…normally the wrong conception, the self-cherishing thought thinks that my happiness is more important than other sentient beings’ happiness. But there is no reason that one can find. Even in the dream, you know, you do not desire even the smallest suffering, and it is exactly the same thing with other sentient beings, with all the sentient beings. All sentient beings also wish for the smallest pleasure in the dream, and do not wish for even the smallest suffering. So it is exactly the same.
Like this, try to equalize oneself with others, try to see oneself and other sentient beings as equal. They are not desiring even the smallest suffering, desiring even the smallest pleasure. As oneself is more important, other sentient beings are important, like this.
Then meditate on the shortcomings of the self-cherishing thought. According to the word from the root text, from the text of the Seven Thoughts Transformation, blame all the faults on one. Maybe that is not right, that is not correct. Put all the blames on one, maybe that is more correct.
Normally in our life whatever problem we experience, when we get sick, when we get unhealthy, we always blame, we never think about the self-cherishing thought, the root of all the faults, all the suffering. All these problems came from the self-cherishing thought. This is not even an object of our mind. Whatever the difficulties, the problems that we experience, when we get hepatitis, we always blame, you know, oh I got hepatitis in Nepal, because it was a very dirty place. In the west there are better living conditions but they still get hepatitis there. However, you know, if there is diarrhea, oh, I have diarrhea, something wrong with the food, with complete concentration on the outside condition. We completely fix the root as being the fault outside.
We never seek inside for the root of the fault, we never seek in our mind. Completely, you know, all the time, whenever problems happen we completely concentrate outside. If the body becomes unhealthy, we blame the climate, or the food or the health, the place or it’s not clean, it’s very dirty. Or we blame the people, the mother sentient beings. We seek the root of suffering, the root of mistakes, on the outside mother sentient beings or on non-living things, the elements, the living conditions.
But it is very clear—if one does not have the unsubdued mind, the self-cherishing thought, then there is no way to experience all the difficulties, all the sufferings of life. So from this one can understand. For instance the higher bodhisattvas don’t have such sicknesses, old age, pains, things like that, they are free from that. The enlightened buddhas are completely free from all the mistakes, due to the completion of the all the realizations, through the mind development.
So our having experiencing the various problems, like this you know, all that is a mistake of not having destroyed the devil or the self-cherishing, “I”-grasping ignorance.
The “I”-grasping ignorance believes the “I,” the image of self to exist, believes that it is truly existent. That way the self-cherishing thought arises, cherishes oneself the most among the sentient beings. So then from this, all this is the suffering, all the problems, all the hindrances of dharma practices come from this.
The conclusion that he himself is completely free all the unsubdued minds, and even the obscuration of the omniscient mind, and that those are the causes, those are the root of the fears so as he is free from root of the fears, he is completely free from all his fears, all the sufferings of samsara.
One benefactor who was given wrong advice to harm Guru Shakyamuni Buddha by six wrong founders, six non-Buddhist, wrong founders, following other Hindu paths, against the beliefs in the Buddhadharma. These benefactors, due to the wrong advice that was given to them, invited Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, then outside the house they made a big hall, and put fire inside the ground, outside the house, covered by real dust, and they invited Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all his followers. So when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha came, and when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha stepped over this hole, they were expecting Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to fall in the fire, but instead of falling down, the whole thing was transformed into a beautiful lake, and a lotus happened. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha stepped over the lotus, and went to the house. Then first the leader and the rest of the followers walked on the lotus to the house. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha knew that all this was going to happen.
The benefactor and the six wrong founders were watching. They were waiting for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to fall down. Then after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and many of his followers came in the house they harm him with that method, so they put poison in the food. But he knew that it was poisoned food. So then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took food first, he blessed the food, and then the followers ate the food. So then nothing happened. They expected that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha who has omniscient mind wouldn’t eat the poisoned food, either he would die or he wouldn’t eat the poisoned food. So then they all ate the poisoned food, nothing happened, then afterwards the benefactor he was so amazed by that then afterwards he took teachings from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. And Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave teachings. Like this way subdued by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
Here are so many stories, stories like this in the sutra teachings, how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is completely free from all the fear. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, he himself is completely free from all the sufferings, the fears, therefore he is worthwhile object to take refuge.
Then secondly, he is highly skilful in guiding other sentient beings from all the fears. An incredible person who has unbelievable incredible anger, which nobody can subdue, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has subdued skillfully. He subdued the person who wore the nine hundred and ninety nails of the human beings. When Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India, one person was called the ‘small path’. Later he became an arhat but in his early life when he was very young, in child time, he had incredible, unbelievable ignorance. The essence is that the child was sent to, I think, learn letters. His elder brother went to learn the Hindu religion, the doctrines and the language and doctrines, and his elder brother was called the “great path.” Later he entered into Buddhadharma and he become an arhat, later on. His younger brother, “small path,” was sent to learn the letters. The teachers taught him se dan, two words. Two words. When he learned se, he forgot dan. When he learned dan he forgot se. He couldn’t learn at all. He was kicked out by that teacher and he was sent to another teacher to learn the philosophies of the outer religion.
So then the teacher taught om bu. So then when he learned om he forgot bu. When he learned bu he forget the om. The teacher found him extremely difficult to teach. Again he was kicked out by this teacher. He was small and so slow. He was criticized, he was scolded by his teacher. Afterwards he went to see the elder brother. The elder brother taught him one stanza. It took three months to learn one stanza. The shepherds, even the other people who were around, could say it by heart, but he could not memorize, even for three months. So then afterwards “small path” was kicked out of the monastery in the bushes, outside in the park, left there by his elder brother. The brother checked up which way he can benefit him, the violent or peaceful way. So he found out the violent way. So he took him out of the monastery, put him in the bushes, outside, left him like this.
As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha all the time sees with the omniscient mind, and is all the time considering the works for sentient beings, he knew the suffering of this Small Path. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha with his psychic power came there and he explained all his problems, then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha asked him, can you learn from me? Then he said, how can I learn? I am slow. He answered Guru Shakyamuni Buddha like this. Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha asked Small Path, can you clean the monastery, and the monks’ shoes? And he said yes.
Then afterwards he was brought to the monastery by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and left to clean the monks’ shoes.
So then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha advised the monks when they were near him always to recite, “Avoid dust and avoid smell.” To say this all the time. So the monks when they passed near by him, always said this. After quite some time, he learned. He was able to memorize this, “Avoid dust and avoid smell.”
Then he was advised by Guru Shakyamuni to leave that work, “Now you stop that work, now you shift outside the monastery.” He was cleaning one side of the monastery, the right side of the monastery, and then he started to clean the left side. When he finished cleaning the left side, the right side was again full of dust. Then after cleaning the right side, suddenly it blows dust on the left side. So he never was finished.
While he had been cleaning like this for quite a while, suddenly, you know, the understanding came. Avoiding dust is the outside dust or the inside dust? Like this, the understanding came. From this purification, the skillful method of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, this obscuration got purified, and the understanding of it suddenly came. Suddenly he discovered it means it’s not outside, but inside dust. That’s the avoiding the dust of ignorance, anger, and attachment.
“Avoiding dust” means the gross obscuration, the unsubdued mind. These two are the words normally for the meditators, when they clean, many lamas when they clean the room, when they’re cleaning the place, when they clean the place they recite this. This is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s skilful method, to purify. They recite this: “avoid dust, avoid smell” which contains all the obscurations, all the hindrances to the path to enlightenment.
Then afterwards he remembered the stanza that he was taught by the elder brother, and all the meaning it contains. Afterwards he realized shunyata, emptiness, from that, just cleaning the monastery. Then he was sent by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to give teachings to one nunnery. So the nuns were so upset, extremely upset because they thought he was sent here, who didn’t have any hearing of the teachings, who took three months to learn one stanza, how he can give teachings to us, to nuns? They prepared a very high throne with no steps, and anyway he came. Without touching the throne, he sat in space, then he gave teachings for three months to the nuns and many millions of the people whom the nuns had invited. The nuns publicized before he came, before they invited him, if you don’t come to listen teachings tomorrow from “Small Path” you won’t realize shunyata and forever you will be in samsara. Actually they invited so many people in order to tease Small Path. However so many nuns, and so many followers realized shunyata by listening to his teachings. So many have received bodhicitta, so many generated refuge.
So like this Guru Shakyamuni Buddha subdued such incredible, unbelievable ignorant beings like this. Incredible, unbelievable attachment. He had a younger brother, called Chungawa, who had incredible, unbelievable attachment. He had a wife, and he never went away from the house, separating from the wife, all the time he was in the house. He never went to the monastery where Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was. However much teaching Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave in the monastery and around other villages, he never came. He never comes to hear teachings, can’t separate away from his wife.
So one day Guru Shakyamuni Buddha went begging at his house and he came to offer food to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s begging bowl, outside. As he was bringing the bowl out filled with food, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha turned back towards the monastery and he walked. Chungawa was holding the bowl with food inside, so he came a little bit, he followed Guru Shakyamuni Buddha with the food in the bowl, expecting that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha might turn toward him and might take the bowl back. But he walked, he walked, walked, he followed, followed, followed, and slowly then he reached the monastery. Somehow he couldn’t turn back because Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was manifesting some power.
He reached the monastery finally and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha asked him, aren’t you going to become a monk? Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha asked Konawa to shave his hair. But Chungawa did not listen, he said, I don’t want to shave my hair. Because he was Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s younger brother, Konawa, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple, could not say much.
He was left there in the daytime Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and the other monks went begging. He was asked by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to look after the monastery. So he thought to escape home, where his wife was. Before that, he was asked by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to clean the outside of the monastery. When he finished cleaning one side, again there was dust. After he finished cleaning the other side, again there was full of dust. So he was kind of exhausted and he thought to go home. Then he thought there is no Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, no other monks, so he went to close the gate, the door of the monastery. When he was trying to close one side of the door, the other side opened. Due to the psychic power of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, you know.
So he never get finished cleaning, never finished closing the door. Then he thought to leave it, forget it. He escaped his home where his wife…
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Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha came that way, because Guru Shakyamuni Buddha always knows, because he is omniscient. Chungawa tried to hide in the bushes. Then while Guru Shakyamuni Buddha came near, all bushes went up like this. So he was kind of completely exposed to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. So then he felt very shy from the, like that, you know. Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha asked where he’s going.
Then afterwards Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took him to the realm of the gods, and he saw a girl. Before Guru Shakyamuni Buddha had asked him “Is your wife more beautiful or a monkey more beautiful?” He said, “My wife is much more beautiful than the monkey.” Then afterwards Guru Shakyamuni Buddha brought him in the realm of the gods and showed him one girl, then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha asked him, “Which one is nicer, your wife or this girl?” Then at that time he saw his wife had a monkey face, compared to that. In this realm there was a beautiful palace full of people without any sons, only having beautiful girls like that, and he asked why are there no sons. They said, “Oh there is one Chungawa in the world, and if he becomes a monk, he will be reborn as a son, you know, our friend.” Then he wished to become a monk and to practice Dharma. Then afterwards, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha showed him how all samsara is in the nature of suffering, then he generated renunciation for samsara, he realized shunyata, so then in that life he became an arhat.
Such stories happened like then. Also sentient beings who have incredible pride, there is this story about how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha subdued the king of the violin. Then there are stories of how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha transformed into a beggar in the realm of the gods, competing with the king of the violin who thinks I am the best, you know, “In the whole world I am the best.” Guru Shakyamuni Buddha played without any strings, and the king could not play like him, and afterwards his pride was completely subdued. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha revealed teachings to the king.
One should understand the various stories, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s life stories from the text, in order to have the strong devotion to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, in order to have strong refuge. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha works for all the sentient beings, those who have benefited or who have not benefited him. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha works for all the sentient beings with compassion, without any partial mind. So because of each of these reasons Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is a worthwhile object of refuge.
From the beginning I mentioned the qualities of the holy body, holy speech, and mind, you know. In regards Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s compassion, how great the compassion that he has … many thousands greater compassion than we have for ourselves. There is no way to compare.
The qualities of Dharma—a simple way to understand. Where did the Buddha who has infinite knowledge, qualities come from? It came from Dharma, by generating the graduated path to enlightenment. So this is one way to understand.
By having generated the mind renouncing samsara, attachment to samsaric perfections, all the attachment is stopped, you see. By having generated bodhicitta, the self-cherishing thought can stop. By realizing shunyata, the wrong conception of true existence, this “I”-grasping ignorance gets destroyed. This is the simple way to understand the qualities of Dharma. The Sangha has so much knowledge; actually there are five paths related to the Hinayana path, five Mahayana paths, you see. So the Sangha who are attainers of each of these paths have much knowledge, greater and greater knowledge. The details one can understand from this scripture, you know.
The way the Buddha guides us, you know is by showing teachings. Dharma … how does the Dharma guide? As you practice Dharma, as you practice Dharma, as you actualize Dharma, it removes all the unsubdued minds, the obscurations to omniscient mind.
How the Sangha guides, is by taking refuge in the Sangha—as the Sangha has the attainment by practicing Dharma, they have generated the path, so this encourages us. It persuades our mind, you know, it makes our mind happy to follow the path. It makes us think, it is possible also for me to follow the path and to actualize it.
I think I stop here.
The significance of each of the signs of the holy body, is this. There are whole volumes containing all the explanations of the qualities of Buddha’s holy body, holy speech, and holy mind, and their conscience, so much details. And then dharmakaya, rupakaya, nirmanakaya, all these details. Normally in the lam-rim, teachings of the graduate path to enlightenment, they’re only the seeds.
Then also one should understand, how much merit that one should accumulate to achieve the holy body of the Buddha. In regards holy speech, even all the sentient beings when they each sentient being asks a different question to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha can give a different answer to each of the sentient being according to the question. By giving one answer, without need to explain at different times, say, without need to spend separate times to do answer to each of the of the sentient beings, by giving one answer, each sentient being receives a different answer according to their own question. Unimaginable, the infinite qualities of Buddha’s holy speech.
This happened when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was giving teaching in India, when he was telling one disciple, you know, this is impermanence. Some of the disciples received teachings on shunyata, and another disciple was receiving teachings on shunyata, he realized shunyata. Like this, so according to the level of their mind, they hear different teachings.
In regards the holy mind of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, if you cut up every single, every single grass into very small pieces, and put them in the Atlantic and mix it for a hundred years, mix it for a long time, then if one takes out, if one takes out some of the pieces from the Atlantic, you know, and asks Guru Shakyamuni Buddha where is this piece from? From which country? From which place? What type of tree? Guru Shakyamuni Buddha can, without one single mistake can explain clearly, can mention the names of each country, names of different places, names of the place each one was.
When Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India people did not believe, you know, what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said. They didn’t believe him. In one country, if somebody is dead … in that village, these followers, after somebody died, they performed mandalas, certain ceremonies, then the dead body, it moves, talks, so the people in that village used to believe. They are able to bring the consciousness back into the body and make it alive.
So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha told the people, this not true. This not the person who died. It’s not his consciousness. So the people in that village don’t believe. They didn’t believe. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha wanted to prove this to the people, you know. So he asked all the families to bring different types of grain, wrapped up. He put the name of the family inside with the grain and tied it up with thread, closed like this.
So each family brought some and piled it up on the ground, like this, and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha came and without need to look inside, he gave the grain to each person it belonged to, he gave it like this. This inside it contains such and such and such grain like this. Then when they check up, it became accurate, became exact. So people afterwards were extremely surprised, so then they believed. They listened to what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said.
As regards the qualities of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s actions, Buddha’s actions, without talking much, one way to think about, to understand, or to meditate, you know, on the actions of holy body, holy speech, holy mind, is to bring up the wish to achieve that holy body, by hearing the qualities of Buddha’s holy body, the pure holy body, which is not true suffering, which is not formed by the unsubdued mind and its actions.
So then by hearing this or by seeing even the statues, even the paintings of Buddha, still it’s not exactly how Buddha is, you cannot figure it out. From the paintings, from the statues, you cannot figure it out. However much the artist is skilful, he can’t make it. The very first time when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha called the artist to make his figures, he could not make the figure by looking at Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s body. It’s said in the teachings that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha sent the shadow on the ground and the artist copied from the shadow, something like that. However he could not copy exactly from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body. Kind of inexpressible, you know. So the virtuous thought should arise like this. This creates the cause to achieve the Buddha’s holy body.
One can also think of the holy actions, the holy actions of Buddha, the works of Buddha’s holy body for sentient beings. Looking at these accumulates good karma, itself become purification. By making offerings, by making prostrations, mandala offerings, like that. So we can say, we can think even the objects, the figures of Buddha are the holy actions of Buddha’s holy body.
Also we can think of the actions of Buddha’s holy speech.
Many people like buddha statues. Somehow so many people have interest in this. Somehow, it interest then, somehow there is good feeling, from that.
First of all they don’t anything Dharma but afterwards … first nothing, they like the material then they take back to home, they make for decoration, not necessarily for an object of devotion, to make offerings, but after some time people are kind of curious to find out the significance of those things, the deity. Then slowly, they develop interest in the meaning, understand the meanings of those. Then their mind kind of comes to understand Dharma.
Same thing, one finds Dharma books, then you read, and just even reading the book in English becomes very effective for mind. Very beneficial for the mind. Then person gets more and more interested. First by reading books, then, slowly the person want to seek guru who is able to teach meditation on those paths.
Before the mind didn’t have any devotion to the teachings, the mind is completely like the hot desert kind of place, no idea, didn’t have feelings for the Buddhadharma, but by reading these books gradually the mind gets changed, the mind gets better. Then the way of thinking becoming better and better. Then gradually, you know, then increasing the interest, the devotion. These are how the speech of Buddha is working for us, working for sentient beings.
When we read books we understand. When we read books, the ignorance becomes less, that much ignorance becomes less, and we are receiving so much benefit to the mind. It pacifies the unsubdued mind when you read Dharma books. Those are teachings of actions, holy actions of Buddha’s holy speech, manifesting through the letters, the holy text.
Young people taking mushrooms, these things. Before taking that, before taking that the mind is more closed, much more tight, the view of mind is smaller, smaller, much more concrete and smaller in the view of mind, much smaller. Kind of like iron, like diamonds. Not a useful way of being, solid, not soft, very difficult to change the mind, you know. It is difficult to accept that without the body the mind can exist, can travel, you know…
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…emptiness, you know, its not the meaning of selflessness, which destroys the object of “I”-grasping ignorance, not like that, not that meaning. They meditate on ordinary emptiness. Ordinary emptiness. As they meditate on ordinary emptiness they fall in the extreme of the nihilism, that the “I” doesn’t exist at all. So then like that.
Even having the correct intellectual understanding of shunyata, the Middle Way, that is extremely rare. Then even if it’s explained it is so difficult to understand. It’s the wrong one, it’s the wrong one which is explained, so easy to understand.
People like to meditate so much on the blank, you know, they stress “blank,” thinking nothing. Then stopping all the thoughts. Just like sleeping. Just like every night what we practice, you know. That endangers us so much. If the right explanation is given, we can’t understand, cannot understand. Cannot understand. Any person gets exhausted, you know. Anyway, the degeneration of life is life becoming shorter and shorter. Before it was one thousand years, you know, people in this country could live much longer than nowadays. There are a few people who are living over a hundred, but in previous times people on this earth they were able to live eighty thousand years. It has become shorter and shorter, shorter, and shorter like that. At the same time the mind has been more and more gross, more and more violent, you know, more and more unsubdued. And, same thing, the material enjoyment has been decreasing also. It is becoming more and more poor quality, less and poor quality.
So nowadays the majority of people have a very short life to live. When the great yogi Milarepa was living, that time, the times had more essence, more faith, more potential. Nowadays the enjoyment doesn’t have that much taste or potential as those times.
Now the five degeneration are being exploded, you know. When you watch television, you know, the radio, you hear all the time about the signs of degeneration. For people who practice holy Dharma, there are more hindrances, so many hindrances coming from so many different ways to disturb the practice of Dharma. So many thousands of hindrances, you know, hindrances from inside one’s own mind. So many hindrances comes from outside and attack, they attack those who practice holy Dharma. It doesn’t let you create good karma.
So, in these difficult times, without practicing this thought training, without practicing this teaching, it is extremely difficult to continuously practice Dharma and to accomplish the Dharma practice. If one entered into this Dharma, if one practices the advice of the Mahayana thought training then the adverse circumstances become a helper to practice Dharma. Anyway, like this.
For us, you know, who are trying to practice Dharma, when we are so happy, when the mind is so happy we are unable to continue to practice Dharma, we stop practicing Dharma. When we are so miserable, so suffering, depressed, the spirit is so down, on the floor, we can’t practice Dharma. Then when one is very rich, when one has found a million dollars, we become crazy, you know. Then we can’t relax. Whether I should fly, whether I should train, you know. Anyway, I am joking. So again, you know, when one becomes very rich again one is unable to practice Dharma, forget to practice Dharma.
And when one becomes terribly poor, not having means of living, or food, again one forgets Dharma. So when one gets sick, again one forgets Dharma. Anyway when one is higher, becoming an important person or a leader of the country or something like that, again one is unable to practice Dharma. When one very low, then again one is unable to practice Dharma, because of many hindrances. When one experiences death then that time it is extremely difficult to practice Dharma. During the life when those other things happen, without being dead, one can’t practice Dharma, so at the death time, it is very difficult.
So if one practices the advice of thought training, Mahayana thought training, then all these five degenerations, all these hindrances of Dharma practice become the path, become the helper, becomes support to practice the thought training. Training the mind in bodhicitta.
So that’s how all these adverse circumstances, all these hindrances, the five degenerations, become the path to enlightenment, beneficial to all the sentient beings. This person is a wise person. He cannot be disturbed by any hindrances. Whatever change to life happens, a dangerous explosion, atomic bomb or earthquake or epidemic disease, everything happening fighting, no food, you know, no supermarket, no machines working—for the person who practices thought training, none of this disturbs him. He can transform all this miserable life in happiness. This person is called a “wise person.” He is capable, he’s a competent person, who can transform all the sufferings in happiness. However much mental and physical suffering there is, for him it’s pleasure, happiness.
So therefore necessarily, if one is able to practice like this, you know, then all the time wherever one travels, wherever one is, even in prison, the mind is all the time happy. There is no reason to feel oppression, depression.
So, but to be able to do this, we need to train our mind in the basic meditation, which leads to bodhicitta. Without training the mind in the graduated meditation… which leads to bodhicitta, you know, instantly it does not happen
The verse from the root text of the Seven Points of Thought Transformation starts …
First practice is the preliminary one. The actual subject of this, you know, the advice of the Mahayana thought training, the actual body of this teaching, is the two bodhicittas. The conventional bodhicitta or the all-obscuring bodhicitta, and the absolute bodhicitta. These two are the main subjects.
The main body of the teaching is about bodhicitta.
Without training the mind in those preliminary meditations, one cannot generate the thought wishing to achieve enlightenment.
So what are the preliminary practices? Reflecting on impermanence, birth, how this precious human body is qualified with eight freedoms, ten richnesses, highly meaningful, difficult to receive, difficult to find again, in the nature of impermanence, and then what one has to experience, the death. That this precious human body cannot last for a long time. Reflecting on impermanence and death.
Then reflecting on karma, action and the result. And reflecting on the shortcomings of samsara. Normally, after the meditation on impermanence and death then comes meditation on the sufferings of three lower realms and refuge. But this is not in the commentaries on the Seven Points Thought Transformation because it is explained on the basis of this disciple, as he has already understood this subject.
Then the preparations for the meditation session. There are about six. Cleaning the room, making altars, making offerings, the way of setting up offerings—then how to visualize the different aspects of buddhas, you know. Then the explanation on the seven limb practice that you normally say in the morning, in the beginning of the session, and the mandala offering, how to offer mandala, to make prostrations, all these details come first, at the very beginning. The way it’s written, the way it’s presented—these people already have the backgrounds, the little bit of understanding of karma and refuge.
So these the guru practice, reflecting on the perfect human rebirth and difficulties finding it then the impermanence death and sufferings of the three lower realms and refuge and reflecting on the karma, and shortcomings of samsara are the preliminary practices.
After that then training the mind, either in the absolute bodhicitta or in the all-obscuring bodhicitta. The fundamental meditation is down to that.
So when one trains the mind in this graduated path to enlightenment, there are break times and the actual session. The actual session has preparation to be done. As Lama Serlingpa and these lineage lamas have practiced, you should practice. Then at the end make the mandala offering, then make the request to the merit field, in order to grant the realization, to be able to generate the realizations swiftly.
So I think I will explain after finishing the meditation on impermanence and death, during the refuge meditation, why this practice is important, then we will do a brief meditation on the Guru Avalokiteshvara, with recitation mantra.
I will explain. During the meditation session one should use two meditation techniques. There are two different ways to meditate. One is fixed meditation, one is analytical meditation. You see, in analytical meditation, what you haven’t realized, what you have discovered, by using many reasons, you try to realize it. You count the eight freedoms, ten richnesses.
For most people, you know, at the beginning one doesn’t feel anything. Even if one recognizes this thing that one has, one doesn’t recognize that it is precious. But you meditate on these subjects, again and again, and make requests to the guru deities, with devotion. practice the seven limbs, not only saying the prayer where there is need of visualizations, do the visualizations, and then do the mandala offering.
With much practice of those, continual with strong practice, meditate on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses again and again, counting. Not only just counting but, feeling it. The most important thing is trying to feel both sides, the realms where there is no chance to practice Dharma. If one is there in those realms, if one is a narak being, born in the narak realm, if one is preta, if one is animal, if one is a worldly god, if one is a foolish person—you put yourself in that space. And then feel it, feel it, feel how it is. How it is extremely difficult, how there is no chance to practice at all, try to feel, try to recognize, try to feel as strongly as possible, then after thinking well on that, after checking on well on that, when you think of this body that you have now, then it’s natural that you feel this is so lucky, that you are so lucky. This body that I have now is so always fantastic, so precious, you know. So precious. If you feel how there is no chance to practice Dharma in those realms, the experience arises. So you do this until you receive the realization, you use the fixed meditation and analytical meditation until you generate the realizations of this meditation, or until you get incredible happiness.
Like a beggar who is homeless, who has no material possessions at all, finds a diamond in the garbage, in the street, great happiness will arise. Great happiness arises from his mind. Like that, like that, having found this precious human body qualified with eight freedoms, ten richnesses, happiness arises, and you have attained the realization of precious human rebirth.
Fixed meditation comes after you have meditated on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, on the strong thought that this human body is so precious. Just hold that feeling or that thought, you know, recognizing, oh this human body so precious, without being distracted. So do that with each of the meditation, using these two techniques, first do the analytical meditation, then after that then the fixed meditation.
Shamatha, tranquil abiding, this meditation—this meditation technique is mainly fixed meditation or one-pointed meditation. But the rest of the lam-rim meditations are analytical meditations. You try to see what you haven’t realized, what you do not see, what you haven’t realized, and try to realize that. Then remember the quotations that the Buddha said in the teachings, and with this method try to realize what shunyata. First you use analytical meditation, then after analytical meditation, at the end of the analytical meditation, do the fixed meditation, on the object of the “I” grasping ignorance and then the…
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…when one realizes the emptiness of the inherently existent “I,” then again do fixed meditation. So keep the mind under your control, not letting yourself go under the control of delusion, the unsubdued mind. You know. You keep the unsubdued mind under your control. From beginningless previous lifetimes until now we have not been free from samsara, and we have been under the control of mind. So far we have not been free from samsara.
As long as we are under the control of delusion, as long as we are under the control of the unsubdued mind, we form karma. The delusions produce karma, and that’s how the evolution of samsara continuously exists. So as long as we follow the unsubdued mind, the action, karma, so our samsara becomes endless. So that’s the most important thing in the meditation session.
If one is able to keep the mind under one’s own control and the unsubdued mind under one’s control then one has freedom to meditate. Whatever one wants to meditate one has freedom. If one gives up oneself to the unsubdued mind, if one lets oneself under the control of the mind, then one doesn’t have freedom to meditate as one wishes. Then one is unable to concentrate. Even if the body is there for two, three hours, the person wastes his time, unable to meditate.
One thing that helps this session, which helps the meditation to have less distraction is the correct sitting meditation position. The seven point posture of Vairochana, trying to sit in that position.
Then frequently, frequently watching the mind, what I am doing. [pause] I think many people, while they are meditating keeping the body very tight, so tight, nervous, and then too much energy is generated, so the person kind of becomes cold, shaking the body, and then some people do unnecessary things like that. They create nonsense things by themselves. They believe that they are experiencing, that they are receiving, that they are experiencing some meditation something, and they don’t want to give up that.
The neck should be kind of straight, not like that. If one’s body is bent like this, it is easy to fall in drowsiness. When you sit like that it is usually kind of hard, you feel kind of darkness. And then the darkness becomes greater and greater and afterwards you become unconscious. Then you spend two hours in that. It is also easy to receive spirit harms like that. Also when sleeping, if one is in the correct position, it helps very much even to protect oneself from spirit harms.
If nobody guides the meditation, if the meditation subject is not read, if it is not mentioned then if you can’t remember, basic meditation position it is very beneficial many ways. Milarepa’s guru Marpa admired this. He has praised this meditation positional, the seven position of meditation, the benefits of this way of sitting.
Relating to tantra there are so many explanations for each position. Each position, hand sitting like this, legs crossed like this. They have much relating to tantra, there are so many explanations. Each one has a benefit, and there are five different types of wind functioning in our body. So sitting with crossed legs helps to control the wind that brings down the blood, the peepee, excrement. This has benefit to control that wind. Each one has different benefits. Anyway, no need to describe all that.
If you know the meditation subject you open the book, and read the meditation subject. Read very slowly, trying to feel. And then use the analytical meditation, use many reasons. Then do the fixed meditation, like that.
For lam-rim meditation, if one can’t, you can do it while you are sitting on a chair or while you are walking in the street, lying down, or whatever way you are sitting—even while you are working. It’s very good especially when you are fighting, when you are angry. If you are able to meditate on lam-rim, then that’s excellent Dharma. That’s the best Dharma.
Even while one is in a shop, making business, anytime, so lam-rim can be done. It can always relate to that. Memorize the basic subject, the main body of the meditation, the outlines. Like that. Then also without need to look at the book, you remember like this, and it is easier, more comfortable.
Then at the end of the session, one should do pure prayer, dedication. If one doesn’t do dedication, then what happens is the good karma, merit one has accumulated by meditating gets destroyed when anger arises, and all those undedicated merits completely get destroyed.
Anger or heresy is so easy for us, it is extremely easy. It can arise at any time, no need for much effort. We don’t have to train the mind in meditation first, we don’t have to do courses for that. So the little merits that one has accumulated, with so much energy, effort, completely gets destroyed. So therefore it’s extremely important to dedicate the merits at the end of each session. Generally, generally the dedication practice is not only something to do at the end of the session. It is something to do any time when you have accumulated good karma, like you have given, like you have given one handful of rice to the dog with the motivation of bodhicitta. Right away dedicate the merit, may I receive enlightenment quickly for the sake of all the sentient beings.
Maybe peepee break…
In the break times always be mindful of your own actions of body, speech, and mind. Constantly watching, what action of body I’m doing; what action of speech I am doing; what action of mind I am doing, like this. That is extremely important. So if you watch, you are able to recognize whether one is doing the non-virtuous action, and one can transform it into virtue. If one does not examine, if one does not watch frequently then one continues doing the accumulating of the negative karma, obtaining the cause to be born the realm of the suffering transmigratory beings.
Actually one should remember also in the break time, not only when you are sitting, not only when you sitting during the session time. It’s very useful to remember the same subject that you meditate on in the session also in the break time. Then it’s extremely helpful. So the mind is constantly kept in that, you see. This helps not to bring up the unsubdued mind. It helps not to destroy the merits. To not accumulate negative karma. So when you do the session, after that when you do the session, there are less hindrances.
If you’re the opposite, , during the break time thinking, oh now this is break time, oh this is not meditation, it’s break time, I am sort of completely free, this is not a meditation session, this is break time, I am completely free. If you are not being mindful at all during the break time, you come under the control of unsubdued mind, letting the unsubdued mind whatever he wants to do. You talk with some people about the subjects that generate attachment, or anger, two, three hours completely under the control of attachment, like that.
When you do the session, when you start the session right after that, maybe you motivate perhaps, you cultivate the motivation without any feeling, only just sort of saying the words, I am going to do meditation in order to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Then the meditation is a hundred miles fast, difficult to kind of control. Then the previous talks, that you talked about before with friends or with people, what books you read, for which you developed pride, attachment, anger, the impression that is left is so strong, so powerful, that this thought came back, this thought came back even before starting the meditation subject. Then if it’s a three hour meditation session you spend three hours in that, making a very long story.
So therefore the break time is extremely important.
Many of the Kadampa geshes, followers of Atisha, received realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment in the break time.
If one is not meditating then it’s okay, but if one has a session after the lunch then, as explained in the Vinaya, divide how the food in four portions of the stomach, and leave one portion. If you make it completely full then it becomes kind of uncomfortable and difficult to remember the meditation, and the body is very tired, exhausted and it is very easy to fall asleep. Then it makes sleeping session.
If you can visualize Avalokiteshvara at the beginning of each session above one’s crown, then make requests to quickly generate the realizations the graduated path to enlightenment and then make purification with the recitation of mantra, and do the absorption of one’s mind becoming oneness with Guru Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha’s holy mind. If you can do this then it’s extremely beneficial, it helps very much, to be able to quickly generate the bodhicitta.
What we are going to visualize is Four Arm Avalokiteshvara .
Avalokiteshvara—in order to release the sentient beings from samsara and to live in enlightenment quickly, there is the Four Arm Chenrezig manifestation. The two center arms have the hands in the mudra of prostration, holding the jewel inside and then the right hand is holding a rosary and the left hand is holding the white lotus. Avalokiteshvara is seated in vajra posture, cross-legged. He has one face and the color of the holy body is white. All the buddhas’ compassion took this manifestation. And this is called Avalokiteshvara.
Actually it’s like this. Actually what we are talking about the guru, the dharmakaya, the holy mind of all the buddhas. All the buddhas is guru, guru is Buddha. Oneness. The guru’s holy mind of great compassion appeared in this form, Avalokiteshvara, for the benefit of the sentient beings.
So when we visualize, the best way to visualize Avalokiteshvara or to meditate on Avalokiteshvara, on any aspect of Buddha, is to first remember the guru, the creator or the generator, the guru, the dharmakaya, the holy mind of Avalokiteshvara that appeared in the form like this, called Avalokiteshvara. Tara, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or any buddha, when we meditate, when we visualize, are all are same.
In the teachings the lamas explained…
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Whatever one visualizes Manjushri or the wrathful aspect of buddhas, Yamantaka or Heruka, meditating like that has power to receive the blessings quicker.
There have been numberless buddhas, and there is not one who achieved enlightenment without depending on the guru. So all the buddhas came from guru. So it is said in the teachings, before the guru there is no such thing as buddha, there is not even the name of buddha. With this visualization then chant the mantra and make purification.
Anyway I stop here now. Then if you understand little bit benefits of the mantra, it makes some sense when you recite the mantra. So maybe tomorrow morning, maybe before this discourse, I will mention that.
This tangka is just to give an idea of the aspect of this Compassionate Buddha, Avalokiteshvara. But when you visualize, you should not visualize exactly as it’s painted there, just the hanging of tangka above your crown. You’re carrying a burden of statue on your crown. If you think you have something above your head do not fall down, so if you don’t remember any visualization, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or Avalokiteshvara, of course it is natural that you don’t … especially at the very beginning it is natural because it is new. That particular visualization is a new visualization. Our mind has not been trained, it’s difficult. Clear visualization that you can remain concentrated on happens only after you have achieved the shamatha, the realization of one pointed meditation. Only after this, it is very clear, every single detail you can see as long as you want to concentrate: one day, two days, one month, years.
So that happens only after having achieved the realization of the one-pointed meditation. So therefore you shouldn’t worry, you shouldn’t become crazy, thinking, I must be terrible, I must be a terrible person, I must be the worst.. I must be the worst person in the world having a terrible visualization, having the worst visualizations, the most poor visualization. Anyway, you don’t have to think like that. You don’t have to make your mind crazy unnecessarily.
When the obscurations are thinner the visualization becomes clear, depending one’s own skill. Then sometimes due to health, the visualization changes. Sometimes when the body is weak the mind becomes weak, so the visualization is not clear, things like that. So it depends on conditions. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes not clear. Should not worry so much, even it’s not exact, not so clear, you have a light. You have a yellow light, A rough form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha like that, like a rough sketch.
Usually the lineage of lam-rim lama say it’s useful to meditate even if the visualization is not so perfect, not so clear. It’s like a letter by a person who has not studied well; the handwritings in a very ugly shape. But still you can read it and you can understand what he’s saying even though the shape of letter is not in good shape. So if you have a very rough visualization, you just satisfy yourself with this and then make purification. Then you do the visualization of purification, purifying yourself and other sentient beings.
So Avalokiteshvara. First when we do the visualization, remember the creator or the originator, the guru, the dharmakaya, the Buddha’s dharmakaya, the holy mind. You remember this. This, in the form of the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, this aspect of Buddha.
When you visualize Avalokiteshvara, it’s very effective for the mind to think of the guru who is nature of the Buddha’s holy mind, the dharmakaya, his compassion manifested in Avalokiteshvara, in order to guide, in order to save is from samsara, and to lead us to enlightenment. To remember this is very effective, very beneficial for one’s own mind. So the holy body is in the formation of white light, like that. The essence is great compassion, the holy mind of the guru, in the aspect of white light, with one face, four arms, in vajra posture, the legs in vajra posture. So like that.
So when you visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, like golden light, it is as you see the candle flame. Like that having one face, two arms, and the legs in the vajra posture, and then the left arm holding the begging bowl and the right arm in the mudra of controlling earth. He is in the form of a monk adorned with the robes, like that and radiant. Not exactly like the flame, hot, but not burning.
The holy body is in the nature of great bliss, the omniscient mind. The appearance is like that. So oneness like that. This is one way to visualize. In fact, Buddha’s holy body is in fact in reality, like that, so we try visualize it as it is in reality, like that.
So the Avalokiteshvara, having the white color—the significance of that might be Vairochana, the Dhyani Buddha Vairochana.
Avalokiteshvara has completely purified samsara, the impure aggregates, and that is Vairochana. There are five aggregates. There are five impure aggregates, and when they are purified they appear in the form of the five Dhyani Buddhas. So Avalokiteshvara has completely purified the impure aggregates of form and they appear in the form of the Dhyani Buddha, Vairochana.
So it is possible that this signifies that Avalokiteshvara himself is also the essence of the Buddha, the Dhyani Buddha, the Vairochana. The two palms keeping together like this is the same as when you prostrate with the palms together. The significance is the same. It means the true path—wisdom and method, which can relate to the sutra path or the path of the secret mantra; one is wisdom, one is method.
So by making the co-operative practice of method and wisdom, you achieve enlightenment, the two results, the dharmakaya and the rupakaya. The path of wisdom is the same in sutra and tantra, both the same. But the path of method is different in sutra and tantra. In tantra the method becomes much higher, much more profound. It is a quicker method to achieve enlightenment. Those two can signify also the two results of rupakaya and dharmakaya, Buddha’s holy body and holy mind, like that.
Same thing, when we prostrate, when we keep the palms together like this, if you can remember the significance of this it’s extremely good, very good for mind. It makes the mind happy, because you remember what you are going to get, and it doesn’t become exhausting. It doesn’t become meaningless.
According to sutra the wisdom, wisdom is the wisdom realizing voidness. Then the method, mind fully renouncing samsara, this realization. Then the bodhicitta. Loving compassionate thought, bodhicitta, such as six paramita, those methods. Also there is a way to relate the methods in relation to tantra and those greater, more profound methods. You’ll understand in the future.
Putting the two palms together like this contains the whole teaching, the whole complete teaching from the beginning, relating to lam-rim from the beginning of the realization of guru devotion, the perfect human body, all those things then, then bodhicitta, shunyata, then tantra, to achieve enlightenment..
It contains the whole path to enlightenment. Talking in the terms of tantra, unified that’s Vajradhara.
So in order to really understand well, one has to spend several lifetimes, and you when your mind meets the path, when your mind becomes the path then at that time you really, you really clearly see, you really understand. What this mudra signifies may take several eons or several years or one lifetime. So then like this. Possible also twelve years.
Then holding the rosary in the right hand, His right hand holding the rosary signifies bringing the sentient beings who are the six realms out of samsara, the samsaric realm, by having them recite this mantra, the six syllable mantra OM MANI PEME HUNG, the Avalokiteshvara mantra. Then leading them to nirvana or gradually leading them to nirvana and enlightenment through the recitation of this mantra. If one recites this mantra, if one practices this, what does it do? It contains the powers or the benefits of this.
Then holding the white lotus flower in the left hand, that signifies—sometimes it is explained that as the lotus is grown from the mud, the lotus itself is very clean, so the buddhas are born in samsara realm but have no defects of samsara. Their minds are completely pure, devoid of all the disturbing unsubdued mind.
When we ordinary people enjoy the objects of sense pleasure, the object of the six senses or the five senses, we do so with the defects of samsara, with attachment. With disturbing unsubdued mind, with attachment. But buddhas, buddhas such as Avalokiteshvara, however much he enjoys, however much he experiences, his holy mind never gets stained by the disturbing unsubdued mind, attachment.
This is the purity of Avalokiteshvara holy mind.
There’s a short admiring prayer to Avalokiteshvara which describes the color, why Avalokiteshvara has a white color of the holy body.
I admire and praise to Avalokiteshvara whose holy body is white and stainless. Whose crown is adorned with the fully enlightened being, that means Amitabha, one of the Dhyani Buddhas, Amitabha Buddha. With compassionate eyes looking at suffering sentient beings.
Very short, the admiring prayer, which contains significance.
So the white color is stainless. Stainless of what? Stainless of the disturbing unsubdued mind. As I have just mentioned. But this disturbing unsubdued mind can relate to the self-cherishing mind, then “I” grasping ignorance, it can relate to many or all of the wrong conceptions. He is stainless. So to show that purity [pause] stainless of impure conception, impure vision, conception, relating to tantra, the white color. So it makes sense in this prayer.
His crown is adorned with the Dhyani Buddha, the fully enlightened being, Amitabha Buddha, and that signifies Avalokiteshvara having achieved enlightenment due to the kindness of the guru. Even though Avalokiteshvara became enlightened he still respects the guru, it signifies this.
Then looking with compassionate eyes day and night without any break, even a second, a minute, without any break. He looks at the sentient beings who are suffering without a guide in samsara, with compassion… with the eye of great compassion.
I think the significance of the vajra posture, same meaning—what usually is signified by a vajra, the bell, the vajra. It means inseparable. Inseparable method and wisdom, the unified state, enlightenment, unified state.
So he sits on the white lotus and moon disc, radiating.
When we recite the mantra then if you can visualize at the heart of Guru Avalokiteshvara a lotus on a moon disc and in the center the syllable HRIH, with OM MANI PEME HUNG like this clockwise, like that, like light, a creation of his holy mind. And there are numberless beams emitting from the mantra. Then before the mantra recitation is the seven limb practice and mandala offering. According to time I will try to explain at least some brief explanation on those, after some subject finish, subject on meditation.
So then recite, make request for the... make requests…
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…if you have visualized the mantra at the heart like that then you visualize nectar rays flowing from the mantras. Then entering the body, entering your body, mind, like that. And as soon they touch your body and mind, try to feel unimaginable, inexpressible, or unimaginable bliss. Like very dirty black gloves flushed by water, all the hindrances of actualizing this meditation, all the obscurations, the disturbing unsubdued mind, all the two kinds of obscurations as I mentioned before, the subtle obscuration, the obscuration of the omniscient mind are completely purified in the form of black liquid.
Then it is good if, particularly if you are meditating on bodhicitta, particularly if you think of the self-cherishing thought, the opposite to bodhicitta, this is purified. Particularly you visualize that. All the obscurations, all the hindrance to meditation are purified in the form of all the negative karma.
You can think also about disease. There are other hindrances, spirit offences, spirit offences or disease, like that , especially if you have … if you are unhealthy, if you have disease, then you also think like that. You can think also purified, purified the disease. You can visualize the disease in the form of pus and blood, like that, disease. And spirit offences in the form of fearful animals, in fearful animals, scorpions or snakes, spiders. In those forms you visualize they came out of the body from the lower part of the body from the lower door of the … from the lower door then they came out in the form of those, those fearful creatures, like that.
So anyway, you can do like this. A little bit more elaborate way, you can do the visualization. You see in the tangka of the Wheel of Life the face of the Yama, the lord of death. If you can visualize the incredible big eyes, opening the mouth like this, waiting for, waiting for your life to eat. In the big space of the mouth all the obscurations, negative karmas, sicknesses, all the spirit offenses are purified in those different forms, all gone in his mouth. Then his mouth is closed. You give them to the lord of death and he closed his mouth and then his mouth is sealed with a double vajra, and he goes back down into the earth.
This becomes a method to pacify the hindrance of life. It causes one to have a longer life. These visualizations are the lama’s technique, to prevent the life hindrances.
Anyway, if you can’t do that then you visualize they all went in that crack, and that joins together. Like that.
A simple way to purify hindrances of the meditation, the negative karma, obscuration. IT comes from the pores, coming from the sex and from the anus, coming out, so then like that.
All the sentient beings that you’ve visualized in the form of the human body, if you look like this, you can’t age. If you have visualized sentient beings like this, you purify together. You purify yourself, you purify all other sentient beings. As you receive the realization, you visualize also other sentient beings have received that realization.
If you have visualized like this then infinite beings are transformed from Avalokiteshvara and on the top of each being there is Avalokiteshvara, the form of Avalokiteshvara, seated on each head of the sentient beings. As you purify yourself many nectar rays flow from Avalokiteshvara heart and purify each sentient being, all the obscurations, the disturbing unsubdued mind and all the negative karmas. Like that.
Then when you stop the session, when you stop the mantra each of the Avalokiteshvaras who is above the crown of each sentient being is absorbed to each of the sentient beings. Their mind becomes completely oneness with Guru Avalokiteshvara, the dharmakaya. And their body becomes the rupakaya, the Avalokiteshvara holy body, like that.
Then replica Avalokiteshvara transforms and absorb to one’s own heart. Absorbed, become oneness.
This is just a very brief visualization, very simple, that can be done with the recitation of mantra. The conclusion is that as you purify yourself, you purify other sentient beings, that’s the main thing, While you recite the mantra send much beams from Avalokiteshvara heart with compassion. Then on top of each being, there is Avalokiteshvara with four arms, and then one is seated on each sentient being’s head. Whether you visualize sentient beings around or not you can think that each beam is sent to each realm and Avalokiteshvara is seated on the crown of each sentient being and then purified together while you are reciting the mantra. So this is the main visualization while you are reciting the mantra and as you visualize yourself as purified then you also you think all the sentient beings are purified by Avalokiteshvara, with the nectar rays flowing from his heart.
One can remember the suffering of the mother sentient beings in the preta realm, they are purified; those in the animal realm are purified; those in the human realm get purified; those in the realm of the dark, get purified. So then like that.
They become oneness with Guru Avalokiteshvara and you can think individually, narak, preta, animal, human, worldly god, all sentient beings become Avalokiteshvara, all together like that. Depending which one is more effective, more useful for your mind individually thinking like this that is more effective, that they become Avalokiteshvara . first the narak being, then preta, animal … like that.
So the mantra OM MANI PEME HUNG.
As there are six syllables each syllable, each syllable is a method for the sentient beings to close the door of the rebirth of each realm.
The OM functions to close the door of the rebirth of the sura.
And MA functions to close the door of the asura.
And the NI functions to stop rebirth of human realm
And PE functions to stop rebirth in the pretas.
ME functions to stop rebirth as an animal
HUNG functions to stop rebirth as a narak.
So then like that, each syllable has the power to stop, to stop rebirth in each realm, so then like that. Reciting this six syllable mantra makes one able to generate the bodhisattva’s path, the six paramita, the paramita of charity, moral conduct and then patience, and then the perseverance, the concentration and wisdom.
These six syllables also signify the six types of qualities.
Such as the qualities of Avalokiteshvara, holy body, holy mind, holy speech, then the holy actions and then qualities of power and then compassion. There are about six qualities of Avalokiteshvara. This six syllable mantra contains those. Anyway there is much signification of what this six syllable mantra signifies or contains.
As one recites this mantra, then especially with good heart, with motivation of bodhicitta, one achieves all the path, all the qualities of Buddha, whatever it is … stopping each rebirth of realms.
Avalokiteshvara himself promised and prayed that sentient beings who recite this mantra at the death time, whenever he dies, many millions of buddhas will guide him, take that person to the pure realm. At the death time one is able to see Buddha. And Avalokiteshvara himself said may I not receive enlightenment if any sentient being gets reborn in the realm of the suffering transmigratory being by reciting this mantra.
One time, in Lhasa, the kingdom of Tibet, there was one beggar in the street all the time, then one day she died in the street. From her body many white beams came. All the people were so surprised—usually she comes just as a simple person there, but when she died, amazing things happened. White beams came from her body so that was the sign, because during her life she had a good mind and always she recites Avalokiteshvara mantra all the time while she was begging. So it was the sign that the death time that she was guided by Avalokiteshvara, that she was lead to the pure realm. So there are so many stories like this.
Recently even on the mountains in Solu Khumbu where I was born, just one or two years ago, there was one very poor man whose means of living was to carve the Chenrezig mantra on stone. People would request him to do this and then give him food and wine. He recited the mantra so much, with good mind for other sentient beings. He had a very poor life, then he died. He didn’t have children and his wife was taking care of his body when he died, and burned it. Inside the forehead bone there was the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM. The bone itself was kind of burnt kind of black but mantra itself is white. Afterwards the mother offered to one lama, a great meditator. He wanted to give me to keep in the monastery or something like that.
Anyway, there have been so many people like this who were guided at death time, also during the life, by Avalokiteshvara.
That’s enough. There is not so much to talk so much the stories.
This not talking about just great meditators, not any realized being. This is very simple, simple people, not monk, not nun, just simple person. Even if one accumulated very heavy negative karmas, having killed so many thousands, millions of people, criticized the holy objects, the holy teachings, buddhas, Dharma, Sangha, any of these negative karmas can be purified by reciting this mantra.
There are many stories, anyway there is no time. Again there are stories of the experience of other people who have collected various negative karmas and recited this mantra, purified it, and were guided by Avalokiteshvara at the death time.
There are stories also of those who has accumulated negative karmas by selling holy objects, statues, Dharma texts, who lived on that money. How those heavy negative karmas got purified by reciting this mantra.
Sometimes I used to call this immeasurable negative karma or uninterruptible negative karmas without a break. People who have collected this heavy negative karmas, by making purification with recitation of this mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, in that life they have completely purified their negative karmas. One couple, both of them were taken by Avalokiteshvara to the pure realm without need to leave the body, without need to go through death. Without need to separate from this body.
If I talk all these stories, not much time, so I think that is enough.
Because it is so powerful for purification, to purify obscuration, negative karma, that’s why this is cause very effective to purify. If you have cancer, especially if you have this chronic disease, it is very powerful to make retreat, to recite this mantra. As much as possible with good heart, bodhicitta.
Because, as I explained yesterday, all these things, all these problems came from negative karmas, obscurations, so this purifies the cause of obscuration, negative karmas, so it’s natural that it purifies the chronic disease. If one does this there is no question that the disease gets recovered.
A little bit of my experience with this mantra—many people get eye disease and no medicine helps. They recite this mantra and blow on water. Then you put the water on the eye with a red cloth and recite the mantra, and it stops the pain for one year. There have been many like this. Due to the little bit of devotion I have, and due to the power of Guru Avalokiteshvara, the power of the mantra, power of the truth.
I think that much enough.
Qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, we have the freedom having the chance to practice Dharma. If one is in those states where there is no freedom to practice Dharma, like a narak being then there is no freedom to practice Dharma.
Before explaining this meditation, narak is the Sanskrit term but there are similar terms, like kind of hell or gods. If you are fed up with names, you should check the meaning, the evolution of the reason. Then when you understand this.
Just because you heard the name before and are fed up with it, you don’t try to understand further. That only blocks one’s own Dharma knowledge. Instead of allowing oneself to develop the Dharma knowledge, opening the Dharma wisdom eye, you are trying to close the Dharma wisdom eye and become blind. This becomes the obstruction to understand the karma, also to realize the meaning of selflessness, the absolute nature of the “I.”
There are similar names that are mentioned in the Bible. I have several Bibles, bad what I have read or what I heard, anyway it’s different, the whole thing is different, even if the same title is used.
Anyway, it’s not permanent. The narak realm, or the preta realm, animal realm, those are not permanent. We don’t need much reason to prove it. We always see. If they were permanent then they wouldn’t experience any changes of life, or death, all these things. Then it doesn’t happen.
Similar, the hell beings are similar. If they are permanent, there is no chance to be free from that. Then why not with pretas? Why not with animal beings? No change, having no change. If one is born, one is always a dog, forever. Or a bug, or a flea. Then that is not possible, in reality it’s not possible. So even if one believes it, in reality is not like that.
Anyway in reality what the Buddha has explained in teachings, even the mosquito, even this flies, are not human beings, they haven’t met Dharma but for them it’s possible to achieve enlightenment. Even a mosquito can achieve enlightenment. Because there is the potential. With the potential in the minds of these sentient beings.
So the narak realm has a whole base reddish in the iron ground, hot in the iron house, without any doors, windows, and the beings are burnt in the doorless iron house, or cut in pieces by the guard. Narak beings suffer like that. All these things are the being’s own individual karmic vision. They exist due to his karma, become actualized.
That is the result. Those things that he sees in his view are the result, those fearful visions, that cause karma and unsubdued mind. By planting the seed it produces the same and then leaves the flower, the seed—it doesn’t stay for a long time.
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…people who get sick with fever, in hospital there are many people who get sick with fever, but some recover soon—it doesn’t take much time, one days, two days. Some take many days, like that. Like that, each narak being, the duration of how long they experience the suffering depends on the karma. It depends on the karma. Like, another way of saying this is like this example of a dream. When a person gets a fever, the person becomes crazy, he sees all kinds of things, fearful vision, somebody coming to fight him or kill him. And then he screams and then he gets so scared and things like that, and all the people in that house have to grab him, his body, his legs. He screams, he talks, he sees all kinds of things.
It is similar also when you take drugs, there might not be people who believe it’s real but anyway, those karmic visions happen due to his karma. Depending on mind they come into existence. Depending on that individual’s mind. Like the projector having recorded the feelings on the film, it’s projected there, like that. This is the cause and the other one is the result.
So then sort of kind of like this. This person is seeing all kinds of things, in his vision, but other people who are around cannot see what he is suffering from. Other people cannot see his karmic visions. Like dreams or those sorts of things, when the person become crazy and sees all kinds of things or when he’s sick, it is his own experience. Other people who are around, friends, cannot see. It is his own experience alone, so he’s scared. There are no other people in that room. Like that, the heaviest suffering, the narak suffering that is described in the teachings, either we see them with psychic powers, like arhats, or we collect the karma and then we see when we are actually born there. So two ways. Without being born there, but having clairvoyance you can see, or by karma, you see.
Even in the same family, even in the city one’s own friends, the families, some people die experiencing much hot sufferings, the house being burnt, in the vehicles or in the airplanes, suffering for a long time. Then the person dies by experiencing the hot sufferings. Those are also karmic visions that become actualized by depending on the minds of those people in the airplane or the house.
Maybe you can say something—this machine is broken or that machine is broken because of that fire, or in the house, somebody smoked cigarettes or it touched wire then burned the whole house—those conditions that people talk about are also the result of karma. If the karma wasn’t collected by these people who have to go through these difficulties, they wouldn’t have to experience the result, the experience of being caught in a burning house or in the vehicle. Or the explosion of the atomic bomb or things like that. Those things become actualized by those individual beings’ karma.
So however depending on their mind, all these things, as I explained from the very beginning, the very first day of the course, depend on their mind, all those suffering places become actualized in dependence on the mind.
Two or three years ago in India—before there was one monk, and he was kind of in the process of death. In Dharamsala there was one monk who was in the process of death and he was being served by his friends, people from the same land, where the monk was born, in Tibet. And the other people were trying to prepare him. There was one man, a Tibetan layperson taking care of this monk. Anyway, this monk died and his friend or brother, that lay person, soon somehow he was in the process of death and one of our teachers, Geshe Rabten, the abbot of the Tibetan monastery in Switzerland, a very good monk who lived an ascetic life, in caves, under the rocks—he was like this even in Tibet before he escaped, he practiced different taking essences of flowers, which means he made pills out of flowers, and made retreat and blessed them, and didn’t have to eat food. He lived on the pills and practiced shamatha, tranquil abiding. Then one doesn’t have to go out, begging food or things like that. This monk’s name was Jampa Wangdu, he was meditating on tranquil abiding, even in Tibet, and he achieved the meditation of tranquil abiding in the caves of the Kadampa geshes in Tibet.
Anyway, this monk heard this man, this person was having trouble, at death time. So he went to see him, to help him. This monk was screaming a lot. Screaming. He was screaming at death time, gritting the teeth, and opening the big eyes, screaming so much. Saying, I am going to be killed or there are many sheep around, or they are attacking to me. He was saying all kinds of things, showing a very frightened face. So they checked up on his life. And they found out that in his early life in Tibet he had been a butcher, and he had killed many sheep. So because the karma was very heavy and not purified, even in this life, just before death, he started to experience the suffering result of that negative karma. At death he saw so many sheep, very gigantic, all around, attacking him, trying to kill him. He was so scared. He did not have a peaceful death, and those are the signs that he will be reborn in the narak realm, to experience the result of those negative karmas.
Then also it happened once it Tibet to the manager of a monastery. The Tibetans made many offerings to the monastery. Somebody offered him huge boxes of tea. This manager somehow didn’t offer them to the monks in the monastery—he kept them for personal use or something like that. This karma is very heavy karma, taking things from a community of monks without permission, it belonged to them, not him. So at the time of death, when he was dying, saw so much and he was screaming and saying his body was completely pressed down by huge tea box mountains. He was suffering so much, screaming, like this. He did not have a peaceful death. These are the signs that right after death he would be born as a narak, he would experience the result.
Also at one time there was one monk who fought in the monastery, who caused disunity among the other monks. So he did not purify his negative karmas during his life. He caused disunity among the monks, like this, and they fought, not purified. So at the death time he had a horrible death, screaming so much, much pain, like that. The karmic vision that he saw at death time was of the whole monastery pressed on his body, above his body, with incredible pains like that.
There are many stories like this. One area leader, during his life, tortured many people, put them in prison, as he had the power. Because he did not purify his negative karmas, when he was dying, just before death he was screaming so much. In the bedroom nobody could see any people attacking him, but he was screaming so much as if the room was full of people, having fearful forms.
I think, this experience happens not only in Tibet, or India, like that. Also, in the West people who work in the hospitals, who are nurses, they can see who is special around the time of death. Some people die very peacefully, without any problem, with a very happy mind. People who during their life had a very good heart and beneficial thoughts, who haven’t accumulated much heavy karma, have a good death, a very peaceful death, not creating any problems, worries for other people, making everybody happy.
I heard from some students who were nurses—when they worked in the hospital there was one dying person who drinks a lot of wine. He was a very fearful person, frightening even the surrounding people, the workers. There are those whose karmas are so heavy that they experience the signs of rebirth in the lower realms even before death.
As the great bodhisattva Shantideva said in his teaching, from where does this narak fires come? Who created the burning, iron bed and ground. It was created by the unsubdued mind, said Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. This we should understand. The basic evolution, basic explanation is this. All this food, clothing, good objects, beautiful objects, such as this beautiful flower, whatever we see, all these are created by the virtuous thought. And all the ugly objects, undesirable objects, all these are created by the unsubdued mind. This quotation can relate to our present experiences. Not only the narak beings.
In regards the narak sufferings, the heaviest cold suffering, the heaviest hot suffering in the six realms is what is called narak suffering. And the beings who experience the heaviest sufferings in the six realms are narak beings. There are eight cold narak suffering stages and eight hot narak suffering stages. And there are ordinary narak suffering beings also. Ordinary narak suffering beings who are scattered, ordinary suffering beings, undefinite in the place. Not fixed, not like that.
In former times some business people were going to the Atlantic to get jewels and they invited one monk pakpa gendun so, to guide them from the dangers. After they come back from the Atlantic, the other people left first, and this monk came after, through the desert, the whole place is desert. After some time, he saw a beautiful house, a mansion, like a palace, so beautiful. A celestial house, very beautiful. In that house there was one man and one woman. So in the daytime they enjoy, they have a very good, happy life, good material enjoyment. They live in a beautiful place, an extremely beautiful house. Pakpa gendun so was invited there and they told him please don’t stay here at night time. Please go away. So pakpa gendun so left that house, before sunset. As the sun set, the house completely transformed—the house became fire, burning the whole night, the woman became a snake eating the man’s head—the whole night they suffered. Then when the sun rose again everything got changed, transformed, as before. In the daytime it was a very beautiful house, and a beautiful woman, and they enjoyed. They had a life like the worldly gods in the daytime. And then again at night when the sun set it changed again. So the monk went back and asked why this happened? The man said that when they used to live in the city in India they took precepts to not have sexual relations in the daytime from the monk Gatayana. So that’s why we have a very rich life in the daytime. At night we didn’t keep this precept. So therefore because they had collected the karma of sexual misconduct at night, they experience this suffering. The man said please, please send this message to my son in the city. In order to identify himself he told the monk that there was a vase full of gold hidden in the fireplace of the house. So the monk went and found the vase and passed on the message, telling the son to make requests to the arhat Tatha Gatayana—to request him to pray, to accumulate merit.
There was also one man, one leader of business, who came back from the ocean and became so exhausted that he slept in the desert. His friends left. There was a cyclone and the whole trail was lost. He had one donkey carrying a very heavy load and they couldn’t find the right way. So after some time, he saw a beautiful house, with four women, like goddesses, and one man, enjoying so much dancing, drinking, in the night time, a life like the worldly gods have. But again as the sun rises the whole thing gets transformed and becomes a suffering place. The four women become four dogs, eating the man’s body, taking pieces. And when the sun sets down, when the night time starts again, the four dogs get transformed into four beautiful women and again they enjoy the dance and sing the same as usual. Then again daytime happens and the whole thing changes. So he asked again, why do you people suffer like this? Then the man who was eaten at night time by four dogs said, this is due to my karma, when I was in India in such and such city I used to be a butcher. I took precepts to not take others lives at nighttime. I didn’t take precepts in the daytime so that’s why I experience happiness at night and suffering in the daytime.
So please can you take this message and ask Katayana the arhat to dedicate merit, and tell my relatives to accumulate good karma and dedicate merit for me to be released from this. So again the monk asked, who will believe this? I think he mentioned that somewhere around the house I have buried the knife that I was using to kill these animals, and also a pot, filled with jewels is buried there. So you take that out and show the people, and in this way they will believe what I am experiencing, where I was born, and all these things.
Without talking much, there are ordinary narak sufferings like this, on this earth, around the desert places where there is no city, where there is no people, although it doesn’t have to be. It can be on the mountain there … any different place.
…whose holy mind enriched in bodhicitta, whose holy mind has been well trained in the loving compassion, the pure thought of bodhicitta. His teachings on the Bodhicaryavatara are the main, basic teaching that you are going to practice—what are trying to understand or practice, or what we are going to train our mind in. So therefore this Bodhicaryavatara is the basic teaching from which the advice of the Mahayana thought trainings come.
So there will be many quotations, from the Bodhicaryavatara, so it’s good to have a little idea of the great bodhisattva Shantideva, his realizations, his biography. He was born close to Bodhgaya, the very center of India, the western side of Bodhgaya.
Anyway, when he was over six he made retreat on the buddha of wisdom, Manjushri. He made retreat and he achieved Buddha Manjushri. After some time his father passed away. He was born as a prince, to this king, I don’t remember the name of this king. After some time his father passed away and the population of that country wanted him to hold the throne or reign, in the position of the king, they wanted him to take the place of the king, the father. He couldn’t not accept what the populations asked of him. And so he decided to do that, to take the place of the king, to sit on the throne. So tomorrow morning the people of that country were going to inaugurate him. That night he had a dream of Manjushri Buddha, who was telling Shantideva, ‘This is my throne, I am your teacher so you can’t sit on the same throne of the teacher.’ He woke up from the sleep then realized that this mean that he should not enjoy the king’s reign, the material possessions, things like that. And he should give it up.
Then he escaped from that place to Nalanda, the Buddhist school where there were thousands of pundits, very highly realized pundits. Like Atisha, who not only fully distinguished Buddhadharma but were very learned in other different kinds of knowledge. Shantideva received teachings from another pundit, and from Manjushri Buddha. He generated bodhicitta, absolute bodhicitta and the precious thought of enlightenment, cherishing others more than oneself. He received extensive teachings on sutra and tantra and he completely understood those and his holy mind reached the very high bodhisattva’s path, the ten levels of the bodhisattvas.
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The monks never saw him meditating, keeping the body straight like this, or listening to teachings, reading scripture, working for the monastery—they only saw him doing nothing in the monastery. Whenever they saw him, he was laying down all the time.
So the other thought, there is no point of him being there, he’s just wasting our monastery in enjoyment. On the other hand, it just makes it expensive, him being here not doing anything.
So the monks figured out how to kick him of the monastery. They believed that he doesn’t know anything. Usually they kick the monks out of the monastery if he has broken the discipline in the monastery if he is unable to recite the prayers by heart, and so forth. So they thought, since he doesn’t do anything, we will put a very high throne and let him recite the sutra teachings by heart. This will be impossible. He won’t even be able to find the high throne, so it’s a very good way to kick him out of the monastery. So they requested Shantideva, please come to give to recite the teachings by heart. He accepted and he came. Without any resistance, without any difficulty, he sat down on the throne. The throne didn’t have any steps, and it was very high and without any difficulty, without any resistance, he sat down on the throne and then he asked the people, the audience, the other pundits, what kind of teachings do you want? Do you want the teaching that was explained by Buddha or the one that wasn’t explained by Buddha? So they said the teaching that wasn’t given by Buddha.
Then he started … without any difficulties, without any effort, continuously, just like the water stream flowing, he started teaching the Bodhicaryavatara, all those the ten chapters. Continuously, in one session. Not giving the teaching a little bit today, a little tomorrow, not like that, completely in one session.
He started with the first verse, prostrating to the holy beings. Then he went on to the wisdom chapter, and when he reached the point about causative and non-causative existence, he flew above the throne, and then away into space, continuously giving teachings. He kept going until they couldn’t see him anymore—smaller and smaller—but his teaching still going on.
Everybody was so amazed. All those who had a big wrong conception before, believing that he shouldn’t be a monk, he is lazy, only sleeping and eating and making kaka—they used to call him Bushuko, one who has three recognitions.
There are many other amazing stories of the Great Bodhisattva Shantideva besides this, how he did great works for sentient beings.
He said, in his teaching the Bodhicaryavatara, in the beginning, the benefits of bodhicitta.
If you have clothes outside, anything, please go get it.
In the chapter of the benefits of the bodhicitta, this precious human body qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses is extremely difficult to find again. If the benefit is not created in this life how can it be possible to find it again. With this precious human body whatever we wish for we can obtain, we can obtain any temporary wishes, any temporal happiness, and besides that any ultimate wishes, too.
So what he’s saying is if you wish to find again this perfect human rebirth, with which you can achieve all the ultimate temporal wishes, the great bodhisattva Shantideva is advising us, that in this life while you have this perfect human rebirth, without wasting this you must create benefit. Benefits means cause. You must create the cause in this life as there’s the opportunity to create the cause while we have this perfect human body. The meaning of ‘cause’ in debate is the characteristic of cause or the function of the cause; however the meaning of ‘cause’ is that which benefits. Which benefits what? Benefits the result. The result becomes actualized because of the cause. So the cause benefits its fruit or its result
The greatest benefit is training the mind in bodhicitta, the sublime bodhicitta. The thought of enlightenment, cherishing others more than oneself—if one achieves this.. if this precious thought is generated within one’s own mind, from this one can receive whatever one wishes. The highest goal of enlightenment, nirvana, the release from the boundary of samsara. Also temporal happiness, the body in the realm of the happy transmigratory being. From the practice of bodhicitta, one can find a perfect human rebirth again. So the greatest benefit is practicing bodhicitta, generating bodhicitta.
Then, as I mentioned before, while one is working to achieve one’s enlightenment for the benefit of mother sentient beings, without much expectation, without much effort, all the temporal happiness occurs. They have good rebirth in the future.
If the benefit is not created in this life then how it can be possible to find this perfect human rebirth in the future life. If the benefit is not created then it cannot be found. That’s what this is saying. If no cause is created, it is impossible to find the result, the perfect human rebirth in the future lives.
So therefore we must generate bodhicitta, we must try to generate bodhicitta within our mind. To generate bodhicitta in our mind we must generate the mind fully renouncing samsara. This is like the preliminary, the realization or the foundation for bodhicitta. In regards the mind renouncing samsara, there are two things. In order to receive the mind fully renouncing the whole samsara as perfection, samsaric enjoyment as perfection, we have to generate the mind that sees samsara, its happiness, all its perfections as essenceless, trivial. One should generate the mind that realizes this.
So two things like this—the mind that finds aversion for even the future life’s samsara, the body, the happiness, the perfection.
In order to generate this realization, that depends on generating the mind that feels aversion to the happiness of this life, which realizes the happiness of this life is effortless. So the mind renouncing the perfection of this life is the preliminary realization. This is the foundation for the mind renouncing the future life, the samsaric body, the perfection happiness.
So the method to stop the attachment that clings to this life’s happiness—this is meditation on the perfect human rebirth, its usefulness, and difficulty, and then meditation on impermanence and death. After that, meditation on the sufferings of the three lower realms. These are the methods. Meditating on this stops attachment. Attachment, clinging to the happiness, the perfection of this life. And then meditation on karma, and meditations on the shortcomings of samsara—the sufferings of human beings, the sufferings of sura, asura. Then meditation on the shortcomings of samsara—those are the methods to stop the attachment that clings to this future life, the samsaric body, its happiness, the perfection.
When you generate these two realizations, these two levels of mind renouncing samsara, first of all, the mind finding no attraction, then renouncing this life’s happiness, the perfections, by practicing those meditations on the shortcomings of samsara, on the result of suffering and the cause the delusion, the unsubdued mind, one generates the mind fully renouncing the future life, the samsaric body, its perfection, its enjoyment, its happiness. At that time one has generated the mind renouncing all of samsara. The mind does not find any single attraction to all of samsara and its perfections. At that time the renunciation is complete. This is an important point to understand.
Always we ask, I have too much problem of attachment, what can I do? Even after His Holiness Zong Rinpoche finished a lot of subjects on the lam-rim teachings, still they come to ask, without translating for His Holiness Zong Rinpoche. Even at the end of the course they still come to ask, oh I have too much problem with anger, what to do. Oh I have the problem of attachment—first of all Western people are very candid, very candid and very frank, very serious, very nice—they show everything they have. Good qualities. Whatever qualities they have, without hiding, this is very good. So that they can receive advice, corrections or advice. Anyway, so many of them they came to ask questions. So His Holiness was saying that he has already explained the methods in the course. And I think they didn’t listen well during the time of the teaching and then they come to ask, I have too much problems of attachment; I have too much pride, blah, blah, blah like this. His Holiness was not so familiar with Western people in the past. So sometimes people have a little bit of difficulty, not understanding Rinpoche.
Anyway, meditating on from perfect human rebirth, then the usefulness, difficulties, and impermanence and death, the sufferings of the lower realms, and sometimes karma is included in the other section, to generate thee thought of renunciation.
However, then this basic meditation becomes the other method, the basic method to cut off the attachment that seeks the perfections, the happiness of this life. This is the fundamental meditation. Therefore actually even if we know the meditation subjects of bodhicitta, tantra very well, as we have not yet generated the realizations of these basic meditations, the remedy to attachment, then it’s important that your practice should start from here.
As it is normally said in the teachings, as the Kadampa Geshes always advice, the door of the meditation is the motivation. First you motivate, then, meditate, like that. The door of meditation is the virtuous motivation. Then the beginning of the practice is what? The beginning of the practice is the perfect human rebirth.
So then like this, in the practice, if you have that much great understanding the practice should start gradually. You should start from the perfect human rebirth. Especially for beginners, it is extremely important to spend more time and to remember this more in daily life. Because this is much effective, much more helpful to oneself, to prevent each daily life problem, physical, mental difficulties, and confusion. It’s not really that difficult to understand, not very profound, like shunyata or like those other teachings. It’s very easy to understand, very clear, you can se very clearly all these things—you are trying to understand the nature of your own life, and it’s very, very effective for the mind. Especially for the beginners.
So this basic meditation is very, extremely important, because, you see, this stops the attachment, clinging to this life. If the attachment that clings to this life can be changed, can be stopped, that person has Dharma. That person is Dharma, then Dharma study. If the meditator has attachment, clinging this life, to reputation, all these things, the happiness of this life, if that is not changed, if that is not transformed, then Dharma is not started. The beginning of Dharma is not started.
Your mind will change, all the time. When you have a certain subject, the mind is high, and when you reach certain subjects then it is low. That is usual. That’s the nature of our mind. It is not only you, but also with the Tibetans—it is the nature of our mind. Tibetans are a little bit different from Western people. When the lamas give teachings on the basic meditations, these beginning basic meditations, the eight freedoms, ten richnesses, the usefulness or difficulty, then especially impermanence and death, and the sufferings of the lower realm, especially the naraks, when they hear these things, then their mind is a little bit in Dharma. They try to make purification try to be a little bit careful. When they hear these subjects, they have consideration in the mind about karma or about this life or next.
For them, this is the best medicine. Anyway generally, this has been the best medicine for all those previous meditators who complete the experience of the graduated path to enlightenment. This has been the best medicine because it is the most powerful remedy for the unsubdued mind, to control the unsubdued mind. Tibetans like the stronger teachings. The stronger it is, the more the mind listens—there is faith in refuge, and karma, all those things, not so much in the practice—I am talking about general people who don’t understand so much Dharma. They try as much as they can. This stops laziness and also makes the mind more conscious, more aware. When they hear there teachings they start to kind of really think about their own life. Now I must do something, now I must change, what I have been doing so far is wrong, now I must do something better, meaningful. As they understand the teachings, as the unsubdued mind arises and creates negative karma, they start to make purification, collect merits or try to make plans in retreat or try to make a kind of determination, to make the life meaningful.
The teaching is like a mirror. The mirror shows all the mistakes, if your nose is not straight, if it is bent, or if you have marks on your face, or cracks on the mouth, if teeth are missing, or if the eye is blind or whatever it is—you can see whatever mistake in the mirror. Then whatever good shape there is, good qualities, you can see from the mirror. The teaching is like the mirror that shows completely all the nature of your life, the nature of your mind, the personality of your own mind that you haven’t realized. Your absolute truth, your conventional truth, whatever it’s called—these are shown clearly by the teachings.
When you are unhealthy you came to see doctor. And the doctor checks up, with different methods, x-rays, or by taking blood, many things. And then he finds tells you oh you have got tuberculosis or you have got cancer or you have got this and that. He explains which part of the body is healthy, which part is not healthy—then he gives prescriptions, treatment, medicine, to cure that. After recognizing what’s wrong with your body. The wise, skillful patient is happy to hear which part of body is healthy, which part of his body is not healthy, the defects that happen in the body—he’s happy to hear from the doctor, because he himself is not aware and he doesn’t know how to treat that, so it could become worse and worse and worse and then he won’t have a good life, you see? So therefore he’s happy to be told by the doctor about the defects of the body. This gives the possibility to have treatment. The patient knows the necessity of having treatment for that. Anyway the patient is happy to hear these things, and by having treatment completely get recovered. So that’s why I think in India and in the West, many people, each year go to the hospital to check up to make sure they are going to have a good life anyway.
When the doctor explains all these things, these defects that the body has, the patient doesn’t get angry. That is the reason the patient came to see the doctor, otherwise what’s the point of coming to see the doctor? There is no point to come to see the doctor at all, there is no point to come to the hospital at all, there’s no point if he doesn’t want to hear at all about sicknesses. So as one recognizes the disease of the mind shown from the teachings, as one listens to teachings, as one looks at the teachings like a mirror, whatever problem there is, whatever disease of the mind, whatever one has, one gradually recognizes.
Then also in the teachings there is treatment, remedy, and method. You should practice and cure. Try to cure by using the medicine, the different meditations—by practicing try to cure those mind diseases.
The rest of the subject on that … a little bit introduction about prayer like that …
… many times when people die, at death time they die with much miserliness, then they are born as a preta kind of hang around the property, that home. Sometimes they harm the family, manipulating them when somebody does something with the property or takes material possessions, destroying the property, or things like that.
There are different types of spirits—pretas having flames in the mouth—this I saw many times in India—at night time when you go outside to make peepee like that, in the forest from very far you might think there is person, but actually it’s not person that you can see. Sometimes there is a kind of flame going in the bushes in the forest. And sometimes you see a light moving around. One time I went to the hospital in the middle of the night—I was coming up one mountain to the monastery. So there was a dimness of light. So you can see the tree has got light, in that particular place but then as you go there, as you go the light, the light moves to another place. You don’t see the actual person actual, just only the light, moves down. This is one type of pretas having flames coming from the mouth.
There is one type of preta who has three knots in the neck has three knots, and he is able to find no food but only water. If somebody is making charity water with the mantra then he is able to get just one drop of water. Why? Because in the past life this type of preta called jurgay practiced miserliness of material possessions, but they made charity of water to other sentient beings, without miserliness. So because of that karma, they are born as pretas, but they are able to get and drink a drop of water when somebody make charity of water, with mantra. But other pretas can’t find even this drop of water. They can’t see it even if the water is there due to their karma.
Once when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was living in India, there was one young monk whose name was chu mema. One day saw an extremely fearful kind of ghost or preta Then the young monk he was scared, he tried escape away. The fearful hungry ghost, the preta, spoke to the young monk. He said, “I am the loving mother he said don’t go away. I am the loving mother from whom you were born and after I passed away from the human realm, I was born as a preta with a difficult life. For twenty five years I haven’t found even a drop of tiny food like this. I haven’t find a mouth of water in the dampness of the ground.” Then the young monk felt so much consideration for the mother, that his mother was born as preta. He went to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to dedicate the merit. Her karma was too strong, and then when she passed away again she was born as preta—a wealthy, very rich preta, due to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s method. The karma was very strong, so there was no way to right away be born in the human realm or in the upper realm.
She was born as a very rich, very wealthy preta. So the young monk took a small piece of cloth and offered it to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to dedicate the merit for the mother to find a better rebirth. But she had incredible miserliness in material possessions, so at night time she went where Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was and she stole the piece of cloth. Again it was back. So again the young monk took the piece of cloth and offered it back to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Again the mother preta took away the piece of cloth. This happened several times, then afterwards Guru Shakyamuni Buddha told the disciple, the monk, to cut this cloth in very small pieces and make an offering to each monk. After this then there was nothing that the mother preta can come to steal. After that then her rebirth become better, due to the skills of the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
One great yogi called Sangye Yeshe, who had psychic power to be able to go to the different realms, went to see the place where there are the majority of the pretas, like a city of pretas. He saw one mother preta and she asked the yogi, “Explain this, my husband went to find food in the human beings’ place, and didn’t come back for fifteen years? And so he didn’t bring any food. So I have five hundred children, and we didn’t get any food for so many years, so please give this message to my husband to come back very soon, with food.”
The yogi Sangye Yeshe asked the preta mother, “How can I recognize your husband preta? There are many pretas in the human place, seeking food, so many.” So she explained, “Oh that’s very easy. One eye is blind and one leg is limp and he can’t move one hand.” So then this yogi Lobsang Yeshe he went, he tried to find this husband preta, in the city. And one day he met him. So he gave the message, and the husband preta said, “I have been seeking food so far for so many years, I haven’t found anything except this.” In his hand there was a piece of very dried snot, “I haven’t found any other food except this.” He was holding it, so carefully, taking best care to keep it for a long time. How that happened was, one monk did the daily practice of dedicating his spit or urine or kaka for other sentient beings, for pretas, as charity, by reciting mantra. Usually there are so many pretas seeking food so it’s difficult to get—they get so crowded, kind of like India when you give money, in Varanasi, maybe Ganga or Bodhgaya, when you give food or money then everybody gets in a crowd, and they pull your hands away. But at that time somehow fortunately he got this spit. So there are, there are many practices like this, to make charity to the other sentient beings such as pretas whose lives always pass in hunger and thirst.
There is one practice in which you make certain ingredients, like butter and certain ingredients, you put together than you make pills with the flour. Then there is a whole practice with that. This involves the Mahayana thought training practice, making charity to those hungry ghosts, those spirits.
The people who practice this, it should be before morning, before they eat food, and also it has to be very clean, the food that you give to those spirits—with very clean hands and ingredients which are very clean and thoughts that are clean. If it’s dirty then again they can’t get it. Also, when you do this puja, you have to wear some kind of animals’ hair, or black thread covering the eyes around like this. If they don’t wear this then when the pretas see the human face, the human body, it is so magnificent, so powerful, and they get scared, they get scared. So in order to make charity you put these things, so that they don’t get scared away.
There are many stories. There are stories about lama who always did that puja, when he lived in a cave, and there were a whole bunch of pretas who always lived there around. They ate the meal and then they played on the ground. Some of the pretas have some psychic power, able to see that the lama is going to pass after ten days or after one week. This lama is able also to see pretas. The pretas were crying. So much crying, so much worried. He asked them why and they said, you won’t live after seven days and then we won’t get food, so therefore we are worried and therefore we are crying. So anyway there are many stories.
So now we have to meditate about the preta—something like this—if I don’t get food even one day, even if lunch is delayed for several hours, am I able to meditate or not with this great hunger. Can’t meditate, can’t think of anything except food Then if for five days if I don’t find food at all, or one drop of water, one drop of food, I can’t meditate, cannot practice Dharma. The mind is only suffering, hunger suffering, thinking of food. So then if I was born as this preta who can’t find one drop of water for many hundreds of years—how is it if I am like that—you visualize yourself in that form. Feel how it is. Whether there is a chance to practice Dharma or not. Check. You experience incredible suffering all the time, that’s all. Nothing else. No thought of Dharma. So then you think, oh how fortunate that I am not a preta, having found a perfect human rebirth and having the freedom to practice dharma. How greatly fortunate I am.
Then you think this, strongly. Try to feel the great freedom that one has now, here. Even the great freedom, even to have temporal pleasures.
Then think that this freedom that I have now, to be able to practice Dharma, I am not sure how long it’s going to last. It can be lost at any time. Tomorrow, today, after one minute—it can be lost at any time. So therefore without wasting any minute, hour of this precious perfect human rebirth, I must practice Dharma. Then you make the determination like this.