Kopan Course No. 11 (1978)

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

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

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

Section Seven

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Session 35

Expecting to be able to control the unsubdued mind easily without needing to spend much time or have much patience, thinking, I tried very hard, I meditated, I did retreat, not having much patience—it’s hopeless and I’m giving up. This is a mistake. Thinking I have spend three years in retreat, and it didn’t change my mind, if I was building something for three years I could have done so much. Expecting it to be so easy. Within one, two years, three months to be able to control the unsubdued mind, to be able to cease the unsubdued mind and karma.

Finishing the four hundred thousand prostrations, mandala offerings, Vajrasattva mantras, refuge, and then thinking, oh I am still the same, maybe this practice does not really purify. Sometimes instead of the mind becoming more subdued, compassion becoming greater, renunciation becoming greater, and less anger, and more devotion, and refuge—it becomes worse than before doing the preliminary practices. Heresy, wrong view arises. The explanation of karma is not true, the mind gets worse. This is due to the unskillfulness in practicing Dharma, and not having strong will, or powerful, extensive heart and mind to practice Dharma.

With great will, as I mentioned before, from beginningless previous lifetimes until now I have been living with the unsubdued mind dwelling in my heart. This time I have recognized all these things, my worst enemy, who gives me all problems, sufferings, so now I can’t carry on any more, I can’t stand it. How can I live all the time with this unsubdued mind? How can I, how can I keep all the time this unsubdued mind in my heart? as long as this unsubdued mind is living in my heart there is no way to relax. There is no way to relax. Without destroying this enemy, the devil, the unsubdued mind, I cannot relax, comfortably sit or lay down, even a minute.

Even if it takes many lifetimes, I must work hard all the time to completely extinguish this enemy, unsubdued mind. Those former Kadampa Geshes, such as the Kadampa Geshe Ben Kungyal, when they were in the cave at the beginning, they did this. In the daytime from morning until night, as the unsubdued mind arises, as the eight worldly Dharmas arise, he watched his own mind. As the evil thought of worldly Dharma arises he puts one black stone, and each time a virtuous thought arises he puts a white stone. At the beginning there is no white stone. Only black stone at the beginning. Then day by day as he tried, as he watched his all the time and with continual effort, remembering impermanence death, as he practiced Dharma, the black stone became less and less and less. There were more and more white stones, like this. Constantly watching the mind.

Unsubdued mind is not everlasting; it can be removed, it can be purified. That is the nature of the unsubdued mind. Like the dirt that can be cleaned, not on the body, on the cloth, it is not permanent, it is always stuck there. There is no way to clean it out, not like that. Having the possibility to clean it away is the nature of the dirt. Like that, by following the path, it can be removed, it can be purified. That is the nature of the unsubdued mind.

Similar negative karmas, which have been accumulated. They cannot become virtue but they can be purified—that is the nature of the negative karma. So it’s just a matter of putting effort. Just a matter of trying, just a matter of putting effort, just a matter of skillfully practicing Dharma, that’s all. And negative karma, unsubdued mind is not self existent, not inherently existent, not inherently existent.

Without losing the will to practice Dharma, without becoming kind of weak, always trying to have the extensive powerful mind practicing Dharma, plan to practice Dharma for a long time, no matter how long it takes. No matter how many eons it takes, I am going to practice Dharma, I am going to work to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of mother sentient beings. No matter how many eons I am going to work—something like this is necessary. How can we expect to become enlightened, to purify negative karmas, to remove the unsubdued mind that have been collected in our mind from beginningless time, not only several lifetimes, not only one eon, three eons, three eons, not only billions, trillions, numberless previous lifetimes it has been collecting. Like we wash plates, like we wash clothes in the machine, how can we expect to purify all the negative karmas in such a short time. This unsubdued mind is something that has existed within our heart from beginningless previous lifetimes. It is something that has been developing in our heart from beginningless previous lifetimes. Our mind has been so habituated with it, from beginningless previous lifetimes, so how can we expect, in a few days, one month like that, one year, to completely cease the unsubdued mind.

Remembering impermanence death is the best and easiest method. Easiest to understand for beginners, easy to see, easy to feel, and very effective for beginners, even for those who have generated the realizations, even those who practice Dharma for a long time.

In all the meditations, impermanence death, this meditation is extremely important—generating the thought thinking, I might die now, I sat this down on this chair and I might die before getting up. Maybe I will die before the next session. When you go to make peepee, maybe I will die before coming inside the tent.

There are many times you see in a meeting, a football match, before when the person was coming in, he was very healthy, he was all right, nothing wrong. He was walking, he was able to walk by himself when they gathered inside. But when it’s over somebody has to carry, somebody has to pull his body, drag it like this.

Last night here in Katmandu there were people who were alive, and today the body is in the river. There are many bodies there. Last night many people were alive. They went to bed without worry, or doubt of death. In the middle of the night they got sick, got thirsty, and died. There was no expectation that this would happen from the family. In the morning normally they are together, joking, talking, and today there is no way to communicate with this person.

Just before coming here, in Delhi, I went to see one of the cemeteries. Within one hour they brought three or four bodies. They wash it in the river because they recognize it as holy and it purifies the negative karmas.

[end of tape]

…And they were hitting the hands on the chest like this, while the body was burnt there, pointing out the good qualities of that person. This is normal. During the lifetime when the person is alive, you criticized or you fight all the time, then when he’s gone, then, oh, I am sorry. Crying or feeling upset or talking about how good he was, after he left. That’s common, that’s the nature of samsara. Then the mother, the ladies were screaming so much, beating themselves like this. Then other people were grabbing the body, almost going in the fire. What’s use, no use at all. No tone single benefit at all for the person who screams or for the person who died—no merit, no benefit, at all.

The body of a rich man was the body of a rich business person. There were about one hundred, seventy, eighty people, I think, so many people, all relatives or friends, business people, kind of well dressed, coming on motorcycles, in cars. They were standing there, I think it’s their custom—even the firewood is complete different from the wood they use for ordinary people, poor people. The rich people’s firewood is kind of clean and very sliced, white. And the poor people buy the very old firewood. At the beginning they did much preparation, I don’t know what they did. I wanted to watch but probably I might disturb them. The relatives were bowing to the dead body, taking pictures. While they were doing arrangements for the body, other bodies were brought in, and one poor family had three people, the other one had eighty people. The body of the poor person was brought by the three people very quickly and taken back very quickly. Washed in the river. There were children and several other bodies.

I spent two hours, I think, a long time, and they couldn’t figure it out what I was doing so finally one man came to ask me, are you doing some research? He asked several questions. I told him I came to pray.

Anyway there are different customs. Anyway what I am saying is that there are so many people who were living yesterday, alive like this, eating or planning business, completely stopped the work, today his body becomes a corpse. Yesterday it wasn’t called a corpse, today his body is called a corpse. Everybody talks about him, John with this name, died. Dead, like this. If you think of New York, if you think of Washington, California, whatever, incredible numbers like this. There are so many now alive, but tomorrow will not exist. So many who are living today but not existing tomorrow, in Katmandu, in many of the cities. It is not certain whether oneself is in that group. Even today, this morning there were many, many people, who were completely well, doing the usual things, then in the afternoon they don’t exist any more. Without choice has completely stopped. Whether their work is whether finished or not, without choice it is completely stopped when death happens.

There are many people like this who cannot communicate, who become non-existent this afternoon. They cannot communicate, completely stop. It is not certain if oneself is in that group. Death is uncertain.

When, without effort, without any effort, intuitively, the thought I might die now, I might die now arises, while one is doing the work, while one is practicing Dharma, one has generated the realization of impermanence death.

So until one generates this realization of impermanence death, this intuitive thought rising, I might die now, I might die now, with effort one should meditate on impermanence death. Then when this realization is generated within one’s mind then there is no need for effort. No need effort. Like we don’t need effort to rise anger and attachment. We don’t have to meditate to generate attachment. We don’t have to put special effort in it. It intuitively rises, while we are eating food, while we are sleeping, while we are walking. Like this, in order to generate the thought of hunger we don’t have to spend much time analyzing, it just intuitively comes, oh I am hungry. We don’t have kind of do the meditation, analytical or fixed meditation, on any of these things. So like that, this thought of impermanence death intuitively rises.

One has generated the realization of impermanence death, the uncertainty of the time of death.

Then the second outline is that there are less living conditions, more conditions for death. So it is easy for death to occur. The life of human beings on this earth very short. There are more conditions for death and less conditions for living. If you think about the disease, there are four hundred twenty different types of disease, these things that cause death. Then the elements that cause death. Also there are many living beings who become conditions for death. Then there are different types of spirits. There are spirits call death interferers, eighty thousand of these types of interferers. There are different spirit possessions, who possess the mind, 360 different types of spirits of possession.

During the daytime, the spirits are always waiting to harm when it is the right time, when the person’s karma is ready. Especially when the person’s fortune is low. When the person is accumulating negative karma, it is very easy to receive harm. So they might give harm, cause death, or diseases—such as breathing problems, blood circulation conditions.

There are more conditions for death, less conditions for living. Food supports the living conditions that makes life longer. We use the living condition, food, recognizing that it makes life longer. But there are many people who died by eating food.

Also the house, the place is to protect the life, to live longer. Many people die by the house being burnt, or an earthquake happened, the house collapsed. The house become the condition for death.

Airplanes, cars, motorcycles, all these things, even the horses, these vehicles, they’re arranged for living conditions to have a longer life. But these things became conditions for death, so many people died. In America in each year how many times did you hear that an airplane crashed. Small, big ones. sometimes within a month three times. So many people dying. And then without any need talk about cars. One day how many people die by car accident, in one city, in the whole country. So then like that.

Material possessions that have been collected for the living conditions, to not starve, to not become poor, to not die of starvation, become a hindrance to life, instead of becoming a method to protect the life.

Many times you hear of so many rich people, with jewels, and then the thief comes. The robber comes, and many rich people are killed by thieves, by robbers, by other people. If they didn’t have the material possessions, the jewels collected, there would be no reason for the thief and those other people to shoot him, to kill him. Because of the material possessions, they come to kill the owners. Many times in India, in Nepal, in the East, the West we hear like this. That’s how even those become conditions of death.

In Italy one, one year ago when we were there, one older man, one student, I think his name was George, was alone at his home. Other people heard he was alone and that he has a lot of money, so unexpectedly, suddenly a whole bunch of young people appeared in his house and tied his legs to the chair. They were standing with a gun, kind of ready to shoot the neck, like this. They checked for the money in the house, and they stole it. Downstairs there was one lady, so somehow she felt something happening upstairs, so she made a phone call to the police. Before the police came, they left. Took the money and left. Then even after that they made phone calls all the time. If he does not pay how many million, I am not sure, I don’t remember, some big number of money, on such a day then they’re going to kill him. So like this, so many people dying because of material possessions.

Even the surrounding people, the family, servants, servants, bodyguards, who are kept to protect the life, many times become conditions for death.

In Sikkim, just recently, not long ago one Indian girl came from Punjab. She planned to marry somebody in Punjab, but somehow she had to study in the university in Sikkim. So anyway she met one doctor there, one Indian doctor, and she married him. So one day, unexpectedly, some Indian young people came from Punjab and they captured the doctor and his wife. The wife was tied, her legs on the chair. Then they took off all her husband’s clothes and they put a knife all over the body. They cut both ears, the ear was hanging down like this. Not completely cut, mostly cut, just hanging down like this, like earrings sort of. Then they put the knife all over the body. Right in front of the wife, they let her watch all these things. Then they cut off his testicles, the sex organ, and put it in his mouth. In front of the wife, like this. Incredible suffering. The whole room, the floor, is full of blood. The blood became very thick. Then they asked the wife, now what you going to do? So the wife said, oh, I have a child in my womb, I am pregnant, if you want to kill me, kill me. They told her if she told in court about what happened then she would have a very short life. They threatened her, made her life in danger. So she had to lie in court. When they asked her who killed the doctor, she said I don’t know.

[end of tape]

Many times people get killed, they get shot because of the surrounding. Even the surrounding people can becomes the condition for death. Then among the family, husband killing wife, wife killing husband, killing children, the sons and daughter killing parents, like that. Even the guns that are kept in the house, stored, to protect the life, become conditions of the family’s death.

Because of these reasons also the time of death is indefinite. Because there are less conditions for living and more conditions for death, even the living conditions become cause of death, like this.

This body is so fragile, like the water bubble. There are people who die from a fall, from a thorn going in the flesh—even if the condition is so tiny, so small, it becomes a cause of death. Like a water bubble, so easy to be popped, so easy to disappear. If you are not careful in walking, it is easy to fall down, easy to hurt the body.

Even on the bed it is easy to get hurt. When you go from one place to one place, when the climate changes a little bit, easily you get sick. It is difficult to balance the four elements. Sometimes the water element is stronger than others, sometimes the fire element is stronger than others—there is always imbalance, due to outside conditions. So the person gets sick. It is so easy to change the body. To become unhealthy. The person gets a fever, then suddenly he dies. The conditions of death don’t have to be a very dangerous thing; with the body it is very easy to find destruction. Very easy to get harmed. And that way very easy for death to occur. Therefore the actual time of death, when it will occur, is uncertain.

The three ways to reflect on the how the actual time of death is indefinite are like this.

…Then I must practice Dharma, I must practice Dharma. After meditating on how the actual time of death is indefinite, meditate on those three outlines, as I mentioned this morning. Then the conclusion is that I should practice the Dharma right away, without delay, not next year or tomorrow. Because, it’s uncertain whether I will be alive even this hour, so therefore I must start to practice Dharma right away. Meditating on impermanence death, death and impermanence, the point where the decision should come is this one, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense, if you don’t make this conclusion. If it is not used to make the determination to practice Dharma, then it has no use. So then make the determination like this, to practice Dharma, to practice right away. At death time nothing can benefit, Dharma is the only thing which benefits, therefore I must practice only Dharma.

If one doesn’t make any conclusion like this, thinking of impermanence death, just having fear, just building fear and just thinking of impermanence death this is an unskillful meditation on impermanence death. After some time you are just worried, with no method, and then there is danger, unfortunately, from outside harm, the inside cause, and outside harm from spirits or things like that, and the person becomes crazy like that.

So after meditating that the actual time of death is uncertain even this hour, then make a determination I must practice Dharma right away, like this. It’s also very, very good, very effective for mind to think of the aspect of death that we will experience in the future, to bring that in the present, now, and then meditate on that. That is very effective for mind. Very powerful, very effective for mind.

Like this, the meditators, the lineages lamas of the lamrim teachings explained in the teachings. If this does not help, if that does not cut off the confusion in the mind, anger, attachments, those things, then what’s the use? Then jump from the mountain. I am just joking. Then you take refuge in the injection ... anyway … the tranquilizer tablets.

When you meditate, actually you pretend, actually you try to believe, pretend you are dying on the bed. Actually act as if you are dying. I am dying. I am dying now, leaving everything. Leaving this body and my surrounding friends, people, material possessions, everything, like that. The mind gets mind worried, grabbing, the hands, not wanting to die. Then kind of scratching the chest, grabbing, holding the bed, or holding the surrounding people’s hand. Things like that. Then you are covered with a white sheet. You take kind of a double breath, twice, stronger breathing out than breathing in. Visualize this. The body is dragged, taken out of the room. You go to see the cemetery. If after doing this it doesn’t make any difference, still the mind is like Rocky Mountain, so solid, then go to see a funeral or go to see the cemetery where the dead bodies are brought and burnt. Go to see a corpse. Like that.

In the West, the funeral places are like beautiful parks. Places where you go to have a picnic. In Tibet, in other countries, those primitive places, a cemetery is kind of a very fearful place. Even in the daytime you don’t go there. In Tibet, in Sera, the famous college, very close to the monastery they have one very famous cemetery—even the rocks are very huge, kind of very black, kind of having a very strong vibration. Even in the daytime, people are scared to go there. There are bones all over, scattered bones, hairs all over, like that. In Tibet, there are certain people who normally do the job of carrying the dead body from the monastery or the village. They have no thought that it’s dirty or anything, no matter how much bad smell is there; they got used to working with dead bodies. And they carry the dead body, then they cut it, chop it in pieces. Many eagles and big birds come eat the pieces of the limbs, then afterwards at very end then they give the brain, because the brain is the most delicious one. So they give at the very last.

Anyway, some people go to the cemetery at nighttime, some who are a little brave, and who have quite strong thought of renunciation of samsara. They have the understanding of shunyata and know how to meditate on shunyata, then they go at nighttime, they spend the night at the cemetery, practicing secret mantra. This practice is called Slaying the Ego, the Vajrayana practice, to recognize the ego. This word is kind of a quite complicated, confused word. The object of the “I” grasping ignorance, in order to find this, they go there. They spend the night in the cemetery and practice, just like slaying the ego. Many of the meditators go to such fearful places, where the person gets scared. And they meditate on shunyata then try to search for the object of the “I” grasping ignorance. They try to see it in emptiness. So this is the practice Slaying the Ego. So then Realizing the emptiness of the self they cut off their “I” grasping ignorance.

Some people go to those places to practice this and they become more and more scared and can’t continue anymore, and they escape from that place.

The last method is the corpse, the dead body—trying to relate to oneself. Thinking, also I am going in the same way, anytime, soon my body will be exactly like that. Then apply the memory of impermanence death for practicing Dharma.

Think this.

So far, how many friends or family have died that you know. Like a water bubble—you can’t really say when it will pop. There is nothing definite. Similarly when you look at the stars and one disappears. Like that it has been happening with other people—one goes, that one goes, that one goes. Like this. Exactly like this, it will happen to oneself.

Now, you see, now it’s our turn to hear somebody died. Soon other people will be the listeners of one’s own death.

Today, on the telephone, all of a sudden, a friend called, Bob died by a car accident, somebody hears. If the family had a little bit of devotion to the teaching they might ask some lamas to pray and dedicate the merit, to do pujas, to do prayers, if they have faith in karma. They might send the name of the person who died to the lama.

This morning the Tibetans who came—one woman’s husband died on the mountain. And she came to ask me to pray. It has been forty days since he died. Normally the Tibetans, those who have a little bit of understanding, due to the kindness of the lamas who spread the teachings, know how to benefit the person who died. So it has been forty days, so if he’s still in the intermediate stage, each week, at weekends, they do puja, they ask the lamas to do puja for him to find a better rebirth.

The length of the life of the intermediate stage being is seven days. According to human beings seven days. If after seven days still they don’t find a place for the consciousness to take place, they have to be in the intermediate stage for another seven days. And so on. The longest is forty nine days. There are various methods like this. Also purifying the hair or nails or part of the body or ashes of the person who died. The Vajrayana is very profound.

So one’s own name might be the one written on the paper and offered in the hands of lamas.

Meditate on this now.

Breathing out much stronger, much stronger than breathing in. Breathing in is very weak. One knows completely that I am going to die. Now I am definitely going to die. Kind of hopeless. Then all the heart, the beloved, the dearest ones, the beloved, surrounding people, the material possessions that one clings to too much, that you don’t want to give away to other people—all of this it is time to leave.

Then feeling so upset. Feeling so much sorrow of having done the bad actions in one’s own life, having accumulated negative karmas during one’s own life. Having great fear of the suffering of these lower realms—what will be experienced, and the suffering of the realm where one is going to be born. One is surrounded by karmically created yamas, the guardians or the yamas, with fearful bodies and fearful animal heads, carrying all kinds of weapons in hand, then shouting, attacking oneself, making so much noise around, causing so much fear. Screaming. Trying to move the legs, try to move the hands. The mouth can’t speak.

This will happen to oneself. Therefore, I must be aware now. This is what’s going to happen. I must be aware. I must think, carefully, without being crazy. The body is cold, then hot. It’s cold, hot. Then my name, it’s called death. The body is taken to the cemetery. The consciousness is in the intermediate stage. The surrounding people have left me at the cemetery, tears falling down, eyes full of tears. One’s own consciousness is in the intermediate stage. On the way to the lower realm.

This is what’s going to happen in the future, I must be aware. At that time, whatever work I have finished, the study, business, whether it’s finished or not, whether profit or gain, whether the court case is completed or not, whether the education is finished or not, or the project, or the construction, or the material things in the shops are sold, or the degree is received, or the position received, whether the holiday is finished—the time is ended up whether it is finished or not. It is ended completely by impermanence and death.

There is no greater worry or fear than death time. There is no greater danger than that time. Without doubt, this will definitely occur to me. So without being distracted by the fantasy of this life, I must practice Dharma.

[end of tape]

… without being the child whose life is distracted completely by playing, not being like that. Think carefully. Think carefully your own life. Then make the determination, Dharma is the only thing that benefits all the time this life, and death time, and all the lifetimes, so I must practice Dharma. Then even at the death time, if my mind can’t become like the high lamas’, extremely happy, like going for a picnic, I must try to have true confidence in my mind. To not have any doubt. I must try, I must practice Dharma to not have fear, not have difficulties.

So during this lifetime now, before I experience death, while I am alive, if I can make this possible by practicing Dharma, making preparation for the happiness of the future life. This is what is called a competent person, a skilful person.

Like this, relating to what one is going to experience, meditate, bring it into the present and meditate like this. You can elaborate, expand the meditation, visualizing being taken from the room as it’s done in the west, putting one’s body in the box, then other people painting on the face, if that’s the custom, if that’s the way, being brought to the cemetery then put into the ground with cement all around, like this. Flowers planted around like this, a picture of one’s own body, the names and dates written on piece of the stone. Mr. Dew was born in such and such a year, died in such and such a year. Then maybe the family says something, writes something underneath. We will always remember you or I always love you or something like that. So then like that, visualize, meditate on those things. Anyway, death is something that will happen, so then think, be aware, think like this.

Each Sunday, the people who are left there, relatives, parents, whoever, the daughter, son, they bring flowers around. They bring flowers on Sunday, put them around; they sit down, they for a few minutes, fifteen minutes, with an upset face, and then they leave. Things like that.

In England, just before coming here, I went to see one of the big cemeteries. From the Manjushri Institute I think it takes fifteen minutes to walk to this one big cemetery. I couldn’t watch everyone, because I went in the evening time, so it was quite late. I went with another monk. At one place, the body wasn’t buried yet but there was the label, the piece of stone on which they carved the name of the person. There was his name written there, and his birth date, but the time of the death wasn’t written there. That is, I thought, very interesting. Actually I, kind of I liked that. I thought it was very interesting.

Probably, maybe that person might have worried. Exactly the opposite of what I talked about before these ten innermost jewels, worrying about this body when you die. Oh when I die, there is nobody to take care of my body. They won’t be any person who takes the body away. So completely opposite, maybe the person was worried that he might not find a beautiful place for his body. This was kind of a nice spot, between other graves—there was a small empty place, so chose there. And here is the road, and there is another bunch of graves, so he chose here. So that’s what I thought, probably he might be worried that when he dies, there is no place left in that cemetery to bury the body.

I tried to read some of the labels, and some of them were like this … blah, blah, blah, I went to sleep. Incredible, unbelievable. Really. Even the word, death, they don’t want to think about. You sleep. They’ve changed the word, sleep. From death to sleep. That’s kind of a very, frightening thing, surprising thing. I mean it shows the personality of the mind. That means, intuitively death is recognized as suffering, a suffering of samsara. Maybe these people don’t think about reincarnation, they don’t know about reincarnation, they have no faith in anything but the intuitive mind does not even want to use the word death. That shows death is an undesirable thing. It is the suffering nature, it shows. If the person does not say it from the mouth, the intuitive mind shows that. So those people went to bed for many years. So many years they have been sleeping.


For a person who practices Dharma to make a cemetery first, before he dies, is very good, it’s very helpful for the mind. In Tibet the meditators do this. If the thought of death is used for practicing Dharma it’s extremely beneficial. In Tibet, the mediators they make, they preparation for death everyday. They build a kind of place to burn the body, like that, pile up wood outside. It reminds one of impermanence death by seeing that. So it always persuades the mind to think to practice Dharma.

There is one meditator, here, I think, many people saw him during one of the courses; one who lives in the mountain in Solu Khumbu, who is called Gomchenla. He had one servant, one nun, his niece I think. He thought that, anyway, I will die anytime, at anytime I will die. And she couldn’t do anything, the nun—that nun is quite an old one. So better if, while I am healthy, I build the burning place. So he picked up wood from the forest and piled it up outside. Then whenever he dies, the nun just has to drag his body and put it there, that’s all. She didn’t have to do anything else. Just to make it easy for her.

But now he is in Katmandu, the meditator, Gomchenla, in one of the holy places, making retreat. He is one has achieved great experience in the path, shamatha, tranquil abiding. At the beginning he worked so hard. Before, in his early life, he had a wife, children and he a very difficult life. They were not doing well, they were not getting around. Every day much fighting, I think and kind of a poor family, like that. It seems the wife was disobedient. Then anyway, I think she died and I don’t know what happened to the children. Then, anyway, he had very a difficult life. He went to see one very high lama, whose monastery was on the back side of Mt. Everest in Tibet. Gomchenla went to receive teachings from him. They call that teacher Rumbo Sanghe. Rumbo is the name of a place.

So this guru sent him to build a bridge. There are many different places in Tibet that he went to build bridges following his guru’s orders. Many different areas of Tibet. Then sometimes he had a very difficult life, not finding stones. He couldn’t find stones at all. He had a very difficult life. And he was alone with no stones to out the bridge up. Like this he built many bridges in Tibet where the rivers are. Then afterwards he went to see his lama, then took many teachings from him, from his root guru Rumbo Sanghe. He spent his later life mostly in the cave, in Milarepa’s caves. There are many Milarepa’s cave in Tibet around this border. Around Solu Khumbu and the border of Tibet. He spent a few years in this cave, a few years in that cave, also in the caves of the disciple of Milarepa, Rechungpa.

He used to move around from one place to one place, spend a little bit of time in this cave then move to another place, like that. On the mountain sometimes he was practicing what I was saying before, Slaying the Ego. He had a small tent, just for himself, and I think one pot, in the center. A very small tent. So he carried on his back a big damaru and then he went into the forest and at night he practiced this. Sometimes the Yeti, the snowball man, followed him. He heard noises—talking, shouting. He meditated on shunyata during those times. Anyway, that doesn’t matter. He was one of the meditators who has achieved a great experience of the path. Also the Vajrayana path.

At the time of death, even if one possesses jewels, full of this earth, the whole country’s material possession, one can’t carry even one tiny atom of them. There is no freedom, there is no choice to carry them to the future life. Everything has to be completely left. The surrounding people, even if one is surrounded by millions and millions of people, many relatives, many millions of relatives, many millions of relatives, this life’s relatives, they cannot be taken with oneself to the future life.

How many friends and relatives there are, millions, trillions, everything has to be completely left. Oneself has to be completely separate from them. They have to completely separate from oneself. Even this body that was born with oneself, from the mother’s womb, that was cared for more than the body of all the numberless sentient beings, as much as one doesn’t want to separate away from this, without one singe choice, it has to be left. It has to be left in the bed. Oneself alone has to go this future life, to the intermediate stage.

Just like the hair, when you pull hair from the butter, the hair alone comes, the butter stays. The hair alone comes, when you pull the hair from butter. Like that, consciousness alone, the bare consciousness, has to leave even this body to go to the intermediate stage. Then the future life. Like this.

So therefore, there is no reason to cling to material possessions, the surrounding people, even one’s own body, no reason to be attached. These things, instead of benefiting at death time, harm at death time, they disturb one. Because oneself is surrounded by the relatives, all the friends, parents, the beloved ones, especially when they are around, it is so very easy to for attachment to arise, very easy to cling to them and not want to separate away from them. As there is clinging, then the worry, fears, oh, I am going to separate away from them—at the death time instead of this making you happy, it disturbs.

So actually, at death time it’s much better to not have them around. Actually, especially the relatives or the friends—if those are lamas or Dharma friends who know how to help at death time, like that, that is something else. Ones who are able to help, who know what to do when the person is dying then, who knows what to say to the person to transform his mind, to not let attachment arise at the time of death, or anger. That is something else. But otherwise, generally, it is better to not have material possessions staying around or the surrounding people around oneself, at death time. Then there is much quietness in the mind. Even if you want to think about something, if you want to remember some meditation practice, it’s easy to remember, because from outside there is not much distraction. It is so easy to remember the meditation. Even if one has something to think about at death time, it is easy to think about.

So normally the Dharma practitioners, many lay people, many monks, just ordinary monks, simple monks, not necessarily high lams, when they feel it’s about time, they clean the room completely. Even the Dharma objects, Dharma texts, the altar, things like that. Besides other material possession, money or something like that, they give everything away completely to other people. They make the room completely clean, very simple, nothing to worry about. If one has some money they share the money between different monasteries, the high lamas for whom one has devotion, and make requests to the lamas to dedicate, to do pujas, to guide. They don’t call friends or relatives around oneself, because it doesn’t really help, it is not helpful for death, it makes difficulties at death time. When it is the time, even their people, servants, disciples, whoever are there, they send away. They don’t keep them in the room.

There was one monk, in Boudha, a most poor monk, a foolish monk, who knew nothing. During his life he was thought of like this by other monks, by other people. He didn’t look nice outside, kind of very old, didn’t have good legs, walking with a stick, and he didn’t know many prayers—other people thought he looked like a substitute monk. Like he doesn’t know any Dharma. People didn’t respect to him because he looked like a very ordinary monk outside. Everyday day, he goes around the stupa. His monastery was just next to the stupa, he goes round stupa for thirty, forty times, and with a stick. Also he recited very loudly the 21 Tara prayer. Even the way of reciting 21 Tara prayer is not like other people. Other monks they recite, not following straight. He recited very differently, very loudly in his room. About twenty five times. And there were other things people couldn’t figure out, couldn’t stand.

He bought meat and put it underground. When it got a terrible, rotten smell, he took it out and ate it. He never got sick. Other people couldn’t understand it, and thought he was a foolish monk. One day somebody in a poor Tibetan family was sick, possessed by spirits. The rest of the monks were very busy, so this family invited him, as they couldn’t find any others. They asked him to do some puja, giving present to the spirits to not give harm. He accepted. Now he didn’t know any puja things. But he accepted, and the other monks heard about it. They said, “How can you do this puja? You don’t know anything.” He went anyway. He didn’t say any prayers. Normally the other monks say prayers from the mouth, and there are things to be done according to the texts. But he didn’t say anything. He sat on the bed and wrapped his head with the robe and sat a little bit. Then he said, “Puja is finished.”

But that day the patient recovered. He got better the same day. Because this was not just an ordinary monk.

One of my gurus, Serkong Rinpoche, also His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s guru, was in that monastery giving initiations and teaching. Many people came to ask him for blessings for their sickness or disease. So he sent them all to this poor monk. Before the people didn’t respect him, they kind of put his down. But His Holiness told everyone to go to him for him to bless them. Then they all said, “Oh that simple monk we know very well. He’s my relative, he’s my brother.”

At the end of his life, he knew he was going to pass away. He completely cleaned his room out. He took seven days to transport his material things from his room to a new one. Everything was garbage. Pieces of garbage. Clothing, garbage. The other monks found it of no use at all. All the money that was offered him by people he gave to lamas, His Holiness, monasteries. Then he passed away.

This just came in mind, so I mentioned it.


Session 36

The actual time of death is uncertain. So I must practice Dharma right away. Like this.

Then the third decision, however material possession that one has, or how many surrounding people, relatives, friends, they do not benefit at the death time. Not one single benefit. There is not one single benefit. Even this body that one was born with it, even this has to be left.

Not one single atom of this body, not one single hair of this body comes with oneself to the future life. One can’t take with oneself one single atom of the material possessions even if one has all three galaxies full.

At the death time, one can’t bring with oneself even one friend, even one relative. Even if has one, many zillions, many trillions of friends, relatives—one cannot bring even one friend, even one relative with oneself to the future life. None of this benefits at the death time.

Then besides not benefiting at death time, there is danger that these things harm and disturb one’s own mind at death time. By clinging too much to this body at the death time, it causes much worry in the mind, oh, now I am separating from this body, I am leaving this body, like this. Then clinging to this body, with attachment to this body, with attachment to the material possessions, with attachment to the surrounding people, if one dies that is a hindrance, which doesn’t allow one to have the freedom to be born in the realm of the happy transmigratory being.

At death time, the unsubdued mind, rising attachment, having miserliness, rising anger to one’s enemy, remembering one’s own enemy at the death time, toward whom one is spiteful—if one dies with this kind of unsubdued mind…

[end of tape]

…not having freedom to be born in the realm of the happy transmigratory being.

What do you think would benefit at the death time, that one can carry with oneself, which benefits the happiness of the future life? That is, if one has practiced Dharma in this life, if one has accumulated good karma in this life, what can benefit at the death time, or cause one to not have fear, to not have worry at the death time. If one has meditated well on the graduated path to enlightenment, this helps. If the mind was well trained in this meditation during one’s own life then this really benefits at the death time. The only useful thing that benefits at the death time, after the death, that one can carry with oneself is the good karma that one has collected during one’s own life, the Dharma that one has practiced.

If one did not purify the negative karmas that have been collected during one’s own life, and from beginningless previous lifetimes, if one did not train one’s own mind in the graduated path to enlightenment, having accumulated good karma, then when death happens, this body lying down in the warmth, sleeping in bed, one has to leave. Then during one’s own life, material possession, then relatives, surrounding people, friends, the enemies, the various negative karmas that one has collected for material possessions—we leave everything. Servants, the properties, all things, except the negative karmas, the non-virtuous actions that have been collected by oneself. This oneself alone has to carry. With great upset mind, one has to go alone to make the journey to the path of the future life. So this is what happens. If you are unable to practice Dharma well in this life, if you can’t make purification in this life this is what will happen when the death occurs. One will reach the intermediate stage, facing down the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings, like that.

So the only beneficial thing that is the Dharma; that which benefits at the death time is only Dharma. Nothing else. The works of samsara, the worldly work, how much we, how much we continue, how much we attempt for that, there is no way to finish, there is no way to complete it, there is no such time, oh, now, now I finished, now I’ve completed it, now I don’t have to work anymore, I don’t have to do anymore the works of samsara, the worldly work, I don’t have to do any more. There is no such time that this happens. If there is a way to finish, to end, if there is a way to complete it, we would have already completed it. Why? Because the works of samsara we have been doing from the beginningless previous lifetimes until now, and it’s not completed, it’s not finished. So, from this we can figure out, we can understand very easily that in the future, however much we attempt this, however much we work, there is no way to finish this, there is no way to complete it. But if we attempt for Dharma, the work of Dharma gets finished very quickly.

Practicing Dharma does not take that much time. According to how much effort one puts into the practice of Dharma, how much one is skilful, one completes practicing Dharma within three countless great eons, or two countless great eons, or within a few lifetimes, within sixteen lifetimes, or within three lifetimes, within one life, even within twelve years, like that. Like the example that I mentioned of Ensawa, the great yogi, who achieved enlightenment within twelve years, like that. Depending on how much effort one puts into practicing Dharma, how much one is skilful in practicing Dharma, like that.

You see, there’s a big difference between the work of samsara and Dharma. The work of samsara, however much you do there is no end. There is no end, it’s endless. However much we do, it becomes endless. The Dharma, however much it gets closer to completion. So then like this, there is a very big difference. And the work of samsara, however good it is at the beginning, one loses at the end. It turns bad at the end. However good it is at the beginning, it becomes bad afterwards, anyway. It doesn’t stay good, successful, the work of samsara—even if it’s good at the beginning. For instance, business, business, business, at the beginning, it is very good business, much profit, but will it last forever, always giving good profit? It is definite that one loses at the end. One becomes defeated, one loses, anyway, at the end. That’s for sure.

In terms of jobs, first you find a job which offers you lot of money, a very good job but and you believe it will always like this, oh, fantastic this job, it offers me lot of money, I can always enjoy my life. However after some time it doesn’t last. After some time one loses. The factory, whatever, has difficulties running, carrying on, and there is not so much interest coming for the owner of the factory, and the workers get difficulties, lose wages—it doesn’t last. It turns bad in the end, anyway. At the end one loses, even if at the beginning one gets some profit, at the end one loses.

Also, relationships with the people—at the beginning it’s very good, the always at the end, by having some confusion, there is some argument or fighting or killing each other, at the end it turns bad.

The shortcomings of samsara, like this, the shortcoming of samsara—even if one has reached the higher position, higher rank, it is for sure that one does not last always in the higher position. Without need to talk about the future life, the chances of the future life, just even within this life, it is definite—the first one to become higher, doing the higher position, the higher rank, sooner or later becomes lower. For instance, many of the presidents first of all they reach higher, higher, higher but they end up lower. First being high then at the end being lower, like this. This is the nature of samsara. According to one’s own wish, there is no freedom always to be in that state. Jimmy Jones, like that, at the beginning was good, people liked him very much, but he ended up with a bad reputation. If you look at important people in the government, many kings, presidents, it clearly shows the nature of samsara, this shortcoming of samsara. All these are really real teachings.

Then also, the leader of the Chinese, Mao Tze Tung—in the beginning good, much good reputation, now he became lower.

If one is able to see the changes for oneself and other sentient beings—after having taken the human body what body is taken? What realm? Even one becomes high, ends up being lower, like this, nothing is definite. Like this, the works of samsara. Even if one has to collect the money, there is an end of the collection, it finishes. So that’s what it means. First you collected good, then at the end, it ended up, bad.

Then, first we meet him, so happy, so good. He or she, whoever it is, is also happy at the beginning. Then at the end of the meeting, separating—what comes after that is just separation, separation. It is the nature. Not necessarily that one is divorced, but anyway it is definite to separate. Even the very harmonious couple, getting along, who don’t fight each other, will definitely separate in their time. This is the nature. That’s what comes at the end of meeting. Because death is definite to happen, so they have to separate. There’s no choice.

Even in this life, in the beginning you see the person as very beautiful, wonderful, oh, I am extremely happy, I will be happy all the time if I can live with this person. You try so hard, put so much effort, make much material expenses in order to meet, in order to live together, to fulfill this work, one’s own wish. For many years, writing each other. Then giving lots of presents, giving lot of presents to hook the mind. Whatever means, no matter how expensive. Trousers, jackets, then hats, then no matter how much it is you pay, pay, pay, you borrow money—if you don’t have money, borrow. It doesn’t matter if you are in great debt, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. Because that happiness is more important. That pleasure is not to be missed, very important. They try so hard to be able to live together, to kick out the old husband or the old wife, to escape from him, so many plans.

Then finally you get the opportunity to live with that person, and you buy a new apartment, and you have money to live the life. Then you find a job. Then you enjoy. First very, very good. You go for parties and go to this beautiful hotels, for dancing, for drinking, for excitement, and you are inseparable. Like the two truths, inseparable. The conventional truth and the absolute truth. Anyway, I am joking.

Anyway, then slowly, slowly, you find more and more faults, more and more mistake in the husband or the wife. He doesn’t do this, he’s lazy—then with the wife. Then criticizing the husband, oh you are not doing a good job, you are not bringing it home, spending it outside, things like this. Then the wife becomes pregnant. Before the child comes out, already they have been changing, the relationship has been changing. There are more and more mistakes in his personality, more and more and more. Maybe the wife doesn’t say it straight, but it collects in the mind. If she’s very candid, if she is a very straight person then she might say it straight, she might argue. Then they argue with each other. How terrible you are, like this. You spend so much money for yourself, you did not buy me this and that.

Then the wife goes through much pain to have the child. Then they have several children, and more problems and fighting. The wife tells the husband, I have to take care of the house, I have to look the children, this and that, I have so much work to do and you are not doing anything. You are not looking after the children, not bringing enough money, not making enough money. At breakfast time one thing, lunch time one fighting, dinner time, evening time, bedtime, anyway, however, anyway, so it’s time to quit—they both had enough.

Now, then, slowly each day, day by day, getting tired, more and more tired. At first when they met there was so much excitement, but now they are getting tired. Then finally they can’t stand it anymore and it’s time to escape away.

[end of tape]

…as Padmasambhava, one of great yogis who established Buddhadharma in Tibet, mentioned in his teachings, even one attempt for worldly work there is no way to finish. If there is one attempt for Dharma, it gets finished very quickly. Even if the works of samsara are good, one become lost at the end. The impressions of the unsubdued and its action karma have been habituated with the impressions, so much collected within one’s mind.

I don’t remember exactly the end of the quotation.

So this makes samsara endless. Just like the medicine does not benefit the person whose head was cut off, at the time of death even if one remembers to practice Dharma, there is no benefit, it’s a bit late, there is no benefit. As Padmasambhava said in his teachings. However much one works for samsaric pleasures there is no way to complete them. But however much one works for Dharma happiness, the Dharma happiness can be completed. This is the best way to satisfy. The Dharma happiness. Samsaric pleasure cannot cover the whole body, or the whole three realms. For instance, when one’s head is cold, the pleasure of being warm by wearing the hat does not cover the whole body. Dharma happiness can be carried to the future life but samsaric pleasures cannot be carried to the future life. There are many advantages like this. There is no way to compare samsaric pleasure and Dharma pleasure. There is so much limitation in the samsaric pleasure.

So what Padmasambhava is saying sis that during one’s own life, during one’s own lifetime, remembering Dharma, by remembering impermanence death, and practice Dharma. Otherwise when the death happens, even if one remembers to practice Dharma, or to make purification like this, it’s too late. So we have to be careful in the life, remembering this teaching.

At the time of death, however much we do not wish to separate away from the material and enjoyment, we have to leave them. Though we want to be always with this body, to not separate away, we have to separate, we have to leave. It is definite to separate. Then at death time what is beneficial is only Dharma; any worldly work that we have done during our life, does not benefit at the death time. All those non-virtuous actions that we have collected during our life, we have to carry. We have the burden to carry them ourselves to the future life. Then to experience the result, the sufferings like this. They don’t offer happiness in the future life.

So the main point, practice Dharma, practice Dharma. What he means, what he’s saying, as I mentioned before when I was talking about the eight worldly Dharmas, like that, the main point, the main essence, practice Dharma. Death is definite, I must practice Dharma. As the time is undefinite, practice Dharma right away. Nothing is beneficial at the death time, so I must practice only Dharma. I must practice only Dharma. Actually what he means is renounce the eight worldly Dharmas, attachment seeking the pleasures of this life.

Even if we know Vajrayana, the meditation techniques to transfer consciousness to the pure realm, if one cannot face the eight worldly Dharmas at death time, if you cannot be against the eight worldly Dharmas, if you cannot stop the eight worldly Dharmas, at the death time, then the profound Vajrayana, the secret mantra, the method to transfer consciousness to the pure realm doesn’t work, doesn’t work.

One story, happened in Tibet, I think, I am not sure, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo or I don’t know who, I don’t remember exactly the name of that lama, he had one disciple who was a monk, who practiced well the Vajrayana techniques, the profound technique to transfer his consciousness to the pure realm of Maitreya Buddha, to Tushita. So during his life, he practiced this method, transferring consciousness to the pure realm. At death time he was practicing this Vajrayana technique to transfer his consciousness to the pure realm, Tushita. But was not working, he was unable to transfer his consciousness to the pure realm. It doesn’t work, how much he tried. The consciousness wouldn’t go. His guru, quite far from his place, with his psychic power he discovered that the reason for his trouble was the wooden bowl in front of him with a residual of butter tea in it.

You see it Tibet the monks don’t drink alcohol, they don’t have that much enjoyment of various foods, they don’t have money, so their main food is tsampa, ground barley, mixed with black tea or water. There is no variety. So if they have some butter they have very good tea. So the reason he could not transfer his consciousness was because the mind was attached to the leftover tea that had a lot of butter in it.

So his guru knew this and sent one disciple with the message that there was better butter tea in Tushita, and suddenly he was able, without any difficulty, to transfer his consciousness to the pure realm of Tushita. So even for the profound meditation technique, the problem is what? Attachment, you see? What make his get stuck in samsara? This attachment makes us circle the six realms, going through death and rebirth like this. It’s the greatest hindrance there is.

So if one does not meditate well on lamrim, impermanence, the shortcomings of samsara, the fixed general suffering of samsara during lifetime, if one does not train the mind, at death time, even for one who knows this meditation, if it’s not practiced during the lifetime, if one did not train the mind in those meditations, then at the death time, when death suddenly occurs, when one is the process, it is very difficult, extremely difficult, even just to remember the remedy, the meditation, in order to control the attachment. At that time the body has much problem, the mind is not clear enough, the gross consciousness starts to absorb, their functions gradually starts to stop, and there are difficulties in the mind, the body is not comfortable, pains, and comfort like this. So it is very difficult to meditate at that time, to remember the meditation techniques, very difficult to remember.

For instance, even now, if you check up, when we get fever or a headache, when we have some pain in the body, it is difficult to practice Dharma—we are unable to meditate. So when death occurs, it is very difficult. So if, during our life, when our body and mind both are comfortable, if we do not practice well, if we do not meditate well on lamrim, then it will be difficult in those times to practice. If we train our mind in this meditation during our life, and try to check the attachment when it rises and so forth we will be able to die with virtuous thoughts, with the remembrance of bodhicitta.

One of the best methods is to remember bodhicitta. If one is able to practice bodhicitta at the death time, remember bodhicitta, then one never gets reborn in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being. If one is able to do the bodhicitta practice, taking other sentient beings’ suffering upon oneself, as one is experiencing the suffering of death, taking suffering in one’s own heart, dedicating one’s own body, material possessions, merits, and surroundings to other sentient beings—that is excellent. Excellent. If one is able to die while one is meditating, with bodhicitta, then I can put the signature that one never gets reborn in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being. If one is able to do this, do this practice. Even if one hasn’t generated actual bodhicitta. In this way one’s own experience of death is utilized in the path to enlightenment, becoming the practice of thought training. Then even if one is able to remember Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, or Avalokiteshvara, or Tara or anything, that particular aspect of Buddha that one normally remembers, then also one doesn’t get reborn in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being. If one can visualize Buddha above one’s own crown, like we visualize Avalokiteshvara, like that.

Then also if one can remember one’s own guru, from whom one has received initiation, teachings, at the time of death, just before the gross consciousness stops, if one dies while one is remembering one’s own guru from whom one has received teachings, making requests to the guru, remembering the guru, it also makes it impossible to be born in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being. There are benefits also to be born in the pure realm. Like that.

However, even if one practices the very profound Vajrayana techniques, the transfer of consciousness, the essence of this technique is remembering one’s own guru from whom one has received the teachings. Visualizing the gurus in the aspect of the deity, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or Tara, there are many different deities. Avalokiteshvara or Heruka, many different deities. This is the essence of the Vajrayana technique to transfer consciousness to the pure realm. Visualize above one’s own crown, then try to not let the consciousness leave from the other doors, the lower part of the body or from the mouth, from any part of the body, try to have it leave straight up through the central artery. This is the passage for the consciousness, through the crown.

Then if one is able to do this, to have the consciousness leave from the heart, go through the central artery, leave from the crown, one is able to be reborn in the pure realm. If one has visualized the guru in the ordinary aspect or in the form of Buddha above one’s own crown, trying to absorb one’s own consciousness straight through at the heart of the guru who is inseparable with one’s own special deity—this is just the essence. There is a way to do it, I cannot explain—if it’s a Vajrayana technique, it cannot be explained without the listeners having received the Vajrayana initiation, like that.

I think stop here.

Session 37

Death is definite so I must practice Dharma, as the time of death is uncertain, so I must practice Dharma right away and nothing, at the death time, one’s own body, material possessions, all the surroundings—none of these benefit at the death time. What benefits at the death time is only Dharma. So therefore I must practice only Dharma. Like that make the decision. The conclusion is this.

If possible, I must practice Dharma, I must practice. I think I’ve mentioned several times … some people might have, might have heard enough. I must practice Dharma all day, I must shave my hair, I must wear some red cloth or yellow cloth or something like that, getting involved in Tibet, with Tibetan people, reciting or doing what Tibetans do. Not like that, not like that. Then, I must practice Dharma. The main decision is—I am not saying that one shouldn’t do prostrations, or those various practices, or reciting mantra, but the main point is, you see, the purpose of why are doing all these things, prostrations, making mandala offerings, saying prayers, reciting mantras, circumambulating stupas, making offerings, making altars, all these things, if there is just one goal, it is to accumulate merit, do purification.

The mind, which is unsubdued, the cruel mind, the rough mind is like a thorn, a bush with the thorns—you can’t walk in that bush, and you can’t touch it without wearing anything. So like that, the unsubdued mind, very cruel mind, the painful mind, this unsubdued mind causes one’s own body and mind to be unhappy, unhappy. Suffering. We need to pacify this, to purify this unsubdued mind. You can’t achieve enlightenment without transforming this mind. With this unsubdued mind we cannot achieve enlightenment. We cannot obtain even the temporal happiness as we wish, not to mention ultimate happiness.

So therefore the whole point is to purify, to make the unsubdued mind non-existent. So I must practice Dharma. At that time if you can remember to renounce the unsubdued mind, to renounce the eight worldly Dharmas. If one can remember the actual meaning of practicing Dharma, renouncing the unsubdued mind—anger, attachment, pride, all these jealous minds, all these things. If one thinks, remembers this meaning, even though you said Dharma, the word, but remember the meaning of it, what it means is this. So make the determination, I must renounce this unsubdued mind. You make the determination that you will do this in action, to protect oneself from the harmfulness of this unsubdued mind. This is the best way of practicing Dharma. Best way of practicing Dharma.

All these various methods of reciting prayers, circumambulating the stupa, making offerings, all these various things, making prostrations, all these things, different visualizations, following prayers, the seven limb practice, refuge practice, all these things are methods, branches of the methods. The main method is to meditate on the graduated path to enlightenment, to generate the realization. That is the main thing but these are the branches. By practicing these various methods, it helps to generate swiftly the realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment. In that way the mind gets transformed, pacified. So there are many points to pacify the unsubdued mind, to renounce the unsubdued mind. That’s the main point, you see. So when we think, I must practice Dharma, we should think of that main point, so like that.

If one had wished to renounce, to purify the unsubdued mind, having the wish to practice these various methods of purification, accumulating merit—without doing and practicing these things there is no way to generate the realizations of the path. No way. If one does not have the wish to pacify the unsubdued mind, to renounce then, then it is also difficult to bring up the wish to practice the various methods of purifying and accumulating merit.

It is not necessary to meditate all the time on impermanence death but if it is beneficial to oneself, one can do this meditation also, following other meditations. If it is beneficial to our mind, we can do it frequently. Normally this meditation, when the lamas give lamrim teachings, it’s not explained in the lamrim teachings. It’s only explained in the Vajrayana, in the commentaries on the different deities. Then the elaborate explanations of the death evolutions are given.

The yoga of the different aspects of Buddha, wrathful and peaceful, involves two methods. One is the graduated path of becoming and one is the completion or sometimes translated as fulfillment method. So you need to receive commentaries on those paths from the lama.

The reason they have to understand the ordinary evolution of death is because they use this as a basis for practicing Vajrayana. They use it to achieve the dharmakaya, the three evolutions, death, ordinary death, rebirth, and the intermediate state to achieve enlightenment—the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya.

The graduated path is the method to transform and achieve these three kayas. They get purified as they generate the realizations of the graduated path of the accomplishment. So there are profound methods like this, in the Vajrayana.

I hope mentioning some of these things did not become poison. Poison to myself, poison to other people. Anyway, so like this. The meditators who practice Vajrayana have to understand the details about the ordinary evolution of ordinary people’s death, the evolution of the intermediate stage, the ordinary intermediate stage, rebirth. Anyway, just explaining only the ordinary evolution, that wouldn’t be revealing secrecy or breaking the Vajrayana vows or anything—just talking about ordinary death, the evolution, without mentioning the path that is applied with this thing. So if it is beneficial for the mind, it is the same thing as the other meditation, the evolution of death, rebirth, and the intermediate stage.

If it is beneficial for one’s own mind, one can meditate, but otherwise if you understand then that’s okay. I think it’s useful for many people. Somehow…doesn’t matter.


We should make the plan for the incredible and profound Vajrayana path that transforms this ordinary death and rebirth. It completely ceases the unsubdued mind much quicker.

After having stability or definite realization of the graduated path of becoming then one practice the graduated path of the accomplishment, the second one. At that time also one practices the six doctrines or Dharmas of Naropa. I’m sure everyone might have heard of tum-mo practice—the method of opening the knots of the chakras. The completion path is called the dzog rim. This Vajrayana path is what makes it possible for them to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime.

Like that, by training our mind in the three principles of the path, then the Vajrayana path—even now there are many lamas living in retreat and doing these things, lamrim and the graduated path of tantra. So you can do that. As they experience, we can experience this path.

To be able to do the practice of Vajrayana, we should even from now pray to have the chance to receive the Vajrayana initiation and the commentaries and do retreat on those paths. Pray to the merit field, the object of refuge, Shakyamuni Buddha or Tara or Avalokiteshvara. so at the same time practice well, practice well, train the mind in the lamrim, the renouncing samsara, bodhicitta, and also try to understand shunyata. Try to meditate on that. So then like that.

At the death time, anyway, without talking much—to prepare like this is very important. Even if we are unable to generate realization of tantra in this life, at least to plant some seed or to leave some impression on the mind by receiving these teachings on those profound path, like that.

It is meaningful that were born in a world where Vajrayana teachings exist. This precious human body becomes meaningful. If you have met the Vajrayana teaching in this life, if you have some impression, then when the buddhas who will reveal the Vajrayana teaching descend on this earth in the world one will have the connection and will be reborn in that time and able to practice. One is able to achieve enlightenment quickly.

I am not going to talk details on the death evolution because we don’t have much time. It’s quite detailed, I have translated from the text, in the meditation course notes, so most people I think have that, so since you have been reading, I think that’s sufficient. And those who haven’t read, it’s good to understand. Good to read and to understand, the evolution.

There are twenty-five gross things that change at the death time. The five skandhas, the four elements, the sense bases, five objects, five transcendental wisdoms, they are like this.

The white keeps coming down and the red comes through the nose, at the time of death. This is for people who have a natural death, whose body is not destroyed all of a sudden, who died slowly, they go through this gradually. The white seed coming out and the red seed coming through the nose when the consciousness leaves from the heart. This sign means the consciousness is leaving from the body. Some people who have a disease, some people whose blood circulation not so good, who have a chronic disease, who have been sick for a long time, sometimes this doesn’t work, the red seed just comes through the nose, which means the consciousness has left the body, the very final death happened. For some people who have chronic disease, whose health has been poor, for many years, sometimes it doesn’t work. Otherwise normally when this happened, then the consciousness separates from the body.

When the earth element absorbs to the water element, there are also outer signs, and there are inner signs happening gradually like this. The person feels the body very heavy, kind of sinking in the ground. The person sometimes moves the hands like this, feeling very heavy. At that time the inner vision is like a mirage. In the summer time when there is a very hot sun, then the sand, and wind blowing and then hot sun, when you look at from this end then you see water. This inner vision appears to the person.

Then the water element absorbs to the fire. At that time the speech, the mouth becomes very dry and urination dries.

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If you light a whole bunch of incense in your room, the whole room fills up with smoke—that is like the vision that appears when the water element absorbs in the fire. So when the fire absorbs into the air element, you see this way.

And the fortunate person who has accumulated good karma, who is to be born in the realm of the happy transmigratory beings, for that person the heat starts to disappear from the feet. For the person who will born in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being, who has accumulated much negative karma, the heat starts to disappear from the head, like this. Then finally it goes to the heart. Then it disappears.

At that time the inner vision is like fire sparks with smoke. This appears to the person when the fire element absorbs to the air.

When the air element absorbs, at that time the breath stops. When you breathe out double, twice stronger than you breathed in, the base of the nose sense is absorbed. At that time you can’t discriminate smell.

Then the 72,000 veins and the airs contract, and gradually they come together to the heart. Then the air circulating in the 72,000 veins goes to the right and left nadis, and then enters the center artery.

The earth element absorbing into the water sounds like the earth sinks into the water, through the words. What it means is this. The power that is the base for the earth element is finished. The power of the base of the water element becomes stronger. Because of that change it is called the earth element absorbing into the water, because the base changes. It doesn’t mean the earth element becomes water.

When the sense of the tongue degenerates, you can’t feel any taste, and the tongue become very short, very short, not normal. If you see a person who is doing to die tomorrow, he can’t talk. Even if he tries to talk, nothing comes clear. The tongue becomes very short and kind of black. And also even though he’s looking with the eyes, he can’t remember the names of the relatives, the children, even the normal people who live together Also, he can’t move the eyes. So the gross senses, the sense of ear, all these things, they stop.

So when the wind element absorbs the vision that appears is like beams of light. If you light candles, there are kind of like yellow beams of light. Like that it happens. AT that time then, all the gross senses completely stop.

Then when the white vision happens, what makes it appear as a white vision is the that came from the 72,000 veins going inside the right and the left nadis, and some going down and some going up. The air pushes the seed at the crown, originally from the father, down, then the seed flows down. It glows down the central artery to the heart chakra, where there are six knots, like this, bound together. This is the condition that makes the person see the white vision. Then some wind goes down, pushes up the red seed, what is collected there, the seed from the mother, and this is the condition for the red vision to appear to the person. This absorbs at the heart, like the size of a bean, so small, the indestructible seed.

Inside that tiny seed there is a place where the subtle mind that we are born with this abides. They meet like this, then due to this condition, the dark vision appears to the person; he feels like all of a sudden he fell down in darkness. He becomes kind of unconscious.

Then the white seed comes down and the red seed comes up, and tiny indestructible seed, the size of a bean, opens. As it opens, the clear light vision appears to the person. This is like when the whole land is full of snow, and the whole environment is kind of white, kind of very white space, or in autumn time when the weather is very clear and the moonlight makes brightness.

The red vision is a little bit like the color of copper or something—not exactly reddish, but like clouds that you see when the sun is about to set. It’s kind of orange, sort of, kind of like that. Not having a definite shape … kind of like that red vision appears.

The clear light vision is like the very early dawn of autumn, when there is no dust in space, very clean, very clear in early morning but not dark, and not completely light. Between those times, it is very clear, very clean, like that. For ordinary people, those do not meditate, those whose minds are not well trained, who didn’t meditate on the Vajrayana path, or haven’t accumulated much good karma, who do not pray, and for animals, these visions appear but one is unable to recognize them.

However, for the meditators who meditated and practiced the lamrim path, the ordinary evolution during their lifetime, who have accumulated much merit, made much prayers, are able to recognize all these different visions. When they reach the clear light vision they use this clear light vision, if they have recognized it, to meditate on shunyata. If the person was practicing the Vajrayana path then he uses this profound Vajrayana path.

So I am sure we are all going to be like those highly realized lamas. No doubt.

…Cultivating at least the effortful bodhicitta thinking I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all my kind mother sentient beings. Therefore I am going to listen to the profound teaching of the Mahayana thought training.

…the realization of the graduated path of becoming, the Vajrayana path, they constantly meditate, constantly practice the Vajrayana path, and during the dying state and the intermediate stage, and also when they take birth, when they enter the mother’s womb, they are in the meditation on the graduated path of becoming constantly. In the womb, when they are in the mother’s womb they have pure view as they practiced their meditation, the pure view seeing themselves as the deity and they’re inside the mandala, the mansion of that particular deity. Even in the mother’s womb. In the intermediate stage they also practice the Vajrayana path, continuously in the aspect of the deity. Also at death time they practice the Vajrayana path, like this.

Many of the great yogis, such as Naropa, and also I think also Lama Tsongkhapa, achieve enlightenment in the intermediate stage. Those who have approached the very high path of the Vajrayana, the graduated path of completion. There have been many lamas, present meditators, who are using this pathway, and have reached the very high path of the graduated path of completion, the second path. There have been many meditators, ascetic meditators, lamas who have reached those levels and passed away.

So the Buddhadharma or the great graduated path to enlightenment is not just words. It’s not just a belief. Many people think in the world, especially in the West, that it is just belief, nothing to do with reality. Nothing to do with the daily life activities.

Because the first religion or doctrine one met had no talk of experience, of numberless beings who have experienced the path or achieved enlightenment or become free from samsara. There is no proof, no logical reason, no way to relate that way of thinking to everyday life, to make the mind happy, to pacify the unsubdued mind. Because that was the first one we met, we generalize, and anything that is a teaching, anything that’s called religion, we make everything the same. Nothing else to do with everyday life, to establish ultimate happiness within one’s own mind. There is no proof how it works.

So therefore whether you practice or not, understanding is important, extremely important. Whether you practice or not. Studying Buddhadharma first, that’s extremely important, whether you believe in it or not. Whether you believe at the beginning or not. If you study, if you meditate, try to not escape away from Buddhadharma, from the Dharma knowledge. Try to understand first, extensively, not just one small meditation technique. Try to study the subjects explaining the whole path, the whole method. And actually, the real experience comes through meditation, through practice. And that’s a greater advantage than just having intellectual understanding, because the whole teaching only talks about reality. The reality of things that we haven’t realized, of which we are not aware, the reality of the nature of our own mind, life, then many things, outside phenomena, many things. So because of that, our mind is confused, so there is no way to achieve the mental peace.

One question, we have one Geshe in England in the institute. The outside people cannot understand that he is making retreat all time, that his mind is always in retreat. They could not see his knowledge. They see that’s a very silly monk, that’s all. That’s all that they can visualize. Nothing else. They cannot realize that he has all those very high level of the path, Vajrayana path, graduate path of fulfillment. They are only judging from outside. Judging the outside how he looks, particularly how he looks.

From the teachings, one can understand who has that experience and who does not have that experience. But for somebody who has the realization of the graduated path of becoming, graduated path of fulfillment, those things, who has reached the level closer to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime, it does not mean that on the outside the person has the rainbow body, kind of an aura around, a very tall body, long hair. With light beams coming, outside looking very peculiar. Many times you don’t see like that. Even though he is a great yogi, he is going to reach enlightenment in one brief lifetime, and will reach the level of the graduated path of secret mantra, very close to achieve enlightenment in this life, you don’t see this from the outside, from outside you see he is crazy, crazy, very foolish, very foolish, knows nothing.

There are so many stories that happened in Tibet, all those previous yogis. So about this death evolution…

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…like many of the meditators experiencing that path, there is no question why we can’t develop our mind in the same way, experiencing the path, there is no question. It’s just a matter of putting effort and understanding the teaching, practicing.

For instance, this geshe—before he came to Tibet, when he used to live in India, people didn’t know what he was doing. But now it must be announced many times in the newspaper, the level that he has reached.

When I was in England, somebody made a phone call and this person came afterwards to make an appointment. One quite young boy said, “Now I have achieved enlightenment, now what should I do?” “I have achieved enlightenment but I don’t know now what I should do.” So I tried to tell him that enlightenment is not easy like this, that it means the omniscient mind, the holy mind, Buddha. You have to have the full understanding of mind. And be able to see every sentient being’s level of mind and every single method to teach and all these things.

Then he said, “Oh, I haven’t got that one. I haven’t got that. I haven’t got that one, that one I haven’t got.” He was upset and he left.

One quite tall man, 30 or 40, the kind of person who has been very interested in mysticism and meditating but not really knowing the practice of Dharma because he did not try to find qualified teachers—he found books himself and relied on them. He came to see His Holiness Zong Rinpoche and I was interpreting. He said, “I have achieved nirvana. I achieved liberation seven years ago.” Rinpoche didn’t meet or talk with Western people before, and he is different than other lamas. You have to be careful. If you are not careful with your questions and things then your mind will be crushed by a thunderbolt. He also said he had been practicing tum-mo. He wanted to check up with His Holiness about his practice. I think he asked some question, and he said, “Nobody taught me. I found a book and learned the meditation.” Then he explained the way the yogis practice—first training the mind in lamrim, the three principle paths, then taking initiation and practicing Vajrayana—the graduated path of becoming and then the path of fulfillment. At those times they practice tum-mo, and dzogchen.

One Kadampa Geshe from somewhere in Nepal said if one practices the graduated path, accumulates merit, purifies extensive merits with great effort, and also does guru yoga, even the realizations of the path that one thinks are impossible to achieve can be generated in the mind. If you continuously practice like this, then with these things, bodhicitta, renunciation of samsara, shunyata, realization of tantra—it is possible to achieve, within three years, within one year.

It is the nature of our mind that our mind can be developed, if we put effort, if we practice correctly, perfectly like this. Month by month, year by year, it is impossible that it will not be developed. Why? Because if you follow this method, this advice on the way of practicing, the realization develops, that’s the nature of our mind. If you put the effort, it is impossible that you won’t receive these realizations.

So during the evolution, before the white vision happens, the gross consciousnesses gradually cease. And then whenever the white vision happens during those four visions, the white vision, red vision, dark vision, there is no gross consciousness. The gross consciousness has stopped, ceased. So during those times the subtle mind, subtle consciousness, and also as the gross consciousness ceased the vehicle of the gross consciousness, the gross air is also stopped. There is the subtle air which is the vehicle of the subtle consciousness, while one is experiencing those visions.

So there are about eighty superstitions. Those things get stopped while the visions are appearing to the person, before the clear light vision.

The clear light vision that I explained yesterday is ordinary clear light, emptiness, shunyata. And there are subject clear light, and object clear light. Subject clear light is the wisdom, that subtle mind that concentrates on emptiness.

In tantra teaching that is what appeared to normal people, the clear light, the mother clear light, the son clear light. The ordinary clear light vision is called the mother clear light. And then the shunyata, the emptiness that is the subtle mind, meditating, focusing on the object. So that emptiness, shunyata is called the son clear light. When the meditators who have realized shunyata during the lifetime are in that state, clear light vision, with the very subtle mind they meditate on shunyata, mixed with the ordinary clear light vision.

The other clear light vision is like the base so that’s why it’s called mother clear light and emptiness, shunyata, the son clear light. This just happened.

Then after that the subtle consciousness, the very subtle consciousness, the clear light, when the clear light vision happens, the consciousness becomes much more subtle than before. It’s necessary for the meditators to meditate in this state, it’s up to them if they want to meditate in this state or not.

After death stops, the consciousness still abides in the body, inside. In the central artery, the indestructible seed—for the white seed and red seed to come out, then even for ordinary people it takes even three days. Sometimes only one hour, even a minute. The time is not certain, the length of time is not certain, like this. The seed not come out, taking three or four days, doesn’t mean they are meditators. If they are not meditating, the smell of the body is rotten. You get the smell from the body. The sign of meditating or not meditating is that, if the breath is stopped a long time ago, if the person doesn’t smell rotten, like meat that become older.

For the lamas who are in a state of meditation, meditators, the colors of the body do not change at this time. Or some times the body becomes more magnificent than at the death time. When the high lamas pass away, when they are in a meditation state like this, even the rooms are filled with the natural scented smell from the body.

If you read the biography of Milarepa, the great yogi Milarepa, then there is an amazing story of his death time. If I am going to mention all that, it will take enormous time. The people arranged the whole mandala with his holy body inside, and then suddenly it started to become smaller, a very clear holy body, and became light. Afterwards it became light. It was starting to become smaller, smaller, like this. And then many dakinis from the pure realm came down to make prostration. They tried to take the whole body to the pure realm. His followers were so worried, no part of the holy body will be left for them, for accumulating merit, to make prostration, to make offering.

There was fighting, and everyone came to see when Milarepa passed away. They fought over the holy body, saying, “It doesn’t belong to you, you people. Milarepa is from here, our country.” A whole mass of people came and they argued, fighting, where they performed the mandala. Then suddenly there was a voice similar to Milarepa’s that happened from space, suddenly. It was the son of a deva with the same voice as Milarepa, and he said, “What’s the point of you people fighting? There is no such thing as atoms, Milarepa holy body does not have atoms, such substance, so what’s the point of fighting? Milarepa’s holy body is absorbed into the dharmakaya, so what’s the point of fighting as if it’s material. Then another body transformed, so the people had their own holy body of Milarepa, and they were satisfied and they took it back to their own country.

Then at the funeral where they performed mandalas and where the flames were lit, from the pure realms, those fortunate ones, dakinis, came down and danced, made prostrations, by carrying incense, cymbals, various kinds of music with incredible musical sound. Then even the ordinary disciples who came to make offerings or things like that, were able to see those dakinis. The whole space was filled up with scented smell. Around the whole country, on top of the mountains there are white clouds in the form of various offerings and stupas.

At that time the subtle consciousness left from the heart. This is according to his own karma, I mean I am not going to mention, so you must have read from book, so check up. It can leave from the lower parts, the lower doors, the anus, or the door of the urination, or from the navel, for one who is going to born in the world of desire. For one who is going to be born as a preta, the consciousness leaves from the mouth. Human beings leave from the eye. If the person is going to be born as a spirit who lives on smell—like many lamas do offering puja, offering smell to the pretas—it leaves from the nose. Then from the ear for the non-human beings. If the consciousness leaves from the forehead, the person gets born in the realm of form, and if the consciousness leaves from the crown, then the person gets born in the realm of the formless. If the person is going to be born in the pure realm then it is the same passage, where the consciousness comes out.

So therefore it is recognized, it is very much emphasized, that the practice of tantra, the practice of Vajrayana, how it is important during the lifetime to meditate on this clear light vision. With this clear light vision, meditate on shunyata. It is very much emphasized how important it is for the future life. So that one’s own mind gets well trained in this, so that whenever death occurs, whenever one’s mind reaches the clear light, the state of clear light vision, at that time one is able to meditate on shunyata, able to realize shunyata, able to meditate on shunyata mixed with that clear light vision. So in that way, one gets reborn in the pure realm. Also one will find again the body, good body, precious body, able to practice tantra.

I didn’t hear yet from the Tibetans who meditated on this about having fear of death. It looks like there is some kind of difference for Western people. Somehow, some people who have good concentration, whose minds don’t have much distraction, who focus on the object of meditation, when they do this meditation, death evolution, it kind of becomes real, for the mind of the person, as if it’s happening. Then fear rises, oh, I am actually dying. Whether you meditate or not, you will die.

However, when fear arises, or when you meditate on other subjects, analytical meditation, impermanence, death, then think, oh, yeah, I am just meditating on the certainty of death but actually according to the personality of my mind that fear arises. If death happened now it is difficult.

Session 38

Wherever one is born in any of these six realms, the lowest, the unimaginable suffering state of narak, or the highest, what’s called the point of samsara, all these realms are completely under the control of the unsubdued mind and its action karma. All are covered by the unsubdued mind and its action karma. There is not one single realm that is not under the control of unsubdued mind and its action karma, or not formed by this unsubdued mind and its action karma. Like that, this is the suffering of the pervading among these aggregates, pervading like this, compounded by that.

So then, these aggregates that are bound by the unsubdued mind and its action karma, and formed like this, as I explained before, are called the cycle of samsara. How much we circle in these six realms, carrying this burden, the aggregates bound by unsubdued mind and its action karma, in the lower realms or upper realms, as long as we carry this burden, the aggregates bound by the unsubdued mind and its action karma, it’s like this all time—a bare body carrying a big burden of thorns that is tied to him with a rope, without any clothes, without wearing gloves, and going on a beautiful path to a dirty place with lots of stones, lots of bushes. Going up and down the mountain. There is no real happiness until the person he cuts the rope that ties the thorns to him. He has no peace, he has no happiness, wherever he goes, thinking, oh I have much pain, I want happiness. Even if he goes to a beautiful path, on top of a mountain where there is a lot of snow, and coming down, he goes into a beautiful apartment carrying those heavy thorns—like this, in the six realms, the upper realm, lower realm, the realm of the happy transmigratory being, the realm of suffering, as long as we carry this burden of samsara, there is no happiness. There is no way to experience happiness whose nature is not suffering. The unsubdued mind and its action karma is like the rope that ties oneself to this heavy load of thorns, causing much pain.

If you cut this rope, he seeks happiness. Like that, in order to achieve nirvana, the release from samsara, we must break the rope of the unsubdued mind and its action karma. This is the way to escape from samsara to nirvana.

As long as we don’t know, as long as this man doesn’t break the rope, continuously he has to live with this heavy load of thorns, and always experience much suffering, and there is no happiness for him. Wherever he travels, wherever he goes, whatever country, as long as he does not break the thorns, or the rope—like that, if you don’t break the rope of the unsubdued mind and its action karma, this rope ties oneself to samsara, to these aggregates.

For instance as I explained before, the unsubdued mind and its action karma ties oneself to this samsara, to this life with the “I” grasping ignorance. As you follow the “I” grasping ignorance and it produces karma and again, it compounds the consciousness in that realm.

Anyway, in one week, one month, within one day how many times did we have the “I” grasping ignorance producing karma, starting the twelve links to be born in the six realms, from now until the death time. Now we are in one chain, tied by the chain of the twelve links, this human body’s dependent arising, and we are also making many new chains to tie ourselves continuously.

Chains of dependent arising of different bodies, which will be taken in the future life. So we have started so many, one year, one week, until death. So already we are bound by so many hundreds, hundreds, hundreds, so many turning.

So you can see how one is bound to samsara, by this unsubdued mind and its action karma. Cycle, what’s the meaning of cycle? The continuity of aggregates, continuing from past life to this life. The aggregates are caused by the unsubdued mind, its action karma, and they join from one to one. It continues that way. From the previous life to this life, from this life to the next life. From that life to the next life. These aggregates are caused by, formed by the unsubdued mind and its action karma.

So what makes it continue? The unsubdued mind and its action karma. So this is the meaning, circle, circle. It continues from the realm of the happy transmigratory being, asura, sura, human beings, preta, narak, then again to the upper realm, up and down, like this all the time by the force of the unsubdued mind and its action karma. This is the samsara or circle. So if we break the rope, the continuity of karma and unsubdued mind and its action karma, then the continuity of these aggregates, joining from one rebirth to another rebirth, joining from one life to another life, like this, going round and round like this, is ceased, is stopped. If we break the rope, the unsubdued mind and its action karma, then going from one life to another life gets stopped.

Suffering, rebirth, old age—these things come from the suffering of death and rebirth. Feeling, contact, the six sense bases, name and form, consciousness—those things create the unsubdued mind, the “I” grasping ignorance, craving and grasping, and its action karma. The action of the compounded aggregates and becoming.

So, you see, the whole root of the problem is what? All the problems that we experience in this life from rebirth until death, contact, feeling, sexual pleasure, name and form, consciousness, all these things happen because of the cause of dependent arising. Craving, grasping, the unsubdued mind, and the action of becoming happens because of the “I” grasping ignorance and its action karma. This evolution, this experience of samsaric suffering. The ignorance, the view of the changeables, even the “I” itself is mere appellation, labeled by the thought. The “I” exists in mere appellation, labeled by the thought. It accumulates virtue, and non-virtue. Actually in reality, there is not even the slightest, truly existing self, an “I” existing from its own side, even a tiniest atom doesn’t exist in reality. In nature it doesn’t exist at all but from above the five aggregates the person is completely believing, grasping at the truly existent “I” that can be found. This is the original mistake that causes one to experience all the evolution and the third branch of dependent arising, which ties our waist with the branches of dependent arising and obliges us to experience the sufferings of samsara. This is the root, the mistake, believing like this.

So, with this “I” grasping ignorance, we accumulate karma, then cling to the absolute nature of “I” like this, absolutely existent. And absolutely existing others. You discriminate like this. Then as one clings to one’s own happiness, absolute happiness, somebody who disturbs one’s own happiness is discriminated as the absolute enemy or real enemy and somebody who helps, supports one’s happiness is a friend, and “I” and others arise, with attachment and anger. Then we accumulate negative and positive karma. This is how we circle in the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings, experiencing all those sufferings and being born in the realm of the happy transmigratory being, and again experiencing all those sufferings.

Therefore, you see, to be free, to liberate oneself from samsara, to completely cease all the suffering of samsara, then the very root, this “I” grasping ignorance, should be destroyed. We should make it non-existent by realizing selflessness, as it’s said in the prayer, by generating the realization of higher seeing.

In order to generate the realization of higher seeing which one pointedly concentrates on emptiness, shunyata, without any deception, you must generate the realization of shamatha, tranquil abiding, in order to make the mind devoid of the hindrances of sluggishness and excitement.

In order to achieve tranquil abiding, shamatha, in order to achieve a mind devoid of the hindrances, sluggishness—the Tibetan term is ching wa. If it is fogginess, it’s not chingwa. Fogginess is another term, ngookpa, like you are about to sleep. Close to the state of sleep. Sluggishness is chingwa. In order to generate this realization of tranquil abiding, if the person is not mindful, not conscious, shamatha cannot be achieved. So in order to achieve shamatha one should be mindful and conscious.

So therefore for the foundation of shamatha realization we need the practice of moral conduct. With the mind in the higher practice of moral conduct, one is mindful of the three doors. The actions of the three doors, body, speech, and mind. Without this it is impossible.

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As the example of the house has four doors, three doors, whatever, so then like that.

The way to perfectly practice is first to study. Whatever level of precepts one is given, eight, four, five, whatever, then 36, 20, 50, one should study, try to understand well. There are four doors that break the precepts, so one should close those doors—anyway it doesn’t matter. One should remove the non-understanding of the precepts. Not respecting the ordination, the precepts, being careless. Unconscious, careless, and whatever unsubdued mind is stronger, one should practice the remedy to control the unsubdued mind. There are four doors from where the hindrance occurs.

Anyway, I will give an example that you can understand. The field is like the moral conduct. The flame is the higher seeing, the wisdom realizing voidness. If there is wind, you can’t see the picture very clearly. So there shouldn’t be any distraction of wind. The flame of the candle should be straight. If it’s straight, you can see the picture very clearly. So in order to have it straight, that is shamatha. The flame is like higher seeing. The fuel or candle is like moral conduct—so this is how those three things are important.

I think I will stop here. I planned to talk about equilibrium, the higher capable being, but without understanding these basic things, you won’t feel anything. However much we talk about compassion, however much you talk about bodhicitta, no feeling. Mind very dry, very dry, like iron, like rock, no feeling. If we understand well, if we meditate well on the suffering of samsara, then it is very easy to get the experience, to meditate and to feel, when you meditate on bodhicitta, compassion, love for other sentient beings.


Session 39

Think that I must achieve enlightenment in order to liberate all my kind mother sentient beings, for the suffering of all samsara, and lead them to enlightenment by myself. Therefore I am going to listen the profound teaching of the Mahayana thought training.

As regards the outline of the refuge meditations, refuge subjects, the way you read in the text, the way it is set up by the lamas, this is practicing the method for obtaining the happiness of future lives. There are two methods—training the mind in refuge, the holy door to enter the Buddhadharma. And generating the understanding of faith in the action and the result karma, the root of all the perfections and happiness. Training the mind in the refuge that is the holy door to entering the Buddhadharma is taking refuge. The cause of taking refuge. And then the definition, having gone for refuge—when the explanation comes then you will understand, anyway, it doesn’t matter.

The benefits of taking refuge, the precepts of taking refuge. The general outline of refuge, the meditations on refuge. The benefits are given first but is how it normally follows. The way to think about refuge.

If the benefits of taking refuge are summarized, there are about eight. If one has refuge within one’s own mind then one becomes an inner being, having entered the Buddhadharma. If there is no refuge within one’s own mind, even if you have memorized hundreds of volumes of the Dharma texts, such as the Tengyur, the teachings that are explained by Buddha, it doesn’t matter. Even if one has memorized the whole sutra, tantra, hundreds of these volumes, and can say them perfectly without one single mistake from the heart, if there is no refuge in the mind, then that person is not an inner being, that person is not a Buddhist. Normally people talk about being Buddhist or something like that, but even if one is able to say by heart, to explain all these sutra, tantra, the whole complete teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha, if there is no refuge, if that person has no interest in the Buddhadharma, he’s not an inner being, he’s an outer being.

Even if all his house is full of altars, full of Tibetan tangkas, in the dining room, bedroom, toilet, even bathroom, everywhere, religious equipment or religious implements, like a museum, that alone doesn’t mean the person is Buddhist or the person is an inner being. A person having the head shaved, wearing robes—that alone doesn’t mean the person is an inner being, or a Buddhist. For the person who is able to give lessons on the Buddhadharma, that doesn’t mean he’s a Buddhist, an inner being. So, you see, whether he is an inner being or not does not depend on the outside action, how he acts, whether he is saying prayers or not, whether he is reciting mantras or not. Whether he is an inner being or not mainly depends on his mind. If he has refuge in the mind, he’s an inner being. The monk who wears red robes and can talk and give all the answers, can debate well, can explain sutra and tantra well—if there is no refuge in his mind he is not an inner being. So this is something that can be understood only by understanding the qualities of his mind.

I think I mentioned before, one person who was trying harm Guru Shakyamuni Buddha all the time when he was in India had memorized so many volumes, the three divisions of the teachings. He could say them from the heart without looking at the scriptures, but still was not an inner being, he was an outer being.

Without refuge there is no way to take any ordination. So the first benefit is becoming an inner being. The second benefit—without refuge in the mind, there is no basis for ordination. Five precepts, eight precepts, any ordination, pratimoksha ordination, the bodhisattva ordination—these depend on the very first thing, refuge. That is the base of the ordination.

Then all the negative karma that has been accumulated from past lifetimes gets purified by taking refuge. There is no heavy negative karma that cannot be purified by taking refuge. The person wearing the nail rosary who killed 999 people, by taking refuge in Buddha, having refuge in the mind, was able to purify all those heavy negative karmas, purify himself completely, and become an arhat in that life. He became free from samsara. Besides that there was one king call Magyeda who killed his father, and he achieved the lesser vehicle path, the Hinayana path, the non-returning path. Then he killed his father who was an aryan being. He created the heaviest negative karma, the uninterrupted negative karma. Right after death, without any break, without taking another rebirth, one goes straight to the naraks, the unimaginable suffering state. He accumulated this karma, but he met Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave him teachings and he generated refuge in his mind, and because of the refuge, all the heavy negative karma that causes him to be born in the naraks, an unimaginable suffering state, was completely purified.

In India or Tibet, I am not sure, there was one monk who completely broke his 263 precepts. Even the fundamental precept got completely broken. He purified by the practice of refuge. So after some time this monk, and many other monks, had to go to another place and there was a very big river. The other monks had to go by boat, and they didn’t let other monk who broke the precepts in, saying he was not pure. He said, “I broke my precepts but I purified.” The rest of the other monks didn’t believe what he said. He did much practice of refuge and he purified completely all the heavy karma, and had many signs, through dreams that the precepts were purified.

So he said, “If you don’t believe me, may I drown in the river.” So he jumped in the river, and then instead of getting drowned, he was able to reach the other side.

There are many other stories, many other people have experienced the purification of negative karmas, accumulated much negative karma, and had many signs.

I have one young uncle, who got sick for many years. His whole body was full of pimples, and not only outside but also inside there was much pain for many years. No doctor in Solu Khumbu could cure him. Finally he went to Tibet to receive treatment and they could not cure him. However much medicine he took, it didn’t help. So he went to see one meditator, one monk. Here we have one boy who was supposed to be the reincarnation of that monk. He lived next to the place where I go there sometimes, to sleep, to eat, make kaka. I saw him when I was very, very small. The people carried me on the top of their shoulders, and I remember this old monk. The boys name is Charok. I don’t know why Charok.

I used to get good vibrations, impressions from him—this old monk, when I was very small. He examined me when I was so small. There were some rumors about me in the country, in those villages, so one person took me on the shoulder to the monastery where I learned the alphabet the very first time. So in the prayer hall the head lama of the monastery and the monks there were making this puja. I was kept on the lap of this monk and he asked questions, and they mixed up different monastery cymbals from the cave at Lawudo and all other different monasteries, and they asked, which is yours? Checking like this, examining. They do this in Tibet and in those areas, to check about who is a reincarnated lama or not. So I think I told lies at that time. Pretending. Not really knowing, not really knowing. They piled up all the cymbals, and asked questions, then again they scattered everything, and asked which is yours.

Anyway, so my uncle was sick for many years, and afterwards he went to see this monk. This monk made observations and he mentioned that this is nothing to do with medicine, you need purification. This is due to karmic obscuration, you need purification. He found out through the observation that it was not something that could be recovered by medicine. Then he took teachings from this meditator about refuge, mandala offerings, reciting the Vajrasattva mantra, prostrations. Then he met another lama there, a very good lama, and my uncle also took teachings from him on preliminary practices.

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In the very high snow it is extremely cold, and he did prostrations in those different practices, in the Lawudo cave, where I go sometimes. His feet got cracked, and pus and blood were coming out. Still he was making prostration like this, and while he was making prostration, he built one small house, next to one lama who the people call Gare Mande. Anyway, so while he was making those hundreds of thousands prostrations, he was taking care of his mother, who was my grandmother. Before I left for Tibet she was very old and able to talk, and hear. Then afterwards she became completely blind, and there were no other people taking care, so my uncle took care of her. He had to take her out of the retreat house for peepee and kaka and then bring her inside, make food for her, and between times he was making prostrations, one hundred thousand prostrations. So while he was taking care of his mother for seven years, he did prostrations. Then as he was doing this preliminary practice, his disease, with much pain and full of wounds all over his body, became less and less. His body became more and more healthy. Because he did very powerful purifying practice for many years, after that there were no heavy sicknesses. All the time he did very well. Very healthy. Even other people, the surrounding family, got sick so many times, one after another. But he didn’t get sick much.

So because he had accumulated certain negative karmas in the past life, the karma is very strong, not something that can be recovered by medicine. So he purified that karmic obscuration by doing this refuge practice, with various actions, prostrations, reciting Vajrasattva mantras, those things.

Many times in Tibet, where there was Buddhadharma, if the medicine does not help, they go to their lama, and do practices of purification and then recover. So the fourth one, by practicing refuge one is able to accumulate extensive merits. It is said in the teachings, if the benefit of taking refuge becomes materialized, actualized in form, even the great number of galaxies become small.

However, as I explained before, from this example you can understand the prayer taking refuge, generating bodhicitta, from that the benefit is plentiful. By practicing this one doesn’t get offended by human beings or non-human beings.

One time in India, in one country there was a law that the criminal’s bodies had to be taken to the cemetery. They left them at nighttimes, and by the next morning the body is gone, eaten. A cemetery is a very mysterious place. So one time a criminal was taken there at night and at the cemetery he saw a bit of red cloth. He thought, “This belonged to a monk.” He put it on his head and sat down like this the whole night, taking refuge, thinking of the monk who had lived in moral conduct and had knowledge. Normally the bodies are not still there in the morning—they are eaten by the spirits, the pretas. But because he took refuge all night, no spirit could harm him. He survived until the next morning.

The best thing when there is fear, even fearful dreams, or during normal life if your life is in danger, if one takes refuge, if one completely, one-pointedly relies on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, one doesn’t get offended by the spirits or the human beings. Even if there is a danger to be harmed by human beings, or attacked by spirits,, if one takes refuge completely, without doubt, relying on Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, without any doubt one gets saved from those dangers.

In Solu Khumbu on the mountain, the place where I was born is called Thangme. It is on the other side of the Sherpa country, which is close to the place where the great yogi Milarepa was born, where he had his cave. So in Rolwaling, where I spent seven years, the second teacher who taught me the alphabet, reading the scriptures, was also my uncle. There was no good road from my place in Thangme to Rolwaling, the other country. We had to cross over the very high snow peak and there is no kind of trail. You have to walk on huge rocks and it snows much of the time, you have to go with somebody who knows the direction, that’s all. There are many dangerous peaks. There is one huge mountain like this, very steep, very, very steep, and somehow the people have to cross this dangerous mountain. I’ve been through this four times. So when we were coming from here, before we crossed this mountain, this dangerous mountain, the Sherpa people would stop and drink a lot of alcohol, the wine made from potatoes—because the body is cold, you see, and you can warm your body like this. They carry a very heavy load. A very, very heavy load. They carry big tins of butter, two or three like that—you can’t carry what they carry. Everybody lines up like this, and then they go, and there is no good trail that you can go on very easily. You have to walk on the rocks, and they always come down. When the small stones come like this [Rinpoche makes a soft whistling noise], it drops down below there on the rocks. Big stones come down making a sound like this, all the time. There is also water. There is also a river coming down. This is a very dangerous place. Until the people finish this dangerous place, they never break reciting mantra, whatever mantra they are able to say. Some people recite OM MAMI PADME HUM, some people recite Padmasambhava—most people recite Padmasambhava’s mantra, OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADME SIDDHI HUM, until they finish this dangerous place. Their bodies shake, because of the fear of the danger of falling down the rocks and being killed.

I didn’t have to walk because I was very small and carried by my teacher on this basket, on his load, like food. But people were so scared, so scared. Whenever we finished crossing the dangerous place, the stones come. So many …rrrr….rrr like this, ting like this, small ones, really unbelievable. I went four times like this. And all the time the same thing happened. It’s very surprising because somebody might get killed, but the people are already safe when the stones fall.

Again we rest here a little bit. There was one Indian or one Western man who got killed, and maybe one Sherpa man. This danger is always there.

During those times these people are taking refuge, sincerely. And in other times, the refuge is just the mouth, just words. At that time, from the heart they are taking refuge.

Anyway if you talk about stories like that, the benefits of each one, there is so much to talk about, experience—those who don’t meditate, who have refuge, like that. Anyway, when there is fear, great danger, one’s life is in danger, the most important thing is to take refuge, one-pointedly take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Even if one has a bad dream, at night time, even if you see a hungry ghost—but don’t take refuge in the hungry ghost. When one is in danger of being attacked by wild animals, remember Avalokiteshvara. In Tibet one person who was in danger of being eaten by a tiger remembered Avalokiteshvara. He was in the mouth of the tiger and suddenly he remembered Avalokiteshvara and then he was released. There have been many stories.

In India, in the place they call Kalimpong, there was one Theravada monk who didn’t know much Dharma, he didn’t really study much. So one day he and some other monks were going to one place. They had to go through a forest where there is a kind of river. The other monks were coming afterwards, and he was resting. He stopped on the way on top of a huge rock. Suddenly there was a big snake, and those other monks coming after him ran away and then this big snake’s body was around him like this and on top of the stone. He found it very difficult to escape away. So he escape. He just sat down on that rock and the snake’s head was up, the body was down, looking at him, like this. So I guess this monk had a bald head, I am not sure. Anyway, first he was so scared, extremely scared, and couldn’t do anything. So all of a sudden he remembered Tara, just visualized Tara, and at the same time thinking, when will this snake bite my head like this. He tried to visualize Tara very strongly, taking refuge in Tara. He started to visualize Tara like this, then after some time this snake left somewhere, completely gone away. He looked around and he couldn’t find any snake. Then after that, he praised Tara because then it was kind of identified, proven, to his own experience. So then after some time he found one small golden statue of Tara. He explained this story to His Holiness Zong Rinpoche, and he brought the golden statue of Tara in the presence of Rinpoche to ask for a blessing. So Rinpoche asked, he is a Theravada monk, normally they keep only Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, they don’t keep anything else. So Rinpoche asked, “Why are you interested in this?” So he explained all his experience.

Taking refuge, one doesn’t get offended by these things, spirits, things like this. One becomes free from hardships of life, difficulties, problems. This is my own experiences, like that. Many times. If one has refuge one doesn’t fall in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being, and when one is in danger of death, when one is about to die, if one dies with the thought of taking refuge, one never get reborn in the realm of suffering transmigratory being.

By practicing the profound Vajrayana method, transferring one’s own consciousness to the pure realm, that is basically the power of refuge. By doing these practices one is able to be born in the pure realm and in the realm of happy transmigratory beings. Due to the power of the object of refuge, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. One thing is the power of that person’s mind, the thought of refuge. The power of that person’s mind, what is that? The thought of refuge. However profound the Vajrayana method, however secret, the basic thing, the essence is refuge. Because of the power of refuge, the power of the object of refuge, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, that person is able to transfer his consciousness into the pure realm.

One time, one son of the worldly god experienced the signs of death. Normally the worldly gods are able to remember the past life, and see the future life, in which realm they are going to be born, as a human being or animal, narak, preta. He could see past, present, future, all three. So he was so scared, extremely scared, as he was in a realm of great enjoyment, living on food nectar, things like that, living in a jewel palace. He could see this change of life in the future, he could see he was going to be born as a pig in the next life. So he had incredible fear and worry that he was going to be born as a pig, living in a dirty place, eating garbage like this. So he went to ask the king of the realm, Gyachen, Indra, Gyachen and he said, “I don’t have any method to save you from the lower realm. You go ask Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.” So he went to ask Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.

And Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave teachings on refuge. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave him the mantra of the buddha called Namgyalma, to grant long life, to dispel hindrances of life. Then he practiced refuge and then he was born in Tushita. Gyachen tried to check up where he was born after seven days. And he could not find him anywhere. He could only see the lower realms, but no the higher realms.

There are many stories, experiences like this. One doesn’t get reborn in the realm of suffering transmigratory beings if one takes refuge, especially at the death time. Then all the wishes become successful. The seven benefits, all the wishes become successful.

One time happened in Tibet, there was one monk who had to go to Mongolia, I think, I am not sure whether he is a Mongolian monk, anyway, he was a monk who did not study so much Dharma in the monastery. He didn’t know much Dharma. He had faith in Tara, saying prayers to Tara but there is no Dharma, not much interest, nothing like that, nothing like that. It’s a long way to Mongolia, many months he had to go. So on the way this…

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…all day going like this in the desert and then sometimes then he found a little bit of water, and then he heard a dog barking. There is no village, nothing. He felt that there were some people there. As he carried on home, after some time he saw a tent. While he was saying the Tara prayer, he saw a tent. Inside was one lady, one young girl, and she had lots of animals, yaks, outside. In that tent she was alone. There were no other people. She asked the monk to stay in her tent. At nighttime she was taking care of all these animals, so many yaks, by herself, keeping them together, and in the morning she was milking them and making the butter and milk and all these things by herself. There were no people. This monk was given butter and he was well fed by this girl. She insisted that he stay in the tent. So the monk stayed five days like that, then told her I want to go my country. So she gave food for him to eat on the way. He had a little small sack, and in it she put tsampa, and different food in different sacks. She put in tea like this, in a different sack.

He asked directions, as he was kind of completely lost. So he asked her how to go, where to go. She gave him a whole bunch of grass. Then she explained, “Today you go this direction and wherever you spend the night, you put the grass on the ground and you sleep. The next morning, wherever the grass fell down, go in that direction.” So he did this. He followed the advice given by the girl. He did this for a few days then he reached his country. When he reached home he checked and there was not a bit of tsampa left in the sack. He had eaten it on the way, and it had never finished. Over three days, the tsampa, butter, and so forth never lessened. He was completely surprised and he sent a letter to his guru Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, in the monastery, to Lhasa. He explained all his difficulties, at the beginning what he had, and said he was taken cared by one girl, like this and all these things, she was like this. So then Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo told him, “If you had listened to her, by now you would be in a pure realm. That was the transformation of Tara.” But the monk he was unable to see this, Anyway, there are so much stories like this.


Session 40

Think like that, I am going to listen to teaching in order to achieve enlightenment for the benefits of all my kind mother sentient beings.

Oneself receiving the blissful state of peace, nirvana, being free from samsara through the practice of the path, the three higher trainings, the higher training of the moral conduct, higher training of concentration, the higher training of the wisdom—that is not sufficient. Having no concern for other sentient beings, not working for other sentient beings, for mother sentient beings, that is a very ungenerous motive. A selfish motive, a very ungenerous motive.

This is similar to the mother who is in danger and drowning, inside the whirlpool, and the daughter dancing, laughing at the mother in danger of sinking. Not having any thought to help, to guide the mother from danger. A very selfish motive. Because oneself is not in danger, one is happy, satisfied with that, dancing and laughing at the mother who is in danger of drowning. This is a very selfish motive, very ungenerous mind.

One must achieve enlightenment in order to liberate the mother sentient beings from the sufferings of samsara and lead them to enlightenment. That depends on generating bodhicitta, the principle cause of enlightenment, within one’s own mind.

So about the benefits of bodhicitta, during the course, for several days I’ve mentioned them, I talked a little bit from Shantideva’s teachings and from Khunu Rinpoche’s teachings. I will try to talk a little bit from that text.

It is not finished but anyway, those who took teachings, lamrim teachings before, have heard it. However then the new people—the mind not becoming completely empty. Some seed of Mahayana is planted already. Even from the very beginning of the course, it was planted in your mind. Whether they listen to the whole teaching or not, it doesn’t matter. Whatever. At the beginning of this course, talking about the benefit of bodhicitta, the mind did not become completely empty. Some seed of the benefits of bodhicitta was planted in their mind. Even just to hear the name bodhicitta, that is so lucky, so fortunate, extremely fortunate. There are many countries where there is Buddhadharma, monks, where you can hear the Four Noble Truth, but to hear even the name bodhicitta is very difficult. Without talking about the teachings on that, the thought training teachings.

So anyway, it’s something to feel great rejoyfulness for, something that makes you feel happiness, having planted a little bit of bodhicitta in the mind. So in the future life, after some time, then there is a hope that your seed might produce the stem.

Whenever bodhicitta is generated within one’s own mind, one becomes a Mahayanist. At that time one has actually entered in the Mahayana path. Like by having refuge, one has entered in the Buddhadharma. By having generated bodhicitta, one enters the Mahayana path. As soon as the bodhicitta is generated within one’s own mind, the person enters the Mahayana path. So the bodhicitta is the gate of the Mahayana path to receive enlightenment.

Then, right that second when the bodhicitta is generated, the person is named a bodhisattva. Even if the person on outside looks kind of terrible, and everybody finds him very disgusting, the body looking very yellow, with long hair reaching down to the feet, very ragged clothes, very dirty, full of smell, sleeping in the street, taking many drugs, sleeping in the street with the dogs, other people do not want to talk to him, do not want to see him, everybody says how terrible or how dirty hippy he is.

However in the mind of that person, if bodhicitta is generated, in that second he becomes a bodhisattva, he receives the name, the son of the victorious one, just in that second. He becomes an object that even the buddhas have to respect. If the other people, the police do not respect, it doesn’t matter. He becomes the heart son of the buddhas. He becomes the object of offering, prostration, and devotion by worldly gods.

In that minute, by caste, he overpowers the arhats, hearers, and self conquerors. Those who are completely free from samsara, who have completely removed all the unsubdued mind, who have incredible psychic power, infinite knowledge—even though they have infinite knowledge, psychic powers the reason they still did not enter the Mahayana path, or become bodhisattvas, the son of the victorious one, is because bodhicitta is missing. Only the bodhicitta is missing.

So even the very new bodhisattva, who has just generated bodhicitta, overpowers by the caste. This word I am using has nothing to do with blood relation. Literally we say “caste” but actually, as the king’s baby controls the ministers even though he has no knowledge and so forth, it is the same.

Similarly, this new bodhisattva doesn’t have incredible psychic power, or infinite knowledge like arhats have, but because of the bodhicitta, he becomes the son of the Buddha, who is on the way to achieve enlightenment. Like this small child, the son, his only way to become king is to take the position of king. Even when the bodhisattva walks on the road, the footprint that is left on the dirt becomes an object of prostration by Indra, the kind of worldly gods. In Tibetan they are called Gyalchen and Sangma: Indra and Brahma. Even their dust becomes an object of their prostration. Their crown touches the footprint that was left by the bodhisattva. The bodhisattva becomes the supreme object of offering for the worldly gods.

Buddha said in the sutra teaching that if a bodhisattva wants to have enjoyment of the five sense objects, and he is sitting in a carriage and nobody pulls the carriage, for the bodhisattva, Buddha himself would pull the carriage. The bodhisattva becomes even the object of the buddhas' respect.

If bodhicitta is generated, extensive merit gets accumulated. What is the best method to accumulate extensive merit, infinite merit, in such a short time? Practicing bodhicitta, generating bodhicitta, following the bodhisattva’s action. This is the best way to quickly finish the work, accumulating extensive merit. If one practices bodhicitta well, one can realize shunyata very easily, in this way. Very easily. How? To realize shunyata one must do unimaginable purification. And one must collect extensive merit. If one does not make unimaginable purification, if one does not collect extensive merit, it doesn’t lay this foundation, and one cannot realize emptiness.

So again, you see, the best method to accumulate extensive merit immediately, in such a short time, to make unimaginable purification, is bodhicitta. So if one practices bodhicitta, if one tries to generate bodhicitta, automatically one collects infinite merit and makes unimaginable purification in such a short time, very easily. So in that way, it is very easy to realize emptiness.

Tara had advised one great yogi in Tibet, called Longdor Rinpoche, “If you practice, if you meditate well on bodhicitta, you accumulate the foundation, the extensive merit and do unimaginable purification of the obscurations, collected from past lives. So therefore, one is able to realize shunyata quickly.”

Many people love shunyata, they love to hear about emptiness. They like to talk about emptiness. They like to hear and they like to meditate on emptiness. They like to meditate on emptiness. Other meditations are not so interesting. The emptiness is interesting. The person wants to realize emptiness. The person wants to meditate on that. She doesn’t want to understand any other method of meditation. Other meditations become kind of useless. Only emptiness is interesting. She wants only to realize emptiness. Nothing else but only emptiness, without need to accumulate one single merit, good karma, or make one single purification. Without doing one single practice of refuge, without having any refuge in the mind. Without need to think about Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Just to meditate on emptiness and realize it. Think everything is empty. Meditate on emptiness…

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… without any ticket, you can see the movie of his meditation. One whole week, one whole meditation, one whole year, whole life—so first like this, memorize the gradual outline and then after that, listen to the lamas, their example, stories related to this meditation subject, quotations, and try to comprehend as much as possible during the teaching. Actually the lama used to repeat three times before the session is over .. most times teachings are given only in the afternoon, not in the morning. The morning is kept empty. This doesn’t mean the teaching can’t be given in the morning, it doesn’t mean that. They are usually from two o’clock until six o’clock, something like that. With peepee in between. Sometimes they start in the morning, eight o’clock, something like that, and then again start teaching until sunset, without many peepee breaks.

So in the afternoon, after they have received teachings from the lama, they go back to their own room, then they try to remember the meditation subject that the lamas explained and the example that was given, the stories that were given. They try to meditate on that. Then this way, the memory stays and they don’t forget.

Most people don’t make notes when they receive teachings. Many of them they can comprehend. They can remember what the lama spoke, like that.

So, anyway, normally during meditation time, in order for the meditation to be effective for the mind, in order to quickly generate the realization of the meditation, one needs to remember not only the outline but also the quotations—like what Shantideva said and many different pundits. Then relating to that, the stories that happened, so like this.

So together like this, it helps to transform the mind. The purpose of telling many stories is to be able to quickly transform the mind. To quickly generate the realization of the meditation, so actually, when our gurus, like His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness Dalai Lama’s teachers, who are living now, who are the holders of the present Buddhadharma, when they give teachings, there are no mistakes, they are completely perfectly pure, perfect. And they give with so much experience, all the teachings are given with experience, so it becomes very effective, very quick to transform the mind.

Sometimes you have to cry, sometimes you have to be happy, they are like this. The point I am making is this. The way to meditate on lamrim is like that. As one is meditating on the lamrim, as one is making retreat on the lamrim, or as certain changes happened to the mind those meditators examine with their gurus from whom they have received teachings on lamrim.

…that’s why when attachment rises. Then you look at what’s enemy and reputation, you watch, what the mind says, he is my enemy. “This my enemy, I don’t like him,” it says. Then why is he my enemy? As you see him anger arises. Meditate on why I should be angry with this person. Why is he my enemy? Because he criticizes me. He stole my book, or my material possession or something—there is a reason, he disturbed my pleasure, my happiness. He harmed me.

Then think like this. The person who gave one hundred dollars yesterday today gave me a spank on my face. Today he hit my face without reason, without any reason. The person who gave me a hundred dollars today, he gave me a spank yesterday. Then check how the mind reacts to the person who gave a spank yesterday and gave a hundred dollars today. You watch. The mind gets attached, it discriminates as a friend and the attachment arises for the person. When you look at the person who gave a hundred dollars yesterday and who gave a spank today, discriminate that person as an enemy.

So when you look at the person who did both yesterday, then I’m not sure what you think.. Whether you get attached or get angry. Think about it like this. There is no reason why I should get angry. He also helped me yesterday, gave me a hundred dollars. As this friend gave me a hundred dollars today. There is no reason to get angry with that person. There is no reason to be attached to the one I discriminated as friend. There is no point for me to get attached to the friend, to get angry at the enemy by discriminating this is my enemy. There is no reason.

First you think this, and try to equalize the mind like this, try to cut off rising attachment, anger. Then after that, actually visualize the enemy that you have now, then relate to that. If the friend has beaten or harmed oneself, remember this.

This is my enemy because—first we have some reason this is my enemy. Because he gave harm to me. This is my friend who gave me some help. Like the other example. This friend, many times in the past life he killed me, he has beaten me, beaten me, criticized me, harmed me—many times in the past life, this friend did this. And this enemy must have helped me in the past life. He has been my mother, he has been my father, so many times he has been my mother, my father, my friend. So many times he took care of me, feeding me with his body milk. This enemy in a past life tried to protect me from suffering, from harmfulness, and helped me to obtain happiness. So many times he took care of me by giving the material, the temporal enjoyment, food, clothing, like this. So many times he helped me in the past life.

Then think, the friend also gave harm, he also gave help, same reason. There is no reason for me to particularly attach this friend and no reason for me to particularly get angry with this enemy. There is no reason, think like this.

Like this, try to cut off anger and attachment by equalizing the reasons. Think with all the sentient beings. The father, mother, also harmed me many times in the past life, so there is no reason to have attachment, nor any reason to get angry. The rest of all the sentient beings, they gave harm, they gave help, so there is no reason to get angry and for attachment to arise. There is no reason. So think like this.

Then also there is one meditation technique in which one thinks there is no reason, no reason to get angry at the enemy, why? Why? If I get angry at this enemy, nothing is different. I am no different from the tiger. When someone harms the tiger, the tiger attacks back. So what’s the difference? So what’s the difference between me and the tiger? No difference. Therefore there is no reason to get angry, think like this.

Then there is no reason to be attached to the friend. The friend is like the cheater, the cannibal. No reason to be attached. Like the magician transforms into a very beautiful form of a person, at the beginning so good—they pretend actually they are not going to give harm at all. At the beginning so good, so beautiful and so kind, so loving, so kind, it is impossible that he will cheat me. That doesn’t last, it changes. Always you don’t act in that way. This is one meditation technique. Think like this when you meditate, try to cut off the anger, attachment.


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