The purpose of our human life is to pacify the sufferings of every sentient being and bring them happiness, starting from the people nearest to us, those with whom we live, eat, and work. Starting from the people and animals around us and including all the rest, the purpose of our human life is to free everyone from all their undesirable sufferings and to bring them what is desirable, happiness and peace. Therefore, even here right now listening to this talk should be a service for all sentient beings. We should make every single word that we are going to listen to or explain beneficial for every sentient being. In this way even with this one action we give meaning to our life. We should dedicate our action today of listening to this teaching to free everyone from all undesirable and to bring desirable things, such as peace and happiness, both temporary and ultimate.
This is a new attitude, a new motivation. Seeking happiness for ourself is not new; that is not a new attitude, a new motivation. We are born with the thought of seeking our own happiness. There is nothing surprising about this. This has been our attitude and our life up to now. Most of us have been dedicating our life to obtains happiness for ourself. This is how it has been from birth, from beginningless rebirths. This is nothing new. And because we haven't changed this attitude, this thought of seeking only our own happiness, of working only for ourself, even though our mind has the potential to be completely free from every single problem and its causes, to achieve ultimate happiness, the peerless happiness of full enlightenment, this still hasn't happened? Why hasn't it happened yet? Many others have experienced this, but why hasn't it yet happened to us? Why hasn't it been our experience? Because we have not transformed this attitude.
Now here today, we should try to do this one action of listening to or explaining the teaching with a new mind, with the purest altruistic thought, wishing to free everyone from all sufferings and their causes and lead them to happiness, not just temporary happiness but the peerless happiness of full enlightenment, the state that is the cessation of all the mistakes, or obscurations, of the mind, and the completion of all qualities, or realizations. And we should dedicate that with each word we hear that the meaning of the subject be actualized within our mind and that when we explain these words to other sentient beings that they are immediately able to actualize the meaning of the words, which is the path. As soon as they hear the words, may they be able to actualize the path in their mind. Like this, with each word we are able to benefit every sentient being, bringing them the peerless happiness of full enlightenment.
So, to succeed in this extensive work for all sentient beings first you need to achieve full enlightenment yourself. For that reason you need to actualize the graduated path to enlightenment, to develop your mind in the pure unmistaken complete path to full enlightenment. To be able to do that you need to do the practices of listening, reflecting, and meditating. For this reason, in order to benefit all sentient beings, you are going to listen to the teaching.
Those who want to can receive the oral transmission, the blessings of the lineage, of the kind compassionate Shakyamuni Buddha's mantra. This mantra contains the whole path to enlightenment: the graduated paths of the lower capable being, middle capable being, and higher capable being. The first MUNÉ contains the graduated path of the lower capable being; the second MUNÉ that of the middle capable being; and MAHAMUNA-YE contains the graduated path of the higher capable being. MUNÉ MUNÉ MAHAMUNA-YE means " mighty, mighty, great mighty" or "controlled, controlled, greatly controlled one."
Reciting once the Shakyamuni Buddha prayer, lama tonpa chom den de..., purifies 80,000 eons of negative karma. With this motivation, first I will give the oral transmission of the mantra for those who want to receive it.
Hearing the mantra leaves the imprint of the whole path to enlightenment, which is contained in the mantra. All the sutra and tantra paths are contained in MUNÉ MUNÉ MAHAMUNA-YE. SVAHA means establishing the root in your heart, in your mind. Or, in other words, the path. The graduated path of the lower capable being is signified by the first MUNÉ; the graduated path of the middle capable being is revealed by the second MUNÉ; and the graduated path of the higher capable being, which also contains all the tantric teachings, is revealed by MAHAMUNA-YE.
Actualizing the whole path then purifies your own impure body, speech, and mind, and these are transformed into the vajra holy body, vajra holy speech, and vajra holy mind of a fully enlightened being. This is actualizing the meaning of OM, which is made up of three sounds, ah, o, and ma. These three sounds signify the vajra holy body, speech, and mind of a fully enlightened being. When you actualize the whole path, your own body, speech, and mind become the vajra holy body, speech, and mind of a fully enlightened being. All this depends on the blessing of the path taking root in your heart, when in turn depends on seeking a qualified virtuous friend, or guru, and devoting yourself correctly to them. So this mantra contains the whole lam-rim path up to enlightenment.
First I will just briefly explain the subjects from the Kadampa teachings that I didn't finish yesterday. After that, I will talk a little on the nature of the mind.
For those of you who were not at yesterday's teaching, the basic point to understand is that whether you are a Dharma practitioner or not, every problem in life comes from your own mind, and so does every happiness. The cause of happiness is not external, the cause of problems is not external. It is inside you. It is in your mind, or it is the mind.
The particular thing that has created the problems of life is the dissatisfied mind of desire, which clings first of all to this life, seeking only the temporary happiness of this life, and then to these eight objects: having comfort, not having discomfort, receiving materials (such as friends and so forth), not liking not to receive materials, having a good reputation, not having a reputation, receiving praise, not having criticism. The dissatisfied mind of desire clings to these eight objects.
Because of this emotional mind, this desire, meeting these four undesirable objects disturbs our mind, makes us upset, brings us down. And meeting the four other objects, the desirable objects, brings us up. The ups and downs in our life, our instability of mind, come from this emotional mind of desire. Even if you find these four desirable objects, there is no calmness, no peace in your heart, no happiness and stability in your life because merely having the objects does not stop the dissatisfied mind of desire.
As I mentioned before, and have mentioned at other times, having wealth is not the problem; the problem is having desire for wealth. Having a friend is not the problem; the problem is clinging to your own happiness, the temporary happiness of this life. This is what makes the object become a problem to you. The object becomes a problem to you because of the emotional mind of desire. If this desire is there, if this thought of the eight worldly dharmas is there, even if you don't have a friend, it's a problem; even if you have a friend, it's a problem. Even if you are not wealthy, it's a problem; even if you are wealthy, it's a problem. Both become problems. Even if you are alone, it's a problem; even if you are with other people, it's a problem. Everything becomes a problem.
Even after you have found the object of the desire, there is no peace, no happiness in your heart. There's no relaxation in your mind. Even if your body is relaxed, the mind is not relaxed. There is no real happiness there; there's always something missing in the heart. Why is this feeling always there? No matter what external means we try to obtain happiness in life, we try so many things and so much, it is never perfect; something is missing. That is because we haven't freed ourself from this emotional mind, this desire. As long as we follow the dissatisfied mind of desire, there is always something missing in the heart, nothing is completely perfect.
Even when you experience the highest external pleasures that you can think of, there's still something missing in your heart. That feeling of there being something missing in your life can be stopped by freeing yourself from this painful mind of craving, of desire.
Whatever happens—whether you have these four objects (comfort, good reputation, receiving materials and praise) or experience the opposite (discomfort, bad reputation, not receiving materials, and criticism)—there is no peace in your heart, no happiness in your life, because of the dissatisfied mind of desire. This is what creates all the problems in life, for you, for your family, for everybody. All the worry and fear, so much harm to you, so much harm to others, even the danger of committing suicide or killing others—all these things happen because of desire. Infinite shortcomings come from the desire clinging to these eight objects.
Now here the Kadampa Geshes, these great meditators who actualized the graduated path to enlightenment, who completely freed themselves from this emotional mind, all thought of the worldly dharmas, this dissatisfied mind of desire, are expressing what is real happiness, the real peace, and they are talking from their own experiences.
First of all, all our happiness comes from our intention and all our suffering also comes from our intention. Both come from our mind, from our intention, our motivation. Therefore, everything depends on what type of intention we have. If our intention is a virtuous, our action becomes virtuous. If our intention is non-virtuous, our action becomes non-virtuous. If our intention is altruistic, a pure positive thought, our action becomes a pure beneficial action; it becomes virtuous, and the cause of happiness. If our intention is non-virtuous, a disturbing thought, our action becomes non-virtuous, negative, and then produces problems or suffering.
Therefore, all happiness (including the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment) and all suffering come from our own mind, from our intention. Both samsara, these circling aggregates, the association of body and mind that is in the nature of suffering, and the ultimate happiness of liberation come from our intention. What is called hell and great liberation, full enlightenment, also come from our intention. So, everything comes from our mind, from our intention.
Therefore, the actions of our everyday life becoming the cause of happiness depends on our intention, or motivation, becoming positive or virtuous. If we do all of our actions out of desire, clinging to this life or to these eight objects, since our motivation is non-virtuous, our actions become non-virtuous. Our actions become the cause of only suffering; they don't become the cause of happiness.
The actions we do with a motivation that is unstained by the thought of the worldly dharmas, by desire clinging to this life and to these eight objects, become the cause of happiness. Our motivation is pure because unstained by worldly concern, by desire clinging to this life. Whether our everyday actions become the cause of happiness or the cause of suffering depends on our attitude, our motivation. It is extremely important to know that this is what decides whether our actions are transformed into the cause of happiness or cause of suffering. We need to be able to recognize our attitude in everyday life and transform it into a positive attitude so that all our actions become beneficial and bring the result of happiness, in this life and other lives, and also benefit other sentient beings.
All external problems are caused by desire clinging to this life, by this emotional mind. When this is strong, the mind cannot be happy. Bad reputation, problems, unwholesome actions - all these three happen at one time. When you change this thought of desire, happiness starts.
Kadampa Geshe Shawogampa says, "When we do not seek to receive materials, that is the best receiving." In other words, when you don't cling to receiving materials and so forth, that is the best receiving. "When you do not cling to a good reputation, that is the best reputation. When you do not cling to praise, that is the best praise. When you do not cling to companions, you have the best companions." Also, Nagarjuna explains, "If you have an infection or leprosy, you feel pleasure when you scratch, but it's better not to have the itching at all. Similarly, people in the world who have desire seek happiness, but life is happier if they don't have desire. Dharma makes people happy and doesn't cheat them in this life or in other lives. Through Dharma, even the king's reign becomes happy. One gets a good reputation in all directions. One receives extensive service and respect. Through Dharma one controls all the time, even the Dharma teachers." This is Nagarjuna's advice to the king. "If you do the work of being king according to Dharma, not forget a reputation for yourself, your work will have great result. If you are king and work for your people according to Dharma, there is nothing more meaningful than this."
This is Nagarjuna's advice to the king. If you do your work according to Dharma, by freeing yourself from the dissatisfied mind of desire, you will receive respect, a good reputation, everything. If you don't cling, you will receive all these things. Through this, by doing the work of a king without clinging, you can benefit yourself greatly, and all other sentient beings. Otherwise, if you cannot change your desire, even if you do the work of a king, it has no meaning.
Also, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explains, "If you desire all happiness, completely cut all desire. If you cut all desire, you will achieve the supreme happiness. As long as you follow desire, you cannot find satisfaction. Those who practice wisdom, who change from desire, will find satisfaction. For the person who finds satisfaction through wisdom, there is happiness. Such a person is not under the control of samsara." In other words, such a person is liberated from samsara, from the suffering realm, from the association of body and mind that is in the nature of suffering. The person becomes free from this.
Asanga also explains, "There is no comparison between the happiness of enjoying the Dharma, the means of living with wisdom, and the pleasure that comes from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse." Why? Because the pleasure that comes through experiencing external objects, such as in eating, drinking, and so forth, doesn't cover the whole body. That is the first difference when you compare the happiness of enjoying Dharma and the pleasure experienced with external objects. And because this pleasure is dependent on external conditions, it doesn't happen all the time; it only happens from time to time, as you find the external object. You cannot experience this pleasure in all the three realms. Also, from this, you do not achieve the seven jewels of the arya being. (This refers to the realizations of those higher beings who have generated the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness.) Then, by enjoying external pleasures, you exhaust them. Also, other beings can interfere with external pleasures. And you cannot carry external pleasures with you to your next lives. You cannot find satisfaction through external pleasures; there's no way to end them. And external pleasures bring various problems, in this and in future lives. It's just like leprosy: you feel an itch and by scratching it or putting it near a fire, you feel pleasure. When you scratch an itch, you merely label pleasure on the feeling. From external pleasures, attachment and other delusions arise. Then there's also the danger of committing negative actions such as killing, stealing, lying and so forth.
Now the happiness of enjoying Dharma covers the whole body. And you can have this happiness any time you wish. The happiness of Dharma has to do with seeking happiness from your own mind, by freeing yourself from these disturbing thoughts, by controlling these disturbing thoughts. So, you can have this happiness at any time. And this happiness of Dharma covers all three realms. And from the pleasure of practicing Dharma you receive the arya being's wealth, which means the realizations. External pleasures decrease as you enjoy them, but here the pleasure from practicing Dharma only increases. Enemies cannot interfere with the pleasure. Also, you can carry the happiness of enjoying Dharma from this life to your future lives. You can complete the happiness of Dharma, and you can gain satisfaction. And the happiness of enjoying Dharma makes this life and future lives happy, and this does not mean just putting the label of pleasure on a feeling that is simply suffering. The happiness of enjoying Dharma destroys all the disturbing thoughts, all the negative karmas. The happiness of enjoying Dharma is the pleasure that you seek from within your own mind. This pure attitude that becomes Dharma has all these advantages.
The pleasure you experience through contact with external objects does not have these benefits. This is the analysis of the great benefits of the happiness from Dharma and the nature and shortcomings of the happiness that is dependent on external objects. There are big differences.
Therefore, the best way to seek happiness is from your own mind. All the real peace, from that in your day-to-day life up to enlightenment, has to come from the mind, by making the mind better, by fixing up the mind. What does Dharma mean? Practicing Dharma means mending, fixing up, the mind.
Kadampa Geshe Chenngawa explains, "What is Dharma? When your attitude and you actions become a remedy to the disturbing thoughts, at that time they become Dharma." So, fixing up the mind or making the mind better. By correctly devoting to the kind virtuous friend, the guru, you actualize the meditations of the path: perfect human rebirth, its usefulness and the difficulty of achieving it again; impermanence and death; the sufferings of the lower realms; refuge; and karma. Training the mind in this cuts off the appearance and concept of this life, the desire clinging to this life. This is one way of making the mind pure.
The second way of fixing up the mind is to think of the shortcomings of samsara and the benefits of actualizing the path and achieving liberation from samsara. By reflecting on these things, you cut off the appearance and concept of samsara; in other words, the desire clinging to samsaric perfections. These things appear to be pleasant, and one clings to that appearance. Reflecting on the shortcomings of samsara and on the benefits of achieving liberation cut off the appearance and concepts of samsara.
Then, training the mind in loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta, and great insight and the six paramitas cuts off the thought of seeking happiness for the self; it cuts off this self- cherishing thought. It also cuts off impure appearance and impure concept, even the truly existent appearance that happens during the three visions that normally happen at the time of death: the white path, the increasing, or burning red path, and the near- attainment dark path. By training the mind in this path - on top of great insight and the six paramitas you also practice tantra, Highest Yoga Tantra—you cut cuts off all these impure appearances and conceptions, even the truly existent appearance during the three visions at the time of death. You completely cut off even these impure appearances.
Like the sun shining in a sky completely free of clouds, the mind is completely free of all stains. This mind becomes the transcendental wisdom of the dharmakaya. When the sun rises, an uncountable number of sunbeams eliminate the darkness of the earth. Like this, you achieve the completely pure mind of dharmakaya. Through this you can then manifest various forms, innumerable forms, pure and impure, according to the level of mind of the sentient beings, and work for all sentient beings. This is the completion of mind development. This is the ultimate fixing of the mind.
By depending on the kind virtuous friend, the guru, and starting from perfect human rebirth, you actualize the path and cut off the appearance and concept of this life, clinging to this life, right up to cutting off the impure ordinary appearance and concept, and even subtle dual view, the truly existent appearance that happens during the three visions. You completely cease even this subtle imprint left by the concept of true existence. The mind then becomes dharmakaya. Then, like the sun rising in a cloudless sky dispels darkness with its many beams, you manifest innumerable and various forms to work for all sentient beings.
You reveal various means with your holy body, speech, and mind and bring everyone to enlightenment.
Here we are talking about what we can do with the mind, how we can develop the mind. This is the ultimate completion of the development of the mind. Why is the mind able to be developed like this? Why is it that with the continuation of this mind we can free everyone from all suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment? The fundamental reason is that there is the buddha nature, the essence of the Buddha, within us, within every sentient being.
What is the essence of Buddha? What is this buddha nature that is within us, within our mental continuum? What is it? It is the nature of the mind, the clear light.
So, first of all, what is the mind? When we talk about the body and mind, the body is the substantial one that has color and shape and the mind doesn't have form, color and shape. The mind is clear and perceives objects. Here we're talking about clear in terms of the conventional nature of the mind, not the ultimate. The mind is clear like a mirror, which is able to give a clear reflection of an object. Objects don't appear clearly to the body; they appear to the mind. The mind, or cognition, is that which is formless, colorless, shapeless, and intangible, and is able to clarify the objects of the six senses. So, clear and able to perceive objects is the general definition of mind, or cognition (she-pa in Tibetan). This definition covers all the mental factors.
There are six principal consciousnesses and fifty-one secondary thoughts (sem jung in Tibetan), such as the six root delusions, twenty secondary delusions, four changeable factors. Within cognition there are many different types, which are named according to their different functions.
The mind can also be divided into gross, subtle, and extremely subtle. The extremely subtle mind exists within us now, but it becomes properly visible only at the time of death, and for a longer time if it is a slow death. Other times when it is visible are during sexual climax and yawning, but this is only for a very short, and we do not recognize it. And if we do not train our mind through the practice of tantra during our life, we also cannot recognize it at the time of death. But if we train our mind by practicing the tantric path, we are able to recognize the extremely subtle consciousness at the time of death use it to meditate. This is how you practice the tantric path at the time of death. After that you are is able to go to a pure realm of Buddha, where there is no suffering, and become enlightened there. Or you can become enlightened in the intermediate stage, as Lama Tsongkhapa and many other great meditators have done. Even though Lama Tsongkhapa could have become enlightened during his life, for a particular reason he purposely decided to become enlightened in the intermediate state.
Also, you can choose the right place to be reborn, somewhere you can be of great benefit. You can choose a country and a suitable family with all the necessary conditions for you to become enlightened in that life. You are born in that family and continue to practice the rest of the path, and become enlightened.
Now, first of all, "mind" is a name, and the name came from the mind. When we think about the mind or talk about it, it looks as if there is a mind that exists from its own side, a completely independent mind. But that is not true. What is called "mind" is a name, and the name is imputed by the mind. Therefore, mind came from the mind; mind is imputed by the mind. Mind exists in dependence upon the name "mind," which came from the mind.
And, besides the thought of the mind that labels "mind" and the name "mind," mind exists in dependence on its base, this formless, colorless, shapeless phenomenon, whose nature is clear and able to perceive objects. In dependence upon this particular phenomenon, mind, or cognition, is merely imputed by thought.
It is important to concentrate on the meaning of this. Therefore, there is no inherently existent mind. What is mind? It is nothing other than what is merely imputed by the thought in dependence upon the particular formless phenomenon whose nature is clear and able to perceive objects. So that is all that the mind is - what is merely imputed by the thought. It is important to concentrate on the precise meaning of this.
If this becomes very clear to your mind, if you have the opportunity to identify and to feel this, you get some idea of the emptiness, or ultimate nature, of the mind. There is no difference between the ultimate nature of Buddha's holy mind and the ultimate nature of your own mind. There is no such thing as this emptiness and that emptiness. There is no way to discriminate that is the nature of the emptiness of a sentient being's mind and that is the nature of the emptiness of the Buddha's holy mind. In emptiness there is no such thing as this is a sentient being, that is an enlightened being, this is an impure mind, that is a pure mind. In emptiness there is nothing to differentiate them.
But if don't get a clear idea of how the mind is merely imputed by thought, if you don't understand well how the mind exists, you cannot recognize that there is no differentiation. How does the mind exist? Oh, the mind exists by being merely imputed by thought. If you cannot see this point clearly, you cannot see that there is no differentiation between you and Buddha, between the emptiness of your own impure mind and the emptiness of Buddha's pure mind.
We'll do a short meditation on this point. As you breathe in, bring your mind in, bring your attention in. If your mind is very distracted, do some vase breathing. Tighten your anus to push the wind up. Then breathe in slowly, as much breath as you are able to keep inside, then bring it down to the navel. The wind from down below and the wind from the top join at the navel like two containers, one the right way up and the other upside down. You and your mind are also down there. Not allowing the wind to go out through the pores, keeping it inside, helps the mind not to get distracted. Where the mind goes depends on the wind.
Breathe out. Then again breathe in. This is one method to help those whose minds are very distracted, who cannot concentrate.
So, watch the mind. Put your attention on the mind.
Now as yourself, What is the mind? How does the mind appear?
The mind is nothing except what is merely imputed by thought, in dependence upon the formless phenomenon that is clear and able to perceive objects. Because such a phenomenon exists, mind is merely labeled by thought, and then it is believed in.
So, this mind is nothing except what is merely labeled by thought and believed in because there is this formless phenomenon whose nature is clear and able to perceive objects. Therefore, mind is completely empty. This mind is completely empty of existing from its own side.
The Buddha's holy mind is also nothing except what is merely imputed by the mind. Therefore the Buddha's holy mind is also empty of existing from its own side. Buddha's holy mind is completely empty of existing from its own side.
Both are merely imputed by the mind; both are completely empty of existing from their own side. In emptiness there is no differentiation. There is no differentiation between the emptiness of your own mind and the emptiness of Buddha's holy mind.
The emptiness of your own mind is what is called "the clear light nature of the mind." This clear light is the buddha nature, the essence of Buddha. Nine examples are used to explain buddha nature, the clear light nature of the mind, which at the moment is obscured. And nine examples are also used to explain the obscurations that obscure the mind. The detailed explanation comes in Uttaratantra, or Gyu Lama in Tibetan.
Before going through the meaning of those nine examples, I thought tonight just to give you some idea of how there is no differentiation between you and Buddha in emptiness. In emptiness there is no difference between the nature of your mind, which at the moment is impure, and nature of Buddha's holy mind, which is pure. In emptiness there is no difference in the nature of these two.
Because of this, the mind is obscured only temporarily, not forever. By realizing the buddha nature, the ultimate nature of the mind, by then developing this wisdom, you are able to remove all the obscurations, the disturbing-thought obscurations and the subtle obscurations, through actualizing the five paths: the path of merit, the preparatory path, the right seeing path, the path of meditation, and the path of no more learning. Because of buddha nature, you actualize these higher paths by developing the wisdom realizing the ultimate nature of the mind. You then cease all obscurations, and in this way you are able to achieve ultimate liberation, with cessation of the all suffering and its causes, which are on this mental continuum. Also, by then developing this wisdom with bodhicitta, the most skillful means of the Great Vehicle, you are able to cease even the subtle obscurations and achieve great liberation, the cessation of even the subtle negative imprints on this mental continuum. In this way you are then able to guide perfectly all sentient beings.
Due to all my past, present, and future merits, and those of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, which are empty from their own side, may the I, who is empty from its own side, achieve enlightenment, which is empty from its own side, and lead all sentient beings, who are empty from their own side, to enlightenment, which is empty from its own side.