Lecture 10: November 21st pm
As I mentioned this morning, the best method among the various methods, the most beneficial method to benefit other sentient beings is the omniscient mind. It is not like you click the camera and the picture comes out, or as you press the button suddenly the light comes, like that—without depending on hardships, following the graduated path, without depending on completing the work of accumulating extensive merits and purification—omniscient mind cannot be achieved easily, immediately, right in that minute, in that hour. Just by thinking, “Oh, I want to become enlightened this minute,” just merely by thinking, “I want to help others, I want to become enlightened,” just by wishing, just by thinking like this, without need to do any practice to bring that about, just by wishing that, it doesn’t happen.
There are some things I would like to mention but I won’t mention them this time, otherwise it doesn’t come to the subject, the Bodhicaryavatara.
Therefore the best method to benefit others, at this time, in this life, while we have this precious human body, qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, with which we can achieve any great meaning, with which whatever we wish we can complete—the graduated path to enlightenment, what is called bodhicitta, the three principles of the path to enlightenment; what is written in the teachings about bodhicitta, about shunyata in so many volumes, the Prajnaparamita and the thought of renouncing samsara; then the graduated path of tantra, the graduated path of generation, the graduated path of completion, what is written there in the teaching, what is explained by Buddha—you can accomplish that, if you can have that in the mind, you can generate that in this life, in this body, you can make it a living experience in this life, in your own mind.
The meaning of these teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment such as Madhyamaka, such as Abhisamaya-alamkara and the Vajrayana teachings—if we generate the meaning that the subjects show in the mind, that is the best method to benefit others.
However, among all this: bodhicitta. If you can generate what is called bodhicitta, there are unbelievable benefits. In the sutra teachings, there is one whole volume that talks so much about the benefits of this. This is the path that all the three time Buddha’s have gone through: the three principal paths, bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is that which has been in the mind of the lineage lamas of the profound and extensive paths, from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, such as the great bodhisattva Shantideva and Lama Tsongkhapa, which has been in the holy minds of the lineage lamas and which is the essence of all the eighty-four thousand teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. The very essence of the practice of the bodhisattvas is bodhicitta, renouncing self and cherishing others. If you can generate this in this life, in this body, in this life’s mind, then the best method to benefit others has started. This is the most important, this is the best method. If you have this you can achieve enlightenment. Without this: no hope to achieve enlightenment, no hope to do the effortless extensive works for other sentient beings. So it is decided by whether you have bodhicitta in your mind or not.
So how to take the essence of this precious human body, how to make it highly meaningful; this precious human body, the perfect human body that we have found one time—what makes it highly meaningful is having bodhicitta, by practicing bodhicitta. Without bodhicitta whatever realization you have—clairvoyance, shamatha realization, single-pointed concentration that can last for hundreds of eons, unshakable concentration, or even having opened the chakras, even the arteries and seeds, even though you have the capability, able to do the function of flowing up and down, having control, even any profound realization of secret mantra—whatever you have, since one’s mind is empty of bodhicitta, there is no hope to achieve enlightenment. Without bodhicitta, a person cannot achieve enlightenment, no matter what other realization a person has. There is nothing to be surprised about, nothing to be excited about. Nothing to be surprised about, whatever other realization one has. If one has bodhicitta, the ultimate good heart, bodhicitta, this itself is the method. That itself is the quick method, the best method to accumulate merit, to finish the work of accumulating merit, the cause of omniscient mind; and that itself is the most powerful, best method to purify obscurations, the negative karma that has been collected in the past.
If one’s mind is enriched with bodhicitta then whatever action the body, speech or mind does, it is unstained by the self-cherishing thought. Even breathing in and out, everything, every action, walking, sitting, sleeping, eating, any action, the four main actions—any action that one does in everyday life, all actions are done to benefit others, with only the thought to benefit others. So every single action that one does becomes a method to accumulate extensive merit; so highly beneficial for others, whatever one does, one-pointedly. A bodhisattva, one who has bodhicitta only attempts to benefit others. His only concern, day and night, all the time, is how to accomplish extensive benefits for others, how to accomplish this soon. Every single action a bodhisattva does, tries to do, is done as much as possible to benefit others.
From the chapter on patience: if a non-bodhisattva gets angry at a bodhisattva for one second, it destroys the merits that have been accumulated for one thousand eons. These are destroyed by one second of anger by a non-bodhisattva toward a bodhisattva. You see, if I have been accumulating so much merit, making charity to the object of sentient beings, making offerings to holy objects, the Triple Gem, with these two objects, sentient beings and the holy objects of the Triple Gem, I have been collecting much merit; and after having accumulated so much merit if tomorrow morning I am able to generate bodhicitta, then if tonight I get angry for one second at a higher object, a bodhisattva, the realization of generating bodhicitta is delayed, it is postponed for one thousand eons. Again I have to accumulate so much merit for that length of time; I have to accumulate so much merit again. So, like this, anger is so harmful to generating realizations quickly, so harmful to generating bodhicitta.
Anger and bodhicitta are opposites. Bodhicitta is the thought to benefit others, and the nature of anger is to harm others. It is completely opposite—the characteristics of anger and the characteristics of bodhicitta. So, as much we are able to do the practice of patience, that much easier it is to generate any realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment, and particularly to generate bodhicitta. It is that much easier to generate bodhicitta.
So before going over the Bodhicaryavatara I thought if you had a little bit an idea of the author, the great bodhisattva Shantideva, it would cause you to have a little bit of faith in the author. In that way, when we have a little bit of faith, understanding that the author is an extraordinary being, not an ordinary being, a holy being, it benefits us to also understand the teaching clearly, and also for faith to arise, to realize the meaning of the teaching.
Shantideva, the great bodhisattva, was born in the Western side of Bodhgaya, India, in the very center of India, Bodhgaya. He did Manjushri retreat when he was very young, as a child, about six years old and he actually saw Manjushri. Manjushri gave him so much advice, even at that time. Then, after some time, his father, who was I think king of that country—I am not sure if he was the king of all India or not, but in previous times there were many kings in each part of India, like districts. Maybe he was one of the kings like that. However, his father, the king, passed away, and all the people in that country agreed and requested the great holy being Shantideva to take the place of the father, to become king of the country, to take over the throne. Shantideva couldn’t reject the request of the population and accepted to go on the throne of his father, the king.
As he was to be inaugurated the next day, sitting on the throne of the king, that night he had a dream. He saw Manjushri seated on the throne where he was going to sit the next morning. Manjushri was advising him, telling him “My son, this is my seat, I am your virtuous friend, and I and you cannot sit on one throne. This you can never do.” So right after he woke up from the dream, he discovered that this was a sign that he could not enjoy the perfections of a king. He found that this was a sign that he shouldn’t accept the power; he shouldn’t do the king’s works. So that night, he escaped from the palace to Nalanda, the great monastic university, where there were many fully realized pandits, thousands of pandits. Then he took ordination from one pandit called Ya.we Lhar and he was offered the holy name Shantideva.
For a long time Shantideva did much extensive listening and studying under this abbot and particularly under Manjushri. He understood each and every meaning of the teaching of sutra and tantra. Inside he is an arya bodhisattva, whose holy mind approached the high bhumis—there are ten bodhisattva bhumis—he reached a very high bhumi, doing extensive works for others, having infinite qualities in the mind. Inside he was like this, but outside he appeared in the view of others, while he was in the monastic monastery Nalanda, as just eating food, sleeping and making kaka. Nothing else. Besides these three he did nothing else. Not like other pandits, other monks—reading scriptures or sitting up in meditation position, or making offerings, making prostrations, those kinds of things. He showed this aspect of doing nothing, not doing any works benefiting others. So others called him Busuku. Busuku means the three recognitions. His name was famous, “the three recognitions,” eating, sleeping and disposal, kaka, urination. He became famous with this name. Everybody called him Busuku because what they saw was this, only these three.
The other monks who did not have clairvoyance did not recognize what Shantideva was, criticized Shantideva for not doing any listening, or reading scripture, or reflecting or meditation—he did none of these. His living in the monastery seemed to be only a waste of the Sangha’s devotional materials. “Devotional materials” means the monastery, the food, robes and things offered by the benefactors with devotion. The material belonging to the Sangha is called devotional material. They said that his living in the monastery only wasted this devotional material; therefore it is worthwhile to kick him out.
They proposed how to do that. They can’t just drag his body out without any accusation. They can’t just easily kick him out without some accusation, so then they proposed, somebody got an idea, “Since he does only these three, I am sure, if we take turns, let him take turns reciting sutra scriptures by heart, since he never does any study, of course he cannot say it by heart.” I think what it was is that during these times in a monastery if you could not recite the scripture by heart you were kicked out, you were expelled. I think the person didn’t need to be scolded or anything, or by guns, police coming—anyway I am joking. I think you just had to leave the monastery; it was very strict. They thought he would not be able to recite the scriptures by heart and just by that he would be expelled from the monastery, so they all agreed with that. Then they made the request to him to recite the scriptures by heart and Shantideva finally accepted to do that.
Those other monks, in order to embarrass or tease Shantideva, built a very high throne. They completely decided in their minds that he couldn’t even climb up this throne, leave aside his giving teachings from this throne. This was what they decided, this was what they believed.
The next morning, as they had arranged, everybody came, all the monks gathered and then the son of the victorious ones, Shantideva came and without any resistance he went on the throne. Then he asked the audience, the monks, “Should I recite the sutra teaching that was taught in the past by Buddha, or a sutra teaching that was not finished by Buddha?” He asked the monks this. Then all the monks around him asked, “Please explain that which wasn’t taught by Buddha in the past.” I think what Shantideva meant was if he should say the sutra teaching by heart, say it exactly by heart, or something that was not set up by Buddha. He doesn’t mean the meaning—a teaching that was not taught by Buddha. Of course in regards of the meaning there is nothing that was not taught by Buddha. What Shantideva meant was the words. They asked for what was not taught by Buddha.
Then Shantideva started, and the whole Bodhicaryavatara came, like Milarepa when he was singing the hymns, with complete control over the speech, without any resistance, without any effort. From the very first line, paying homage to the dharmakaya; to the Triple Gem, the Ones Gone to Bliss, having the dharmakaya, and their sons—”sons” means particularly the bodhisattvas, the Sangha of bodhisattvas. So without any effort, without any resistance, starting from that, he taught by heart the whole teaching of the Bodhicaryavatara. The Bodhicaryavatara is not a teaching that Shantideva spent a long time writing, first thinking and then writing, like when you make a thesis. He didn’t spend time and effort like that, to put the teaching together. He didn’t spend much time like this. Drinking lots of coffee, nervous, staying up late at nighttime under the light, reading lots of books, smoking many cigarettes. Sometimes when you don’t remember, when things don’t work, you become nervous, impatient, depressed.
So when the great bodhisattva Shantideva reached the wisdom chapter, the verse about causative phenomena and uncausative phenomena, he flew away. He flew away from the throne, into the sky. He didn’t fly from the airport. Anyway, I am joking. Finally, while he was giving the teaching, his holy body became invisible. Even though the monks who were receiving the teaching could not see his holy body, there was the same continuity of his holy speech. They could hear his holy speech unceasingly, as if he was still sitting on the throne. Even though his holy body went so far, so distant, still they continuously could hear him. Even when his holy body became invisible, they could still hear the teaching.
Afterwards when the pandits wanted to put the scriptures together, there was some disagreement, somebody said nine chapters, some said ten chapters. Then there is one verse, a section where Shantideva emphasizes one scripture called Labdu—you should definitely read that one again and again, he emphasized. There’s one point where he said this. And also a very condensed sutra teaching called Dö.ko.ne.du.pa. Shantideva also advised one should look at this teaching.
These pandits didn’t know these two scriptures. So after some time they heard that Shantideva was in the southern side of India in a holy place where there is a stupa, called Paljan Chen. They sent two monks to invite Shantideva to Nalanda. But Shantideva didn’t come. Shantideva answered the question about the chapters. He said that what the central country people have said, that there are ten chapters, was right. And that those two scriptures, Lab.du and Dö.du, are written in such tiny letters, in the form of “pandit” letters, and that he put those two scriptures in the hermitage, between the roof and beams, I think.
Then Shantideva gave the complete teaching and the oral transmission of these scriptures Lab.du and Dö.du and also the Bodhicaryavatara to these two monks.
In Magadha, a place on the western side of India, there were five hundred followers who held wrong views. Shantideva at one time lived as a servant for those five hundred followers. Once for seven days there was rain, maybe a cyclone, with much wind, and all the people in the country did not have food and experienced much suffering of hunger and thirst. So the people asked among themselves, “Whoever can beg will be the leader and we will listen exactly to what the leader says.” So then Shantideva went begging for alms, and one begging bowl full of rice he blessed unceasingly, so that it covered so many people’s needs. It was blessed by his psychic powers, by his realizations. So he satisfied all these people, and then he gave teachings to these five hundred people and all the wrong views were completely changed, completely dispelled.
Once, Shantideva went to the eastern side of India, to a place called Ari De Chema. He was just sort of wandering around in the street where there are four main streets like this, close to the king’s palace. During that time, I think one person—I am not sure whether it’s a group or one person—called Ma tsela nyopa—I think a group of people with no means of living, who are so happy to confiscate others’ possessions. This group of people was so vicious, not having compassion, very tough, very disturbing and so eager to confiscate the king’s possessions. So when they were coming to harm the king, the great bodhisattva Shantideva accepted to protect him. He overwhelmed those disturbing people who came to harm the king. Just by his being there, just by his magnificence, his power, they couldn’t harm the king. They couldn’t confiscate his things, and they left. Shantideva made the king and the whole population very happy.
During that time one of the king’s friends who was very jealous of Shantideva told the king, “This is a very cunning person. He has only a wooden sword. The only weapon he has is a wooden sword. How can he protect you, the king? It’s worthwhile to examine him.” The jealous person told the king this. So the king got angry and he asked Shantideva, “Could you show me your sword?” Shantideva told the king, “If I show you my sword it will harm you.” Then the king said to Shantideva, “Even if I receive harm, you must definitely show me your sword.” Then Shantideva asked the king, “If so, then please close one eye and look at it with one eye.” Shantideva asked the king to look at it with one eye. Then Shantideva took out his wooden sword. Then many unimaginable beams emitted from the sword and the king couldn’t look at it, the king became blind. Then the king felt much repentance and apologized to Shantideva, he took refuge in Shantideva, and Shantideva gave him many teachings. So Shantideva led this king in Dharma.
Again there happened, one king of a place called Khati Bihata was the founder of a teaching that was against the Buddhadharma. His name was Shankardeva. He said, “I would like to debate with the Buddhist pandits and I would like to compete with their psychic powers. All the Dharma, scriptures and all the temples of the side that gets defeated will be burned.”
He asked Shantideva, “Please give your permission to do this.” At that time none of the Buddhist pandits was able to debate with this king. So at that time the great holy being Shantideva debated with this king and he destroyed all the wrong views. He defeated this king, the founder of this wrong path. Then this king, debating with words, was defeated and then he wanted to compete with Shantideva by his psychic power. So by his psychic power he drew a mandala, the mandala of Mahadeva in the sky. When he finished the eastern door, Shantideva meditated and did one particular concentration, the concentration of the wind, which is a concentration that destroys the mandala. So as Shantideva’s holy mind was in this concentration, suddenly an incredibly powerful wind happened and the mandala that was drawn by the other founder in the sky was completely taken away and destroyed by this strong wind. Then after that the main founder who had taken the wrong path and so many of his followers were interested in the Buddhadharma, and Shantideva gave many teachings of Buddha to them.
So this is just very briefly how Shantideva is a great holy being who has infinite qualities; a tiny bit, just an idea of that.
I just read the first stanza. There are ten chapters. They are chapters on the six paramitas, how to practice each of those. The third paramita is the paramita of patience. The first section is how to actualize the remedy, patience; how to have that in the mind in order for the remedy of anger, patience, to last, in order to avoid the hindrances to patience; then how to attempt to meditate on patience. So to do that one should understand the shortcomings of anger and the benefits of patience. In regards the shortcomings of anger, there are shortcomings of anger that are not seen by the eye, and shortcomings of anger that be seen by the physical eye. So one should understand and think of these shortcomings.
This stanza is about the shortcomings of anger that cannot be seen by the eye:
Whatever wholesome deeds,
Such as venerating the Buddhas, and generosity,
That have been amassed over a thousand eons
Will all be destroyed in one moment of anger.
The worst, the greatest hindrance to generating virtue and making it last, is anger. Therefore one should attempt with much hardship to cease anger, by thinking of the shortcomings of anger.
Virtue, merit—the cause of the path—and even the path itself are lost and degenerated by anger; even the path, the realizations that you have generated. Any good action, any merit that is received from meditation, from moral conduct, from making offerings to the Triple Gem, such as making offerings to the Buddha, the one who has gone to bliss, to the Dharma or the Sangha, and also those merits accumulated by making charity, those merits that have been accumulated for one hundred or one thousand eons, are destroyed by having anger toward a bodhisattva for one second.
So I think what this contains is like this: there are five objects, which are explained in the Madhyamaka scriptures. A higher, powerful bodhisattva—this doesn’t mean an arya bodhisattva who has accomplished the right-seeing path—even the bodhisattva who is on the Mahayana path of merit, the Mahayana path of conjunction, the powerful bodhisattva who has anger towards the lower bodhisattva; and the lower bodhisattva who has anger for the higher bodhisattva; or the same level of bodhisattva getting angry at another bodhisattva with the same level of realizations, the same level of power; and then the non-bodhisattva getting angry to a bodhisattva, and the non-bodhisattva getting angry at a non-bodhisattva—in the commentaries it is explained, five objects like this, of generating anger.
In straight words, in the root text it says that the merit accumulated in one thousand eons gets destroyed by having anger for one second—that is a non-bodhisattva getting angry at a bodhisattva, experiencing anger for one second—that much merit gets destroyed. The merit that is accumulated for one thousand eons gets destroyed. In the commentaries it includes also destroying the merit accumulated in one hundred eons—if a powerful bodhisattva gets angry at a lower bodhisattva for one second, then the merit that has been accumulated for one hundred eons gets destroyed.
I think I stop here.
Lecture 11: November 22nd pm
[Short mandala - prayer]
From the holy speech of one of my gurus, a great bodhisattva, His Holiness Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen, from his holy teaching called The Precious Lamp Admiring Bodhicitta—I am not going to mention his understanding, his holy actions, the way he lived his life, his holy actions, his practice, the holy works that he did for others—another time I will mention these.
However, from his holy speech, “Whoever has bodhicitta in the mind, even if he gets sick he is happy; even if he dies, the person is happy; even if he listens, the person is happy; even if he does meditation, the person is happy. Whatever the person does, he is happy.”
If we have what is called bodhicitta, the ultimate good heart, renouncing self and cherishing others, if we have this in our mind, then even if we get a heavy disease, a very heavy, contagious disease, which lasts for many years, a disease which doesn’t have medicine, which is difficult to recover from with medicine or which doesn’t have medicine, a contagious disease or a disease such as cancer, a dangerous heavy disease that makes other people scared even just by seeing, even if the body is full of leprosy disease. Also such as what people in the West are very scared of, what the doctors treat very much, such as heart attacks, that you will die very soon. Besides small problems such as toothache, even for such heavy diseases, even if one gets sick with those heavy contagious, epidemic diseases that one has to experience for the whole life, if one has what is called bodhicitta, the ultimate good heart, there is no confusion in the mind. Although the body has the disease, the mind has no problem; the mind is so happy, very happy.
Because by bodhicitta, the good heart, bodhicitta, he experiences the disease for the sake of others, for other sentient beings, for those who have created the karma to experience those diseases and those who are experiencing these now, these uncountable numbers of other sentient beings who are experiencing them and who will be experiencing them. When these bodhisattvas get sick they experience this for the sake of others.
You see, we pray when we get sick, leave aside those heavy diseases, even when we have a stomach ache or a toothache, a small disease, a small discomfort, we pray immediately to get rid of these, immediately to obtain happiness for the self, to obtain comfort for the self. Whatever means there are, either taking medicine or whatever means there are, we run without delay, we seek whatever means there are to get rid of that, to make oneself happy. Whatever means you can find, if there is medicine you apply medicine, if there is no medicine, then whatever, some people who know the other means, mantras, try to recover by mantras, try to recover by pujas—trying various ways as there are various methods, and praying to be well, to be comfortable, to make oneself happy. Trying to obtain the conditions, trying to make the conditions perfect as much as possible to obtain comfort for oneself.
These holy beings who have bodhicitta, whose holy mind is enriched with bodhicitta, they wish, they pray, sincerely, from the heart, to experience the suffering for others. Whenever they receive disease or any bad circumstances, whatever problem they meet, the mind is very happy to experience it. And also they think, what they have been praying for they wish to actually experience, to take others’ suffering, to experience these by themselves—whatever they have been wishing, whatever they have been praying, now it is accomplished.
So like this, besides the happiness and the comfort of what they experience—they dedicate that for other sentient beings—even the suffering such as disease, those things, they experience from the heart for the sake of others. Also such as taking the leprosy disease from that person who has leprosy disease, whose body is full of leprosy disease, without any fear or difficulty for the mind they offer service to that person who has leprosy disease, who is left out, who is not taken care of by anybody. Without any difficulties, without any fear, they completely dedicate to offer service, taking that disease. When he gets the disease then the other person gets recovered, things like that. There have been meditators, Tibetan monks and meditators, ascetic monks who lived on the mountains, who have had many stories like this. Also I think I heard of similar stories in the West. I don’t know where, in Italy or somewhere—I think one person got leprosy disease, and the whole body was full of this disease, and I think there were no other people taking care, so one priest completely dedicated himself to offer service to this patient. Without having good qualities in the mind such as cherishing others more than oneself, without having such a good heart, one cannot do such a practice. Such things are extremely good.
Without telling many long stories—I have one friend, one meditator, a friend who lives an ascetic life in Dharamsala, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama usually lives, one meditator, one old meditator. This meditator, when he was living in the monastery in Tibet, in Sera monastery, he was a very naughty monk and he did not follow the disciplines of the monastery, the rules, the morning pujas or the debating time or the classes, the time when they are supposed to go to take teachings from the teachers very well.
Most of the time he plays around and he fights; most of the time he fights with other monks, with other similar monks and plays with other friends. He wears very ragged robes which have a lot of holes, a lot of patches and a lot of holes, kind of a hippie monk. But the mind is very happy. He doesn’t follow the rules, nothing. If somebody comes along, like the one who looks after the monastery’s discipline, the abbot or the gegu, the monk who looks after the discipline of the monks—then there are other monks, younger ones, different monks, who have the power to scold, who are responsible to look after the discipline of the monastery—when they come he just runs away into the corners, or around, behind the monastery, things like that. So anyway he lived a very naughty life in Tibet in the monastery.
So one time, I think he was teasing his friend, you know. He was waiting outside the gate of the monastery and he expected his friend to come after him, come through the door and he waited on the top of the gate, his hand full of snot, his hand full of spit and snot to hit his friend on his head. So he was waiting there and the monk who came was not his friend whom he used to tease, but one of the teachers of Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, one of my teachers, guru. Geshe Rabten, among the gurus that I have, is the most kind guru, from whom I received Dharma explanation on debating subject—the first guru, who gave the first teaching, the first explanation of teaching, the debating subject. That I have now, at the moment, a little bit of interest in meditation, in the lam.rim, is by the kindness of Geshe Rabten Rinpoche. He opened a center in Switzerland. Geshe Rinpoche was invited there to be the abbot of the Tibetan monastery, which was built by the Red Cross. The Red Cross is the group of people who support the Tibetan refugees in Switzerland. They built a monastery for the refugees, for the Tibetans. So afterwards, from India, from Dharamsala, Geshe Rinpoche started to give teachings for Western people, before he left for Switzerland. Then he was an abbot for some years there and then gradually he founded one center, one monastery, which is called Tharpa Choeling Monastery. I think, at the moment that is the only monastery in the West, a monastery where there are monks and they live together without being mixed with others.
However, it was one of Geshe Rinpoche’s most kind teachers, his root guru, Geshe Jampa Tabgye, I think, it does not matter, one old monk, very, very learned, having various particular qualities, having a very subdued mind, a very good heart, by practicing lam-rim, incredible qualities that he has, strict and learned and subdued, an incredible good monk, who was respected by everybody.
So this Jampa Wangdu, this monk who was doing naughty things, was waiting for his friend to come out, to throw this on his head. But instead of that it was Geshe Rabten Rinpoche’s teacher, the most kind Jampa Thabgye, who appeared. Somebody with a bald head suddenly came out of the door, so Jampa Wangdu threw this thing. He did not realize it was the Geshe. The Geshe kept very quiet, this Geshe. He did not say anything, did not react. He just carried on walking. Then after some time, with his zen, he slowly wiped off the piece of snot.
This monk, this Geshe, his particular quality was having such an incredible good heart—he did not show any aspect of anger, not anything, did not say one word to him, just peacefully carried on walking. Then this monk, Jampa Wangdu, I guess he watched how this Geshe slowly took the snot off after some time.
Then another day, again he was doing the same thing for his friend and by accident one Geshe came. This Geshe got completely angry. This Geshe chased him—he got so angry I guess he wanted to beat him, you know, something like that. Then again he escaped. Sera monastery is quite large; it is not a small monastery like this. It is so large and there are many small sections, inside there are many small monasteries. So this monk called Jampa Wangdu crossed to the other side. There are maybe four main gates, walls around and then gates. He escaped to the other side, straight to the other side of the gate so this Geshe could not follow him, because he was running so fast. Anyway, he lived life like this in Tibet in the monastery, being so naughty, always fighting.
Anyway, after some time His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s younger tutor, whose holy name is Trijang Rinpoche, who recently passed away—at one place, I think at one of the monasteries which was founded by a recent lineage lama of the lam-rim teaching, the composer of the lineage of the mahaanuttara yoga tantra teaching, the highest tantra teaching, the most secret and profound Guru Puja—His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche was invited there, at this monastery founded by Tsecho Ling Rinpoche. When he was giving this teaching on Guru Puja, this monk Jampa Wangdu attended this teaching. Many monks, educated monks and also uneducated ones—I think by receiving this teaching many of them did not finish their study in the monastery. They did not finish their geshe degrees. Many of them left after that, after this teaching they did not go back to the monastery, many of them decided to leave and went to live on the mountains, in the solitary places, to live ascetic lives where there were ascetic lamas to guide them in the high mountains, in different places in Tibet. So many of the monks’ minds changed during that teaching and even though they did not finish their geshe degree—like a university degree—even though they did not finish their geshe studies they went to live ascetic lives, to practice and to actualize the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment.
So I think at that time, somehow during that teaching, he changed completely his mind, completely; that which was very naughty before, at that time somehow it completely changed. Then he went to see one very high lama, Patsun Rinpoche, who lived more than one hundred years, who used to be the holder of all four sects of the teaching—Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma and Gelug—so that many people, lamas from other sects came to receive teachings and initiations from him. He is a recognized embodiment of Tara. I think that lama passed away and then reincarnated in Kathmandu. So this lama was very happy with him, he gave him much advice.
Then he went to practice lam-rim in the caves where the Kadampa geshes lived, such as Kadampa Geshe Khamlungpa or Pulchungwa. Also I think he did “taking the essence.” When you have difficulties to find the means of living, when you have difficulty with finding food, there are practices that you can do, taking the essence of water, taking the essence of flower, taking the essence of stone. You make pills with those, pills of collections of water, pills with various flowers—there are ways to accomplish this with tantra meditation, ways to do retreat; and then even if you don’t find food, you can live on these pills, you can survive on them and you can do the practice. It has many advantages, the mind becoming very clear and then the body becoming very healthy and also young—it does not change much into the old aspect, the old age form. I think he did one of those retreats so that he does not have to go to the village to beg food all the time. In that way you get more time to continue your retreat, less distraction.
So when he was living in one of those Kadampa geshes’ caves he used to practice Jorcho, the preliminary practice of the lam-rim. He told me that he used to spend the whole day on Jorcho, from morning until night, just on Jorcho, putting much time in all those practices. Then after he escaped from Tibet to India, he continued his ascetic life and his experience of the lam-rim path. Normally in India he used to live in caves, not large caves, not like my cave which is very luxurious, having a lot of things inside, not like that. Very small, even your body can’t stand up straight, very small. He lived in such places for many years and continued his experiencing the path.
Many years ago he finished the experience of bodhicitta, of shunyata and of the thought of renouncing samsara—the three principles of the path. Many years ago, for him it is kind of very old, like the time you were learning ABCD. And also he completed shamatha, tranquil abiding, he completed those realizations. I think there are many signs that he has clairvoyance because he completed shamatha realization, tranquil abiding.
We are very close friends—he is one of the friends who makes the mind very happy, very happy to see and very happy to hear, very happy to talk with him any time, he brings the mind great joy. There are many signs that he has clairvoyance, many times in the conversation there are various signs that he understands, that he has clairvoyance.
Among the meditators who live an ascetic life in Dharamsala on the mountains, he used to be one of the closest to His Holiness Dalai Lama. Whenever he wants he can see His Holiness the Dalai Lama without need for an appointment. The meditators, when they have found certain realizations they always go to check. Those who are very close to his Holiness the Dalai Lama go to check the experience or to make an offering of the realization that they have found to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also sometimes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s tutors, His Holiness Ling Rinpoche and His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche they go to make offering, sometimes to check their experiences, sometimes to make offerings.
There are many meditators, so my talk becomes very long. There are many meditators nowadays who did experiment or who accomplished the experience of the lam-rim, the three principal paths. Also who are making experiments with the tantra path. There are many ascetic meditators in Dharamsala and also in the West who are on the way to achieve enlightenment, whose mind reached not only the first stage of the tantra path, the graduated path of generation, but even the second stage, the graduated path of accomplishment. There are meditators, Tibetan geshes, monks and meditators who have reached that level. It is not necessary to mention the names of the tantra path, the particular high realization that they have. Somebody who has received teachings, who understands, would get the feeling, “Oh, this is it.” They would get the feeling, they would understand. Faith would arise. But for some people who have no idea, even if I would mention the names it would not make any sense.
Last year or the year before—it might have been last year when I was there taking teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his palace, with some other ascetic monks, incarnate lamas and geshes, there was a group of people from the West, I think they were American. They requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama to experiment on those meditators. Not with the mind, but I think to check how much heat they can generate through meditation.
I think fifteen people or something like that went out on the mountains to some of the meditators’ place. I think they did not check all of them, they checked just one or two. I was very curious to hear what happened. I checked with my friend, this monk, what they discovered. For a long time I did not hear, it was kind of quiet. After some time I heard. I think they saw some result. They found what they wanted; they found some result of what these meditators had achieved. These meditators had already accomplished the realization of the three principal paths, and then on the basis of that they practice and experiment on the tantra path, the graduated path of accomplishment, the second stage.
Also we have a geshe, even in the center, in Manjushri Institute, whose mind reached very high levels long time ago, many years ago. I think even before he left for the West, a long time ago, he approached very high levels of the tantra path, the second one, the graduated path of accomplishment. The stages of the graduated path of accomplishment where it becomes definite, such as the seclusion of mind, those stages on which if one has realization, then that person, that meditator, has the definite possibility to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, like Milarepa
However, there are so many meditators, educated ones, geshes, experimenting on the path now, after they did all these extensive, profound studies, and there are uneducated ones, who did not do extensive studies in the monasteries, no extensive studies by debating, such as Jampa Wangdu, this monk, my friend. He did not do those things but somehow due to his past karma, somehow he has accumulated incredible merit from many past lives. Somehow, even though he did not do extensive studies, even though his early life was very naughty, his later life somehow became completely opposite, that you cannot imagine, that you can’t believe. You can’t imagine, you can’t put together his early life and his later life, his mind so rich of realizations. I’m losing my point.
Some meditators live in Dharamsala—those who live the ascetic life, those geshes, educated ones and those who are not educated, who did not do extensive studies in the monastery, who did not finish, did not have degrees, all those meditators make experiments on the path, the sutra and tantra path. They live in Dharamsala, in the mountains. And then also there are other meditators who don’t live in Dharamsala, but live in other different places, at their own places they make experiments and try to have the complete experience of the path. There are many others. One geshe who accomplished shamatha, tranquil abiding, the real one, shamatha, he wrote a letter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he made an offering of his realization to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by letter.
Here the older students who have received the teachings would understand a little, but as you are new, as most of you just started to hear teachings, you would not understand much—such as these three principal paths, the graduated path of tantra, of generation and accomplishment, what is explained in the teachings, what is explained in the scriptures by Buddha, by the pandits, those great yogis, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Lama Tsongkhapa, those realized lamas, those who themselves have accomplished and completed the experience of the path, and with the experience they taught the teachings, they gave commentaries.
The explanations on the path that are left by them, such as this teaching, which Shantideva explains in the Bodhicaryavatara, all these things, whether you can really generate the realization or not, as it is explained there, whether you can really experience that, whether you can really have the experience of that or not, whether you can have this bodhicitta in the mind, whether you can have the wisdom realizing shunyata, eliminating the root of samsara, the ignorance clinging to the “I” as truly existent. After having found the infallible teacher, the perfect teacher—who can show the path from beginning up to the end, up to enlightenment, the complete path, sutra and tantra—since one has met such a perfectly qualified teacher who can show the complete path without missing anything; since there are the teachings existing, then, whether you can generate realization, whether you can generate such as these realizations or not, the realization of the graduated path to enlightenment, such as the tantra realizations that Milarepa sings about, which makes him not an ordinary being, transcended, higher than ordinary beings, a great yogi who can transform poison into nectar, wine into nectar, who can transform kaka, excrement, into nectar, who has completely stepped over superstition. The realizations that Milarepa talks about, so proud—this does not mean he has pride—but what I am saying, what he is talking about, all these incredible experiences, all these things, since the teachings are existing, since you have met the teachings, since you have met such a perfectly qualified teacher, a virtuous friend, then whether one can realize the graduated path to enlightenment, whether one can become enlightened or not, like those previous pandits, those great yogis, Indians, in Nepal, in Tibet, after one has met the virtuous friend, the perfectly qualified virtuous teacher, and met the teachings.
Now the question is up to you, whether you can realize this path or not—the graduated path to enlightenment, whether you can become enlightened or not in this life is up to oneself, whether one correctly practices or not as it is explained by Buddha, as it is explained by the virtuous friend. The question is up to whether one practices or not. As long as from one’s own side one practices, from the side of the teachings there is no misleading. Definitely the way, the goal, whatever one wishes to achieve, liberation or omniscient mind, definitely it leads there, unless if from one’s own side one does not practice, if one does not follow it correctly—so the question is up to yourself, whether you can realize or not.
As long as from one’s own side one puts effort, one tries, one studies and one listens; in order to generate the realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment one should meditate, do the practice of meditation. To do that correctly, in order to find infallible perfect realization of the graduated path to enlightenment, one should do correct meditation. In order to do correct meditation one should have correct understanding, and in order to have correct understanding, one should do correct listening.
Generally speaking, correct listening depends on two things—it depends on the virtuous friend, on the teacher and it depends on the disciple. To do correct listening one should listen to infallible teachings and that depends on the teacher who has the infallible understanding of the teaching. If your goal is to achieve omniscient mind, then the virtuous friend whom you are following, whom you are depending on, should have infallible understanding of the whole path from the beginning, from guru devotion up to enlightenment. He should be able to reveal the whole path. So it depends on a perfectly qualified guru who can reveal the complete path, without missing.
If the virtuous teacher is like this, then the disciple is a receptacle disciple. What “receptacle disciple” means is this: the main thing, the most important thing about the disciple is to be a receptacle. That means the disciple who can bear the hardships of practicing Dharma, who has the patience to practice Dharma, who is not expecting to receive enlightenment sitting on a comfortable bed, expecting to receive enlightenment within this hour, within three years, within six months, within one month. Who does not expect to receive enlightenment by living a luxury life, always wearing warm clothes, always sitting on a comfortable warm bed, always eating delicious food. Without talking much, it is not a person who does not want to spend much time to practice, to follow the path, who does not want to accumulate much merit, who does not wish to accumulate merit for three countless great eons, who does not wish to do the practice of purification for many hundreds of eons. One who expects with a lot of sleep, with a lot of eating, to receive enlightenment easily, comfortably, who can’t bear any hardships. For such a disciple there is no hope to receive enlightenment in this life—for a disciple who can’t face any difficulties, who has very little patience, who can’t face any difficulties, it is difficult to generate even the fundamental realizations, leave aside the realizations of tantra.
One cannot even do pure Dharma practice—one who seeks so much the happiness for this life, one who clings too much to the happiness of this life. And then one who cherishes oneself so much, one who has only the thought of the happiness of this life, nothing else, no thought of the happiness of future lives. No concern even for one’s own happiness of future lives, nothing which differentiates one from the animal; the attitude that is not higher or special, which doesn’t differentiate from the animals, from the buffaloes, from those dogs, from those barking dogs. Even just pure Dharma practice, leave aside generating realizations, even pure Dharma practice; for such as that person it is difficult to practice Dharma.
As His Holiness the Fifth Dalai Lama said, if the guru is a perfectly qualified guru, who reveals the complete path up to omniscient mind without missing anything, and if the disciple is a receptacle disciple, which means one who can bear hardships, then how easily enlightenment comes. What His Holiness himself said, the example that he used is the block of a statue. When you print that on mud it comes there exactly, the figure comes on the mud exactly as what is there on the block, it comes exactly there, without missing anything. Like that, how the disciple generates the realizations of the path to enlightenment, how the disciple becomes enlightened is so easy, like taking a picture, like the photo. When there is such a perfectly qualified teacher and such a qualified disciple, and those two meet together, then enlightenment comes so easy. Like the dough, the flour that is mixed with water, the dough that you can so easily make into any shape with the hands, if you want to make noodles, if you want to make bread, or whichever shape you want to make, you can make so easily. Like that, if the perfectly qualified teacher and the qualified disciple meet together, then enlightenment is so easy, like handmade.
Now, this moment, there are still many perfectly qualified teachers who can show the complete path to enlightenment without missing anything. One can find one, one can meet one now—there are still many living whose minds are living in the experience of the path. There is the opportunity to find such perfectly qualified teachers, to receive teachings and the correct, pure, complete understanding of the teaching, the experience of the path, the realizations of the path—those teachings exist in the mind of those perfectly qualified teachers. They still exist, the teaching is not degenerated yet, the teaching of sutra and tantra both, which reveal the complete path to omniscient mind, exist. One has the opportunity.
From one’s own side, if one has not found the perfect human body qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, from one’s own side if one has not found a human body, then one cannot follow this, then there is no opportunity to practice. Even though the teaching exists, if one has not received the body that can practice, has not received the opportunity to practice, then it is difficult, then one cannot practice. So from one’s own side one has received the precious human body; not only a human body but a human body which is qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. That is the perfect human body; one has found the perfect human body.
When these three things are gathered: the perfect human body from one’s own side, the perfect virtuous teacher, and not only the teachings of Buddha existing, but the complete teaching of sutra and tantra existing—all these three precious things are gathered, which are so difficult to gather, are gathered now. So while there is the incredible opportunity to do listening, reflecting and meditating on the infallible path, on the complete path to enlightenment, while there is such an incredible opportunity, without knowing this, without recognizing this, not being careful, being careless—not knowing this opportunity, being careless of your own life.
Again, after all these, in so many past lives, in many hundreds of past lives we prayed so much, we accumulated much merit, we practiced much moral conduct with much hardship. How hard we find it even to keep one precept, to not kill and to not tell lies; how difficult it is to keep even one precept to not tell lies, to not have sexual misconduct, how hard we find it, how difficult it is not to use intoxicants, not to drink wine. It is difficult according to individuality—the different precepts we find difficult according to the different individuality but however, in general how difficult it is, how we find it difficult even to take one vow, besides this, to practice, besides living in it, continuously living in it without breaking it. How difficult it is if we relate to this present life, this present mind. Even if we took the vow in the presence of Buddha, in the presence of the abbot, in the presence of the guru, it is very difficult to keep it continuously. However, we have had so many lifetimes, so many past lives practicing moral conduct with much hardship, making much charity and making so many prayers to find this perfect human body. In so many lifetimes you made prayers.
After all this, finally when you find this perfect human body, after all these hardships, creating the causes for this, praying so much then finally, after one has found this perfect human body, while having all these opportunities, after having found this precious human body qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, these eighteen rare things, qualified with eighteen precious things, which are so difficult to gather together—usually there is always something missing, it is imperfect. Finally, after one has found this, even if you meet the teachings revealed by Buddha who himself followed this path, who liberated himself from the two obscurations and became enlightened—the path that he has gone through and that he taught with that experience—even if you meet these infallible teachings, then, you see, besides not having the thought to practice, to actualize, to subdue the mind in this life, while one has met such precious teachings to subdue the mind, to check whether you can subdue the mind, whether you can make some change to this mind, some progression to this mind in this life, besides that—not even listening to the teaching, not even trying to understand and trying to check whether it is worthwhile to practice or not. How it is.
Even though there is the opportunity to hear teachings from qualified geshes, from perfectly qualified teachers who have spent their whole life in study, who did extensive study, who did deep study, who did much checking, who cut off much doubt by study, by deep study, by checking. Even though there are qualified teachers who are themselves living in the practice, so that there is no danger of misleading—not even trying to understand the teaching and check whether it is worthwhile to practice or not, to check and understand how it is what Buddha said. Not even doing that, just hanging around. Just completely wasting time, nothing to get, no future life, there is nothing to say that you will have a good future life and this present life good, you have happiness. Nothing to say, nothing to point out; empty of this life, empty of future life; nothing to say, “Oh, you will have a good future life and much happiness, you will receive a perfect human body, better than this life.” There is nothing to point out that there is something better in a future life, and even for this life, happiness, a good life, satisfaction, nothing to point out, completely empty. There is nothing good to get in this life, nothing good to get in the future life. Just very poor, very poor minded, unskillful.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself said in the teaching, “Bhikshus, the learned ones, check well my teaching, like you check gold, whether it is pure or not.” By cutting you check gold whether it is pure or not. By cutting, by rubbing and by burning—you check whether the gold is pure or not by doing these three. Like that. “Bhikshus, learned ones, check well, check my teaching like you check gold. Check well, then practice.” Not only by blind faith, not only by that. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself said how to check whether it is worthwhile to practice.
When you go to buy materials or clothing, when you go to buy food, when you go to buy fruit in the market, when you buy a car you check, you check carefully. Even to buy fruit for lunch, you try to check, then, of course, if that is worthwhile to spend time checking, then why not the teaching of Buddha? Even if you don’t practice, check, try to understand, check whether it is worthwhile to practice. Without understanding, how can you check, there is no way to check. So in order to check, in order to find out whether it is worthwhile to practice or not, whether it is something that you want to practice, something that is worthwhile for you to practice or not. First one should have understanding. You have to check with wisdom.
It is a great loss, a great loss to not even try to understand. Whether one practices or not is in your hand, but first there is need for understanding. In order to check and in order to understand there is need to study. Without doing even this there is nothing to point out in life, nothing to benefit, no thought or action to benefit others. There is nothing that you can point out: this is an action to benefit for yourself, nothing to point out, it is completely empty—empty of benefit for others, empty of benefit to yourself. Empty. Completely.
Then sooner or later, as one hangs around, round, round, expecting this, expecting that, “Maybe this is good for my life, maybe that is good for my life, maybe that is good for my life, maybe I try this, maybe I try that, maybe now I try this. Now I am bored, I am not comfortable, I am bored of this, maybe after this, this…” Then, while one is hanging around and around and around, doing this and that, then, one day, one hour while you are doing something, while you are traveling or while you are eating food, even without completing the food that is in the plate, one reaches the future life, the future life happens. Even without having the opportunity to eat the rest of the food one has to go. Suddenly death happens, life is finished.
How much we regret, “Oh, I did not get anything done in my life, now I am dying.” As you breathe out it is difficult to breathe in, very loose, very strong, double, very strong to breathe out, very difficult to breathe in, very weak to breathe in. Then, as much as you regret your life, “I did not get anything done to benefit others, there is nothing good that I have done in this life,” however much one feels regretful at the time of death, however much one sees fearful karmic visions happening around that other people cannot see but you see, like a dream, the karmic visions, which are the signs to go to the lower realms of the narak, preta and animal; fearful visions, then a lot of screams come out of the mouth, “I see this, I see that, oh I get beaten, I get this and that,” a lot of screams, the other people around, family, relatives, can’t see anything, like a crazy person. As much as you see, like a dream, other people cannot see another person’s dream. He is scared of his dream but other people around cannot see his dream, like that. However many fearful karmic visions he experiences or however much he screams, because the signs of going to the lower realms started already from the death time on, then the time is finished, it is too late to practice Dharma.
I am going to stop soon. However the conclusion, without talking much, is this. You see, after all this, after we have found this precious human body then again we live the life without practicing Dharma, the holy Dharma. If we pass the life, the time, by doing only meaningless actions, non-virtuous actions, only the work for this life, passing the time by only doing the works for this life, or by doing non-virtuous actions. Actually if you let your life pass like this, doing only meaningless work, non-virtuous actions by following the three poisonous minds, purposely we have taken this human body, we have created so many causes with much hardships, and have taken this human body purposely to create negative karma. We create so much cause with much hardship, taking this human body in order to go to the lower realms. It is like purposely one came from the lower realms to the upper realm, the human realm, in order to create negative karma. We came up to create negative karma. It is like that.
If we pass our lifetime doing only meaningless work, the work of this life, non-virtuous actions, then you see, we are more ignorant than animals, in this way we are more foolish than animals. Why? Because animals can’t practice Dharma, they can’t meditate, they cannot understand, they have no opportunity to understand teachings because they don’t have a human body. They have limitations from the side of the body—they don’t have a human body so there is no opportunity to understand, to practice. But with our body, with the human body there is the opportunity to practice, to understand and to practice. So you see, while we have the opportunity, if we pass the time, if we pass life doing non-virtuous actions, we are more foolish, more ignorant than the turtle, than pigs, more ignorant than pigs. There is no one more ignorant, more foolish than this.
So we should check whether we can subdue our minds in this life, in this body, by listening, reflecting and meditating on the teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment. Especially we should check whether we can generate bodhicitta. Then, in that way even this life becomes happy. By practicing the good heart this life is happy and even future lives are happy. One is happy and also it causes others also to be happy. However, we should try, as much as possible we should check whether we can generate bodhicitta by training the mind in this.
I think I stop here.
I went too much over time.
Lecture 12: November 23rd am
From the holy speech of my guru, the great bodhisattva, Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen, “If one doesn’t have bodhicitta in the mind, what is the use of being learned? If one doesn’t have bodhicitta in the mind, what is the use of being strict? If one doesn’t have bodhicitta in the mind, what is the use of being noble or generous? If one doesn’t have bodhicitta in the mind, what is the use even of being generous? Therefore, one must cherish bodhicitta.”
What Khunu Lama Rinpoche is advising is that however much the person is learned, having a high degree, a doctorate or whatever, even if one has much education, the highest degree in psychology, science, biology, all these things, even if one knows all the different countries on the earth, even if the person speaks all the different languages—if his mind is empty of the ultimate good heart, bodhicitta, then even if he spends so much of his life and time and puts that much energy into receiving all this education, still there is no peace in his mind. Still there are the same thoughts, still there is dissatisfaction in the mind, still there are relationship problems. And no matter how much education the person has, it doesn’t benefit others. Even if the person has such a great education, it’s all used for his own happiness. Due to the lack of bodhicitta, even the education, which he has achieved by studying with much hardship for many years, is dedicated purely for his own comfort. Still there is no peace in the mind.
Then not only that, but even somebody who has studied all the sutras and tantras, who can explain them well, who has memorized all the words of the sutra and tantra teachings, even if he can say all the eighty-four thousand teachings that are revealed by Buddha by heart and explain them, even if he can do this, even if he is that much learned—if there is a lack of bodhicitta, it is difficult for the person to be able to offer extensive benefits to others.
Even in everyday life, in order for the mind to be happy, like the minds of those who have bodhicitta, even if one has all this intellectual understanding of the sutra and tantra teachings, even if one is so learned and educated in the scriptures, the extensive texts, and the philosophy teachings such as the debating subjects, even if one is so learned that nobody can defeat that person by debating them, as long as the mind is not subdued by bodhicitta, as long as the mind is still empty of bodhicitta, then even in everyday life it is difficult to have peace, difficult to have even temporary happiness—there is the problem of selfishness. But even if one is not much learned but one has bodhicitta in the mind, then even with the little education that one has whatever action of body, speech, and mind one does is of extensive benefit to others.
Also if one doesn’t have bodhicitta in the mind, what is the use of being strict? Even one lives a very strict life, without need to depend on food, one’s whole life lived in a solitary place, in silence, not seeing anybody; even if one lives in the two hundred and fifty-three precepts, purely, or for the female ones three hundred and sixty, I think now there is need for more—anyway I am joking—three hundred and sixty precepts, keeping them pure, there is no comparison between living in these precepts with bodhicitta and living in these precepts with no bodhicitta. When we talk about the advantages: which has the greatest advantage—living in the precepts having bodhicitta in the mind, or living in these precepts purely, strictly, without breaking them, but the mind being empty of bodhicitta? That doesn’t have as much advantage as living in these precepts having bodhicitta in the mind.
People think of somebody who lives in a solitary place, who doesn’t see anybody, who lives the whole life in silence—that that is the greatest essence of this life. However, if the mind of that person is empty of bodhicitta, if the mind of the practitioner who lives all his life like this is empty of bodhicitta, if he lives that life with worldly concern, there is no need to even talk about, what he is doing does not even become holy Dharma, it doesn’t even become virtue. Then after some time even if all the teeth fall out—anyway, like this, if he doesn’t have bodhicitta in the mind, what is the use? We are talking about the greatest advantage, the most beneficial thing for the life, what we should do to receive the greatest benefits for others.
You see, even if the person is normally generous, has a good heart, is happy to help others, happy to help those who have no material, those who have poverty, gives education to those who don’t have education, gives food to animals and things like that, even if the person is normally generous like this, his good heart may not cover all sentient beings. Generally his mind is generous, but he doesn’t have bodhicitta—wishing all the sentient beings to be free from suffering and wishing to lead them to the state of omniscient mind. The thought of loving kindness and great compassion, bodhicitta—if one doesn’t have this—of course it is good, having that much generous mind, it is good, doing that much generous action. But it doesn’t have as great an advantage as having bodhicitta in the mind.
You see, if one does not have bodhicitta in the mind, if the mind is empty of that, one cannot achieve the omniscient mind and in that way one cannot offer the greatest benefit of liberating all sentient beings from all suffering and leading them to the state of omniscient mind—the greatest benefit one can offer. There are always limitations in your method, in your understanding.
Therefore, Khunu Lama Rinpoche is advising that if you want to make your life highly meaningful, most beneficial for others, if you want to have the greatest profit in your life, then it is not enough to try to be learned. One should not be satisfied with that. Also, trying to be very strict—also not this. Even the mind being generous, giving others temporal benefits—one shouldn’t be satisfied, one shouldn’t practice just only that. The most important, most beneficial thing is to generate bodhicitta. In that way one also becomes learned, as one seeks the methods to benefit others. The bodhisattva learns anything that could be beneficial for others. In order to benefit others, the bodhisattva learns and studies anything that is necessary for others, derived from this bodhicitta, cherishing others. Then also, by having bodhicitta, strictness also comes. Not letting oneself come under the control of self-cherishing thought, not letting oneself come under the control of anger, under the control of the unsubdued mind; strictness from the unsubdued mind, from the negative karma. If one has bodhicitta there is also strictness—a strict practice comes. And then bodhicitta itself—among the good hearts it is the ultimate good heart, the greatest.
So in order to plant the seed of bodhicitta in our mind and also to make the present action of listening to the teaching become the cause to achieve omniscient mind, the method to be able to offer extensive benefits to other sentient beings, you should listen to the teachings, such as the Mahayana teaching Entering in the Bodhisattva’s Actions, possessed by the motive of bodhicitta. So please generate a brief motivation for listening to the teaching. Think, “At any rate I must achieve the state of omniscient mind for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings. Therefore I’m going to listen to the commentary to the Bodhicaryavatara.”
If a non-bodhisattva gets angry with another non-bodhisattva then, the way the anger destroys the merit… An example is when one makes prostrations to the holy object, the Triple Gem. If there is one atom covered—it is not possible, but just to get the idea clear—when the person makes one prostration if there is one atom covered by his body, he accumulates extensive merit to take birth as a wheel-turning king one thousand times.
The reason wheel-turning king is used as example in the sutra teachings by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is because to be born as a wheel-turning king one time, one needs infinite merit as the cause, because a wheel-turning king has a perfect body. Not only that, he has incredible power, enjoyments, possessions and surroundings, such as the king of devas like Indra—kings who own, who control one, two, three or four continents. The kings of the pure realms such as Shambhala, the king of the Kalachakra pure realm, like that. There are different kinds of wheel-turning kings, with perfect bodies, incredible power, enjoyments, and surroundings—such as the king of Shambhala, the pure realm of Kalachakra Buddha. This is unimaginable; there is no comparison with the enjoyments of the pure realm of Kalachakra, Shambhala. Even if all the American possessions were collected together—in the world everybody recognizes, everybody prays, everybody finds attraction in American power and wealth, everybody’s nirvana is to go to America; once you reach there you have received nirvana, not seeing the problems that are going to be experienced by being there. Kind of once you reach America you are liberated from suffering, like that. However, if all the world’s possessions and enjoyments were collected—the places, the food, the enjoyments of this whole earth put together—there would be no comparison. It is a hundred times, a thousand times, much better. However, to be born a wheel-turning king, one has to create infinite causes; one has to create so much merit. So therefore Guru Shakyamuni Buddha used the example of a wheel-turning king to get an idea of merit, how incredibly much merit is accumulated by making even one prostration.
So, if there is one atom under the body, it creates the extensive merit to be born as a wheel-turning king one thousand times. In fact, when we make one prostration, how many atoms the body covers is uncountable. From the surface of the ground into the earth down to the bottom where it finishes there are an uncountable numbers of atoms, so one accumulates incredible merit by making one prostration to the holy object, Buddha. However many atoms there are, it creates the merit to be born as a wheel-turning king one thousand times equaling the number of atoms, so one accumulates unbelievable merit, causes of happiness and perfections. So if one wishes, if one desires happiness, happiness for this life, happiness for the future lives, even if one seeks power like a wheel-turning king, one should attempt as much as possible to create the cause of happiness, by methods such as the practice of prostrations, purifying unimaginable obscurations and negative karmas, accumulating extensive merit.
However, it does not mean that if one makes prostration that the merit that one achieves from that is only to be born as a wheel-turning king. This is just an example of how much extensive merit one accumulates, an idea, but what it becomes mainly depends on where you dedicate your merit. Which purpose you dedicate the merit. Like if you are riding on a horse, the horse runs according to which way you pull the rein, the rope. The horse runs in dependence on that, and then you can reach the place that you want to reach. So dedication of merit is like the reins that make the horse face the right direction.
However, any merit, any virtue that is accumulated in relationship to Buddha, even the idols, the symbolic figures, any virtuous action that is generated in relation to Buddha, not only prostrations but any virtuous action that is accumulated in relation to Buddha definitely becomes the cause of enlightenment, all the time, without depending on the particular motivation.
So the point of what I’m saying is this. If a non-bodhisattva gets angry at another non-bodhisattva, the duration of the time of enjoying the result becomes shortened and the power of the merit becomes weaker. Without arising anger you can enjoy the result for a long time. It’s like with a battery that doesn’t have much power, which doesn’t last a long time, like that.
Also, how heavy the karma is that is done in relationship to the holy beings, such as the bodhisattva, even the small negative action that is done in relationship to a holy being, a bodhisattva, how heavy it is, is like taking out the eyes of all the sentient beings of the three realms, the realm of the form, formless and the desire realm. Taking out all their eyes…
[end of tape]
…much more heavy that that. And looking at the bodhisattva with cross eyes one time, creating the negative karma of disrespecting is much heavier than taking out the eyes of the sentient beings of the three realms.
And even the small virtuous action that is accumulated in relation to a bodhisattva, such a holy being, is incredibly powerful, it creates much more merit. Just looking at a bodhisattva’s holy face, holy body, just looking at it with a calm mind, devoted, thinking how good, how pure it is, just looking at a bodhisattva respectfully, with a calm mind, one accumulates much more merit than—I think than guiding the lives of sentient beings in the three realms. Even—I’m not quite sure of this—even giving food to that many sentient beings for eons, I think there is something like this also.
So even a small virtuous action, a good action done in relation to a holy being, what incredible merit one accumulates; and even a small non-virtuous action done in relation to a holy being creates such heavy karma, the cause of suffering, which one will have to experience for such a long time. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained this in the teaching.
We don’t even have ordinary clairvoyance, besides not having omniscient mind to see clearly each and every sentient being’s level of mind without the slightest mistake. We don’t even have ordinary clairvoyance to see what exactly is going to happen tomorrow in our life, and we cannot see even what exactly is going to happen this evening, even by time, even the very close things. We cannot even recognize what the disease in our body is.
How can we discriminate? Since we cannot understand, since we cannot see the level of other’s mind, how can we discriminate? Only by the reason that in your view you see that the person is such and such, ordinary, you see the person as an ordinary person, doing mistakes, having suffering, having delusions, doing mistakes in his actions—just by these reasons, only by the reason that it appears like this to your mind, that he has mistakes according to your view, only that cannot prove that the other being’s mind is not buddha, is not bodhisattva. That alone, your own projection, is no proof; your view is the projection or production of your karma, of your mind.
Your view, the projection of your own karma, depends on how pure the karma is, how pure your mind is. Depending on that you see the object. Also, one who is an enlightened being, one who is a bodhisattva, also how you see that being as pure depends on how pure your karma is, how pure your mind is. Dependent on how thin the karmic obscurations are, you see that enlightened being also as that pure.
Like the telescope—depending on the quality of the telescope or how clear the telescope is, you can see a much larger, clearer view. The individual karmic view of any object—whatever object, sentient beings, buddha, bodhisattva, any object that one perceives—how it appears to one’s mind, how one perceives it, the view of suffering, the view of happiness, the view of beautiful objects, the view of ugly objects—all this is the production of and the result of karma, pure and impure karma.
Without talking much, there are so many stories to tell about different people’s experiences—what one person sees another person does not see, he sees it a different way, he sees something completely opposite, different from what other people see. All of us, even when we look at one person—some people will find that person nice, beautiful, some people will find the person ugly, some will feel indifferent—different views. What we look at is one object, that person, but because we have different minds some find the same object beautiful, some find it indifferent. For some just by seeing the person’s face anger arises—they don’t want to even look at the person’s face, and some are so happy to look at that person’s body.
Same thing, similar, when we all look at one place, there will also be different views. Also with food, different views; when many people eat the same food some people find it delicious, some people find it disgusting. All these different views are the result of karma, the objects of the six senses, bad and good—all this is the result of karma.
We cannot prove, even by saying, “I actually saw it,” “I actually saw this person get angry,” “I actually saw this person having attachment,” “I actually saw the person stealing.” “I actually saw… ” —even that alone does not prove that that being has delusion, that that being is not an enlightened being. Because I actually see it, that alone doesn’t prove anything. When you take drugs, as long as the power of the drug, the power of the element has not gone away, you see all the dust as worms. You actually see all the worms moving, you actually see this You actually see all the dust as worms, as if the whole ground is full of worms. For your mind, you actually see it. And also with bile disease, bile fever, you see the white color as yellow—the white snow mountain is yellow in color. You actually see it. For your mind you actually see it. And from a distance—in the West I did not see them, you see it more in India, more in primitive places—in order to protect the crops in the field, to keep the wild pigs and also birds from coming to eat the corn or rice and they put something, not professional like mannequins in the West, but they make something—they wrap a stick with cloth, and it looks like it has hands, a head—something black standing there, a scarecrow. That mannequin, until you come nearby, you believe to be a real person. Until this goes away you actually see a real person, “I really see it, look there. I really see it.” Until it goes away, until it disappears, until you come nearby; until you get proof that it’s not real, either by coming nearby or somebody explaining to you that it is not real. But until the view of the real person disappears, the person says, “I actually see it.”
So, just by the reason that I actually see it, “I actually see it in front of my eyes,” that doesn’t mean anything, that alone doesn’t prove anything. Your view, how you see a sentient being, that alone does not prove that a person is this or that, that it is not a buddha, not a bodhisattva. That alone is not proof. You can understand from this example.
Also, if you put the reason, the way things appear to our mind, things appear as permanent—it doesn’t mean they are permanent. Things appear to our mind as permanent even though they are not permanent. In regards to how things appear to our mind, in our view, if whatever appears to our mind is true, if all that is true, then the mannequin that you see as a real person should be a real person. Other people should also see it as a real person. Also the scarecrow—if everything that appears in our view true for your eyes or your mind, then that also should be a real person. And also the things that appear as permanent should be permanent.
Even the “I”, even this “I,” which is in fact completely empty of existing from its own side, if it were true that it exists as it appears to one’s own mind, then it should exist by itself, it should be independent. Then there is no reason why we should change all the time, whenever the mind does something, whenever the body does different actions, whenever the feet do different actions there would be no reason to change, no point to change, no point to label it with a different name. There would be no point if it was independent, existing without depending on the labeling base, the aggregates, and the thought and the name that we label on that—then there would be no point at all. Then we should be able to exist without depending on a label. The self, a being should be able to exist, whatever different actions the aggregates do, without labeling on the aggregates, “I am doing this, I am doing that, I’m suffering, I’m happy,” this and that. Without labeling, there is no way. Without a label there is no way that it can exist. Without labeling the being, or self, whatever it is called, whether the name is an English word, a Tibetan word or an Indian word, whatever it is, it is a label. There is no way for it to exist without a label.
There was something, I’m trying to remember, but I forgot.
However, it is clear, it is not independent, it is clear how it is dependent—even by checking now how the “I” exists, what the “I” is doing now, in everyday life experience one can understand how the “I” is dependent, merely labeled; it’s not completely true. The “I” that appears as independent, as existing by itself; which appears and which we believe in, is completely empty. Even, like this, there is nothing to trust. Whatever appears in our view, whatever we believe, just by this reason it doesn’t prove that the object has to be this. So you see, if you always trust, if you completely trust all the time, then there is great danger, you receive great loss. Another way of saying it is that you put yourself in problems, in suffering. You trap yourself in the problem of prison.
So the conclusion is this. Even in India, an unimaginable time ago…
<end of tape>
…appears Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself, without any effort, like the moon rising—when the moon rises, there are uncountable numbers of reflections of the moon in the various waters on this earth. When there are no obstacles, clouds or fog or rocks or something covering the water, when there are no obstacles, there are uncountable numbers of reflections of the moon equal to the waters of this earth, without any effort, without any thought or motivation from the side of the moon, such as, “I am going to reflect in the water.” Without any thought or motive, automatically the reflection of the moon in the water happens. Like this, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, after he became enlightened, manifested in the sambhogakaya aspect, in the aspect of the deities that you see in the tangkas such as Vajradhara, Yamantaka and Heruka, the various aspects of Buddha. He then transformed the mandala, then initiated the tantra teachings with that aspect. At the same time, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, in the aspect of nirmanakaya, the holy body of the sublime transformation, adorned with the signs—the thirty-two holy signs, the significations, then eighty exemplifications—in the nirmanakaya aspect revealed at the same time different teachings at different places for different levels of mind. This is done continuously with the holy body, holy speech and holy mind, doing the works according to the level of mind of the sentient beings.
When Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India, usually in going for alms his holy feet never touched the ground. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha walked one inch above the ground, without touching the ground. And the creatures, the worms under Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s feet, over which Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy feet passed, even these creatures were in great bliss for seven days and also were not born in the lower realms after death, things like that.
In the general view, other people saw one arm’s length of beams that came from his holy body. In the general view, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s body was so magnificent, incredibly beautiful. As much as you look at it, you never get bored; you never finish looking at it. Just seeing him gives incredible bliss in the mind, incredible calmness in the mind. One person sees Guru Shakyamuni Buddha facing this way, but the person behind him sees Guru Shakyamuni facing and looking at him.
But at that time some of the Hindu followers who followed a path opposite to the Buddhist teaching, some of those wrong followers often criticized Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. They were jealous of him for doing incredible work for sentient beings. They had much heresy. These founders could not even see the one arm’s length of beams that the general people could see. They could not see that. When they met Guru Shakyamuni Buddha they saw a very ordinary monk who did not have any holy signs, such as chakras in the hands and feet—just a very simple poor ordinary monk. However, the problem was not that Guru Shakyamuni was not enlightened; it was not that. The problem is the heavy karmic obscuration, having created much negative karma by heresy and things like that, their minds were obscured so that they couldn’t see even the aspect that other people could generally see.
Like this, there are so many examples you can find about how the view is dependent on pure karma and impure karma—the pure view and the impure view.
So the point I’m making is that since we cannot discriminate who is Buddha and who is not Buddha, we have to be very careful. In regards to the side of creating virtuous actions, there is no danger with any object, with any being. Especially with the guru, the Buddha, a bodhisattva, the Dharma or Sangha, there is only great profit if we act in a virtuous way. There is no danger, no need to doubt about danger. But with such holy objects, if you create even a small non-virtuous action, a little bit wrong, the object, the holy being is so powerful that the karma is very heavy, it has many shortcomings. Therefore, since we do not wish suffering, even a small discomfort, we have to be very careful not to create the cause; we have to attempt not to create the cause.
Therefore, the whole point of this morning’s talk is that when we are with other beings, especially when your mind is in danger of having anger arise, when you are in the situation in which anger can arise, or harm, or saying some bad words, doing some bad, harmful action or in danger of ill will arising, during those times you should be very cautious, you should think, “Maybe he is Buddha, maybe a bodhisattva, how can I tell? How can I know? My mind is so ignorant, my view is dependent on my mind, my karma.” So like that one should give advice to oneself to be cautious.
Like when you are going over a very dangerous trail where it is very easy to slip and fall down a precipice, or on a very dangerous, unsafe bridge, where there is danger, you should be very careful. Similarly, we should be very careful with other sentient beings. Otherwise there is the danger of throwing oneself in the lower realms. Easily. Just the way you move your lips, a little bit your tongue goes, a little bit you put it together, then easily you will fall into the precipice, into the lower realms. Therefore, while we have the opportunity we should be careful.
I stop here.
Lecture 13, November 24th am
Praise to Manjushri.
I bow down to you Guru Manjushri,
O compassionate one,
Illuminate the darkness enclosing my mind
From the holy speech of my guru, the great bodhisattva, Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen, from The Precious Lamp Admiring Bodhicitta, “Generate bodhicitta, if you wish to benefit yourself. If you wish to benefit others, generate bodhicitta. If you wish to offer service to the teachings, generate bodhicitta. If you wish the path to happiness, generate bodhicitta.”
Rinpoche is advising according to his own experience, according to what he discovered: the best way to benefit you, the best way to benefit others, the best way to offer service to the teachings, the best way to offer service to sentient beings and the best way even to achieve the path to happiness. According to him—a great pandit, a great meditator, a great yogi who completed the study of listening, reflecting and meditation practice on the complete teachings of Buddha, sutra and tantra, whose holy mind is enriched with the experience of the path, Khunu Lama Rinpoche—what he discovered, according to that he gives advice. Not just out of blind faith, or not like a psychologist saying it might be this, it may be that, like doctors guessing what disease the patient has, trying to guess. There is no exact understanding of the problem of that person, the root of the problem of that person but trying to guess, mentioning some method, unsure whether it will benefit or not, unsure whether it works or not for that person. It is not like that. Like the scientist trying to experiment—maybe it is right, maybe it is wrong, maybe it works that way, maybe it does not work, making experiments. It is not like that.
Even if you are not concerned for others, even if you don’t have any thought to benefit others, to offer service to others, even if the thought you have is only to benefit yourself, only for yourself to be happy, if that is what you wish, even for that there is the need of the good heart. Even for that it is best to have the ultimate good heart of bodhicitta. Through this, by generating bodhicitta, one can accomplish even the highest happiness—among the happiness even the highest happiness, the state of omniscient mind. One can accomplish even this. Besides, any temporal happiness and perfection, whatever one wishes, one can easily accomplish. Even for each day’s means of living, it is so important, of the utmost need for the mind to be happy. For the mind to be happy is so important, it is of the utmost need: the bodhicitta, the good heart, that is the best, bodhicitta.
For example: parents, father and mother. Even if the father is very impatient, if the mother is not that impatient, if her mind is in the nature of the thought of loving kindness, in the nature of patience, anger does not rise that much in her mind—her mind is usually, mostly, in the nature of patience. Even if the anger arises it does not last long. It is only very rarely that it arises, and even if the anger arises, it does not last a long time—after one or two or three minutes it goes away, it disappears. So even though one of the parents is very impatient, as long as the other person is practicing patience, living in the practice of patience, usually it is rare to get angry, and even if the anger arises it does not last a long time. After one or two minutes it disappears, you see. This makes a big difference in the harmony, in the peace, in the relationship.
Even if the other person keeps on screaming all the time, the father—if it is a couple you know, husband and wife—either the wife screams all the time, very impatient, when the husband does a little bit of something wrong, coming home a little bit late after work, from the job, after four o’clock or five o’clock, maybe one hour or two hours late. The wife hears or sees the husband is going with somebody in the bars or to a party, going with another new girlfriend, or she hears somebody is pregnant. There is another girlfriend who has been kept secret by her husband for some years, then one day the wife hears the girlfriend is pregnant. Somebody makes a phone call or she makes a phone call, she discovers through friends or somebody. Then her heart is completely broken. Then she becomes completely crazy, beating herself—she cannot beat the husband, so she beats herself, beating the chest, then pulls her own hair.
Or else the husband... even if he makes money he does not bring it all home or he always comes back home drunk after he finishes his job, his work. He does not bring enough money; he spends it to drink or gives it to others. Then again the wife becomes mad. Like a session of meditation—the husband comes back home, then they start the session of fighting, after work, after four o’clock. In the morning before going to work there is another session of fighting, another meditation on fighting. The wife criticizes the husband, the husband criticizes the wife, then maybe they go for dinner and, after they come back, again there is another session of fighting. Before going to sleep, maybe they have a long fight, a very late sleep. Anyway, you know more than I do. I don’t need to repeat.
If the husband is busy, doing some work for other, helping others, he does not have much time to talk to the wife, to see the wife even for one or two days, just a few days he is so busy working for others, helping them, that he could not relax with her, could not find much time to see her. Then the wife becomes jealous or angry that he is not paying any more attention, or not looking after the baby, always only, “I have to do… ” He does not take care, he does not pay attention, even for one day or two days, even just for a few days, he is busy with other people, helping other people, doing some work for others. However, then the wife becomes very nervous, very impatient. Whatever it is, then like this.
In a couple, there is also much fighting about expense. If the husband does not have much miserliness, the wife screams after the husband when he brings bills, buying things, screaming that he spends too much money, or because he does not come at the right time the food gets burned. You know… I’m joking.
However, you see, either the wife is impatient or the husband usually has great anger, but if both parents, the father and mother, the husband and wife both have very strong anger, if both minds are like a rock, like iron, very solid, then it is very difficult to get along. First of all for a long time, for months and years, for months and months, years and years, they attempt, working hard, making money, working very hard on that project, making many plans, thinking, “If I can live with this person, how it would be fantastic, how it would be great,” thinking “If I can live with her or him my life would be such and such, so happy.” Then, to accomplish that aim, month after month, year after year working so hard, to be able to live together; collecting the money or whatever it is, whatever arrangement has to be done, then with great excitement in the mind, great excitement to live together, to get married. Then one makes big expenses for the wedding, big preparation, gathering parents, all the relative, all the friends, big expenses.
Then, in the beginning when the opportunity to be together happens, there is much excitement and they are inseparable even for a minute. They can’t stand to be without the other person; they can’t wait even an hour without being together with the other person. Then one day goes, two days go, three days, then gradually—before you didn’t understand the other’s person mind so much, you only saw his or her body. You were interested in the body but you didn’t understand the mind. Then by living together, one day goes, two days go, three days go and you learn more and more about the person’s mind. Then more and more you see the nature of the personality, the nature of that person’s mind, more and more and more, then—slowly, what the other person wants, what she likes is so strong and also what you want, what I want, what I like is so strong, my happiness is more important then the happiness that he wants, and there are two very strong selfish motives. However, you see the other person, you learn more and more his personality, the nature of her or his mind, you learn more and more.
Then after some time you see how her or his mind is like a garbage can. Outside is clean but inside is like garbage. Then day by day less and less you have interest in her or him and then afterwards, the object, which was so beautiful at the beginning, the most beautiful, so inseparable that you almost could decide, “If I separate from her or him I will die, I will kill myself,” kind of like that, such a strong connection, but later, after a few days, as the months go, as a year goes, as years go… those are a little bit better ones, the little bit permanent ones.
Then, the one who was the most beautiful, as the days go, become more and more ugly and finally completely ugly. Then, they who were inseparable in the beginning, “If I separate from this I will die, I will kill, I will burn myself, I will burst… ” like in the mountain, what do you call this? Volcano, like a volcano. Then at the end there is the strong wish, “How can I separate from him?” There is so much worry and fear, “How can I separate from him?” “What can I do?” There is either a wrathful way to separate from him or a peaceful way to separate from him, by cheating. “What can I do?” Then full of fear, you are completely trapped in her or his hand. You can’t do what you want. And then there is much fear and worry. However, you are so happy to separate from him even for a minute, an hour, so happy to be alone. So like this.
I think my conversation ran away somewhere else. I did not connect much with the teaching, I think. Anyway… afterwards, the one to whom you wanted to give everything at the beginning, everything, afterwards you don’t want to give even one penny. You don’t want to see him again forever; you pray to not see him or her forever. These are the shortcomings of samsara; dissatisfaction, nothing is definite in relationships.
The main point of what I am saying is that, even if one lives a family life, how important it is, how incredibly important it is to practice bodhicitta. How important it is for harmony—even in relationships to be harmonious is so important. You see, even if the husband is very impatient, if the wife has a better heart, more patience, then the relationship lasts longer, there is more harmony, there is more peace. Of course, there is no question that it gives more peace in her mind, in her life, but also it gives peace for the husband. You see, when the wife keeps quiet, when the wife just does not react, does not become emotional when the husband reacts, if you practice patience, if you practice the good heart then, the thought of loving kindness like this, you see, the husband alone, the husband can scream all day from morning until night. Day after day, month after month, how can he live like that without depending on somebody else reacting? He can’t live on that. If she does not react the husband would not know how to handle that. He would not know what to do with his anger; if she does not react, he has to stop. But if she says something, then he says something, then it gets worse and worse, then he again says something and it is worse and worse.
If the wife is very emotional, very impatient but the husband is practicing patience usually and has a better heart than her, then also this helps very much. Because of that, there is much more peace in their life. He helps her; he offers that much peace for her by not harming her, by not reacting to her. Also she learns from him. If he is a good example then she learns from him, if she is a good example then he learns from her, like a disciple takes the example of the good, perfectly qualified virtuous teacher who is living in moral conduct, who is living in good practice, who has the realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment, who is living in good practice, living in pure moral conduct. Then, the disciple takes that example and the disciple also becomes good by taking that example. His life changes, he also becomes like that perfectly qualified virtuous teacher, his mind is enriched with realizations of the path to liberation, to omniscient mind—great understanding, and then also living in pure moral conduct.
I think I stop here, otherwise no chapters on patience get done, I think. Actually all this is motivation, the subject that I am talking, about, that is actually in effect the same. To train the mind in bodhicitta, to have the good heart is a way to practice patience.
So Khunu Lama Rinpoche is saying, “If you wish to benefit yourself, generate bodhicitta. If you wish to benefit others, generate bodhicitta.” As Shantideva said in the Bodhicaryavatara in the chapter of the benefits of bodhicitta, Shakyamuni Buddha and all the buddhas have checked for many eons what is the most beneficial thing for sentient beings and they have discovered that the most beneficial thing for the sentient beings is bodhicitta, to have bodhicitta in the mind.
Even relating to everyday life, if the wife or the husband has bodhicitta in the mind it does not matter how many children one has, if one has bodhicitta then without any partial thought, distant or close, one knows that it is one’s own karma with whom you are living, whom you have to take care of. The children that you have to take care of are created by your own karma. If there is bodhicitta then also without any partial thought, distant or close, one sees that these are also part of kind sentient beings who have been one’s mother countless times. As one should benefit for all the sentient beings, same thing, one should help, one should benefit, one should take care of the children, of the husband, one should benefit whomever one can, since this is also the past life’s karma.
What I am saying is this—even if we don’t have bodhicitta now, we should train our mind in the thought to benefit others, to be able to offer greater benefit, to be able to continuously offer benefits to others. If one practices, even if we don’t have it now, train the mind in bodhicitta, then the confusions, aggressiveness, tiredness, boredom of taking care of the children, husband and wife—these thoughts don’t arise. Instead of rejecting, instead of thoughts of tiredness, instead of thinking, “When can I be free from this,” instead of aggressiveness or the spirit going down, unhappy, not enjoying life, all this does not happen. Instead of rejecting you accept—but the way you accept is a different way, the way you accept is with a good heart. As you have to benefit other sentient beings, all the sentient beings, so they are also part of it.
“Those for whom I always every day pray, for whom I accumulate merit, for whom I practice Dharma, for whom I meditate—they are included in that, they are part of it. As I should benefit others, I should benefit these sentient beings who are with me.” In that way, with good heart, with sincere mind, you enjoy your life. You are happy, even if there is trouble, your mind is happy. One feels oneself a slave, a servant for others. Not the others as a servant for oneself but oneself as a servant for others. This way there is much peace in your mind. Even in your mind there is all the time happiness, rejoicefulness. No aggression, no depression, when one’s life is dedicated like this, to doing this work with sincere mind, since it is one’s own karma to have such a life, whatever problem there is with the children or the husband or the wife.
The next one, “If one wishes to offer service to the teachings, one should generate bodhicitta.” Here it says teaching, if one wants to offer service for the teachings, but this applies to even if you are doing a job, not particularly involved in working for a center or something, which spreads Dharma. If you change your mind, even if you are doing a job, as I mentioned before, instead of having the selfish attitude, “I am working for myself,” “I am going to work for my happiness,”—right after you wake up from the dream, “Oh! I must go to work! I must go to work because I want money, because I want a comfortable life. I want to be happy.” Instead of keeping busy, running day and night just with the selfish attitude, instead of living the life with the selfish attitude, concerned only with my own happiness, instead of this, which is such an incredibly poor mind, a very poor quality of mind, ungenerous, kind of very shameful.
As we have a human body, as we have such a precious human body with which we can achieve any meaning, such a good body like this, having such an attitude is kind of very dirty, kind of very disgusting. If we check, if we look at our own attitude it is kind of disgusting. Instead of spending day and night with such an attitude, think, it is very good even if you don’t have bodhicitta, which is the best of course to have. Actually, I think to do the works for others, doing the works for the center, working for the Dharma, such as working for a center, whatever it is, director, whatever the work is, any work that one does for others, business, whatever work one does, actually best is that first, I think what is needed, the best is that first you accomplish the three principal paths. Even if you do your own works, even if you do work for others, I think the best thing is if first you can do the three principal paths in your mind. Then you go to work in the city. Actually that is the best way.
Even while you are doing the work there are fewer problems, less negative karma with the relationships with others. The work is highly beneficial. However, we should train our mind in the good heart, bodhicitta. Instead of the selfish attitude, think of oneself as a slave, “I am a slave; I am going to work for the happiness of these people, the employers.” Even if you can’t think of all sentient beings, at least you think of the employers, “Those who make the money, who get the money, I am going to work for the happiness of them, I am their slave.” Instead of rejecting you accept. In the mind you practice like this. “I am a slave.”
Whatever one does, whether one does work in the center, whether you are doing a job for yourself, whatever work one does, whether it is work for many people or not, whether one has a salary or not, however, the way to practice, the way to think…
<end of tape>
And again while you are doing the work, in the morning when you wake up, and also at night time, again think: “The purpose, the reason that I have taken this human body is in order to offer service to others, to obtain happiness for other sentient beings. For that reason I have taken a human body, for that reason I exist, for that reason I am alive. Everyday that I am alive, even today, is only to offer happiness for the benefit for others. To obtain happiness for others, for only that reason, I exist. No other reason. Being alive today is also for no other reason. I don’t exist for myself. I am able to be alive by the kindness of sentient beings. By the kindness of these around me here, I have my everyday comfort, my happiness, my opportunity to practice Dharma. The purpose for which I am alive today is only to obtain benefit, only to obtain happiness for other sentient beings, nothing else. Other sentient beings become my servant, but why shouldn’t I become a servant for other sentient beings?”
Practice like this. In the morning when you get up, in the night time while you are working, while you have problems, confusion with work, think again and again that “I exist for others. I don’t exist for myself, for my happiness, I exist to obtain happiness for others.” Then it is very good, so good.
When you make the decision in your mind like this, that you are working for others, you are doing the work for others, when the attitude is transformed like this, then the mind is very happy, much more happy, much more calm than the selfish attitude, “I am working on this job, I am working for the center, I am doing this because I want reputation, I want happiness.” That attitude, that mind is not happy, not calm, not relaxed. There is a big difference between those two attitudes: the self-centered attitude and the selfless attitude, the sincere mind, the pure attitude. There are big differences. So in that way when you change your attitude, you see yourself also working for others. Otherwise even though you are doing the work for others, if the attitude is for self then there is much confusion, much conflict, and it is so easy for problems to arise, also dissatisfaction, so many things. Also one easily creates problems for others.
As the great bodhisattva Shantideva said in the teachings, pray like this. Also when one does this you see, when other people criticize, when you have changed your attitude like this, as a slave, when one’s attitude is changed like this, when oneself is as a slave for others, then if one receives criticism for others you kind of accept it, “I am worthy of receiving criticism, I am the object of receiving criticism.” It does not become a shock; it does not become a huge problem for the mind.
As Shantideva said in the teaching: “May I become the base of sentient beings’ living, such as the wish-granting mantras.” There are mantras that make all the different works successful, that stop the different problems. Whatever you wish it makes successful. So like wish-granting mantras, like a wish-granting vase.
As I am talking about this just the thought came of this Sai Baba. He puts his hand in a pot and produces white powder. Just the thought came, but I am not sure whether it was a wish-granting vase or not. I just remembered. However, like the wish-granting vase, by putting your hand into the vase whatever material perfection that you need you get—somehow it gets actualized by the power of the material, like the wish-granting vase, like the wish-granting trees, those trees in the pure realms; and you can pray, by praying whatever material you wish to possess, you get.
I left out one word, “May I become the base of sentient beings living forever.” “Forever” is very important. “Forever” shows very strong will to be dedicated. It shows that your compassion is not for a few minutes. It shows, like when another person gives you nice things, talks nice things about you, says nice things; when another person is nice to you, you are nice to him, you are generous to him, you give things and you help the person. But when the other person dislikes you, you completely change your attitude; you completely change your body, speech and mind from the generous one; instead of benefiting, harming. Not like this. Not like this, you see, “forever.” For ever, whatever change happens, whether sentient beings benefit you, whether sentient beings harm you, whatever happens, from your side forever. Like the example of the four great elements. How the earth is used by the sentient beings—they use the earth to grow crops, they fertilize, they cut, they use machines for crops then they build houses with earth, they make them on the earth, they use the earth to make roads. You see, it is up to the sentient beings. Whether they want to make the earth square, whether they want to make the earth a triangle shape, whether the sentient beings want to make the earth round… whatever they want to do, it is up to the sentient beings. It is not up to the earth, it is up to the sentient beings. How they use the earth is up to the sentient beings, up to their wish, it is in their hands. So like that, like that you’re completely used.
That’s the way we should practice, the way we should think, the way we should dedicate ourselves for others. Like the earth, it is completely up to the sentient beings how they want to use us for their happiness. Whether they make it round, whether triangle shape. Whichever way benefits their happiness, it is not up to oneself, is up to the sentient beings, like the earth. Like this we should train the mind, we should think like that in the mind.
Or like the water, how the sentient beings use the water. It is up to the sentient beings how they use it. Whether they shoot it up from below—like the river up to the mountain by electricity, they push it up, they use for machines, or to drink, to boil, whatever they do, however the sentient beings want to use it for their means of living, for their happiness. So like water, we are completely used by sentient beings.
Like the wind. Sentient beings use air to be able to survive. How they use the wind or how they use the fire for their happiness. Like the sky, as we hear now [airplane passes], for traveling. If there is no sky there is resistance, if there is no sky you cannot travel from one’s own place through the sky to somewhere else. Like—what is this called? Like the bat in France or America. They are not born as a bat but they make wings like a bat, their hands are tied with the wings and they jump over the cliffs, they run a few steps. Fortunately, if they didn’t break their legs and if it becomes successful, they fly. Then there is another one, what is that called? You jump from the airplane without using a parachute. I think they might be carrying a parachute, but there was no parachute, they were not using one. Yes, afterwards…yes, might be. They come out from the airplane and they shake hands all around.
Student: Skydiving; one jumps without a parachute, the other one jumps out and hands him the parachute as he is flying down; he puts it on, then he uses the parachute but he has dropped out without a parachute.
Rinpoche: I see. He was without a parachute?
Student: The next one has an extra one, he hands it as he is flying down.
Rinpoche: He passed it to the other person. On the television, one man fell down. I think maybe he didn’t use a parachute, I don’t know what happened. They were two or three people hanging in space, they were able to kind of stay in space by holding hands, but one person fell down. But there were no rocks down there, I think just a field. But the person fell way down. Then there was one girl standing there, I think she was alone, probably with somebody else or not? She was criticizing the man, “How shameless he is,” the one who fell down. Anyway, however, like the sky, always useful for sentient beings. Like that.
Like Shantideva says in the Bodhicaryavatara: We should even train saying the words and then also practice, train the mind in that. You see, the person who has such a strong self-cherishing thought is even unable to say the prayers. That person is unable, is scared to say even the prayer to renounce himself for others, even to say the prayer is scary for the mind. For somebody who has a very strong selfish attitude it is very scary even to do meditation such as giving and taking. So at least just the words, we should even train in saying the prayer, then practice according to the prayers that we said. “May I become the means of living for sentient beings, forever.” As we say the prayer, the words that we receive from the teachings, said by holy beings, then also in practice we should do like that as much as we can.
Then whatever work we do without much problems. Mostly problems are because of the way of thinking. Your mind’s way of thinking makes the problems in life. One way of thinking there is no problem but another way of thinking and there is a problem, confusion. Another way of thinking there is no problem—the problem doesn’t exist. So one way of thinking there is a huge problem is just kind of a mind creation, dependent on how you think. That is the reason of Buddhism, it depends on that so there is need for Dharma practice. That is also one reason why there is need for Dharma practice in everyday life, need for practicing the good heart. The problem is not truly existent, not independent. As you are more beneficial, as your mind is more sincere, your works are more beneficial, more effective for others. More enjoyable, even if you don’t get any money, even if you don’t get any physical things, the mind is so happy. There are a lot of advantages, even though at the moment one does not get any material things from that. Even if one doesn’t get it, this itself is the cause of receiving materials. Good karma, this life and future lives.
Then the next line, “If you wish the path of happiness, generate bodhicitta.” If one has generated bodhicitta then even if one does not become enlightened in this life, whatever path is generated in this life, the rest of the path one will be able to generate in the next life without much difficulty, without taking much time. Because by having bodhicitta one accumulates extensive, infinite merit all the time. Merit is the cause of the path, of generating the path. Without accumulating merit there is no cause of the path so one cannot generate the path in the mind. So whatever of the path there is left to generate in the mind, by being reborn in a pure realm or by taking a perfect human rebirth again, one is able to generate the rest of the path without taking much time—within three lives, within sixteen lives—without taking much time one is able to approach sublime happiness, the omniscient mind for the sake of others.
Just by praying or just only by talking how bodhicitta has great advantages—how good it is, how one receives great advantages from it—that alone does not generate bodhicitta in one’s own mind. Therefore one should do extensive listening, reflecting and meditation practice on that. Listening, reflecting and meditation practice on that. Then the small good heart that we have now, the mind that we have generated now, we should develop day by day, month by month, year by year. Make it better next year than this year, like this. Through this, by knowing the teachings of that, by practicing these together like this, then what is called bodhicitta…
What made Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all the great yogis who became enlightened within three years in this body—the pundit Nagarjuna, Shantideva and those great yogis, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Mila—what made those people enlightened is bodhicitta. This way, one day we will be able to have this same mind, realization of bodhicitta and receive the name; in that same minute receiving the name “bodhisattva.” Even though one is not called a bodhisattva, at that time one becomes the base to receive the name bodhisattva. An object that other sentient beings, even devas, those who have much power, wealth and enjoyment, even the kings of devas have to make offerings to, have to prostrate to—one becomes an object of prostration even for those kings of devas. Even their crown has to touch one’s feet, like that.
So I think I stop here. I think I didn’t get to the part of patience.