All the time train the mind like this: particularly practice having a good heart towards that person whom you regard as an enemy. Then later, when the mind gets more and more trained in the thought of loving kindness, compassion, bodhicitta, patience, it’s easy to think of others with kindness. In the beginning it’s very difficult, almost impossible to think with kindness of the person who always puts you down in so many ways—who puts you down directly in front of you or indirectly by criticizing from behind. It’s almost impossible, it’s very difficult. You don’t want to think of the kindness of that person. Somehow the selfish attitude doesn’t allow it. You might know the words for how to think with kindness of that person, but it doesn’t allow you. Because it is against the selfish attitude to think of kindness, to benefit the person who hurt us. It is against the worldly concern.
However, what I am saying is this: in the beginning it’s like this but later—by day, year, month, as you practice—the mind will be completely different from how it is in the beginning. Then when somebody treats you badly, when somebody gives you a hard time, you feel him to be most kind. The ones which you used to think of as kind before become secondary. Now the one who gives you a very hard time, who treats you badly becomes extremely important. So precious! So precious; the most unbelievably kind; the most dear one. You see that he’s actually the one who gives you liberation and enlightenment, the omniscient mind. That’s why whenever you do meditation on bodhicitta you start from equanimity: father on the right side, mother on the left side—it doesn’t matter so much where you put the friend and enemy. In the teachings it says ‘enemy behind, friend in front.’ However, I think whichever is most effective for your mind, can be done. So meditation is always started by visualizing like this.
Then, being aware of the true causes of suffering and the true sufferings of other sentient beings, do the visualization of purifying them with nectar beams flowing from Chenrezig. If there’s no anger then there is no war, no fighting on this earth; there’s no fear, no danger. If there are no three poisonous minds, there’s also no need for spies! No need of intelligence agents! All those dangerous works, expenses—there’s no need of it if there’s no three poisonous minds. You can see from this how important it is to purify. Not only for yourself but how it’s beneficial for others to not have this anger and attachment. How much incredible peace it offers others. You can see how having the three poisonous minds is harmful, how it disturbs the world. Not just for yourself but for the world, for others, for the sentient beings. Therefore we need to practice Dharma. We need to protect karma.
OM MANI PADME HUM ... OM MANI PADME HUM ...
Think that it has purified all the wrong conceptions, the true cause of suffering and true suffering. Now the Chenrezig above your crown melts into light and is absorbed to your own and other sentient beings’ hearts; become oneness. It has generated the whole realization from beginning to the end, from guru devotion up to enlightenment, particularly bodhicitta. The definite, stable understanding of karma and bodhicitta. The mind becomes completely in the nature of the great compassion, the Chenrezig holy mind; compassion towards every living being. Everyone. Wishing everyone to be free from suffering and to do that by oneself.
SANG.GYE CHO.DANG ...
What one calls “I,” that is one person. Just one person. How many problems there are, how much comfort there is, how much luxury, happiness there is—it is just for one person. Then, what is called “others,” even considering just the human beings, there is an uncountable number. Then, preta beings, narak beings, as well as the devas—worldly gods living on different planets. So many. Those who are suffering are so many. Others there are so many. Unbelievable. Other sentient beings who are suffering equal infinite space.
(end of tape)
Always thinking day and night I, I, I, my happiness, my problem. I have this problem, that problem; I don’t have happiness. Working only for the self, the I, and forgetting all these other suffering sentient beings, who are equal to infinite space, is childish. Forgetting, not having concern for those from whom we receive all our comfort and perfections—all the good things, the comfort that we like, even the pleasure of having a good reputation, which we desire. Even these things depend on the kindness of other sentient beings. Anyway, without talking about other things, just small things like this, what nonsense it is to just work for these and ignore all the kind mother sentient beings. Day and night, all the time being concerned with I and my. You don’t see other sentient beings’ incredible, unbelievable sufferings—you see only your own sufferings, your own problems. “I have this problem,” nothing else to think about. Nothing else to think about except your own comfort, your own pleasure. It’s very sad; a very sad life. A very sad life. It’s a very sad attitude: every single thing, all enjoyments, everything, is done just for the self, nothing else. It’s not dedicated for others. It’s a very sad life, a very poor attitude.
Another way of saying it: when you think of all this you see that others have unbelievably greater suffering than you have. We are born as human beings, having many opportunities to help others—to free others from suffering, to lead them not only to temporal, but ultimate happiness. But we are not attempting to lead others to temporal and ultimate happiness. We have concern only for ourselves, just one person; all the time, all these twenty-four hours, day and night. This is nonsense; it is childish. Being a human being, we have an incredible opportunity to benefit others. Not attempting to work for the kind suffering sentient beings who equal infinite space, seems kind of crazy, like not having a heart or not having a human mind. It’s sort-of like having a human body but not having a human mind.
Think, “At any rate, I must achieve the state of omniscient mind for the benefit of all the kind mother sentient beings, therefore, I am going to listen to these teachings of the graduated path to enlightenment.” So please listen to the teaching by generating at least the effortful bodhicitta.
The non-virtuous action of stealing. This non-virtuous action has four suffering results. The ripening aspect is rebirth in the lower realms. Experiencing the result similar to the cause, stealing, is that even if we are born as human beings we are born in poverty. Even though we wish to be wealthy we always have shortages of means of living. There are many examples and stories. Some people, some families, try so hard. Some people make so much business; they try so hard in all the ten directions! Almost in every moment they try to make some profit! In the mind there is always the thought of how to make more money; through every single action they try to make even five paise! There are many people like this. No matter for how many years the person works, for even the whole of his life, with whatever intelligence and capacity he has, somehow it fails.
The Dharma practitioner who has realization of impermanence and death, or realization of the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth and its rarity, puts all his capacity, whatever intelligence and ability he has, into this life to get some realization of bodhicitta, shunyata, renunciation of samsara or tantra realization. He tries to put whatever perseverance and ability he has into taking the essence of this perfect human rebirth. Like the businessman who in every moment thinks about how to make more money, the Dharma practitioner concentrates on development of bodhicitta and lam-rim realization. Dharma practitioners try to have the profit of merit with every action of body, speech and mind, concentrating on that in every hour, every minute. Some people try so hard to make business but nothing grows. No matter how much he does, how much he bears hardships, and tries in so many ways, nothing happens, nothing grows. There is always difficulty in life, always a hard time. However, a life of poverty is experiencing the results similar to the cause of stealing. Also you yourself don’t have many belongings, and your possessions are always with others. This is also experiencing the result similar to the cause of stealing. A person who always loses his things is experiencing the result of the past karma of stealing. Some persons, wherever they travel in the East or West have hundreds of stories such as other people robbing them. Things like that. That shows they have a very strong karma of stealing in the past.
You should try to remember this when having such an experience and think, “I am experiencing the result similar to the cause. It is my own mistake, having created the karma of stealing.” You should try to control anger towards the person who steals things by thinking: “It’s my own mistake.” There should be some reason why that particular person steals from you: he is stealing from you because you yourself made some connection in the past with him, such as having stolen from him in the past. There’s a karmic link that you created with the person. So, there is a cause for why that particular person steals your things. By thinking of these things you should try to not get angry.
Then, creating the result similar to the cause is, even when we are born as human beings, doing the action of stealing again. Some people, no matter how many times they are put in prison and punished, somehow uncontrollably they steal again. What causes them to steal again even if they have had a lot of trouble? It is because of being addicted, habituated in the past to the negative karma of stealing. Then, the possessed result: even if one is born as a human being, one gets born in a place where there are very few crops growing. Even if one plants them they don’t give fruit. Even if the fruit does come, it changes. Fruit comes from the trees that you plant but it is rotten. If the fruit or crops start to grow drought happens. Much drought, or too much rain, so we can’t get a chance to enjoy it. All the time we hear about drought in many places—in India and also in the West. Some years ago in Wales, in England, there was much drought. In Wales I met the owner of a hotel. The people who stayed at the hotel couldn’t have showers because then there was no water left for food! I heard the water there had to be transported by truck from another country. Like that, much drought happens; then, much famine. For example, in the villages when the rice in the paddy fields starts to grow and there’s hail storm, there’s incredible worry and fear because it destroys the crops completely. All those experiences are the possessed result of stealing.
You see, problems like this are happening, the result is being experienced, because of not protecting karma. The people in the world experience all these problems—starvation, all these things—but nothing is done for the cause, the negative karma of stealing. The ones who can, try so hard: they make societies or something. They try to do something externally, to get help from outside countries. However, it is very difficult. Nothing is done for the cause—the negative karma of stealing that has been accumulated already. And, you see, in practice they are continually stealing, creating the cause for drought and famine and these problems again. So you can see how the sentient beings are ignorant. They don’t want suffering, but, you see, being under the control of ignorance, they don’t understand karma. By not practicing they make it difficult for themselves by creating the cause.
In earlier times, I think in most countries, there was no money. They bought by giving materials—bartering. I think it was like that in Tibet and it may have been the same in the rest of the world. Even now, some countries are cheaper but most countries are very expensive. Have you ever heard of the cost of things going down on this earth compared to before? It never happened?
Audience Member: It can’t, because people are eating more and more!
Lama Zopa: Their stomachs are bigger?! Now people have bigger stomachs than people one thousand years ago? I’m joking! I think the economic problems in the world will become more and more difficult. If you think about karma, there’s an answer—I think it shows degeneration. That is the result.
However, in short, human beings on this earth are increasingly experiencing the negative karma of stealing. More and stronger negative karma is being accumulated. In the minds of human beings on this earth the disturbing thoughts, the dissatisfied mind, are becoming more and more gross. Life on this earth is becoming more and more difficult. There are more and more economic problems. It comes from the mind, from the disturbing thoughts. It is a result of the degenerated delusions, degenerated disturbing thoughts, which are becoming much grosser instead of becoming less. So, instead of creating less negative karma, instead of harming other sentient beings less, the mind is becoming more degenerated. By understanding Buddha’s teaching you can predict the state of the world. You see the situation.
I think I will stop here.
What was the meditation this morning?
Course leader: Cherishing oneself.
L.Z: I think this time do meditation as I mentioned, about killing and stealing. After that the suffering of others, being aware of the four results, the various sufferings that they are experiencing. Generate strong compassion. First of all, watch the sentient beings as extensively as possible. Starting from the human beings on this earth, be aware of their sufferings, their problems, how they themselves do not have freedom, being under the control of ignorance. Generate strong compassion, “As I have met the Buddhadharma I have the opportunity to free them from suffering. I will!” After you’ve thought about their problems, then think, ‘How wonderful it would be if all the kind mother sentient beings were free of all these sufferings.” Generate immeasurable happiness, and then generate great compassion, “I have the opportunity, and I will cause them to be free from suffering by myself.” Then start reciting the mantra and purify with Chenrezig.
JANG.CHUB SEM.CHOG RINPOCHE ...
Please generate the pure motivation of bodhicitta, thinking, “I’m going to listen to the teaching of the graduated path to enlightenment in order to receive enlightenment for the benefit of all kind mother sentient beings.”
There are three non-virtuous actions of body; the third one is sexual misconduct. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Even if one is born in the realm of the happy transmigratory beings, one experiences the result similar to the cause: the surrounding people with whom one lives, such as servants, always disturb one, give one no peace. Some people, even if they live with many surrounding people such as servants or family, have much peace and less disturbance to cause unhappiness or anger. For some people it’s the opposite. You know how it is: even if it’s one person, a wife or a husband, they are always bothering, always disturbing you. So many fights—twenty or thirty fights in one day! Fights within each hour, no peace. And the same with friends or servants. Also, you can’t trust anybody, whether it’s the servant, husband, wife or friend. You always meet persons whom you can’t trust. You can’t control the person with whom you stay. Your servant or friend, or the person with whom you stay, becomes an enemy or you lose them to another person. Things like this are experiencing the result similar to the cause of negative karma of sexual misconduct done in the past. This is one of the biggest problems in the world. I think that’s enough!
Then, even if one is born as a human being, in that life one again does sexual misconduct. Even if one wishes to renounce it, to avoid it, one finds it very difficult. Even if one is living in the precepts one finds it very difficult to avoid. It happens uncontrollably because in past lives one was habituated to the non-virtuous action of sexual misconduct. So, when one gets born as a human being, repeating this non-virtuous action again, is creating the result similar to the cause.
Then, the possessed result is that even when one gets born as a human being, one gets born in undesirable places, such as very dirty places having a lot of excrement, or very muddy places. Wherever one moves, wherever one lives, it is always in a muddy place! Or a place which has many bad smells, or having many upsetting, undesirable, ugly, unpleasant things.
There are four non-virtuous actions of speech. The first one is telling lies. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Then, even if one gets born in the human realm one experiences the result similar to the cause—many people criticize or put one down. Even if one doesn’t make a mistake other people blame or criticize one.
At one time, it might have been in India, there was a king. In that area one family’s cow was lost. The king put the blame on a follower of the lesser vehicle path, a self-conqueror. There are two types of arhats—the “hearer-listener” and the “self-conqueror.” The king accused this practitioner of having stolen the cow and put him in prison for six days. He hadn’t stolen the cow but he was accused by the king. Later this king was born as a monk. One day he was dyeing his robe in a pot. One family’s cow was lost in that area and three people who lived in the area who were searching to find who had stolen the cow came. They saw that he was cooking meat in a big pot and accused the monk, saying, “You have stolen the cow and now you are cooking it.” The monk didn’t see meat in the pot—for him, he’s dyeing cloth. But those three people saw it as real meat in the pot. So, no matter how much the monk said, “I’m not cooking meat!” it didn’t help! So, without choice he had to go to prison for six months. I think he was lucky that it wasn’t for six years! No matter how much he tried to say that it wasn’t meat, it didn’t help because they saw it as real meat. So that was the result of his previous action when he was a king, of wrongly accusing the self-conqueror. Many times we hear that people get accused, put in prison or somehow punished even though the action was done by someone else. Somehow there is no choice. It is similar to this karmic story of the king who was later born as the monk. All these probably have a similar cause.
Also, other people criticize, blame or cheat you. Some people, wherever they travel always find someone cheating them! They always tell: “Oh, I went there; those people are so terrible, they cheated me! I went to Nepal and they did this and that! I went to the mountains, this and that! I went to India and they did this and that. They cheat so badly. These people are so bad! I went to Pakistan, this and that. I went to Afghanistan, this and that. I went to Greece, I went to ...” What else? Some people, wherever they go—East or West—always meet many people who cheat them. Those people are experiencing results similar to the cause of the negative karma of telling lies.
Creating the result similar to the cause: even when one is born as a human being, again one does the same non-virtuous action of telling lies thus creating the cause to again experience these four suffering results.
The possessed result. This is interesting. Normally we say that a person who is doing business is kind of clever or something. We think it is just up to that—cleverness. And of the person who is not successful. “Oh, he doesn’t have intelligence” or something. But we don’t refer to karma. Sometimes when land is owned by one person a lot of crops grow. The fruit or whatever is planted, grows well. Then, when this land is owned by another person things don’t grow well. Sometimes when a taxi is owned and used by one person many passengers are found, but when this car is owned by another person, few passengers come. It’s the same car but very few passengers come! Similarly, when a restaurant is run by one person it goes very well, but when it belongs to another person people no longer come, even though it’s the same place. Similarly, when one person becomes ... say, head of a city—what is it? Mayor? Head of the city?
A.M: Lord Mayor
L.Z: Lord of the Mayor
A.M: Just Lord Mayor!
L.Z: When one person is Lord Mayor, there’s much material progress, more peace for people, things are much easier. With another mayor people have a very hard time – no development and much, degeneration. Similarly with monasteries: when one particular monk becomes abbot there’s much trouble. They’re also like this. This kind of unsuccess is the possessed result of the negative karma of telling lies. Not only that, but also being in a place where there isn’t much harmony, and having most things turn out as betraying. Also, having much cause of fear. I think this means having much fear of something happening in the present. Also having the cause of fear, which means fear of something dangerous happening in the future.
Then, the negative karma of slandering. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Experiencing the result similar to the cause is not having harmony in the family, the surrounding people with whom one is living. And the surrounding people become mean, bad. The people with whom one stays always treat one badly and dislike one. Like, for example, the people with whom you work in a office—there is always somebody who is slandering, creating disharmony between you and other people. In schools, among friends, among the family, among sisters; disunity between oneself and the surrounding people.
Creating the result similar to the cause is when we are born as human beings, again we create the negative karma of slandering, which means creating again the cause for the four suffering results. The possessed result is that even the place where we live is not flat. The place has many hills, and is kind of uncomfortable, having many high mountains and things. You have to climb very high or very low—a kind of difficult place to live and work. Also having many frightening things in that place: diseases, or people, or creatures, or even non-living things which frighten you.
The non-virtuous action of speaking harshly; the ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Then, even when we are born as human beings, we experience the result similar to the cause: one always hears nasty things—undesirable, hurting words.
(end of tape)
There are people who somehow always get scolded by other people; they find many people speak to them harshly. Other people around them do not receive harsh words. This person doesn’t mean to fight or to get angry at other people, but when he speaks somehow his thoughts become words that cause a fight. He doesn’t mean to say something which hurts other people, but somehow his talk appears hurtful to other people and becomes the cause of fighting.
Then, creating results similar to the cause is again speaking harshly, so creating the negative karma again for another four suffering results. The possessed result of harsh speech is that even the place where one lives does not have beautiful trees and so on. Some countries have uninteresting trees, all rotten or burned; the place is undesirable, uninteresting, with a lot of thorns and covered with undesirable bushes. It is very rough, it doesn’t have attractive colors—a kind of dusty place, not having beautiful things, such as lakes, water ponds or waterfalls. It’s kind of dry and hot, like a desert where there is no water. It has mountains that are not green and has many rock slides, that kind of thing—an uninteresting place! Not a large comfortable plain. It is a place where there are a lot of negative karmas accumulated. There are many things which frighten one. You might think that what I’m describing now is in the East and not the West! Especially those people who have traveled in the mountains in the East must think that!
In the West there are many areas that are green, mountains with many flowers, many beautiful gardens, islands, lakes, and so on. Now, in the West, we’re enjoying the result of the past good karma of abstaining from speaking harshly. Now this life is good. But in this life, if we don’t create the cause again, we can’t be sure of what will happen in the next life, what kind of place we will be living in—whether we will again get a place that’s nice, beautiful, where there’s a lot of enjoyment and it’s easy going, where there’s physical comfort. It’s not sure, maybe the people who are living on this planet in these undesirable places, experiencing the result similar to the cause of previous harsh speech—but who are now practicing Dharma, living in moral conduct—will change places in the next life with the people from the West! So, we should be aware, we should know that all these good things are the result—as I mentioned on other days—of past good karma of abstaining from speaking harshly, slandering and sexual misconduct.
We are living in such a beautiful place now. But, you see, it’s like this: if you have one hundred dollars and you don’t do something with this to get more money, if you don’t use this skillfully, but you just live on it, if you don’t try anything, then you will struggle, you will experience a difficult life. It’s the same if we just live on a little result of past good karma and we don’t create any more, don’t practice any moral conduct, don’t accumulate any more virtue. Regarding the opposite, the negative karmas, the non-virtuous actions—so much, so much was created in this life and in the past lives. What’s left is to experience the result of negative karmas. That’s all. What’s left to be experienced in the next life is that. The nature of life is like this. If you live in the West, now it’s very good—in this life there’s a lot of enjoyment, a luxurious life like having a luxurious apartment, swimming pools and beautiful gardens. Very easy going—but there’s no understanding of karma.
I think the Christian monks and nuns who abstain from killing and telling lies and so on, making vows with the object as sentient beings, practice moral conduct and have good results. Some priests and some nuns are incredible, very inspiring—they are dedicated to others, renouncing themselves and cherishing others, completely dedicating themselves to offer services to others, and are content and satisfied. Until this year I thought that in the West there hasn’t been anyone who lived in caves and solitary places and who had great attainments as was done in India and Tibet. Living a simple life, wearing rags for clothes, like the great yogis and meditators. Living life even without food, living on pills; having great determination to practice self-containment and satisfaction, an ascetic life. I thought that it never happened in the West—because if somebody lives like this in the West he is regarded as being completely crazy! He doesn’t know how to live life! He doesn’t know the meaning of life! I thought that living like those Kadampa geshes didn’t happen in the West.
But this year, when we went to Italy, I didn’t, but Lama Yeshe saw the movie about this great saint, San Francisco—St. Francis not San Francisco! Sorry! That’s very correct! Lama saw the movie in America and knew everything about him and had incredible devotion to him. I didn’t know the story, so there was nothing in my mind! Some students from Lama Tsongkhapa Institute in Pomaia stay there where this great saint lived and passed away, where his cave is. They came for initiation and they asked—they were staying with a friend at his house—if we wanted to come to that person’s place. I didn’t know the story but Lama really wanted to go there, so we went. It’s a very interesting place. You could see his caves—small caves, same as the caves in Tibet, Nepal or India. There are several caves including his disciples’ caves. These caves and his life story are very inspiring. I don’t think anybody in Italy, whether he’s a capitalist or a communist, would dislike this great saint. There is nothing about him to blame. Also there is a cemetery and we did a little bit of meditation there.
Usually if one does retreat or meditates at those caves and places where there have been great yogis who had great attainments—such as places where Buddha put his holy feet or people such as Milarepa, Naropa, Tilopa, or Nagarjuna, those fine pandits—one very quickly transforms the mind and achieves realizations by the power of the place. Yogis have been to and lived at those places and it has blessed them and the places bless the minds of the practitioners who go there. Meditation is more effective there, even if it’s not so effective at one’s house or other places. One feels it more from the heart, rather than it just being intellectual.
Somehow that place was very beneficial to meditate in. There was one very wealthy woman who became a nun and St. Francis’ disciple. I think her body can be seen. She started a nunnery and I think there were a lot of nuns. He had many disciples—we even got a piece of one disciple’s clothes—I don’t know his name. I think the clothes were kept by some person inside that disciple’s church. This Italian man had been given this piece of the priest’s robe. If people who are very sick or something take a small piece of this they suddenly vomit and completely recover. They say if you’ve done evil works then after eating this you vomit! I asked about the way this great saint lived life. His main practice was having great satisfaction and contentment, and incredibly loving kindness and compassion—as incredible as the Kadampa geshes. St. Francis asked one disciple to criticize him. The disciple promised to say exactly what he asked. “Then you should tell me: ‘You have done many evil things and after this life you will go to hell,’” said St. Francis. The disciple accepted, in the beginning. But later, when he was told to say this, he could not, and said instead, “You did only good actions and after this life you will go to heaven.” It was very interesting that they practiced thought training, the same type as in the Mahayana lam-rim teachings. I asked if he wrote down any meditations or a graduated path, or something like that, which he had practiced. There was only a book of his life story telling what happened to him and what he spoke, but no set meditations. I will stop here.
Do the purification with the recitation of mantra, by being aware of how the kind mother sentient beings don’t have freedom at all; how they are completely overwhelmed by anger, ignorance, dissatisfied mind; tied to jealousy. Be aware that they are completely crazy through being possessed by this devil, the disturbing thoughts, the selfish attitude. You see, the sentient beings don’t have peace at all. Be aware of this. Then purify all the problems that they’re experiencing through being under the control of those disturbing thoughts.
OM MANI PADME HUM ... OM MANI PADME HUM ...
All of the obscurations are completely purified from your own and other sentient beings’ bodies and minds. Due to the nectar and rays, your and others’ bodies becomes like crystal, very calm, clear. Not having even the slightest stain. The crown Chenrezig melts into light and is absorbed into one’s own heart and the hearts of all sentient beings. Think that this has generated all the realizations, especially bodhicitta. Feel oneness with your mind completely in the nature of Chenrezig’s holy mind: great compassion towards enemy, friend and stranger—every living being.
“I will generate the state of omniscient mind for the benefit of all the kind mother sentient beings. Therefore, I’m going to listen to the teachings of the graduated path to enlightenment.”
(end of tape)
The fourth non-virtuous action is gossiping. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Experiencing the result similar to the cause is experienced when one gets born as a human being—when one speaks to other person the words do not have power to inspire or to achieve whatever one needs or wishes to be done, such as getting help from other people. Other people don’t listen easily. Also, there is no discipline in one’s speech. Other people find it difficult to trust one. Also, one doesn’t feel confidence in one’s own words. Some people’s speech is very powerful: there is much discipline and trustworthiness and they themselves have confidence that what they are saying is definite.
Creating the result similar to the cause is even if you are born as a human being, again you gossip and accumulate non-virtuous actions and create the cause for another four suffering results.
The possessed result is that in place where one lives things happen such as the trees from which one normally gets fruit do not bear fruit. Even if the fruit trees grow, they do not bear fruits or do not bear fruit at the time when it is needed. Maybe it grows in a time when it cannot be sold. Also, even if the fruit comes, that which is unripe appears to the person as ripe—like when we go shopping and some fruit looks nice and ripe, but when we actually cut and eat it, it is unripe. Things like that are the result of this karma, or, the roots and the stems of the crops are weak and the crop dies or it does not last for a long time, or, the place does not have any beautiful forests, parks or ponds. Also, there may be many causes of fear in that place. Then, out of the three non-virtuous actions committed with the mind: covetousness. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Experiencing the result similar to the cause: It is said in Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching, the Great Graduated Path to Enlightenment, that it is having great desire and not having satisfaction. Probably this might have to be interpreted, because creating the result similar to the cause is again creating the negative karma of having great desire, covetousness, when you’re born as a human. So it looks quite similar to experiencing the result similar to the cause. This is just my own opinion: it might mean other people having much covetousness, wanting to have one’s possessions. Maybe being attached to oneself or one’s belongings. Because of that other problems come such as people stealing, confiscating or taking one’s things in various ways: also harming oneself, or whatever—experiencing undesirable things that one doesn’t wish for.
Creating the result similar to the cause: even though the person is born as a human being, not seeking or working for something which is beneficial; instead seeking something which is nonsense, which is not beneficial. The possessed result is the place where one is born: the perfections, the enjoyments decrease year by year, month by month, week by week, even day by day. In that place the enjoyments become less and less instead of increasing.
The second non-virtue of mind is ill-will. The ripening aspect result is the same: rebirth in the lower realms. Experiencing the result similar to the cause is that one receives much harm from others. Also, it says "harming others." Probably this might mean—otherwise it might get mixed up with creating the result—one doesn’t have intention to harm, one means to benefit, but it turns out as harmful to others. It might be like this. If a person says bad words, or if a mosquito bites, even the harm from non-living things, the elements—all these are experiencing the result similar to the cause, the non-virtuous action of ill-will, which was created by oneself.
Creating the result similar to the cause: even if one is born as a human being, again one accumulates the non-virtuous action of ill-will, which brings four suffering results. The possessed result is that in the place where one is born there is always a lot of "cold" disease, many epidemics, diseases which we get from others. Also, much fighting, attacks from other countries and civil wars within one’s own country, in the different parts or districts—like India has. Also, having many fears and dangers from animals such as lions and tigers; many mosquitoes and fleas! Lama Tsongkhapa did not say "fleas and mosquitoes", but it mentions lions, tigers and so on. It mentions leeches! Then, poisonous snakes and spiders. One gets many spiders in one’s room—in the corners, many coming out, dropping on one’s head! Also scorpions! Some people don’t get these frightening creatures in their room. Some find a lot! Many disturbing, frightening creatures—on the bed; inside the bed! In the daytime and in the night-time! Also kind-of harmful spirits disturb one; also robbers.
It is not necessary that all these things are at one place. We should be aware when we get harm like this that this is the result of our own karma of ill-will. You see, it’s helpful. Each time we remember that it is the result of our own karma, it’s effective. The things that are happening around, the harms that you’re receiving from others, become a teaching explaining karma. It is explaining your life—whether it is happy or suffering—explaining your own karma. It is explaining to oneself what kind of negative or good karma one has accumulated in the past. So, it becomes beneficial; it is effective for the mind. When we use this for meditation it makes us be more careful with karma; otherwise, if we just get depressed, do a lot of screaming, have a lot of anger, kill these pitiful creatures, our kind mother sentient beings, at that moment we create a lot of negative karma of ill-will and killing. A lot of negative karma is accumulated in such a short time. That is not useful, that doesn’t bring peace to the mind. That doesn’t help others and it doesn’t help oneself.
By being aware of your own negative karma—that it came from your own mind, that it is your own creation—you protect your karma. It makes you protect karma better than you did in the past. Protecting your own karma, not giving harm to others, also benefits other sentient beings. By living in moral conduct you are able to benefit other sentient beings more. That’s what the Kadampa geshes advised. The more purely the person is living in moral conduct the more that person can benefit other sentient beings. I think that’s completely true. You can see how those living in pure moral conduct can offer great benefit to others—how much they can bring happiness into the minds of other sentient beings. Even seeing their holy body brings calmness and fearlessness.
I used to find a lot of things in my food—hairs and tiny creatures, worms, many things! I think it is definitely a result of my own karma. We eat from the same pot, Lama and many other people, but others don’t find these undesirable things! Then the food becomes kind of disgusting and one doesn’t want to eat! But other people do not find these. So, sometimes I have hard times when I go to other people’s houses and find a lot! Then it’s difficult to tell the people that their food has this because they enjoy it very much! I don’t want to disturb their happiness. I just leave it. That’s okay! I think it is the result of the negative karma of covetousness. Other people might think it is part of the food!
Then, wrong view, or, heresy. I don’t think the ripening aspect result is to be an animal or preta. It’s to be checked, but I think the ripening aspect result might be to be reborn as a narak. Saying that there’s no such things as the Four Noble Truths—that from the true path one achieves the cessation of suffering -is heresy. Also heresy can be denying that true suffering arises from the true cause of suffering. Also, saying that it is not true that from non-virtue suffering arises and that from virtuous actions the result is happiness. This is heresy or wrong view. The reason why I’m saying this is that even if one has degenerated all the one’s moral conduct—such as the two hundred and fifty vows or thirty-six vows or five precepts or eight precepts or whatever, even if one has completely degenerated the root vows—if one has faith in karma, one gets born as an animal, not in the narak.
In the lam-rim, Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching of the graduated path to enlightenment, it is said that even if one has degenerated the precepts, if one hasn’t lost his faith one gets born in the animal realm, such as a naga. I’m not sure one hundred percent sure that one won’t be born in the narak if one has faith but breaks root vows. I don’t remember precisely. However for one who has lost faith, or has heresy, such as in karma, it is said that the ripening aspect result is rebirth in the naraks.
Then, there is nihilism, the view that nothing exists. It is said, I think, by one great pandit, Aryadeva, in the teaching Four Hundred Stanzas, that for a person who falls into the extreme of thinking, "I don’t exist, others don’t exist", the negative karma of this is heavier than killing one hundred million human beings. The reason why Lama Tsongkhapa, in the teachings on shunyata, is so careful in emphasizing that things exist by being dependent arisings—that the “I” does exist, that things do exist—is so that we do not fall into nihilism—the view that nothing exists.
Experiencing the result of heresy similar to the cause: even when we are born as human begins we have very strong, very deep ignorance. Not only that, but very strong anger and dissatisfied mind. Having heresy towards Buddha’s teachings creates the cause not to meet Buddha’s teachings in future lives even if one is born as a human being. In the West, the whole country puts effort into material development. In such countries as Tibet, the main effort is for the development of Dharma.
(end of tape)
So in regard to material development nothing was done. I’m not sure whether they even made needles in Tibet! The king himself is the Compassionate Buddha, Chenrezig, and has been for many reincarnations. Except for a few irreligious kings, mostly they were dharma kings, embodiments of Chenrezig. The whole teaching taught by Buddha—sutra and tantra—the complete understanding of the meaning of the words and realization of the path was alive in the minds of many meditators, yogis and lamas. They were innumerable; the country was full of so many attainers. If someone wanted to practice dharma there was no difficulty in finding a perfect guru who could reveal the whole path without mistakes. There was so much dharma to see and hear just in the city. The whole environment was like this. But still there were people in Tibet, even there were so many lamas giving teachings, who had their own kind of religion; they didn’t even try to check out Buddhadharma.
It is similar in India. Western people are coming to the East after working for many years collecting money to meet Dharma, to meet a guru who can liberate them from their undesirable sufferings and lead them to happiness, to what they need, what they are seeking for. Most times His Holiness lives in India and so many realized beings, so many lamas who are holders of the whole teachings of the Buddhadharma. The Indians see so many educated Western people coming to learn Buddhism; they see that they are getting much peace, that they are more happy, joyful, that they get something for their life; that they want to stay longer, want to study more even though finding it difficult, having worries, unable to stay and study longer due to various circumstances. The Indians live in the same places where there are these lamas, but they never come, they never bother. Like, for example, at the Tibetan library: there is a Library at Dharamsala founded some several years ago, but the people who listen to the teachings are mostly Western people. Maybe sometimes one or two Indians come; sometimes, but very rarely. That shows karma. They don’t have trouble—they are staying in the same place; they don’t have problems with visas or problems of running out of money. Their families are there.
Hardly anybody comes to ask for teachings from the lamas even though Buddhism was founded in their country. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself took birth there and revealed the holy Dharma by showing the twelve events. People come to study and after meeting lamas they receive sutra and tantra teachings and then practice, do many retreats and make their lives so meaningful. They make so much preparation for achieving liberation and enlightenment. But the Indians, even though they have been living in the same place for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty or seventy years, have done nothing. They are still just as ignorant. All the time they see the Dharma activities and they see the high lamas, but somehow no question of seeking something, of learning something from them, of checking whether they can get something for their life from them, arises.
Heresy causes one not to meet Dharma even though one is in the right place. Even though there is everything, all the conditions, something blocks the mind from meeting Dharma. That is due to past lives’ karma of heresy. Even if one does listen to teachings on karma, even if one does listen to Buddha’s teachings, one finds it very difficult to understand or to accept them. People may come from the same country, the same culture—for example, from the West but only some of the people understand right away. They find it very true, very much connected to reality, not like it’s a fairy tale but that it’s talking about facts—such as the nature of the Four Noble Truths, the true path and the true cessation of suffering. They recognize very easily as a fact that if they practice they will accomplish the goal.
At the same time some people find it very difficult to feel that such things as reincarnation are reality, are a fact. It kind of doesn’t fit with their mind. When they hear about reincarnation, it doesn’t fit, they can’t comprehend. They may find it very difficult to understand when they hear shunyata teachings, no matter how many times. Or, if the qualities of Buddha are explained they find it difficult to arouse faith that there are such things such as the Triple Gem.
Creating the result similar to the cause is that having been born as a human being, again one continues the same negative karma of heresy which prepares one for another four suffering results.
The possessed result is the place where we are born. Like at Atisha Center: even though the best gold production in the country was at that place, even though there used to be a lot of gold coming from the earth, now there is no more gold to be found. When oneself is born there is no more gold! Also, the place where one lives being unclean and things which are dirty appearing as clean is due to heresy. Probably you might think when I say dirty things appearing to be clean—“That’s good, that’s O.K. What we need is to have that view. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it appears to be clean.” But I think Lama Tsongkhapa was not saying just that, but that if it appears clean and if we cling to that, then also suffering appears as happiness and we cling to that. The problem is that it appears as happiness, so then we cling and then problems arise. For example, the body which is the container of the thirty six dirty things, kind of garbage, appearing as clean; samsaric suffering appearing as happiness. By clinging, one continuously cycles through death and rebirth in samsara and one continually suffers like this. I think I will stop here.
First check back as much as you can; remember back to childhood. Also past lives. Check whether you have accumulated any of these negative karma that I spoke of this morning. Then, how many times from beginningless rebirths the various negative karmas have been accumulated. If you don’t remember, you can read if you made any notes. Be aware of the four suffering results of each one. Then, think about whether you like these results or not. See if it’s something you hate or that you like.
Then think of others you know, other kind mother sentient beings. So many others have accumulated these negative karmas. So many, uncountable. Then think, “How wonderful it would be if I could experience all the suffering results of these ten negative karmas by myself alone, so that the others could become free of them.” Then take all these negative karmas and all four sufferings in the form of pollution on to the self-cherishing thought and destroy the self-cherishing thought and the object, the “I” that the self cherishing thought cherishes so much. Also, at the same time, if possible, destroy this “I” which appears truly existent, so precious, so important among all sentient beings, so it becomes non-existent.
Then at the end dedicate all the good things for all sentient beings. Offer, give to each sentient being. First of all give to each person here all the good things—your body, everything; all merits of all three times, everything. Give completely to each person here. Then to all the rest of the human beings, especially your enemies. First start here, on this hill. Then, the rest of the world. All sentient beings. Think they have received happiness and whatever they need. Then think that they generate the whole path and become enlightened. I think that’s all. Thank you.
Purifying nectar flows from Chenrezig, the Great Compassionate One, who is above one’s own crown, purifying all the wrong conceptions from seeing the guru as an ordinary person to the subtle dual view. Particularly the selfish attitude and the ignorance of karma—action and result. We are completely purified. This is where we say the prayer requesting blessings in order to generate the bodhicitta.
JANG.CHUB SEM.CHOG RINPOCHE...
As you requested, think that you have generated the realizations of seeing the guru in the essence of Buddha, through to the unified state of Vajradhara, enlightenment; that you have generated especially the realization of bodhicitta—the realization, the stable, definite understanding of karma and bodhicitta. Also at this time you can think that a replica of Chenrezig is absorbed to your own heart which generates all these realizations.
OM IDAM GURU RATNA MANDALAKAM...
OM MANI PADME HUM...
Think strongly of purifying the true cause of suffering, the three poisonous minds: ignorance, anger and attachment—the disturbing thoughts. Particularly think of all the fighting, the worries and great fears and people killing each other such as in Lebanon. Then the many criminal people under the control of disturbing thoughts, the dissatisfied mind, and so harming others and accumulating various negative karmas. They get punished, even hung. What is it called? They are executed or punished in so many different ways. They get many beatings in prison. They did not wish to have these problems, they don’t like what they are experiencing, but without choice they have to experience the result of their own karma which was created due to being under the control of the disturbing thoughts.
Even today so many people get killed, punished or tortured because of being under the control of other people. In Tibet and in many other countries many young people, young children get killed. They want independence. Their minds are very strong, so many of them get killed. Their parents don’t know and they go to the grave where the children’ bodies are buried, and they remove the soil because they want to see the child. Then they scream. There is nothing that they can do, but they are just so upset, wanting to see their child.
Many other countries have unbelievable suffering and so much fear. Some are experiencing the result, such as punishment, torture. At the same time some are creating negative karma by doing that. Some are killing; some are doing other non-virtuous actions. They are creating the cause to experience those problems later, some are creating causes, some are experiencing results now. Be aware of this and by cherishing these kind sentient beings, by thinking of them as important, as precious, like oneself, then purify. Feel the unbearable problems that they have, then purify by taking refuge or by relying on the Compassionate Buddha, Chenrezig, above your crown.
OM MANI PADME HUM ... OM MANI PADME HUM ...
The light is absorbed into one’s own heart which generates all the realizations, especially bodhicitta and the stable, definite understanding of karma. Think that this realization is generated. The mind becomes completely oneness with Chenrezig’s mind feeling unbearable compassion towards the enemy, friend and stranger, in regard to every living being. Wishing each of the sentient beings to be free of suffering, and to cause that by oneself.
Regarding the last immoral action, heresy—when we hear teachings on karma from the scriptures which Buddha explained, we hear many frightening things, strange and unexpected things which don’t fit to our conceptions. We hear of and see many strange things happening nowadays. Like this, even during Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s time there were the different problems and sufferings of sentient beings.
(end of tape)
Why is it like this? What’s the cause? Either the disciples or other people asked Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to explain why there are such problems that sentient beings have to experience. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained details without the slightest mistake—the cause of whatever good things or suffering that some person was experiencing. How long it has been, how many eons since the cause was created. Whatever the cause, gross or subtle, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha clearly explained without the slightest mistake, without confusion.
Many of these explanations or stories about karma were later recorded by the disciples. There are many karmic stories in the sutra teachings. There are several sutra texts which are full of detailed stories about the karma of either one person, or a group of people, or a family—explaining the cause of the trouble: that in the past such and such was done. These teachings expounded by Buddha give great inspiration to give up even the smallest negative karmas. Besides then being unable to create the heavy negative karmas one become unable to create even the slightest, the very small negative karmas.
The result of suffering coming from virtue and happiness resulting from non-virtue is impossible. But you cannot say that karma has to be such-and-such a way. Let’s take a problem that is very common in the west, that everybody knows, a problem like not finding a job, or a problem of disharmony in the family, or problems of old age, things like that. If it’s something that is unusual, something unexpected, that’s most people’s life experience; if it’s only a few people’s particular problem among the thousand or millions of people, one cannot say that particular karma or life problem cannot be experienced. One cannot say that it is not possible to experience unusual problems that are not common to most people. It cannot be said that karma has to be a particular way. In short, it is wrong to think, “Because I did not see it I cannot believe in unusual problems that other people in the world have.” “I didn’t see it with my own eyes, so I cannot accept it,” is not a logical reason. That cannot prove anything. Just because your eyes did not see them cannot prove that things such as these unusual problems, or such things as incredible bliss, realization, the experiences which come through meditation, don’t exist. Like the qualities of the bodhisattvas, those who are proceeding on the ten bhumis—the first bhumi bodhisattva can transform into one hundred bodies; he is able to go to one hundred buddhas’ pure realms; each one is able to accumulate merit by making so many offerings to buddhas and is able to give sentient beings hundreds of teachings and ripen the minds of hundreds of sentient beings at the same time. They can remember hundreds and hundreds of past lives. Also they can see many things in the future. There are above twelve things in regard to which they have power. Then I think on the second bhumi it increases to a thousand-fold. They are able to transform into one thousand bodies; they can see one thousand past lives, their own and others. Also they can see the future for one thousand lifetimes. So there are about twelve powers like this—everything one thousand-fold. As the arya, the higher bodhisattvas gradually progress to the higher bhumis, their incredible qualities increase, not just nine or ten-fold! I don’t remember exactly, millions and millions or billions and billions-fold. It’s inconceivable at the moment.
Without talking about the buddhas’ qualities of holy speech, holy body, and holy mind, even just those higher bodhisattvas’ qualities, their realizations and powers are inconceivable to our minds. By generating bodhicitta and entering the Mahayana path, if we practice, it will be our own experience—all these unbelievable qualities of the bodhisattvas. Those higher bodhisattvas can be of such benefit to sentient beings. When we have generated the path in our mind, when those bhumis are our own experience and we have completed the Mahayana path, all the buddhas’ qualities, the inconceivable holy actions of buddhas, will be our own experience—if we practice, if we turn our minds to the bodhisattvas’ path.
At the moment we can’t. We do not recognize even the diseases that we have; we have to depend on X-rays and analysis of the blood. We don’t have even that much power, understanding or clairvoyance. We cannot see everything that’s going to happen tomorrow, or even tonight. We cannot see the minds of other people. We are incredibly limited in understanding.
The incredible qualities powers and actions of those higher bodhisattvas are inconceivable to us. Even those of the bodhisattva who has accomplished the first bhumis are inconceivable to our minds. We cannot say that, because it is not our own experience, because we haven’t achieved the path and we don’t see others as having these qualities that it does not exist. Just this reason alone, that it is not one’s own experience, or one hasn’t seen it, is not sufficient. Aren’t there jewels ... how does the pearl come?
A.M: Oyster, a shell fish called oyster.
A.M: An irritation caused by sand.
A.M: It’s an irritation to the oyster that causes the pearl.
L.Z: What’s the irritation? It’s the shell?
A.M: It’s a disturbance.
A.M: Oyster is a shell fish. So, a grain of sand gets inside, which irritates. So it puts layers of...
L.Z: The shell meets the sand?
A.M: The sand comes inside the ...
L.Z: Inside the shell, then?
A.M: It irritates.
L.Z: Irritates? Then?
A.M: So it covers the sand with layers of material.
A.M: With liquid.
L.Z: What liquid?
A.M: It’s like saliva.
L.Z: From where?
A.M: From the animal.
A.M: Then it hardens. Then it’s a pearl.
L.Z: Saliva comes from where?
A.M: The animal in the shell produces it.
L.Z: What part of the body?
A.M: It’s like saliva!
L.Z: And then connected with sand?
A.M: Yes, that’s how they produce artificial pearls—they induce the sand into the animal.
L.Z: What about the real one’s?! Could artificially induce the sand into the animal itself.
L.Z: You mean artificial, the people purposely put these things together?
A.M: It’s cultured pearl. But rather than just finding the pearls where the sand has accidentally gotten into the oyster, they insert it with an instrument. It’s the same thing, the animal still produces the result.
L.Z: Then what about gold! I’m not talking about the big pieces, I’m talking about the gold you get from sand. What is the evolution of this?
A.M: They say gold is a metal, it doesn’t change.
L.Z: What is the evolution of that? It is not explained in the West?
A.M: The earth is made up of different minerals in combinations and gold is just one of those that occurs.
L.Z: When there was no earth there was no gold? Was there gold when the earth was empty?
A.M: Yes, there was gold.
L.Z: When there’s no earth, when there was no ...
A.M: No people, no sentient beings?
L.Z: When it was space, when there was no earth, at that time was there no gold? What happened?
A.M: They say that actually in nuclear reactors they can transform lead into gold, so at these very high temperatures ...
L.Z: Is this the original evolution or a modern discovery?
A.M: It’s just an example. But at these very high temperatures, they say, when the earth was formed from these very hot gases, it became more and more solid, so at that time different metals formed.
A.M: No, before volcanoes, when the earth was forming from the other planets, from gases, then at that time because of the incredible high temperatures various reactions were happening, the gases were becoming solid.
L.Z: Gasses from other planets?
A.M: No, I think they say the whole galaxy, whole universe, started like this, from clouds of gas.
L.Z: Clouds of gas! Then?
A.M: Then they become more solid—the gas compresses together, becomes more solid. Then the different elements form. Gold is one of the elements.
L.Z: Yes, then, what else? Besides gold. Is there any other jewel that is formed in the water? Before it was different material and later on by mixing things together then it becomes a jewel, a precious stone?
A.M: I think the Tibetans wear that yellow material, amber.
A.M: It comes from trees.
A.M: Originally it comes from the sap, from trees. It goes into the ocean and transforms into amber. The sap comes from trees, and it goes into the ocean, and then because of pressure, whatever, it transforms into amber.
L.Z: So amber comes from connecting with water?
A.M: Pressure. Diamonds, they say, comes from coal from much heat and pressure. The same material but transformed into a different form.
L.Z: Pressure, coal and heat?
A.M: It comes from coal, but it’s heat and pressure on the coal that makes it into diamonds.
L.Z: Coal is the black stuff? By meeting the pressure it turns into diamonds?!
A.M: The coal, from where the diamonds comes is made from plants that died—trees—and were packed together.
A.M: Is that sort of transformation process, the plant to the coal and then into the diamond, is that governed by some law of karma?
L.Z: This is evolution? Yes, without karma that evolution cannot happen. The karma is the first cause which causes the physical impression. So, why is golden ka-ka not possible?! This animal—pearl—by mixing saliva and sand together it becomes a precious stone, a pearl. So, that pearl doesn’t exist!
A.M. In what way doesn’t it exist?
L.Z: First, that pearl doesn’t exist. The pearl you described doesn’t exist!
A.M: I disagree! There’s a whole industry based on it in Australia and Japan!
L.Z: Actually your conclusion is that it is common knowledge of people.
A.M: Yes! It’s common knowledge. They make millions of dollars!
L.Z: I’m very happy people make a million dollars out of that! But the family who got the elephant making golden kaka, that is also common knowledge to the buddhas and the bodhisattvas! Even though on the earth it’s not a usual event for many human beings, and even though they don’t understand this evolution, it’s common for those who have the knowledge to see.
A.M: Doesn’t that seem to deny the law of dependent arising and karma? What is labeled as gold by worldly people is a certain thing that is produced by certain causes, dependent on certain causes and conditions.
L.Z: Okay, okay! Why is it not possible? What’s your proof that that the elephant could not make golden ka-ka at all!? Somebody else has something to say?
A.M: That doesn’t follow the law of cause and effect as we know it. The production of gold from ka-ka doesn’t follow from cause and effect.
L.Z: Why doesn’t it follow the law of cause and effect?
A.M: I guess from our perspective it would be that it’s not replicable, we can’t see how it’s done. We cannot look at its components or its constituents. We can’t see how it would evolve from that—gold from hay transformed by an elephant!
L.Z: Okay, now, you don’t see the pearl evolving from saliva, which is completely something else, and the sand which is completely something else, so why is this possible? Why is a pearl possible? Why does it become a pearl?
A.M: “Pearl” is simply a label put on a substance that an animal makes. That’s all it is; it’s just a hardened liquid.
L.Z: That does not answer my question. I wasn’t asking whether it was labeled or not.
A.M: It’s just a chemical reaction. When this liquid dries and becomes very hard, that’s what a pearl is. And that operates. It’s kind of an observable phenomenon that people can see.
L.Z: Why do those things make pearl?
A.M: It’s a protection. It’s to protect itself from irritation.
L.Z: The pearl?
A.M: The liquid! It’s the same thing.
L.Z.: Are you trying to imply that the pearl is some inherently existing precious thing. It’s not! It’s something that a ... this fish ... that human beings then call a “pearl” and say it’s valuable. But it’s just some stuff that an animal produces to stop suffering.
L.Z: Okay, Jack, why does this pearl come from this evolution? Why does that follow the law of cause and effect? Why that and not this?
A.M: Well, we can see with the pearl that the constituents, the base of the pearl are present before. We can see a process happening, and we see a result. We may not understand all of what happens in the process, but we begin with something, and we end with something that is essentially the same, only modified. With an elephant...
L.Z: What you are saying, your essential answer is that people on earth now see it, isn’t it?
L.Z: That’s right. The common people see this so that’s according to the law of cause and effect, yes? That’s right? So, your conclusion is that whether a thing exists or not is up to the common people and their knowledge. It comes to that conclusion! If you put forward the reason that because the common people see this now—if that’s the only reason—that means that whether things exist or not is dependent on whether it’s common to the people or not. So, that means that things that aren’t common...
(end of tape)
Is it like that?
A.M: Yes, there are many things that people think don’t exist because they can’t see them. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
L.Z: Is that true?
A.M: I agree with that. Yes.
L.Z: Is that true? But what about your own way of thinking?
A.M: I will take what I consider a valid authority and I will believe in things existing by reason or by authority or by direct experience and sometimes by intuition. That is how I deal...
L.Z: Yes, yes ... that’s okay But does it have to be common or ordinary people’s knowledge for something to exist?
A.M: No, no...
L.Z: Then it doesn’t have to be?
A.M: No, no, it doesn’t.
L.Z: There are things which exist which are not common to ordinary people?
A.M: Yes, yes.
L.Z: So you do agree that things exist; that common, ordinary people don’t know, which is not obtainable knowledge? Then this elephant making golden ka-ka—that and the golden coins coming out of the hand, which is explained in the teachings—that exists even though it’s not common knowledge to the ordinary people?
A.M: I would have to call that a most unusual miracle!
L.Z: Okay, okay, that’s good! There can be some very unusual miracles happening in the world, can’t there?
A.M: Yes, I agree there are things I cannot explain.
L.Z: In the teachings of Tsongkhapa, the child with golden coins coming out of his hands and the elephant making golden ka-ka are mentioned. So, can that happen? Can very unusual miracles happen? What about Neil? Would you accept there are miracles which happen in the world? Do you accept that or not?
Neil: Yes, unusual things happen.
L.Z: Do you accept or not? Do you accept unusual, miraculous things happening?
L.Z: No contradictions? Okay, but you cannot accept the golden elephant ka-ka and the gold coming out of the hand?
A.M: But it doesn’t seem to fit in with the teachings. Even these unusual things do not necessarily...
L.Z: Why can’t this be a miracle? An unusual miracle?
A.M: Because it’s totally contrary to how observable phenomena work—that gold comes from a certain process and a certain place.
L.Z: Yes, so why is it not possible from an elephant? There are certain ingredients that it has, physical conditions, and the family has the karma. There’s a physical cause, the conditions, the ingredients, and there’s gold! Same as saliva and sand combined together make a pearl.
A.M: That’s different, because an elephant and grass coming together doesn’t produce gold! Gold occurs in a certain way.
L.Z: Why doesn’t it produce gold? He eats grains ... why can’t it produce gold?
A.M: Because gold is not made up of that. Gold is a separate element.
L.Z: Why are there no other ingredients which can produce gold?
A.M: Because that’s how it’s observed from scientific investigation.
L.Z: So, what you’re saying is it’s common, ordinary people’s knowledge—so you have come to the conclusion: “If it’s something common to the ordinary people then I accept it exists. If it’s not common to the ordinary people on this earth, then it doesn’t exist.”
A.M: Then that’s contrary to the law of dependent arising, which is unfailing: that certain conditions produce certain results.
L.Z: Yes. I am saying that there are also physical conditions.
A.M: But there have to be right conditions, not just any conditions, otherwise it means that if you cook some milk you can get a hard-boiled egg! That’s against the law of dependent arising. How certain things...
L.Z: An egg from milk is something I haven’t heard yet from the teachings! So, to that one I cannot say yes or no. I haven’t an omniscient mind, so I cannot say. I cannot predict the past or predict the future.
A.M: (to Neil) I want to say to you that as you told us yesterday that buddhas can manifest as stones and bridges, maybe buddhas can change milk into an egg?
Neil: I can believe the Buddha changed it, but just an elephant’s ... if it’s the work of the Buddha then that’s completely different; but if it’s just an ordinary elephant...
A.M: Rinpoche, there is something about the idea of an elephant making golden ka-ka that feels intuitively like the sort of story someone would make up so naive people would believe. It feels like the kind of story ... like Father Christmas ... that people make up to tell someone who has not much understanding and they believe. That is what pride would say.
L.Z: I will put one question to you, okay? Do you think all those great pandits and great yogis—Milarepa, Marpa, Naropa, Thog.me Zang.po—who gave all those teachings that you have practiced, who have taught with experience; do you think they are foolish because they practiced karma, and read these sutra teachings as a main subject? Lama Tsongkhapa didn’t say these things are wrong. All those great pandits—Nagarjuna, Asanga, Chandrakirti, all the followers, the great pandits and great yogis—nobody wrote that these sutra teachings, these stories are wrong. In lam-rim teachings everybody emphasized how important it is to think about karma. They always refer us to the sutra teachings which talk about karma. It is always emphasized in the teachings that that which we practice to reach liberation and enlightenment should be founded on the teachings of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and the pandits. Many pandits have examined, and many great yogis have practiced the path, with realization. If we study a teaching, we should practice it only if it is another’s experience, then there is no betrayal. But if it is no one’s experience and no one checked it, and no one practiced it, then one is not sure whether it leads to enlightenment or to the narak, to hell.
Just to close—in Lama Tsongkhapa’s lam-rim it mentions all the wrong conceptions that people have in regard to practicing. In regard to shunyata, Lama Tsongkhapa negated many things. There are quotations from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha which the pandits refer to, but there is nobody—no great yogi nor pandit, nor attainer of the lam-rim path—who said that these kinds of stories are wrong. When they gave these teachings, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche—the ones who are holders of all the Buddha’s teachings, who are experienced on the path—didn’t say that they might be mistaken.
The main reason why I started to talk about these stories is that if you don’t hear them that’s one thing, but I am trying to block the future dangers regarding heresy, which I explained: how heresy is a great obstacle to meeting Dharma and generating realizations on the path. The reason why I raised these stories for discussion, even though I didn’t actually explain them, is because most people here have heard them. If one hears these stories and one wants to practice a bit of Dharma, then it is essential for one to protect karma. Protecting karma is creating the causes for happiness and renouncing the causes of suffering, which has the label “Buddhadharma.”
Lama Tsongkhapa said in the lam-rim teaching, one should renounce each mistake and obtain each quality, then, when one’s qualities have become transcendental, that is the actual Dharma refuge. When you have the actual Dharma refuge you are liberated from suffering and you are fearless. Then Lama Tsongkhapa said ... I don’t remember exactly word for word, but basically it’s: When one understands well details of true actions of virtue and non-virtue and their results and one does the practice of renouncing non-virtue and practicing virtue correctly, this is what is called Holy Dharma. After that Lama Tsongkhapa said: one should think for a long time about action and result. If one doesn’t do this, one cannot change the causes one has created for the sufferings of transmigratory beings in the lower realms. If one doesn’t believe in the realms of the suffering transmigratory beings, one cannot be liberated from the fear of the suffering of the transmigratory beings since one doesn’t create the cause.
The conclusion is that it is extremely important to have a definite understanding of karma—cause and result. If one doesn’t have faith in the teachings of Lord Buddha it means one doesn’t have pure refuge in the mind. This is what one great attainer, one Tibetan Lama, Yongdzin Yeshe Gyaltsen, said in his great thought training teaching. The sutra teachings came orally, directly from Buddha. They were translated by great Tibetan pandits. No Tibetan Lama wrote them down all of a sudden or just recently. Buddha gave these explanations of karma to his disciples and they recorded them as sutra teachings. To say these are wrong becomes strange. If I say it frankly, it looks like this: so far all these great yogi pandits with omniscient minds did not see these mistakes, but nowadays Western people see the mistakes. These yogis were incredible; you can see from studying the texts of their teachings, and from their life stories. That’s how it appears. I’m not talking about everybody, I’m just speaking generally. In many places such as Dharma centers they speak like this. I know. They say the pandits cannot be correct, that they look kind of blind, but that the Western people have wisdom. Others don’t have wisdom—only Western people know these things are wrong. But if one check’s the level of one’s mind—where is one’s level of mind? Where is the level of mind of whoever said this? Is there even bodhicitta, is there even one bhumi received? It turns out very funny. That’s my conclusion. It becomes ridiculous, you know. That’s it!
Anyway, why I brought up these things is that if we know this ahead of time, when we hear these stories, before the flood of heresy comes, we can make plans and some protection so that it won’t destroy our happiness. If we know these things, later when we read or hear about the unusual experiences of sentient beings in Buddha’s teachings, then we should remember not to allow heresy to arise. Heresy is a great obstacle to one’s own enlightenment and liberation. Anger and heresy destroys the merits and even the ripening of the dedicated ones gets postponed.
When you find difficulty in understanding how something is possible, think, “I don’t have any clairvoyance; I have very little understanding, my mind is very obscured.” Be aware of all the ignorance that those who contradict Buddha’s teachings have of Dharma, of shunyata and all these things, then think: “It can be like this but it’s just that my understanding is so polluted, so limited. Buddha said that there are such things, but it’s just that my mind is too deluded, so I cannot see.” Think like that and also pray. When obstacles like heresy towards the Buddha’s teachings come, recognize this and pray to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha for obstacles to one’s enlightenment such as heresy to not arise and for the definite understanding of karma to develop. Pray and accumulate merit and dedicate it for that understanding. I think I will stop here.
Lama Tsongkhapa emphasized this in the Lam-rim Chen-mo. Other lamas talk details of explanations of karma from sutras. Lama Tsongkhapa just mentioned the names of the stories from the sutras or just the names of the persons and then mentions the sutra text where they can be found. There’s one text called “The Sutra of the Wise and Foolish” which contains elaborate explanations of karma. Lama Tsongkhapa advises one to read that. There’s another text called Lungshuwa. Lama Tsongkhapa refers to this sutra text and says that it should be read. He mentions the name of the text with the stories about golden coins coming from the hand and the elephant and those things. He just mentioned the names of the persons. Lama Tsongkhapa’s particular way of presenting the teaching is so wise in putting together all the important points of the practice—clearly explaining and emphasizing all the important points and where people can easily make mistakes by having wrong conceptions. He elaborately clarified those important points so that there’s no misguiding. So, if it is not what Buddha said, Lama Tsongkhapa, instead of saying to read these, would have said to not read them. I have more stories, modern examples, that happened in the West. Maybe this afternoon...