joking. The attitude that has as its main aim oneself to be happy is wrong, it should not be like that.
The motivation of bodhicitta, in order to listen to the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, as I mentioned yesterday, as I went through the different levels, the lower capable being’s motivation, the middle capable being’s motivation, like this gradually—when one generates motivation of bodhicitta, if that motivation can be perfected with the two others as the foundation, then the motivation of bodhicitta becomes more powerful. The motivation of bodhicitta, to reach enlightenment for the benefit of others, the mother sentient beings, becomes more powerful by having those basic fundamental motivations, the lower capable beings’ and the middle capable being’s motivation.
Anyway, gradually you will understand. You see, depending on the motivation of bodhicitta, how powerful or sincere are the words to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings; how sincere and powerful the mind is depends on how powerful are the previous fundamental motives—the lower capable beings’ motive, the middle capable beings’ motive—and that depends on how much strong aversion there is to the suffering of the lower realms.
How much strong aversion there is to the suffering of the lower realm and the suffering of samsara—depending on that the motivation of bodhicitta becomes more powerful and sincere. If the motivation is perfected with these other fundamental motives, the bodhicitta motivation becomes very strong. Without these fundamental motives, saying, “Oh, I’m going to reach enlightenment for all beings, I’m going to practice, I’m going to meditate, I’m going to listen to the teachings in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings,” there is not much feeling in the mind—as one says the word, there is no connection with the mind. The word is something else, the mind is something else, the mind is enemy to the words; they are not the same. However as much as possible, for the motive to be like that, as we say the words, as much as possible, to be like that.
Yesterday we meditated on love and compassion and those other things, but I forgot to mention the great will—I did go through it, the great will and bodhicitta. Then generate the motivation of bodhicitta, in order to listen to the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment it is not sufficient, having the body of the happy transmigrating being, without being born in the realm of the suffering transmigrating being, even if I achieve the state of an arhat, being free from samsara…
First decide this: “All sentient beings have been my mother numberless times. There is not one single sentient being who has not been my mother; they all have been my mother numberless times. There is no sentient beings who has not been kind to me, all the sentient beings have been extremely kind to me numberless times, decide this, feel this—the sentient being, my kind mother sentient beings, how they are devoid of happiness, temporal happiness, they are constantly suffering.”
The kind mother sentient beings who have been extremely kind to oneself, who have taken care of oneself from beginningless previous lifetimes, with great compassion and love. “While they are suffering if I, the son, don’t help them, if I don’t save them from the suffering and lead them to enlightenment, if I don’t benefit…”
While oneself the son has the opportunity, has the chance to help the mother sentient beings, to free from all the sufferings of samsara, to lead them to enlightenment, “It is my own responsibility. I will do it; each sentient being in the six realms, each narak being, each preta being, each animal being, each sura, each asura, each human being, each sentient being ...my enemies, friends, and strangers, including these, each sentient being to free from all the suffering and to lead to enlightenment. This work, this responsibility is my responsibility, I will do it by myself, I will fulfill it by myself. This great responsibility, freeing each sentient being from suffering, to reach enlightenment, I will do it by myself.” You take the whole responsibility. “I will do it by myself, make the determination from the heart, from deep within one’s own heart.”
“The sentient beings around myself here, any sentient being whom I see in a different form, creatures, enemy, friends, stranger, any that I see, I must completely free each them from the whole suffering until they reach enlightenment, I will free them by myself. So who can do this? Only Buddha can. So therefore, I must achieve enlightenment, I make determination that I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings.”
“By achieving enlightenment, I will free the kind mother sentient beings from all their sufferings, until they achieve enlightenment.”
Just to have a brief idea of how it is possible to achieve enlightenment, just to get a tiny idea of this, in order to rise a little bit of definite understanding, how it is possible to achieve the state of omniscient mind, enlightenment. How it can be experienced, how it can be experienced by oneself. Even though the present mind is very ignorant, deeply ignorant, even things that we have learned, we forget. Even things that we have to learn, what we have seen, experienced, we forget.
The mind that is deeply ignorant of the absolute nature, the meaning of selflessness, the absolute nature of the self, mind completely ignorant of karma, completely ignorant of the nature of existence: how can this continuity of this mind, this ignorant mind become the state of omniscient mind? How does this become fully knowing mind?
First of all, the disturbing unsubdued mind, this ignorance, attachment, anger, this disturbing unsubdued mind, pride, jealous mind, all these disturbing unsubdued minds—when attachment rises on one object, the attachment does not rise all the time. Sometimes attachment rises, but sometimes anger rises on that object, sometimes indifference—if it is not object of anger and not object of attachment, nothing particular: just ignorance rises. The object on which the attachment rises—the attachment does not rise all the time. It changes. Same thing, the object of anger, the anger does not rise all the time on that object. After sometime it becomes an object of attachment or an indifferent object. It changes, they are not definite. First of all…
The second thing, the mirror that reflects the whole city is temporarily obscured by dust. The mirror itself is not oneness with the dust, so just like that the mind is like a mirror. The potential of the mind is like a mirror. As the mirror can give the reflection of the whole city, the mountains, all the houses, like that the mind has the potential to become the omniscient mind, there is a potential to fully see the whole existence. Our present mind is temporarily obscured by the dust, veiled by the disturbing unsubdued mind, the sudden stains.
The reason the disturbing unsubdued minds are called sudden is because they are not permanent, arising all the time. Sometimes they strongly arise and then they become visible, and they can be removed by the path. So I think because of this it is not kind of everlasting, it is not something which cannot be removed, it is not something that there is no method to remove. It is removed by the remedy of the path.
As the mirror is not oneness with that dirt, the mind is not oneness with the disturbing unsubdued mind, not oneness with the obscurations, except it is temporarily obscured by the sudden stains of the disturbing uncertain mind. So you see, you can clean the mirror, you can clean the mirror, yes, you can. There is a possibility to clean the mirror—but if the mirror itself is oneness with the dirt then you have to throw the mirror, you have to throw the whole mirror from the bathroom, the whole big mirror, you have to throw it in the garbage. There is no use, because it is impossible to clean, there is no way to clean, because you can’t clean the dirt from the dirt, the mirror itself is dirt, so how can you clean the dirt from the dirt—there is no way to clean the dirt from the dirt. If the mind itself is oneness with the obscurations, disturbing unsubdued mind, oneness, not temporarily obscured but oneness, then the only way to be free from sufferings, free from the disturbing unsubdued mind is to finish yourself. You have to cease, completely stop the consciousness to be free from all the disturbing unsubdued minds, because the consciousness itself is delusion, like the mirror itself is dirt, it is obscuration. So, the way to do is to just completely stop the consciousness. When you completely stop the consciousness, if there is such a way to cease the consciousness, then the self also ceases. The person ceases, as there is no consciousness, there is no self, as there is no base for the consciousness, the aggregates, the consciousness existing, so there is no self. So the only way to be free from suffering is to completely stop yourself. Stop yourself. When the consciousness has completely ceased, when the suffering, disturbing unsubdued mind has completely ceased, you are not left. So, who possesses that liberation? Who owns that liberation? Who possesses that liberation? Unless you are going to call liberation just ceasing yourself, finished yourself... so anyway, like this.
However, without talking much—maybe those who have heard much Dharma can understand, maybe for the new ones—the continuation of the mind and the continuation of the future life, like death and rebirth, the continuation of the future life, you see can be ended by practicing Dharma. By generating the path in the mind and removing the disturbing unsubdued mind, the continuation of the future life, samsara, can be ended. But the continuity of consciousness has no end; as it has no beginning, it has no end. It cannot be ended. As it has no beginning, it has no end, so like that we should not get mixed up between the continuity of consciousness and the continuity of the future life. That which goes death and rebirth, death and rebirth, and death and rebirth, like that. The continuity of the future can be ended. That can be ended by destroying the disturbing unsubdued mind with the remedy path. But the continuity of consciousness has no end. It always exists, the self, the person, “I,” which is labeled on that aggregate, continually exists, because the aggregate, the base, the consciousness, always exists. Since there is no possibility to cease the consciousness so there is no possibility to cease the self. There is no such time when the self doesn’t exist, that the self becomes non-existent. There is no such time. This is just a general idea, just a general understanding.
The person who is going to achieve the nirvana of the lesser vehicle path, the cessation of the suffering of samsara—just to get a kind of idea of the procedure of the path, if you read Geshe Ngawang Dhargey’s book, Mental Development, I think this book describes, gives an idea of the path, the different divisions of the path, it gives some more condensed explanation.
When one has generated the realization, mind, when one has generated total aversion, seeing the whole samsara like the very center of the fire, hot-red fire; seeing the whole samsara like that, finding not one single attraction, then the mind renouncing samsara. When one who has generated the thought of aversion of samsara, seeing the whole samsara as the very center of the fire, not finding one single attraction for even a second, renouncing samsara, that time—as there are five paths to reach nirvana, at that time whenever the mind renouncing samsara is generated, one has entered the first path, the path of merit. One has entered that.
Without mentioning the details again, there are three divisions of that path. After completing that path, the path of merit, then one has achieved the path of connection. Then after completing that path, one generates the path of seeing, the right seeing path. Within that there are periods of concentration and breaks. Periods of concentration are two things, the path of non-interruption (I’m not sure about my English) the path of non-interruption, without interruption, and the path of liberation, the path which liberates—like this these two paths, in one session the meditator generates both the paths. The path not having interruption is the remedy to the disturbing unsubdued mind. Then the liberating path removes the disturbing unsubdued mind.
Then after that session, one receives the wisdom, transcendental wisdom. I don’t know how it is translated in the books, these are my own words. The disturbing unsubdued minds are removed in that time, and then after that continuing the meditation on the absolute nature, having fully realized the absolute nature. Then one reaches the path of meditation. Again the path of meditation has the session time, the periods of concentration and then again the break time, generated after. Then after that, same thing as before, the path of non-interruption becomes the remedy to the disturbing unsubdued mind and the liberating path, removing the rest of the disturbing unsubdued mind. Then after that, then comes the path of no-need…
… the cessation of the suffering, which is called nirvana. Then one receives the liberation, which liberates from the bondage of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma, and that is the stage of arhat. So, one who has achieved this state is called an arhat, like that.
I think I stop there.
To attain the idea of how there is possibility to achieve nirvana, to achieve enlightenment, as I have explained this morning, very briefly, how the mind can be separated from the disturbing unsubdued mind, the obscurations. Those reasons that I have explained this morning are explained by the highly realized pandit, Nagarjuna in one of his texts.
I have left one thing from this morning, one thing that I forgot. How the disturbing unsubdued mind, ignorance and attachment can be removed. First of all, they are not permanent and on one object they do not arise all the time. For instance, on one person, sometimes attachment, sometimes anger rises, it changes. The main reason—all those disturbing unsubdued minds, ignorance, anger, attachment, jealousy, twenty secondary delusions and many other delusions like this—one of the fundamental reasons why they can be removed is because all those other delusions, the branches, are rooted in the ignorance holding the “I” as truly existent. The whole thing is thing rooted in the ignorance holding the “I” as truly existent. This is like the root of the tree. There are stems, there are branches and from the branches many other things come. Similarly, the delusions come from the very root, the ignorance holding the “I” as truly existent. So, the main reason those other delusions can be removed is because the very root, the ignorance holding the “I” as truly existent, can be removed.
How can that be removed? The object of this ignorance of true existent existence is a false object: it doesn’t exist—what the ignorance believes and holds is a false object that does not exist. So the way to destroy the ignorance is by realizing the “I” as truly existent is empty. The object of ignorance of true existence is empty in fact; it is empty, doesn’t exist, completely empty.
The way to do this is to is to listen to the teaching on the meaning of selflessness, the absolute nature of the self, on emptiness, from the well experienced teacher. Then practice the teaching on emptiness. With that wisdom light, the correct teaching on shunyata, received from the very experienced teacher, you check, you search for the object of the ignorance of true existence—where is it? Where is it? How is it? You search with that wisdom light whether it exists or not. With that wisdom light one recognizes the object of truth, the object of the ignorance of true existence. As one recognizes, the person has not realized completely that is empty, but he has more understanding—besides intellectual understanding he has that much experience: this is the one that doesn’t exist, this is the one that is empty, but he hasn’t realized yet it is completely empty. After having recognized the object of I-grasping ignorance, the ignorance of true existence, then searching and checking more on that, doing analyzing meditation by using the reasons, concentrating more on that, examining it more by using the analyzing reasons of the right view.
It became a little bit more detailed, anyway it does not matter.
Then, as one has found the real object of the ignorance of true existence, which doesn’t exist—when it’s well recognized, by using those analyzing reasons without taking very much time, easily one receives definite understanding of the object of the ignorance of truly existence: the truly existent “I” doesn’t exist at all, there is no such “I” that exists from its own side, even the tiniest atom doesn’t exist from its own side, completely empty.
Before having realized the object of ignorance believing the “I” to be truly existent is completely empty, the person should have some more definite understanding that it is false, as the person recognizes the object of true existence, which has to be realized as empty. Before that, when the person recognizes the object of ignorance as truly existent, at that time person already has that much understanding that it is false. This is how it cuts off the ignorance believing the “I” is truly existent. Believing, meaning not by intellect—the natural belief holding the “I” as truly existent. So this is the way, by realizing the non-existence of the object of ignorance of the truly existent “I,” is empty, non-existent—by realizing this one destroys and eradicates the ignorance believing in the truly existing “I.” By destroying, by eradicating the ignorance believing in the truly existent “I,” which is the root of all the delusion, of all the anger, attachment and those other branches of delusion, they cease, they do not arise, just like when the root of the tree is completely destroyed, there is no way to grow the branches of the tree, the stem.
As I explained this morning, traversing the five paths, gradually proceeding and constantly concentrating on the voidness, the void nature, the different delusions gradually get removed. So, as one reaches the path of no more learning, one achieves the cessation of suffering: nirvana.
As there are five paths to approach nirvana, in order to receive enlightenment also there are five paths—whether the person practices tantra or not. There are five paths to receive enlightenment by following the Mahayana. The same paths: path of merit, path of conjunction, right seeing path, path of meditation and the path of no-more learning, there are five paths like this.
Again, after having generated the mind renouncing samsara, as I have explained this morning, the door of the path to nirvana, by clearly seeing that one’s own samsara is only in the nature of suffering, like the very center of a big fire, completely in the nature of suffering, one’s own samsara is like that fire, like the very center of the fire, like prison, and not finding one single attraction even for a second. You can’t stand to be in samsara even for a second, a minute—wanting to be free, wanting to be liberated from this. After having generated the realization of the mind renouncing samsara, feeling unbearable within one’s own samsara, like a thorn in the flesh, like an arrow inside of the heart. Even for a second we can’t stand it without taking it out, without being free from one’s own samsara. After having this realization, the mind has renounced samsara, then by changing the object of meditation, by thinking of the samsaric suffering of other sentient beings, feeling one’s own samsara as unbearable, changing the object of meditation by looking at how other sentient beings are experiencing the suffering of samsara, feeling this suffering, you can’t stand it even for a second. Then great compassion is generated, then bodhicitta, great love, by meditating on the kindness of mother sentient beings, effortless bodhicitta. Uncreated bodhicitta is generated within one’s mind, then at that time one has entered the Mahayana path.
One has entered the Mahayana path, the path of merit, then one proceeds in the path of conjunction, the right-seeing path, then the path of meditation. After having approached the third path, the right-seeing path, the Mahayana right-seeing path—as regards the bodhisattva’s path, there are ten levels where the disturbing unsubdued minds are completely removed. The stage at which the disturbing unsubdued minds are completely removed is when they reach the eighth level, eighth bhumi, that’s when they are completely removed—the disturbing unsubdued mind, even the ignorance, even the seed of ignorance, believing in true existence. After that the ninth and the tenth then, as one proceeds in this path, the path becomes the remedy to the subtle obscurations; the obscuration of omniscient mind, the subtle obscuration. The very last path, the uninterrupted path, the path not having interruption, the continual path not having interruption, becomes the remedy to these subtle obscurations. Then right after that, the no-more learning, the state of enlightenment, as the subtle obscurations are completely removed, then the state of omniscient mind has been achieved.
At that time, the continuity of this general mind, which is temporarily obscured now, which is ignorant of seeing all existence now, the disturbing unsubdued mind and the subtle obscurations of the omniscient mind, which disturb us from reaching omniscient mind—this is the impression that is left on the mind by the ignorance of true existence. And also the dual vision, which rises from that impression. These are the subtle obscurations of the omniscient mind. So, by continuing the non-interrupted path, by it becoming a remedy to that subtle obscuration, all the subtle obscurations completely get removed. Whenever they are completely removed, this mind becomes omniscient mind, dharmakaya. Dharmakaya has two: the transcendental wisdom, dharmakaya and the sambhogakaya. The absolute nature of this mind becomes sambhogakaya. The continuity of this general mind becomes the omniscient mind, the dharmakaya, then the absolute nature of this mind becomes the absolute nature of the omniscient mind, which is called the sambhogakaya. That time this mind becomes the buddha’s holy mind, dharmakaya. At that time, as there is not one single stain left, nothing which obscures fully seeing all existence, the knowledge is completed, the realization is completed in that time.
This part of the subject in detail afterwards, as you study, you can gradually understand. As this mind becomes dharmakaya, then also one achieves the two other kayas. The rupakaya, within which there are two divisions—nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya. One achieves the four kayas.
This is the enlightenment, this stage, the stage of the four kayas, the stage of enlightenment, the omniscient mind.
The Dharma that we should practice, which we should follow, in order to receive enlightenment—just any kind of Dharma or any kind of path cannot bring, cannot lead oneself to that goal, the state of omniscient mind. In order to achieve such a state of enlightenment, how it should be? It should be like this. The Buddha himself, who achieved enlightenment, he himself followed this path and received enlightenment, and he has shown the Dharma, the teachings of the path, he has shown it with his experience. Then also the learned great pandits examined the teachings—this has been the experience of the great yogis, the meditators—the path that one should follow, what one should practice in order to achieve this goal, this aim, for the benefit of the mother sentient beings. It should be something like this. By following this path Buddha achieved enlightenment. The great yogis or the meditators followed the experience of the path and have achieved enlightenment. Great numbers of followers who followed the teachings shown by Buddha all had the same experience, had the experience of the path. By practicing correctly, there is no doubt that one will receive enlightenment—even if one does not wish to receive enlightenment. Even if one does not wish to receive enlightenment one will receive enlightenment.
As Buddha has shown, as those great meditators have practiced, taking that as an example, if one practices then no doubt. There is the same potential. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself was an ordinary person before, living in samsara, experiencing, wandering in the six realms, together with oneself. Similarly, those great yogis, Naropa, Tilopa, Marpa and Milarepa, whose holy names are familiar in the West, common, those great yogis, same thing, wandering with us in samsara, but they, with great effort, with much hardship as they followed the path, they have received enlightenment earlier, they have received enlightenment earlier, before us. Before, we were the same. There is the same potential, so there is no question we can’t.
What I am saying, for oneself there are the lam-rim teachings of the steps of the path to enlightenment.
Before I mention that… if one follows just without checking or examining anything at all, whatever one finds, if one practices it without examining it, there is danger it is that which not one Buddha has found, no pandit has found, nor any great yogis have found, something that they haven’t realized. I’m not sure what that is but I think that’s how it becomes. One great highly realized lama or pandit, Sakya Pandita, who is the recognized embodiment of Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri said when people buy horses, they ask everybody how it is. “Is it a good animal, is it healthy?” They ask everybody, then they themselves check up by looking at it, first ask everybody, then themselves check up, like this they examine. I have seen the people putting such great effort into even a small work of this life, examining it, such tiny work for this life, which is not really important, they put incredible time and effort in examining it. In the West, in the supermarket, they don’t need much examining to buy the food, I think in the East you need more examining, anyway, just joking.
I think the great pandit Sakya Pandita says it like this, the happiness of all the future lives depends on the holy Dharma but people must follow the right way. When they meet it, like dogs seeing meat they just run to it, without examining it at all, without checking at all—is it rotten, is it eatable, will it make them sick, make them have diarrhea? Without examining at all they eat it as quick as possible. What Sakya Pandita is saying is that people are doing that with Dharma; the incredible effort and time they spend with non-Dharma, they never spend that much time and energy to check up. So this pandit is saying they shouldn’t do this.
As much as we check up the holy Dharma, the method to receive enlightenment explained by Buddha, the deeper and deeper it becomes. It doesn’t turn false. It’s not something that you can’t check more—that if you check more you will find it is wrong. It is not like this. The more you check, the more truth you will find in it. You will get more and more definite understanding. It doesn’t become thinner and thinner, it doesn’t become lighter and lighter; like some other Dharmas: as you check more, it becomes thinner and thinner, weaker and weaker. The more one examines, the more one checks up, one’s wisdom develops, one receives more definite understanding, it becomes more and more profound.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself followed this path, such as these teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, the lam-rim, and received enlightenment, and it has been experienced and examined by the highly realized pandits, by the numberless meditators, the great yogis; this is why there is no need for doubt. Practicing these teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment, which contain the whole path to enlightenment, one need not doubt to receive enlightenment.
As I mentioned before, this time I will go through it the traditional way, following the outlines, as it is set up, so hopefully some of the subjects that were not spoken about in other courses will be taught. We should feel extremely fortunate to be able to follow the steps of the path to enlightenment.
We actually have heard of those great yogis, Milarepa, Shantideva and many other pandits who have received enlightenment in one lifetime. What made them receive enlightenment in one lifetime was lam-rim, by generating this path that makes it possible to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime. By that they were able to receive enlightenment in one brief lifetime, by practicing tantra, the teachings of Secret Mantra. Without practicing lam-rim, the steps of the path to enlightenment, even if they have practiced the teachings of Secret Mantra, they couldn’t achieve enlightenment. What makes them receive enlightenment in one brief lifetime is the lam-rim, the steps of the path to enlightenment. So therefore, we should feel that we are highly fortunate to have the opportunity to hear and to be able to practice this precious holy method, to receive enlightenment.
As I mentioned before, it is extremely important to check up. If one’s goal is the cessation of suffering, nirvana or enlightenment, the method that one follows for that is extremely important to check. By following this method, if the goal is the cessation of suffering, it is important to check up before dedicating the life and practicing that method; it is extremely important to check up whether it has been anybody’s experience, having achieved the cessation of suffering by practicing this method. That is extremely important, I think. If it has been nobody’s experience, then how you can achieve that? If achieving the cessation of suffering hasn’t been anybody’s experience through that method, then how you can achieve that? That itself shows it is a wrong path. This is one way of the great ways of examining.
However, the teaching on the steps of the path to enlightenment, this lam-rim is not something that happened, is not only Tibetan; it is not a teaching that is created only by Tibetan lamas, something that particularly came from Tibet that hasn’t been handed down, hasn’t been explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha; it’s not like this. Actually if one understands the steps of the path, if one has understanding of what it means, one understands the whole 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. All the sutra and tantra teachings, the Theravada teaching of the lesser vehicle path, the Paramitayana teaching, the teachings of Secret Mantra, all these teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha: all these are lam-rim. There is nothing from those teachings, not even four words that is not lam-rim. One sees the whole teaching of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in the lam-rim, the steps of the path to enlightenment.
Now, just to briefly mention the lineage. All the entire teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha are divided into the teachings of the steps of the profound path and the teachings of the steps of the extensive path. The teachings of the steps of the extensive path have been handed down from Maitreya Buddha and Asanga. The teachings of the profound path have been handed down from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to Manjushri and from Manjushri to Nagarjuna, then to Aryadeva and the other pandits. Again, Maitreya Buddha wrote commentaries and there are five great texts written by Maitreya Buddha and Asanga. Nagarjuna has written six different texts that contain elaborate explanations on shunyata, all these many teachings on tantra, that much clarification of sutra and tantra.
From these pandits the teachings of the extensive path have been handed down. Lama Atisha has received them from his Guru, Lama Serlingpa; then Lama Atisha has received the teachings of the profound path from his Guru, Rigpa Kujun; so Lama Atisha has received both lineages, the teachings of the extensive path and profound path, the teachings not only on sutra but also the teachings of Secret Mantra. Lama Atisha has received all the lineages. Then when Atisha was in Tibet, he wrote the text which is the essence of the whole Dharma, the essence of the whole sutra and tantra in three pages, which is called the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment. The subject of the teaching was already shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha but the title came from that time, after Lama Atisha wrote the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment.
Then, after Atisha, there were three divisions in regards to the practitioner. One is the practitioners of the extensive scripture, who are called in the Tibetan term, Kadam Shungbawa, which means the practitioners who study extensive scriptures. And second, practitioners of lam-rim, the steps of the path. The third one is practitioners of the advice. Generally, there are three divisions like this. It is similar to this in the monasteries; generally, they are like this, different practitioners. Those who have much intelligence, the way they study the teachings of the steps the path to enlightenment, they study those extensive scriptures, the debating subjects, all those different root texts and commentaries they memorize, they learn. Those who have high intelligence study the teachings of the steps of the path to enlightenment extensively like this, a form of debating.
Then the middle intelligent beings who don’t have that much capability or time or intelligence to do extensive study, some practice the steps of the path to enlightenment by studying condensed lam-rim texts, without studying all those various extensive scriptures, just one lam-rim text, like the great commentary on the lam-rim written by Lama Tsongkhapa, one text like this they study and then practice the steps of the path to enlightenment. So those are called practitioners of the lam-rim.
Those who have lower intelligence, who can’t study even that much, receive teachings from the guru and whatever they understood from the teaching, heard from the holy mouth of the guru, whatever advice has been received they put into practice. These are called the Da.ngak.pa, the practitioners of advice. So there are three levels like this. They all practice the stages of the path to enlightenment but one way to study is very extensive, one is middle and one is very small. The Kadampa practitioners, the followers of Atisha were like this. Nowadays the Tibetan people, monks in the monasteries who practice, are also different like that according to their intelligence.