DHARMAKAYA AND NIRMANAKAYA
In order to receive enlightenment for the benefit all the kind mother sentient beings, I am going listen to the teachings on thought transformation, the great Mahayana thought transformation, the thought of enlightenment.
Yesterday, someone has reminded us, I was talking about the dharmakaya, and the different names of enlightenment. The omniscient mind itself called dharmakaya, and it is the transcendental wisdom. The absolute nature of the omniscient mind in Sanskrit is called the svabhavakaya, the absolute nature of the omniscient mind. The omniscient mind according to the Tibetan term is called ye-she chö-ku, and absolute nature of omniscient mind is called ngo-wa nyi-ku. So what I mentioned yesterday, the self-nature, is a translation of this present term ngo-wa nyi-ku which means the absolute nature of the omniscient mind: the holy body of self-nature. Yesterday I think I mentioned that the absolute nature of omniscient mind is nirmanakaya; that is not nirmanakaya.
The nirmanakaya is one of the four kayas, four holy bodies of a buddha. One is the dharmakaya, the omniscient mind of transcendental wisdom. One is the absolute nature of the omniscient mind, the svabhavakaya, the holy body of the self-nature.
This dharmakaya, the omniscient mind, transforms into different aspects. It transforms into the aspect of the holy body that can be only seen by higher beings, by bodhisattvas. This aspect is called the sambhogakaya in Sanskrit or long-chö zog-p’ai-ku in Tibetan. I think in English it is translated as the holy enjoyment body or the holy body of complete enjoyment. This is the omniscient mind of the dharmakaya transformed to work for other sentient beings in the aspect that can be only seen by the higher bodhisattvas. So
Then, for ordinary bodhisattvas, the aspect of a buddha that they can see is the nirmanakaya, the emanation or transformation body. This is the body of a buddha that ordinary beings, ordinary bodhisattvas, beings who haven’t completed the path, those who have thinner obscurations, can see.
When Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India, the aspect that he took when he was teaching to his followers is called the nirmanakaya aspect. Even though at the same time, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha transformed in different aspects of many different deities like you see on the Tibetan thangkas, in this aspect, he worked for other sentient beings and gave teachings in the form of a monk, being adorned with special qualities of the holy body, like having the long ears, long eyes and so forth. There are many special qualities of his holy body which signify realizations that he achieved, things you don’t see in normal people.
While Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in this nirmanakaya aspect in the form of monk, he had special qualities of the holy body. Each quality of his holy body signifies how he is a completely enlightened being. Each one signifies that he has achievement of realization by creating the different causes when he was following the path.
The absolute nature of omniscient mind is not nirmanakaya, the nirmanakaya is the aspect of taking the holy emanation body, the holy body of transformation, which is transformed for ordinary beings, so a buddha can be seen by those who have thinner obscurations.
Sometimes this thing happens. Out of my ignorance or a mistake in the translation, I use the wrong word, so those who know should tell other people that it is a mistake, that this should be the right translation. If you know, you should tell one another like this.
THE FIVE DEGENERATIONS
Of the 84,000 teachings, the oral teaching of transforming the mind in thought training in the thought of enlightenment, as explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, all this is the nectar which leads to nirvana and completely destroys all the 84,000 delusions and all the suffering which arises from that: death, old age, sickness, rebirth and all those other sufferings. This training on the Oral Teaching for Training the Precious Thought of Enlightenment, the Great Mahayana Thought Training is the best, the most sublime, the principal and the most holy.
It is generally stated in the teachings that nectar is the medicine a doctor uses to cure all illnesses, and so nectar is used in this way here, to cure all the 84,000 delusions. It is very easy to have a partial understanding of the path, but to make mistakes and so be left with wrong concepts, with wrong views, believing that karma does not exist, or there are no past and future lives, or that the four noble truths are incorrect in some way. There are an incredible number of people who find it so easy to believe in wrong explanations about reality, shunyata and who follow the wrong path. There are an incredible number, and it is so easy to follow a wrong path. That is the degeneration of views. Why it is like this is because of the mind. Why it is like this is because ignorance is so strong.
There is also the degeneration of time. In previous ages, there was much peace on earth, then more and more violence happened, until these days there is an incredible amount of violence on earth. There are always wars, always fighting; even within one country there is so much fighting. Then there is less and less peace.
There is one degeneration I can’t remember exactly, I’m not sure, the degeneration of enjoyment. I can’t remember. I’ll tell you afterwards.
So, this age, our time, this is more degenerate time than even the degenerate time, it’s more degenerated than previous degenerations. Why? Because for sentient beings all their thoughts are delusion, what they have is only delusions. The actions they do, the work they do, what they think—it is all only delusions and the work they do is only collecting nonvirtuous actions, collecting negativity. Except for ourselves of course, whenever we see other sentient beings we think of as enemies in danger or if some misfortune happens to them or even if they get killed, we rejoice, we feels such joy. How fantastic it is! Then other people’s factory has to close, or of their material possessions are taken or stolen, or if they get sick—as long as this is happening to others—we feel joy. Like, if there are people working in same office who we dislike, if they lost their job, then we think, “How good.” Even when we hear that somebody not in the same office has failed in their job we are pleased. If we are at university and we hear that a student we don’t like has failed their exams, or didn’t get their degree, we feel such joy. How good! And the same thing if some danger happens, if some bad thing happens to the teachers or professors at the university, we feel so happy that this has happened to them. When there is rivalry between teachers or between students and the director steps in and fires people, we feel very happy, and in fact we try to create conditions where people get into problems, dividing people with gossip and so forth.
If bad things happen to us, however, there is no rejoicing there at all, only to other people. We want other to admire us and we are consumed with jealousy when we hear praise about others. When we hear that others have passed their degree or that they have great knowledge, we fee a real pain, there is such jealousy. If we hear somebody say that somebody else is so handsome or so beautiful, it is like a pain in our heart, we are filled with jealous thoughts. We overhear conversations like “She is such a good meditator.” or, “She understands so much Dharma,” and we feel black with anger, wondering why things like that are never said about us.
Rejoicing is a wonderful Dharma practice, but it must be rejoicing in others’ virtues, not rejoicing in their problems!
In times such as this, the world is full of sentient beings who only give harm to others with their actions of body, speech and mind. Even the white spirits, white gods, such as nagas, who usually help people who practice the Dharma or praise it, who look after the teachings, even they can’t stand being in this world with the powers of the negativity and the pollution—the inner pollution and the outer pollution. And there are black spirits, who always try to destroy the teachings and to harm people who do good things, who try to develop the good heart, who practice Dharma, who meditate. The power of the black spirits increases because of the delusions in the minds of the sentient beings. Just as the black actions, the negative actions of sentient beings only increases, so the actions of the black spirits are similar in increases as their power increases and because of the negative minds of the sentient beings they can give so much harm to all and do so many inauspicious things, like the earthquakes that are happening, destroying whole cites, killing millions of people or creating droughts and famines where people die of thirst or hunger. Or they create terrible storms and floods that destroy many things, such as in China or Russia last year. You must have heard of the earth-quakes that happened in China. They are often caused by people having given offense to black spirits, relating to the powerful delusions that arise in the minds of the sentient beings.
Make the decision again to cultivate the pure motivation of bodhicitta. “I’m going to receive the oral teachings of training the thought of enlightenment, the essence of the gradual path to enlightenment, in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all the kind mother sentient beings.”
I think I have defined the five degenerations, I have counted all five. When I believed that one was missing, that was similar to the Tibetan saying that whenever a Tibetan travels to another country with many donkeys and counts the donkeys, there is always one donkey missing, because he always forgets to count the donkey he is riding on. There is always one donkey and he can never figure out what is happening. This is similar.
The reason I was talking about China because besides that happening before, I also heard that there was a terrible dust storm. And, not so long ago, also in Russia, there was an incredibly hailstorm with hailstones likes huge rocks. There have been many unusual things happening, all very inauspicious.
It is generally like this in the world, especially for one who is interested in the teachings, who tries to practice Dharma, who try to sincerely practice Dharma. In so many ways thousands and thousands of hindrances come, disturbing the practice. So many bad conditions, so many impossible hindrances attack the Dharma practitioner. In such a degenerate time, such a bad time, if we don’t try to practice Dharma thought training, the Mahayana thought training, we can’t complete the practice. If we enter in this Dharma, to practice the thought training, then any bad conditions, any hindrances that arise can become a friend, For one who has entered in this Dharma and tries to practice the Mahayana thought training, any bad conditions, any hindrances can be taken in the path to enlightenment. Anything, any bad conditions, can be taken in the path to enlightenment. Any hindrances or bad condition become a friend, they become helpful.
For instance, if to-day you are very tired, you don’t want to go to work or to school, then you find the road is blocked because of snow and you can’t leave your house so you get your wish.
For a Dharma practitioner, by transforming everything into the path to enlightenment, including all the bad conditions, by transforming them into the path to enlightenment, the whole thing becomes helpful, it benefits. Instead of being a disturbing to Dharma practice, any bad condition, any hindrance benefits him, helps him to practice Dharma. You can transform all the hindrances to practicing the holy Dharma into beneficial conditions, and only beneficial conditions. Then, that is what is called a wise person.
Rinpoche: [GL] Oh, you need the meaning, the real meaning.
Rinpoche: Wise, WISE. [GL] Oh, the meaning of “wise.” [GL] The word or meaning? Huh?
Student: Yes, the meaning.
Rinpoche: A person in the West who can even make hindrances, even distractions, who can make them beneficial, don’t you call them a wise person?
Student: I haven’t met any.
Rinpoche: You would recognize them as a wise person, wouldn’t you?
Student: I’m not wise, so I probably would not recognize him.
Rinpoche: But even though you are not wise you would recognize that person is wise. OK.
So one who can transform all the bad conditions into help, into a beneficial cause—the bad conditions that disturbs a person, if he can transform the bad condition that disturbs him into help or a beneficial cause that person is called a competent person. A competent person.
Rinpoche: Huh? Competant.
Rinpoche: Competent. We need electricity like television, all the letters appearing, you know. [GL] So that is a capable person or competent person.
The oral teaching is about taking all bad conditions into the path to enlightenment, about making all inauspicious things auspicious. So by transforming all the bad conditions in the path to enlightenment, it relieves you from the danger of the bad conditions.
The person who practices thought training, even though there are so many hindrances to his life and to his Dharma practice, for him it is like walking along very comfortable ground, where there are no rocks at all; it’s just soft, smooth grass. Even though his life is full of hindrances and especially in Dharma practice, for him, his life is as easy as if he is walking on very comfortable, flat ground, like walking in a beautiful park.
When a person who does not practice thought training meets many bad conditions to his life and Dharma practice, he can’t practice Dharma at all. His life is like stumbling over rocks.
I think thought training also makes a person not experience physical decay, like those nectar medicines that can relieve a person from physical problems. It is explained in Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s Prajnaparamita teachings that to solve those dangers, there’s a medicine called sinmargi. If you have it, then even a poisonous snake, just by smelling sinmargi, the poisonous snake runs away. It came to bite and spread the poison all over the body, but just by smelling this medicine, the poisonous snake just runs away. This is just an example.
This person who practices thought training is always happy. Even though his life, his Dharma practice is full of hindrances his mind is always happy. That person’s body is called “the world of the blissfulness.” Wherever he goes, wherever he is, his mind is always happy. No bad condition, inner or outer, can become a condition for suffering or the unhappy mind to arise for that person. So any external or internal problem always becomes a help to his happiness. That practitioner’s body is also called “the unshakeable world” because no outer or inner bad condition cannot disturb his mind or cause unhappiness.
Even if incredible problems pour down like a monsoon shower, not just one problem but so many problems, even his body and mind both have a great heap of sufferings, nothing can disturb his mind, nothing can shake him.
For instance, the person becomes completely homeless and weak with starvation and his body is full of leprosy, and nobody wants to touch him. Even the doctors hate him; they dare not touch him. Not only that, he has no money, and nobody wants to take care of him. Everybody wants to kick him out of the country. Everybody complains, criticizes, put articles in the paper and on television about him, saying they shouldn’t let that terrible person in because he will spread the disease. So, not only is his body suffering, but there is so much mental suffering. But, even if he gets beaten by other people and is in constant danger of being killed, if that person practices thought training nothing can disturb his mind, nothing can shake him.. So, that is what is called “the city where the happiness arises.”
This is also what is called “having received the concentration of bliss to any object.” It means that no matter what hindrance appears to the person’s mind, he is always happy. The person’s mind is continuously in the practice of thought training. So therefore person’s mind is constantly in a happy state.
In such degenerate times as this, all the five degenerations are flourishing and life is full of outer and inner hindrances. If you practice this thought training at such a difficult time, it becomes a method to quickly accumulating such extensive merit, such good karma. This is a special method for making even such a bad time as this good. So for a person who practices like this, even though it is a such terrible time for other people, for him it is best time.
Here’s another example. There is a person living is in the middle of a city where there are so many problems. There is so much fighting, so many dangers, all the electricity has stopped in the city, all the big buildings are completely dark. He can’t get food—the refrigerator is not working, there is no food in the kitchen, Outside there is fighting, with people killing each other, stealing from each other, stealing from the supermarket, robbing banks. Like what’s happening in New York. Besides the danger of the atomic bomb that is everywhere, in the center of city there is so much danger. Everybody else is so nervous. For most there is no food at all and even those who can get food can’t eat it for fear of it being contaminated. People just survive. If they can make it through the daytime, there is still the night to get through. They almost can’t recognize what’s day and night.
This person practicing thought training, however, even though he is in the center of the place where there is so much danger to life, is having the best time. For him all those things become the path to enlightenment. It only makes him happier to receive more hindrances. You can experience this as you practice. It’s something that you come to experience.
So this is briefly the particular qualities of this oral teaching, the oral teaching on the Mahayana thought training.
The actual body of the precious oral teaching has two things: meditating on the preliminary practices and the graduated practice training in the precious bodhicitta, which is the actual body.
Just knowing the technique is not enough. The main thing is the method, knowing the technique. I mean you can read books, you can read many thought training teachings but if you don’t use the technique in the daily life, then it is not that useful. Just understanding the words alone does not solve the problem.
It is the same as the person who has lot of books that explain about medicine—the different types of medicine there are and how to take medicine, and the person himself knows how to make up the prescriptions and so forth. And he does this, and he has all that medicine in front of him, but he never takes the medicine. Just knowing about the medicine in books, even having the medicine there can’t cure him unless he takes the medicine.
So, the main thing is to try to be conscious as much as possible. Of course, you can’t do everything. You can’t change your mind, you can’t stop all your negative minds in one second, just like that, just by wishing. It takes time, but there the mind can definitely be trained, gradually. It gets better and better.
I think we’ll look at those two stanzas, the next day.
I thought maybe one time we can meditate together from the beginning, we practice together, with the recitation of Avalokiteshvara mantra. That depends on time.
So I think I’ll stop here. Then tomorrow morning there will be a geshe here who has been teaching the boys.
LIKE THE SUN REFLECTED IN DROPS OF WATER
Perfectly following and completing the Hinayana path liberates a person from all the samsaric suffering, from rebirth, old age, sicknesses and death. That person becomes an arhat. An arhat is completely liberated; all disturbing thoughts have been completely purified, all delusions have been removed. They have no cause to be reborn back in samsara.
Higher bodhisattvas have still to completely remove all subtle delusions, but they have reached the stage where they don’t die under the control or delusion of karma. Let’s put it this way. We die without choice, by under the control of delusion, by the force of delusion and karma, we die and we get born and we get sick without choice. But arhats and higher bodhisattvas who are living in the pure levels—there are ten levels of bhumis—have completely removed the gross delusions, and so there is no mark that is produced by delusion. The bodhisattvas, through their great compassion, choose to take rebirth—they have total freedom and the choose to be reborn—but when they take that transference, the death transformation is still dependent on mental effort. Why is there still mental effort ? Because the subtle obscurations—in Tibetan she-dip—the obscurations to total knowledge have not been purified. Because of that, in order to take another rebirth to work for sentient beings, there must still be mental effort. Why? Because she-dip is still not purified.
When the subtle obscurations to knowledge are completely purified, with body, speech and mind—when the being becomes a buddha—there is no need for effort to work for other sentient beings. There is no more need to have motivation, such as the thought, “I must do this” before doing an action—first the thought, then the action. When the subtle obscurations to knowledge have been completely purified, there is no further mental effort, his work to work for other sentient beings with this his holy body, speech and mind is entirely spontaneous.
That’s why when the buddhas work for other sentient beings, there’s no effort. They don’t have to think and decide that they should give teachings and then give them. Whatever is most beneficial, they just spontaneously do. If it is to manifest in another form, that is what happens, without mental effort, like the reflection on the water that occurs when the sun rises. When the sun rises in the world, wherever there is water outside—in drops of dew, in bowls, in streams, on blades of grass—the reflection of that sun appears in every drop of water spontaneously, millions and millions of tiny suns appearing in the drops of water everywhere. The sun doesn’t set its motivation, “Oh, I must reflect in all this water.” It doesn’t sit down and think, before it rises, that this is the first job it must do today. There is no effort there. In the same way, the buddhas, who have removed all the subtle obscurations, the dualistic mind, do not depend on effort. The whole work for sentient beings is done spontaneously and effortlessly.
[Whatever we do with a bodhicitta motivation] not only becomes an the cause of happiness, it becomes the cause of the fully completed, purified perfect state, enlightenment, for the sake of other sentient beings. So therefore meditate to feel at least this short motivation.
“I must achieve enlightenment in order to guide all sentient beings from all the sufferings they are experiencing now and lead them in enlightenment. Such a fully enlightened state cannot be achieved without actualizing the path to enlightenment and that depends on listening, understanding and meditating of the teachings, on practicing the Dharma, so therefore I am going to listen to the oral teachings on training in the thought of enlightenment, which is essence of the gradual path to enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings.
The recent subject is the oral tradition training in the thought of enlightenment, which is the door of the Mahayana, which is the method the fortunate ones to receive enlightenment. It is well expounded by the highly realized propagators Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is the profound teaching which contains the essence of the great bodhisattva Atisha and Dharma King of the three worlds the great Lama Tsongkhapa, the essence of the infinite knowledge of Dharma they have. This contains all the essence of the 84,000 teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni Buddha without missing anything. All these are set up for the gradual practice for one person to achieve enlightenment. And it is the sole path through which all the past, present, future buddhas have achieved enlightenment.
So just offering very brief commentary on the oral teachings of this thought training.
BEING MINDFUL IN BREAK TIMES
In the break times, you should keep the doors of the senses away from the negative thoughts that conclude in negative actions. You should avoid talk that might give rise to anger. If you talk in the break time, it should not be about things that make attachment or anger arise. It is not so good to talk about sex or books you have read, such as books you see in the West, at the airports, everywhere, in the shops, in advertisements. They are advertised everywhere, on the ground, on the road, everywhere. They’re presented just like enlightenment, as the main goal in life, just like nirvana or enlightenment is for the meditators. Anyway, I’m joking.
It’s a different matter reading books that tell of the life stories of great people, telling of their experiences, showing you how to lead your life.
Avoid things that make anger arise, things like that, which cause delusions to develop. In break time, if you talk, it depends on how you talk. If you talk about the shortcomings of samsara, looking at its suffering nature, it is different. However, dwelling on all the things that cause attachment and delusions to arise means that when you come to the actual meditation session, it lacks reflection. These subjects come up more in the meditation sessions, especially if you talk about these things just before the session. It comes strongly, continuously and you never get time to meditate. After the session is finished, you realize you have lost your whole session.
There are other generally negative actions, such as eating food [with attachment] and even sleeping in a non-Dharma way. You have to sleep in the middle of the night, but how do you make it virtuous? These are the methods to constantly make the life meaningful, to not waste the life. Then, it becomes highly meaningful, not only during the meditation sessions also during the break time. Practicing like this during the break time becomes a helper to quickly actualize the meditation during the session.
THE SHORTCOMINGS OF HARMFUL THOUGHTS
Before going through the meditation, I’ll mention one point. The whole purpose of whatever you do is to make yourself better, to become better, to have a better life, to become better person. You can become a better person by changing the mind. Only by changing the mind can you become good person and have good life. If you don’t change your mind by trying to recognize harmful thoughts—which give harm and which bring only peace—if you keep the same mind as you had before, you can never improve yourself
By recognizing this, if you do not try to change, if you constantly keep the same harmful thought all the time, then just as your mind doesn’t change, your life doesn’t change. You can never become a better person. Even if you have received the whole teachings, the whole Buddhadharma, this won’t happen.
Only by transforming the mind, changing the mind from one full of the harmful thoughts into a good mind, only that brings peace to yourself and to other sentient beings. By changing this, your negative personality changes. Renouncing the mind of the harmful thoughts, you no longer have a bad personality, you have a good personality. That’s how you become good person and have happy life, free from confusion. Then, you have a meaningful life. This is what the teaching on meditation does.
Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to recognize what makes you harm yourself and others, the bad thoughts that give you a bad personality. You need to see the mistakes of this, how it makes life so complicated and unhappy. If you only look at the good thing, you won’t see the cause of your unhappiness and you won’t be able to distinguish wrong actions from right ones. By recognizing wrong thoughts and wrong actions, you can recognize the opposite, positive thoughts and positive actions.
So, the teachings begin by explaining harmful thoughts and harmful actions and the shortcomings of harmful thought and harmful actions. In that way, the teaching become like a mirror to your mind, to your life. When they talk about the shortcomings of wrong thoughts and actions, it is necessary to recognize and be aware of this happening in your own mind. To see, “Yes! these delusions really do bring these problems! If I follow disturbing negative thoughts like this, of course I’ll have these kinds of problem.” You should be aware of the shortcomings of delusions like this.
Instead of thinking, “Oh, I am oneness with the delusions. The delusion is me and I am the delusion” you should recognize that delusions happen but they are not an integral part of you. They are not oneness with you mind, therefore you are able to renounce them. When the teachings say you must renounce delusions, if you associate yourself with your delusions, you might think that when the teachings say you must destroy the delusions, you think you are being told to destroy yourself. Thinking like that is a completely wrong way of understanding the teachings. Therefore, if you don’t know how to listen the teachings, It can be a great hindrance. When the teachings talk about the shortcomings of delusions, you shouldn’t think this means this is how you are and will always be. They are describing the shortcomings to make you understand why you suffer and show you how to renounce the delusions.
It is extremely important that the teachings act as medicine, and the person who give teaching acts as a doctor. The listener—you, yourself—are the patient, suffering from the disease of having disturbing negative thoughts such as anger, ignorance and attachment. These are the principal diseases, the worst diseases that we have. It is necessary to think of yourself as a patient.
Listening to the teachings are not like gobbling food down quickly, making kaka and then that’s it, finished. We hear it once and we don’t have to think any more. It is not like that. The teachings are something we have to try to understand and understanding takes time, because we have a difficult mind, and it takes time to understand what is being said. So, we should have patience with the teachings. As I explained before, our understanding, the meditations, happen step-by-step. It is not like we first attain enlightenment, and then we practice Dharma. It is not like that at all.
With machines, things happen very quickly. We put clothes in a washing machine and we expect to have clean clothes, but even that takes some time. We can’t expect perfectly clean clothes instantly. In the same way, meditating on the lam-rim subjects takes time. This is the graduated path to enlightenment, so there is a gradual process in how we develop.
So, I think we’ll have a pipi break.
THE PERFECT HUMAN REBIRTH: YOU CAN OBTAIN TEMPORAL WISHES
[Break in the taping. It continues mid-session.]
Sometimes things are not clear, but there’s no reason to feel depressed if you can’t. Some people can’t understand that easily, others can. If things aren’t clear to you, you can get disturbed. And even though it might be a subject that you have heard before, somehow you forget. And each time you rehear a subject, you hear new things and you understand new things. There’s always something new.
The understanding of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses is extremely important. It is very, very important. You should check up whether you have received each of the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. If you find that there are one or two missing, then there is the possibility that you can work towards receiving it. If it’s possible to attain enlightenment, then it’s certainly possible to attain whatever freedom or richness you are missing.
Understanding how you can make the very most out of this human life is so extremely important. You can see how so many people in the West feel that life is meaningless. They always feel angry or depressed and so, instead of trying to bring some meaning to their lives, they do all sorts of crazy things. They manage to make their whole life crazy. If they could understand the meaning of life, it would not make life crazy, it would make it happy. When you do meaningful actions, then life is not only meaningful but also full of happiness. You receive happiness and peace in the mind. The purpose of attaining this human body, is not to squander it doing meaningless things, but to fill it with meaning.
This precious human rebirth is highly meaningful because with the precious human rebirth, which has eight freedoms and ten richnesses, the three great meanings can be obtained . The principal causes of the perfect human rebirth are pure moral conduct and great generosity, great charity, as well as strongly praying to have such a rebirth, and when these causes ripen, the we can attain this perfect human rebirth and so obtain the three great causes. Besides a better future rebirth, we can obtain whatever status we desire, as a king or as a long-life god, having incredibly enjoyments.
Making charity is the cause for great wealth, so when we are reborn as a human being, if we wish to have temporal happiness, we will get whatever we want. If we want to be a millionaire, we will be. If we want to have a beautiful apartment with many swimming pools and huge beautiful gardens, we can. We can have hundreds of televisions if we want. Every time we turn a corner, there is another television. There are even televisions on the ceiling, so we never have to miss the news, even when we are lying down. Even in the dining room. Even in the bathroom. Even in the toilet! Whatever worldly enjoyment we wish, we can easily obtain it, because, with this perfect human rebirth, one of the principal causes is charity, and that means we will be wealthy in the future.
Similarly, in our future life, if we want perfect, temporal happiness with perfect surroundings, and lots of helpers and servants, lots of friends, many many people guiding us and helping us in our needs, that is possible too, because with this perfect human rebirth we can create the cause for all this, which is patience. By controlling our anger, by practicing patience, we can obtain all this.
You can see many people who are unable to get along with others. They are always quarreling with their partner, with their children, their relatives, their friends. They don’t seem to be able to go a day without getting angry. If they have staff under them, or servants, they can never keep them. The staff leave very quickly because of arguments and disagreements. People always criticize them. This is due to not having practiced patience in a previous life and so now in this life they are impatient with others and others are impatient with them.
If you want everybody to be your friend and if you want many helpers around you, you need to create the cause, which is patience. You have to learn to control your anger, especially in a situation where you would normally criticize another person or when somebody abuses you. At such times you should try to control the anger, by meditating on patience.
THE PERFECT HUMAN REBIRTH: YOU CAN BE REBORN IN THE PURE LANDS
With the perfect human rebirth, even if you want to be born in a pure realm, the pure field of a buddha, you can. A pure land is the buddhas’ method to enlighten sentient beings quickly. Pure realms happen, they come into existence, due to the karma of sentient beings and the compassionate power of the buddhas, the power of the prayers that were done with compassion when they were bodhisattvas.
Even before they become buddhas, with unbearable compassion for all the sentient being, the bodhisattvas prayed for there to be these pure lands, where sentient beings are able to practice Dharma purely as well as having perfect enjoyments. So, pure lands are due to the prayers of the bodhisattvas before they became buddhas, the power of their compassion and the power of their prayers, and the karma of the sentient beings who created the karma to be born there.
When a sentient being is born in the pure land, what he enjoys, what he experiences, is the result of his previous karma, so you can say it is created by his karma, it is born from his karma. If a sentient being is born in the pure land, whatever enjoyment he wishes, he effortlessly receives.
Even the ground of the pure land is soft and shiny, with nothing hard or solid like our ground, full of rocks and stones, hurting our feet and making us dirty. It is completely clean and reflective; it’s nature is lapis lazuli, but not solid or hard but like a spring bed or a rubber bed. It is flat, without undulations to trip the person up, but even if he falls down, there is nothing to hurt the body. Everything feels very blissful.
The soft, flat ground is full of beautiful plants, full of flowers, all kinds of incredibly huge flowers that don’t grow on this earth. These flowers are described in the great bodhisattva Shantideva’s Entering the Path to Enlightenment. These incredibly big flowers have petals the size of a bed. There are also many beautiful lakes, swimming pools, and many beautiful birds flying around, landing on those beautiful plants. Even the sound of birds is Dharma sound. When you hear the bird song you hear the Dharma. When you hear other sounds too, like the wind blowing through the trees, you hear the Dharma. The whole place is full of scented smells. There are no unpleasant smells at all.
However amazing these enjoyments are, none of them cause you to develop delusions, disturbing negative thoughts, at all. Being reborn in a pure land, you don’t get born from the parents’ sperm and egg but you have what is called an entering birth. Your consciousness enters a lotus and you are born from that. You don’t have an impure body, with flesh, bones, blood and so forth, but a very pure spiritual body, one that doesn’t suffer from sickness, old age, decay, such as the hair becoming white, the teeth falling out and so forth.
You will also have the opportunity to see the actual buddha of the pure land and receive teachings directly from that buddha and because of that you will be able to actualize the path quickly and attain enlightenment.
How is this all possible? You can do this because you can create the causes for it when you have this perfect human rebirth. The base is pure morality and great charity and strong prayers for such a rebirth, and the principal cause in all this is renouncing attachment clinging to this life alone.
There is the story of a lama called Longbon Rinpoche, and there is a pure land called Shambala. I am sure you might have found the books from Shambala printing house in America; you must have heard the title from that. In the pure land of Shambala there is chance to practice the Vajrayana path, if you haven’t completed the Vajrayana path in this life. So, Longbon Rinpoche wanted to be born in this realm as the king of this pure land, so he practiced by trying to keep his mind purely aware and free from attachment seeking the pleasure of this life. Every day, his only food was a small amount of tsampa—I think I told you before that tsampa is roasted barley flour, the particular, typical Tibetan. He had no material possessions and kept his mind pure, observing moral conduct and so forth. He did this so he could be born as a religious king in the pure realm called Shambala.
I think that is enough.
There is also a specific Vajrayana technique, where you can transfer your consciousness at the time of death, to be reborn in a pure land.
THE PERFECT HUMAN REBIRTH: IT IS EASY TO ACHIEVE NIRVANA AND ENLIGHTENMENT
With the perfect human rebirth, even if you wish to obtain ultimate happiness, the blissful state of peace, release from the samsara, it is possible. How? With this precious human rebirth in this life you can create the cause, by practicing the three higher trainings: the higher training of moral conduct, the higher training of the concentration and the higher training of the penetrative insight.
The exact Tibetan translation for that third realization is “higher seeing” or the higher training of wisdom. By actualizing this path, you can attain the blissful state of peace, nirvana.
As I mentioned before at the beginning of the course, the higher training of the moral conduct is the base to attain the two other realizations, the higher trainings of the concentration and of wisdom. For a human of the northern continent, it is impossible to receive nirvana in that life, because it is impossible to practice the higher training of the moral conduct. The prerequisite of the higher training of morality is to take ordination. This is needed in order to observe moral conduct perfectly and completely renounce samsara, the suffering realms. Without wishing to renounce samsara, it is impossible to take ordination because ordination cannot be granted.
Because it is impossible for human beings in the northern continent to take ordination, it is extremely difficult to see samsara is in the nature of suffering, because of the incredible great enjoyments and not having so many problems as we humans of the southern continent experience. It is also extremely difficult in the god realms to observe the moral conduct. On the other hand, it is extremely easy in this human continent, the southern continent to observe the moral conduct because it is easy to see the suffering, to understand how samsara is in nature of suffering.
Like this, it is very easy to attain nirvana with this precious human rebirth.
Even if you wish to attain enlightenment, that can be obtained. How? With this precious human rebirth you can create the cause, by following the path to enlightenment. You can follow the bodhisattva’s path, the Mahayana path, and you can attain enlightenment.
Even if you want to attain enlightenment in the next life, even in this life, without the need to mention any other lives, it can be done. There is no need to mention that it might take a hundred lifetimes of hundreds of eons. Even if you wish to attain enlightenment in this life, in this one short lifetime, it is possible. How? With this precious human rebirth you can practice and achieve the state of Vajradhara, enlightenment, by practicing the co-operative Sutra-Tantra path together.
Many people leave the Sutra path and only concentrate in the Tantra path in order to attain enlightenment quickly. That’s wrong practice. Without practicing Sutra, the general path, the fundamental path—the mind renouncing samsara and the thought of enlightenment, bodhicitta and the right view—without the wisdom realizing the absolute nature, then practicing tantra is like trying to build a house in space, like those very tall buildings in New York, that have many stories, only our house has no foundations.
There’s no building that exists without depending on the ground, the base. Without the base of the Sutra path, the Tantra path does not become the quick path to enlightenment. The Tantra path doesn’t become tantra.
Only on the basis of these realizations do you receive the Vajrayana initiation, which makes the mind ripen, ready, like ripened fruit. Then, you enter the practices of the Vajrayana path, then you actualize the Vajrayana path. In that way, you purify, you obtain control over ordinary death, ordinary intermediate stage and ordinary rebirth, you received control over the ordinary circle of the death and you attain the three kayas.
By opening the knots and channels, you attain control over body and mind. In that way you purifies the impure body and attain the vajra body, which is called the state of Vajradhara, enlightenment. This is possible, even in this life, especially with Guru-Yoga Practice.
I think I’ll stop here.
THE EIGHT WORLDLY DHARMAS
If you examine it well, you’ll see that there is no happiness from outside at all, that it all comes from the mind. And if you examine the mind that clings to an object with attachment, you’ll see that it’s an unpeaceful, cloudy mind. Just as when the sky is cloudy you can’t see the stars and the moon, when the mind is clouded with desire, overwhelmed by desire, it cannot meditate on emptiness at all. Even if you have some intellectual understanding of emptiness, your mind can’t come anywhere near it because of the agitation within it caused by desire. At other times, when the mind is peaceful, then it’s possible, but when it’s agitated, it’s like everything is completely covered in fog. You can’t see a thing. During that time you are unable to meditate on emptiness and even unable to think about the shortcomings of desire, the result of negative karma.
With this thought of worldly dharma, of desire for a worldly object, it is impossible to relax when the mind is near the object. Even if the body doesn’t have any particular work, because having desire means there is no mental relaxation, it’s impossible to even have physical comfort or relaxation.
You become nervous, irritable; this desire isn’t fulfilled. The thought of worldly dharma seeks the object, and if it doesn’t obtain it then you can have a nervous breakdown. You can even think of committing suicide. These things come. This may have happened to you, that you have contemplated suicide, no longer wishing to have a human life. These are the basic shortcomings of desire, the thought of worldly dharma.
The thought of the eight worldly dharmas, the clinging to obtaining the four desirable objects [and to avoiding the four undesirable objects] is completely suffering. It is the originator of so many other problems. By meditating on impermanence and death, and by reflecting on and realizing the shortcomings of thought of the eight worldly dharmas, you are able to cut off the clinging to the four desirable objects. When this happens, when the mind is free from clinging, there is real peace. Real peace of the mind is a question of determination. If you decide right now, if you able to make the determination right now, there is peace in your mind. If you are unable to make determination right now there is no peace in the mind.
On the same cushion, on the same seat, in the same minute, as soon as you make the determination not to follow desire, immediately there is peace. When you don’t make that determination, there is no peace. Peace is something that you can immediately achieve. It’s something you can experience right this second, if you make the determination.
Without the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, clinging to the four desirable objects of this life, there is so much calmness and peace in the mind. When you meet these four undesirable objects, it doesn’t bother your mind. If praise happens, it doesn’t matter; it cannot disturb your mind. If criticism happens, doesn’t disturb your mind. So there is stability in your life, there is peace. There are no ups and downs. That is what Nagarjuna means by “equalizing the eight worldly dharmas.”
Therefore, the best way to train the mind is to expect to be criticized, to expect to be disrespected. You expect the opposite, you expect the four undesirable objects, rather that expecting the four desirable objects. With this psychology, with this practice, renunciation, cutting off desire, whatever happens, even if undesirable things actually happen, which you have expected, it doesn’t become shock, it can’t harm you in any way.
Whenever you practice the remedy to desire, when you don’t follow desire, that is practicing Dharma. When you follow desire, it’s not practicing Dharma. It’s as simple as that.
The whole subject we are talking about here—about the shortcoming of the eight worldly dharmas and about the remedy, meditating on impermanence and death—comes from the different advice given by the Kadampa geshes, gained through their experience. These instructions come from their holy mouths, from what they actually practiced, what they themselves experienced.
These instructions are purely to help us be free from desire clinging to this life, to be free from the thought of the eight worldly dharma which is source of all obstacles and all problems, both for the person who practices Dharma and even the non-religious person. All obstacles, all undesirable things, come from the originator, from the thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
When you are told you have to give up desire, it looks like you are being told to give up happiness. It sounds like you have to sacrifice your happiness. That is because you feel that desire is happiness, so if you give up desire, you sacrifice your happiness, and what you are left with is nothing. You give up your desire, you don’t have happiness, you are left with nothing. It’s only the I that sees it that way. I give up desire, so I don’t have happiness, so I own nothing, I don’t have anything. It might appear like that. Your desire has been taken by somebody! It has been confiscated by somebody, robbed by somebody. Your happiness has been taken away and you are left there empty, kind of like a deflated balloon or something.
That is through not having realized well how desire itself is suffering. You need to thoroughly realize the shortcomings of desire. It is a suffering mind, an unhappy mind. Not realizing that, it feels like sacrificing desire is the same as losing your life. You no longer have a heart in your body; your physical heart has been ripped out. This is through not having realized the shortcomings of desire and how the nature of desire itself is suffering. It is a hallucinated mind.
You are unable to see that there is another happiness. To you, when you see an object of desire, of attachment, you label that “happiness,” and it appears as happiness, but in reality it is only suffering. If it were real happiness, then if the action continued the happiness would continue, but the happiness doesn’t continue, it diminishes, it decreases until it becomes the suffering of suffering. Until it appears to you as suffering, you continue to look on it as happiness. Only when that subtle suffering, that has been there all the time, becomes gross enough for you to notice, then you label it “suffering.” Before it was unnoticeable and so you labeled it “pleasure” but now it is noticeable and so you label it “suffering.” By continuing what you think is a pleasurable experience, the experience of pleasure is not compounded, it decreases until it becomes visible suffering. In fact, from the very beginning it was in the nature of suffering.
On the other hand, the peace that you experience by freeing yourself from desire, by abandoning desire, this peace continues, it doesn’t diminish, and it leads to nirvana, the sorrowless state. This continuation of this peace, this absence of desire, this freedom from desire, from the thought of eight worldly dharmas, this peace is able to develop up to enlightenment. This is the peace you experience forever. It starts from the very first practice, from the first time you manage to free yourself from the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. This is something you can develop on your mental continuum, you can experience it forever.
The reason you don’t want to let go of that thing you call happiness but which is only suffering is because you don’t know there is a better happiness. The little pleasure you gain through clinging to the eight worldly dharmas is next to nothing, but is feels better than nothing, and yet if you could see it, you would know that letting go of that clinging brings real peace, real happiness. You can’t see that you can develop this peace within
If you have a disease that causes itching, like leprosy, the strong temptation is to scratch that itch, even though you might know that scratching will cause the sore to get worse. This is like the disease of attachment. The more you scratch the more you need to scratch. The more attachment you have the more attachment you generate. It’s not that you can even satiate your attachment. That’s not its nature. Isn’t it better not to have that infection that causes the itch in the first place? Desire, attachment, clinging to this life—this is like leprosy, where the itching makes you want to scratch all the time and there is no relief.
Without this body, without this samsara, which is caused by karma and delusion, the contaminated seed of disturbing thought, you wouldn’t need to experience hot and cold, hunger and thirst, all these problems. You wouldn’t have to keep so busy; you wouldn’t have to worry about survival, to keep fit, to try to stay attractive by buying all those clothes. You wouldn’t have to spend so much money on your body. Your whole life is kept so busy, just working for the things your body needs and wants. This is more than just the survival of your body, it is the huge shopping list of things that your body demands to keep it happy. From the hair down to the toes, so much money, so many hours each week, is spent on working to decorate the body. You have this perfect human rebirth and we waste it in slavery to this body.
Then when you get sick, even if you can get some medicine, it’s still not certain it can be cured, so wouldn’t it be better to not have this samsara at all. Then you wouldn’t have to experience all those problems.
All problems come from desire, from the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, so without that the whole process of samsara breaks down. There is no cause of suffering so there can be no result of suffering. That means there is so much tranquility in the mind, there is great peace that can be developed to the ultimate, which is when all your work is complete, it is finished. Similar, if there is no desire, so all the, as I explained before how all the problems, how all the problems come from desire, the thought of worldly dharma, so all these, there is no evolution, there is no cause, there is no evolution, all these things do not happen. So there is so much tranquility or peace in the mind, that which, the happiness, the peace which can complete, which can develop, which can complete, the work for that which can be finished, the work which you can complete, which you can finish or it can end. Conversely, the work to obtain samsaric pleasures depending on the external sense objects has no end. No matter how much you do. it doesn’t end. It is like ripples of water lapping against the shore of a lake, always coming, one after the other after the other, never ending. Like that, because temporal happiness is dependent on external phenomena, sense objects, first of all itself is in the nature of suffering and also, because it can never bring the satisfaction it promises, the work to get it never ends. And as it continues, what begins as the suffering of change becomes the suffering of suffering.
THERE IS NO CHOICE BUT TO PRACTICE DHARMA
It is important to concentrate on developing this greater, this real peace, which is something you can immediately experience, by freeing yourself from the thought of worldly dharma. When there is independence from desire, there is great freedom, great peace. When you choose that option there is no problem. When you take that side, when you attempt for that real peace, that greater happiness, this other one becomes uninteresting. You have no difficulty cutting it off because it becomes uninteresting, it becomes like picking up used toilet paper. [GL RL] It’s as uninteresting as that. Being aware of this, concentrating on this is important. When you do, there is no depression, there is no danger of becoming crazy in this way.
Therefore, the main thing is renouncing this life, the eight worldly dharmas. That doesn’t mean that everybody can do this immediately. His Holiness often advises that the best way to lead your life is to live in an isolated place and renounce this life, keeping the mind one-pointedly in the practice of the path to enlightenment. So developing the realizations of the path to enlightenment is the best. If that’s not possible, then the second best thing to do is, for those who have an education in Dharma knowledge, to teach the Dharma. Those who have studied and who have Dharma knowledge, you can teach others, and that can be your practice. Even if you are not able to be like that person who as completely renounced this worldly life, you can do whatever practice you are able to do and you can teach the Dharma to others.
Then next, If you have neither the renunciation nor the Dharma education to teach others then the third way you can practice is to serve others in society. By serving other sentient beings you are doing whatever you can do. In other words, that means that you can all practice as best as you can, developing on your level.
Since nobody likes problems of any kind, there is no choice, you have to practice Dharma. That is the conclusion. The only thing that brings peace of mind, that solves problems, is Dharma; nothing else does. There is no other means. If you don’t like problems, suffering, there is no way to give up Dharma practice, no way to escape from Dharma practice. [GL] Because what “Dharma practice” means is renouncing the cause of problems, renouncing what is in the mind that creates suffering and developing in the mind the cause of happiness, the positive attitude. To stop experiencing problems—this life’s problems, future lives’ problems, day to day problems, disease, AIDS, cancer, relationship problems—whatever it is, you need to realize it all comes from nonvirtuous actions, from nonvirtuous karma, from disturbing thoughts, self-cherishing thoughts, from the ignorance, grasping the I as truly existent. If you don’t want problems, now and in the future, you have to purify that negative karma. If you don’t want problems, you have to purify the karma that is the cause of those problems, you have to abandon creating negative karma. That is Dharma practice. Whether a person is Buddhist or not Buddhist; whether a person accepts religion or not, there is no other way to really stop life’s problems, to make it impossible to experience problems.
Therefore, no matter how many problems you experience, even if you don’t have time to do a long retreat, if you don’t have time to do many things such as studying, still you have to practice Dharma, because you don’t want unhappiness, you don’t want problems. It’s as simple as that.
Even if you are overwhelmed with problems, with illnesses and relationship problems and so forth, and you think you don’t have a second for anything but these, there is no excuse not to practice Dharma. Because you want to be free from these problems, you have to practice Dharma.
The last thing is, even if you can’t renounce this life, even if you don’t have the karma to live an ascetic life like those meditators, whatever the reason is, it’s still important to generate the wish.
By hearing this text in the next life [RL] what’s the purpose of listening to such teachings? There is great importance. You can see all the benefits of practicing and all the shortcomings of not practicing, so even if you cannot practice now, if at least by hearing the teachings you generate the wish to be able to practice, generating that wish itself is the preparation or seed that makes it possible in the future to actually be able to practice pure Dharma, able to live an ascetic live, to renounce the eight worldly dharmas and to succeed in actualizing the rest of the path. So, even generating the wish to be able to practice is very important.
So I think we’ll stop there.
[Break in the taping.]
All causative phenomena can and do change within every second due to cause and conditions, but these things can be stopped any time. These things exist by depending on the base. These things are nothing else than merely imputed by the mind. Actions, objects, starting from the I—all the existence is nothing other than what is merely imputed. So meditate on this. Concentrate in this.
There is no I other than what is merely imputed. There are no aggregates other than what are merely imputed. There is no body other than what is merely imputed. There is no mind other than what is merely imputed. So therefore all these are completely empty.
Similarly the actions and sense objects, all the friends, enemy, strangers, possessions, all these, bad or good, including form, sound, smell, taste and so forth, all these things are nothing else than what is merely imputed by the mind, so all these things are also completely empty, as if they don’t exist.
Whatever we think from morning until night—we are talking, we are thinking, we are looking at something which is merely imputed. We are hearing something which is merely imputed. We are thinking something which is merely imputed. So, from morning to night, from birth to death, from beginningless rebirth up to enlightenment, the whole thing is like this.
Therefore, there is no base, there is no reason at all for anger to arise, for discriminating mind to arise, for attachment and ignorance to arise, there is no reason. It’s completely nonsense. It is something not needed, something that is meaningless.
So without reason, without meaning, one’s mind creates problems, one’s own mind makes up ignorance, one’s mind makes up attachment. One’s own mind makes up anger.
The great yogi Milarepa who has achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime of degenerated time said:
“I escaped the mountain by being scared of death, but now that I have realized the ultimate nature of the primordial mind, even if death comes I have no worry.”
This Milarepa’s teaching, or hymn, which he composed through his own experience.
As I mentioned, no matter how many problems you have, you need to practice Dharma. There is no other solution. For example, when you have some heavy disease that no external treatment can cure, where many doctors have tried but been unable to cure it, when there is nothing that can be done externally, many of those diseases, many of those problems can only be solved by doing very intensive, long-term practice. This is because the obstacle is very heavy.
Some people who have the karma to meet lamas and receive correct advice from them, such as meditation instructions and Dharma practice, they recover quickly. There are many examples of people like this, who had some heavy disease for a long time but had been unable to be cured by external means such as medicine and so forth, but have been able to be fully recovered by doing meditation practices.
Like example, my uncle was sick for many years but nothing helped. He went to Tibet and saw many doctors, then finally he went to see a lama, who lived in the Cherok cave, near to Lawudo, the cave that I sometimes go to. This old monk meditator advised him that because the sickness was caused by his karmic obscuration, he needed to do a lot of purification. He took commentaries on the preliminary practices, prostrations and refuge and so forth, from the lama and also the old ngagpa [lay tantric practitioner] who lived in Cherok. While my uncle was doing the preliminary practice his disease gradually recovered. He did seven hundred thousand prostrations. At the same time, he was taking care my grandmother who was blind, making food for her and bringing her out to do kaka, all these things. For many years he took care of her like that. There are many things that happened like this.
When no external things work, then you have to take refuge in the Dharma, not only to not experience future problems but even to stop experiencing present problems. You need to practice Dharma.
The very essence of what I was saying is the need to practice Dharma. That is the main subject of the teaching this time, cutting off clinging. From not giving up clinging comes all the problems. Diseases like AIDS come from there. It’s very clear that AIDS comes from the thought of worldly dharma. I have asked the people who have AIDS what mental state they had when they got AIDS or HIV and they said from very strong sexual desire, their mental state was that. During the time they were involved in nonvirtue, in lack of morality, with such a mental state, they came down with fever every day, sweating, becoming weak and so forth.
Basically, all diseases and problems come from the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Besides that, all the relationship problems, being unable to concentrate when you do meditation sessions or retreats. Even somebody who practices meditation, the basic obstacle not allowing them to have good concentration, which blocks the peaceful, relaxed mind, which doesn’t allow continued focus of the mind on the object—all that is basically caused by attachment, the scattering thought.
Whenever you try to do different practices, this evil thought of eight worldly dharmas comes to defeat you. It comes to fail you, not allowing you to practice.
When there is so much clinging, such strong desire, it is very easy to be impatient. The stronger the clinging there is in this life, the easier it is for impatience and strong anger to arise. If somebody disturbs you, threatening something that you cling to the most, you get the greatest anger. If it’s something that you don’t cling that much, when somebody threatens to take it, there’s not much, disturbance; there’s less anger. It might hurt, but less.
Anger, jealousy, all those other things, is to do with the clinging, something related to that. By depending on that, then those other things happen. So many of those things happen by depending on clinging. Then all these negative thought arise and you create negative karma, the cause of the lower realms.
When you are able to cut off clinging, when you can free yourself from clinging, you free yourself from the threat of the lower realms.
BODHICITTA: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GOOD HEART
The main subject of this course is the perfect teachings of bodhicitta, the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment. This is the main subject. Even before we receive the complete teachings on the meditations on bodhicitta, it is necessary to train our minds in the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment. Even before that, especially, the main aim of the practice of meditation, of listening to the teachings, the main aim of the course should be to attain enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings. Also, from the side of the person who is doing the teachings, from my side, that is the sole aim. So, if from your side that is the aim, then listening to the teachings, practicing meditation, whatever you do, besides becoming the cause of your own happiness and perfections, besides becoming beneficial to you, it becomes beneficial to all sentient beings. So, at the beginning of each session, before doing the meditation, it is necessary to have the motivation to be possessed by such this pure motivation of the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment.
For instance, before the breathing meditation, think like this, “I’m going to practice the breathing meditation in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all the sentient beings.” Then the breathing meditation is done with this pure motivation, and besides being of benefit for your own happiness, it benefits, it brings happiness to all the sentient beings. It benefits by pacifying all the sentient beings’ sufferings, as you dedicate the action for all the sentient beings, when you do the breathing meditation, not only your own happiness. If your motivation, your aim is that, even if the breathing meditation it is done for one minute or five minutes, it can benefit all the sentient beings.
No matter how difficult practicing meditation is—being tired and having pains in your backside—how difficult it is, all this that you experience, all the difficulties you bear become worthwhile. In that way then, as you have dedicated the action of the breathing meditation for the benefit of other sentient beings, you are bearing the difficulties for the benefit of other sentient beings. In that way, doing the meditation practice with such pure motivation, you do not waste time, and the meditation becomes great purification. And each meditation without doubt, without question, becomes a cause to attain enlightenment.
What is the heart of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism? What is that? It is the loving-compassionate, precious thought of enlightenment. If we are practicing this, as we are practicing this, we are practicing the essence of the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism.
The whole purpose of meditation is to have good heart. The conclusion is this. If you have a good heart, whatever perfections, happiness, you wish, anything, can be easily achieved without much effort, temporal happiness or ultimate happiness.
Before saying that, at the beginning of each session, if you try to motivate like this, first of all, right after you sit down, try to make the mind virtuous. If it is a bad mind, try to renounce it, by recognizing, “This does not benefit, this is useless, this only causes suffering.” Then try to transform it into a virtuous thought, by motivating with the loving-compassionate precious thought of enlightenment. Then, if you think again and again like this, if you train your mind again and again like this, your mind becomes closer and closer to the realization, the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment. So, there are great benefits.
Also, by motivating with the compassionate loving thought, the thought of enlightenment, the meditation practice or any action that you do doesn’t become the self-centered attitude, it doesn’t become an egocentric action.
In order to actualize bodhicitta, the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment, you must achieve the realization, the mind fully renouncing samsara. A simple way of putting the term samsara is the suffering realms. Just this mind and body that we have now, with which we get so confused, on and on, one after another, constantly, constantly we experience suffering. This is samsara, this is the suffering realms.
We should achieve the mind fully renouncing samsara. In order to achieve the realization of the mind fully renouncing samsara, we should understand how this samsara is in the nature of suffering. We should discover this. In order to discover this, we should understand karma. In order to clearly understand karma, we should understand reincarnation. In order to understand reincarnation, we should understand the evolution of the mind—not the absolute nature of the mind, but the relative nature of mind.
I think I’ll stop here.
THE BENEFITS OF BODHICITTA: RELATIVE BODHICITTA IS THE DOOR TO THE MAHAYANA
So, in the afternoon what I will try to talk is the actual body of the oral teaching, the graduate of training the thought of bodhicitta. In that way then most of the teachings about the thought training perhaps could be finished during the course.
Explaining the graduated thought training the bodhicitta has two sections: the oral teachings of actually training in relative bodhicitta, and the branches of the relative bodhicitta. So before explaining the different types of meditation to train in relative bodhicitta, it is very beneficial if you understand a little bit about the benefits of relative bodhicitta.
Generally the benefits of relative bodhicitta are explained in the Sutra teachings, such as The Sutra of the Beautified Tree. In these Sutra teachings so many incredible benefits of bodhicitta are explained. Also Maitreya Buddha as well as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha have explained so many of the benefits of the relative bodhicitta.
The only door through which you can enter the Mahayana path is by relative bodhicitta. If you don’t have relative bodhicitta in your mind, then even if you have the full realization of shunyata [emptiness], you cannot enter the Mahayana path. The higher beings who follow the Hinayana path, those transcendental beings who follow the Hinayana path, even they having the full realization of shunyata. The Hinayana arhats have completely removed all the disturbing negative thoughts, even the seeds. They have incredible psychic powers to transform anything with their psychic powers; they can fly, they can transform anything using the power of their body—water coming out, fire coming out, they can even transform solid rocks into tiny forms, the size of a grain of rice. They have incredible knowledge, psychic powers, but even though they are completely free from samsara and have attained nirvana, still they are not have not entered the Mahayana Path. Even though they have incredible knowledge like that and have complete control over death and rebirth they cannot enter the Mahayana path. The only thing which can make you enter the Mahayana path is only relative bodhicitta, the thought of enlightenment.
So, if the Arhats with their incredible knowledge, their psychic powers cannot enter the Mahayana Path, of course people with just ordinary psychic powers cannot. There are people who can see past and future life, who can see very distant things such as what is happening in America from here. Some people have mundane powers to transform things, with a body that cannot be burned, or able to bend a solid thing like a knife. Some are able to produce material things. But even people with such amazing mundane psychic powers are not free from samsara and have no realizations on the path, so of course it’s impossible for that person to enter the Mahayana Path. Even somebody with unshakeable concentration which can last even for eons, which cannot be disturbed—even with such incredible realizations like that, that person cannot enter the Mahayana path.
Even a person who has a Vajrayana practice, and has passed the generation stage and is able to practice the completion stage, being able to manifest in the form of a deity and move the winds into the channels, without the realization of bodhicitta it is like a small baby looking at the paintings on the wall of a temple. He can be skilled at tum-mo, inner heat. I’m sure most people, especially those who have read Tibetan Mysticism, and about practices such as the Six Yogas of Naropa, know about tum-mo, the meditation on the generating heat power. Even though somebody has such an advanced Vajrayana practice, without the realization of bodhicitta, it’s nothing more than making fire, like you can do with one of those machines. What do you call it? We have them in Nepal, made of bamboo and animal skin, and I’ve seen them in the West. You use it for blowing on the fire and making it stronger. [Student gives name.] Oh, bellows! B. E. L. L. O. W. S. If somebody tries to practice tum-mo without bodhicitta, it’s just like me with a bellows.
So the door of the Mahayana Path is only bodhicitta.
THE BENEFITS OF BODHICITTA: YOU BECOME A SON OF THE VICTORIOUS ONES
The second benefit is you receive the name, the Son of the Buddha, the Son of the Victorious One. Victorious One means the Buddha. Usually you find the word like this in the texts. Why victorious? Victorious has much meaning. In Australia there is a place called Victoria. There must be some story. Why the Buddha is called the Victorious One is because he has conquered not only the disturbing negative thoughts but even the impressions of the disturbing negative thoughts, every single, subtle dualistic mind, even the tiny part of subtle dualistic mind. Having attained victory over all obscurations, you also receiving the name, the Son of the Victorious One, which means a bodhisattva.
Even is a person is extremely ugly looking, even if he is of the very lowest caste, even if he doesn’t even know how to make food, he can’t even make a cup of coffee, and everybody puts him down, calling him stupid or a fool, if he has actualized bodhicitta, then from that moment on he receives the holy name of bodhisattva and all the buddhas recognize him as that, they call him that. He becomes object of respect.
He is called that even if others call him a hippy, because he has long hair down to his feet, he wears clothes that nobody on Earth would want to wear and he lives in the forest, where the monkeys live! I’m joking! Everybody thinks he’s terrible, and he gets kicked out of one country after another. As soon as he arrives in one place, the people tell him to leave. Even such a person, with a body full of smells, skin completely filthy and yellow, if he has attained bodhicitta, the thought of enlightenment, he doesn’t need a passport or a visa, he is completely free from this world. He has nothing to bother others with. Having bodhicitta, he receives the holy name of bodhisattva and all the buddhas and bodhisattvas recognize him.
Even a king or president living in such a rich apartment or palace, controlling such a huge population, with an army of bodyguards and hundreds of suits and other clothes, even such a person with the highest reputation, the most famous person in the world, without bodhicitta he doesn’t have a reputation that really counts, whereas the hippy with bodhicitta has the very best reputation. The king or president doesn’t become an object of respect by the buddhas and bodhisattvas. We say about a person, “You are just like a pig” because it is recognized that a pig is the most ignorant animal. But even a pig or a turtle—you remember the example of how difficult it is for them to receive the perfect human rebirth—even though they are so incredibly ignorant, if they manage somehow to attain the thought of enlightenment, they receive the holy name, bodhisattva.
When bodhicitta is actualized by human being or even animal, all the buddhas and bodhisattvas are happy. It is like having found a new friend to work for other sentient beings together. It is like have found a new friend so all the buddhas and bodhisattvas are extremely happy. When the person attains bodhicitta, all the earth shakes, even the pure fields of the buddhas move. It is like thinking have received new child who will be able to inherit their position, like a king is pleased when he gets a child who is the new prince and will be the king after him.
Like that , the buddhas’ holy minds are extremely pleased. The buddhas communicate with each other, and when the bodhisattvas in the pure realms ask them what caused that shaking, they explain that today, in such-and-such a world system. such as the southern or the western continent, such-and-such a being has attained the precious thought of enlightenment. I suppose if it were here, they would say that today, in New York, a man called Bob attained bodhicitta. And this is what caused the pure realms to shake.
Why does it make the earth shake? Because it is power of bodhicitta. This whole earth came into existence due to collective karma, karma that we all have, that all the people, all the sentient beings who live on this earth have. All the general karma is collective karma. This earth came into existence because of the general karma that has been collected by all the human beings and all the animals who use this earth. So when one sentient being attains bodhicitta, the person has received the higher power to lead other sentient beings from samsara. Having actualized Bodhicitta makes samsara shake. The vibration of power of this realization makes the Earth shake.
The great bodhisattva called Shantideva, whose teaching is the base of the thought training teaching, said in his teaching, Entering the Path to Enlightenment:
Having received what is called the thought of enlightenment, in that very second that fainted (?) being who had been in tortured and bound in the prison of samsara is called son by those who have gone to the blissful state and has become and object of devotion and a holy object for worldly gods and humans.
“Those who have gone to a blissful state” refers to the buddhas. The translation is a bit difficult. In Tibetan it is called de-she—de means “blissful state,” and she means “have gone,” so this is another epithet for a buddha. These enlightened beings call the person who has attained bodhicitta their son.
The realization of what is called bodhicitta is attained by the fainted (?) being. That refers to any being trapped in samsara, such as the narak beings who have not even one second to experience happiness, or the preta beings or animals who are constantly suffering, experiencing incredible suffering, incredible problems, so much heavier than human being. But is also includes suras and asuras, who are also bound to the prison of samsara by the delusion and karma.
Like now, we are bound to the samsara with this mind and body, therefore because we are bound with this body we suffer so much, we experience so many problems.
So these beings, having attained bodhicitta are called “sons” by the ones who have gone to the blissful state. Furthermore, these beings are now objects of devotion for suras and asuras as well as human beings, objects to be prostrated to and to make offerings to.
I think I’ll stop here.
For the meditation, maybe try to remember the benefits of bodhicitta that I just mentioned again, the door of the Mahayana path is the Bodhicitta and receiving the name “the son of the Victorious Ones.”
If there’s time after remembering the benefits, then you can do the equilibrium meditation.
THE BENEFITS OF BODHICITTA: YOU CREATE GREAT MERIT
I’ll give a brief explaining of the benefits of the graduated training on the thought of enlightenment. One thing that I mentioned yesterday, maybe it wasn’t become clear. Without having the realization bodhicitta, the thought of enlightenment, the Vajrayana path doesn’t become the cause of enlightenment. The two stages, the becoming [generation] and fulfillment [completion] stages, meditating on the chakras, generating heat, concentrating on the flame, what is called tum-mo, never becomes the cause of attaining enlightenment if it is not possessed with the motivation of the thought of enlightenment, even if there isn’t an actual realization of bodhicitta.... that practice it didn’t even cause to receive Enlightenment, it didn’t become even cause to receive Enlightenment. It cannot even become a Mahayana practice; it cannot become Mahayana Dharma.
Even if you don’t have the actual realization of bodhicitta, but if your practice is possessed by the motivation of the bodhicitta, even a simple breathing meditation, even making charity to one ant of one grain of rice, that becomes the cause to attain enlightenment. Whatever very high practices a person has tried, without any motivation of the thought of enlightenment—even if the person can sit on the mountains without clothes by generating heat—it still it doesn’t become a Mahayana practice;, it doesn’t become cause to attain enlightenment. If you have a realization of bodhicitta then, ah, then, realization of Bodhicitta, then, whatever practice he does, whatever practice the person does, the actual thought of enlightenment, without question your entire practice becomes Mahayana Dharma, and yourself are a Mahayanist.
Without the thought of enlightenment, no matter whatever psychic powers or other knowledge, the person is not a Mahayanist. As I explained yesterday, an arhat is still it is not a Mahayanist, even though he is free from samsara. The door of the Mahayana path is only bodhicitta. Only then do you receive the name, “the son of the victorious ones.”
Even the arhats, the hearers and solitary realizers, who are completely free from samsara, who have completely removed all the disturbing negative thoughts, are not as high as the newest bodhisattva. Even if that bodhisattva has a dog’s body, because the mind has bodhicitta, it is higher that the Hinayana Arhats.
It is just like when a prince is born to a king. Even though he is still a tiny baby, all the other important people who are under king, the ministers and politicians, are controlled by that baby. It is not because of knowledge—they know far more than the baby does—but because of caste. Because of caste, they have to respect the prince, even if he is still a newborn baby.
So, in regards to psychic power, the arhats have incredible knowledge, much more than a new bodhisattva, but because the bodhisattva has attained bodhicitta, he enters the caste of bodhisattva, and because of that controls those higher beings, the arhats.
It is said in the text, any sentient being who has actualized bodhicitta, right away, in that moment, that being becomes the supreme object of offerings. Right at that moment, he is the supreme object of offering, by human beings, even by the gods. When a bodhisattva walks on the road, the footprint left on the road on the dust, you know, on the road, even the King of the Suras has to bow down and touch his crown to the footprint. It is said in the Sutra teaching, that even the bodhisattva, even the Bodhisattva wants to go to have sense pleasures, if there is no one to pull the chariot for him, the Buddha will pull it.
For somebody who has attained bodhicitta, whatever he wishes to obtain, everything becomes successful. The hindrances that disturb him fulfilling his work are prevented by bodhicitta. Having realized bodhicitta, any kind of work the person wants to do will be successful, and without question any Dharma practice.
It becomes very difficult for any delusion or disturbing negative thought, any distraction to the Dharma practice, to arise. The main distraction to actualizing the path is the inner disturbing negative thoughts but it becomes very difficult for these disturbing negative thoughts to arise. Instead of all the actions becoming nonvirtuous negative karma, each action of body speech and mind, become virtuous actions, the cause of attaining enlightenment.
Now, even if we try to so a purely positive action, trying to help another person, the action is done for the self, to receive some benefit from that person. Even though it looks like we are helping another, it is very difficult for the action to become pure, without involving the self-cherishing thought. However, for the new bodhisattva, without much effort, each action easily becomes virtue; it doesn’t involve the ego, it only becomes the work for other sentient beings, pure.
Then, also the mind is very happy. You have to develop a small good heart, then develop it more and more, then afterwards you achieve the realization of bodhicitta. It has to come from a good heart. First you have small good heart, then as you practice, as you train your mind, you develop your heart and it becomes better and better, better and better.
The actions of the bodhisattva are done without self-cherishing thought, The self-cherishing thought is one of the main hindrances that disturb the quick attainment if achieve enlightenment. That is how by actualizing bodhicitta you can attain enlightenment quickly.
Humans and non-humans cannot harm somebody who has actualized bodhicitta. A Kadampa Geshe called Chunlungpa lived in a place called Tingri. There are many mischievous spirits in that area. Many of those spirits tried to give harm to that meditator. One of the powerful spirits went to disturb him, to cause danger to that meditator’s life. Geshe Chunlungpa was meditating on bodhicitta and he used to cry all the time all the time he meditated on bodhicitta. He started to cry by remembering suffering of others. So, one of the powerful spirits went to give harm. When he reached the cave he couldn’t harm him, so he went back and told the other spirits. “I tried again and again to give harm him. Besides I dare not give him harm. Forget about giving him harm. He nurtures compassion for us. He himself was crying for our suffering.”
Also one time, there was a monk called Monlam Tsawo. There was danger of a flood destroying the monastery, so this bodhisattva monk wrote on a stone, “If I, Monlam Tsawo am real bodhisattva let the flood water go away.” Then he put the stone where the water was flooding and the flood turned back, when it reached the stone. That was because of the power of bodhicitta, the truth.
Not so long ago, only three or four years ago, in the extremely isolated part of northern Tibet where only nomads lived—there were no houses or buildings—there was a family who had a daughter who became crazy. In that village they have a lama who they used to invite to do puja. They invited him to stop the craziness of the daughter. This lama did a puja called “Dispelling the spirits,” asking the spirits to leave by giving presents and so forth, but the daughter, directed by the spirit stood up and beat the lama over the head with a shoe. Later, a simple monk came begging and the family invited him into the house. He doesn’t know many prayers or the other things that monks know. He couldn’t do the pujas, such as the one to help sick nagas or spirits called Cha-shing, asking them not to harm humans. The family asked the monk if he can do this puja and he said he could, so they invited him to do it, but when he sat down he didn’t offer any ritual cake to the spirit. He didn’t do any of the usual things, but just sat there and wrapped the zen [upper robe] around his head and kept quiet. However, after a few minutes the patient was cured from her disease.
Bodhicitta is extremely powerful. It prevents general harm from spirits, and especially harm from spirits which you cannot be cured by medicine. If you have actual bodhicitta of course that is without question, but even if you don’t have it, meditating on compassion is an excellent method.
This monk’s monastery had a new residence built so the monks had to move to the new place. The other monks kept only the valuable things, clothes that were not torn, things that were not broken. This monk, however, his room was full of garbage! It took one week to transfer all his material things from his oldroom to his new room. When other monks watched, they saw nothing interesting. There is not one thing that is useful, that is complete. Just only pieces of torn clothes, but he had it all transferred, as if it was so important.
The monk ate old food, food that would make other people sick if they ate it, rotten food that others would throw on the ground. The other monks could never understand how he could eat this and never get sick. He normally didn’t show compassion that much, just went around the stupa, sometimes thirty times a day and came back and made very delicious Tibetan tea, while only repeating the Twenty-one Praises to Tara, very loudly repeating each syllable many time. For instance, if he was reciting “OM MUNÉ MUNÉ MAHA MUNAYÉ SOHA” he would recite the OM many times, then the MUNÉ many times, and the same with the Tara prayer.
I heard that he had a very good death. I think he left a good example from the way he died. On the same day one of our lamas, Serkong Rinpoche was giving teachings there, he was making offering to all the monks, giving everything he had to other people. He made offerings and before he died, offering everything to different monasteries, his different Gurus and Lamas. Then, later on that day he passed away.
By actualizing bodhicitta, you quickly become an object of offering, and by your superior caste, you control the arhats. Then, any wish you have will become successful. If you have bodhicitta, then neither human beings nor non-human beings cannot give you harm. Remember these things I have briefly mentioned if you can. I think that’s enough.
THE BENEFITS OF BODHICITTA: MEDITATION ON THE KINDNESS OF THE MOSQUITO
In meditation, you start from love, great love, great compassion, then bodhicitta, then up to enlightenment, attaining all the wisdom of the buddhas. This is the advantage we receive from the kindness of the bodhisattvas and arhats. Through purifying and collecting merits in connection with these holy objects, we gain great realizations. All these advantages are received from these holy objects. They are also received by depending on kindness of sentient beings.
Then, as I mentioned yesterday in the afternoon, all the three times’—all the past, present and future’s—happiness, every single perfection, all the temporal happiness, all the ultimate happiness, everything, every single happiness comes from depending on the mosquito. The same mosquito I mentioned yesterday. All the temporal happiness, all the perfections, whatever happiness you have at all in samsara, comes from this kind mother sentient being mosquito biting you. Try to understand this.
Maybe just concentrate, try to feel this.
Visualize the mosquito is making a terrible noise. Then drinking your blood, putting his—what do you call it? trunk? nose?—proboscis [GL] into your toe, where the skin is very thin and it is very painful. Visualize this. [GL RL] [then, uproarious laughter as small plane buzzes overhead.]
Fantastic! That’s very helpful. It’s a sign of very good meditation, very clear concentration! If it’s not concentration this does not happen.
All my past, present and future happiness, all the temporal happiness, all the enjoyment, the perfections of samsara, all the ultimate happiness including enlightenment, everything has been completely received from this mosquito. All these things are received from all the sentient beings.
All my happiness—temporal and ultimate happiness—came from creating good karma.
My creating good karma is the action of the Buddha. That is the way how the Buddha guides me from sufferings and lead in the path to happiness. And I create good karma by understanding the teachings that explain karma, what is called the happiness, what is called suffering. Where do the teachings come from? The teachings come from the Buddha. Even the person who creates good karma, out of compassion, even though he doesn’t know what the cause of happiness or suffering is, even though he hasn’t received teachings in this life—still that good action is the result of having understanding the teachings in a previous life.
All the good karma I create is because of understanding the teachings. My creating good karma that itself is the teaching, that itself is the Dharma. The teaching is received from the Buddha. The numberless buddhas are born from bodhisattvas. The bodhisattvas are born from bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is born from the thought of Mahayana love and compassion.
The thought of Mahayana love is received from each sentient being, so it is received from this mosquito. It is received from each sentient being. Even by excluding one sentient being, there is no way to receive the realization of the Mahayana love and compassion. By excluding just one, by leaving out just one sentient being, there is no way. It is received from each and every sentient being. So, it is received from this mosquito, who is biting me now.
From this thought of Mahayana love and compassion I have received from this mosquito, bodhicitta is born and from bodhicitta a bodhisattva is born. All the numberless bodhisattvas have happened dependent on the teachings of this mosquito. All the numberless buddhas, as well, originally came from this mosquito. How they happened is by depending on this mosquito. Therefore, my receiving teachings from the Buddha, my meeting the holy teachings of the Buddha, is also received from this mosquito. My creating good karma, the cause of all the three times’ temporal happiness, all the ultimate happiness, including enlightenment, that is completely received from this mosquito. Everything, all temporal and ultimate happiness, including enlightenment, is completely is received from this precious holy object, the mosquito.
[Break in tape.]
Even if every sentient being makes charity for hundreds of eons of every material thing in the universe to hundreds of deities, this is in no way comparable to making charity of even a small bowl of food, a small bowl of rice to an animal with the motivation of bodhicitta. Think, “I am going to make this charity to this dog, in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings.”
Simply motivating like this, cultivating the motivation bodhicitta like this, even one small bowl of food to a dog, if this whole earth were full of jewel and you made charity for hundreds eons to each human being, and to each animal, the different sentient beings who are on this earth, the pretas, narak beings, the benefit can never compare to giving one small bowl of rice to a dog with motivation of bodhicitta. Even one small rice like this, making charity to ant, with motivation bodhicitta.
Without a bodhicitta motivation, what you give is just one bowl of food to one dog, to one sentient being, that’s nothing compared to other charity. But because of the motivation of bodhicitta, with this action you have received infinite merit, which equals the infinite space. As the great bodhisattva Atisha said in his teachings, The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, the benefit of bodhicitta is like this.
Even though you made incredible, unbelievable charity like this, for many hundreds eons, every day, using the most incredible materials—the whole earth, piled with jewels, you will gain great merit, but without a bodhicitta motivation, it is nothing compared to the smallest offering made with a bodhicitta motivation.
This is why training mind in bodhicitta, trying to actualize bodhicitta, is the most important thing. Even if you don’t know the Vajrayana, all those mystical, secret, Tantra teachings it is not important if you have bodhicitta. Take a person who practices Vajrayana without training the mind in the bodhicitta, knowing everything—how to achieve the rainbow body, all the profound methods the Vajrayana teaching—but he has never trained his mind in bodhicitta. Now compare him with a person who doesn’t have any training in the Vajrayana but who has bodhicitta. Who is closer to enlightenment? The person who completely concentrates just on bodhicitta and spends whole his life on that, meditating on compassion, he is the one who will attain enlightenment first. He is closer to enlightenment than the person who completely knows everything about the Vajrayana teachings but has no bodhicitta. This shows something about the benefit of bodhicitta. If you have actualized bodhicitta, then you can collect infinite merit, instantly, effortlessly.
THE BENEFITS OF BODHICITTA: WE PURIFY OBSCURATIONS
The next benefit of bodhicitta is that all obscurations and negative karma are quickly get purified. Even with the motivation of bodhicitta, even if you don’t have the actual realization of bodhicitta, you receive infinite merit. Therefore, obviously, if you have actualized bodhicitta, the merit you create and the obstacles you purify is infinite.
It is said in the teaching, Entering the Path of Enlightenment by the great bodhisattva Shantideva:
Just like the fire at the end of the time that definitely burns all the great negative karma in one second, so that [bodhicitta] burns negative karma and obscurations.
The fire of the end of the time is the end of this age when the whole of this mandala, of this world system, ends due to the karma of sentient beings. Seven suns rise and it becomes so extremely hot that all the mountains burn up and melt into nothing, and everything is destroyed by the fire. When that happens there are no more sentient beings on this Earth. This is just trying to describe how powerful bodhicitta is, how it can burn up all negative karma and obscurations like the fire at the end of time. In a single second the world is destroyed, and in the same way, in a single second, with bodhicitta, all negative karma and obscurations are destroyed.
The heaviest negative karma you can create are the five immediate negativities of killing your father, your mother an arhat, causing disunity in the Sangha and maliciously drawing blood from an enlightened being. But even if somebody has collected the karma of having done all five of these heinous actions, bodhicitta can burn up that negative karma in one second. With bodhicitta, you can purify anything in such a short time with so little effort.
I think I’ll stop here.
Even if you are concerned because you have created so much negative karma and you need to do strong purification—even if you counted you negative deeds on your mala and they were more than one full round—the best way to purify, the most powerful way, the most skillful way, is to meditate on bodhicitta, training the mind in the precious thought of enlightenment.
Like the talk this afternoon, the two benefits are collecting infinite merit and purifying all obscurations and negative karma quickly. If you have made notes, try to remember the main points.