Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's Kindness (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Shakyamuni Center, Taichung, Taiwan, March 2007 (Archive #1608)

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave these teachings at Shakyamuni Center, Taichung, Taiwan, March 3 and 6, 2007.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's Past Lives

I thought maybe to mention a little bit about the, since this is very special days of Buddha, our kind compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, special days of Buddha, so the, to mention a little bit of Buddha’s story. [pause] So our kind compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of the present Buddhadharma, generated great compassion feeling so unbearable numberless transmigratory beings who equal the sky, who have been experiencing so many hundreds of sufferings of samsara. Then Buddha generated bodhicitta in the presence of numberless buddhas and made prayer. Some of the clear stories, how Buddha has generated compassion and made prayer explained in the sutras, so some of the brief stories of those ?there mentioned.

One of the stories that Buddha generated compassion, some say this is the first time Buddha generated compassion, great compassion. In the past, one time when Buddha was in the hell realm, pulling the chariot, what is it? Horse carriage? [Inaudible comment from ?Ven. Sarah] Chariot, chariot, yeah. So the other being weak to pull, so like the two animals pull the carriage, so same, Buddha himself, that was Buddha’s past life, so himself and then the other being was pulling the carriage. So the other being was weak, unable to pull the carriage. Then the Yama who is sitting on the carriage, Yama alone, then pierced the trident on the chest of the weak one, who could not pull the carriage, and then so this one screamed. Then the Buddha’s past life, who was also pulling the carriage, generated intensive, such unbearable, unsurpassable, unbearable great compassion, and then said that, told the Yama who’s sitting on this carriage, “Please let go this sentient being and put the rope on my head, then I will pull by myself.” And then the Yama got angry then pierced the trident to Buddha’s past life, and then consciousness transferred from that, and born, reincarnated in Thirty-three deva realm.

So that story is mentioned from sutra, Paying the Kindness.

I heard that this is the first time in the Buddha’s life story that generated the great compassion. However, it’s also a story that power of the great compassion, bodhicitta, exchanging oneself for others, benefit of that. The minute when he decided, let go the other being, let him to be free, and that “I will pull, instead of him suffering I will pull by myself this carriage.” So the minute when he, I mean, felt unbearable compassion to that being and he exchanged oneself for others, the bodhicitta, him to have happiness, “Instead of him suffering pulling this, I will pull by myself,” so taking the suffering of others on oneself, let the other being free. So the negative karma, the minute that thought was generated, taking the suffering of others, the other being, oneself let the person to be free, it purified that unimaginable negative karma, that has to be born in the hell realm and has to pull the carriage. So that heavy negative karma immediately got purified [Rinpoche snaps fingers], it’s finished by that, right after having generated that thought, then born in the deva realm, the Thirty-three realm. So the condition was just the Yama, after Buddha told this Yama then the Yama got angry and then put the trident, pierced with the trident. So that’s just the condition.

So you can understand from this story that, if Buddha’s past life this didn’t do that, didn’t generate great compassion, this unbearable compassion to that being, that one sentient being, who has so much suffering, have to pull, then if he didn’t generate exchanging oneself for others, taking, giving the happiness to that being and taking that suffering on himself, due to that then of course have to suffer pulling the carriage for a long time. Unimaginable length of time have to do that, until the karma finishes to be in that hell have to pull the carriage. And there could be also other negative karma to be in a different hell, there could be other karma. Normally you finish one, then you finish another, you finish that karma then you experience another negative karma, I mean, result negative karma in the hell.

In the Kadampa geshes’ teachings, in the commentary of lo-jong, one of the lo-jong texts, I don’t remember, additional lo-jong teaching, something like that, one of the lo-jong, there it says, I did not see like Liberation in the Palm of your Hand, but in this lo-jong text it says, if you create ten nonvirtuous actions, if you create one, from the ten nonvirtuous action if you create one, you have to be born in all the eight hot hells and eight cold hells. It is said that you have to be reborn in the all the sixteen hells, all together, eight hot hell and eight cold hell, sixteen. So it says if you create, from the ten nonvirtues if you create one, you have to be born in all the sixteen hells, that’s what it says. Didn’t hear normally from the lamas, from their holy mouths, I don’t remember hearing that, but in the Kadampa geshe’s teachings, it’s one commentary of lo-jong, there it is mentioned like this.

So that means you finish one hell realm suffering, then you experience another one, the next hell realm suffering. So it means it goes on like that.

So that is, I mean, one, for example the first, from the eight hot hells, the first one, ?Yang Sur, Being Alive Again, so if the life span of that is, [pause] related to human years, then the first hell, Being Alive Again and Again, the life span of that related to human years is one great tag trig, and then two great tre bum and six tre bum, so that’s the life span of the first hell being. First hell realm that being’s life span related to human years, relating to human years, how much. So as I mentioned a few times before, two times, as I remember, so mention here, so ten times one hundred million is one tre bum; ten tre bum is one great tre bum; ten great tre bum is one tag trig. And ten tag trig is one great tag trig. So if you know this way, you get some idea how long it is. Two great tag trig, no one, one great tag trig, and two great tre bum and six tre bum, so that’s the life span of the first, very first hot hell being, Being Alive Again.

Then next one, Black Line, that’s double, length of life is double and suffering is much, double, heavier than the first one, so it goes on like that. Like that then of course the next one will be double that. Third one will be double that length of life, life span and suffering, then double, far more greater, unbelievable hotter. So have to get that idea also. It’s not just experiencing sixteen hell realms from one negative karma but all this, each one is heavier, the down below one is so much heavier. You experience one, then you experience the next one. You finish the karma then still the next hell. So that’s, if you think like that, it’s unimaginable.

Here now, more you get the idea of hell realm suffering, how it is so unbearable, even one tiny fire spark, how unbelievably hot and all the human beings’ fire energy is like air conditioner or cool air. So you think like that. Now here the hell being who generated great, unbearable compassion to another hell being’s suffering and then generated bodhicitta, exchanging oneself for others, let that hell being to be free and then take the suffering on oneself, immediately, how powerful this compassion, this exchanging oneself for others, how powerful it is, it purified all those heavy negative karma. Not just the suffering, that suffering of pulling the carriage, had to pull for incredible length of time, but also according to the Kadampa geshe’s teaching then all those other negative karmas, all those other sufferings one after another, all those negative karmas are purified, it’s gone, in that second it’s all purified, gone, liberated from the lower realms then ?get, the Thirty-three deva realm. So this story is one way to understand the power of bodhicitta, how the compassion, power of bodhicitta, how it is so powerful, liberated in that second from those such heavy sufferings, heavy negative karma.

Therefore, in our daily life should realize, [pause] that this is the time that we have all the opportunities, such as one thing, to purify the negative karma, incredible opportunity; and the most powerful purification that is, most powerful purifying method that is bodhicitta. So to remind that, have to remember this, and we must take refuge to bodhicitta, even in this case of purification.

And Shantideva has mentioned in the Bodhicaryavatara, [Rinpoche quotes in Tibetan], “The one who has inexhaustible, very powerful, inexhaustible negative karma, like [pause] who has great fear, by relying on a hero, so means somebody who is very powerful, then you get liberated from that, so like that, the one who has created inexhaustible powerful negative karma, then by relying upon the bodhicitta you get liberated within a short time. So why not rely upon those who are mindful, those who are conscious, those who are mindful, why not rely upon this, the bodhicitta.” So like that, so same here.

[Chun Ru: Rinpoche, would you please clarify about the trag trig and tre bum again? I didn’t catch that part. Would you please clarify about trag trig and tre bum, that part? The number, the life span of the first hell.]

Alle! Ah! One great trag trig and two great tre bum and six tre bum.

[Chun Ru: And, Rinpoche, you mentioned about ten times ten million, that’s one tre bum, right?]

One hundred, ten times 100 million is one tre bum; ten tre bum is one great tre bum; then ten great tre bum is one trag trig, it goes like that. And ten trag trig is one great trag trig.

[Inaudible comment from Ven. Sarah, then a discussion with Chun Ru]

So another time Buddha’s past life was born as the son, called ?Chuwa Nang Che, of the family the clay-maker. He generated bodhicitta in the presence of Tathagata Shakya ?Thuchen. It is explained from the sutra, The Fortunate Eon.

Then another time Buddha’s past life was born ?to King ?Ö-den. So the person who looked after the elephant told to this Buddha’s past life, the bodhisattva that the, I don’t know what’s the particular, the person looking after elephant so said that he tamed the elephant’s body, but he didn’t tame, but the elephant’s mind didn’t get tamed. He tamed the elephant’s body but the elephant mind didn’t get tamed. Due to that request explained to the Buddha’s past life who was born to King ?Ö-den, then generated bodhicitta, just by this, generated bodhicitta.

Then another time when Buddha was born to the son of the trader, the business leader, called ?Chen Ma Me Pai Pungwa, that’s his name, then generated bodhicitta in the presence of the Tathagata Mituk Dawai Gyaltsen.

Another time when the Buddha’s past life was born as the fourth son of the wheel turning king ?Yukosüng, generated bodhicitta in the presence of Tathagata Rinchen ?Ngatso Gopai Gyalpo. In the presence of that Tathagata generated bodhicitta.

Each of these are mentioned in different texts, different sutras, so this last one is mentioned from the Sutra The Unconceivable Secrecy. There are many, so many like this.

Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, especially us who are transmigratory beings of the five degenerations, five degenerated time, five degenerations, maybe, who are so ignorant, who are so baldy head, or thick skulled, ignorant, and who are so, baldy head? Maybe that’s wrong. So, thick-skulled, so difficult, mind is difficult to tame. So, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha especially generated bodhicitta to liberate us, he made special vow, took responsibility, okay?

In the past, numberless eons equaling the sand grains of the Ganga, so it means that much time ago, so in this world happened, called “Holder of the Great Eon,” so that time, the Buddha’s past life born, [pause] called ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür, when he was born to, he was born to ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür, so that might be this, I think it might be the son of the wheel-turning king, “Rim of the Spoke,” the wheel-turning king called Rim of the Spoke.

That time, the wheel-turning king, Rim of the Spoke and a thousand sons, thousand, this king has a thousand sons. Then, in the country there is eighty-four thousand kings, so they all let them to hold the full enlightenment, to make a vow to enlighten sentient beings. So there are nine hundred million creatures, ten million creatures and so forth and then so many other beings, devas, nagas, asuras, smell-eaters and, however, the various non-human beings, even pretas, numberless of them, hell beings and animals, however, so many beings to bring to enlightenment. And at that time the king, Rim of the Spoke and so forth, were persuaded to choose [pause] the different world sentient beings to enlighten them.

So all other bodhisattvas they choose very extended world and very extended, good world, very extensive good world, and only the pure beings they chose, the other bodhisattvas, to tame, to bring to enlightenment, [pause] especially in this fortunate eon, especially who are going to be enlightened in this fortunate eon, Bodhisattva ?Karma Gyong and so forth, four thousand, all those bodhisattvas who are going to be enlightened in the fortunate eon, especially all those bodhisattvas, they choose only the world which is well developed and has great enjoyment, who has long life, only those pure ones they have chosen.

Like nobody wants to enter the into the midst of blazing fire, in the midst of the blazing, extremely blazing host of fire, conflagration of fire, nobody wants to enter in that, like that, nobody is happy to enter into that. Like that, the quarrelling time, the quarrelling one hundred age time sentient being who is so ignorant, who is so evil, so ignorant, so stubborn, thick-skulled or so stubborn, and short life and have little enjoyment, and evil mind, bad thoughts and always fight, quarrel, nobody, no others, no other bodhisattvas, buddhas, they consider, they think they can’t subdue these beings, they think that nobody can subdue these beings and all these bodhisattvas, buddhas left out these sentient beings, the quarrelling one hundred age sentient beings, who are so ignorant, so stubborn, short life, small enjoyment, and evil thoughts, and always quarrel and fight.

So then that time when these sentient beings, when these one hundred age sentient beings left out, quarrelling time, then the Buddha’s past life ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür, [pause] Buddha’s past life when he was the bodhisattva ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür, like the mother who has one child, her beloved child fell in the hole of the blazing fire, where there is fire blazing, in the hole where there is fire blazing. Then her one beloved child fell in this, hole where there is fire blazing, so how she, how the mother feels so unbearable to her one beloved child, so like that, the Buddha’s past life ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür generated such incredible intensive great compassion, unbearable, to us transmigratory beings of the five degenerations. So, us who are the sentient beings in the quarrelling the hundred age time. [pause]

So because of this unbearable compassion to us, generated for us the quarrelling one hundred age time sentient beings, so ignorant, so stubborn, like the tree ?gen shuka, the leaves move, shake, like that then this Bodhisattva ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür, Buddha’s past life, shake hard, he’s so upset, so upset, so even the body become kind of, I don’t know the expression, ?sha.tang.wa means what, expression is, if the body becomes like that, I think, it is an expression when the mind is in such a state so I think it means also some change in the body, something like that.

Then in the presence of Tathagata Essence of Jewels, then put all the ten-direction buddhas as witness, the Buddha’s past life, ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür requested them, “Please pay attention.” Said that, expressed that “Sentient beings who are in the quarrelling the hundred age time of this world, this unforgettable world, they become my object, they become object of my compassion and I will subdue them,” Buddha’s past life ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür that promised.

Then the Buddha’s past life ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür made five hundred prayers to us, five hundred prayers to be able to benefit us transmigratory beings of these five degenerations, of this hundred age time, exploding the five degenerations. [pause]

Then that time, numberless buddhas’ worlds, numberless buddhas’ pure fields of ten directions shaked when Buddha past life made this vow, made five hundred prayers to benefit, to be able to benefit us transmigratory beings in the hundred age time exploding the five degenerations. Then a great light came and then various flowers, there was rainfalls of various flowers happened. Then the Tathagata Essence of Jewels, in whom the buddha’s past life made vow, that and then buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions they all in one voice, they all said ‘yes’ and they all sprinkled flowers. And they said, “You the great holy being are uncomparable among the bodhisattvas, among all these bodhisattvas you are the uncomparable one. It’s like the white lotus is uncomparable among all the flowers,” like that, they all praised, the buddhas and bodhisattvas to the Buddha’s past life ?Damtsig Gyatso Dür, highly extensively praised. This is the same what is described in the Compassionate White Lotus Sutra.

So Buddha has generated bodhicitta and this now collecting merit. So from, so how much merit, extensive merit he collected, by making offering to buddhas, so from Buddha ?Shak-tuk, from there then ?Denpa U kyur tong, from ?Shak-tuk to ?Denpa U kyur tong, so to seventy-five thousand buddhas made extensive offerings to collect merit. Then from Buddha Leg-tse up to ?Wangpo Gyaltsen Tuk-pa. After that then the seventy-six thousand buddhas, that many buddhas he made offering, extensive offerings to collect merit. Then from Buddha [Dipamkara] up to Buddha Kashyapa, ?Ösum, to seventy-seven thousand buddhas he made extensive offering, to complete the two types of merit and to actualize the two kayas, to be able to reveal the unmistaken path to liberation, to enlightenment for us sentient beings, for that purpose that Buddha…. So first, the Buddha generated bodhicitta then after that, how he collected extensive merit. [pause]

So from the first Buddha ?Shak.tuk then up to the Buddha Rinchen Tsuk-tor, up to that, time wise that is the first numberless eon, numberless eon that Buddha’s collecting merit. Then from, from Rinchen Tsuk-tor Chen, from the Buddha Rinchen Tsuk-tor Chen up to Sangye, time wise that is the second numberless eons of collecting merit. Then from Sangye to Nam-tsik, until Nam-tsik descend in the world, up to that is the third numberless eon, so that duration is collecting the third, third numberless great eon merit.

So that is the common view. According to Mahayana, that’s the common view, common expression. But according to Mahayana it’s much more. How many buddhas, Buddha collect merited, made extensive offerings, from the sutra The Lamp of the Moon explained ten million buddhas, like that, trag trig, is it a billion? One hundred billion? In English I think a billion or something, one hundred billion or a billion so anyway trag trig. According to the particular view of the Mahayana, from the sutra, Lamp of the Moon made offering, collected merit, made offering, offered service to ten million buddhas, ten million buddhas like that, one trag trig, then even much more than that, even more than that, buddhas equaling the number of the sand grains of the Ganga, Shakyamuni Buddha offered service to them, collected merits with them. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, when he was following the bodhisattva’s path, made offering and offered service, collected extensive merit that numberless buddhas, unimaginable numberless buddhas, equaling the number of the sand grains of the Ganga.

[Chun Ru: Rinpoche, from Rinchen Tsuk-tor Chen, which buddha is the second numberless great eons to accumulate merits? To which buddha?]

The second one. From Rinchen Tsuk-tor Chen up to Sangye Mar-me-ze. Buddha mar-me-ze, that’s the second numberless great eon.