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Guru – Disciple Relationship
Today I was requested to teach on the Guru devotion, and Guru – Disciple Relationship, those were the precise words used by our Dharma sister and host here, to talk and teach about. Guru actually is translated into Tibetan as Lama. La means ‘above’, ma means ‘mother’, so somebody who is above you, who you respect and learn from and who cares for you like a mother. That is Lama. Lama is for all sentient beings. Then you have your personal guru, from whom you are learning the Dharma.
Guru became a Guru, because he received Dharma teachings and practised from his Guru. His Guru became a Guru because of his Guru. All Gurus – because great masters like Marpa describes here more than a hundred Gurus. So, from whom you learn the Dharma, and the Dharma is the Dharma with a lineage, then it is Guru, your Guru.
I don’t know exactly, what the Sanskrit word Guru means. When my monastery was in the very beginning I somehow mingled with everybody, because it is in the middle of forest, they had a metal thing with carpentry, and they called it guru… Audience: …The guru gives the exact measurement how one can construct a wall… Rinpoche: I see, the one who makes it correct. It is symbolic terminology. It means someone who makes things right, someone who shows the way if you don’t know your way. It is the Sanskrit terminology definition which I’m just learning here.
The importance of the Guru is described by Buddha in almost all of his teachings. For example tantric teaching, every teaching is involved with guru devotion and all of that. Within Mahayana teaching, such as Prajnaparamita teaching, the Buddha says “The good disciple who has devotion to the Guru should always learn and receive from knowledgeable, learned Guru. Why? Because that way you will have the knowledge and knowledge will derive from it.” That is from Prajnaparamita. And another Prajnaparamita text also says: “This way any Bodhisattva, who wishes to attain Buddhahood, first of all they should learn and be with a Guru, a master. And also they should uphold and serve the master.” This is also in the Prajnaparamita teaching, which is Mahayana teaching. Then of course in the Vajrayana teaching the Guru Yoga and devotion is main part of every practice and every teaching. So I don’t have to go through that, it’s everywhere.
Then also the kind of philosophical or intellectual way, to confirm the importance of the Guru, it says: “Anybody who wishes to attain omniscience, you have to have a Guru, because without Guru you don’t know how to accumulate the merit and how to purify your defilement.” That is one example. It says all the present, present and future Buddhas [have a Guru]. It is philosophical; you cannot see how it is possible for you to learn something that you don’t know without learning it from somebody who knows. And how do you get something you don’t have without getting it from somebody who has it. This is another way to learn about the Guru.
And another one is an example: if you want to go to a new land you need a guide, otherwise you don’t know how to get where. You might get there but after making so many mistakes and some place where you can get in three days it might take three months for you to get there, if you have nobody showing you how to go there. So if you have a guide, it will be quite simple.
Also if you are going in a quite dangerous place, you need a company. Otherwise, if you go by yourself, an anaconda might get you. But if there are few of you, one can shoot the anaconda that way and one can pull you out of it, you know, all kind of things can be done to save you. One of you might be sleeping while another one is watching and when that one falls asleep, then another one might be watching. That way going alone and going with others’ help makes a big difference.
Also if you want to cross a river, you need a boat. If you have a boat you need a sailor. These are practical examples. When we wish to achieve Buddhahood, to reach enlightenment, we need lots of guidance and lots of transmission. When we try to overcome the suffering of samsara and the madness of defilements, we need a company, we need help. These are the examples.
Then next is the kind of guru. There are many kinds of gurus, many types of gurus. One of them is for example ordinary unenlightened sentient being -Guru. Second one is enlightened Guru, enlightened as a Bodhisattva. Another one is Buddha Nirmanakaya Guru and one is Buddha Sambhogakaya Guru. This is a simple way to look at the four types of Guru. There are countless types, but four types are mentioned in the text.
The Guru, ordinary person who is not an enlightened Bodhisattva, that is according to the disciple, because according to disciple’s capacity then that kind of Guru will be met. How do we learn from Buddha Nirmanakaya or Buddha Sambhogakaya? – We have to be a Bodhisattva who has attained at least several Bodhisattva levels or bhumis in order to learn from Buddha Sambhogakaya. So, in the beginning we have a Guru who is an ordinary unenlightened Guru, but that Guru becomes a Guru, because that Guru has the lineage and that Guru is practising. And that Guru has the ability to teach and help.
For example, if you are going to a difficult terrain with lots of wild people and wild animals you need a Guru who is brave and strong and able to haul them away, protect you from them. You don’t need a guru who is skinny and who can hardly walk, who has back problem and neck problem and knee problem! Then you will be helping the guru… Depends on which level you are, what kind of guru you need and what kind of guru you will have. It starts with the first Guru and then gradually you will be upgraded according to your development. These are the four general descriptions of types of Guru.
Also the qualities of the Guru – of course like Buddha Nirmanakaya and Buddha Sambhogakaya are something we don’t need so much of an explanation, and also a Bodhisattva, who reached realisation of certain bhumi, this we don’t need so much explanation, but Guru, which is ordinary sentient being, who did not reach that level of realisation, then the quality and characteristics of that Guru we can learn. It is quite meaningful to go into some details about it.
Now, that we can learn with basic principles. The Guru must have the lineage, number one. If you are learning a certain text from one Guru, in order for that person to be your Guru for learning that text, that Guru must have a lineage of that text. That is number one. Lineage includes that the Guru did not break his or her samaya with his Guru. Even if he had the lineage, if he broke his samaya, the lineage is gone, the lineage is not there. So it is not really a Guru. He might be a teacher, he might be your tutor, but not Guru.
And then also, not only having the lineage, but the person must have the ability to teach and transmit, because you might have the lineage, you might not have broken the samaya, but if you don’t have the ability to transmit it to others, then the quality is not there. So, one of the qualities is the ability to communicate the lineage, which the Guru has.
Then another characteristic with another ordinary sentient being -guru is already included in the description, but being more specific: sincerely devoted to his own guru. We cannot have a Guru who talks badly about his Guru! If one has no respect and devotion to one’s Guru - that is not the right Guru. Guru has to be devoted to.
Then, the Guru should at least believe and try to implement the teaching he is conferring to others. It is not [sufficient] that he has the transmission and he has devotion to his Guru, and he is conversant with the texts, if he himself is not really hundred percent believing in it and not trying to implement it. The best would be if he was totally practising it, but even not, at least trying to practise it and having the belief.
Of course the most important basic quality of a Guru should be that he would not break the Bodhisattva vow even at the cost of his life. That should be the bottom line of the guru. So the person will not break the Bodhisattva vow, even it cost him or her his or her life. Bodhisattva vow means: “I will attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, even for my enemy. If I have a chance to liberate my enemy, I will do it without any hesitation. If I have a chance to make my worst enemy to become Buddha right away, if I have that opportunity, I will do it. Even somebody who tried to kill me and tortured me, if I have the opportunity to make that person Buddha, I should be helping the person to become Buddha without hesitation. That is the basic quality of the Guru.
That is ordinary sentient being’s Guru-quality. But then there are many other things which are details about Guru. A very good Guru, even ordinary sentient being, should be only teaching a disciple for the sake of the disciple. For example I need a good cook. So I teach a good cook. The good cook becomes my disciple. That will not be really a good Guru. I can’t say it’s terribly bad, because the disciples have an opportunity to accumulate merit by serving the Guru – it will benefit the disciple, but for Guru’s motivation it is not correct. So it will not benefit the Guru that much. That nice food he is getting from his good cook-disciple is very costly!
That sort of things will include many other things, but the real bottom line is Bodhichitta, lineage, devotion to the Guru, devotion to the practice you are teaching and the ability to teach. This will somehow summarise the ordinary sentient being -guru quality.
How does a disciple relate to Guru, the method, and how does Guru relate to disciple? There are three particular ways it is described – they are not three different ways but three things how the disciple should relate to the Guru. With respect and care, that is the first way.
The second is with aspiration and veneration. Aspiration like: I wish to be like my Guru, I’m inspired by my Guru, I wish to be like Buddha. Buddha is my ultimate Guru. The Buddha’s disciples wish to be like Buddha. Their disciples wish to be like their Gurus and this way it goes ultimately to the Buddha through the Gurus.
The third is sincerity and diligence in practice what you learn from your Guru. So, first is respect and care, second is aspiration and veneration and holiness; you consider your Guru as holy. And the third is: whatever you learn from your Guru sincerely, diligently, you practice. That is how we should implement or how we should be a disciple of a Guru.
Next is the benefit. There are quite few… in tantra, vajrayana, the benefit of the guru-disciple lineage is very clearly emphasized everywhere. But even in sutra for example it is described that “Any Bodisattva who has a Guru, will never fall into lower realms. Any Bodhisattva who is protected by a Guru will never be lured by negative companions. Any Bodhisattva who is raised by a Guru will never fall back from the Mahayana, from the bodhichitta, and any Bodhisattva who is helped by a Guru will definitely be uplifted from the level of ordinary sentient being to an enlightened one. So these are the benefits of Guru described in sutras.
This way according to the text I have told you about the guru-disciple relationship. Now, outside the text I would like to talk through my experience and also through the teachings. Actually there are many levels of Guru. It depends on the disciple as well as the Guru. There are many kind of disciples and many levels of disciples. And there are many kinds of Gurus, many levels of Gurus. It depends totally on the disciple and the Guru. You cannot say “Guru must be like this” and “Disciple must be like this” in a uniformed manner, because every Guru is different, every disciple is different. But the principle of guru - disciple is very simple: you wish to attain enlightenment, that is your ultimate goal in this life or many lifetimes from now, whatever, that is your ultimate goal. And you are going to a person, to whom you have faith and trust, because that person has the lineage and the devotion to his or her Guru and that person is capable of teaching you and to that person you have aspiration, respect and veneration. On top of all of that, whatever that person teaches you, you are going to practise. That is what Guru is all about.
The guru-disciple relationship – when you talk about relationship – it varies from person to person. It depends on the characteristics of the Guru and habits of the Guru, it depends on the characteristics and habits of the disciple, and some disciples are impossible, and some Gurus are impossible. When an impossible Guru and impossible disciple end up with each other, it is going to be quite tough, but that way it will be. And some Gurus are very mild and some disciples are very mild, and when the mild Guru and mild disciples end up with each other, then everything is mild! I think, personally, being a pragmatic person, I would say: abundance is necessary. The Guru has to have both strength and flexibility. Disciples also should have strength and flexibility. Otherwise extreme is extreme, no matter whether it is ordinary extreme or holy extreme. It will be extreme.
So I think all of us should try to be most balanced disciples to our Guru and most balanced Guru to our disciples. And should have also very clear understanding of whether there are some boundaries or not. Sometimes no boundaries but sometimes boundaries are necessary, because everything that we do as a Guru for the disciple is thinking one’s best, to make one’s best judgement, so that it will be beneficial to the disciple. Same way the disciple also should have the same kind of balanced attitude towards guru, so that it is to get the best and most valuable benefit and blessing from the Guru. It will not happen by force, by intrigues or by any other way than sincere, mature, honest way.
But sometimes for example with my experience, some disciples, they never get the – I can’t say never, but they have a very hard time in differentiating between sincerity and honesty, and games and intrigues. They can’t differentiate between these. If there is something like that, then it is very difficult. Even the Guru is trying the Guru’s best, the disciple is thinking of something else. And sometimes it is very good to put an alarm clock on the desk rather that having your mother to come up and wake you by shaking. Because you set the alarm clock by yourself, and when it rings, it is your own doing. When your mummy comes and shakes you up, it is your mummy doing. So there is a big difference in the psychology of the persons and persons’ reactions.
Sometimes I send my disciples to other Gurus because the other Guru is more skilled with dealing with such person than me. But it doesn’t mean I abandon that disciple, no. That disciple is my disciple. But if I am only 50 kg heavy and my disciple is 100 kg, I can’t lift him up! So I have to send him to someone who is 150 kg. Yes, yes. That way it is not always what we think, the kind of smooth, everything going to be smooth, the guru-disciple relationship going to be smooth, like that, not necessarily. It should be.
Disciple’s devotion should be unshakeable and Guru’s compassion should be unshakeable, just like Marpa and Milarepa. Marpa even he had to beat up Milarepa and torment him in such a way, his compassion never allowed him not to do it. I’m sure Marpa did not want to do those things to Milarepa, but his compassion was so strong that he had to. And Milarepa’s devotion was so strong, that even Marpa had done all those things, his devotion even grew deeper and greater. That way, finally Milarepa received the transmission from Marpa and attained Buddhahood. But then the Guru is very highly enlightened. Not an ordinary sentient being. The way an ordinary sentient being -Guru should be dealing with ordinary sentient being disciple is pretty much the way we deal with everybody. “Just come on this time, I teach you this and you practise this, and then ask me questions if you have some problem.” That is regular basic way to deal with the disciple. Disciple-guru relationship should be like that.
Then among many disciples, when you have many disciples, some disciples might do something for you, and some disciples might be doing nothing for you. It depends on the personal communication and relationship with the Guru and disciple. The Guru might have one hundred disciples and they all cannot be his secretary or cook or driver. Guru wants some disciples to do something, for the benefit of Dharma of course, and some disciples better not do anything and let them just practise. Maybe that’s the best way, so it depends on the individual human relation. It is not discrimination in a bad way but wise discrimination. It doesn’t mean Guru has to make use of every disciple. It does not mean Guru should not make the disciples do service for the Dharma, service for the Guru. Serving the Guru means serving the Dharma. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen, and it does not mean it has to happen. It depends on the individuals. But what must happen is: Guru must teach the Dharma and disciple must practise the Dharma. That is must. Guru must teach the Dharma and disciple must practise the Dharma, that is compulsory. And whether disciple does some service for the Guru or not is optional.
I am a very practical person. For example, if I want somebody to do something for my monastery, I will try to find a person whom I think can do such work, and it will not be a problem for the person or me or the monastery and everybody who works for the monastery. Then I will ask somebody to do something. Otherwise I will not, because it will be a problem for me, the monastery and the whole staff and the actual thing will fall apart. Let’s put it this way: if I want a financial adviser I will not pick the person up from the traffic lights (joke), so it is a very simple thing. And if I want a good driver, I will definitely find somebody who has all the licences and who has good eyes and ears and who can look right and left and not putting me in danger. Then I will be very happy with that driver. Like that, it has to be realistic, and that’s good for the Guru, good for the disciple and good for all the other disciples as well.
So guru-disciple relationship doesn’t have to be one particular way. Guru-disciple relationship doesn’t have to be physically close or distant. Some disciples think they have to be with the Guru, they have to follow the Guru, they have to be just in front of the Guru and all of this, that’s not necessary. In the guru-disciple relationship the main thing, main issue is to teach the Dharma and practice the Dharma. The core of the guru-disciple relationship is that.
"But on top of that various Gurus will have various relationships with their disciples. Some of them will be like helpers, some will be like patrons, some of them will be like a friend. Some of them will be like – definitely not like sycophant to the guru, then the disciple is harming the guru. I can’t say I don’t like them, they are very flattering and praise me saying “You are wonderful, you are this and that.” But it’s actually very harmful to me, because I will have wrong perception of me when I have lots of sycophants around me, and I will get lost. I will think of me as somebody else, the courts used to have those guys who just flatter.
I don’t think there is anybody who doesn’t like somebody saying you are wonderful, there is truth in it, every likes to be praised, but it is very bad for you, because you will have wrong idea of yourself. And when you have wrong idea of yourself you are bound to make fool of yourself. Mistake, of course, but you simply make fool of yourself, because everybody knows what you are, but you have wrong idea of what you are, because the sycophants made you think you are something else, so you act like something else, but everybody knows you are not. Then you make fool of yourself. That way the guru-disciple relationship doesn’t mean the disciple has to be sycophant to the Guru! I think there has to be a healthy relationship with trust, honour and principle. And that whole thing has to be based on teaching and practising the Dharma. With that strong base you can have the branches here and there, if it is appropriate."
Disciple should be Guru’s helper, disciples can be his assistants and patrons and staff, all kind of things, can be. That is guru-disciple relationship very generally speaking. This will cover Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana, all levels of guru-disciple relationship. In Hinayana they might not call it exactly Guru, they might call it something like Spiritual Friend, like Abbot, something like that, but that is really the same thing. That is I think what I can say. Now I let you ask questions, so that we might get to some of the real points, which you might like to raise.
Question: Does one have just one Root Guru and is that the Guru who first gives you teaching?
Rinpoche: No, no. First Guru is first Guru, not necessarily Root Guru. First Guru can be Root Guru also. Root Guru is Tsawe Lama, Tsawe means “root”, lama means guru. Actually the real definition of Root Guru is: through which guru’s teaching you reach the highest realisation, the realisation of nature of mind. That is your Root Guru. But we have Root Guru in advance. So, out of many Gurus that we have, we consider one Guru our Root Guru and we want to learn from this Guru, the main thing, and then this Guru recommend me to learn something from another Guru, I listen to my Guru and receive teachings here and there, I receive this and that lineage but have one Root Guru in my heart. That is quite common way. That is Root Guru in advance. And through that master all of your practice is somehow dyed by that master. It’s like a river with lots of little streams going in it, so this is the main river, or like the trunk of a tree. Through this Guru you will follow the practice, but you will receive many teachings from other Gurus if necessary. That will be the definition of Root Guru for almost all of us. But when we recognize the nature of mind, then we really have the definition of Root Guru, that person is our Root Guru, because the root of all the practice is recognising the Buddha nature. Through whose teaching that is achieved is my Root Guru.
But then we also have a very strong clear structure. We have Vinaya Guru, we have Sutra Guru, that is Bodhichitta, we have tantric Guru, from whom we receive initiation and all of that. Normally from whom we receive the initiation, we consider our very important tantric Guru. And also from whom we receive the Bodhisattva vow, very very important Bodhisattva lineage Guru. And from whom we receive the Vinaya vow, like precepts, if you are a monk or a nun, then from whom you receive the full ordination, but if you are a layperson, from whom you receive the precepts, that is an important Guru. And then of course, the door-opener, from whom you receive the Refuge, is your very important Guru. Your door to Buddhism is opened by this Guru, giving the Refuge. The Refuge Guru is very important, but not necessarily Root Guru. Can be.
Question: Sometimes we want to repeat refuge or initiation with another lama.
Rinpoche: Root Guru is all in your head. Also you will express that to your Root Guru. But it’s all in you. For example, if you consider – you were talking about HH Dalai Lama – so if you consider HH Dalai Lama is your Root Guru, then he is your Root Guru. Because all of your practice is based on his guidance; the whole stream is flowing through the same valley, but then, you are receiving this teaching and that teaching from other Gurus, so that teacher who taught you the mantra is your Mantra Guru for that particular Deity. And the teacher who taught you the visualization of that particular sadhana, is the Guru of that particular sadhana visualization, very simple.
And when you do Four Foundation practice like in Mahamudra, we have to have our Root Guru at that time, so that Root Guru will be represented by Vajradhara in the middle. Vajradhara on top is Buddha and Vajradhara in the middle is my Root Guru, but my Root Guru in this sense: from whom I receive this transmission. So my Root Guru for my Mahamudra preliminary practice.
And for some people it is quite easy, because like myself, in Golden Rosary of Karma Kagyu Lineage, Golden Rosary is strictly Karma Kagyu. So it is not only Mahamudra, it is everything. In that the Karmapas are the Root Guru. The backbone of the Golden Rosary Lineage is Karmapa, always. For example like First Karmapa’s main disciple was Drogon Rechen, but Drogon Rechen was not the Root Guru of the Second Karmapa, because Drogon Rechen transmitted the lineage to Gyaltsab Pomdrakpa. Gyaltsab Pomdrakpa transmitted it to Second Karmapa, for example. Like me, my Root Guru is the Sixteen Karmapa. It was already prescribed, it was already there, ready there, for me very easy. But for people who become followers of Dharma, new, then you might have little different thing, because you have to choose your Root Guru. That way it is something else.
Question: You have to choose your Root Guru?
Rinpoche: You have to decide, yes. You have to decide saying that I consider this master my Root Guru. It has to happen that way. Otherwise there will be another thing that you go for teachings. From one master you receive more and more teachings and from others you receive just little and then the most important teachings you receive from one master, then that way the Root Guru somehow falls into place. Are you talking about that? That will happen, too. It is natural, somehow it just takes place, rain falls and small streams come to the big valley and then the big river just happens there. Could be like that.
Question: In the Tarapuja you have to visualise your Root Guru who wears white robes and golden vajra. Who is he?
Rinpoche: I’m not sure which Tara puja. Which colour the pandit has, golden? That is Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa Lineage. Before Tsongkhapa the Gelukpa lineage was already there, but we call it Khadampa. After Tsongkhapa building the Geden [Ganden] monastery in Tibet it became Geluk, because it’s the tradition of the Geden or Ganden monastery.
Q: So it’s not yours?
R: No, I’m Kagyu. But I also received teachings from Geluk…
Q: …a problem with mantras, I find them difficult…
R: I don’t know exactly what the problem is, but I have observed something that is in every society, Asians, Europeans, Americans, Africans. Every society has some kind of unique perception and that unique perception goes back to Stone Age and all the way up to today.
So in the West I found one thing, that is quite common to most of the Europeans. Americans are made out of Europeans and Asians, it’s quite different, but in Europeans there is one thing common: there is some disillusionment about ritual. Some dislike. I think lots of things happened in every country, there were all this industrial revolution, inquisition, so many things happened, that people have some kind of, well, similar reaction to the similar thing in Europe. I think it might have something to do with that, because ritual, mantra chanting, chanting, all of these things are quite similar in every religion, Christian, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism; ritual and chanting is similar. So, when you have some kind of disillusion about one type of thing, then you will have scepticism about a similar thing.
I find it more easy and natural appreciation for just sitting and relaxing and calm. That sort of thing in the West. People who come to the teaching learning the Dharma practice, many of them practice Dharma to be more happy, more peaceful, calm, less stressed. For that purpose, not so much for next life, not so much for becoming Buddha, do you understand? They want the effect right now.
Q: Stress management?
R: Almost like that, some go to that extent. Some go little bit deeper than that, but sort of. That I saw in the West, for example, like in France many people are very sceptical about rituals and that kind of things. At the same time there are many people, because they are sceptical, they are interested. It is challenging, like rock climbing. It is difficult; you don’t have to climb the rock. Just you can leave it there and sit here! But people like to do it because it is challenging them. So I also find people keeping scull cups and bone trumpets and scull damarus and things like that. And they are very fond of them, it is mystical, it is a ritual, it is sort of quite something, that is the other side.
And the other side is to be very sceptical about all of this, like next birth, the karma. All these things are accepted by individuals, but deep inside there, there is something not very [whole?] “Maybe, maybe not, but it makes me feel compassionate and happy, compassion is a good thing. Anyway, why do I have to worry about the next life, I’ll be compassionate and happy in this life.” That is very much there, deep inside in many people. Maybe, when you ask a question, whoever answers that they are not sure, maybe it is coming from that, and the good thing is being honest. A honest teacher is a good teacher. Anyway, I saw that and in our society we don’t have that, we are totally opposite of that.
Q: Do you doubt the mantras?
R: No, I don’t, if I doubt the mantra I am finished! (Laughter.) Mantra is mantra, just talking. I mean, we are talking, this is also mantra, and sound, this is also mantra, so how can we doubt? Everything is mantra. Everything is mudra, I don’t doubt.
Q: Giving initiation is there a possibility our Guru accepting more disciples than he or she can manage?
R: Not really, originally yes. During the time of Tilopa, Naropa, Maitripa, Marpa and Milarepa initiations were very very few. And also initiations were given stage by stage, most of the time. Each initiation is a practice in itself. For example in the fourth initiation you have to recognize your nature of mind. That way if you are doing that kind of initiation for thousands of people together, yes, of course.
But then in Tibet the tradition evolved, so that initiations are given to masses as a blessing. Out of that very few are receiving initiation one by one and then practising that. Most of them come there for the blessing, to be in the mandala, to get the water to drink and pills to eat. To get touched by the initiation objects, to look at the mandala and to hear the sound. That way it is not so much.
But of course if empowerments were given just like how Tilopa gave to Naropa, then it would be impossible to give them to masses, and also the disciples would have to wait for ages and ages and so many years would pass before they receive the initiation. Milarepa had to build 9-storey building by himself and earlier on three of them had to be knocked down. And the building still stands today, after more than a thousand years. He built it by himself, with his own hands in Lhodrak, in Bhutan, Tibet’s border. That way, then, the disciples have to wait for long, long time. And the same initiation is given as a blessing, like a sermon, like a puja, empowerment.
Q: When does it become beyond the blessing?
R: It becomes beyond the blessing when it becomes beyond the blessing. That means you are taking the empowerment not just sitting there and chatting with your friends or having a snack in the middle. Actually that’s what happens. The initiation takes for 4 – 5 days and people come with thermos of tea and bread and everything, and there are others going around selling things, shops over there, you know. Lines of shops that open when the people get up in the middle of the initiation. They go and buy something and come back and sit down and continue. Some of them just sit chatting and gossiping, of course with respect, but talking, not even listening. So it’s for the blessing.
Those who really sincerely listen to every teaching, sincerely take every empowerment and then take the commitment to practice it, they are getting much more than blessing. Out of them, who does more than that, like doing a retreat, then really receive further, deeper teachings, if it is like Kalachakra, the Kalachakra tantra is enormous. So, to receive the whole teaching of Kalachakra tantra and to do the retreat on Kalachakra sadhana, that way it becomes more than a blessing, it becomes a real abhisekh. Most people are not there for that, most of the hundreds and thousands of people who come there have the opportunity to have a blessing. It gives some kind of Dharma connection. So it is never accepting too many disciples, there can be ten million people receiving initiation, which is not much. It is blessing for ten million people. And they are disciples for receiving initiation, that’s all.
Then each one of them they will learn further from their own master. Most of them might have their own Root Guru already. They might be practising themselves already, just wanted to add one more blessing to it. Not necessarily take the commitment.
R: In our tradition, normally we go by very basic thing first, from the preliminary teaching all the way up. The person may be way up here, but doing the preliminary does not mean taking the person down here. That person way up here will do the preliminary practice way up here. So, different person’s preliminary practice will be totally different level of preliminary practice, although it is the same practice.
Q: …the Guru Devotion prayer saying you are the only hope and highest and all of that…
R: Your short cut to Buddha, your kind of connection to Buddha. Guru devotion is very important in all levels of Buddhism and especially in Vajrayana. It is very important, but it has to be most genuine and most pure. Otherwise it becomes… with my limited English vocabulary the best way to say may be you become neurotic about your Guru. That is not good. The genuine devotion. Like when Milarepa thought of Marpa, tears would come in his eyes. Then he just stood there and from his cave he looked to east, and he saw a cloud there, and he said: under that cloud my Guru lives. And then he saw that cloud came closer and closer and Marpa was riding on a lion and appeared above him. Like that it is genuine, real. But if somebody who is not in that level tried to be like that, then you become neurotic. It becomes out of balance, it can become pure emotion and can be counterproductive. So, I think practice the Dharma that your Guru taught you, sincerely.
Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
This time I was requested to give historical, philosophical and practice advice, so in four days I try to cover as much as possible. In order to be really able to say that you know the teachings, you have to know Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This I will teach according to the teachings of Lord Maitreya, known as Mahayana Uttaratantra. In there are three chapters Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. It is a major text, but I try to make it as simple and short as possible. I try to go through Mahayana Uttaratantra and explain to you Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This text was translated in Tibetan from Sanskrit and also a large number of commentaries were written by great masters over the centuries, so I had to translate it all back from Tibetan to Sanskrit.
Buddha is a Sanskrit word. In Tibetan we call him Sangye, san means awakened, gye means developed. Awakened from the deep sleep of ignorance. All sentient beings are dreaming in the deep sleep of ignorance, and Prince Siddharta has been awakened from that sleep, that is what san means. Gye means fully developed, because each one of us has immeasurable, ineffable and indescribable potential which is perfect beyond any comparison and limitation. We call that primordial wisdom or Buddhanature, jnana.
This potential fully developed like a lotus fully bloomed is that nature, Buddha, San-gye. It should not be misunderstood that we are saying our Buddha is just that, but let's put it this way: whoever reaches the highest, best, most profound and limitless of san and gye is called Buddha. And there is nothing further to reach, nothing more to develop, nothing more to be free from and no more to be perfected. So, when we are in that state, we call that Buddha, and that can be you and you and you. Or your dog or your cat. Anybody who reaches that state is Buddha. A god or goddess who reaches that state is Buddha, a hell being who reaches that state is Buddha, an animal who reaches that state is Buddha, a human being who reaches that state is Buddha and same with asuras and pretas.
The qualities of the Buddha are described in eight particularities in the Mahayana Uttaratantra. But you should know, that when you describe the indescribable, the words that are really suited for the indescribableness, are impossible to find. To describe it is a fallacy in itself. You can't describe Buddha by three, four, five, ten, million, billion, ten billion qualities. But these kinds of particularities help us to get some kind of idea what Buddha's qualities are. They are some kind of alphabet to describe those qualities. All the language is not just alphabet but it is helpful to organize ourselves, so that we can make sentences out of them and communicate with each other. This way the eight qualities of Buddha are described here.
First is in Tibetan dyma chepa. It is not the outcome of composition. When this and this and this come together, and this happens that is called dyche. Buddha did not dyma chepa. It is not a result of anything coming together. It is always there, non-dualistic, it is not a result of two or three things coming together, which is result of dualism or triplism.
What about Buddha before he became Prince Siddharta? Light of the sky is always there and sky is always clear. But there is a cloud and because of the cloud the light of the sun is not visible. It is only substantial condition that the wind blows away the cloud and the light of the sun is revealed. The clearness of the sky is revealed. It is not the result of the sky and it is not the result of the wind. It is just the circumstances, the conditions, which are very temporary and superficial. The dream is a reality. As long as we don't know we are dreaming, the dream [?] This way dyma chepa.
The second quality - each one of these eight qualities of Buddha is described with many sub-specifics and I'm not going to do that. Eight is enough to describe Buddha. Now the second, which is dynchi dupa. There is a very simple Pramana verse to describe this: "The Buddha is not a result of an effort, because it is always there as a primordial ultimate [?], so it is not a result of efforts." You might ask why do we have to have to do practices then? All these efforts are necessary, because in order to find out that we are sleeping, dreaming and having a nightmare, even you realise you are dreaming, you have to come out of it by struggle. How do you come out from a nightmare when you realise you are having one? You do all kinds of things. You try to stir, you try to move, and stand up, all kinds of things, you put all that effort and finally you can say to yourself: "Oh now I'm woken up, it was a dream."
But when you realise that you are having a nightmare, in your nightmare, to get out of it, you have to put efforts. It is just like that. But when you wake up from the effort and find out you were dreaming, it is not the result of the effort, you are waking up same as you were dreaming, too. You are exactly like Buddha, like you are right now, when you have not attained enlightenment, and you have to put all this effort, which is dualistic and temporary, in order to awake from the dream of Samsara. For that reason we do all kind of things including lighting lamps, incense, building temples, reading texts, all those efforts, to reach the final stage, which is not the result of those efforts. To reveal the unshakeable, unchangeable, uncharactable essence, which is always there.
When the diamond mind is revealed by the waters among mud and pebbles - the diamond was always there. Even it is dirty, as far as the diamond is concerned, it is always there. I give you a very simple example: we say Christopher Columbus found the State of America, and somebody found Australia, but they did not find, it was always there. They themselves saw it for the first time but Australia was always there and America was always there. It was for the Christopher Columbus first time to see it. Like that. I was told that was also not true, the Vikings found America long time before Christopher Columbus. Anyway, I find that very interesting. That was the second quality of Buddha.
The third quality of the Buddha is that it is not realised by any other circumstances, circumstances outside, because recognition and realisation of primordial wisdom cannot be the result of something outside of the primordial wisdom.
The limitless qualities which the Buddha manifests are categorized into three to make it easier for us. The three qualities that we have learned already are qualities of the Dharmakaya, and they describe the qualities of the Buddha's Dharmakaya itself.
Now the next one is describing the manifestation of that, the number five. Because Buddha is free from dualism, therefore Buddha is omniscient. You can never be omniscient dualistically. As long as you are somebody to know something, then there will be something to know and someone who knows and it is impossible to know everything. You have to reach the non-dualistic state, and therefore Buddha by definition is non-dualistic state. Because of that Buddha is omniscient.
The sixth is the perfect compassion and loving-kindness in manifestation, because you can never be Buddha for yourself. If you wish to be perfect, you can never be perfect if it is for yourself only. You have to be perfect without attachment; you have to be perfect for the benefit of all. And therefore everything that manifests from the Buddha will only benefit others one way or another, everything that manifests from the Buddha should never harm anybody. It always should be the manifestation that benefits others one way or another. That is the sixth quality of the Buddha.
The seventh quality of the Buddha is limitless power. Buddha's power has no limitation. Why? - Because all the shortcomings in the Samsara, to which we feel powerless are because of our own weakness, that is based on ego itself. We refer to ego, who we are. If you are the head of 200 groups, and you think you are big, that much bigger you are, because you have to be always tiptoe with 200 groups. You have to watch over and worry about the 200 groups. You have to be concerned about the 200 groups. The bigger your ego is, the more worry you will have with those 200 and as a result of that you will have 200 misunderstandings, 200 fears, 200 misinterpretations, 200 prejudices, 200 paranoias, all of that. That bigger your ego is, the less powerful you become and the more you want to assure your power. First with a little stick, and when it doesn’t work, with a small gun. When it doesn't work, then a bigger gun. When it doesn't work, then a small bomb. Then a bigger bomb etc. until nothing is left. There is no end to fighting. As long as your ego is not handled, you cannot pretend you don't have fear. That you show, by showing that you are strong, macho, big and dangerous. This is the nature of the ego.
Because Buddha overcame all of that, he was the most powerful. Power of compassion is incomparable to any other power. Power of wisdom is incomparable to any other power. Therefore Buddha has no fear, because he has no ego whatsoever. He transformed his ego into wisdom. Because of that, he is the most powerful.
Then the eight quality of Buddha - the first three were the qualities of the Dharmakaya, the fifth, sixth and seventh, these three qualities are the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, and these are how Buddha manifests to others, the quality of the sun and how does sun manifest for its surroundings. The three last ones, 5, 6, 7 are how Buddha manifests non-dualistically for the benefit of all sentient beings. There is no such thing as Buddha's limitless spontaneous activity with end. The activities of Prince Siddharta and all the Buddhas continue without end. And also it is timeless, there are the activities the past Buddhas, present Buddhas as well as the future Buddhas. These are the eight qualities of the Buddha described in the Mahayana Uttaratantra.
Now you understand the Buddha. Then the second, the Dharma. Dharma is the manifestation of the Buddha. The real definition of the Dharma is the Dharmakaya, but once it manifests from the Dharmakaya, to whom it manifests, to perceive it as a word and an experience, as some kind of inspiration and a thought, which stays with them and continues, it re-manifests from them within form in verbal form etc. So the Dharma, such as the Four Noble Truths, Eight Fold Path, Six Paramitas, Prajnaparamita, Pramana, Abhidharma, Vinaya, Sutra and Tantra, all of those are the manifestations from the recipients who received the Buddha's manifestation. They are manifesting it. That's what we call a living lineage. Then, what manifests from them, is received by disciples and it manifests from them again. That is what we have up today. So that is Dharma.
Of course Dharma's qualities are countless, but according to Lord Maitreya is it described in eight qualities. The first quality of the Dharma is: it is the ultimate truth; therefore it is unperceivable and ineffable by relative means. So the real essence of the Dharma can never be perfectly told by anybody, by any word, it is impossible. It is the limitless, ultimate truth; therefore it cannot be reached open by limited relative words.
The second quality of Dharma is that it is non-dualistic, because Buddha did not teach Dharma the way I teach the Dharma. I teach the Dharma the way I received it from the lineage. I am talking this to you through my knowing and understanding and through my words. But Buddha manifested the Dharma.
Example is like the sky. Sky pervades all. When you build a thousand-storey building right here, where does the sky go? And you pull it down, where does the sky come from? And you pollute the sky, and you pile up 2000 feet of garbage, where does the clean sky go? When you pull it down clean it out, where does the clean sky come from? Right in front of our nose this ineffable, indescribable impossible is possible. So, Dharma is like that, it is non-dualistic, it is ineffable.
The third quality of Dharma is: it is free of all aspects of limitation. If there is any limitation, it is a limitation of the teacher. But Dharma itself has no limitation. Dharma is about everything. Dharma is relative truth and ultimate truth of everything. Since Dharma is ultimate truth of everything and means to communicate that is the relative truth about everything, therefore Dharma is free of any aspect of shortcoming. The shortcomings are described in many ways here, but let's leave them alone. We just say all the shortcomings.
Number four quality of the Dharma is: these three qualities of Dharma are spontaneous, therefore they are ever present. Therefore Dharma is not something that is described. Dharma was not described by Buddha Dipankar before Prince Siddharta. Dharma was not described by great Buddha who lived many billions years ago and who was seen by Prince Siddharta [in his previous life] who got inspired. Dharma was not discovered by Prince Siddharta. Dharma is always there, Dharma is the ultimate essence of everything at all times, always.
The fifth quality of Dharma is: Dharma is totally without characteristics and stainless. Because ultimate truth of everything: ultimate truth of good, ultimate truth of bad, ultimate truth of correct and incorrect is not only one but it is beyond one, it is non-dualistic, it is not even one. Therefore it cannot be characterized or stained by anything.
The sixth quality of Dharma is that it is clear. Clarity. There is nothing which is not clear. It is clear.
And seventh is an antidote in itself. For example, as a practitioner we try to meditate and pray and do all those kind of Dharma. It is an antidote for all of that what we are suppose to overcome. But somebody walks on the street and there is a hole on the street. If you step in it, you might break your leg. And you use your mind and be mindful and aware and look where you are going - that's an antidote for not breaking your leg. So Dharma is in everything, everything about Dharma is an antidote and solution. It is always an antidote and solution by itself.
And the last, it is the path. Regardless of who you think you are - you can be Buddhist, you can be Hindu, anybody, you can be a non-believer, you can be a politician, you can be a thief, you can be a rich man or a poor man, you can be a kind or cruel person, whoever you are, in the Dharma all of you are equal. I just learned from our Dharma brother here: I asked him a question, I said: "Why do people throw paint against each other in the Holy?" and he said: "One of the reasons is to feel the equality." And I add to it equanimity, because you are not allowed to get angry! Normally if somebody throws paint against somebody, what next you should expect? But it is Holy, right? So you just have to show your teeth, so they can paint your teeth, too!
Anyway, everything is a path. Going up is a path and going down is also a path. Going here and there and moving around is also a path. Of course the path which we really wish to follow is straight forward towards the destination, towards the central of the mandala, to reach there without obstacles, and each step is a better step. Each step is a wiser step, each step is a more awaken step, that's what we always wish for. But even we don't manage that, we are on the path. Even we do something and go to hell, that's also a path, because that's purification, purification in the hard way.
Then if we do something good and we are born as a god, that's also purification, because purification in a nice way we are purifying all our good karma by enjoying all the wonderful and nice things, indulging all those beautiful and wonderful and blessed things in the heaven, that is purification of our good karma. And going to hell, and getting burned and chopped, all of that is purification of our bad karma. It is a path. We will end the path when we will realise the ultimate truth, as it is. That is the Dharmakaya. The source of the Dharma is Dharmakaya, the end of the Dharma is Dharmakaya. The definition of the practice of Dharma is Dharmakaya.
This way according to the Mahayana Uttaratantra I roughly and briefly explained about the qualities of Buddha and Dharma out of the Three Jewels. Sangha I will explain after the break and now I am happy to take some of your questions.
Q: [?] …in what case you say is clear?
R: Dharma being the ultimate truth is not unclear, it is clear, because it is never wrong, it is never obscured. I give you an example. Somebody is trying to lie. The person think I managed to pull this person's leg, I'm lying, but it's impossible! Because the truth of what he said, is a lie. He tried his best, but he can never lie ultimately. If any of us try to lie, we can never manage to lie, ultimately. The truth of untrue is untrue. And it will never be otherwise. Truth of the truth is true and truth of the untrue is untruth. Truth of a lie is a lie. So it is impossible. Unclear. Because the essence of Dharma is the essence of everything, therefore it is always clear, it is always transparent, it is always like light, it is not like darkness, it is transparent like light, that what clarity, clearness means.
R: Well, sometimes somebody shakes you and other times you shake yourself! Sometimes somebody shakes you and says: "Wake up!" and other times you have to shake yourself to get up. When somebody is shaking me up it's a little hard, you know, because I have a big ego, so when you have a big ego you don't like to be shaken around!
R: If you don't go to hell, you can never get out of the hell, that way it is past, yes. It is purification. There is no such thing as a hell ultimately, there is no ultimate heaven or hell. The hell is relative. Why you are born in hell is to purify all the bad karmas that you have done. And why you go to heaven is because all the good karmas that you have done, it's like you charge battery for overnight and then you use that for the whole day and talk with your friends, so that is the heaven. You see, it is using the batteries that you have charged for talking with your friends. It's like that with everything in Samsara. After you have used your battery, you have to re-charge it. When you re-charge it then you can't talk with your friends, so then you are in hell (laughter). We create new hells, because old days there were no such things, but now we have all such things and without them we feel like hell.
R: Precious human life is described with eighteen qualities. If you have those qualities, your life is precious human life. If one of them is missing then you have precious human life with seventeen qualities. If two of them are missing then you have precious human life with sixteen qualities etc. If all of them are missing, then you have just human life, not precious human life. You have to cultivate them.
Q: If you are an animal…
R: In Jataka tales Buddha describes his previous lives: he was a monkey, he was a rabbit, he was in hell, he was all of that. It is very clear animals and hell beings can become Buddhas because Buddha was in hell, he was known as an animal and from there he slowly became enlightened as Prince Siddharta.
R: You have to be born as a dog. Last animal to be born [next] as a human being will be a dog. If you are born as a tiger, as a fish and all kind of things, and finally you are born as a dog, that means you are going to be a human. This is an old saying. "Before you are born as a human you will be born as a dog, before you go to hell you are going to be born as a leader." This is an old Tibetan saying.
Q: [Enlightenment is easier to do…]
R: Not necessarily, but human is easier, because we are somewhat in between. We are not as luxurious as gods and not as deprived as animals. Therefore it is quite easy for us to look up and look down, look right and left, it is easier for human beings definitely, but doesn't have to be. We have Buddhas of six realms: Buddhas of gods, Buddhas of asuras, Buddhas of humans, Buddhas of animals, Buddhas of hells, Buddhas of hungry ghosts, Buddhas of hells, we have six Buddhas. We have an enormous puja, which involves all six Buddhas.
R: Oh, an enlightened rabbit? Actually I can only tell what Buddha as a rabbit did. He was a rabbit, it was a time when there was lots of boiling mud everywhere and there was one person walking. He got lost - maybe he was a Neanderthal - anyway he got lost and he had nothing to eat, he was about to die. So he saw the rabbit, he was coming after the rabbit but he could not catch. So the Buddha as a rabbit thought: "Why is he after me?" And he realised why he was after him. - Because he could eat him, right? So then he made lots of noise and went around the person; and the person who was almost unconscious, he made him sort of aware and then he jumped into a mud pool and he got cooked. And the person took it out and ate it. So he survived. That's what the Buddha as the rabbit did. It's in the Jataka tales. So quite enlightened rabbit, I think. Definitely more enlightened than me. I wouldn't do such thing! I would go to market and buy some food, you know, and give it to the person. But maybe those days there were no markets.
[Yesterday] I was teaching about the Buddha and Dharma according to the Mahayana Uttaratantra by the Lord Maitreya and now I will start with the Sangha. Sangha in Tibetan is Gendyn. Ge means virtue, virtuous and dynpa means pursuing or dedicated to or involved with. So, you yourself as Sangha involved with virtuous practise and also be leading others in the same direction involving virtuous practice. This generally describes any person who is one himself or herself involved in virtuous activity, conducting positively and virtuously. But then, of course we say Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, that means definition of virtuous activity and conduct is the Dharma, so following the Dharma. And in Buddhism when we say Sangha that means those who are following the virtuous conduct and practices which manifest from the Lord Buddha.
The Sangha generally has two aspects. One is ordinary Sangha and the other one is extraordinary Sangha. Ordinary Sangha in Buddhist terminology means ordained monks and nuns. The extraordinary Sangha are enlightened bodhisattvas and enlightened mahasiddhas. But today's common usage of Sangha in the West, they use the word Sangha for every Buddhist, so every Buddhist is Sangha in the West. In principle, as the definition of the terminology, as far as Sangha itself is concerned, it's correct, but when we say "I take refuge in Buddha, I take refuge in Dharma, I take refuge in Sangha," then this is not 100% appropriate to describe every Buddhist as Sangha, because in Tibetan society all five million Tibetans are Buddhists, but they are not called Sangha. Sanghas are the ordained monks and nuns. And the enlightened mahasiddhas and enlightened bodhisattvas, the past ones we know, bodhisattvas such as Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Vajrapani, they are extraordinary Sangha and mahasiddhas such as Tilopa, Naropa, Dombi Heruka, Shavaripa, Marpa, Milarepa etc, they are extraordinary Sangha, but it is hard to know presently the extraordinary Sangha. I think some time in the future we will know. We present extraordinary Sanghas. That is just a general description of Sangha.
Now the quality of Sangha, Mahayana Uttaratantra has given eight specific qualities for the Sangha. Now the first one. This is the quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha. Uttaratantra is Mahayana text and this definition is Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
The first one is described as cittawa chenpa. Cittawa means as "as this", chenpa means "knowing". So, "knowing as it is," "knowing correctly." Cittawa means, for example, if I misunderstood this butter lamp to be an electronic lamp, then it is not cittawa. So, when I understand this as a butter lamp, it is cittawa, knowing it as it is, knowing correctly, unmistakably. That means the Mahayana Refuge Sangha recognizes the nature of the mind without obscurations and realising that in the practise and in the meditation, that it was never stained by any defilements forever, and also knowing at the same time, it is the nature of all sentient beings - not only of yours, but all sentient beings. And also knowing that this is free or empty of all aspects of self.
When we say all aspects, we have to go back to the Theravada teachings. There the Arhat aspect, knowing the emptiness of everything, except for the shortest moment and the smallest object, that is the Arhat. The Pratyeka Buddhas' understanding of this is knowing the emptiness of the smallest object, but shortest time, the shortest moment, the self, is still there. Therefore to be free of all aspects of self means to be free of both: smallest object and shortest moment of time. The shortest time by the definition of mind, perception and thought, and the smallest object means of all other external reality. Knowing this as the Refuge Sangha of Mahayana practices is the first quality chittawa chenpa.
Now the second quality, chinyepa chenpa. Chittawa means "as it is", chinyepa means "all of it." So, all the people in this room are chinyepa in this room. All the people on this Earth are chinyepa on this Earth. The chinyepa of everything of everything means everything. Here chinyepa means everything. Chittawa is the quality, chinyepa is the quantity. Chenpa is knowing, so knowing the chinyepa.
During the meditation the Mahayana Refuge Sangha, chittawa chenpa, in the post meditation the Mahayana Refuge Sangha chinyepa chenpa. Do you understand? In the post meditation chinyepa chenpa is: all of the relative reality (all the realities are relative), so all the relative realities, they are always sacred and holy with their own inherent ultimate sacredness. For example vessel is as sacred as its content. The content, the nature of mind is sacred. So the vessel of the nature of mind, the sentient beings' body as well as all the inanimate objects that sentient beings can see and touch and hear etc. are equally sacred. So the recognition of the insight essence as the chittawa chenpa during the meditation, and recognition of the external sacredness during the post meditation, these two are the first two qualities of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
The first one is mentioned by Nagarjuna in his Uma Tsawa Sherab, Madhyamika text called Tsawa Sherab, there he says: "The emptiness of one is emptiness of all." The second one, chinyepa chenpa is also mentioned by Tilopa in his doha. This doha is described as "A Doha Right After His Enlightenment". A doha is a sacred song, sacred poetry, and this is a doha right after his enlightenment. In this he says: "The essence of the sesame seed, if the ignorant ones do not know it, then they will never be able to get the oil out of the sesame seed. But by knowing it, putting the effort to pound the sesame, you will get the oil of the sesame out from the sesame seed." This is right after his enlightenment that he made this doha, very long one, I'm just sharing the first two lines here. Those are the first two qualities of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
The third quality is: that person, that being, who possesses the true aspect of wisdom, the chittawa chenpa and chinyepa chenpa, is possessing the wisdom, which is highest of all wisdom, because you cannot have that wisdom, if you are the within the context or within the sphere of dualism. You have to be above, you have to go beyond the limitation of dualism in order to possess that wisdom. That way this is superior wisdom, known as possessor of superior, highest level of wisdom. That is the third quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
Now the fourth quality. The chittawa chenpa, chinyepa chenpa and superior wisdom (lamechi yeshe), these three are the quality of one's own realisation. These three are the quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
The fifth quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha is to be free from the obscuration of attachment and also anger and liking and disliking. Free of all of that which is related with oneself and others. For example I like myself - that is one thing, I hate myself - that is another thing. I like somebody is one thing, and I hate somebody is another thing. I prefer this to that…free of all this. For example with myself: I'm absolutely free from "I hate myself" but I am not free from "I like myself." I like myself, and it was a very big problem for me when I went to West for the first time in 1980. My first lecture was in Wales. There I was giving a lecture and somebody was talking "I hate myself". All that sort of questions were asked from me, and I couldn’t understand. It was mind-boggling for me because my problem is I like myself so much. I have so much attachment for myself and I have to overcome that, and here was somebody who did not have that problem, who said: "I hate myself!" I couldn't understand. After 24 years, now I somehow come to understand actually, that if I like myself too much, then I don't meet with my own expectations about myself. Then I get disappointed about myself, because my expectations do not match with me. It is like flipping off liking yourself too much. Unreasonable. That is my interpretation about this today, but I'm not sure whether it is accurate or not. Otherwise I can't understand why somebody says "I don't like myself." That's a very big mystery to me. Up to now it only makes sense to me, if I like myself so much, that I don't perform according to my expectations about me, maybe that is half correct. Anyway, being free of attachment, hatred, preferences and all of this is that fifth quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
The sixth quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha: the body, speech and mind activity of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha is not in shortage. It means there is nothing Mahayana Refuge Bodhisattva Sangha is not capable to perform by their body, speech and mind. Of course they are not equal to Buddha. When Buddha manifests Dharma, if there are thousand people with thousand different languages, everyone will hear with their own language and according to their own capacity. Bodhisattvas have similar abilities, but not exactly like Buddha, so there are differences. We are talking about Sangha, not about Buddha.
The seventh quality of the Mahayana Sangha. The view or perception of the inner wisdom is superior. That means: the Bodhisattva, the Mahayana Refuge Sangha does not have any kind of selfish motivation whatsoever. The self-oriented perception and outlook is totally zero. That means totally selfless. Every quality of the Mahayana Sangha, a Bodhisattva like Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri, is totally mature, so that whatever power and manifestation that they are able to perform, it will never become egoistic selfish thing. For example me, if I could perform in two places in Delhi at the same time I would be quite proud of myself. But for a Bodhisattva of that level it will never happen. That is the seventh quality of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha.
The eight quality. The 1 - 3 are qualities of realisation. The 5 - 7 are qualities of liberation. These eight are the eight qualities of the Mahayana Refuge Sangha. When we say Mahayana Refuge Sangha according to Mahayana Uttaratantra according to Lord Maitreya, he is talking about Bodhisattvas with realisation. He is not talking about monks or nuns or somebody who has just taken bodhisattva vow. He is talking about one who has reached the level of realisation, so that it is worthy of refuge. When we say "I take refuge in Buddha, I take refuge in Dharma, I take refuge in Sangha," so have to be equal. Buddha, Dharma and Sangha all three have to be very close to each other.
Buddha and Dharma is the same thing in this case, because Dharma is what manifested from the Buddha. But there is a very important subtle difference between Buddha and Dharma, as Dharma that we have and Buddha that is, is because Buddha's words and manifestations are according to the capacities of the recipients who receive it. Therefore the teaching of Dharma as we know it, does not represent the Dharmakaya of the Buddha totally. But of course it is the outcome and manifestation of it. But when it comes to the Sangha, then again one step further, because the Sangha is the one who practises the Dharma and has some realisation of the Dharma, so that it is able to transmit the Dharma, and represent the Buddha. That way the Extraordinary Sangha, the Bodhisattvas, is described here. These are the eight qualities of the Sangha.
Out of the subjects that I like to share during these four days a very basic subject: understanding Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is roughly completed.
When we say we take refuge under or to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, what does it really mean? It means a very simple, clear and orderly thing:
Buddha - I wish to reach Buddhahood.
Dharma - by following the path manifested from the Buddha.
Sangha - by learning it by following the living lineage, which is continued up to today and by receiving it from the transmission, having the companion, support and blessing of the Sangha.
Taking refuge under Buddha, Dharma and Sangha means that. And this is what defines somebody Buddhist or not Buddhist. Every sentient being has Buddha nature, every sentient being is equal to Buddha in his or her essence, therefore everybody is more than or a Buddhist, because everybody is a Buddha himself/herself, but, at the same time, Prince Siddharta attained enlightenment and became Buddha Sakyamuni. By following his teaching, by taking refuge under Buddha, Dharma and Sangha then we are his followers. But it does not mean that the followers of Prince Siddharta are the only Buddhists. Prince Siddharta was not the follower of Prince Siddharta. That way anybody can reach the realisation of Prince Siddharta by doing what he has done. By realising what he has realised. This way what we talk about refuge under Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; Buddha as Buddha Sakyamuni, Dharma as all the teachings he has given, Sangha as the ordinary sangha and the Extraordinary Sangha. This is Extraordinary Sangha description.
So this is for Buddhists, and Buddhism as one of the major religions of the world today, according to that it is described. Me, of course, I am a Buddhist. Buddhist follower of Prince Siddharta, but at the same time I should not lose the sight, that this is the only way. I am very happy with, it but it doesn't mean that it is limited to this. Anybody who knows how to drink a glass of water 100% perfectly is Buddha. I can say with my ignorance and with my ego very loudly, that these days there are very few in this world who know how to drink a glass of water 25% correctly, forget about 100% correctly. The Buddhas I haven't seen too many. Only heard and beliefs, you know, beliefs in many as a Buddha, but seen 100% clearly as a Buddha, very few. I want to leave it there, please don't question me on the subject, okay! I am a believer and I rely on devotion, I rely on faith and I rather not go further on this.
Buddhist Philosophy: Ground, Path, Fruition
I'd like to go very briefly into the general Buddhist philosophy in a simple and comprehensible manner. Buddhist philosophy is enormous, and to be quite clear about it and thorough about it is very difficult. The general outline of Buddhist philosophy.
Basically you have to divide the general Buddhist philosophy into three stages. First stage is according to Hinayana, the Theravada aspect, and second stage is the Mahayana aspect. The third stage is the Vajrayana, the tantric aspect of philosophy. But clear cut Theravada philosophy, Mahayana philosophy, Vajrayana philosophy is impossible for me. Why? - Because I am a Vajrayana practitioner. So even I talk about Theravada philosophy, it is from the Vajrayana philosophical point of view. Pure Theravada philosophy - you have to listen to pure Theravada. And pure Mahayana philosophy - you have to listen to pure Mahayana. When you listen to me about Theravada and Mahayana philosophy, it is Theravada and Mahayana philosophy of the Vajrayana philosophy. If you want to eat genuine Indian food, come to India. If you eat genuine Indian food in America, it will be American taste. And if you eat genuine Indian food in Japan or Taiwan, it will be Japanese or Taiwanese taste. Genuine Indian food as it is we can never find anywhere but in India. Same thing with other foods also. When I talk about Buddhist philosophy it will be from the Vajrayana point of view, no matter which philosophy I'm supposed to be talking about. I wanted to tell you this first.
Now I want to go in little details. Ground, path and fruition. These three things are very easy simple outline. When we all Buddhists say that Theravada say "I like to reach nirvana," Mahayana and Vajrayana say "I wish to attain Buddhahood," but we are saying pretty much the same thing of what is there to realize. What is there is the ground. On what ground? I give you a very simple example. When somebody says: "You are a thief!" Then you ask: "On what ground you are calling me a thief?" If the person is calling you a thief because he doesn't like you, then it is baseless. So when we say: "I wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood, on what ground you are saying that? The ground is: all sentient beings have Buddha nature, Buddha essence, primordial wisdom, because of that I am saying, so that is the ground, it is not baseless.
The path means kind of method that you implement, and kind of understanding that you try to develop, kind of experience that you try to cultivate and finally kind of wisdom that you try to manifest from within. The method for achieving all of that is the path. Fruition means the fruit, the result. Fruition and ground is the same thing. When your ground, the base, the original potential is totally fulfilled, then that is fruition. So, I wanted to use these ground, path and fruition as a backbone of going through this subject.
First the ground. Ground, the relative truth and absolute truth. Relative truth, the cause and result. That's the relative truth. Cause has action and intention. The action - everything, but intention - all intentions are based on self. All intentions are based on defilement. Self is defilement. And defilement, the self, it becomes positive or negative according to what comes out from that self. When you say: "I like to be happy," that's okay, but when you say "I like to be happy regardless how much suffering it causes to others," that is not correct. And I like somebody to suffer because that person caused me suffering, is very very very wrong. This way the motivation and the action… (few sentences missing, turning the tape)
This defilement… actually there is a very subtle dormant one and a very obvious one. Some of the subtle ones are such that you are almost born with them, others develop later. For example a baby dog, a puppy is born. When puppy is hungry, it yells, it is inborn, it's natural. And when it drinks milk from the mummy dog and feels comfortable, it does not yell, and sleeps quietly, that is inborn. That is defilement, of course, because I am hungry, and now I am full. When puppy is drinking mother's milk and your child, who thinks it is just a pet, pulls the puppy away, then puppy yells and cries like crazy. That is inborn: I am separated from what I like and I am not able to enjoy what I am enjoying. Somebody interrupted it. So I'm very unhappy. That is inborn. Later, when the puppy grows up, it is not just simple things like that, not just screaming, and sleeping, but then it develops into all kinds of things like barking and biting. These develop later. It is naturally there as long as the basic defilement, the self is there, or it is further developed and nowadays it is intentionally developed. We intentionally teach people how to be attached, how to be angry, jealous, doubtful and suspicious. This is making this basic thing more complicated and more dangerous, actually.
These are the intentions. The actions that are taken as the outcome of these intentions are what really make us to continue the Samsara. Instead of improving ourselves we are improving our negativity, our suspiciousness and our distrust and our viciousness and manipulativeness, and this way we make things worse for ourselves and we make things worse for others, so that is kunta. Not shen shi. Shen shi means naturally born and kunta means added upon it. It is created. That is about the relative truth.
Now the ultimate truth. Ultimate truth also has similar definitions. First is ultimate truth which is described. It is like the language "ul-ti-ma-te truth" itself, that is English language. In Tibetan Döndam chi tempa. The che nyi pa or the true ultimate truth is beyond word and beyond description. There are these two aspects. For example you draw a beautiful flower and you call it "this is a flower." You draw a beautiful rose and you call that "this is a rose." That is the first one. It is described. It is named, titled and described. "Ultimate truth is like this, ultimate truth is like that," this is describing the indescribable. Nagarjuna wrote the Madhyamika, the Middle Way text known as Uma Tsawa Sherab, which is supposed to be and believed to be the essence of the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma, the teaching of emptiness of the Lord Buddha. Nagarjuna wrote this text much later. He is writing this text to Samurais, [about] the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma by Lord Buddha.
In this quite a few philosophical characteristics developed. One of them is known Rangtong, the self emptiness. All phenomena do not have any true existing reality, therefore it is all empty. Everything is nothing - that is the nothing. Rang means nothing, tong means empty. Everything does not have any kind of true existence in itself. Therefore rang - the self, and tong means empty, that is the Rangtong.
Also there is another aspect of the Middle Way philosophy, which is called Tang jurwa. Tang jurwa is: you don't say that this is your stand, you don't hold to any kind of philosophical identity but you only yield to the philosophical stand of the others. You only answer and say something because something, because somebody says something, but you yourself do not hold onto any philosophical stand. That is called Uma tang jurwa. Uma tang jurwa is always reacting to others' philosophical stands. Whatever you say, then I will say something because you say something, but I will not say something as my stand. I will only react to your philosophical stand. Also coming from and categorized from into the same category it is titled and labelled and described.
Now the Namjom ma jinpa. It is like you have a rose here, not a faking of a rose but a rose, and you look at it and you say it is a rose. You have a mountain here and you look at it and say that is the mountain. Not a photograph or a painting of a mountain but mountain itself. So, the difference is enormous. It is extremely different. In this philosophy for example this ultimate truth is not stained by any ultimate dualistic stain. Therefore ultimate truth is pure and perfect by itself beyond time and limitation. This can be described as Mahamudra, Dzogpachenpo, Maha-ati, also sometimes even Rangtong and Shengtong, this kind of titles are given to this.
With this you learn quite clear definition of Ultimate Truth, because when we learn it, we can learn it the first as well as the second way. But whether we learn the first way or the second way, it does not change our state of maturity. But the way is specific. The philosophical way of these two are specific. But it doesn't make you any different; one way is no better and no worse than other, because it is like this: for me who is sitting here and looking at a picture of a rose or looking at a real rose, as long as I am me and the rose is over there, it doesn't make much difference whether it is the real thing or a picture of it. For me it doesn't make much difference; if I like roses, I like both of them, if I don't like roses, I won't like either of them. But if I'm allergic to roses, I will definitely not be allergic to the painting, that kind of subtle differences are there, but actual differences - in my maturity and in my development it will be pretty much the same. But why there are these two differences is because this is the philosophical realities. It is not that somebody just wanted to hair split and make simple things complicate, but when you talk about philosophy, then you have to be accurate. And then you try to be accurate, then it is complicated, and you can't be accurate without being complicated. So you have to be accurate and complicated to be accurate. It is thorough investigation and scrutinization of the Ultimate Truth. So you go through all of this.
Now you go little bit out of the way from the Mahayana and Theravada into the Vajrayana. Where would the Deities like Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, Kalachakra and Vajravarahi, where would they stand? Bodhisattva Sangha, where would they stand? This is the connector and combiner of these two aspects of the truth. Because Deities, such as Chakrasamvara, Vajravarahi, all of them are the manifestation of the Buddha, it is the Sambhogakaya. But the picture of those Deities, the text and description of those Deities are descriptions. So it goes into the first aspect of the Ultimate Truth. The Deity itself goes into the second aspect of the Ultimate Truth.
What binds that together is the Abhisekh. We receive the empowerment, so the painting of the Deity and the visualization of the Deity, the description of the Deity, becomes the real Deity. That way the equivalent to that Deity what is in me, and the equivalent to what is in me, the ultimate of that essence in me, is represented by that Deity. And that connection is made by Abhisekh. My body is blessed, my speech is blessed and my mind is blessed through the Abhisekh. But you cannot have Abhisekh without a lineage. The blessing comes from the lineage: the Buddha Vajravarahi and its lineage, and Abisekh that I received. Then this way my Vajravarahi has my essence, and the Buddha Vajravarahi as the Sambhogakaya is connected.
This is going out of the way from the main stream Madhyamika and all of that. If we go into the tantric aspect of Buddhist philosophy, then it is like that. Both aspects of Ultimate Truth apply there. Now when we are trying to confirm and scrutinize the ground, then these philosophies which are using particular metaphors or particular Pramana technologies and principles to confirm, then it becomes enormous subject and it becomes very complicated, because any kind of investigation is very complicated. For me to investigate anyone of you to prove that you are who you say you are, if I have to prove that by investigating; oh my goodness! It is a full job for many years for plenty of staff. I have to find out everything to confirm you are who you are.
This way when you go into Buddhist philosophy it is like that. And it is very interesting and you can get totally lost into it actually. There are many monks (or nuns, but normally monks) who are debating on small subjects, very small simple subjects, and start maybe six o'clock in the afternoon, and go on maybe until midnight. And discipline master has to come and chase them into their rooms with sticks because they wouldn't stop! (Laughs.) It goes on and on and when there are three of them arguing on the same subject, one person is sitting there to answer them and the bigger ones pick up the smaller ones and throw across the room. He wanted to say what… he is trying to say. It's very interesting. From that point of view I'd like to share some of this.
There are three main philosophical stands I'd like to describe to you, so that this might help you to understand what it is all about. There is much more, but these three main ones are quite simple to describe. First one is rangtong mega. Rang means self, tong means empty, me means doesn't exist, gag means cessation. The second one is rangtong ma yin gag. Ma yin gag means it is not. Between "it is not" and "totally not there" there is a big difference. For example saying that that bag is not there and that bag is not just a bag, there is a big difference. So, the first one is saying that bag is just not there, that's Rangtong mega. The second one is saying that bag is not exactly what it appears to be.
Then Shentong, it is totally opposite to Rangtong. Rangtong means self-empty. Shentong means other-empty. Shen means "other", not self, tong means empty. Shentong is always ma ying gag, not me ga. You cannot find Shentong mega (mega means not there). If it is Shentong, it is ma yin gag, if it is Rangtong, it can be ma yin gag or it can be mega.
I give you an example of Rangtong mega. The subject of Buddha nature for example, it doesn't have any true existence. Buddha nature doesn't have any existence, because from the form, from the just simple form to the Buddhahood, the day of enlightenment, everything does not have any self true dualistic existence. So that is Rangtong mega. Now the second, the Rangtong ma yin gag. What is the difference between Rangtong mega and Rangtong ma yin gag? Rangtong ma yin gag will say: "The subject Buddha nature is free from all descriptions, such as permanent, form, reality etc, because its quality is ineffable and indescribable. It cannot be described. The difference between Rangtong mega and Rangtong ma yin gag is enormous. Rangtong mega is saying nothing is there, Rangtong ma yin gag is saying it is not there like anything because it is ineffable, it is indescribable. It is not saying nothing is there.
We are now going to Shentong ma yin gag. It says about Buddha nature - I'm using the same subject because then we can get grip of it. If I use different subject for each one then we get lost. So I'm using the same subject, Buddha nature. It is permanent and unchangeable and not created by anybody, it is not created with anything, it has no limitation, it is limitless, because it is the Buddha nature's quality. For example the quality of fire is hot. The quality of space is empty. The quality of sun is bright. The quality of Buddha nature is limitless, without characteristics and absolutely forever, that is Shentong ma yin gag. Of course Shentong ma yin gag for philosophical debate purpose can describe Rangtong mega as nihilism, and Rangtong mega for the sake of debating can call Shentong ma yin gag as eternalism. But if you ask me, what is my philosophy; I am Shentong ma yin gag. For me Buddha nature is beyond nothing. Buddha nature's quality is non-dualistic, free of limitation, limitless, perfect, without characteristics, primordial, that is the essence of everyone and everything.
That is the Shentong ma yin gag. Me means "no". Ma yin means "it is not". Here it means it is not like a sky, not like a sun, not like a fire, because the Buddha nature does not have anything equal to it except itself. But you can use each of them as the example to describe some aspect to it: Buddha nature is bright like sun, Buddha nature is vast like space, Buddha nature is sharp and strong like a thunder bolt; it can cut through and break through anything. Buddha nature is beautiful like lotus and so on. You can use these examples to describe it, but it is not like that in all aspects. Ma yin means it is not and gag means not accepting the shortcomings and limitations of the example. That is Shentong ma yin gag. Shen means Relative Truth, tong means empty; so the Ultimate Truth is empty of the Relative Truth.
This is generally about the first part, which is the ground, about the Buddha nature, about the Ground Mahamudra, about the primordial wisdom. Now the second part, the Path. When we say Path in the Mahayana context, then we are talking about such text as Prajnaparamita. Actually there are 17 texts of Prajnaparamita. The content and practice of those texts and understanding of those texts, that is the Path.
When it comes to the philosophical aspect of the Path, there is basically Shedran Ngawa, Dodepa, Sem Tsampa, Umapa, four major schools, each one of them having its own definitive philosophical stand. Each one of them has many sub-branches of the philosophy, but Shedan Ngawa has actually a very interesting philosophical background, because one Indian great master interpreted a very important sutra in a most unique way. Following that interpretation a whole school has developed. He is an enlightened master, an Arhat, he interpreted this way, so we all respect it but it is little bit… I could be wrong but when I look at Christianity this is little bit like Protestant, because Protestants interpret the Bible slightly different from the main stream Christians and developed a new kind of school, right? So, this is little bit like Protestant. But of course I'm not saying Shedran Ngawa and Protestants believe in the same thing, it's totally different, but the story is little bit like that.
Now this is one Arhat called Nyerpe. He interpreted the common Abhidharma and Sutra, Tripitaka, in a very particular way, slightly different from all the others. That is one of the four schools, Shedran Ngawa. The simple description of this school is: all the phenomena from enlightenment to Samsara all of it does not have any kind of outstanding true existence, which can stand on its own feet, outstanding truth in itself, because each one of those things can function by themselves without having to depend on the others. This means: from Samsara to Buddhahood each little thing they have their own reality and their own characteristics and strength, so that they can function by themselves without having to depend on other things. That is Shedran Ngawa, but others will never say that; we will say things are interdependent. But it says: they can stay and function by themselves. This philosophy believes in five things. It believes these five things are true, that they exist.
First, from eye to body, from form to touch all the five things, five subjects and five objects: eye, ear, nose etc. up to body and form, smell, etc. up to touch, ten things exist. They do exist. Then the second thing they believe is: from an ordinary being's mind to Buddha's mind, the mind exists. That is the second thing they believe existing. The five products of the mind they describe 51 mental aggregates. They say they do exist. They also describe there are 21 things which cannot be identified, and you cannot finger point that they are there. For example if I give this book to you, it becomes yours and you say: "It is mine, I got it." As soon as I say "I want this book from you," and you give it to me, it becomes "not yours". Do you understand? So if you take it, you are stealing. When I say "It is yours" and then you take it, you are not stealing. All of this kind they describe 21 of them. And they believe they exist.
And then there exist directions like north, west, south, west, sky, etc. which are not really something like a book. East for us is west to the westerners. West to us is east to the westerners. Vice versa. They are not there, but they believe that those directions and the sky, the space exists. This is the Shedran Ngawa out of the schools.
The second one is Dodepa, but let's talk about Sem Tsampa first. The Sem Tsampa means "the mind only". This philosophy believes that all phenomena, everything, is totally not separate of the mind. And mind is the only factor. According to the mind everything is perceived. They make a Pramana verse for this and say: "All the phenomena are there. They are only inseparable with the mind, one with the mind, because they manifest as the result of the karma that one accumulates through the intention of one's mind. Because of that everything comes to existence. Therefore everything is mind."
The Mind Only School holds onto three points very strongly. The first one they call kunta. It means just name or described. Not really true, but described. All phenomena which are happening here are illusion, they are not real. The second thing that they hold on very strongly is shen wang. It means: by the power of others. (Turning the tape, missing some teachings.)
…everything else is illusion. That is the basic stand of Sem Tsampa. Now we look into the Umapa, the Madhyamika. The Umapa has several schools, but the main two schools are Sam o tawa and Jachen chöpa. They emphasize the view very deeply, deep view, and the vast action and activity. So there are two aspects of Umapa and Madhyamika. Madhyamika has Rantong, Kangyur, Rang dzy and Shentong. All of these schools of Madhyamika are following the Middle Way, but out of all of them the one that is really technically or terminologically or most correctly or clearly representing the Madhyamika, is the Uma tanjurwa, because Uma tanjurwa doesn't hold onto any philosophical stand of their own. Therefore they are the true Middle Way, because they don't hold on any stand. They only react on other's' limited limitations of stand. And so, terminologically speaking Tanjurwa represents the Madhyamika most precisely.
But as far as I am concerned, because I am follower of Shentongpa, out of all Madhyamika philosophy most comprehensive, most sacred and most complete and highest aspect of Madhyamika is Uma Shentongpa. That is my belief. All Shentongpas will say that. We have text written on Shentong, it is describing it very proudly as Lions Roar. So the Shentong philosophy, the Lion's Roar, the roar of the lion. Lion is the king of the animals, so out of all the Madhyamika Middle Way philosophy the Uma Shentogpa is described as the most profound of all the Madhyamika philosophies. That's what we, the Shentong followers, will say. That is about Umapa.
And the Dodepa are those philosophies that are based on the sutras. Actually most of the Shedrang ngawa, Sem tsampa, Umapas are following the commentaries written by great masters like Nagarjuna. We have eight great masters. Four of them wrote the root texts and four of them wrote the commentaries. These root texts and commentaries are part of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. So many Tibetan Buddhist schools developed out of them. Shedrang ngawa, Sem tsampa, Umapas are following these texts, but Dodepa is following the sutra itself pretty much and their philosophical stand is rather similar to the Madhyamika, but they will refer to the sutras rather than referring to the commentaries and texts written by all these great masters. This way there is a slight difference between all three of them and the Dodepa, but in essence more or less the same.
Now the third part of the subject, which is the fruition. When it comes to fruition, the Theravada's fruition is Arhat - that is Nirvana, Nirvana free from the suffering of Samsara. Mahayana's fruition is from the 1st level of Bodhisattva to the 10th level Bodhisattva. That is 1st level Bodhisattva can manifest perfectly at all times in one hundred places. Second level Bodhisattva - ten thousand. Third level Bodhisattva - one million. The fourth level Bodhisattva hundred millions. The fifth level Bodhisattva ten thousand millions. The sixth level Bodhisattva one million millions. The seventh level Bodhisattva one hundred million millions. The eighth level Bodhisattva ten thousand million millions. This way each of them hundred times more than the previous ones. So the tenth level Bodhisattvas' manifestations can manifest millions of times in millions of galaxies perfectly, but not Buddha. So, the Buddhahood is the ultimate goal in Vajrayana.
At the same time in Vajrayana the Buddhahood is the only goal, reaching the realisation of the Dharmakaya and manifesting Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya for the benefit of all sentient beings, that is the Vajrayana's fruition. And now in this you can say, the result, fruition of the cause, fruition of the fruition and the manifestation of the fruition. The fruition of the cause is reaching the realisation of Arhat in Theravada and reaching the first eight levels of Bodhisattva in Mahayana. That is the Theravada aspect. And the Mahayana only aspect then is the first ten levels of Bodhisattva, so this way the Bodhisattva has ten levels and in the Theravada eight levels. There are some similarities between the eight levels of Theravada, but the eight levels of Theravada Arhat realisation are not 100% equal to the eight levels of realisation of the Bodhisattva. So the result of the cause is the Theravada's all eight levels. And the result of the cause in the Mahayana is the Bodhisattvas' ten levels.
Now the Bodhisattvas' ten levels are the result of the cause, because Bodhisattva reaches those ten levels because of Bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is the cause. And Theravada's this realisation is the result of the cause, because Theravada says: "I wish to reach Nirvana." Theravada never said: "I wish to become Buddha." If you say "I wish to become Buddha," you are not Theravada. So you say "I wish to reach Nirvana, I wish to be free from suffering of Samsara," therefore that result is achieved, that is the result of the cause. The Mahayana reaches all ten levels of Bodhisattva, because the Mahayana said: "I wish to reach Buddhahood, therefore it is the result of the cause.
Now we go into the second stage, which is the result of the result. The result of the result is Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, they are the result of the result. Why? Because you reach the Dharmakaya, then the result of the Dharmakaya is Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. You will not have Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya without the Dharmakaya. Therefore result of the Dharmakaya is Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. We as a practitioner, who did not reach the result, then our body is the Nirmanakaya, our speech and expression is Sambhogakaya, our mind is Dharmakaya - backwards. But when we reach the realisation of the Dharmakaya, then how Dharmakaya spontaneously, non-dualistically manifests is Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. They are the result. Does it make sense? The result of the cause and the result of the result.
Now the activity of the fruition. So the fruition of the cause, fruition of the fruition and the activity of the fruition. The one who reaches the realisation of the Trikaya, the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya, is called Buddha in Sanskrit. In Tibetan it is called Sangye. The activity of Sangye is stainless. It is just spontaneous manifestation. The example is: you put one thousand containers filled with water in full moon's night. In each container you will see one moon. And that does not break the moon in the sky into one thousand times. But perfect one thousand moons manifest in one thousand containers like that. How many sentient beings from how many places are ripened enough a vessel to manifest Buddha's Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, to them it will manifest just like in one thousand containers one thousand full moons shine. It is not that Buddha's dualistic thought makes him/her manifest to him or her. It is spontaneous. The cause and condition for that is long before the Buddha's enlightenment. The motivation of the Buddha: "I wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood," that made it happen. So the result is achieved by manifesting exactly as you are aspired to right at the beginning. That are the activities of the fruition. This way I think Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya are described in a simple way, and I hope Ground, Path, Fruition brief description is not that complication for you.
Somehow this is just like a tip of the iceberg of Buddhist philosophy. One way it is very simple, because the Theravada philosophy s all based on "I wish to be free from suffering. Samsara is no good, Samsara is full of suffering, there is nothing in Samsara worthy of spending my time and energy." That is the Theravada, all Theravada philosophy is based on that. Mahayana agrees with that, but at the same time there is nobody in this Samsara who deserves to suffer in Samsara. Every sentient being's ultimate essence is Buddha. Therefore they can be free from the suffering from the suffering of the Samsara. They must be free from the suffering of samsara. They will be free from the suffering of Samsara. They will never stop struggling to be free from the suffering of samsara, many times by making mistakes, many times making the right thing, but nevertheless, no matter how ignorant they are, they do their best to be free from the suffering of Samsara. You put a monkey in a cage - the second thing that monkey will do is try to get out of it. That way you make somebody the king or queen of Planet Earth. The next thing that person wants is something that he or she does not have. And they will find out very soon what he or she is missing, even as the owner of the whole world, still there are so many things one cannot have and on does not have. This way the struggle will not stop.
For that reason one has to attain the Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. All the Mahayana philosophy boils down to that. And Vajrayana philosophy is very simple: the essence of everything is same, equal. Essence of good and essence of bad cannot be two essences. One essence for the good and one essence for the bad, cannot. Ultimate of the good and ultimate of the bad, ultimate of so and so, of all, equal. By realising the ultimate you are free from good, you are free from bad, you are free from so and so. That can only happen, if you are above and beyond dualistic clinging. You have to be free from dualistic clinging. When you are free from dualistic clinging then you are free from the dualistic domination. When you are free from the dualistic domination, then you are half way to enlightenment. And from there to reach enlightenment is to be free from that freedom. And when you are free from that freedom, then you become limitless. Because definition of freedom is compared with some other thing, like measuring the height of the building by measuring the length of the shadow. So when you say "free," you are measuring it by not being free. So you have to be free from the freedom itself, and then you reach the ultimate essence, the Dharmakaya. Dharmakaya will manifest into Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.
And Vajrayana practitioner will try to overcome doing bad things. Not because the essence of bad is different from the essence of good, but the bad itself is the opposite of good. So, you do good things to overcome bad. You stop doing bad things and instead do good things. And once you are nothing but good, then what? Then still you are all dualistic, you re not free. You have to overcome good as well. And when you reach above and beyond bad and above and beyond good, then you reach the realisation and the essence of everything. That is the Dharmakaya. So Dharmakaya is not only the essence of good, but essence of everything.
Why such a thing as attachment or anger exist? It is the other side of the coin of the wisdom. Other side of the coin of the wisdom of compassion is anger. Other side of the coin of the wisdom of contentment is attachment. Other side of the wisdom of appreciation and joy is jealousy. Other side of the coin of generosity is stinginess. These are the defilements. And so, when you overcome the negative aspect of the same thing, then you manifest the positive aspect of the same thing. But in order to reach the Buddhahood you have to transform the positiveness as well. Otherwise you will end up becoming a limited Buddha. And limited Buddha, who has so much power and so much glory, but liking those who are nice to you and give lots of presents to them and disliking those who are not nice to you and give them punishment, is not Buddha. The Buddha by definition of Vajrayana, the realisation of Dharmakaya has to reach beyond that. And activities of Buddha should not be limited to anything, any kind of limitation. This is Vajrayana philosophy. When you look at these three in a very simple way, it is very similar. But if you really go into Buddhist philosophy with the blessing of Pramana, then it can be very entertaining.
If you have some questions I can take one or two.
Question: What is the concept of duality?
Rinpoche: Concept of duality means I and you. I can only talk about non-duality but I can not act on non-duality because me talking to you dualistic. You asking me a question is dualistic. So I can't do anything non-dualistic right now, because I'm not Buddha. But when I reach Buddhahood I will be manifesting non-dualistically, and when I reach first level Bodhisattva, I will be minus 100 times non-dualistic. And when I reach Arhat, maybe 100% non-dualistic. This way right now I can only talk about non-dualistic, I can only pray for it, but I cannot act on it, it is all non-dualistic. When I meditate maybe I reach to the non-dualistic state for a split second on good days, or bad days, actually. Sometimes to reach that kind of state bad days are more good than good days; some kind of shock, a pressure, in that state if you are able to reach a good state of meditation, then you might have easier to reach that state of non-dualistic state. And one has to be able to remain in it, but it is up to impossibility for most of us.
Question: Is the result of Mahayana and Vajrayana different?
Rinpoche: Mahayana and Vajrayana are very difficult to separate that way. The only difference is methods. Mahayana methods are Six Paramitas. Vajrayana methods are visualizations of Deities, rituals, meditation on nature of mind. All kind of other methods. Other than that it is very difficult to separate between Mahayana and Vajrayana. In Vajrayana the description of enlightenment is transformation. Reaching one state, another state - not like that, but transformation.
Rinpoche: No, from India. From Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni's teachings are four: Vinaya, Abhidharma, Sutra and Tantra. The Vinaya is all Theravada, Abhidharma is almost all Theravada, Sutra, few are Theravada. Abhidharma, some are Mahayana, Sutra - many of them are Mahayana, and Tantra - all Vajrayana. We as Tibetan Buddhists practice all four of them, therefore our respect and appreciation and honour towards Theravada and Mahayana is impeccable. But Mahayana's and Theravada's appreciation towards Vajrayana is sometimes questioned and many of them think quietly and nowadays loudly: we are Hindu influenced. That's what many of the Theravadas and Mahayanas think, that we are more Hindus than Buddhists. But this is not publicly said. But we have no problem with the Mahayana and Theravada.
Question: Is Vajrayana just in Tibet?
Rinpoche: All of Himalayas, all of Tibet and all of Mongolia and some part of Russia, that is Vajrayana. Some aspect of Vajrayana is in Japan, some aspect in China and some aspect in Korea and some aspect also in Northern Laos I was told. Also in Thailand there is some Vajrayana practice done by some forest monks. They practice mantra and also according to the tantra. Old days in India in Nalanda and even in ruins like Varanasi ruins you can see Vajrayana Deities, you can see them there carved in the ruins. I saw one Tara in one of the ruins excavated by the anthropologists, so one of the Tara carvings are there on one of the walls. So Vajrayana is there in India very wide spread. But because the way Buddha taught it, it was practised more secretly than in Tibet. In India, when Buddhism was thriving, the Vajrayana aspect was practised quietly and for example vajra and bell were not shown to the public. And the paintings of the Deities, the Sambhogakaya aspect of Buddha was not shown to the public. The practitioner kept it secretly, because that was how it was supposed to be. But when it went to Tibet, then Tibet itself, the whole country, is secret I think - so then it became very public. And long time before the Abhisekhs were given by the guru to the disciple only. But now there are mass Abhisekhs performed for as many people as there are wishing to participate in Tibet as well as in Mongolia as well as all over Himalayas and now all over the world actually. So now the Vajrayana is all over the world right now. Vajrayana is not developed in Tibet. I like that credit but unfortunately it is not true.
Let us dedicate the merit for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Tibetan Buddhist History
I try to go through Buddhist history of Tibet, the Tibetan Buddhist history. We have three types of history in Tibet with many alterations: the history of the kings and country, the Dharma history (the Buddhist history) in India from Buddha until now, and the Buddhist history of Tibet. Of course they do not conflict with each other, but emphasize specific areas.
What I am going to share with you, is a very brief form of Buddhist history of Tibet, not of India, and it will involve some of the history of the kings and country also, because the main patrons of Dharma in Tibet were the Tibetan kings. So they will come in the picture once in a while.
Originally Tibet was a lake, it was an ocean long time ago - we are talking about millions of years ago. And then, in the ocean an island developed, and on the island two kinds of creatures lived: one was a monkey and the other was a cannibal. The female cannibal and the male monkey got involved and six children were born from them. They are known as myu dun druk. In the Tibetan national flag there are six rays of the sun, which represent them. These six children had individual characteristics: one was very happy and proud like god, one was very jealous like asura, another one was very passionate like a human, another one was quite stupid like an animal, another one was very stingy like hungry ghost, and another one was very angry like a hell[being]. So the six kids had their own characteristics. That way the offspring of them also had their own characteristics.
Now, when this went on and on for a long time, and the population was sizeable, then the lake vanished and land developed. So the Tibetan land is quite new compared to many other lands in this world. On Tibetan very highest mountain tops you can find fossils of sea creatures today, and if you break some of the stones on a very high mountain of you may find shells, fishes, all kinds of things from the bottom of the sea. This way it is quite recent in the galactic ages but of course in human age it is very old one, we are talking about millions of years.
From these descendents many small groups and tribes developed, but one of the places, which is considered the first village of Tibet, is Kongpo area, sub-tropical part of Tibet. It is a valley of Brahmaputra, which flows from east to west and it has lots of flora and fauna, which is not found in northern or western part of Tibet. In this valley there was the first valley which was known as the Nose of the Monkey. Maybe it was described by the shape of the mountain on which the village was established. In Tibetan it is called Kongpo tel na. Tel na means monkey's nose. Most of the people on that area were hunters and also they cultivated [the land].
At that time there was one Indian prince from the race or the tribe of Litsambi. He was wandering, and why he was doing it was not very clear. Maybe he just left everything and wandered, or maybe there were too many princes in the family and he did not want to have competition with them, or maybe he did something wrong and he got kicked out from the family. Those days they did that. They called it banishing, it happened with Mahabaharat, what do they call them? [Kandos?] So this prince was wandering in the forest and the hunters found him, and he was very different from them. He was very handsome and civilized, very graceful and unusual human being. They got immediately taken by him and they asked: "Where do you come from?" They did not speak each other's language and he pointed to the sky. So people thought he was coming from the sky, a god or something. So then they really respected him and they immediately made a kind of carrying chair out of wood and carried him on their shoulders to the village. They made him the king of that village and he is known as Nyatri Chenpo. Nyawa means neck or shoulder and tri means the throne, so the king who was carried on the shoulders of the people and the shoulders were the throne. He is supposed to be the first Tibetan king.
Lhari Chantor was the name of the place where he was found. Lha means god, ri means mountain, so he was found on the Mountain of the God. This is Nyatri Chenpo. After 26 generations from him there was a king whose name was Lha Tho-tori Nyentsen. He built the first castle in Tibet, known as Yumpu Lhakar. Yumpu Lhakar is little bit above Lhasa, near the airport, actually. When I went to Lhasa, from the aeroplane you can see it. To go there of course you have to take a little turn - that is on top of a mountain, a very small castle. But that was the first, biggest castle built by Lha Tho-tori Nyentsen, the 26th king after Nyatri Chenpo.
After he had completed that castle - the original castle was destroyed by the Chinese during the Cultural Revolution, the Cultural Revolution was such that the Chinese somehow instigated Tibetans and Chinese and Tibetans went together and destroyed things and mainly it was physically done by our own people actually, and it wasn't only the Chinese. It was the Tibetans who were following the Chinese, they destroyed things in my area. I'm very far away from Yumpu Lhakar; on horse back it takes one and half months to get to my place. So they destroyed Yumpu Lhakar before or during Cultural Revolution and now it is rebuilt with the same shape because there are lots of photographs of the original one, but of course it is not the same thing. Many Europeans who went to India and some Indians actually, and also some Russians and Czechoslovakians, who went to Tibet, had lots of photographic records. So this is very well known, impressive, very beautiful castle with a tower.
One day Lha Tho-tori Nyentsen was in the tower, praying. So his castle was totally covered with lights, rainbows, clouds and something like that. Some miraculous thing happened. In the midst of this mysterious display he ended with a box in his hand. He was on top of the castle praying, and suddenly a box appeared in his hands, just like that, out of the thin air. When the box was opened, there was one sutra which is known as Samato köpa, Samato köpeto. And another sutra Apangkung Sakyapa [?] and then Cittamani, that is om mani peme hung -mantra. And one little golden stupa, these were found in the box in his hand. So, Lha Tho-tori Nyentsen on top of the Yumpu Lhakar found these. That is considered historically the first time the coming of Buddhism to Tibet - miraculously. And in his dream he saw that five generations from him in the future they will know the meaning of the content of these objects: the stupa and the texts and this mantra. They will know this after five generations. The fourth generation after him was a Tibetan king called Namre Songtsen. His queen was Deza Ökar and they had a son: Songtsen Gampo. He was the fifth generation from Lha Tho-tori Nyentsen.
When Songtsen Gampo was thirteen years old he became the king, so, as a 13-year-old teenager he became the king of that time of Tibet. Through his might and wisdom and power he united all of Tibet. He is known as unifier of all of Tibet. Tibet was 2,5 million square kilometres, a huge place, and occupied with little kingdoms and tribes. Songtsen Gampo united that after he was 13 years old. At that same time he had a very special minister, whose name was Gönpo Gar, and his minister was a genius. So, the king sent his minister to Nepal and Nepali princess Özer Korza was brought to Tibet to be the queen for Songtsen Gampo. The king also sent the minister to China and Ungchen Kongcho of China was also brought to Tibet and became his queen.
So he had two queens: one Nepalese princess and one Chinese princess. The Nepalese princess brought her favourite Buddha from Nepal and the Chinese princess brought her favourite Buddha from China. And the Buddha which was brought from China was actually the personal Buddha image worshipped and commissioned by the king Ashoka. It is the most important religious relic of all Tibet, we call it Jowo Rinpoche. It survives in Lhasa even today and during the Cultural Revolution or before it, it was damaged very badly, it survived, so right now it is enshrined, it is there and Jokhang is there, it is worshipped by all Tibetans and many other Buddhists who go to Tibet. So the Jowo is originally for India, it belonged to king Ashoka, then it went to China, it was the favourite Buddha of the princess, and when the emperor, her father told her, you have to go to marry the Tibetan king, she said, "I will go only if I can take my Buddha with me." It was a big Buddha. Many people had to carry it on a palanquin all the way from China to Lhasa. It was a big task.
This minister, Gönpo Gar, he had a son in East Tibet, Kham and he was our king. That is where I come from, where I was the rajguru, it is call Derge, and the first king of Derge is the son of this minister. The last king, the descendent who died 1992 or -93, he was the 50th dynasty, very long dynasty from the time of Gönpo Gar. This way this minister brought two princesses and the king married with both of them and brought the two precious Buddhas toTibet.
At that time the Tibetans did not have complete form of writing, script, but of course the historians are such, that many of them say there was Tibetan writing, there was Tibetan civilisation, there were Tibetan villages before, and there are lots of disagreements among Tibetan historians, but I'm going with the main stream. So these things are popping up these days, but when I was a teenager and learned about Buddhist history, I did not heard about those things. But I hear about those things today, so one or two decades passes and lots of new things come. They even have written scriptures and they say that is Tibetan's original writing! I have no clue what that writing really means and I don't know how to read that.
This is common historical belief, that there was one person called Trinmey Abu, who had a son who was sent to India. He learned full Sanskrit from very learned Sanskrit master there, whose name was Lha Rigpe Senge. Lha means god, rigpa means intelligence, senge means lion, so I don't know how his name is in Sanskrit, he was an Indian very learned Pandit and in Tibetan his name is Lha Rigpe Senge.
He was sent Kashmir part of Tibet, to Katshe, Katshe means Kashmir and he was given a name Sambhota. Bhutia, bhota means Tibetan. Sam means good. Thönme was his family name, so Thönme Sambhota. Then he came back and he created the Tibetan alphabet which has 30 letters and then i, u, e and o.
That is the beginning of the Tibetan complete writing and it is based on Sanskrit, because we have ka, kha, ga, nga; ca, cha, ja, nya; ta, tha, da, na; pa, pha, ba, ma; tsa, tsha, dsa, wa; sha, za, ha, ya; ra, la, ça, sa; ha, a; as the alphabet. You have ka, kha, ga, ghaa, nga; ca, cha, ja, jaa, nya; ta, tha, da, daa, na… we don't have those extra things. He did that, because it had to match with the Tibetan language. Tibetan language already existed, but not in written form. Complete efficient written Tibetan language did not exist, that how it is expressed in the history. That means there must have been some means of recording thing but not complete grammar etc.
So he made grammar and all the other necessary things for literature. Seven stages of grammar were made, but right now most Tibetans use two of them only. That is sufficient for functioning of our Tibetan literature right now. The other five of them somehow are included in these two or were not that important. At that time it was maybe made that way because it was fresh from the Sanskrit. Therefore many of the rules of the Sanskrit he tried to apply in Tibetan language. But later over the centuries it was not that necessary and not that useful, so that disappeared. So now we are dealing with two, we learn two of them. All other five are supposed to have disappeared. But it is general knowledge of all the Tibetans that the grammar text written by the eight Tai Situ over 200 years ago, which is the most famous and most comprehensive grammar in Tibetan language, called the Rosary of Pearls, is supposed to have the resonance of all the other five grammars in it, because the 8th Tai Situ was so good in grammar that somehow he rediscovered them through the literature. Anyway Thönme Sambhota created the Tibetan writing.
Now this king, who had conquered all of Tibet and the greater Tibet had developed, in the greater Tibet which he occupied and where he established his authority, he created law based on Buddhism. It was a law to award those who conduct the ten virtues and a law to punish those who conduct the ten non-virtues. So the law was based on ten virtues and non virtues.
The ten virtues are: giving, being generous, then being physically moral, no misconduct and then saving life. These three things are three virtues of the body. Telling the truth, bringing people together instead of slandering, saying kind words and having meaningful conversations; these are the four rules of speech. Three positive activities of the mind are: (1) appreciating what other people have, saying that it is good and not wanting it to yourself, (2) being kind to others, having a kind heart towards others and (3) having the right view. The right view means the philosophy of the karma, philosophy of the ultimate… that everyone is good, that sort of basic philosophies, correct understanding. These are the ten virtues.
The ten non-virtues are opposite to that: killing, stealing, misconduct, lying, slandering etc. He punished those who conducted the ten non-virtues and awarded those who conducted the ten virtues. That was his rule, his law throughout Tibet and all the rules and laws are based on that. For example in the kingdom where I belong, Derge, there is a constitution which ends like this: "If you don't feed your dog it offences the law." That is the last law in the constitution. That way the law and order was established.
Both the king and queen visited the temples and villages according to very important principles of vastu shastra, Tibetans call it shastje. Tibet is like a female cannibal on her back and all the spots, for example right shoulder, left shoulder, right leg and left leg, they built four temples in those places that are known lu shi temples. And right elbow, left elbow, right knee, left knee, four khamdul temples are built in those places. Right palm, left palm (in Derge), right sole of feet, left sole of feet (Kuntang in Bhutan), these are the mang jul temples. These are the twelve main temples that were built on the different spots of this female cannibal lying on her back; that is how the greater Tibetan kingdom looks like.
Where the heart is there was a small lake The small lake was covered and the lake was made a big plain and there the main temples of Jokhang and Ramoche were built there. There the main temples of Lhasa were built. That is where the heart is. It is known as the lake of milk field, field of milk. O tang tso.
Together with that there were 108 temples and 108 stupas built all over the greater Tibet in important spots and I without any doubt believe, that is why the ancient civilisation together with the precious teaching of Buddha and its lineage was preserved in Tibet even with all this terrible political upheaval, Cultural Revolution, all these terrible things happening, still they really cannot destroy it totally. And even the cultural heritage and lineage survives today, I think it has a lot to do with this, how it was established.
So, many of them are believed to be constructed through the miraculous power of the king, but of course he also had tremendous secular power as well and a person who can unite such a big area with such a wild civilisation at the age of 13, got to be pretty able one. And so, with spiritual power as well as temporal power and all this might, I think he managed to establish this.
This was the first part. At that time from India and Nepal and from China also quite few masters were invited. For example from India a great Acharya known as Kasara was invited, an also a Pandit known as Sankara. From Nepal a great master known as Shri la Manjur was invited. From China one Hasang - Hasang means monk, these days in Taiwan and Malaysia they call the monks Hasang and, the Mahadeva, they were invited, so they translated quite few Sutras, such as Dorje Samatoköpa, the original text which came to the hands of Lha Tho-tori Nyentsen, the Samato köpeto, Pangkung Sakyapa, all these things were translated then, as it was prophesized five generations from his time, then it happened. So the prophecy was fulfilled.
The king ruled Tibet for 69 years. He was a very good ruler for 69 years and finally the king and the two queens dissolved into an Avalokiteshvara image. This was an Avalokiteshvara image which was spontaneously arisen from the nature, so the king and the two queens dissolved into it like light. They really did not die leaving a physical body behind. And king himself is known as the emanation of Avalokiteshvara and his minister is known as the emanation of Vajrapani.
(Turning the tape)…in a very short period of 69 years. 69 years is a very short time and during this time Dharma was established in all of Tibet. In all of greater Tibet, not in little Tibet which nowadays they put on the map, TAR is not even half, not even one third of Tibet! Maybe it's fair to say it's one third of Tibet. What was Tibet at that time was much bigger than what you have in the map today as TAR, Tibetan Autonomous Region, that is what Chinese call it. I'm not in politics but by knowing history I find it very strange why even some of our own people put the Tibetan map just the TAR. History is history. What happened in the past happened in the past, so they should write it according to the history. It doesn't mean you are fighting for it, you are arguing about it, but truth is truth. So there is no reason to make bigger or smaller this way or that way, cut the ear or nose there, make the hair shorter. What it was, it was.
During this time Tibet did not have any bikkhus or bikkhunis or ordained Sangha. During his time all of Tibet was very much like Protestant: no monks or nuns, there was no ordained Sangha there. After that, five generations more, from the time of the king Songtsen Gampo, the name of that king is [?] Thubten, he built quite a few temples including Lhasa Dra Karpo, the Temple in Lhasa on White Rock. He also invited quite a few Sanghas from Liul, from North-West of Tibet and from China he invited Hasangs, Buddhist masters.
This time Sutras such as Hundred Dharmas and Golden Light were translated. [?] Thubten's son Gyalsa Gawang died, so the prince died, and the queen re-married to the father of the prince. The son, which was born to them, was the emanation of Manjushri. He is known as Trison Detsen. Before there was Songtsen Gampo and now there was Trison Detsen.
Trison Detsen sent four very intelligent persons to China to find the Dharma. With the help of the kings of China of that time about one thousand volumes - text volumes, not book volumes - (Text volume is 500 shlokas, I believe, but I'm not certain. One shloka is four sentences.) so, with about one thousand volumes one monk came to Tibet. At that time the father died and Trison Detsen was very young. There were few ministers who were not good, so they were against Dharma, anti-dharma. They expelled and banished many of the great masters, and they really conducted the original law set by the great grand-king: ten virtues and ten non-virtues rule, all these things were corrupted by those ministers because the father died and Trison Detsen was too young to do anything.
Then the ministers wanted to send the Buddha Shakyamuni (Jowo Rinpoche) back to China and they tried to lift the statue, but 300 persons could not lift him. So they gave up and buried him in sand near Lhasa. Buddha won't go. Normally four persons had carried him. It was a miracle.
There was one very important Lotsawa, a translator, things that were left from the time of Songtsen Gampo, one very great translator known as Sal Lhang, he was also banished, many great masters like that were banished to the outskirts of Tibet. Tibet became chaotic and was not united anymore. It became many small kingdoms and tribal areas again. These ministers made tremendous damage to the unified kingdom of Tibet.
When they were doing all of this all over Tibet terrible things happened. Some of the worst ministers had a terrible death. They had a kind of disease which makes their back open and they die. It is believed that the Dharma Protectors made them to pay for it. So many of them died with that kind of disease - that their back will open up. Some of them totally became dry, fell apart and died. They just became like ash. Finally they got afraid and thought it had something to do with burying the Buddha in the sand. So they tried to excavate it, and when they did it, actually two mules could carry the Buddha and put it on the altar. Previously it had taken 300 men to bury it. They also sent back the Chinese Buddhist monks.
When Trison Detsen reached the age of thirteen, then he became the king. Then he found out what the ministers had been doing during this short period after his fathers death, before he became the king. In about 10 -12 years they made so much damage. He found this out and he made them re-open the texts. Some of the texts he red himself and he got very inspired. So he banished many of his bad ministers and re-appointed many good ministers of his father. Some of the bad ministers such as Shamgön Trompa confessed to him and he forgave to them.
Those Tibetan masters, mahapanditas and translators who were sent out of the country or to the outskirts of the country, they were brought back. During this time one of the very important persons of Buddhist history is Sangshe. He was originally abolished to southern borders of Tibet. He together with three other friends and one Lotsawa (translator) called Lhasang Wang, who was also expelled, they went to India, visiting Bodhgaya, and Nalanda. Then they came back to Nepal and met a very great Indian Buddhist master called Abbot Bodhisattva. So the banished minister and banished translators went to India and Bodhgaya and Nalanda and on the way back they came to Nepal and met with the Bodhisattva.
These people who were originally abolished were able to come back and make the king understand that the original inspiration of his great grandfather five generations before, and also 26 generations before ( Lha to-thori Nyen-tsen) - they were able to inspire him. This way the king again started to send intelligent Tibetan masters and ministers to India and out of Tibet to search for the Dharma. The Chinese monks who were brought to Tibet by the great father of the king did not manage to do much, because it was terrible time. The king was very young, the old king died and all these ministers were very powerful and very corrupted and they were totally anti-dharma, so there wasn't anything anybody could achieve at that time.
Sangshe and a good minister Sal Lhang and also a translator, they were sent to Manyul Kungtang which is South of Tibet. Among them Sal Lhang went to India. There he met with the Bodhisattva Santaraksihita. Bodhisattva Santaraksihita was actually originally from India. He was a prince of the king of Sahora. He became a monk, a Bikkhu, a very learned one, and he met with Bodhisattva Santarakshita. Then Bodhisattva Santarakshita told them his previous lives and the future of Tibet. It was a prophesy. Also the ministers were able to bring back these messages to the Tibetan king. And Tibetan king, Trison Detsen, sent messengers to the king of Nepal and requested the invitation of the Bodhisattva Santarakshita to come to Tibet. Bodhisattva Santarakshita accompanied by some Nepalese translators, panditas, they came together to Tibet.
That time the king sent some messengers to check out how this Bodhisattva Santarakshita was: whether he was really a great master or just some kind of charlatan. This was also influenced by some of the bad ministers and the ministers who went to test him brought back a message to the king saying that this person is somebody who does all the good things and who doesn't do all the bad things and his god is Buddha, and Buddha's teaching is not to harm anybody and to benefit everybody. This is what seems to be what Bodhisattva Santarakshita is all about. This was told to the king, and the king finally accepted and received him to the red palace. It is known as the Palace of the Red Rock. He made the prostrations to the Bodhisattva Santaraksihita.
At this time Bodhisattva Santarakshita asked him: "Do you remember me?" King said: "I never saw you before." Bodhisattva Santarakshita said: "During the time of Buddha Dipankar there were three of us, young kids, we were very poor. We made a stupa out of sand, and during that time we made very serious aspiration. I the abbot said, that I will become the mahapandita, and you said you will become the king. And Sangshe was one of the boys and he said, "I will be the messenger." As the result, we all three together, one as the mahapandita, one as the king, one as the messenger, will bring Dharma to the backward, barbaric places, we will bring Dharma to them, we will make them all follow the Dharma, and became good, we will make all these barbarians to become civilized.
We made this aspiration. I told this to you. Do you remember? The king said: "No, I don't remember." Then Abbot Santarakshita wanted to see the signs, what kind of things are going to happen. How to establish and re-establish Dharma in Tibet. He made some tests and he wanted to check the signs. He said that you the king are wearing a turban. Your domain will be something like a size of a hat. Hat is just enough for a head, not very much, had the king wore a Mexican cowboy hat it would have been much better! Turban doesn't cover very much, I guess, he said, it will be only that much. Then he said: "You are wearing shoes; your subjects will be about a size of a shoe." That means just enough. "You are not wearing a belt." I don't know what kind of clothes they were using, but he said, you are not using a belt; therefore the rule of the law will not stand. Because the belt is like a law. The rule of the law will fall apart, that is what the Abbot Bodhisattva said. And then he said: "You give me lots of gold as an offering, this way, Dharma will flourish, but your kings' rule will abolish and you will have some domain size of a turban and some subject like size of a shoe. Not much. But lot of gold was offered, so Dharma will be good and dharma will flourish.
This time there was a palace called Lungtsug, Hurricane. Lung means the wind, tsug means going around like hurricane. In this palace Santarakshita taught many things, such 12 interdependent originations etc. It went on about four months. But during that time the Tibetan gods - when we say gods here, in Tibet every part of the land, every mountain and lake, everything has god. We have lots of gods. Even today they reveal. I give you one example. Very close to my village there was one girl, she was not crazy, and she was told by the local god that he wanted to marry her. Then family thought that she was going crazy. Then she told the family: "No, the god is coming and you have to prepare for him. Then during that time they were making preparations, now they had to take her seriously, then that were preparing cushions and things like that, she only carries one side, and three sides are carried by itself. So the servants of the gods and all these people come to help her, so she makes her house very beautiful and nice. She only has to do one quarter of the job, other things are done by themselves. For example, you want to hang this thangka, this and that part go up there by itself, everybody is convinced.
Then she wanted to make a very special seat for the god that is her husband. They make a very nice new seat, very thick one, made out of wool, and covered it with good materials, specially sewed for him, and he came there and sat whole day. She sat next to him on another place - nobody sat on this cushion, and afterwards she told her father and mother who lead the god, and she was talking to him and went, and the people could hear some male voices but could not really hear the words. But she was laughing and talking just as she was talking to someone. And the cushion, which was very thick, was only that thick, because the god was sitting on it the whole day. And she described all the gods that came there that date. And they were according to our pujas while she cannot even read. She just she looks after the animals, takes animals up to the mountains, she just does that. She is a shepherd, she doesn't know anything, but she described all the gods and godheads and what kind of animals come with them, it was exactly according to the text.
There was one thing that is not in the text which she saw. She said: "All of these gods sat this way, all of their animals sat other way. But on top of all the animals, the highest ranking animal was only this big, and it is black in colour, hairy one, with head only this big and tail only this big. That was above all. Right next to them was the tiger, right next to them were the leopards. Then all the other animals sat below. But this was the king of the animals." We never had that animal in our texts. That was a new discovery; other things were exactly according to our pujas. We have pujas for the local gods. This is just happening right now, and I don't know what's happening right now, maybe she is talking to the gods. These things are there.
At that time the gods of Tibet were not happy, because they were not receptive to these things and they made so many problems, so that Bodhisattva Santarakshita found that his spiritual power was not enough to subdue these gods. So he was not going to be able to hold on very long and would not be able to establish Dharma in Tibet. Then he told the king that now there is a great prince from Uddiyana, whose name is Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, so you have to invite him. And his power can take care of these naughty gods. Otherwise I will not be able to manage establish Dharma in Tibet. After that was said, the king Trison Detsen sent messengers to bring Guru Padmasambhava to Tibet.
As you can see in the life story of Guru Padmasambhava his arrival was very dramatic. All the evil spirits of Tibetan mountains, lakes and passes were subdued and the Dharma was established in Tibet finally.
I will stop here for the moment. (Break)
This morning we went through the Buddhist history until the invitation of Guru Rinpoche to Tibet. Guru Rinpoche was invited to Tibet because of Bodhisattva Santarakshita's suggestion. As you know Guru Rinpoche is supposed to have been born from a lotus and adopted by a king as the prince, that was in Sahor area. A lot of research has been done about the location and for some years it has been said it is somewhere in North-East Afghanistan, in North-West part of Jammu-Kashmir, Pakistan and North-East part of Afghanistan, somewhere there, and there are still ruins of old palaces and holy sites where Guru Padmasambhava was born, on a lotus.
Guru Rinpoche's life story is very long, because he had eight major manifestations and there is a lot to cover in Tibetan Buddhist history beside Guru Rinpoche's life story.
As suggested by the Indian prince, great mahasiddha and mahapandita living in Nepal, Bodhisattva Santarakshita, according to his suggestion king Trison Detsen sent invitation to Guru Rinpoche. He sent two main persons: Basa Lhang and Sengkor Lhalung Zig, they were accompanied with another five. He sent seven people to invite Guru Rinpoche. Through his miraculous omniscient power Guru Rinpoche came to know that they were coming, so he came all the way to Nepal and there they met him. Guru Rinpoche told them: "You people go ahead and I come my own way." So he came through miraculous way. The Tibetan gods tried to give him lots of trouble and he manhandled them one by one. They all became his subjects.
There are some details which sprit gave what kind of trouble, but I give you one example. There was one mountain goddess called Gankar Shame, at that time she was known as Gankarma, White Snow Mountain. She manifested in front of Guru Rinpoche by creating thunderstorms, avalanches and all kind of obstacles. Guru Rinpoche just looked into her eyes very strongly, so the eyes melted and she was exposed. So she ran away and went into a lake which is known as Paltso. Guru Rinpoche pointed a mudra towards the lake and the lake boiled and her whole body was cooled. So she had no flesh left and as a skeleton she still tried to oppose him, because two of her eyes were still left. All of her flesh was cooked and separated from the body, but she had two eyes. She still tried to fight with Guru Rinpoche, so Guru threw his vajra and then she only had one eye left.
So she only had only one eye, then she finally said: "Okay, enough is enough, I bow to you, submit to you, and I will be a Dharma Protector. Guru Rinpoche accepted and she is known as Gankar Shame Dorje Shinzigma. Gankar means the white mountain, shame means no flesh, dorje means vajra, shinzig means one eye, ma is mother, so she is one of our protectors and that is how we draw her with one eye and skeleton. This way there are so many, one of them is twelve ladies, all lady goddesses. Very powerful, they all tried to stop him but did not manage. Not only ladies but male mountain gods also, so many types, all of them tried to stop him and they could not. Guru Rinpoche managed to get through all of those obstacles.
Finally Guru Rinpoche met with the Tibetan king in the hurricane palace, which I mentioned before. And then, during that time some of the bad ministers were also able to influence the king to expel the Bodhisattva Santarakshita into Nepal, they blamed many of the problems that happened to him and said that he is creating them by practising black magic etc. In one way it was wonderful that the king was doing many good things but in another way the king seems to have been little bit weak, because he was listening all these people, and even expelling Bodhisattva Santarakshita back to Nepal. So it was little bit strange, but what happened is what happened, and Bodhisattva Santarakshita went back.
At that time Samye became most important Dharma seat for Guru Rinpoche and Guru Rinpoche chose the site for building of the Samye temple. Samye was very beautiful temple until the Chinese occupation, and it has four main temples on the four sides and a central temple, and very big wall around it. All these buildings were done because Guru Rinpoche flew in the sky and where-ever his shadow fell they drew on the ground…(turning the tape.)
Samye is supposed to be one of the most important geographical places in all of Tibet. Anyway, finally Samye temple was built in a shape of a mandala. Mainly the mandala of the planet earth, our solar system, so the MtMeru in the middle and the four continents on the four sides, the sun and the moon, the stupa on top of which the sun-stupa normally had smokes coming out on specific dates of the year - without fire, the moon-stupa is supposed to have drops of water coming out of the stupa during certain times of the year. These are architectural marvels, which are unfortunately destroyed, but these special signs are no more there, just the stupas stand.
When I went there for the first time in 1984, most of Samye was occupied by villagers and they were raising pigs, they were cultivating and it was really a village. But when I went again in 1992, then it was rebuilt pretty nicely.
During this time Guru Rinpoche, Bodhisattva Santarakshita and King Trison Detsen, the three were known as khen lop chö sum. Khen means khenpo, the abbot, Bodhisattva Santarakshita, lopön means acharya, Guru Padmasambhava, chö, means chögyal, dharma-king, dharmaraja, Trison Detsen. They came together and gathered lots of Tibetan kids and tried to teach them Sanskrit, but most of they did not get it. They did not manage to study and pronounce. It made the king very sad. So then Guru Rinpoche finally told him: "Don't worry, there are specially kids whom I can find."
Guru Rinpoche prophesized one very special child, his name was Berotsana [Vairocana]. Guru Rinpoche sent for him. When the king's messenger reached the village and met the child he asked him: "Where did your father go?" The father was not there, mother was not there. He said: "My father went to buy eye." Actually father went to buy some oil for the lamp. So it is the eyes. Then they asked: "Where did your mother go?" "My mother went to buy chit-chat." You know, talking. Actually she went to buy some wine. When people drink wine they talk a lot. So they found he is very intelligent. He did not say his father went to buy oil and mother went to buy wine. He described it in a very interesting way. The little kid proved himself, so he, Berotsana, and another one called Kawa Paltseg and another one called Tsowo Luyi Gyaltsen, and many others like these three were chosen and trained in Sanskrit and Tibetan and they translated actually the Vinaya and the Prajnaparamita and many of the Tantras and most of the Sutras that are outer, relative teachings. Those Sutras were translated.
At that time Guru Rinpoche, Bodhisattva Santaraksita and the king wanted to know whether the ordained Sangha is possible in Tibet or not. To test for that they chose seven persons. These seven are known as se mi mi dyn. Se means awake. You have doubt, so want to make sure, awaken it, find out. They had doubt whether ordained Sangha is possible or not, so they chose seven boys to test it. They found three older men, one middle-aged and three young ones.
Bodhisattva Santarakshita, who was a Bikkhu, ordained them. The king built twelve monasteries across Tibet for the ordained Sangha. It was successful and they all managed, it was possible. They also chose eight very young boys and taught them Sanskrit and Tibetan language which was already there. They all became quite good. Out of them they chose five persons headed by Drugu Khepak (Drugu is one part of Tibet and his mane was Khepak). He and five of them were ordained and sent to India to learn Buddhism. They met with great mahasiddhas such as Humkara. They learned all the medicine texts, medicine tantras from Humkara, so the five Lotsawas sent to India with Drugu Khepak learned the Tibetan medicine and also blessing medicine. So they did not learn the medicine medicine only but the amrita, the blessing medicine. And they brought many of the texts back to Tibet.
Out of this group one of the persons did not make it back to Tibet, because in Nepal next to a lake a very big snake ate him. So one of them got killed and other four came back to Tibet. But at that time there was a queen for the king and she was not a very good person. So she somehow slandered to the king and temporarily these four persons were expelled to the outskirts of the country. Out of the seven persons two of them, Berotsana and Legdrub were sent to India and they received ati tantras (maha, anu and ati, the three levels of tantra). The tantras that are ati level, they received transmissions of them. When they were coming back Berotsana managed to come back but Legdrub was killed by custom officers.
Berotsana went to Bodhgaya and received transmissions from great masters: Shri Simha, Paltseg Senge etc. and he received 25 tantras and 18 major texts. Now he found out that he needed a special ability to go back, because some of them go back without obstacles, because some of them got killed by the border security custom officers, some were eaten by the snakes etc., so it was very dangerous. So he practised the 'quick walk'. You can walk many hundreds of miles without stopping and without getting tired. He practised that, we call it kangjor, the fast leg practice. It is a special tantric siddhi. He practised it and managed to come to Tibet.
But some the ministers were again making troubles to the king, so that he had to do a terrible thing. He had to hide Berotsana and he had to kill one poor pilgrim saying it was Berotsana. All of the ministers seemed to be very powerful and the king had to get rid of Berotsana and kill somebody - order somebody to be killed in place of Berotsana, pretending it was Berotsana while the king had hidden Berotsana in his palace. And when Berotsana was translating those texts into Tibetan, there was one place where quite few pillars were together, so the king built something for himself in between those pillars, and he was hiding Berotsana in the palace.
Finally the not very nice queen found out, because she was the closest person to the king, she found Berotsana was hidden there and she told all the ministers. Then Berotsana was arrested and expelled again to very far borders of Tibet. There were lots of obstacles. Now where Berotsana was expelled, that family, whose home Berotsana was taken refuge, Legrub, who was killed by the border security guards, he was reborn in that family. Berotsana recognised him as a little boy born there. So, Berotsana taught him Sanskrit and Tibetan and later he became known as Yudda[?] Nyingpo, a very famous disciple of Berotsana.
Now Guru Rinpoche was still there, but the king had to do all these things, the queen was behaving very badly, all the ministers who were not so good, they were with the queen and things were not going smoothly. But Guru Rinpoche was still there and his activity was still going on. Finally Guru Rinpoche told the queen that she was really a problem. It was coming from karmic connections during many past lives and he also told to the king why she had to be his queen and why all these things were happening. Many of the ministers, why these things wee happening, and finally they all were convinced and they became conducive to the spread of the Dharma.
At that time Kawa Paltseg, Tsowo Lyi Gyaltsen and Ma, the three of them again were sent to India to bring the Dharma and then the King sent message to Indrabhuti, but the problem was, that some of the ministers, who were Bönpo in origin, they made obstacles, so that when Vimalamitra came to Tibet, king was very doubtful about him. That is what I'm saying: King Trisong Detsen seems to have been little bit light-headed. But Vimalamitra showed lots of miracles and the King finally got convinced.
Finally from India and from China many Buddhist masters were invited and in Samye there was one place, which was known as translation place. In that place may of the Sutras and Tantras were translated.
Also through Guru Rinpoche's miracles and many of the great masters' wisdom, the original Tibetan Bön-religion, which was very much like shamanism, (which did lots of sacrificial practices, they sacrificed animals and they even sacrificed humans,) these were abolished, so that in Tibet there is no more human sacrifices and no more animal sacrifices for religious purposes. That was done after all these things took place. Then the Bön which seems to be positive and beneficial to the people, to sentient beings was left and incorporated into the Vajrayana Buddhism. So right now we have for example the rituals for the long life, rituals for the good luck, rituals for the quintessence, rituals for the warriorship, all those kind of original Bön-oriented rituals and practices were incorporated into Buddhism so that we still practise them today.
This means that finally during that time Buddhism was finally established in Tibet without any major obstacles. After that all major obstacles were created by the followers of the ancient religion, which were involved with worldly worshipping. Not for enlightenment purpose but for worldly purposes and also black magic. For example in Tibet showing your tongue is very important. Why? Because those days people who practised black magic had black tongue. So, to show that you are not a black magic practitioner, you have to show your tongue. Whenever you see the leadership, the king, you have to show your tongue. And then also, nowadays it becomes an old habit for old Tibetans, young generation Tibetans do not show tongue, but older generation still show, and the British envoy for Tibet coming from India, his photographs have dozens of people lining up showing their tongue! It is actually saying that I am not a black magician. That is what it is. The Bön practised black magic and it was banned, so that you had to prove that by showing your tongue that you don't have a black tongue. That's one small example.
After that the Tibetan Buddhism flourished and many schools for the lineage have developed. It is like a trunk of a tree that has grown into many branches. So there are eight major branches in Tibetan Buddhism. Everybody likes to say there are four schools in Tibetan Buddhism. That is a very simplistic and lazy description. There are not four but eight schools, eight major lineages.
The first one is known as Nyingma. Until Atisha Dipankar, who is from Bangladesh, until that Tibetan Buddhism is Nyingma, Nyingma means "old". Like an old bag can be called nyingpa, old bred is called roti nyingpa. This is the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism starting from Guru Rinpoche. Before Guru Rinpoche there were many generations there, there was Dharma, you remember, but from Guru Rinpoche onwards until Atisha Dipankar coming to Tibet it is known as Nyingma.
During the time of Guru Rinpoche it was known as Nyingma Kama, Kama means command, so the Guru Rinpoche's teaching is known as Nyingma Kama. But after Guru Rinpoche left Tibet, all the teachings that derived after that are known as Nyingma Terma. So, Kama and Terma. Guru Rinpoche and his disciples put certain texts into hiding for later rediscovery. And they prophesized who is going to find what and when. According to those prophecies the texts were found and the lineage of transmission was received from Guru Rinpoche by the person. Guru Rinpoche is immortal, so you can receive transmission from him today, if you are prophesized and enlightened person. So they received direct transmission from Guru Rinpoche and discovered hidden treasures, Termas. Nyingma Kama and Nyingma Terma means this, it means treasure.
Then the Dharma is Dharmakaya Kuntuzangpo, Sambhogakaya Vajrasattva. From these two Guru Rinpoche received the transmission. From Guru Rinpoche to all his disciples, such as Garab Dorje and others, there are 25 enlightened masters, all these are the Nyingma lineage. There are many things, but if you really look into it, it summarises into two things: one is the dzogchen, which is the final most profound teaching of Nyingmapa about the nature of mind and the method to realize the nature the mind. Dzogchen has many levels of practice. The other is drupa katje, there are eight aspects of deity practice: body, speech, mind, knowledge, activity, wrathful, offering, and something like exorcism, so there are eight aspects. And peaceful, the body, is Manjushri-oriented, speech is lotus-oriented and mind is Yandak-oriented, knowledge is amrita-oriented and activity is Vajrakilaya-oriented etc. These are eight aspects of deity of the Nyingma lineage and dzogchen and katje somehow covers most of the Nyigma practice. But of course each of them has so many elaborated sub-practices and there are six main seats for the Nyingmapas.
In Upper Tibet there are Dorje Drak and Mindrolling, two monasteries. In middle Tibet there are two main monasteries: Sechen and Dzogchen and in lower Tibet two main monasteries are Katok and Paljur. These are the six main seats of the Nyingmapa lineage. And the head of Dorje Drak is Dor Drak Rinchen Chenpo, head of Mindrolling is Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche and head of Sechen is Sechen Rabjam, head of Dzogchen is Dzogchen Pema Rinchen, head of Katok is Katok Shejong, head of Paljur is Paljur Urgyen, so these are the six main masters of the Nyingma lineage. But out of all of them the real supreme head of all of the Nyingma is Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche. This post is hereditary, from father to son, he must marry and he must have a son and that son becomes the head of the Nyingma lineage, So, that is the Nyingmapa, one of the oldest.
Second is Kadampa. Ka is command, dam means instruction. All the commands of the Buddha are instructions for the liberation of sentient beings. That is what Kadam means. During the time of Mutse Tsenpo, that is the great grandsons of the Trison Detsen, the Tibetan king who invited Guru Rinpoche, he died when he was 69 years old, and at that time his son Mune Tsenpo become the king. He made a very special policy for Tibet, so that there were no rich and no poor but everybody was equal. That was his mission. So Mune Tsenpo's mission was that he did not want any rich or poor people, everybody was equal. But his son, Sangane, had problem with his neck and he had a nick name Jingön, 'crooked neck'. His other name is Tsite Chenpo, he became the king, and during his time he built a very important temple called Kajung Gyalte. His son was Je Ralpa Chen, he was a very devout king. When he invited monks to his palace he used to undo his hair and put it on the ground and make all the monks walk on his hair. He respected ordained Sangha that much. Je Ralpa Chen was very highly devoted king. He was also supposed to be an emanation of Vajrapani and he is supposed to be prophesized in the White Lotus Sutra.
During that time the Indian abbots Acharya Jinamitra, Surandrabodhi, Shri Dalandhabodhi, Danashila and Bodhimitra, five of them and Tibetan abbots Rinchen Sungwa and Chösum Tsultrim, his Sanskrit name is Dharmashila, and four Tibetan translators Janasingha, Jnanarangshita, Manjushriwarma and Ratnashila; these main people under the patronship of king Ralpachen who made his hair as a doormat for the Sangha to walk on, they translated most of the texts from Sanskrit to Tibetan. Those of the old translations, which were not very clear, they retranslated and made them more clear. And those translations which were word by word translations and not clear, they made meaning translations. For example, when you say in English "how are you" that doesn't make any sense in Tibetan. That has to be translated in Tibetan equivalent of "how are you" rather than translating exactly how - are - you. In previous translations many texts were left as word to word translations. When it was changed into meaning translation what it meant in Sanskrit, the same meaning was conveyed in Tibetan language. Also at that time many of the texts that are very difficult to understand were made understandable.
This time there were many problems between the neighbouring countries, there were fights and disputes, which were now settled, so many treaties were written. Many of the treaties were written on stone pillars. The original greater Tibetan border is actually everywhere carved on stone. Orders were there carved on stone and I'm sure the modern governments, if they find them, they will remove them, it's very easy! From north to south all the Tibetan borders were marked with stone carvings, stone pillars and disputes were settled. Many religious places were established. Unfortunately one of his ministers killed this king and his son, the crown prince was expelled to Tsang area. From the main capital to Tsang is not very far, but they expelled him there.
At that time there was one very important minister called Palgyi Yönten. He slandered that the queen and the lamas were involved and the lamas were killed and the queen killed herself. These things happened when the king was very young, actually when his ministers killed him he was only 26 years old. They held him and twisted his head and it is said that his face was twisted backwards and they killed him that way.
His brother, known as Langdharma, (who is supposed to have had a horn growing on his head) became the king, because the crown prince was expelled. The king was very bad and a total non-believer, so he destroyed most of the monasteries and he made monks and nuns to disrobe. Quite a few very important masters escaped to Eastern Tibet, to Kham, and the king lost that part of Tibet, so they resisted against him. They did not want to destroy the temples and they did not want to go against the Dharma. In the central Tibet Langdharma as the king wanted to destroy everything, the East Tibet was fighting with the Central Tibet and with these masters who escaped to East Tibet with lots of the Dharma texts.
He threw the Buddha into a cellar and dumped many of the Buddhist texts into a cellar and nobody was allowed to read them and he burned many of the texts. At that time there was one great master who was born in Lhalung, his name was Lhalung Palgyi Dorje. The king was reading the stone carvings in a pillar in Lhasa, he made some alteration and he was reading that. Lhalung Palgyi Dorje wanted to kill him, because otherwise he would go on destroying everything. So Lhalung Palgyi Dorje created, as he was prophesized, as he was told from higher sources, he created a big hat, which is called a black hat nowadays in a lama-dance, it's created by him. And very long sleeves, because one sleeve is to hide the arrow and the other sleeve is to hide the bow. So bow and arrow are hidden in the sleeves and he painted his horse totally black, and then he was dancing. The king was enjoying his dance while he was reading the stone carving in the pillar and then, in the middle of all of that he shot the king in the head and killed the king. He jumped on the horse and run through the river Tsangpo and the river washed all the black colour from his horse, so his horse became white. So, then he managed to run away on a white horse. They were all looking for a guy on a black horse, that is how he managed to escape. Lhalung Palgyi Dorje is a great hero, although he had to kill a person.
The son of Langdharma is called Ösung, "Protected by Light," because the king was so paranoid that whole night he wanted light to be there in the room of his son and armed guards to protect him in the light. The father was so paranoid, he wanted to protect his son 24 hours, even at night with lamps on, guards holding arms protecting the son.
(Turning the tape)…and then the descendent of this king, called Gyalpo Songme, he rebuilt a temple in Puke which is very close to Tibetan border. There was a very important temple called Poting which ruins are still there, I saw photograph taken by some westerners, Poting monastery complex ruins on the mountain top. This was built by this king's descendents.
Again Buddhism was being revived and he went to Samye and realised what his great grandfathers had done. His father was very bad but his great grandfathers had been very good and he realised that by visiting Samye. He developed interest to re-establish Dharma in Tibet. He sent quite a few persons to India to invite enlightened masters, they really did not manage to find any, and then he sent his own two sons Yeshe Ö and another son. He made Yeshe Ö to become monk, ordained, and he gave the king's throne to the younger son called Lhadre. He did not manage to bring any good master and credible Dharma teachings from India at that time. Many of the persons he sent died, some came back empty handed. Finally one person whose name wan Döndrup Senge met with Atisha Dipankar.
After so much problem of finding the right guru, finally one of the persons that he sent managed to find Atisha Dipankar, but he did not accept to come to Tibet. Then the king said that Lama Yeshe Ö, the monk, should be sent to different parts of Tibet to find gold and take this gold to India and invite great masters, such as Atisha Dipankar. So Yeshe Ö was sent to Tibetan borders, and on one of the borders which was known as Kharlok, somewhere south-west side of Tibet, there one of the tribes captured him. They found out he is a Tibetan prince who had come to collect gold in order to go to India to invite great masters. When they found that out, they did not kill him but wrapped him in cloth and kept him like money. Then his other religious cousin, his brother's son Jangchub Ö found this out and his father's brother sent his son with one hundred horsemen to save his brother. The Kharloks' king told them to give the weight of the person in exchange, and they gave all the gold they had, but the weight of the head was lacking. Therefore they did not let him go but killed him. So Lama Yeshe Ö died for searching Dharma and at that time he told his cousin, who was sent for him: "Now you don't do anything for me, there is nothing to do for me, take all this gold and invite Atisha Dipankar. You don't have to save me. Take this gold, invite Atisha Dipankar and let them kill me, it's okay." Then the Kharloks killed him.
When the Tibetans went to see Atisha Dipankar with the gold, they told him the whole story. "For inviting you our prince went to search for gold and then these things happened and he died for it. Now please come to Tibet." He died by being thrown into a pit filled with insects. The Kharloks threw the Tibetan prince there and the insects ate him alive, which was their way of killing people. Before this happened he sent a message to Atisha Dipankar: "In my future life may I reborn and become your disciple. I die for it."
The people who went to invite him told all these stories to him and Atisha Dipankar accepted to come to Tibet. He taught the view according to Madhyamika, the action according to Vinaya, the instructions according to the Bodhisattvas' way and so this teaching is known as Kadampa. He had three main disciples called Ku, Ngo, Drom. Ku is the incarnation of Manjushri, Ngo is the incarnation of Vajrapani and Drom is the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. Drom had three main disciples: Potowa, Chengnawa, and Puchungwa. These great masters are responsible of continuing the Kadam lineage, which is transmitted to Tibet by Atisha Dipankar, as the result of all this: the prince who gave up his life, and one who went to save him but did not manage and came back, and the king who then sent other messengers to bring Atisha to Tibet.
After these six great masters the incarnation of Manjushri, Tsongkhapa was born. When he was 53 years old he built Geden Monastery. That is the main seat of the Gelukpa, Geden (Ganden) monastery. Gelukpa by definition is the tradition of the Geden. Ge means Geden monastery, luk means tradition, lineage. So the lineage of the Geden monastery built by Tsongkhapa. Tsongkhapa, Dharma Rinchen and Gelek Palzang, so in gelukpa monasteries three masters sit there: the middle one is Tsongkhapa, the right one is Dharma Rinchen and left one is Gelek Palzang.
There is also Manjushri Zangpa Seven Lineage: Gyaltsab Je, Khedrub Je, Shalu Khepa Gyaltsen, Lodro Gyaltsen, Shogyi Gyaltsen, Shanpa Loden, Nyendrub Manang Pal, these are known as great lineage holders of Gelugpa lineage, which are known as Manjushri Zangpa seven masters.
One of the direct disciples of Tsongkhapa, Jamgyan Tashi Pal, he built Drepung monastery eight years after the construction of the Ganden monastery. Then another disciple and great master Janchen Chöje Shakya Yeshe built Sera monastery eleven years after building of the previous monastery. Then the incarnation Dromtönpa Gyalwe Jungne, one of the six I mentioned earlier born before Tsongkhapa, so the incarnation of Dromtönpa, Gendun Trup, he built Tashi Lhunpo 29 years after the construction after the construction of the Ganden monastery. All the Dalai Lamas are incarnations of Gendun Trup.
The Gendun Gelek Palzang's incarnation Sönam Tobje Langpo, his incarnations are known as Panchen Lama. They are heading the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. Then there are three other very great masters known as three incarnate masters of the Geluk lineage: Lo Sempa Rinpoche, Ö Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Okar Chendun Rinpoche[?], these three are the main Rinpoches of the Geluk lineage, but then from there onward up to now it is continued and spread to many places.
The original birthplace of Tsongkhapa is in Amdo. There they built Phumpo Monastery. This monastery is very special. You know when baby is born there is something which attaches the baby to the mother. When Tsongkhapa was born and it was cut and thrown away, there grew a tree. This tree is there in Amdo, Phumpo Monastery, and each one of the leaves of that tree has a Sanskrit or Tibetan character: om, ah, hung etc., any such character naturally visible to anyone. The tree is still there. That was roughly about the Gelukpa lineage, and until Tsongkhapa we call it Kadampa. After Tsongkhapa built the Ganden Monastery at the age of 53, then Gelukpa started. Before that it was Kadampa and until that Tsongkhapa was a follower of Kadampa.
Then Sakyapa, originally known as Lamdre Lineage. Lam means path, dre means result. This is the 'descendent from heaven'. Father's side we call it bone, mother's side we call it blood. A particular bone descendent from heaven is known as 'Kön' bone. He had two brothers: one was Dode and one was Rinchen. These two received direct transmission from Guru Padmasambhava in a very special way. From there until Kön Sherab Tsultrim there were ten generations. From father to son ten generations went by. Until that the Köns practiced Nyingma teachings, because they received transmissions from Guru Rinpoche.
All the generations had practiced Nyingma lineage, but Kön Sherab Tsultrim, the tenth generation, his younger brother Könchok Gyalpo became a disciple of Drogme Lotsawa etc. He became a great master of the later translations of Nyingma instead of the earlier translations. When he was forty years old he built the Tsang Sakya monastery in the Tsang area. Sa means land kya means grey, so the land is barren; there are no trees or grass, land is like Ladakh. And the name of Sakya started of the visual description of the land, on which Könchok Gyalpo built the monastery. This was also prophesized by Atisha Dipankar, who said that there will be seven incarnations of Manjushri and one incarnation of Vajrapani, who will be born on this grey land area. The prophesy was fulfilled, when this happened.
The Drogme Lotsawa Shakya Yeshe was the master of Vinaya, Prajnaparamita and some of the tantras which he received from great masters such as Arya Tara, Vajra Bir. He received tantric teachings, lam go gu we call it, the Sakyapas main practice of tantra. Nine main paths. First one is Lamdre, then in the second one - the main tantra is the Hevajra tantra, but there is visualization which has nine stages. Sampannakrama is nine stages and Utpannakrama is one stage, like subtle energy. So that is the second.
The third is also based on tantra, but it is about the practice of bodhichitta. Fourth one is again the same tantra as Hevajra, but this is about spontaneously arising visualization practice. Then another one is about mudra yoga. This is based on one tantra called dhyana[?] bindu tantra. The sixth one is the tantra of great union and the seventh one is practice of Chakrasamvara. This has all aspects of outer, inner and secret practices.
The eight is based on Guhyasamaya, which originally does not have any written [instructions]. It is from master to disciple, from mouth to ear lineage. I don't know how it is these days, but originally it was never written down. It is about Guhyasamaya Mahamudra. The ninth one is about mother tantra, the essence of mother tantra. This is known as "One that straightens which is not straight". It is about nadis and bindus, to make straight that which is not straight, opening of the chakras etc. The great Indian mahasiddha from whom the Tibetan Lotsawas have received this teaching, came to Tibet three times, Sakyapa master Drogme Lotsawa [received it].
There is a simple way to describe these nine teachings. First one is a simple way described as early Lamdre and all the other eight are later Lamdre, but it is actually same thing; it is like preliminary Lamdre and the actual Lamdre or the preliminary Lamdre and later Lamdre, and Lamdre I explained to you earlier.
The main master of the Sakya lineage, the son of the Kön Könchök Gyalpo, the incarnation of Vajrapani, Kunzang Nyingpo received transmissions from [?]Lotsawa, who was his main guru. He encountered Lord Manjushri in person. He saw Manjushri and received direct transmission from him. Also he attained high realisation through receiving transmission from Indian great master Virupa and he became great master. He had four sons. His second son was Sönam Tsemo and his third son was Drakpa Gyaltsen and his fourth son was Paltsen Löpo. All these three remained lay persons and got married, therefore they are known as "three whites". The son of the last son, Kunga Nyingpo and his younger brother Sönam Gyaltsen, together with Sönam Gyaltsen's son Lodro Gyaltsen became bikkhus, monks. Kunga Nyingpo and Sönam Gyaltsen are known as "two reds", and the three whites and two reds are the five main masters of the Sakya lineage. The descendents of the Kön throne are the head of the Sakya. Right now His Holiness Sakya Trizin is the descendent of the Kön. That is the Sakya lineage briefly.
There is much more but time if flying and I don't want to go to history tomorrow. I want to finish the history today! Bear with me just few more minutes. Sakyapa actually has few more branches. Sakya, Norpa and Tsalpa. The head of Sakya is Sakya Trizin, the head of Norpa are four main abbots: Gutin Khenpo, Gansar Khenpo etc. Head of the Tsalpa is one: [?] Rinpoche now settled in [?]. Sakya has three main lineages just like Nyingma has six main monasteries and Gelukpa has three main monasteries: Sera, Drepung and Ganden.
This way I think Sakya is roughly covered and now Kagyupa. Ka means command, gyu means lineage. "The lineage of the command of the Buddha." There are two lineages which hold the name Kagyu: one is Shangpa Kagyu and another one is Marpa Kagyu. When we say eight lineages of Tibetan Buddhism: Nyingma, Kadam, Lamdre, Marpa Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu, Sheje, Chodruk, Dorje Nyendruk, so, eight lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.
Now we talk about Marpa Kagyu. The great master Tilopa was a very important mahapandita and finally he achieved all the realisations as a mahapandita. Then he went into tantric transformation stage. In the tantric practice he received four main transmissions of lineage from Sariapa, Nagarjuna Lavapa, Sukasiddhi, Indrabhuti and Matangi who are his main masters. All the transmissions that he received from them are four streams of transmission, we call it ka shi gyu-pa. This will involve illusory body, clear light, guru yoga, bardo (intermediate state) and transferring of consciousness, tummo (practice of the bindu, the heat), the wisdom practice, the tantric transformation of negative samsaric duality into positive enlightenment non-duality. Then the tonjuk. Tonjuk is another form of powa, which is to transfer consciousness from one state to another state. He received all these teachings and he practised twelve years in a very small place. He wanted himself chained so that he would not do anything else but practice. He was chained for twelve years and practised all these sacred transmissions that he had received. Finally he attained his realisation and then he received transmission directly from Buddha Vajradhara himself. There is a very long story - I wrote a whole book on this. It is about how he went through all the stages and finally he attained realisation.
This transmission he transmitted to many disciples, but one of his main disciples was Naropa. Naropa after many hardships finally received the transmission and then he practised and attained enlightenment just equal to Tilopa, and for example Tilopa was practising as a servant for a lady who was selling wine, and who was also involving in prostitution. She was a dakini, but externally she was involved in this. So he was pounding sesame for her to make oil, and in the evening she sent her customers for him to take home and to bring new customers to her. He was doing all this as his practice, and finally one day he attained his realisation, and the next morning Tilopa was on the sky at the height seven times of the tree, which is known as tala in India. Date palm. He was singing songs to all of the city - the servant of this woman. And the whole city attained realisation, they all got enlightened because of his teaching from the height seven times of the height of the tala. It is said that if the head of the tala is cut, it will never grow, is it true? - Yes? Many Tibetans they misunderstand tala for a banana tree. But banana tree they always cut and it grows. So, it’s a date palm.
Naropa following him went through twelve main tests and hardships and finally Tilopa decided to teach him and he attained enlightenment. Then the Tibetan master, Marpa Lotsawa went to India three times and spent in India twenty-one years in India, out of which sixteen years seven months exactly he spent with Naropa, Maitripa etc. who were his main gurus. He had 108 gurus but main gurus are Naropa and Maitripa. He spent time with them and he received transmissions of fourteen main tantras now known as the fourteen main tantras of the Marpa lineage, but it is from all these great masters; such as Hevajra, Guhyasamaja, Vajravarahi, Yamantaka, Mahamaya, Chakrasamvara etc. These tantras are received by him. He practised them and he finally brought them back to Tibet.
His main disciple was Milarepa. Milarepa wanted to see him, so Milarepa went all the way to Marpa's village. When he got to the village there was a middle-aged person, big one, ploughing the ground with oxen. Milarepa asked him, "Do you know Marpa?" He said: "Yes. Do you want to see him?" Milarepa said: "Yes." Marpa told him: "Wait here. "He had some container of wine and he said: "Drink this, and I will go and call Marpa." Then he sat there and drank the wine, finished and still sitting there, and no Marpa showed up. Finally Marpa's wife came and took him in. And it was the person who he had met on the hill who was sitting on the throne. That is how Milarepa met Marpa first time. Then Marpa gave him very hard time, purified all his bad karma and rubbed all his edges, demolished his ego and finally he transmitted him the lineage he had received from Naropa, Maitripa etc.
Another disciple of Marpa is called Ngokton Chöje Dorje. Most of Marpa's transmission is about the practice and it is transmitted to Milarepa. Most about the intellectual teachings is transmitted to Ngokpa. So shepa and drupa, two lineages to these two disciples. And then he had many other disciples.
Milarepa's main disciple was Gampopa, who was a monk. How he became a monk was interesting, because he was a young and very handsome layperson. His wife was very beautiful but she got sick and she was dying. She was in agony for days and months. And she told him: "I don't want you to marry anybody." Finally he promised her that he will not marry again. Then she died. Then Gampopa got ordained and became a monk. He went to Milarepa and first thing Milarepa did was: he had a kapala [scull-cup] and he told Gampopa: "Drink this!" In front of all the people. And he was a monk. Now he had to drink a kapala full of wine and he felt little bit strange. Then he thought: "It is my guru's word." He drank it and not even a drop was left. Milarepa then decided: "This disciple can receive all the transmissions that I have." It was a very auspicious sign that Gampopa was a worthy disciple for Milarepa. So he transmitted all his transmissions to him. Then finally Milarepa prophesized Gampopa, that you should build your temple in such a place and he described the shape of the mountain and all of that.
Milarepa had many disciples, such as Rechungpa, also so many men and women disciples, but the top, most enlightened disciples of Milarepa are three men and four women and eight repas. Repa means who gave up…(turning the tape.)
…transform their body so that they really do not die. They physically descend to the heaven, to the Pure Land with transformation without physical death. The two of the main disciple whom he described as son and moon are Gampopa and Rechung Dorje Drakpa (Rechungpa). Gampopa was like the sun, because his lineage involved with great propagation and he was also an ordained bikkhu. Rechungpa is like the moon, because his lineage is very precious and profound, but not that glorious like Gampopa's. It went from mouth to ear. That way it did not spread like Gampopa's lineage. These were the two main disciples.
Gampopa had four main disciples known as the four greater Kagyu, one of which is Karma Kagyu; because the first Karmapa was born in Tehor part of Kham, which was a small kingdom right next to the kingdom of Derge. He was born there and he became a disciple of Gampopa. He received all the transmissions and as it was prophesised, he established Tsurphu Monastery first small buildings in groups of five, which still stand there, and later it become the Seat of Karmapas. All the followers of that lineage are known as Karma Kagyu. Other ones are Phagmo Drupa, Barampa, and Tsalpa. These four lineages are known as the greater Kagyu, because they are the direct disciples of Gampopa.
Out of the four Phagmo Trupa had eight main disciples, there are known as the eight lesser Kagyus, not because they are lesser, but they are the disciples of the disciple of Gampopa. So, Phamo Trupa had Drikung Kagyu, Talung Kagyu, Trophu Kagyu, Lingre Kagyu, Marpa Kagyu Yelpa Kagyu, Yasang Kagyu and Shuksep Kagyu. The Lingre Kagyu is known as Drukpa Kagyu, because originally it was Lingre Kagyu but right now it is called Drukpa Kagyu. These are the eight sub lineages of the Kagyupa and under the Karma Kagyu there was Surmang Kagyu, Nendo Kagyu and Gyaltön Kagyu, these three sub lineages have developed further. All these lineages that developed like a tree into branches, they are not something that got split because people did not get along. It is according to the prophesy of the master: the disciples spread the lineage and it had its own identity. Then there were there were three main seats for the Karma Kagyu, but over the years these three main seats were all interrupted because of Tshingis Khan, Kublai Khan and all those episodes.
Finally the Karma Kagyu lineage had two seats: Tsurphu and Palpung. Tsurphu is like the Ganden Monastery for the Gelukpa where the regent of Tsongkhapa is the Ganden Tripa, the head of the Gelukpa is Ganden Tripa, and not Dalai Lama. Many people have this strange misconception that His Holiness Dalai Lama is the head of the Gelukpa, which is not true. His Holiness Dalai Lama is the temporal and spiritual head of Tibet and all of greater Tibet. And the head of the Gelukpa is Ganden Tripa. He is by graduation, not incarnation. So he is an ordinary monk who started all the way going through all the stages and finally becoming the Ganden Tripa. The present Ganden Tripa is the 101st or 102nd Ganden Tripa. It is by graduation.
Although Karmapa is the head of Karma Kagyu, actually the Karmapa in Tibet is respected by all the schools as well as the head of all of the Kagyu, because out of four schools, which we have right now, the Karmapa is the only one who is by incarnation. Nyingma and Sakya are by heritage and Gelug is by graduation. Kagyu is by incarnation, so the Karmapa leaves a written instruction and according to that the next Karmapa is found. Although in Tibetan Buddhism we believe everybody dies and is born life after life, the master dies and re-incarnates and has the same name and continues the activity started from the Karmapa. Until the First Karmapa prophesized his incarnation and the Second Karmapa was found, there was no such thing as a re-incarnate lama. But later the re-incarnated masters traced back their sources. For example Tai Situ, the first Tai Situ title started at 1407, but the previous incarnations in Tibet trace back until the Lord Marpa. And from there it traces back to India as Dombi Heruka, one of the 84 mahasiddhas. From there to Guru Padmasambhava, to Lord Maitreya etc.
Many of the re-incarnations in Tibet count all of that, so they say I'm 26th incarnation, 30th incarnation, 40th incarnation, but actually truly the counting should be from where the first incarnation is recognised as incarnation of somebody, enthroned and takes the seat of the predecessor. It should start from there. That way I myself am the 12th Tai Situ. Otherwise I can call myself 50th Tai Situ, but that's not correct.
Without going into too much detail about all the other Kagyupas I go a little bit through the Karma Kagyu. So there were two seats: Tsurphu, the Karmapa's seat, like the Ganden Monastery and Palpung, which is like Sera, Drepung and all the others; Palpung, my seat. The Palpung monastery had 13 monastic estates and 180 monastic branches all over greater Tibet. That is what I am, and all the things that I have been doing since I was 18 months old until now, is to try to catch up and uphold all the things that the previous Tai Situs have done. Whether somebody understands it or not, misunderstand it or not, like it or not, agree with it or not, there is nothing I can do. If they don't like me to do my job then they'd better should be. Really, there is no other way to stop it. That is the Karma Kagyu Lineage.
Now the Shangpa Kagyu. During the time of Marpa there was another master known as Khungpo Naljor from a place in Tibet called Shang. Shang Shung. In the beginning he was a Bönpo, not a Buddhist, but a Buddhist type of Bönpo, you know which we have in Simhla, that type of Bönpo. It's very much Buddhist. Then he became Nyingma, but finally he went to India and he met with the sister of Naropa, called Niguma, one of the great enlightened mahasiddhas. Then he met another great enlightened lady master called Sukhasiddhi. There were the two enlightened mahasiddha women and another 13 great masters and four root masters and 150 enlightened and learned masters from whom he received all the transmissions.
So he received mainly five tantric transmissions. Marpa received 14. The five are Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaya, Mahamaya and Yamantaka. These five are the main tantras and all the practices which are similar to the Marpa Kagyu, which is Six Yogas, but all based on these five tantras. Khedrup Khungpo Naljor brought these from India to Tibet. He established his seat on the Shang area called Shang Shung and therefore his lineage is known as Shangpa Kagyu. He lived until very old age. He died when he was 150 years old. In the history of Tibetan Buddhism he is one of the masters who lived the oldest.
This lineage is very rich actually, it has so many great masters and many branches, it really flourished, but few hundred years in the past everything fell apart. So the Shangpa Kagyu is almost finished. But then, at that time the 9th Tai Situ discovered a young boy, who was serving as a secretary to one of the head ministers of the King of Derge. He told this minister: "I want to bring your secretary up, he is a great person, he is not just a young boy." So he took him and gave transmissions and he named him Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye.
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye became one of the very important renaissance masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Although his seat was in the Palpung Monastery, my monastery has Jamgon Kongtrul, Jamgyan Khyentse, and few of the Ötruls as the main rinpoches, and then later quite a few other rinpoches also resided in the Palpung monastery: Thutop Tulku, Gungri Tulku etc. Later, but originally Tai Situ, then Jamgon Kongtrul and Jamgyan Khyentse, they resided there.
During the time of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye he revived the Shangpa Kagyu Lineage. Otherwise it would have been gone. In Palpung Monastery there were the three main retreats, upper retreats, which were the residence of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, that is Shangpa Kagyu Retreat. And middle retreat that is my summer home; summer times I stayed there, so that is the Marpa Kagyu Lineage, that is the Six Yogas of Naropa etc. Then there is a lower retreat, which is the Jamgyan Khyentse Wangpo's. There they practice many other practices and do short retreats like one year and six month retreats take place there. The main administration of the Palpung Labrang is established by 8th Tai Situ. Until the 8th Tai Situ the seat of Tai Situs were in Karma Gön, which is very near Chamdo in central Tibet. But when the 8th Situ was born, at that time Gyalwa Kelsang Gyatso, Dalai Lama (I don't remember which number), was born and Kelsang Gyatso had some difficulties to reside in Lhasa. So he resided in Kham and during that time the king of Derge and the 8th Tai Situ served him.
I have it written in brocade in very big letters: "From the beginning until now, unchanged descendent of the King of Derge and his guru served me well, when I was young, and this should never be forgotten. His seal is there. That was Kelsang Gyatso and during that time the king of Derge did not want the 8th Tai Situ go and reside in Karma Gön, because he said: "This is a precious jewel born in my country, I want to offer him half of my kingdom, half of the sky and earth. So I want him to settle in my kingdom." That is how the Palpung Monastery was established. All the branches of Palpung Monastery are developed from there including the Karma Gön Monastery and its branches, which were originally there.
This is a story about Karma Kagyu and Shangpa Kagyu which right now are almost one. Shangpa Kagyu's lineage master is Kalu Rinpoche and Bokar Rinpoche, these two, because Kalu Rinpoche has done 3-year-retreat in Palpung Monastery both in Shangpa Kagyu as well as the Marpa Kagyu. And 11th Tai Situ appointed him as the retreat master of both the Shangpa Kagyu and Marpa Kagyu retreat centres. When we lost our country and when we all became refugees, Kalu Rinpoche was at a very good age, so he was able to establish 3-year-retreat in Revalsar, in Dalhousie, Sonada, in Darjeeling, then in Europe and America, Canada, in many places. Right now there are more than thousand people in Europe and America, more than thousand Europeans and Americans who have completed a three-year-retreat. The credit very much goes to Kalu Rinpoche. In the west there is Dharma establishment started by Kalu Rinpoche, Chögyam Trungpa and Akong Rinpoche, three of them. These three persons established the Dharma there and many others followed afterwards, before that there was very little Vajrayana Buddhism there, only in universities maybe, some curriculum and then Madame Blavatsky from the Theosophical had some things about the Vajrayana Buddhism, but you know, I would not dance with her. She is great but I think very scary! She is like Queen Victoria, if Queen Victoria ever had that energy.
Anyway, that's the Shangpa Kagyu lineage and now that is the Kagyu. The next is shi che. Shi means pacifying, che is a grammatical word: the pacifier, shiwar chepar, pacifier. By now everybody knows shi che from Chöd-practice. This is based on Prajnaparamita and what does it do? Practice of the Paramitas will pacify all the defilements, suffering of Samsara. This is from the great master Kamalashila, who received this transmission from 54 great masters and put the practice of this altogether. This lineage went to Tibet as well as to China five times. One of them is Padampa Sangye, who now is known in Japan and everywhere as Damo. Bushy hair, bushy eyebrows, big eyes. They also say Bodhidharma, actually that is what we call Padampa Sangye. He was a great Indian prince, a highly enlightened master, practitioner of the Prajnaparamita practice. His name was actually Kamalashila, but everybody called him Padampa Sangye and Bodhidharma.
He also came to Tibet and first time he came to Tibet through Tsari which is is Aruna Tsa Pradesh. He came to Kham then. Second time he came to Kashmir through Northern Tibet, like Kailash area. The third time he came through Nepal and went into Tang. The fourth time he came through Shau Tapo which is directly to Central Tibet. The fifth time he went through China, and there he taught Dharma for 12 years. The Shauden Temple and Shauden kungfu all are the descendent and lineage of his teaching. That is based on Prajanparamita and Chöd.
In Chöd practice we do very strong peh! yells, in kungfu they do ahhu! Very much similar, just different countries and cultures somehow transform this into all kinds of ways. But definitely there is force and to implement force you have to be forceful. The bigger the cannon the louder the noise, the further the ammunition goes, so we have lots of cannons, generals and admirals and brigades here, you all know this, it has to make noise, really shout in order to really make [?]. Chöd is based on this, and the lineage in Tibet is… actually there are so many great masters but two of them are the main masters: Padampa Sangye and Machik Lapchi Dronma, who is a Tibetan lady from the Lap area. She is a Tibetan enlightened master of the Chöd lineage. And there is about 25 masters, male masters "whose illusions fell apart" as they are described. They have no more illusions. One was called Chokro Nyenpa, "the Crazy Chokro", Chokro is the family name and he is described as crazy because if you have no more illusion, you don't care. Then other people who care so much will call you crazy. So that including him there are 25 of them. And Tsomo Sangye is one of the lady enlightened masters and there are 24 of them in the Chöd lineage, which is practised now by everybody. So there is no one organisation, no one denomination known as the shi che today. It is in everything, we practise Chöd, and so many people practise it, shi che lineage is alive, but it doesn't have its organised religious structure.
Another one is called Jonangpa, which is also known as Jodruk. Six aspects of implementation. Jodruk lineage is actually the practice of Kalachakra, it is based on the Kalachakra tantra which was transmitted by Buddha to the King of Shambala. Kalachakra and all its related lineages are protected in Shambala, because this world is going to be occupied by barbarians in next 300 years. There are two different calculations: one has one zero less and one has one zero more. So, in 30 or 300 years this whole world will be occupied by barbarians. That means this world will have no place or anybody except them. Whoever those barbarians are, they are going to dominate this world. It is not the end of the world, but this idea, this religion, this philosophy, this way of life will be imposed on every human being on this planet Earth. So there is no room for anybody.
And they will succeed, they will manage that, if one of the predictions is right, in 30 years, if the other one is right, in 300 years. The word will be totally influenced by them. When that happens, then the last, 25th king of Shambala, who will be 99 years old, he will conquer the Earth and bring the Kalachakra teachings to the Earth, and he will make this Earth heaven on earth. That unification and positiveness will remain for 500 years. This 500 years will be the renaissance period for the humanity on earth. After 500 years then again everything will change and go back to something like what we have now. This is known as Jodruk and this is also sometimes known as Jonangpa, because one of the Tibetan masters who transmitted this lineage in Tibet is called Jonangpa Taranatha. This lineage is now dissolved into everything. His Holiness Dalai Lama gives Kalachakra initiation from this lineage and we also practise the Kalachakra from this lineage, the Jodruk.
Now the Dorje sum che nyendruk. It is actually one of the great masters, Thubtop Urgyenpa, during the time of the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje about 800 - 900 years ago, the lineage which is continued by him is known as Urgyen nyendruk. Urgyenpa is his name and nyendruk is the practice. This is very much based on the practice of the yoga. It involves breathing, pranayama, it involves physical exercises, visualization and all kind of tantric yoga practices and exercises. This lineage is also somehow dissolved into everyone. There are four main masters in this lineage: Rinchen Pal, Shangtön, Kuntön Nyendowa, Bhuta Sönäm Özer etc., but this lineage does not stand as another organized lineage. It is mixed with everyone. But now the Jonangpa lineage is trying to revive the identity by itself. So it is under the instruction of His Holiness Dalai Lama that Jonangpa lineage is trying to revive itself. It wouldn't take very much, because all the teachings are there, and all the lineage is there. So they have to receive it and practise it and pull themselves together and pull their acts together. Then they will have an identity. So these are the eight major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetan Buddhist history is definitely not complete but I hope somewhat informative so that you know little bit more than you knew before.
Those of you who are taking Bodhisattva vow, it is very important for you to be very clear what is the meaning of the Bodhisattva vow because as a Vajrayana follower you must have Bodhichitta, otherwise you are not qualified for the practice of Vajrayana. We as Vajrayana teachers are not allowed to teach Vajrayana practice to those who don't have Bodhisattva vow, that is black and white, very clear.
Bodhisattva vow means: you wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain the Buddhahood. What is Buddhahood? Most of you know, but maybe some people might not know, so the Buddhahood means each one of us has a limitless potential for freedom and liberation and we all wish to attain that freedom and liberation without any limitation. That can only be achieved if it is for the benefit of all sentient beings. You cannot have freedom and liberation without limitation for yourself, then it is limited freedom and liberation, not limitless, so that is bodhichitta.
After you have bodhichitta, you become a bodhisattva in a way. Bodhisattvas have many vows and commitments to uphold, but the most important and most comprehensive principle that you have to follow is: you will not exclude any sentient being from your motivation of Buddhahood. Even somebody is very bad to you and doing all kinds of harm to you, you will not exclude that person from your enlightenment. You wish to attain Buddhahood for your friends and enemies, for all those people who are nice to you and for all those people who are not nice to you. So, for all sentient beings. If you exclude anybody from your bodhichitta, then you break your bodhisattva vow. And breaking it is very serious. It is not like breaking a Vinaya vow, which is serious, but not the same. Bodhisattva vow which is broken, has to be repaired in the most suitable and appropriate manner; totally regret, totally confess and renew it.
It does not mean you will not self-defence yourself against somebody. You will defend yourself, you will argue with others if you don't agree, but you can never exclude anybody from reaching enlightenment. If somebody is bad enough to chop you into pieces, you will still include that person in your bodhichitta, and if there is a chance to make that person Buddha, before you can make your most loved person Buddha, you will go ahead without hesitation. That has to be your basic vow. If you can do that then you can take bodhisattva vow.
As a practice, whatever you do has to be for that purpose. Even you eat, you are eating for leading a healthy life, and you are leading healthy life to enjoy good life. You are enjoying good life in order to be positive. You will be positive in order to do positive things, by which you will accumulate merit. You accumulate merit in order to accumulate wisdom, so that you reach Buddhahood. And you reach Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to reach Buddhahood. Everything that you do, has to be motivated and based on this.
It's very simple. If you are making money, you are not making it just for yourself to abuse others. You are making money to make yourself comfortable, so that you can make others comfortable. If you have power or are acquiring power, you are not acquiring it in order to misuse your power and abuse others, but to make things wrong things right. Not to make right things wrong. To fix the wrong things and make them right, that is the purpose of having power.
All of these things - whatever you do, it has to be under the blessing of the bodhichitta. Now I hope it is clear to you and the formality is very simple. All of you who are taking bodhisattva vow, please stand up and do three prostrations towards the altar. Those of you who have bodhisattva vow already, you can renew it, no problem.
Now you sit down on your right knee and hold your hands together. The first recitation that you will recite after me is upgrading your refuge. You take refuge under Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for as long as you live. That is the basic refuge. Now you have to upgrade that to a Bodhisattva refuge; that is: you take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha until you attain Buddhahood. That is upgrading the refuge. I have to do it in Tibetan. I received it in Tibetan and so I must give it in Tibetan. I did not receive it in English, German, Finnish, Russian or Hindi, but in Tibetan. You recite after me:
That was the first recitation. We repeat it twice, three times altogether.
The first part is over. Now the second part. This is the actual bodhisattva recitation. A simple translation of these lines is: "Just as the past Buddhas and Bodhisattvas took, practised and upheld bodhichitta I myself will take and uphold the bodhichitta." This is very important. Just as the past Buddhas and Boddhisattvas, how they took bodhichitta, the same way I take it and uphold it. Upholding means you will never exclude from your bodhichitta. Somebody who beat you up, somebody who cheat you, misrepresent you, misunderstand you, all kind of negative things that you can think of, you will include all of them in your bodhichitta. Even somebody kills you by chopping you into pieces you will include them in your bodhichitta, you will not exclude them. That is very clear and that is what you have to uphold. We recite this three times:
Now we all sit quiet for few seconds and during this time you confirm in your mind very clearly: "From the Lord Buddha Sakyamuni, (the Prince Siddharta who attained Buddhahood,) until today lineage of bodhichitta is unbroken. That means nobody in the lineage has broken the bodhichitta. So, the same way I have received the bodhisattva vow from my supreme master, my supreme guru, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. And it was renewed many times from His Holiness Dalai Lama and from many other great masters, but I received my bodhisattva vow for the first time in the Holy Stupa of Swayanbunath in Kathmandu from His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa, when I was 16 years old. Since then until today I did my best to keep it. I can say it loud and clear, no matter who does what to me - people have done all kinds of things to me up to today, including the Communist China, but up today I did my best to uphold my Bodhisattva Vow. I did not exclude anybody including Mao Tse Tung from my Bodhisattva vow. I heard he killed 1800 monks in my monastery 1959. When I went back in 1984 there were only 60 alive. Where did all the others go? They did not just die or disappear, and I hold all those people who are responsible for all of that, in my bodhichitta.
Of course in India, which is my second home and the Land of the Buddha, a holy place - I respect all the Indians as descendents of the Buddha - but at the same time, just as in every country there are good people and bad people. In India and Tibet also. The good people have been very nice to me and some of the bad people have been not very nice to me. Some of them are continuously not nice to me. And I keep them in my bodhichitta. Whatever they do to me, one thing they will not manage is to break my Bodhisattva Vow. That way you have something that you can really receive, because I did my best and up to now I managed. And I'm 51. So there in not too long to go, I feel I'm more than half way and I will definitely manage to keep my Bodhisattva Vow until the end, no matter who does what.
In your country also someone has not been nice to me, you know who I'm talking about and some of them have been my own disciples. They wrote books against me, they printed magazines and many video tapes against me and saying all kind of terrible things against me and against my guru and my leader, His Holiness Dalai Lama. But I never broke my Bodhisattva Vow against them. These people, if I can help them to become Buddha right now, I will do it before I manage do it for my mother. This way Bodhisattva Vow is very serious and you should take it very seriously. With this, I tell you, no matter how serious Buddhist you will be, you will never become a Buddhist extremist in the future. As long as the Bodhisattva lineage is upheld, you will not see a Buddhist extremist in this world ever. But without bodhichitta I don't think just being Buddhist is exempt from all the other terrible things happening in the name of religion throughout the world.
This way I want you to be very clear, serious and wholehearted about this, and say that no matter who does what to me in this life or all the lives to come, until I reach the Buddhahood, I will not break the Bodhisattva Vow. So we all sit quietly for a while and try to confirm this in our heart very seriously. Not just saying it, you should mean it from the depths of your heart. [Silence.]
Allright. You don't need a Bodhisattva name because you already have a refuge name and that should be enough, but you can have this card. This is actually a refuge card in Tibetan, Hindi, English and Chinese. Why in Chinese? - Because, not that I like Beijing Government but we have lots of disciples in Europe, America, South East Asia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc. who speak Chinese. Therefore this is for them. And of course if someone in Beijing wishes to take refuge, I will be more than happy to give it to them.
I will give you all one card, which you fill with your refuge name here, with the meaning, this is my seal and you can say that you got this card in Delhi in Arya Bhumi (Bodhisatta Vow in Sanskrit), in the Palpung Vajrayana Buddhist Meditation Centre. Palpung means all the glorious things put together, which is a name given by the 8th Tai Situpa to my monastery in Tibet. My monastery in Tibet is very big and it had 180 branches and 13 monastic estates all over the greater Tibet. Now they are all in total chaos and most of them don't even exist today.
But to uphold the footsteps of my predecessor is my duty. I dare not fail to uphold, cherish and continue the activities of my predecessor. For that reason I call this centre also Palpung, my monastery in Himalchal is also Palpung Sherab Ling. It is just like in Dharamsala the Norbulinka is there, Potala is there, so we are all doing our best to uphold our original footsteps of our predecessors.
Now we have the last three recitations. First of them we call "self-rejoice". You recite this only one time and it says that I was born as human being and became the offspring of the Buddha, sons and daughters of the Buddha, so if I develop myself, I will become the king or the queen, because I am born in the family of Buddha. So I will become Buddha. If I develop my bodhichitta, the final result will be the realisation of the bodhi, which is Buddhahood. For that you say this for self-rejoice. Please recite after me:
Now the second. You will say that you will uphold the ways of a Bodhisattva. You will live as a Bodhisattva; you will talk, walk, eat and think like a Bodhisattva. So you will uphold the Bodhisattva's ways and will not contaminate this pure lineage of the Bodhisattva, from Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment until today for more than 2500 years it was not contaminated, so you will not contaminate it, you will do your best to not contaminate it. That is the second recitation. You are making the commitment. Again I tell you, if you take somebody out from your bodhichitta, then you have contaminated the Bodhisattva's image, so will not do that, okay?
Now the final recitation. This is rejoice for all. So you say: "In front of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas I invite all sentient beings as my guests to enjoy all the goodness, glory and positiveness, wisdom and knowledge, whatever ability that I will develop, until my Buddhahood and the Buddhahood itself, it is for all. So from heaven to hell, everybody enjoy it."
Now we dedicate the merit of Bodhisattva Vow, I am giving it and you are taking it, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Now please sit down whichever way is comfortable for you.
I tried to make Bodhisattva Vow as clear as possible because it is very serious and we cannot take it just for trying it and for having an experience. I am not enlightened, I'm not Buddha, but I can tell you one thing: I did not break my Bodhisattva Vow, I did not intend to. That way I think if you are serious and sincere, you have got Bodhisattva Vow here.
Now the continuation of the teachings. When we say Nine Yanas it sounds nice and neat nine levels, but Dharma as such cannot have any kind of limitations ultimately, so you cannot say nine yanas, three yanas, twenty yanas, fifty yanas ultimately. But it is relatively. How did this happen? It is because Lord Buddha Shakyamuni after his enlightenment he taught about 45 years in a relative sense, and in ultimate sense he is teaching all the time. Even right now Buddha can manifest. So Buddha is not limited to the physical body of Prince Siddharta who was born 2548 years ago. We are about to celebrate his 2550th birth anniversary in year 2006. He lived 81 years, and his activity cannot be limited to that time. In Kushinagara was one of the countless Buddha's Nirmanakaya's, Prince Siddharta's death only. This Nirmanakaya and Sambhogakaya are a manifestation of his Dharmakaya which is timeless and ever-present.
But what manifested during these 45 years and some of which is beyond 45 years through the Sambhogakaya aspect of the Buddha, all of that is put together and categorized by his disciples into nine levels. Buddha did not say "I am going to teach you the first level. Tomorrow I'm going to teach you the second level." Not like that. Buddha manifested Dharma just like the sun manifests light. So the manifestation of Buddha's teaching which is perceived by those who perceived it, who received it, all of that is put together and put into nine categories. Nine categories upwards of course, the first category is the most basic, second category is more advanced, and the ninth category is the highest and most advanced. That is how the nine yanas of Buddhism are.
Now the first of the nine categories is known as Arhat - teachings of Theravada, which can lead you to the realisation of Nirvana, which is realisation of Arhathood. The view of this is: everything is like illusion and everything is nothing except for two things: the shortest moment - the mind, and smallest object, the atom. These two things are the reality, beside that everything is illusion. The shortest moment cannot be held onto, because it passes, it's just like that lamp: you are looking at it, and it looks the same but it is not the same. Every moment new light is coming and old light is gone. It is not the same lamp. You can never look at the same lamp or the same person, you can never look at anything as the same; even a picture you look at, it is not the same picture, it is a continuation, just like looking at a lamp or looking at a river. Or you ask somebody to sing a song again. The person cannot sing the song again. We sing one more time but we cannot sing again. Impossible, you cannot go back in the past and sing the song again.
This way on the first level of Buddhism, the basic level, these two things are ultimate, other than that everything is relative, and the practice is: one wishes to be free from suffering, and suffering is caused by defilements such as attachment, anger, ignorance, jealousy, pride and stinginess. These are the basic defilements and they cause us suffering because you become their slave. If you are the slave of anger, you are suffering and others will suffer. If you are slave of greed and attachment, you are suffering and others will suffer. This way Samsara is the house of suffering.
The practice is to be free from those sufferings and it involves meditation, such as vipashyana and shamatha. Shamatha meditation is to calm down and vipashyana is to be clear. Once you calm down, if you don't have the clarity, then you just fall asleep. So you don't want to fall into an ultimate sleep, you don't wan't to fall into a relative sleep. Therefore we have the shamatha and vipashyana meditation as part of this particular practice. The result is the realisation of Arhathood which has quite few levels. Roughly there are five levels of Arhat, I don't think it is necessary for us to go through the details. The first Arhat is the lowest level of Arhat, the fifth is the highest. Arhat means you are totally pure from all the negative, all the defilement, you totally purified all of your karma and reached a state of zero, that is Arhat.
The second Yana is the Pratyeka Buddha. The Self-Buddha. The difference between the view and philosophy between Arhat and Pratyeka Buddha Yana is this: instead of the two things being the ultimate for Pratyeka Buddha the smallest particle, the basis of all reality is not ultimate truth, it is relative truth. But the shortest moment, the mind, the essence of the mind is the ultimate truth. The shortest moment associates with the mind, and that is the ultimate truth. But for him the smallest object, the base of all reality is relative truth.
The practice is similar to the Arhat, such as the Four Noble Truths etc. and shamatha and vipashyana, but the final realisation will happen in a place, where there is no Buddha and no Dharma. It will happen by itself. For example a person who is ready to reach a Pratyeka Buddha realisation might be born in a place where there is no Dharma, but where he sees some bones, and by seeing the bones he sees the impermanence. By seeing the impermanence he sees the worthlessness of everything that is done in Samsara. Where-ever you go, on every mountain top there are ruins, which were a castle of a king. Good or bad king doesn't matter, had to have a castle, because he had to protect himself. And he had to build it on the mountain top, that way his enemies had the hardest time to get him. So all the mountain tops of the world are littered by the ruins of castles once lived by a king.
And the borders of the world are all relative, they are all a joke, actually, because if you think ten million years ago - where were Tibet and China? They did not exist, they were at the bottom of the sea. Where was India? Right next to Africa. Where were North- and South-America? They were right next to Europe. It was all one big lump. Then it took millions of years to separate them one from another and slowly things moved. Then finally - I think luckily - Indian island somehow managed to hit the Mongolian Plateau and develop into where I come from.
The interesting thing is the when on top of the Tibetan Plateau you break a big piece of stone, inside you see a fish. It used to be at the bottom of the see. The big deal about all these countries in the world fighting with each other and everybody on each other's throat, all of this is just nonsense. But of course, we cannot just dismiss it, because it is there. Knowing it is nonsense, we have to be nonsense, you know (laughs). I think we will do much better by having some wisdom into our nonsense. So I think all over the world humanity needs lots of wisdom. That is how the Pratyekabuddha will find the Dharma by himself and attain the final realisation by himself. But to reach up to that level he will have lineage of a kind. The final stage he does by himself, that is what we call Pratyekabuddha rang sangye, rang means self, sangye means Buddha.
My Sanskrit is terrible. Actually I grew up in India, I came here when I was six years old. My Sanskrit is very bad, I should be ashamed of, but the problem is, I used to have a Sanskrit teacher… not me only but three of us, a very good Sanskrit teacher, and he run away in three weeks! Maybe we were very difficult students - it's true, he run away. But I met him in Canada and I told him: "You run away." He just smiled at me and said: "What to do?" He had very difficult time, I think. It's much easier to teach 20 students than to teach three or four difficult students. My caretakers really tried to teach me Sanskrit. Somehow that wasn't successful. (Turning the tape.)
Pratyeka? How to say "self-made" in Sanskrit? Pratyeka. Natural, by itself. In Tibetan we say Pratyekabuddha. Rang sangye, I'd better say it in Tibetan. The third aspect, the third yana is the Bodhisattvayana jangchub sempe tekpa in Tibetan. Actually these are phases of Vajrayana. Many teachers or scholars like to say two yanas. They say Hinayana and Mahayana. Then they like to divide Mahayana into two: Sutrayana and Tantrayana. I find it a little bit superficial. There is no such thing as Sutrayana, because Vinaya, Abhidharma and Sutra are three things. Vinaya and Abihidharma are not Sutra. Sutra is Sutra. And some of the Sutras are Theravada Sutras. Some of the Abhidharma is Mahayana Abhidharma. But Vinaya is almost purely Theravada. This way it's maybe politically correct but not exactly 100% correct from my point of you. When I teach Dharma sometimes some people get offended because they don't like you to say things clearly. Even you are hit with a stone they like to hide the stone inside cotton wool, so that it looks like a ping pong ball, but when it hits you, the hit is very hard and you end up going to hospital! It was not a ping pong ball. I don't know how to do that, I say things directly, but I really think the nine yanas is a clear and honest way, so that people will not be misled.
Now the Bodhisattvayana. The basic thing is to take the Bodhisattva vow, but there are two stages to it. What you have taken is a Bodhisattva aspiration vow and the next is Bodhisattva vow in action. There you have many more Bodhisattva precepts to keep. And the practice is The Six Paramitas. The progressive practice of the Bodhisattva is through five paths. Through the five levels of path you reach ten levels of realisation: first level of Bodhisattva, second level of Bodhisattva etc. The tenth level of Bodhisattva is the highest of the Bodhisattva levels.
The definition of the realisation of Bodhsattva levels is very simple. For example an Arhat is perfect. But perfect in the context of the shortest moment and smallest object. Within the spheres of physical reality of one kind there is nothing higher than Arhat that you can produce. Reaching Arhat realisation is the highest which a human being of planet Earth can reach. The highest physical and mental realisation. Arhat is perfect as one, but limited because it is Perfect One. The first level Bodhisattva is perfect one hundred times. So the first level Bodhisattva is free of both of the external - the smallest atom - and the internal - the shortest time. They are relative truth to a Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva realisation does not have that limitation. But the first level Bodhisattva has limitations compared to the second level Bodhisattva. First level Bodhisattva can manifest in one hundred places at the same time perfectly any time. Arhat can manifest in one place perfectly any time. And second level Bodhisattva can manifest in ten thousand places perfectly any time. The third level bodhisattva can manifest in million places perfectly any time. Fourth level Bodhisattva can manifest in hundred million places perfectly any time. This way each level of bodhisattva is one hundredfold more perfect, it means less limitation.
This is through the practice of Five Paths. The First Path is The Path of Accumulation, because you have to have conditions; you have to accumulate conditions. Without conditions you can never get things right. You can have the best seed, but if there is no sun, no water, no earth, nothing will happen. You cannot grow anything out of the best seed. So the condition for any kind of development and maturity is necessary. For that accumulation of merit is extremely necessary. And it's very interesting, because for many people merit is something difficult to understand, and for many teachers it is not easy to talk about merit. When you talk about merit, the teachers are afraid that other people think the teacher is asking for money! And another thing about merit is: somehow the dualistic concept about the people have complex (some people have inferior or superior complexes, you call that a complex, short people have Napoleon complex). Worldly people have these complexes: they want the best thing but they don't want the best thing for the best thing.
For example, the reactions that many people have towards a very nice temple and a gilded Buddha and all of this, I can see right through them, because first thing that comes to their mind is: "Why waste gold to Buddha? Why don't use that to feed the poor?" This comes to their mind very quickly. Then I ask them: "Okay, but why do you wear gold here? Why don't you feed the poor?" Like that, when they see the sacred things are offered with the best, then they don't feel comfortable. But when they acquire the best things for themselves, they are very happy. That is what I call a complex. I don't know what kind of complex it is. Maybe you can find new terminology for it, it is not Napoleon complex and not inferiority or superiority complex but it is some kind of complex. I have one word for it but it doesn't really describe it: UFE, unidentifiable flying ego. UFO is an unidentifiable flying object, here you have e instead of o. But it cannot be identified and it is flying very clearly.
So the merit is extremely important. What you do? You go to the temple and take just a small clay pot with few drops of oil and a little bit of straw. You put a fire on it and take to the altar and bow. And then you ask for all kinds of things! It is like going to a big shop, collecting ten different items, each cost 5 euros and you just give them 5 cents. It is like this, If you want the limitless freedom and liberation, your dedication has to be limitless. Your dedication is only this much. But what you want is limitless. It is never going to work. Another way of doing that is: give up everything. That's what Milarepa did. Milarepa did not go and build solid gold statues. He did not build monasteries which have thousands of monks. He did not write Tripitakas with solid gold. He gave up everything, went to a cave and meditated there. That is the other way of doing it. Anyway, you have to let go of your attachment and you have to let go of your attachment to the most dearest thing. What is the dearest thing? - Your own life.
Before Milarepa went to the cave he said: "If I come down from this cave without realisation, all the Protectors and all the Gods of the Mountain, you punish me and destroy me." He said that and managed it. How did he succeed? When he was in one cave people found out and started to bring offerings to him and all of that. As soon as it happened he run away and found another cave. There are six main caves and many other little caves of Milarepa. In some places he managed to hide for a long time but in some places people found him very quickly. One of the people who found him was his own sister. Other ones were some hunters going for hunting, they found him. That is why Milarepa had to go from one place to another until he attained enlightenment, because he had taken that vow. And as soon as people came and were about to worship him he was gone. This way accumulation of merit in many ways is extremely important and without merit the meritorial things will not happen. Cause and condition for the meritorial things to happen is the merit. It is not that some old guy is sitting up there and looking from a book what kind of donations you have made to him or his colloquies, it's not that but it is what develops in you by letting go and by dedicating and by sacrificing, that is the merit.
But as far as sacrificing is concerned I have to be very careful, it can be misunderstood very easily. In Tibet also more than 1500 years ago there was animal and human sacrifice. I'm not talking about that kind of sacrifice. Even today in cities like Delhi so many people sacrifice their time to do social work. They don't ask for money. They sacrifice their time, like people here in the centre work her and don't charge. They make the time out of their regular day to day time. All of that is sacrifice, I'm talking about that kind of sacrifice and that is also accumulation of merit.
The first part is described as accumulation of merit but at the same time accumulation of merit is also purification, because the more positiveness you accumulate, that much negativeness you purify. The more goodness you accumulate that much badness you purify. It happens naturally, it is like two sides of a coin and happens by itself. But in the practice there is accumulation oriented practice and purification oriented practice. For example being generous is accumulation oriented practice and going for pilgrimage, taking hardships and this kind of things is purification aspect of practice. In Tibet in the past you would find very few beggars but you would find lots of beggars in the holy places? Why? Not because they had nothing, but when you go for a pilgrimage you can be sons and daughters of a rich family, you will not take anything with you except for the bare minimum. A bowl to eat your food from, and some cooking utensils to boil water or make tea and then they carry their clothes and good shoes are very important. That's all they will have. Then they will go begging. So the pilgrims always beg and that is also a chance for the locals to accumulate merit. For the pilgrims this is purification, because they don't have anything and they live on what people give them. Most of the beggars in Tibet in olden days were not actual beggars but pilgrims.
Of course there were beggars but not that much, because everybody had land and you know, it is huge area 2,5 million square kilometres of land with only 4 - 5 million people living there. So you don't have to beg, you can raise your own thing, definitely. But accumulation of merit is very important part of the practice and purification also. That is the first part.
The second part is known as the path of implementation, Path of Application. Once you purify and develop merit you are implementing your merit and pureness. Instead of keeping on accumulation merit for the sake of accumulating it and instead of keeping on purifying for the sake of purification, whatever pureness that you have been able to develop, whatever merit that you are able to achieve; you implement it and you use it for the realisation. That is the second path.
The third path is known as Path of Seeing. Because you implement your merit and wisdom, you are able to see and realise the primordial wisdom which is within you. It's very much a Vajrayana thing, but also in Mahayana the Buddha nature is very important factor. When you say "May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood," you have to believe in Buddha nature, otherwise how can you make somebody into something which he or she is not. And how can you make yourself something which you yourself are not. So, you are Buddha in essence. You have primordial wisdom as your essence. Therefore, on that ground, on that basis you are saying: "May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain the Buddhahood." You are saying that. On this Path of Seeing you realise your essence and the end of the Path of Seeing is the first level bodhisattva realisation. When that takes place, it's the end of the Path if Seeing.
The next is Path of Meditation. It means continuation from the first level Bodhisattva to the last stages of the Bodhisattva levels. Finally the fifth path is No More Practice, no more meditation, no more learning. That is final. Why do we meditate? It is not for becoming a meditation champion. Why do we accumulate merit? Not for becoming the king of the Universe. Why do we purify ourselves? Not for becoming transparent. We purify our negative deeds and we accumulate our merit and we meditate, all of this, so that there is no more negativity to purify and no more merit to accumulate and no more meditation is necessary. That is why we do meditation. When we reach the highest level of bodhisattva, then there is no more meditation, no more practice, no more development necessary. And that is the final stage of the third yana, the Mahayana or the Bodhisattvayana.
This way the Theravada and Mahayana, the two aspects are complete and now we go into Vajrayana. Actually there are four main levels of tantra, some of them scholars like to call them four classes of tantra, but it is level, not a class. Class means you can be in this class without being in that class, but these are levels which you reach gradually from the first tantra to second, third and fourth. They are different levels of tantra: kriyatantra, upatantra, yogatantra and anuttarayogatantra. Anuttarayogatantra has thee further levels: mahatantra, anutantra and atitantra. That makes six levels of tantra.
The first three yanas are Arhatiyana, Pratyekabuddhayana and Bodhisattvayana. Then kriya, upa and yoga, the three and maha, anu and ati, the three, that makes the nine levels of tantra. When we look at Tibetan Buddhism, this way of saying the nine tantras is mostly used by Nyingma lineage. I'm a Kagyupa but Nyingmapas will explain it this way. It doesn't mean it's the Nyingmas' way but this is very common Nyingmapas' way of describing all the yanas. They will describe them as nine. Others will describe it more like there are two, which are Hinayana and Mahayana, Mahayana has two, which are sutrayana and tantrayana. Others will say there are Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana, and Vajrayana has four which are kriya, upa, yoga and anuttarayoga. Putting them into nine stages is more done by the Nyingmapa texts. I have the lineage of this, because there is one very important text, a nyingmapa text which is written by [Nga ripa?] Pema Wangi Gyalpo and which is known as tomsum nange. In this text it is taught this way, so I made this booklet long time ago, when I was 22 years old, now I'm 51, so I made these notes based on that.
Now the kriya, upa and yoga, the three tantras. They are described in Tibetan as she katok rig tsheche chi tekpa. She means external katok means working hard, hardship, effort, not easy. Rig means knowing, understanding, realising tshe means doing, che is grammar meaning 'of'. The easiest way to describe tekpa is yana, like Mahayana. What does this mean? - Through outer hardship and effort and practices one recognises, realises and sees the inner realisation. The three tantras: kriya, upa and yoga are described as this.
Now kriya. It's really difficult to define each one of them precisely, but in a simple generalized manner it is quite easy to describe the differences between these tantras compared to each other. For example the kriya, the view, the philosophy of kriya tantra is this: The mind is ultimately free of any kind of dualistic limitation, dualistic reality, and it is described as being free of four extremes: it is there (yopa), it is not there (mepa), it is both there and not there and it is neither there nor not there. It is free of those extremes and that is kriya tantra's view about the mind and about everything else also. This is pretty much the view of all the tantras, but kriya being the first one describes it very clearly.
Then the activity, action, behaviour of kriya practitioner is very pure and clean. For example they will not eat meat, eggs or garlic, they clean themselves, and always keep everything clean, things like that. They are very much into pureness by the definition of cleanliness. They are vegetarians and there are two aspects of meditation, two different kinds of kriya meditation. First one is like the first step of the kriya, there you never visualise yourself as a Deity, never. You are here and the Deity is worshipped up there. You never become the Deity, the first step of kriya is like that. At the second step you have some kind of manifestation of yourself into the Deity, but it is with six particular definitions: emptiness, syllable, sound, image, mudra and symbols. Through these six ways you transform yourself into a Deity. There are these differences between these two in the kriya tantra itself. Kriya tantra has many tantras, each tantra has its own mandala and Deity, ritual etc. That is the philosophy, the action (behaviour) and meditation of kriya tantra.
The result, the final fruition of the kriya tantra is known as vajra-bhumi three families: the body speech and mind. Body-vajra, speech-lotus, mind-jewel. Vajra, padma, ratna, three families. The realisation is three kayas based on that, and the manifestation is five wisdoms. The five defilements transform and manifest as the five wisdoms. This is the kriya tantra's fuition. The fruitions of all the kriya, upa and yoga are pretty much same, but the magnitude of the realisation, the comprehensiveness of it varies. The kriya tantra must be completed in order to reach upa tantra and upa must be completed in order to reach yoga tantra. The yoga tantra must be completed in order to reach the anuttarayoga tantra.
But most of the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana abhisekas and practices are anuttarayoga tantra. Therefore it is somehow all of those things will happen even you are anuttara yoga tantra, because you are looking at the moon, but you will see it according to the binoculars you have. If your binoculars are very good ones, that's very good and you have whole planetarium at your disposal, then you will see everything that happens in the moon. Even you are practising anuttarayoga tantra, if your capacity is kriya tantra, then you are practising anuttarayoga tantra at the kriya level. This will happen naturally. There isn't so much of these stage by stage practices: "Now you are a beginner, therefore I teach you kriya tantra. Now you have done kriya tantra for five years, now you can do yoga tantra." We don't have that, most of the time.
This was about kriya tantra, first of the six levels of the tantra. I will stop here for the morning.
This morning we covered four of the nine yanas and now we start with the fifth: kriya, upa, yoga, so upa. In Tibetan it is known as chö gyug, upatantra. The view of the upatantra is: ultimately all dharmas are clear light and emptiness. So all dharmas do not have any relative shortcomings, ultimately, but relatively all the things that are here within us and around us are part of the mandala. This mandala is described as dorje jing kyi khyilkor, it means vajra space of mandala, the empty space of the mandala. That means ultimately everything is perfect and relatively also everything is perfect, everything is a manifestation of that perfect ultimate.
This is the view of this tantra and the behaviour, the cleanliness and being vegetarian etc. are still considered but not too seriously. Upa tantra is still particular about the food that you eat and the clothes that you wear and things like that. They make some dualistic distinctions about what is right thing to eat, wrong thing to eat etc. Still they have that dualism. When it comes to the practice, then there are two levels to it. First one is known as chenche and the second one is known as chenme, we call chenche kyi naljor (chenche yoga) and cheme kyi naljor (cheme yoga).
An example of chenche: the visualization involves self visualization as a Deity also, but self and front visualizations are much more like on equal level. So there are two things: your self visualization as a Deity and you visualise the Deity in front of you. They are two things but similar things, so it is more like a brother or sister. The second aspect is involved with three principles, we call them djupa, nepa and tangwa. Djupa means entering, nepa means remaining and tangwa means awakening.
First principle is involving with the Samsaric or external reality knowing that it has never been there, something that appears here right now has never been there ultimately, so with this, you will not have the grasping and attachment as such. With that view you enter.
Nepa is: once you enter into that state through meditation, through practice, then you remain in that calm-abiding harmonious non-dualistic state, you remain in it. And also there is a sense of compassion involved here, because when you are remaining in this state, then when you see the other beings who are not remaining in that state, then what you manifest from your within, is compassion towards them. For example you see other beings who are nasty to each other, nasty to you or attached to each other, other beings who are jealous to each other or to you, all these defilements which you see in them, by knowing that ultimately it is not there and by yourself being able to be in that state, then what manifest from you as the reaction towards that observation, is compassion. That is the nepa.
Tangwa by definition is awakening. When you are able to see the other beings not able to remain in djupa and nepa, then what you manifest as compassion, that is the tangwa. These three principles are very important principles of upatantra. The djupa, nepa and tangwa are also known as the ultimate bodhichitta. That is the practice.
And the fruition of upatantra. The vajra bhumi realisation is attained more in the direction of the ratna family and karma family. Another way of describing upatantra will be that the view is very much like yoga tantra but behaviour resembles kriya tantra. Sometimes this is known as the tantra of the both (kriya and yoga together).
The third tantra and sixth of the nine yogas is yogatantra. The view is same as upatantra, but external activity, such as being vegetarian, washing all the time and all this kind of things; in kriyatantra even before saying your prayer you have to wash your mouth, teeth and hands. We call it five things to clean: two feet, two hands and the mouth you have to wash all the time, whenever you pray and do ritual. Then totally vegetarian. These things are observed as a condition, not more than a condition. It is important but not extremely important, not taking these things too seriously. Like if you are going to perform a puja, you might not eat meat today. But kriya practitioners will be vegetarians whether you are doing a ritual or not. Yogatantra practitioners might become vegetarians before doing the puja, and during the puja of course, but after the puja is completed, then they might not observe the same thing. Not that much of importance of the cleanliness is put in there.
The most important thing in the behaviour or action of a yogatantra practitioner is always try to remain with the pride of the Deity. Whatever you are doing, try to maintain the presence of the Deity whichever of the practice that you are practising. So you try to maintain that in your regular activities. That is important awareness that defines yogatantra.
When it comes to the meditation, then there are stages similar to upatantra. First one is called chenche kyi naljor and second one is called cheme kyi naljor, just the same names. Definition is slightly different. The yogatantra chenche means the foundation, the seed, the speech, the mind, the entire physical manifestation. We call it ngönpar janchuba nga, five bodhis. When you are visualising the Deities these five bodhis are step by step processed. It is built up from the first to the second etc. Then another very important part of this is that after the visualization there is Abhiseka. There is also a consecration and an offering. These things are known as four chomtrul. It is difficult to translate, but it might be four miracles or four transformations. Four miraculous transformations. They are the meditation, the empowerment, the consecration and the offering. These four are described as the four chomtrul. That is how you visualise the Deity and practise the Deity of that particular tantra. That is the chenche.
Now the cheme kyi naljor, cheme yoga. Ultimate essence, its blessing manifests as this. Therefore what I see around us, within us and what I am, are actually not a separate thing. As the yogi of this practice will be remaining in this state, and therefore in a superficial easy naïve sort of way we can say: heaven on earth, but it is like: this is the Pure Land and I am the Buddha. That is the part of the practice of the yogatantra and then of course three kayas, five wisdoms are the ultimate fruition of this practice. So that is kriya, upa, yoga.
The anuttarayoga is in three parts: maha, anu, ati. First the mahatantra, which is otherwise also described as father tantra, pa gyu. There are three aspects: father tantra, mother tantra and the tantra of non-duality. The view or philosophy behind the mahatantra is: ultimately all phenomena are inseparable from the ultimate essence of mind, it is great Dharmakaya, but relatively all the thoughts and their karmic manifestations manifest as inseparable manifestation of the primordial wisdom and the kayas. Inseparable of the primordial wisdom and the kayas, that is how relatively everything manifests. That is the view of the mahatantra (father tantra).
The activity or behaviour of the practitioners of this, the yoga is that anything in Samsara, there is no attachment or clinging to any of it, whether it is clean or dirty, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, positive or negative, there is no clinging, no importance and no attachment. There is no difference between any of those things anyway, everything is the manifestation of the Dharmakaya anyway, therefore there is nothing that you should hide away and there is nothing that you should exhibit. That is the activity and behaviour, conduct of the mahatantra practitioner.
The meditation is - each one of these tantras has so many insights, but then we have mahamahatantra, maha-anutantra, maha-atitantra. So maha has three aspects of maha itself. It is father-father tantra, father-mother tantra and father-union tantra. This way the first one is for example Guhyasamaja, example of father-father tantra. I will not go to all of these others but I give you an example of Guhyasamaja which is father father tantra, pagyu kyi pagyu in Tibetan. And Guhyasamaja is samajagyupa in Tibetan. In this method is the visualization, the sampannakrama and the utpattikrama is the end of the sampannakrama. During sampannakrama you develop everything and then when everything is completed, that is the utpattikrama. This is the main aspect of visualization practice.
Then one very important element added to that is the breathing practice, because the breathing is the very important connection between the illusion which is form, feeling, touch, all of this outside reality and the physical body and all its elements and skandhas. Outside and inside, the five senses and the five sense objects, all of these connections are because of the subtleness of the wind. Wind is generated by emotions and therefore the mind, which does not have any kind of physical reality involved, involves with the physical reality: the five skandhas. As the result of that right now we are here. And each one of us has a physical manifestation in which our mind is hosted nicely saying. Of course if I say it in a cynical manner, then trapped, imprisoned. This has happened because of the wind, the air, the energy. This energy is developed by emotions.
For example one of the things that determine whether our physical body manifests as male or female is this: if there is too much attachment from the feminine side to the masculine side, then we will end up being born as male. And if there is too much attachment from the masculine side to the feminine side, then we will be born as female. These things happen because of the power of karma and this is how this energy or wind, which is very important factor, [functions.] Therefore the breathing practice is most important in the tantric practice of nadis and bindus and kundalini yoga. Those are the practices according to the father tantra of the father tantra, such as Guhyasamaja.
I will not go into the other two aspects. The true fruition of the father tantra, whether it is father-father, father-mother, father-union, the essence of this tantra is, that the close cause, the three, it is achieved through the close cause three. The close cause means: your body is Nirmanakaya, your expression and energy is Sambhogakaya, your mind is Dharmakaya. That is the closest thing with us right now. So the close cause is that. Or even you are an ignorant person or a very enlightened person really doesn't matter as far as that close cause is concerned. Close cause is same: this body is the Nirmanakaya close cause, all the expression and energy and speech is Sambhogakaya, and the essence of the mind is Nirmanakaya. That is close cause, nye dju in Tibetan. Nye means close, not far away, dju means cause. Because of the close cause five kayas are spontaneously achieved. That means it is a very high and profound state of realisation, which is required in order to achieve the final fruition of the father tantra. Of course we are talking about the father tantra as a practitioner who reached the father state or realisation already.
Now the second one, the mother tantra. The view of the mother tantra is more towards the emptiness and space and there are three kind of mandalas that are perceived in the views and philosophies of the mother tantra. We call it the three mandala -principle of the mother tantra. The first one is Kuntuzangmo (Samantabhadri). The space of Samantabhadri is known as primordial mandala. That is one view or principle of the mother tantra.
The second aspect of the mandala is known as mandala which is spontaneously born. That is wisdom Samantabhadra, spontaneously born mandala. That is not the emptiness aspect but the joyful aspect. Emptiness is the container, the harmonious calm-abiding joyful state and clarity is what is contained in the space.
The third aspect is known as the root bodhichitta mandala tsawa jangchubsem kyi chilkor. Tsawa means root, jangchubsem means bodhichitta, chilkor is mandala. That is: that space, the Samantabhadri and that joy, the Samantabhadra, the union of these two mandalas is the son or the daughter or the offspring, which is the root bodhisattva mandala. These three mandalas are the basic philosophy and principle of the mother tantra, ma gyu. As a yogi of the mother tantra these three mandalas are applied for everything. This yogi will see everything in these three mandalas. That is the view, the philosophy of the mother tantra practitioner yogi.
Now the practice. There are two aspects of practice: drollam (liberation path) and thablam (method path). For drollam there are quite a few definitions with slight different emphasis, but to make it simple the primordial wisdom, which is not contaminated by dualistic thought – following and observing that. Then the visualization, recitation and mantra, just as a condition for the actual Deity, which represents the Sambhogakaya of the Buddha to emerge like a fish emerges from the murky water: when the fish gets closer to the surface; you can see the fish. When it goes deeper to the water, you don't see it. Like this the visualization arises out of particular circumstances, such as the visualization, the mantra and the recitation.
Based on the view of the three mandalas all these three things, such as visualization, recitation and mantra are just an aid to it, so that inherent primordial Buddha within manifests like the fish manifests out of the water when it comes to the surface. This is not only applied to the mind but also to the external reality. We call it nötjy lhaie chilkor. That means: outer container: the universe, inner container: the sentient beings, all are the mandala of the God. God by definition here means the Deity, the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, not a god of the six realms. This time it is actually the Nirmanakaya. That is the drollam, the liberation aspect.
Now the thablam, the method aspect. Maybe sometimes scholars out of curiosity make a simple conclusion about this. But this is not a simple thing. This is a very sacred and profound thing and also almost impossible thing for any dualistically minded like us, with even little bit of attachment, jealousy and ignorance, little bit of grasping, for us to get it right would be almost impossible. So we have to truly reach to that level, the mother tantra level in order to implement the thablam.
There are five or seven chakras according to the various texts. From the crown to the secret there are five chakras or seven. Some tantras have five, some seven according to the particular manifestation of the Deity. In order to practise this appropriately the primordial wisdom is realised through the primordial harmony. The primordial harmony is realised through the primordial joy. The primordial joy is realised through the primordial union and so that is very high tantric practise. That is known as the mother tantras' thab [na?], method realisation.
This way through the practise of the five or seven chakras – if it is five chakras, then the four of them are known as the above chakras and one is known as the below chakra. If it is seven chakras then six chakras are known as above chakras and seventh chakra is known as the lower/below chakra. The practice is so profound that the paths of accumulation, application, seeing, meditation and no-meditation, all will be achieved through the five chakra liberation. But of course a person who can ride a garuda and fly around the solar system, have to be somebody who doesn't need oxygen! If you need oxygen forget about the riding of a garuda and going around the solar system. You better by some flying tickets and go around the earth with a well regulated cabin! That is just for the knowledge, I'm teaching you this, but you can't really do much about it right now. At least I can't. So the result, final fruition of this is realising the four kayas: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya and Svabhavikakaya, which is the unity of the three kayas.
Now the last of the nine yanas is atiyoga. The view is: everything has always been perfect from heaven to hell. Everything is perfect all the time. That is the highest view, but the highest view is reserved for the highest evolved beings. You can only listen to it and I can only talk about it, but for me, if I take food which is cooked before yesterday and not kept in fridge, I might end up in hospital. There is very big difference between something that is fresh today or cooked two days ago and not kept in fridge. As long as things are like that, everything is not the Dharmakaya manifestation. I cannot see that way. So the atiyoga view is something that I can hold as an aspiration and as a principal, but I cannot act upon it. I have to act otherwise.
Now the action or the activity of the atiyoga practitioner is: There is nothing that you can say: "This is wrong thing to do" and there is nothing that you can say: "This is right thing to do." It is like a true sadhu. If you meet a true sadhu, true yogi like Tilopa or Naropa, then there is nothing that is different from one another. I give you an example.
One of the 84 mahasiddhas in India was a monk. His name was Drilpupa and he was a monk in a very strict monastery. He had a consort, one son and one daughter and he drank wine like tea. That was all against the monastery rule, so when the monastery found this out the discipline master came and told him to get out. "You are not fit to be a monk here because you are doing all the things that a monk is not supposed to do, get out." Then he said: "Okay." He embraced his consort and turned his son into a vajra. He turned his daughter into a bell and he kicked his wine bottle and rose into the sky.
He was bigger than the whole monastery and sitting on the sky. The whole monastery was flooded with the one bottle of wine. The entire monastery including the discipline master had to deal with the wine! They were all screaming: "We are very sorry, help us!" Then he with his consort, son as the vajra, daughter as the bell, sang the song from the sky saying that if you guys are equal to me, come up here! This kind [atiyoga] is only relevant to people like him. If you kick your bottle of wine it can only damage your carpet. And if you have a son and daughter you can't turn them into vajra and bell. You actually have to send them both to school. And if your discipline master kicks you out of the monastery, you have to go through the door and walk, you cannot rise to the sky and sing a song from up there. I'm not talking about you only, I'm also talking about me, that way we better behave ourselves according to the rule!
For an atiyoga practitioner there is nothing between this is right and this is wrong, when you reach that state, everything is part of the Dharmakaya. And meditation of the atiyoga practice is: everything is always an embodiment of the Deity, so there are four aspects of manifestation within the practitioner that are always perfect: everything is always perfect, everything is always manifestation of the ultimate truth, everything is always completely accomplished and everything is beyond any dualistic comparison. There is nothing comparable out of all the examples, out of all the equals, there is nothing equal to it. These four things are known as nangwa shi. And so, there are many others, but this somehow covers. And the fruition is spontaneously arising realisation, Ati-Buddha Kuntuzangpo (Samantabhadra) reaches to the level of Samantabhadra, and the ultimate non-dualistic confidence of all, and final liberation of the nirvana itself. It is not even nirvana, but free from it. That is the final fruition of the atiyoga.
This way you can see quite clearly the kriya, upa, yoga, maha, anu, ati are step by step process and development. But many of the Tibetan Vajrayana practitioners are with the mothertantra or atitantra. There is also kriyatantra of course, for example kundik kriya tantra; you are not allowed to eat meat and you have to be vegetarian. So there is this, but most of them are anuttarayogatantra and within it, it is a mothertantra or atiyogatantra. At the same time, as a practitioner practises it, then it goes according to his or her level. You do not automatically or necessarily reach the realisation of atiyogatantra by practising atiyogatantra right away. Atiyoga practice you do; but as a result you reach the kriyayoga realisation. And then slowly it reaches to the upa. Then yoga, maha, anu and ati, gradually. If you are doing a retreat in a very serous manner, then it will be mastered. If you are doing it in a mundane kind of worldly life, then it will be little bit like your job for three hours and then have Kentucky Fried Chicken and pizza and hamburgers for one week. Then again you do the job for three hours, like that. So it will be little bit better, little bit worse, little bit better, little bit worse.
I think this much is enough for today as far as the nine yanas are concerned and I can take few questions.
Rinpoche: Actually each one of the kriya-, upa- and yogatantras are focused on particular Buddha family. Each one of the Buddha families is associated with one of the colours, defilements, directions (four directions and centre makes five). The five defilements are ignorance, attachment, anger, jealousy and pride. Transformation of those defilements into five wisdoms, so they are associated with each other. This way the kriya-practice for example is for those who have lots of desire, like us, and when anger and all the defilements are very strong. Therefore, in order to overcome those defilements we have to do everything to minimize those defilements. To not to kill we don’t' eat meat. Everything we keep clean because we don't want to make our offerings dirty by dirty hands, we will not breathe over our altar and so we cover our mouth and wash our hands and we are extremely careful with all these things which make bad karma that supports the defilements. That way the particular Buddha family of the basic defilement, as the result of the practice, you attain the realisation of that. You attain the realisation of what that Buddha represents. That particular wisdom is developed and that particular defilement is abolished and purified. It is like this. All the details you really have to go into: kriya- and upatantra texts and that is like going into the Amazon forest and identifying each one of the trees and species. It's an enormous job.
Q: Today we are going to receive an anuttarayogatantra initiation [inaudible].
Rinpoche: Yes, all the time, but you take it as a blessing, it’s a public blessing. Four days Abhisekas are only given by gurus to the disciples. One guru to one disciple most of the time. And also not in one day. First part is given and then practiced. Then second part of the Abhiseka is given and practised, because each Abhiseka has four stages. So it might take 10 - 20 years to complete one Abhiseka. And today all of that is given in two hours to 20000 people. So it is for the blessing.
R: You don't have to reconcile anything, because nothing wrong was done. The problem is: if you don't do this, then you end up losing the lineages of all the tantras, because how to find somebody like Tilopa or Naropa today? How to find somebody like Milarepa today, tell me? Before finding somebody like Milarepa how to find somebody like Marpa? I am supposed to be incarnation of Marpa but I tell you the truth, maybe I'm the incarnation of Marpa's long time ago thrown away left foot [?] (laughter). Anyway I think nothing was done wrong, so you don't have to reconcile anything, but I think we do our practise as much as we can, and then there are some masters and some practitioners following these things quite seriously. There is.
Rinpoche: That should be the way to go but not necessarily for all of us. All of us should participate in as many initiations as possible and don't miss the opportunity to get the transmission of the lineage, the blessing. But some of us will be able to go through each initiation and each practice one by one. But we can never do it until we can do it.
Q: Are these practices somehow included in the three-year's retreat?
Rinpoche: Yes of course, but three-year's retreat is mostly anuttarayoga practice. There is no step by step going. But also some of the kriyayoga, they recite the mantra and actually Six Yogas of Naropa which emphasises the essence of the mother tantra, is practiced only for six months out of the three years. All the other practices like preliminary practices and some kriyayoga practices, some guru yogas and Four Foundations, and practices like Chöd and protectors, these practices are incorporated. That way the actual Six Yogas is only six months, very short in three years and three months.
…traditional melodies. Why is it important to chant in Tibetan language? – Not because Tibetan is superior to other languages, but I am teaching and transmitting it and I received the transmission in Tibetan language. I cannot transmit it in other languages until I have some realisation of these practices. I have some realisation of course compared to some others, but I don't have the full realisation, and therefore I don't feel competent enough and ready to transmit the lineage in other languages than in the language I received it.
And also Tibetan language is very sacred because many Tibetan masters from the creation of the Tibetan literature based on the Sanskrit, during the first Buddhist boom in Tibet, which is long time ago, actually it is long before the Guru Padmasambhava came to Tibet, five generations before that, Tibetan language was created by Thönme Sambhota. It is created based on Sanskrit. So the direct transmission of the Dharma has taken place from the Sanskrit through the Tibetan language and that is continued up to today. And there is certain part of the text we still say in Sanskrit, but our Sanskrit is not very good. Nevertheless we have to say it that way because that is how I have received the transmission of the lineage.
You know, we say "om mani peme hung". The proper pronunciation in Sanskrit should be "om mani padme hung" but I can't say it that way, because I did not receive it that way. So it is contaminating the lineage of transmission that I have received. But of course if you have received it in proper Sanskrit: om mani padme hung, then you should say it as a pure Sanskrit om mani padme hung. These days some very strange things happen, some of our Tibetan monks go to Sanskrit Universities and when they come back they correct all of our mantras! Om benza sato samaya… that's how we said it for past 1500 years, that is how the lineage is transmitted and that is how many of our great masters attained enlightenment. But now this student who finished his five years of study getting some Shastri or Acharya [title], they come back and fix it: "Om vajrasattva samaya…"
I respect Sanskrit of course, but you as a Sanskrit-speaking might think that we are saying it wrong and you would like to fix it, but as far as the lineage of transmission is concerned, it wouldn't work. So we have to continue this way, but when one of you reach that level of realisation like our great translators, like Marpa, then you can fix it and you can transmit the blessing in that correct Sanskrit pronunciation. But not just by going through University and getting Shastri degree. You have to attain the same realisation as the great masters who have attained the realisation through this Tibetan pronunciation of Sanskrit. This can be fixed and has to be fixed in India at least, because everybody in India who will be saying these mantras here will feel very uncomfortable, because you feel you are saying it wrong. In the West it doesn't matter. They don't feel that way because they don't know whether they are saying it right or wrong. But it is like in China dhyan becomes chan and in Japan chan becomes zen and now the zen comes back to New Delhi and everybody is driving a zen, which actually is dhyan. If you don't mind driving a zen then I think you don't mind saying om mani peme hung instead of om mani padme hung.
First let us recite the refuge and bodhichitta prayer. It is a very simple melody. One person has to be a chanting master who leads. In future there will be a resident lama coming from Himachal Pradesh, from my monastery. But after the resident lama is here, I hope one of you will be able to lead the chant, so this is little bit training for that and of course, since I am a man I have a male voice, and if it is a lady who is going to be the chanting master, then you have to do it with the lady voice. So Tibetan chanting is always men and women both, monks and nuns, both. They chant low tone, not high tone. Because we can relax and continue the harmonious state and visualization; it's much easier when we chant with low tone. High tone it is very good when we say devotional prayers to the guru, you can be little emotional and have a high tone and overly melodious. But the basic practices should have very simple and calm melody.
The chanting master will start oooo… and then every keeps quiet. So chanting master starts ooo… and when he says sangye chö dang etc., then everybody says it.
The first two lines are refuge, the second two lines are bodhichitta. After that we say the bodhichitta elaborated prayer. We call it Four Immeasurable Thoughts. That is limitless or immeasurable loving-kindness, limitless and immeasurable compassion, limitless and immeasurable joy and limitless and immeasurable impartiality.
The loving-kindness means: May all sentient beings be happy. Compassion means: May all sentient beings be free from suffering. Joy means: when all sentient beings are happy, you are happy instead of jealous. If others have a new house or new car, we are happy. When they have a nice little shoe polishing place we are happy. The limitless joy means: May all sentient beings always remain in happiness and in cause and condition for happiness.
Impartiality means that this compassion, joy and loving-kindness are impartial, not only for your friends and enemies, not only for strangers, it is for everyone; for all sentient beings from heaven to hell. We are saying these Four Limitless Thoughts for all sentient beings. Otherwise it will be a limited thought. So it is a limitless thought, because it is for all sentient beings.
You don't have that, how come? Just bodhichitta and refuge are there but the Four Limitless Thoughts are not there. Oh, I see, it was skipped because bodhichitta includes it. So we can include this because it will make bodhichitta more complete.
After this we have the visualization of the Avalokiteshvara bodhisattva. It is translated here very clearly in English. I will go through this so you get the understanding: "On the crown of my head and all sentient beings pervading space there rests a white lotus and moon seat – it means moon disc, not round moon seat; Avalokiteshvara will have a very hard time sitting on it if it is a full round moon! So it is a flat moon crystal disc. That is there to sit on. From the hri [syllable] which is standing on the lotus… hri is a Sanskrit character. (Tibetan or Sanskrit character, doesn't matter, but for you Sanskrit will be easiest. Tibetan character is similar to the Sanskrit. It is a long ha with ra and it has an 'i' on the top. I think you might say something like hari? Hri.) It has two round things behind it that makes it a long one, hrii.
Avalokiteshvara is in the space in front of you, above you. First a huge beautiful lotus facing up and on top of the lotus a big huge moon crystal disc. On top of it stands a white letter hri facing this way. The hri radiates light. Hri is like a sun and moon radiating all colours of light. Why I say moon is because if it is sun only, only yellow light radiates. So it is a purr of light, all colours of light radiate to all directions and wherever this light touches, all the sentient beings whom this light touches, their suffering is abolished and their defilements are purified. Then that merit comes back to the hri. Again the hri radiates to all directions and makes offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of all directions. There are countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, enlightened ones, it becomes an offering to them; whatever is the offering, it becomes offering and their blessing comes back and dissolves into the hri. Therefore hri transforms into four-arm Avalokiteshvara sitting on the lotus.
It is described here. Up here is the Noble Chenrezig white, luminous, radiating five colour light rays and smiling charmingly, gazing with compassionate eyes. He has four arms: the upper two joined together in namaskar mudra folded together. In the hands he holds a wish fulfilling gem, a beautiful gem which can fulfil the wishes of all sentient beings. Whatever they wish, by the blessing and power of this gem their wishes will be fulfilled. So wish fulfilling gem is held in the namaskar mudra with the upper two hands.
The lower two hands of Chenrezig are holding a white lotus and a crystal mala. He is adorned with precious jewels and silks and deer skin covers his upper part, the left shoulder. This is an important symbol and many people in the West don't understand this, because you have to kill a deer to have a skin. So how can a deerskin represent compassion? But in India we can understand this, because many of our gods and goddesses have the deerskin representing compassion. Deer is a very peaceful animal and it represents compassionate aspect of the bodhisattva. Therefore the deerskin is here. It doesn't mean we have to get the deerskin for ourselves to represent compassion, definitely not, but Avalokiteshvara has it here representing peacefulness and compassion.
He is adorned by the Buddha Amitabha above his head. The Buddha of the Western Paradise. Actually Buddha Amitabha represents the purified defilements of a human being. Out of the six realms the human defilement is attachment. Purification of attachment is contentment. To say that purified attachment is non-attachment is not true, non-attachment is the method to purify the attachment. When attachment is transformed, then that is wisdom and that wisdom manifests as Buddha Avalokiteshvara. That Buddha is on the crown of Avalokiteshvara, above him in the space.
He sits in vajrasana. It is a cross-legged posture. Many translators wanted to translate it as lotus-posture, but I don't understand where that comes from. Then it has to be padmasana. His back is supported with a stainless moon. Again another moon crystal disc, identical to the one he is sitting on is also behind him. So he is sitting on a moon crystal disc which is white and shining and behind him is also a white and shining moon crystal disc, absolutely round.
That is the Avalokiteshvara, and he has five-dhyani-buddha crown and all the jewelleries of the Sambhogakaya Buddha; he is a Bodhisattva, but he has those jewelleries, which represent Six Paramitas. So there are six main jewelleries: for the hands, legs, neck, crown, head, ears and as a belt. All of these jewelleries, each one of them represent one of the Paramitas. The female manifestation of deities will have only five ornaments because she represents the wisdom paramita herself. All the male deities have six ornaments because male deity does not represent the wisdom. Therefore they have six ornaments. So Chenrezig has six ornaments. Vajravarahi will have only five ornaments out of the six, she herself is the manifestation of wisdom.
Then you say: by the stainless moon is the essence of all sorts of refuge. That is your visualization. When you have this visualization very clear, you yourself are here, and your father and mother, your friends and enemies, all your relatives and close friends and all other sentient beings are there, those who are strangers to us right now, but who actually have been our mother, father, brother, sister, friend, enemy and stranger countless times, and to be honest who have been our lunch and dinner countless times. So we have very close relationship with every sentient being. They have been everything to us.
Even you are not a meat eater, even you are a vegetarian, to make you able to eat rice, they die for you, because if the farmers don't put water and drown the ants on the field you will not have rice to eat; the ants will eat it. If the farmers don't spray something, old days they sprayed lime, nowadays they spray poison, but nevertheless whatever they spray, they have to kill all the insects and bugs, and as the result of that we have nice juicy vegetables to eat. Otherwise it will be theirs, we will not have them. So, even we are vegetarians we are not free from eating the product of death. So, therefore, all of these sentient beings who are connected with us positively, negatively, we have them all behind us just like a sea of sentient beings, billions and billions of them stretching to the limitless space. We are chanting it, but all of them are joining us, because we want all mother sentient beings to get the benefit. We don't say father sentient beings, brother sentient beings, we always say mother sentient beings, because they all have been our mother countless lifetimes.
When we have the visualization, then we say this supplication or prayer, in Tibetan solwan depa. Sol is a honourable way meaning 'to say', I am saying something to somebody, that is solwa. Depa means you are putting the effort. When you ask somebody something, then that is one thing, but when you ask for a higher being for something, then we use the word solwan depa.
Here you are saying "Lord, whose white body is not clothed by faults, whose head is adorned by a perfect Buddha, who looks upon all sentient beings by compassionate eyes, to you, Chenrezig, I prostrate. This is the solwan depa, and white defines the pureness. In India in a religious special occasion then everyone wears white. White and clean. That is what the Tibetans say, I don’t know if it is true. Audience: The men. Rinpoche: Men, not women? Men can wear white and when they go to temple, women wear colourful. It's a cultural thing, but white represents pureness. We can say this prayer only one time if we are in hurry, otherwise we can say it three times.
Now let us do this visualization. Before the visualization we shall sit quietly maybe five minutes, so that we can calm down and relax.
Question: What do the lotus and mala represent?
Rinpoche: Lotus represents bodhichitta, compassion, because it grows in a most dirty place, in a mud pool. Clean pool will not grow lotuses, you have to have a mud pool to grow lotus. But lotus is never stained by the mud; it stays very clean and beautiful. That way when you develop bodhichitta, you can be defiled sentient being with lots of bad karma, but that moment you are transformed into sons and daughters of the Buddha. Therefore the lotus represents the bodhichitta, compassion. And mala represents the method, because the method and wisdom are like the male and female aspect, the positive, negative, I think many Indians understand this with the words yin and yang although it is Chinese. The lotus represents the compassion and the mala represents the method, because it is a method to count. And it is a crystal mala, same as the crystal background and crystal seat, same thing.
Now we sit quietly for five minutes and if you want during this time you can count your breathing and try to balance it. That is one way of shamatha meditation to calm down. So maybe we follow this, it is the easiest. Otherwise we just sit and relax and calm down. If we count the breath we count it 21 times, 21 sets: breathing out, pausing out, breathing in and pausing in, that is one set. Pause by definition is not holding, not holding out, just keep it up, so, pause. Breathe as slowly as possible and as completely as possible, but don't make it uncomfortable for you. Don't do it too slow or too long so that it becomes a struggle. Comfortably as long as possible, as even and as complete as possible.
Now we say the visualization prayer slowly:
The next prayer we say three times.
That was the prayer to Chenrezig. There is also Chenrezig's Seven Branch Prayer, so if you are doing this in a Dharma Centre, to do Chenrezig's Seven Branch Prayer would be quite proper, because it's an offering. We are not only asking for blessing, but we are making an offering to Chenrezig as well. The longer version of Chenrezig Seven Branch Prayer is not here, because last time at the Habitat Centre we were doing very short practice and that was taken out but beginning and end parts are here. Therefore we will do a general seven branch prayer. I think many of you know this prayer:
This is a short prayer. Seven branches are
1. Prostration, salutation.
2. Making offering.
3. Confession of all of our negative deeds.
4. Rejoicing all that is good, any Buddha attaining enlightenment, any Buddha teaching Dharma, any sentient being doing anything good you rejoice, anything that you did good you rejoice.
5. Any Bodhisattva who attain enlightenment right now we request them to turn the Wheel of Dharma. For example when Prince Siddharta became Buddha Shakyamuni, he decided to be silent for seven weeks. At that time King of the Gods came down and made him an offering of the Dharmachakra and conch shell. Two magnificent unicorn deers came from the forest and sat next to the offering. That is what Dharmachakra we have, dharmachakra with two deers. This represents that event. Therefore Buddha manifested his teaching, at the request of the king of the gods.
There are many sentient beings attaining Buddhahood every moment, somewhere, and we are asking them to turn the Wheel of Dharma just as the King of Gods did for the Prince Siddharta when he attained Buddhahood. So that is the kulwa.
6. Any Buddha who wish to enter in the parinirvana, who wish to die, we request them to live long to help the sentient beings. Because when Prince Siddharta wished to enter into parinirvana, then all of his disciples requested him to live long, to help sentient beings continually. So the same thing we do for the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
7. The merit of offering, prostration etc, all of this merit including any other merit that we have from the beginningless time until now, all the good things we have done, we dedicate the merit of all of it for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood or to be absolutely free with no limitation. To reach the absolute happiness, peace and joy, absolute harmony with no limitation, we make that prayer, we call it the Seven Branch Prayer. And for the Dharma Centre's sake I will find the exact Seven Branch Prayer of the Avalokiteshvara. But this one is a very short one, it is said very often.
The Seven-Branch Prayer Relating to Chenrezig
composed by Gelongma Palmo
Om mani peme hung, the six syllables represent purification of the six defilements so that the sentient beings of the six realms be free from Samsara from gods to hell, the six realms, from pride to anger, the six defilements. We are requesting Chenrezig's blessing so that all sentient beings be free from suffering of Samsara because they will be free from all of the six defilements. I read the translation quickly:
I pray to you lama Chenrezig
I pray to you yidam Chenrezig
I pray to you the perfect noble Chenrezig.
I pray to you Lord Protector, Chenrezig
I pray to you, Lord of Love, Chenrezig
Great, Compassionate, Victorious One,
Please hold us (means all sentient beings) with your compassion.
For numberless beings who wander in endless samsara
Experiencing unbearable suffering, there is no refuge other than you, protector.
Please bestow the blessing to obtain omniscient Buddhahood.
By the power of accumulating negative karma from beginningless time
Sentient beings through the force of anger are born as hell beings
And experience the suffering of heat and cold (that means extreme suffering)
May they all be born in your presence, perfect deity, om mani peme hung.
(You are calling Chenrezig as a perfect deity.)
By the power of accumulating negative karma from beginningless time
Sentient beings through the force of greed are born in the realm of pretas
And experience the suffering of hunger and thirst.
May they all be born in your perfect realm, the Potala, om mani peme hung.
By the power of accumulating negative karma from beginningless time
Sentient beings through the force of stupidity (means ignorance) are born as animals
And experience the suffering of dullness or stupidity (ignorance).
May they all be born in your presence, great protector Chenrezig, om mani peme hung.
By the power of accumulating negative karma from beginningless time
Sentient beings through the force of desire are born in the human realm
And experience the suffering of excessive activity and constant frustration (we are always busy and greedy)
May they all be born in the pure Land (Dewachen), om mani peme hung.
By the power of accumulating negative karma from beginningless time
Sentient beings through the force of jealousy are born in the realm of demi-gods
And experience the suffering of fighting and quarrelling out of jealousy.
May they all be born in your realm, the Potala, om mani peme hung.
By the power of accumulating negative karma from beginningless time
Sentient beings through the force of pride are born in the realm of the gods
And experience the sufferings of change and falling. (After their karma is finished then the gods will be born in a lower realm. Because gods are superior, they know their future. When they suffer they will know this.)
May they all be born in your realm, the Potala, om mani peme hung.
Whenever I am born, may my deeds by equalling Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara)
Liberate beings in impure realms
And spread the perfect sound of six syllables (om mani peme hung) in the ten directions
Through the power of praying to you.
Perfect noble one,
May beings which I am to discipline pay the greatest attention to action and result,
And diligently practise the virtue and the Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings.
This is a specified prayer to Chenrezig based on the meaning of om mani peme hung.
This is same melody as the guru devotion melody. In the chanting breathing is extremely important. If you don't know where to breathe, then you will never get the melody right. In this melody Sol-wa deb-so la-ma – that is where you breathe. Chen-re-zig, sol-wa deb-so ji-dam Chen-re-zig – then you breathe. Sol-wa deb-so pa tso Chen-re-zig – again you breathe – sol-wa deb-so chab-gön Chen-re-zig. So four sentences, one melody.
Sol-wa deb-so la-ma´ Chen-re-zig
sol-wa deb-so ji-dam Chen-re-zig´
sol-wa deb-so pa tso Chen-re-zig´
sol-wa deb-so chab-gön Chen-re-zig'
sol-wa deb-so cham-gön´ Chen-re-zig
tuk-je zung shig jal-wa tuk-je chen´
ta-me khor-war drangme cham-jur-shing´
zö-me du-gnal nyong-we dro-wa la´
göm-po che-le chab-shen´ ma-chi-so
nam-chen san-gye tob-par chin-ji lop.´
If you have a long breath, then no problem, but I have short breath, because when I was nine years old, I got TB. I was under medication for three years, I have only 1½ lungs, my breathing is very short and I have to breathe so many times. But for the chanting, where to breathe is very important. Now, from here, the melody changes. The om mani peme hung melody in this prayer is different.
Now for the om mani peme hung the six-syllable melody is over, but we continue with the same melody for the rest of the prayer. The six realm prayer is over now.
That is a little bit elaborated prayer for Chenrezig to liberating sentient beings from the six realms. We have a break now, but in your actual practise in the centre you cannot stop here. You have to do all the prayers from beginning to the end, from the refuge to the dedication. But today I'm teaching, so it's exceptional, since it takes long time to teach and chant. And you have to get one of those bells that you can hit, so that for the meditation right after the refuge and bodhichitta, then the master or the chanting master can hit the bell, so everybody will sit quietly. When he wants to start chanting, then again to hit the bell, then everybody will be ready to chant. In Tibet, traditionally we don't have that; "Tibetan singing bowl", that is rubbish, there is no such thing but this is for tourists. They have these metal bowls with the stick. Just go around it and it sings, you know, it is Hollywood stuff. Anyway we use that because in Japanese Buddhist temples zen meditations they use big ones, and it's very nice. So the gonggg… the sound goes and you feel very calm and then you start your meditation. And when you stop you do another one and then everybody stops and then starts chanting. It makes things order, so it is good. (Break.)
After the prayer to Avalokiteshvara and a specific prayer related to six realms the visualization continues. You have the basic visualization already there. Now the visualization continues and this is mentioned here very clearly:
Through this one-pointed prayer
light radiates from the form of the Sublime One
and purifies impure karma, impure appearances and the deluded mind.
The outer environment is the Pure Land of Dewachen (Sukhavati)
and the body, speech and mind of beings therein
are the perfect Form, sublime Speech and pure Mind of Mighty Chenrezig,
the indivisible union of appearance, sound and vivid intelligence with Voidness.
During the recitation of the mantra your visualization is as follows: because of your prayer Chenrezig radiates light to all directions like the sun. It purifies and transforms the entire outer realm as the Pure Land and inner sentient beings as the Chenrezig. Thinking of this you recite the mantra.
Of the six syllables om mani peme hung om represents the god, ma the asura, ni the human, pe the animal, me the preta and hung the hell realm. The compassion of Chenrezig is to liberate sentient beings from the god realm, sentient beings from the asura realm, sentient beings from the human realm, sentient beings from the animal realm, sentient beings from the preta realm and sentient beings from the hell realm, and liberate them to the realisation of Avalokiteshvara.
That was the meaning of the om mani peme hung. Sometimes they say om mani peme hung hri, hri is the heart syllable of Chenrezig, so we say that sometimes. But normally we call it om mani peme hung six-syllable mantra. Om mani peme hung hri is a seven-syllable mantra, not six, so om mani peme hung.
Now we chant the visualization recitation:
This we only recite once. Then we chant the om mani peme hung. So at the beginning maybe we say, if you are doing at the weekend chanting, maybe you say om mani peme hung for one mala or half a mala with the melody. Four mani peme hungs complete one simple melody. The first one is a salutation, prostration, devotion and second om mani peme hung is offering: I offer all that is there, all of my merit, all of my wisdom, everything. Third one is receiving the blessing of Avalokiteshvara and then fourth om mani peme hung is to dedicate this blessing and merit for the benefit of all sentient beings. So we [feel devotion,] make offering, receive blessing and give it to all sentient beings. There are four melodies meant for this.
Chanting the short mantra with a tune
OM MANI PEME HUNG, OM MANI PEME HUNG…
Very good but put little bit force there. For this melody you keep the feeling: first one is the prostration, salutation. Second one is the offering, third is receiving blessing, and the last one is giving away. So then the whole process is finished. Then you begin again. To each one you should give feeling. And we are not trying to exhibit how well we can sing here, we try to sing it from our heart as an offering, as a blessing, as a dedication. So this is a very important part.
So you should recite this for maybe half a mala or full mala and then you should recite om mani peme hung about ten malas, one thousand mantras, which is very simple. You just say it very softly without saying it aloud, without singing it, just saying om mani peme hung, and this time you think: by the blessing of the Avalokiteshvara the compassion, wisdom and power is manifesting in a form of light to all directions and it transforms all the universe into a pure realm of Avalokiteshvara, it transforms all sentient beings into the embodiment of compassion, the Avalokiteshvara. So, om mani peme hung. When you use mala, use it this way and complete here [at the guru bead]. Then you don't go on, and you turn and use it this way until you get here [the guru bead], and you turn. You don't go over it.
The counters are meant for counting. If you want to count, two counters should have two distinctive descriptions, maybe vajra and bell or even if they are same, one should have something, like a little stone, little jewel or something attached here so that one can distinguish between this and that one. You use one for one hundred, another one as thousands. So when you finish going around the mala from beginning to the end, each time you pull one counter bead. You have ten counter beads, and once it reaches to the end, then you pull the other counter's bead. That means one thousand. Then you pull the counter beads for hundreds back up and use it same way again. When you finish going around your mala ten times, you pull the second thousand. When you have pulled all the beads from that counter, you have finished ten thousand mantras.
Normally you have two counters like this on each side of the guru bead. Once you finish ten thousand you pull one bead from the next counter, and it means you have finished ten thousand. When you go more around, that means one hundred times ten thousand, that is one million. When you finish one million, then the other one, which is not identical, slightly different shape, you pull one. This way when you finish it is one hundred million which we call one conch shell. Many old people I know, when they finished this, then they grew a new tooth. Toot of conch shell. Very white beautiful teeth they grew, I saw. It is just symbolic, nothing great about growing new teeth, but it is very symbolic.
So, one mala with this kind of counters can be used for counting one hundred million. That is mani tung, Tibetans will say mani tung, and prayer wheels also have one hundred million om mani peme hung inside, so we call it tung-kor, tung-prayer wheel. Each time one hundred million om mani peme hung is going in circle always clockwise of course. Then we also use other mantras for the tung-kor and for the prayer wheels we have the bottom of the prayer wheel made out of bamboo and we have a thick conch shell cut from the white conch shell and glued it down there on the handle so that there is a whole in the middle. So the central metal goes through the hole but the bamboo touches the conch shell, so when you are turning the prayer wheel clockwise, the bamboo cut through the conch shell one time. We believe that at that time you have done equivalent one hundred million om mani peme hung. So people will take that conch shell out, put it on a string and wear it and then they do another one, finish it and put it next to it, some of them have a necklace of them. Some of them have quite a few of them. 108 they put aside and make a new one. We also use this as a blessing, as a protection, people wear it as a blessing and protection. Raksha.
These are the cultural or traditional aspects of this. Of course we don't use those shells but white conch shells which is like a tooth, very thick and you can get them everywhere but especially at Ganyakumari, down there you can get really good ones. This is our tradition. So you will say om mani peme hung about ten malas. Let us say today one mala, clearly. Once you get to the end, turn around.
As you are reciting om mani peme hung, Avalokiteshvara manifests multicoloured lights to all directions just like the sun and where-ever this light touches, the outer realm transforms into the pure Sukhavati realm, pure realm; and inner sentient beings, as this light touches them, transform into embodiment of compassion, embodiment of Avalokiteshvara. Their body manifests as Avalokiteshvara, their speech manifests as om mani peme hung, the sound of the great compassion and their mind transforms into the limitless compassion and wisdom of Avalokiteshvara. This is the visualization or the kind of mental concentration that you maintain during the recitation. Gentle, harmonious, comfortable way. Meditation should never be done in a stiff or rigid way, meditation should always be done in a relaxed, harmonious and calm-abiding way.
The way you hold the mala really doesn't matter. Try to keep it with respect, relative definition of respect. [Quiet recitation of the mantra.] I think regularly in the centre when you do the Chenrezig on Saturday and Sunday, you should chant the mantra with the melody, (singing) maybe little bit and then recitation ten malas, that is one thousand. That really doesn't take much time.
After that you have the conclusion of the visualization. When you finish the recitation, the chanting master may hit the bell and everybody sits quietly for a little while. At this time you dissolve Chenrezig Avalokiteshvara visualization into all of you, all sentient beings. In this non-dualistic state – there is no Chenrezig up there, there is no you down here, all non-dualistic state, so try to remain in this non-dualistic state of great unity, state of great luminosity, because it is not just dark nothingness, it is everything. So in this state of great harmony, unity, non-dualistic state, try to remain in it as long as possible. Let's say 5 – 10 minutes non-dualistic state, and if you have thoughts coming, which will be guaranteed, let them come and go. Because, if you don’t try to stop them and if you don't try to follow them, they just calm down. It's like naughty children around you. If you tell them don't do this, don't do that, they will do everything. But if you just sit there like a great grand-pa, nothing will happen. They just run around and try to pull your nose and hair, but after some time they leave you alone. Same way when the thoughts come, instead of fighting them just let them come and go. So, try to maintain this harmonious state one with the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. That is the absorption.
When you want to end this, the chant leader or the lama will ring the bell which means: this is the end, and you have the final chanting. This is translated here:
My body, the bodies of others and all appearances
are the perfect form of the Sublime One,
all sounds, the melody of the six syllables,
all thoughts, the vastness of the great jnana.
Through this virtue, may I quickly
achieve the realisation of mighty Chenrezig
and may I bring every single being
to that same state.
So we remain in this state, and when the bell is rang, then you sing this and here you are awake, you come out of this state of samadhi, so everything that you see is blessed by and the manifestation of Sukhavati, the Pure Land of Avalokiteshvara and all sentient beings are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara. All sounds are om mani peme hung, even that motorcycle goes by, it is rrrom mani peme hung! Yes. Everything is the manifestation of om mani peme hung. Try to maintain that and then dedicating the merit of that for the benefit of all sentient beings. With that Chenrezig practise is complete. So let us recite this:
So the first three sentences are about all appearing as Chenrezig Pure Land and last four sentences are the dedication. So we have to make a gap there. Then it starts again. The melodies are very simple. Just two sentence melodies, very very easy and if everybody is able to say it with a bit of voice, not shy, it feels good. All saying it together makes it many times better.
Now Chenrezig practice is somewhat complete and it is quite traditional to say the Amitabha Pure Land Prayer at the end. The long Amitabha Pure Land prayer is pretty long, but this is short one. This is at the end of the long one. It is quite customary to say, and very short.
This is a prayer that May all sentient beings be born in the Pure Land of Amitabha. Actually there are five main Pure Lands and one is Amitabha, which is the Western Pure Land. And why it is said so many times by us is because out of the Five Dhyani Buddhas Amitabha represents the attachment. Attachment is the human defilement. Out of the six realms the human realms defilement is greed and attachment. So we wish the blessing of the Buddha to purify our karmas that are created by our greed and attachment and grasping so, that we reach the realisation of the Amitabha which is same as the realisation of the other Buddhas but the symbolic meaning of the Five Dhyani Buddhas in the Buddha-crown we have five, ornamentally. There is the middle, east, south, west and north, but the Five Dhyani Buddhas are represented in one line in the crown. Actually there is central [Buddha] and front is always east. It has nothing to do with where the sun comes from, front is your east. Right is your south, back is your west and left is your north. So the Amitabha represents west here. Now we say Amitabha prayer
We say the main prayer three times, and this mantra is a wish fulfilling mantra. TE-YATA PENTSA DRI-YA AWA BOD-HA NA-YE SO-HA, any wish that we make, at the end we say this mantra, this mantra is meant for fulfilling our wish. Our wish is Amitabha Pure Land prayer and at the end there is the wish fulfilling mantra. Then there is the dedication part of this:
So the Amitabha prayer is over and now we say the regular dedication prayer, which is
Sönam de-yi tam-che jig-pa nji
tob-ne nye-pei dra nam pam che ne
tse ga na chi palab drupa yi
sipe chole dro va drol-var sho.
It means: Because of this merit may I reach the realisation of the Omniscient One, that means Buddhahood, and may I liberate all sentient beings from the suffering of Samsara, that means the four rivers of the suffering of Samsara: birth, old age, sickness and death. So the sentient beings are going in circle in birth, old age, sickness and death, birth, old age, sickness and death, again and again and again. This ocean of Samsara is also not very quiet one, it is turbulent one, so birth, old age, sickness and death, up and down so many times, not just smooth. So we wish to liberate all sentient beings from the suffering of Samsara, which is continuation of birth, old age, sickness and death. This is the prayer, and then the last four sentences:
Just as Manjushri and Kuntuzangpo (Samantabhadra) and all the other Bodhisattvas and Buddhas, how they prayed and dedicated, I also dedicate and pray, so that may all sentient beings reach the Buddhahood. That is the final dedication, it has a very simple melody [together with the previous four lines].
Jampal pawo jitar chempa tang
kuntu zangpo de yang de shin te
dedag künchi dzesu da lob ching
gewa didag tamche rabtu ngo.
This way we can complete our one day's Chenrezig session here, and I hope it will happen every Saturday and Sunday regardless how many people will participate. Maybe just one or two, maybe five or ten, maybe 20 or 30, doesn't matter. And you can also do it at home and I don't think this will disturb your neighbours. You don't seem to say it loud enough to disturb. One thing I didn't mention this morning, somehow it's skipped, it is the lineage prayer, our lineage prayer Dorje Chang Tungma, from Buddha Vajradhara until now, the simple lineage prayer. This is quite important thing to say at the beginning and very proper. So first you say the refuge and bodhichitta. After that you say this prayer, and then you sit quietly and do the shine meditation. After the shine meditation you start the Chenrezig practice, Chenrezig visualization.
The Dorje Chang Tungma is I think nicely transliterated and translated in English as well. It will be little bit difficult to put melody to it in English. Dorje Chang Tungma melody is very simple. Once you have this tape, put right things in the right places and you can have one whole tape with the chanting of today and you can use that as your chant leader, if you can't find a person to really lead. If there is a person to lead, then there is no need for this.
That is our lineage prayer and it is written by one our very great master whose name is known as Pengkar Jampal Zangpo long time ago. This is a prayer of all about the lineage from Vajradhara to Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa etc. All their names are here. It's almost a thousand years, 900 years old prayer.
The Amitabha prayer many times people get little bit mixed up, because it's four sentences, one melody. Emaho – that does not count, that's not a sentence.
Ngo-tsar san-gye nang-wa ta-ye dang
ye-su jo-wo tuk-je chen-pö dang
yön-du sem-pa tu-chen top nam-la
san-gye chang-sem pa-me kor-ji-kor
The first sentence is little bit lower, second one is little bit higher, then third one is little bit lower, last one is low, and finishes. So it's a four-sentence melody. I hope it is all clear now and ready to conduct the next Saturday and Sunday chanting here. It will be some time before the residence lama will be here, so all of you have to somehow organise it and put is together. Any questions?
Q: About the language. It is good to recite in Tibetan. Is there a possibility to make a compromise if one is not too familiar with the text and one needs to understand what one says, so is there a compromise that one can do it in English or whatever language and then in Tibetan?
Rinpoche: You can do that at home or you can do it separately, but as a group it should be done in Tibetan, because I still don't feel I have the ability to transmit the same blessing that I have received from my guru in Tibetan language into English language. I don't have that ability or realisation. So I feel it is little bit hypocritical for me to say that because I can speak in English, then I can also transmit the lineage in English. I don't have that sort of realisation, honestly. But once it is there, it will be. But in the future actually there will be certain parts of prayer that can be more appropriate [to translate] and certain parts will not be appropriate, even after some time. For example om mani peme hung we still say it in Sanskrit, not in Tibetan. Te-yata pentsa dri-ya awa bod-ha na-ye so-ha we also say in Sanskrit and not in Tibetan.
At the beginning of the Amitabha prayer: "Emaho", that is Sanskrit, that's not Tibetan. So many parts of recitations, even about 1500 years after still we say in Sanskrit, although our Sanskrit is not as perfect pronunciation as the real Sanskrit in India, because 1500 years is long time, we did not get it that much twisted as dhyan and zen, but still there are quite a big differences: we never say vajra, we always say benzra. In our tongue vajra is benzra. It doesn't mean benzra is right and vajra is wrong, vajra is right and benzra is wrong, but that is how it is translated and that is how all the late masters like Milarepa and others attained enlightenment. That way nothing wrong with benzra. To change the benzra into vajra – I can't do that, but somebody who have high realisation, they will be able to do that in the future. Then from Tibetan to English needs more than that, but it will be quite easy, for example this text, to get the meaning in Tibetan, because it is just three, four pages. You just study the meaning of those words and it will be just like one month – four weekends' study taught by the lama. This means this, that means that, and you get familiar with it.
When you say: Da sog kha- chab sem-chen ji – da means I, sog means etc. kha means sky, chab means all pervading, sem-chen means sentient being, ji means of. Chi-tsu pe-kar da-way teng – chi-tsu means crown, pe-kar means white lotus, da-wa means moon, teng means on top, to get that right is quite easy, because you are only learning this, you are not learning all Tibetan language. You are just learning these few pages. So it will not be that difficult.
For us to say: Om ben-za sa-to sa-ma-ya, ma-nu pa-la-ya, ben-za sa-to te-no-pa, ti-tra dri-to me-bha-va… I really have no idea exactly what each word means but I said it 100000 times when I was 18 years old, and I'm very happy with it. There are very long mantras in Sanskrit which we say a lot and the precise meaning we don't know, but it's okay with me, we have the full faith with the text. To learn Sanskrit is much easier for you than for us. For us to learn Sanskrit was very difficult, because it is very advanced language but to learn the Tibetan words like Dor-je Chang chen Telo Naro dang, Marpa Mila chö je Gampopa, Du sum she cha kun chen Karmapa and "I prostrate to you" is very easy to learn.
Q: The translations into English and phonetics I find confusing because when you are reciting it, it does not seem to match English.
Rinpoche: My pronunciation may be different from many other Tibetans, because I'm from East Tibet. Although I grew up with Central Tibetans, the eastern dialect must be there. So maybe that is the problem. Let's look at the first page for example.
San-gye chö dang tso-ji cho nam la
"Tso-kyi definitely the Sikkimese have done it. They won't say tso-ji but -kyi. I think Sikkimese or Bhutanese have made the transliteration here. Chang chub bar-du da ni chab-su-nchi. No problem. Da-gi jin-sok ji-pay sö-nam ji…Again, sönam gyi, not ji. Dro-la pen-chir san-gye dru par sho. If the Ladakhies had done it, they will say sans-gyes instead of san-gye. They will put s there while we will not. This is certainly not a Ladakhi speaking or a Central Tibetan speaking or east Tibetan speaking but I think the transliteration is done by a Sikkimese or Bhutanese speaking person. Gye you can see instead of je.
Da sog kha- chab sem-chen ji
chi-tsu pe-kar da-way teng
hri-le pa-cho Chen-re-zi
kar sal ö-zer nga den drö
gyen-dzum tuk-je chen ji zik… is one text and dzum-den tuk-je chen ji zik…is another text. It is the same thing, gyen means beautiful, dzum means smiling, "beautiful and smiling". Dzum-den means with smile. There are two versions and I think I'm saying the dzum-den tuk-je chen ji zik but gyen-dzum tuk-je chen ji zik is fine.
Cha shi dang-po tal-jar dze
o nji shel-dreng pe-kar nam
dar dang rin-chen jen-ji dre… The Sikkimese and Bhutanese will say jen-gyi. And
Ri-dag pak-pei tö-yok sol
ö-pa-me-pay u-jen chen… u-gen
shap nyi dor-je chil-drung shu… again same, khil-drung. It means same but pronunciation is different. That kind of transliteration is made by a Sikkimese or Bhutanese lama.
dri-me da-war jab ten-pa
chab ne kun-du ngo-wor jur. Instead of chabne, they say kyabne.
Jo-wo chön-ji ma-gö ku-do kar…Jowo kön-ji ma gö…
dzo san-gye ji u-la jen …Dzo sange gi u-la gen
Tuk-je chen-ji dro-la zig
Chen-re-zi la cha-chal-lo.
I think these minor things we can work out without problem. This is just dialect. You might have Delhi Hindi, Himalchal Hindi, Bombay Hindi… Any other questions?
Q: I have read from a book that with saying the six syllables there is a colour also.
Rinpoche: Yes, you can visualize that also. If you do it elaborately, you can do that also. Each syllable has a colour, if you want to visualise that way there is a more elaborate visualization. You can also have mantra chakra visualization in the heart of Chenrezig. Hri in the middle and then om mani peme hung as a mantra chakra. A mantra chakra, the fountain of nectar, there are so many things like that. In that context you visualise each mantra different colour or you visualise all the mantras white colour, it depends which text. But I go very simply here, because this is easier for us. The original text must be Tangtong Gyalpo's Mani da sog kha- chab -commentary. It is one of the best. Tangtong Gyalpo, the great master who built the chain bridges in Tibet, in Bhutan and in other Himalayan parts where you have chain bridges. Actually in original border of Tibet and China, in Tartsendo the biggest chain bridge is built by him. It still stands today. The chains are very big. He made bridges built on chains with no wires on top, just chain. Chains for the hand, chains underneath, chains below, the planks you put on the chains, and it's very stable good bridge. Iron chains.
Q: (about the texts)
Rinpoche: I will arrange it. In west they have everything, all of this translated, but I don't have them. We can have photocopies but let's see who is involved in transliteration.
Q: What is kundalini?
Rinpoche: Kundalini is a very serious business. This physical body with spine, with head and limbs and everything that fully matured human body is supposed to have, kundalini is its potential of experiencing the great non-dualistic joy, this ability. The male and female, all have it. Kundalini practice is reserved for a person who is totally dedicated for it. Kundalini practice cannot be done like a weekend retreat or just let's try -kind of practice. First of all, whether your kundalini can be awakened or not, or you recognize it or not, is one thing, you might not, nothing happens, but if it happens and it will not stop, and you live ordinary life, it will drive you mad. It will cause you tremendous problem. It can cause you very, very, very big problem and it can practically make you mad. You can't take it. Therefore kundalini practice is reserved for somebody, who live a yogic life and who is totally, totally dedicated for it. Then step by step introduce the kundalini practice. That way the ultimate of the relative body - it is not the ultimate of the ultimate mind - it is physical. So it is the ultimate of the relative body whose ability to experience the ultimate harmony and ultimate unity and ultimate non-dualism is in a form of bliss and joy. And this is very sacred and extremely secret practice. Why it is secret? - Because it is very, very dangerous. Once you wake the kundalini you cannot stop it.
For example with myself: I know all about it, I have done all the practices to understand it, but I have never done myself the practice of kundalini to awake the kundalini energy. I haven't done, because I'm not living that kind of life. But for somebody who already has practised kundalini, and who is a practitioner of kundalini, to introduce you kundalini and to make you experience your kundalini is not very difficult. But then, after that - then what? What kind of life you are going to live? If you are going to live regular ordinary life, then you have trouble. It is a very sacred thing and then like me - I don't know how to wake people's kundalini. Only intellectually and from the text and Abhiseka I know what it is all about. But technically I don't know how to do it, and I'm very grateful, because I won't be responsible for anybody's uncontrollable state of something which is wonderful. But even if it is a wonderful and such a good thing, if you can't control it, then it is difficult. It becomes very bad actually. So you have to live yogic life in order to practise kundalini. And there is next level to that: that is a breathing practice. There are quite a few breathing practices, visualizations and Deity practices which we do in three year's retreat, and physical exercises. It is not 100% for that, but it is to develop a certain aspect of it, so that you will be able to reach the non-dualistic state and stability.
The simplest way to describe this will be like developing qi in new age -terms, you know the common word used these days; developing qi-energy, a sort of heat and joy and bliss. That kind of state you can reach through some practice that we do, which all the lamas do in the three years' retreat and I myself also have done those practices. These are not dangerous, they are just concentration and breathing and meditation. It is to centralize yourself. If you have a very good central column, then any kind of things that are attached to it can have forces. By moving other things the central will not wobble. That way this is a tsa lung practice which we do normally. Those totally dedicated and totally involved yogis, they will do kundalini practice, but they will be very few. (link: Tai Situpa: Six Yogas, in Finnish: Kuusi joogaa)
Q: Does number six have any particular significance in Tibetan system?
Rinpoche: There are six realms and six defilements.
Q: And six paramitas?
Rinpoche: We have ten paramitas too, but the ten are an elaboration of the sixth paramita. The sixth wisdom paramita is further elaborated into thab, tob, mönlam, yeshe; that is method, strength, aspiration and primordial wisdom. In the sixth paramita, wisdom, we include everything. I don't think it is just a simple numerical significance for the six. We also have eight auspicious signs, five senses, four noble truths, three roots and three jewels. That makes six. Each number has significance but in its own way and for us 12 has a very big astrological and mathematical significance, because 12x5 is 60. So we have five elements and 12 animals and put together makes one century for us. The Tibetan astrological century is a sixty years cycle, not a hundred year cycle. In sixty years everything repeats.
For example a fire dragon you can have only every sixty years. If you are a fire dragon, you cannot find another person with fire dragon unless you are born in the same year or 60 years earlier or 60 years later. I'm a wood horse. I can never find another wood horse, who is not 60 years older or younger than me. It repeats every 60 years and we call that rabjung, each 60 years we describe like one rabjung, two rabjung… In Tibetan we are in the 17th rabjung now.
And also there is one star; we call karma mindruk, which is very important star. It comes and goes and it is somehow the main star to occupy the sky throughout the night. Karma mindruk is very important group of stars.
Rinpoche: We have so many kind of breathing practices. In basic practice we focus on the breathing, because by making our breathing balanced we become balanced. For example those people who breathe in quickly and hold in long time, breathe out quickly and breathe in and hold in for long time, people who have those kind of habits, they are very explosive and uptight. Those people who breathe out and hold long time out and breathe in quickly, breathe out and hold out long time, they are very tired people. They have no energy and they get tired very easily. Those people who breathe even are even physically and mentally. So in the shine practice we try to breathe as slowly and evenly as possible, as completely as possible, both inhale and exhale, and then try to keep a good pause in between each exhale and inhale; pause, not closed. This way our emotions and physical uptightness or laziness, these things will be levelled. That is double benefit, because you are also concentrating on breathing. Concentrating on one thing you can't concentrate on other things. So instead of trying not to think of other things, you are thinking on one thing very clearly and focusing on it and counting it. So your all concentration goes on it and you develop the ability to concentrate on one thing without being dispersed into so many other thoughts and then becoming discursive and neurotic. This way it has double benefit.
But then there are other meditations which are deep breathing and actually holding the breathing on one level but breathing in the lungs normally, these kind of practices are the tantric practices which I can't talk too much here, but doing this kind of practice you can walk miles and miles and you won't get tired. You can do also this kind of breathing practices, you chant and practice and everything is very clear because you won't get tired.
There is another practice where you hold breath but that is very dangerous if it is not done properly. It has to be done very properly with exercise and many preliminary practices. I know people who told me that they have met masters in Tibet during their lifetimes, who can hold their breath and breathe only three times a day. That means they are holding breath for four hours without any difficulties. There was one master during the time of my teacher who is now 83, when he was a kid there was a master who lived on the east side of the Yangtse River in our country. He flied to the western side of the Yangtse River, on the mountain, (it was a gorge,) and sat there in the sun and then he flied back to the eastern side for the evening. And there was another master who lived on the mountain and all the birds would sit on him. He had no clothes but birds were his clothes. When people went near, they flew away, but when people went away they all came back. His jacket and everything were birds. These kinds of people were our previous generation, still living today. These kinds of things are the tsa lung practice. But it is not for us just to try for a weekend.
Rinpoche: Not exactly like that, because every Tibetan is Vajrayana. There is no Hinayana and Mahayana in Tibet, all Vajrayana. But then how much real Vajrayana they are, who knows? It depends on the individual. The Vajrayana is as the whole thing and then as you are practising it, if you are practising it under a lineage and purely, then there is no problem, because you are practising Vajrayana, but you are emphasizing what you need to emphasize. You don't jump into the Pacific Ocean before you know how to swim. You are correct, if you really jump into the highest Vajrayana like kundalini then you are asking for trouble and wasting your time and energy actually. It's like throwing your life away. Going step by step is very important.
But going step by step is also in the Vajrayana. We have Preliminary practices like the Four Thought Contemplation: Precious Human life, Death and Impermanence, Karma, Cause and Result, Suffering of Samsara. You contemplate on them. Then we do prostrations and Vajrasattva for purification. Each one 110000 times. Then we do Mandala and Guru Yoga 110000 times. After that we do Guru Yoga of Marpa, Guru Yoga of Milarepa, Guru Yoga of Gampopa, each one of them we recite. Then we do the practice of our Protectors Mahakala and Mahakali. We visualise them, we do their retreat, we recite their mantras. After that we do the practice of our main deity Vajravarahi, Vajravarahi outer practice and then the Agni, then the inner practice and the Agni and then the secret practice and the Agni. After that we receive the Six Yogas of Naropa and at that time we also do the practice of Chakrasamvara. These are our main practices. So step by step. Here I'm talking about very serious practitioners who do like three years three months' retreat. That's what they do there. Some people do this outside, but they can't do it in three years and three months. It will take them maybe ten or twenty years.
So it is not dangerous, if you are doing it properly. But if you just without any preliminary practice, without any of those going through step by step practices jump into the six yogas or kundalini practice, then it is very dangerous. Should not do that. Just like anything in life: if you want to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, fine, but first you should learn how to swim in the swimming pool. Atlantic Ocean and swimming pool are both water. The preliminary practice and the actual very high practice are both Vajrayana.
Let us do the dedication prayer so that our four days of teaching and prayer be beneficial for all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood including ourselves. And then I also wanted to make a special dedication because the centre is found, because everybody wanted and so many contributed their money and time and energy for making this centre possible. Also our landlord has been very nice and happy with the Dharma centre, and also put some effort to make this happen, so we dedicate the merit of everyone for the benefit of all sentient beings.
All of this is possible because of the wisdom and compassion of my gurus, so I'd like to say a short Guruyoga prayer and you all join me:
Discovering inner goodness
Discovering inner goodness only truly happens through meditation. You can discover your inner goodness intellectually of course, but it is just knowledge of what is possible. Anything that we learn we can forget, any note that we can write, we can use them… any intellectual understanding that we confirm today might be challenged and changed tomorrow. So in is not really an end in itself. But whatever is achieved through meditation, will transform and progress. Each step is a step in itself and then you will progress from there. You will progress into next step and that step is an end in itself. For instance we learn something today and we think we accomplished something, but tomorrow it can be totally proved wrong, and it's not progress. Of course in a way it's progress, because you will not know it's wrong as long as you think it is right, but somehow you have unlearned and then you have to undo. So there is quite big difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Inner, innate goodness is in simple terminology it is very commonly described primordial wisdom. Primordial wisdom is the innate goodness, it is in everyone, it is everything actually at all times. Until we recognise and realise it there is lot of twist in terms for better and for worse and unfortunately most of the time it turns to the worse direction.
First I would like to share these particular teachings by Gampopa. In his teaching he uses the Tibetan words lhungyi drupa. It means naturally accomplished without any effort. Gampopa wrote ten things: he describes it as dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa. That means naturally accomplished great joy and great bliss. The nature of all sentient beings mind (when people ask me about soul, atma, pram-atma, for me it is about the same thing) - the nature of that which makes me to talk and you to listen, understand and judge, you can call it maha-atma, no-atma or whatever, so the essence of everyone's mind is Dharmakaya. And that is naturally (drupa) achieved or fulfilled without any effort. The essence of all sentient being's mind is Dharmakaya. You can be somebody who doesn't believe in atma, whatever he believes in, that is Dharmakaya. And those who believe in atma, so atma is Dharmakaya. These who believe in pram-atma, that is Dharmakaya. Those who believe in no atma, that is Dharmakaya. Everything that is there, who believes and who doesn't and what they believe or not, that is the Dharmakaya. And if you have hard time to understand that; I will tell you.
What is there when we are alive, and what is not there when we are dead? Everything is there if you are 50 kg, after you are dead you are dead, you are 50 kg. If you are 80 kg, after you are dead, you are 80 kg. But after you are dead something is gone, and when you are alive, something is in there. That is the mind, the atma, whatever, essence of that. All of us have it right now. That is the first of the ten.
Now the second of the ten. The ground for everything. Chö nyi kyi nying - chö means all phenomena. Everyone as well as everything is dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa [naturally accomplished great joy and great bliss].
The third. The thought, this, which is in us when we are alive, and which is not in us when we are dead, it is not quiet, it has all kind of imagination, all kind of fantasies, all kind of wonderful manifestations, all kind of terrible manifestations, all kind of nonsense as well. So, all these thoughts, tokpa. Actually all of these tokpas are really truly in essence nothing. If all the people on earth from the year 1, Friday until today 2003, Friday, did not follow these thoughts, none of the things that happened during these 2003 years would have happened. Nothing would have happened. Everything would be the same.
And so it is in essence just a thought, it doesn't have any substance. But when you follow the thought and speculate it and use your body and speech as a servant of that thought, everything happens. Right now, how this world is today, is because that thought is followed and that thought is put in action. As a result of that, lots of good things happened, as well as lots of terrible things happened. If you are an optimistic person, you can say: not too bad. But if you are a pessimistic person, you can say: we are in an absolute mess. And there is no way to solve the problem that we are in, as humanity. Of course in this little nice room, when we are supposed to be trying to be discovering the inner innate goodness, in this little room we think we can solve everything, but in reality it is impossible, in my mind. It is only possible, if all the millions of things work perfectly on our favour. But even two things are not working perfectly in our favour, so, everything is a struggle. The world is a big mess. It's not a big thing, not the end of the world, because the Lord Buddha has predicted it all. It is hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of years from now. It is not now. In between Lord Buddha Shakyamuni and Lord Maitreya there are two million years. Of that only over 2500 years have passed. There will be one thousand Buddhas here and Lord Buddha Shakyamuni is number four, 996 more to come. So we are managing very well.
That thought itself is limitless. What you can think of, what you can fantasize, what kind of thought one can have, there is no limitation. I was just told they are making a time tunnel. Going to future, going to past, it's all possible. Anything. If you put effort to it, it's possible.
I used to think a long time: one can have a machine without fuel and noise, without pollution, without wearing anything out, without touching anything to anything; can move - a vehicle. Because that's how the Earth moves around the Sun, that's how the Moon moves around the Earth. No noise and nothing is rubbing against anything, and no fuel, but it's going very fast. Earth is going around the Sun I think 20000 miles/second. It doesn't need fuel. Why can't we have a little machine of this cushion size? Why not? It's more than possible. It is happening. The proof is: the sky is full of it. At night you look up: all those stars are moving, and they are not making any noise, they are not hitting each other, they are doing everything in harmony, functioning perfectly, so it's more than possible. Time tunnel and all this is absolutely possible.
The thought really does not have any dualistic reality in itself. It is non-dualistic in its essence. Therefore it is dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa. That is inner innate goodness of all the thoughts. First is innate goodness of everyone. The second is inner innate goodness of everyone as well as everything. This is inner innate goodness of all the thoughts. Now the fourth is about experience. Experience means experience by the mind. Dead body does not experience, the living person experiences what happens. But dead body itself does not have any experience. The experience is of the mind. The mind experiences through everything. My mind is right now bound by my karma to this 5 ft 3 inches. So we get bound to an experience of the mind through the senses which are through this body.
Some people claim they can feel auras and they can feel auras of others touched by their aura. I don't. I'm really dumb in these things but I really believe it is possible. Anyway, now the experience, actually, truly, nothing has ever happened from beginning until today, ultimately. Relatively of course, so many things have happened, such as First World War and Second World War happened, and ice age and meteorite hitting the Earth and killing all the beautiful dinosaurs. We miss that. Otherwise we would have always to look around for tyrannosaurus… Anyway, all the experience is an illusion of the mind. It is a manifestation of the karma, cause and result committed by the mind through the body and speech. As the result of this all these things happened. But besides of that nothing has happened.
The fifth is - each one of these has many ways of interpreting it. If you are a yogi, who is practising… real yogi, I'm not talking about 21st century yogi. 21st century yogi has a job from time to time, not a fixed job, and a person who does not want to argue with people, because it's uncomfortable. And who doesn't want to have too many things, because you have to take care of them. It's very hard, if your apartment has 3000 ft space and you are just alone, it's much work. So you rather prefer small room for yourself and doing some practice every day, put all the money in the bank, not making any business, that's 21st century yogi. Safe and secure. And very comfortably dressed. Usually doesn't wear shoes, rather wears sandals, easier and more comfortable for the feet.
Even we are doing everything relatively, ultimately we are not doing anything. Ultimately we can't do anything. Do something ultimate, please. Can you? You can't. Everything relatively. Do something limitless. Shout limitlessly. Hardest shout you can do is maybe to the next block, not further. And heaviest thing you can lift is maybe twice your bodyweight, not more. Everything we do is limited. We can't truly do anything limitless. Superficially we can do something. If is a yogi, then of course, the interpretation for him or her will be - the definition of yogi is: there is nothing that person will or will not do. Because, for that person, everything is non-dualistic, everything is equal, no bias for anything, that is true yogi.
But if people like you and me ‒ I don't know about you but me ‒ if I pretend to be like that, I will be terrible! Because for me good is good, bad is bad. And if I do bad things by saying and thinking, brainwashing myself that there is no good and bad, it is a feast for my defilements. It is not a true yogic practice. But in essence, if you are a true yogi, like Milarepa, at that level, there is no difference. Milarepa killing somebody or Milarepa saving somebody is same. Milarepa stealing something or Milarepa giving something is same. But for me, no. If I steal something, it's bad karma, if I give something, it's good karma. If I steal something I will go to hell or something like that, whatever is there, I will go there, the worst place. And if somebody found out, they will put me in jail, that is human hell. So, it is not the same.
But here, philosophically it means that everything that is being done right now, all the good things and bad things, they are not done ultimately. They are just an illusion; they are just like a magician bringing a pigeon or rabbit out of his hat. It's not real, it's all illusion. This way all the activities, not mental but physical activities are dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa.
The next is about Dharmakaya. Dharmakaya is relevant, when we attain the Buddhahood, but its relevance to us right now is as the basis of Dharmakaya. So when you and you become Buddha, you will not change, you are just the same, but you became perfect, you become free, you become limitless. Other than that there is no difference. I give you a stupid example. You are having a nightmare, and you are being eaten by a beast starting from your toe. And you try to run a way, screaming and struggling. And then you wake up, and you are in a deluxe bed room, all air conditioned, everything perfect. So there is no difference, it's the same you who was just struggling few seconds back, and now you found out and realised that nothing is happening. There is no difference. When you realise that you have the limitless potential, you are fully beyond any dualistic influence, you are free of dualism. That state is in you right now, but now you are in a nightmare. Nightmare is caused by all of our karma. All the nightmares that people have are caused by what they do; what they ate, what they did, that they saw, what they thought, what they drank. As the result of that they have nightmare. The whole suffering of samsara right now each one of us is facing is a nightmare. Here the Dharmakaya, the same essence, which we realise as a Buddha, and which is not even noticed right now, that is the Dharmakaya. And that essence is that Dharmakaya, which is non-dualistic of the spaciousness, the emptiness, and the primordial wisdom, no difference. And that Dharmakaya is free of zungwa and jzinpa. Zungwa means object, jzinpa means subject. And free of the dualism of the subject and object. So, dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa.
The next is Sambhogakaya. Thukg je - thug is honorific word for the mind, je is short for nyi-je, which means compassion. Rangjung - jung means came. Came spontaneously. It's like I saw in many Hindu temples: looks like having three ears and one big nose. That is Ganesh rangjung, because nobody carved it. Rangjung means spontaneously came about. Audience: Manifest? Rinpoche: Well, next is rang shar, so how are you going to make a difference between?? Shar is like sun shining, manifesting, right? Rangjung is like something came out from a stone which look like a god, not made by somebody. Very slight difference. But since word is written this way, since this word is full of PhD's I have to be very careful! Professors and PhD's... I have to be careful with my words.
Now the rangjung is the Sambhogakaya, the Buddha's manifestation of higher level, how Buddha manifests to those who are already enlightened. I use a very stupid but descriptive example: how do club members see each other? How do they see the non-club members? The Buddha is limitless, and until you reach the Buddhahood you are almost limitless, but compared to us, the 1st and 2nd level Bodhisattvas are limitless, in our eyes. For them there is a big difference. The Sambhogakaya by definition is: how Buddha's limitless manifestation is experienced and encountered by the enlightened beings. That is Sambhogakaya. For us - how we relate to Sambhogakaya of the Buddha is by visualising the Deities, by participating in the tantric Abhisekhs, such as Hevajra, Kalachakra, Guhyasamaja, Mahamaya, etc. This is how we participate in the Sambhogakaya. But for Bodhisattvas, for enlightened [beings], it is their realm, it is not their visualization. We are visualizing.
So the thug je rangjung, what the Sambogakaya is, is the spontaneous arising of the great compassion. The great compassion here does not mean just the compassion done. Thug je also includes the aspiration. All of these results, limitless results, such as Sambhogakaya results happen, because originally the aspiration is limitless. That's why the Bodhisattva Vow that we take is very, very important. It's very important. If you are Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner Bodhisattva Vow is most important vow is most important vow to take. Bodhisattva Vow means: I wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood. That vow is the original thug je. Because of that it happens. If you don't make that vow, it will not happen. Because you want to be Buddha, then you will become Buddha. Because you wish to be free, then you will become free. But if you don't wish to be free, then you will not be free. If you don't want to become Buddha, you will not become Buddha. You will not attain Buddhahood by mistake. Thug je rangjung longku - the Sambhogakaya, is free of birth, death, change, it is limitless. So, dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa.
The next is Nirmanakaya. That's how Buddha manifests to ordinary sentient beings. So, how the king manifests to a subject. But not by the Buddha's will: "I am going to manifest to Bodhisattvas this way and I am going to manifest to ordinary sentient beings this way." Buddha's manifestation is non-dualistic, it is just like the sun. But, those who are colour-blind see the sun light and wrong colour, and certain colours they don't see. Like that, sun is not saying that I'm going to show this person the green blue and blue green, but the person is colour-blind and sees that way. The same way the Buddha's manifestation, which is perceived by the ordinary sentient beings, who are not enlightened, is called Nirmanakaya.
Nyima (sun) sharwa come up from the mountain. Opposite to that is ngupa, west is ngup. The sunset is ngup and dawn is shar. How thug je, the same aspiration, bodhichitta in the final result (Buddhahood), how this original aspiration sharwa, is called Nirmanakaya. And this Nirmanakaya is free of dualism, and therefore it is dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa. But of course the ways it will effect sentient beings, are not equal. I give you a very simple example: all the Buddha statues are some form of Nirmanakaya. Because Lord Buddha Shakyamuni's physical living manifestation we cannot encounter. Therefore his consecrated image is the Nirmanakaya form to us.
And it does not necessarily always manifest positively, because it is very clear: when you go to all to holy places in India, you see Buddha's ear is gone, Buddha's hand is gone, Buddha's nose is gone. Some Buddha even head is gone. For somebody it did not manifest positively and [this person] purposely made it like that. And you remember just few years ago in Banyan big Buddha did not manifest positively to some people. They did their best and put their effort and brain together to dismantle it. But what it does to those to whom it manifests that way, definitely [the result] will be positive, because it is a connection. Positive connection is positive connection, negative connection is negative connection. So it is a negative connection. Negative connection to the Buddha will not end up negative for ever. It will be end of their negativity.
As result of that, whatever result they will have, it will bring them around and slowly lead them to the positive path. It doesn't work like some person kills somebody with hatred and as result then that has to happen back. Back and forth, and it multiplies. So it becomes worse and worse, not better. But this kind of genuine positive - negative connection to the Nirmanakaya one way or another will progress, it will not become worse and worse. It will become worse and better. That way dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa.
The next is about Dharma. Tenpa - ten means to show like showing a movie or showing a painting. Buddha showed us the way through which he travelled to reach Buddhahood. That is the tenpa, the Dharma, the Buddhism. In Tibetan we call Buddhism sangye kyi tenpa, what Buddha has shown to us. Dharmachakra is the symbol and turning the Wheel of Dharma means Buddha teaching the Dharma. So, the tenpa Dharmachakra is free of self. A simple way of saying this will be free of self. Buddha did not teach the way any of us teach: I teach because you ask me, and I pull out these pages and then look through the books, and thought about it and somehow went through it, I am teaching you, you are listening. Not like that. Buddha manifests teaching without self, non-dualistic manifestation. And it can never be wrong. But dualistic manifestation, even I'm repeating the words of Buddha written down by Gampopa, who is a highly enlightened great master of long time ago, still it is totally stained and influenced by my limitations. So it can never be hundred percent perfect as the Buddha's teaching. Buddha's teaching is free of self, therefore dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa.
The last, the tenth is the trinley, the activity of the Buddha. Before using the source of the activity, which is thug je (when Gampopa described Dharmakaya, Sabhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, he used thug je first, as the result of thug je), now here, with Buddha's activity he used tseme (limitless) first, and then thug je. So it is very clearly making sure one last time, he is emphasizing what the thug je is. The thug je of the Buddha, the original aspiration of the Buddha is limitless: I wish to become Buddha so that I can help all the human beings on the planet Earth. It's wonderful, there are 5000 million of them, and each year in India they are increased by 60000 since the 15th of August 2000. It is written in newspapers. So it is and overall in entire world we are more that 5000 million human beings. It sounds quite limitless to me, but it is not limitless. It is very limited.
And now, trying to be more limitless, I wish to attain Buddhahood in order to help all to human beings and all the animals on planet Earth to attain Buddhahood. It sounds really limitless, because on one mountain, just one species, ants, how many ants are there on one mountain? I think maybe ten times more population on Earth. Then all the other things. And how many bacteria are there in our body? Maybe more than the entire human population of the planet Earth. And I'm saying I wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all human beings and animals to attain Buddhahood. Then I add on top of that all the ghosts, spirits and gods. I was told by one professor called Mr Sharma in UK that Hinduism has more than 6 million gods and goddesses. Each one has a temple by the name in India. All the gods of the Hinduism, Christianity, Muslims, all the gods of everybody. All the gods of Buddhism; because in the Kalachakra mandala, in one mandala we have over 900. We have to visualise them. Actually 900 guests to put them in their own chairs is very difficult! But that's what tantric practice is all about.
Even that is limitless. So Buddha's aspiration is limitless because he says: I wish to attain the Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings in the entire existence. That means space. And space has no end. There is one East-Tibetan joke. There was on guy who always liked to show off and talk loud. He said: "I went to a very high mountain, where nobody went. I had to fight with so many beasts on the way." Sounds like Harry Potter. "I defeated them all and reached the top. What a view from there, I could just bang on the sky: knock, knock, knock, and it was all blue and beautiful. And I looked left: all the suns and moons, that were going to dawn tomorrow and the years to come, they were all piled up there neatly in order. And all the suns and moons that have already dawned, were over there in a big pile, in a mess. What a beautiful sight!
Space is not like that. Space has no end. We never reach to the end of space. End of the space is here. And therefore we can never reach the centre of the space. Centre of the space is right here, where-ever you are, you are in the centre of the space. Where-ever you are, is the middle of the universe. Some people might remember me when I was in my twenties. I used to write songs. Lots of hippies came to monasteries. So I wrote one song where it says: "Every universe is the centre of all universes. It is only moving around in unchangeable space. Cosmic mandala is spontaneously born." I wrote that according to the Buddha's teaching. Sounds like hippie song, right? It is. But I tell you: I'm not hippie. Maybe I am, I don't know.
Anyway, the limitless aspiration of Buddha means: all the mother sentient beings in the endless space in the countless universe, for all of their sake he wishes to realise his ultimate potential, which is equal to theirs, which has no limitation. And by realising that he will be free with no limitation and his limitless manifestation will manifest for all sentient beings. And it will function spontaneously, until the last sentient being attains the Buddhahood. That is the tsedmed thug je. Gampopa writes that the activity (trinley) of the tsedmed thug je is free of any magnitude [size]. It is timeless. That is dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa.
Why I thought that these particular dewa chenpo lhungyi drupa that Gampopa has written - firstly, because dewa chenpo, we all like to be happy, joyful, comfortable and have all our wishes fulfilled. And great joy, not stained joy like people get by winning a lottery, joy that people get by beating up their enemy, joy people get by somebody saying or doing something nice to them. But the true joy, which makes you positive, efficient and less limited. And which makes you free, that joy. This is dewa chenpo.
Lhungyi drupa means spontaneously happen. The terminology itself is very attractive to me. You don't have to do anything. It happens by itself. After sharing this - actually I received the teaching from one of my very precious master Sangye Rinpoche, he passed away already. He is a very old great master, and I received entire teachings of Gampopa and also mahamudra - quite few things from him. The name of the text is Lamcho Rinchen Trengwa (The Precious Garland of Liberation). Lam means path, cho means the best, superior, rinchen means precious. It actually means "jewel", but here it means precious. Trengwa means rosary. It is a garland of precious path. Profound, precious path. Most of the things that he taught are ten, ten, ten.
How to achieve that for us, right now, is through harmony. Only through harmony. Why do we don't have that, if we don't have? I do many times, but sometimes I don't have. How we can have it right now is through harmonious inside, which - we can't help, but most of us are intellectuals. I am an intellectual, I am not that crazy intellectual, but I am intellectual because I was brought up by intellectuals. So, when somebody asks me in the morning or any time: "How are you?" I have to play dumb and say: "I'm fine thank you, how are you?" But if I really use my head I have to talk to that person next [?] to tell them everything. How am I?
So being intellectual is sometimes treacherous, it is a torture. Everything that you say, you want to make sense and be clear, which is impossible, and the other person is not interested. Just like in a cocktail party, you just go and talk to somebody and they come to you and talk to you, and the minute you start to talk to them they just go away talking to somebody else. And then another one comes and talks to you and if you really try to talk to them, they all go! You are not meant to say anything, just to say rubbish things…anyway, I started to avoid those things long time ago, it doesn't make any sense. I think just show up the face and talk to the main person, the host, and you called me, I'm here, then stay a little bit, then go. That's what it's meant for, not really meant to talk anything to anyone.
Anyway, harmonizing within oneself is only possible if you are able to balance your devotion and compassion, and your ego. If you are able to balance these three things, then you are in harmony, roughly. For example: you are not nobody, you are not somebody. Nobody is somebody and nobody is nobody. What is everybody? Everybody is the manifestation of their karma. You are the manifestation of your karma. Past life's karma, as well as this life's karma. You are the production of countless lifetimes' karma. You are a coup of soup made out of countless vegetables and countless whatever. This life's karma is from your birth until now, what you went through. How you were brought up, what kind of people you mixed with, if you did. What did you see, what did you hear, where have you been? As a result of all of that what you are now, you are not more than that, you are not less than that.
And essence of all of that is: you are limitless. You have no limitation in your essence, your essence is limitless. And your essence is not limited to barely your body, your career, your family, your tribe, your organisation, your country, your race. Your essence is not limited to any of those things. Long arms of your essence can reach millions and millions of light years away in a split second. Unfortunately my "barely 5 ft" body's arm can reach just two and half feet! We are limited. So the balancing of this is very important for harmony.
Of course we should not get lost in this world. If you are a true yogi - I'm not talking about a 21st century yogi, then you are totally free of all of this. People treat you like a street dog - okay. People treat you like a king - okay. People treat you like trash - okay. Because you gave up everything: you gave up attachment, you gave up jealousy, you should be able to eat anything, sleep anywhere and go anywhere, because you have nothing to identify yourself with. You are a true yogi. Your ultimate aim is to use this life to progress towards enlightenment, as far as possible, you are not going to spend one second for anything else. You are not even going to spend one second for: "What I am going to eat for next meal?" You are not even going to think about that. That is true yogi. If you are that, then it is a different story. But other than that, then you have to hold on to what you are although it is not really a good thing, but you have to hold onto what you are, otherwise you get lost.
If you pretend that you are a true yogi when you are not, than you get lost and confused. You should always hold onto what you are, but knowing, it is not the thing, it is an illusion, it is imagination, it is dualistic samsaric reality that you are holding onto. You comb your hair, you dress nicely, you polish you shoes, but not ultimately, just relatively, just to make yourself pleasant to everybody else, right? If you are doing this, you are not a true yogi. You must do that. But when you have that, that is what I call ego. "I want to look pleasant." I want to feel comfortable." That's the ego, but knowing that it is not the most important thing. And having that as the central grounding thing, you should have compassion and devotion sincerely, from you towards others. And it's very easy: anybody who you think has more compassion and devotion than you, you respect them ‒ that is called devotion. Who you think has less compassion and less devotion than you, you care and feel for them, that is called compassion.
You can do anything to do anything to fulfil the activities of devotion and compassion of those who have more than yours - that is what we call service, offering, and you will do anything, whatever you do to those who you think have less devotion and less compassion than you. Whatever you do to help them to have more compassion, more devotion, to be more positive, more happy, that is what we call service to others. That is generosity. You give down, you offer up, but you have to be [?], who does it. I think if we are able to do that, we discover our inner innate goodness as a 21st century clean, nicely dressed yogi with ornaments and driving a nice car, having a good job. But good, balanced, harmonious and happy, so 21st century yogi.
That compassion and devotion is based on intellectual projection of yours ‒ you have to intellectually project. You can be wrong, you can be right, those who you thought have less compassion and less devotion than you, you could be wrong: they might have more than you. Or those who you think have more compassion and more devotion than you, you could be wrong, they might have less than you.
…then it became negative and neurotic. There is a wonderful good person neurotic. There is terrible, bad person neurotic, the neurotic makes you suffer unnecessarily. And both positive neurosis and negative neurosis are what I call self-built torture chamber. So you don't build a torture chamber for yourself by being neurotic about anything. Don't be neurotic about good things, don't be neurotic about bad things. Just have the balance.
After this intellectual devotion and compassion and your self-esteem, self-confidence is established; intellectual self-confidence for me comes from Buddha-nature, understanding of Buddha-nature. I know, who says what; many of my disciples think I'm enlightened, but I know whether I'm enlightened or not. In certain things I'm more enlightened than some other people, in certain things I'm less enlightened than some other people. It's not a big deal. If they think I'm enlightened, fine, it's good for them. I'm not going to lie to them, but I'm not going to ruin their good aspiration, either. So let them think what they think. But I should not get lost about what I am. If they think I'm a Buddha and I start to think I am a Buddha, I will be lost. I should remember what I am at all times. One should do one's best, that way one can really help others and help oneself as well.
After that intellectual confidence by recognizing and realizing that your ultimate essence is equal to Buddha, nothing can contaminate it, nothing can add to it, nothing can take away anything from it. It is equal to everyone. I call that divine democracy. Anybody can be Buddha, but it takes all the work equal to what Buddha has done. You cannot cheat and become a Buddha, you cannot file a lawsuit and win the case and become Buddha. And you cannot be the PhD, write a book and get the highest mark and become Buddha. So you have to become Buddha truly by fully maturing your good essence. And everybody is free to do so. By knowing that I have all the confidence. Based on that confidence my relative identity… relative identity of whatever you are: a teacher, a trader, a businessman, a tourist, diplomat, PhD, doctor, student, school kid, whatever, that is a secondary thing. That is nice, humorous, but you don't take that as your ultimate essence. That is what you do now, that is how you manifest now. If you have a problem there, then you have to solve it, if you are enjoying it, then enjoy it and make best out of it.
After this intellectual thing what really, really develops you further is meditation and prayer. These two things are extremely important. Because the knowledge, which makes you temporarily balanced and your innate inner goodness manifest intellectually, is corruptible. There is also no guarantee to it. But what is incorruptible is the wisdom. Once you have that knowledge, once you are in harmony through intellectual understanding, then you have to focus on meditation and prayer, so that true wisdom will manifest from within. So your Buddha-essence, which you already believe in, is now functioning. That is what we call wisdom. The primordial wisdom, when it functions, it is wisdom.
Without that everything intellectual is knowledge. If you have an accident and your head hits a tree, all your knowledge is useless. You will be a vegetable and in a wheelchair. But if you have developed wisdom, even if you can't talk, your wisdom will continue. Knowledge is finished. You went to college, you studied 10, 20, 30, 40 years everything. You have ten different diplomas and all framed nicely, but you are in a wheelchair and can't even talk. So, no use. It makes your children or relatives maybe proud, that he or she is now like this, but actually she knows all of this. But for you it really doesn't make any difference; whether you have known all of that or not, it wouldn't make any difference, if you can't use it.
But wisdom ‒ even you become a vegetable like that, your wisdom will grow from within. And in your next life that wisdom will continually manifest, but knowledge in your next life ‒ you don't know what your next life will be but even your next life is going to be a human being, you will have to go to kindergarten, I tell you. And learn from A, B, C, D. It's guaranteed, you have to, there is no born PhD, lawyer or doctor, there is no born president, there is only born king and those times are over in most parts of the world. And also to be a good king one has to grow up and be crowned, one has to learn how to be a good king and it takes time. You have to go to kindergarten. Maybe little bit nicer, pans made out of gold instead of just plastic pans, but same thing. The same A they write, king or not. The wisdom is only through meditation and prayer. This is extremely important.
I find that in this world there is so much interest in Dharma, which is very, very, very encouraging, but it used to be lots of practice. Now there is fifty - fifty. There are many intellectual Buddhists and little bit less practitioner Buddhists, which is not good, in my mind, because intellectual Buddhism has a danger there. I don't mean to be sectarian, but the Buddhist intellectual development I think, is extremely advanced. There is no other living intellectual maturity in texts, in lineage equal to Buddhism, I don't think so, maybe some Hindu philosophers are pretty good.
My Hindi is terrible, my Sanskrit is - not terrible, because I can say the mantras, but other than that, as a language, I'm zero. But I know many Tibetan professors who speak Sanskrit and they have serious discussions with panditas. They say some of them are really tough, intellectually and philosophically to argue with them and to be equal with them is really very tough. But other than that, actually in essence I think it's impossible for any philosophy to be more complete and superior and precise than Buddhist philosophy.
Therefore the problem will be that you will be very proud, and you will look down at any other book, any other religion, any other thing; and you will see them just like "What are they talking about? This doesn't make any sense." Like this. And that is bad. That's very bad. I have also similar reaction when people say things like "somebody created us." I will be polite but here, where everybody is sincerely for the Dharma, [I can say] in my mind I think: "If somebody had so much power to create me, why did they create me like me? Why did they not create me four eyes, so I could see behind my head and not need to turn my head. I would have less accidents. Why did they make only two eyes here? Why not there? Why did they make my stomach and everything in such a way that I have to eat three times a day? Why did they make me such a way that I have to eat only once a week? Don't you think that would be better?" Philosophically it does not make sense.
If you don't practise, that ego - because Buddhist philosophy is so advanced and so perfect - that ego makes you not a real Buddhist. It makes you very egoistic, sectarian, puritanical bad person. So you have to practise. By practising you will develop compassion and devotion. Therefore, in spite of intellectual reasoning you will see the values of devotion and compassion behind the other faiths. Some faiths are not that intellectually emphasizing, but they have compassion, they have devotion, which is extremely important.
Imagine a Buddhist expert with no practise. There will be no compassion, no devotion, it will have so much philosophical advancement so that it will be a superman or superwoman in philosophy. But in true compassion, in true devotion, that person will not develop. If he or she doesn't not develop true compassion and devotion, then you might have (Buddha forbid it but we can have) Buddhist extremists. It is terrible, it gives me shiver just by saying it. Because intellectually superior - if you practise, anybody who does the correct thing will reach the same thing. A stupid person who walks towards [place x], a learned person who walks towards it, a crazy person and rich person who walk towards it, all will reach there. But if you don't practise, you will have pride, because you are philosophically advanced.
Why Buddhism is philosophically advanced is because of great universities like Vikramashila and Shri Nalanda. We had tens of thousands of great enlightened scholars, not just scholars but enlightened scholars. Like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Vasubandhu, all these great masters, they have developed so many texts and so much refinement over the centuries. And with patronship of great powerful king like Ashoka and many others, they really reached the highest level of this. And then this was brought to Tibet by our great masters, who went to India, and also quite a few Indian masters were invited to Tibet. And now I sometimes think what ordeal they had been through: the Tibetan food, Tibetan weather! All those great compassionate poor masters! Anyway, they were invited there, and I'm not saying Tibetan food is bad, it's very good, but they were not used to it.
All of this was treasured in there and even further refined in Tibet. For past 2500 years the commentaries and refinements of all the great philosophies are unbelievable. And refinement and over refinement with lineage, not without lineage, with practise. Great masters like Milarepa, his poetry you read. It's absolutely philosophically correct. But he did not study philosophy. He only practised. Through his realisation wisdom manifested. And wisdom is correct. Practice through wisdom is correct. This way it is extremely important. Over the years I'm little bit worried that there are more intellectual Buddhists than practitioner Buddhists outside Tibetan community. Before it used to be more practitioner Buddhists and very few intellectual Buddhists. So I hope that these intellectual Buddhists will practise. So that their intellectual advancement will be hundred percent positive and it will not become negative.
Some professors, I heard, in their writing and speech there is a tone that Buddha was old-fashioned and at time he had said it, but if he was now here, he would say differently. Things like that I heard so many times. That worries me, because Buddha did not manifest from dualism. These people, even they are so good at philosophy, they don't really know what Buddha is, and that is frightening. If we have more and more of that as the Buddhist authority I think Buddhism will not be the same. I think it is extremely important to practise.
I think this is enough for today, I let you ask questions. Tomorrow, because practise is very important, so out tomorrow session I will teach you meditation and chanting. We chant and practise. The intellectual is over! Whatever you want to ask intellectually, ask now.
Question: I have been intellectual all my life and now I don't want to be intellectual. How to switch over from being intellectual into being a practitioner?
Rinpoche: Sir, I think it is wonderful you have been intellectual and you are proud of it. That time, that chapter is gone. Now you voluntarily, by being yourself, by realising that being intellectual is not the ultimate and there is more to everything than intellectual explanation; because of this, because of that, why this, why that, there is no end to it, you know that. Now you don't have to switch, you just practise what you already know. Intellectually you know the importance of compassion, intellectually you know the importance of devotion, intellectually you know how you feel: you feel the same way everybody feels. It is not only you who like to be happy and comfortable, it is everybody who like to be happy and comfortable. Although each person's definition of happiness, comfortableness, joy and freedom could be little different, but everybody wants the same. You know this, so now you exercise this.
You do physically good things - I'm sure you are doing some and you do some meditation every day and prayer every day. Because meditation and prayer are very important. Many intellectuals have some problems with prayers. To whom are we praying and why? These things, but prayer is very important. What you know and what you want and what you respect and appreciate, spell it out, say it, sing it, that is the prayer. That is extremely important. Then you feel it from your heart, because you are using your body and speech as the servant of your mind, and now you are using them for the good of you and others.
And while we are meditating and praying we can't do anything bad. Because there is no time and no space for it; our mind, speech and body are totally occupied by nothing but positiveness at that time. By continuing that, being consistent in that you become that. You have no problem, you are doing extremely well, you don't have to switch anything on and off, you just put into practice what you already know. Buddhist philosophy or any other philosophy has no end. The questions will go on forever.
Q: In Buddhist practice like prostrations there is a certain number of prostrations you have to accumulate. I have some problem with that, because I don't know: to count them and… I feel that I should go by my feeling. But now I was told that this is not good, one should follow that system.
Rinpoche: Well, I think "one should follow one's feeling" is good, but following the system is also good. Because definition of discipline and diligence have no meaning, if you follow your feeling. If you feel like doing something, you do, if you don't feel like doing something, you don't do. If you feel like saying this, just say it, if you feel like not saying this, you don't say it… Then there is no meaning for discipline, diligence, patience, morality, all of this. It is good that you are naturally a good person, because in your past life or whatever you have done good things, so you naturally became a good person. Even if you have done what you feel like, you are doing quite okay. But there are others who are doing whatever they feel like and not necessarily good things. There are so many addicts, kleptomaniacs etc., they do what they like and became like that. Fortunately, because of your own karma, when you are not following the traditional ways, you are doing well and that is good.
But following is quite important, because it also shows you when to start and when to stop, what to do and what not to do, when to do what and when to stop what and when starting another thing. Otherwise you get lost and you have to always ask: now, what should I do? It is all there, for example with our lineage there is practice that is lined up, and if you follow that properly you are practising the basic practices - if you are living comfortable life and not too hardworking, there is practice for about twenty years. Already right there, practice of twenty years, up to Deity practice. After that the practice maybe need more like retreat form of practice, it is not work and practise.
Work and practise you can do easily more than twenty years - every day spend like one to two hours. So it will be good: you can think "Now I am doing this, now I'm on the half way, now I finished doing this. This is what I am going to do in the future." It's clear; you don't have to figure out. Some people like to figure out by themselves and do it the hard way!
Q: What about prostrations and pain in the body? Is it also our karma actually that the body is aching a lot?
Rinpoche: [Silence with little laughter.]
Q: Should we just see it is our karma?
Rinpoche: Prostration is a very simple thing. It is part of the ngöndro practice. Actually practice of Dharma has only one purpose: that is to attain the Buddhahood, ultimately. That is the only purpose of practising Dharma, there is no any other purpose. It is not for collecting memberships or anything like that! - In West they have to, because otherwise they have to close the centre. You know, the centres are run by the membership fees. Believe it or not, they have to. Otherwise the centre will be closed, no more centre. But in East it's different. Few people take care of it, so the majority, the general public don't have to…
In our practise the preliminary practise involves ngöndro and the first ngöndro is prostrations. But when we practise Dharma there is only one ultimate aim, to attain Buddhahood. There is no other purpose, it is not for anything else; we all wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood. It is our only aim. All the other things: helping people here, all of these things go on the way, we do our best, but our ultimate aim is this only.
Now, how does that happen? How do we expect to attain Buddhahood? We lived countless lives in the past, we have countless lives of karma. How are we going to purify all of them? How are we going to work out all of them? We have to live countless good lives in order to purify all the countless lives of karma. We have to live countless perfect lives. Countless is countless, so we will never become Buddha.
For example, I drink a glass of water. Let's say I'm a vegetarian. I am not, but let's say so. Then I drink a glass of water. (I respect vegetarians, I think to be a vegetarian is very good. Anybody who can be vegetarian it's very good for health, good for karma, good for spirit.) Don't think by drinking a glass of water there is no karma. The glass of water became drinkable because all the germs in it were destroyed, exterminated, it means killed. If you don't kill all the germs, you cannot drink the glass of water.
For that in Buddhism, in our tradition when we take the vow, at the end the abbot gives us a filter. We have to hold it and say: "I will not harm any life, I will use this filter for my drinking water." But these days we drink from a mineral water bottle and the filtering is done by the company. The companies don't use a filter, they use whatever they can do the easy way. So they kill them all. How to purify the karma of drinking a glass of water? To make that drinkable how many lives had to be destroyed? You are intellectuals and scientists, you will know. At least 10000 - 20000 micro-lives had to be destroyed in order to make one glass of clean, drinkable water. Because I don't see it, it doesn't mean there is no karma. There will be karma.
So, how am I going to attain Buddhahood? Impossible. But ‒ because ultimately nobody is dead and nobody is born, ultimately everything is limitless. But relatively we are all born, we are all here, who are dead are dead, who are alive are alive, who are hurting are hurting, who is happy is happy, relatively. Relatively means as long as I call myself "I" and you call yourself you, as long as you call you the you, and me the me, as long as the dualism overwhelms us - which we all are, I can't think non-dualistically, except sometimes in a very, very good meditation I can feel non-dualistic for a short time. But except for that everything I do and say is dualistic. Each meal I eat I taste, each person I talk to I talk and I think, it's all dualistic. So am I going to overcome all this? This is through purification and accumulation. Accumulation of merit and wisdom, and purification of body, speech and mind.
All Dharma practice is for accumulation and purification. Accumulation and purification are funny words, not perfect words, but this is what everybody uses. To accumulate merit means like accumulating donations, it's not like that. To accumulate means for example, if my handkerchief is dirty, if I wash it, then it becomes clean. So I accumulate the cleanliness and purify the dirtiness. That is how it is. The purification is accumulation in itself.
The prostrations are first practised in the purification. Every practice which is purification is also accumulation, because you are accumulating the pureness. But because there are so many methods in our lineage, Mahamudra lineage, the first four practices are designed for beginners, for purification and accumulation.
Out of that there are two purification practices: prostrations and Vajrasattva. Prostrations come first and Vajrasattva comes second purposely. Why? Because in prostrations you are using your body to prostrate physically, and it is a gesture of devotion. If you have lots of ego you cannot prostrate. How can you bow down before someone, how can you put yourself on the ground? You will not, you will just say "Hey!" And you will not fall on the ground and stretch yourself there, put your face on the ground, like this you will not do. Therefore you need devotion in order to do prostrations sincerely. Of course exercise is different. People do exercise all kind of things, that's different from true prostrations.
In the prostrations you have a visualization, visualizing Buddha Vajradhara and all the lineage and the Sangha and the Guru Vajradhara in the middle, from whom you receive the lineage of the Buddha. And then all the past Buddhas, there is Nirmanakaya aspect of Buddha on the right, all the Bodhisattvas and Sangha on the left, all the Dharma Protectors underneath, the Buddha's manifestations in front, all the Dharma behind, we call it a Refuge Tree, Wish-fulfilling Tree.
In front of that you, joined by your parents and friends, your relatives and enemies and all sentient beings behind you - there is a sea of sentient beings behind you - you are prostrating together and you are chanting the refuge. You are chanting the refuge for each prostration and you are counting this 110,000 times.
The aches and pains depend, because some people have no aches and pains. When I did the prostrations I was 18, and the first one or two weeks were terrible. I will not tell you all the details, but terrible. First of all you need a smooth floor, but my floor was wooden floor. Then you need something for the hands and I used woollen gloves, so, very easy. Some people put a square blanket and sometimes you miss it, and you have to look for it. If you wear cotton or woollen gloves, you don't need to think about that, it's much easier.
I used a big mala, so it is easy. If you have a small mala it's a problem, because each bead takes time. And string should be loose, long space in between the beads. I put the mala down there and did the prostrations. It was very easy, if the mala is small and tight, it takes extra time.
But one, two weeks were terrible. I was extremely hungry and everything ached, stomach and legs, everything cramped, and the worst time was to go to the comfort room. You have to get up and you can't get up, everything was so painful. Once you have sat down and want to get up, you cannot. So bad, but it took about two weeks. Then no problem. Towards the end I did 4000 prostrations a day with no problem. You get used to it - not necessarily to the pain, but if you have pain that means you have pain. But you can think I am doing this, and may my pain somehow be useful and may my bad karma of past lives be purified by this pain. You can say that, but what kind of karma we committed during all our countless past lives! We will be very presumptuous if we think our little pain and ache will take care of that. Really, each one of us has been millions, countless times priests, kings, queens, soldiers, husbands, wives, spiders, nice beautiful peacocks, terrible ugly looking frogs, very harmful disease-amoebas. So how can we purify all of that with little pain and ache? But you can take a pain killer, no problem.
While prostrating you put your hands together, which means: everything I'm doing right now is totally for this. When you put your hands together like that you can't do anything else. How could you? You are done for it. And you think: all the negative karma that I have committed in my countless past lives through my body I confess, purify, and may my body be blessed. And same thing for the speech and mind. For this I totally surrender and summit myself to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, Guru, Deity and Protector for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain the Buddhahood.
You are saying this prayer and doing this at the same time. That's what it is. Pain is not important. If you have pain and can do something to not have pain, do it. Pain is not necessary. Otherwise we were not allowed to wear gloves; otherwise we would not have been allowed to put a knee pad. Our knees would be wounded and our hands would have blisters after fifty prostrations. So you wear something to protect yourself during prostrations. You don't have to hurt yourself.
Why the prostrations come first? It's very simple. It's physical and you can feel it. At the same time for a beginner it is very hard; if you just sit for a long time you might fall asleep. Nobody can fall asleep doing prostrations. That way it is the first. Once you have done them: 110,000 is just a fixed number. It does not mean it is enough. Countless lifetimes of karma… we can do prostrations only for ten lifetimes and still it is not enough, still there is purification to be done, but that is because there are other practices available. So, after that we do the Vajrasattva. The five Dhyani Buddhas represent all the Deities and the one Buddha representing all Dhyani Buddhas is Buddha Vajrasattva. Vajrasattva is not a Bodhisattva but Buddha. Avalokiteshvara is a Bodhisattva. Vajradhara is also a Buddha.
So five dhyani Buddhas are all represented by Buddha Vajrasattva. And you sit and visualize the purification and chant the 100,000 times. But by that time you have to be quite good and settled, otherwise you may just fall asleep after 15 minutes. You have done prostrations and all of that, and now you can sit down and comfortably chant the 100,000 mantras; it's a holiday! Otherwise if you chant 100-syllable mantra, you think it's very hard. But if you have done prostrations already, it's a piece of cake. So, these two are for the purification. This is more mental purification and prostration is more physical purification. More, but all the same actually. This is why the prostrations come first and Vajrasattva second.
Then Mandala and Guru Yoga accumulation. Accumulation of merit is extremely important, because without merit wisdom will not occur. You have to have merit; we will say "I really have wished to do this good thing for ten years, but because of this and that problem I could not do." But that means we are lacking the merit. Because of that obstacles happen. So, we accumulate merit, but accumulation of merit we always in many ways restrict. You donate 1000 rupees to an organisation and you want a receipt, to give it to your accountant, to get a refund, actually.
But in the Mandala Offering you are offering the sun, the moon, the stars, the Planet Earth, everything you are offering here, and you are visualising an offering. This belongs to you, because you are one of the sentient beings of this universe. So each time you are offering the whole universe, it's not 1000 rupee or one lakh of rupees. But those things are detached; you are not asking for anything and you are not bragging this to anybody. Somebody who gives 10 lakhs of rupees donation to the temple will be very proud, and next time the person goes to the temple they want to be treated nicely, otherwise they will be disappointed. They want to be V.I.P. But now you are offering the whole universe to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and you don't have that feeling. Out of all methods of accumulation of merit this Mandala Offering is the most grand and comprehensive.
I'm not saying you should not donate, you should, and you should ask for all of this, no problem, but I'm just saying why the Mandala is so important to do 110,000 times. That is for merit accumulation. After that is wisdom accumulation.
Wisdom accumulation we do through initiation, abhisekh through Guru Yoga. We have Buddha Vajradhara on top, Guru Vajradhara in the middle; it's your Guru, but looks like Buddha. And real Buddha Vajradhara on top, and all the lineage masters in between. You are receiving the abhisekh chanting the syllables of the sentences, and at the end you are taking the initiation. The entire mandala dissolves to Buddhas, they dissolve to the lineage, the lineage dissolves to the Guru Vajradhara, Guru Vajradhara dissolves into om, ah, hung and that dissolves to you. You are empowered and the wisdom of the lineage dissolves into you. The wisdom of the lineage dissolves into you and your Buddha-nature and the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya of the lineage become one. That is initiation; that is the Guru Yoga. We do this 110,000 times. Each one has their own very important reason. After that we will do the other practices.
Normally, many times in our lineage we do the fasting 108 times. Fasting once takes comfortably three days, in a rush two days. Nyungne, it's a two-day practice. If you do 110 eight times, you need breaks. Maybe you do eight nyungnes, then a break for one day and eight nyungnes. Like that. So 108 nyungnes and after that I think you receive a Protector initiation and do the Protector practice. After that you receive the Deity, the Yidam, we have many Yidams, there are fifteen main Yidams in our lineage. Out of that the most important Yidam is Vajravarahi, that is our Yidam. So you receive the abhisekh and do the outer practice. This you have to do in retreat, there is no other way. So you do outer, then inner, then after that you have to do the secret; three stages of Vajravarahi retreats.
After that we have other Deities like Chakrasamvara, red Chenrezig, these practises we do, after that we do the Six Yogas of Naropa. That is where the definition Kagyu comes from. Our main Deity is Vajravarahi, which is a female form. The reason is: the male is Chakrasamvara, female is Vajravarahi, male is king, female is queen, but our main Yidam is queen, because queen, the Vajravarahi represents wisdom. And the male Chakrasamvara, the king represents method, but method for what? ‒ Method for realisation of wisdom. Therefore wisdom is more important than the method. Method is for the wisdom. Method is not for any other purpose, just for developing wisdom. Therefore Vajravarahi, which represents wisdom, is our main Deity. I'm talking about our lineage, and each lineage has its own way; the Nyingma, the Geluk, the Sakya, all have their own ways.
I'm talking about Mahamudra. Mahamudra actually should cover everything, but unfortunately it is somehow labelled with Kagyupa. It is like Buddhist medicine. The Buddha taught the Medicine Tantra and it is Buddhist medicine, but fortunately or unfortunately it is Tibetan medicine!
One more question I can take.
Rinpoche: The prayers are there written already. You don't have to make your own prayers. In Tibetan Buddhism we have all kind of prayers, some of them are written by Buddha himself, very, very sacred prayers. All other prayers are written by lineage masters, very sacred prayers. So we just learn and pray and also the monastics chant. The laypersons sing many prayers. So tomorrow we sing the Chenrezig prayer. Not real singing, chanting singing.
Let's dedicate the merit of today's teaching for all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood.
Good afternoon. As I told you yesterday, we will be going through some prayers and meditations rather than going through intellectual aspect of teaching, which we have done yesterday.
In every practice there are three things that are necessary to assure that your practice is complete. The first thing is refuge and bodhichitta. You must say the prayers of refuge and bodhichitta, and you must renew your refuge and bodhichitta. That is first step. Refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and bodhichitta to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood.
Addition to that we also say another more detailed bodhichitta prayer, we call it Four Limitless Thoughts, so we are saying that may all sentient beings be free from suffering, may all sentient beings be happy, may all sentient beings never be separated from happiness without suffering (that is joy). And the last is impartiality: may all sentient beings remain in great impartiality.
These Four Limitless Thoughts are an elaboration of bodhichitta. Refuge and bodhichitta itself are four sentences. First two are refuge and last two are bodhichitta. These eight sentences we normally say before doing any practice. After that we do the actual practice, whatever it is, but one condition is extremely crucial: that practice should be the practice of the lineage, so you must receive initiation, teaching etc. from a master of the lineage. You can't do it just by buying a book from a bookstore or just by hiring a text from a friend - that is not enough. Of course, if you did that, nothing would go wrong practically right there, but the benefit is not so much, just better than nothing, because Dharma becomes Dharma because of the lineage. Otherwise Dharma will remain forever, because everything is dharma. But why we call a particular teaching Dharma is because Lord Buddha taught it, and it is continued unbroken outer, inner, secret; all the levels of the practice are unbroken until today. So it is the definition of Dharma.
We would say the Dharma is not there when the lineage is not there. But books will be there, statues will be there, everything will be there, but when there is no lineage, then there is no Buddhadharma. Dharma in general means everything: the streets are dharma, the cars are dharma, the cows and sheep are dharma. The dogs running on the streets are dharma, non-believers are dharma, believers are dharma, bad and good people are dharma. But Buddhadharma means the teaching of the Buddha about everything. That is relevant as long as the lineage of the teaching is alive.
The second part is the actual practice, which we do. It has to have a lineage.
The third is: after the practice of the lineage is complete, when you want to end your session for the day, for the morning or whatever session it is, then you dedicate the merit of your practice. That is the third thing. Dedication of the merit is just four sentences. It can be elaborated into many more sentences, because for dedication of the merit there are many texts. But very simple basic one is: because of this merit may I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood. You dedicate the merit, the good what you have done, for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood. That is the dedication.
These three things are extremely important, otherwise your practice is just half-done. Without refuge and bodhichitta practice is just something like a hobby. Its best effect could be stress management. But with refuge and dedication it becomes complete. Vajrayana is based on Mahayana motivation and the refuge of Theravada. So, the refuge of Theravada, bodhichitta (the motivation of Mahayana) and the dedication, which is actually bodhichitta in action, then the practice is complete.
Sometimes the lineage is misunderstood as some kind of authority, like father to son, mother to daughter. It is not. It means: Buddha truly attained enlightenment, Buddha did not pretend to be enlightened. Buddha Shakyamuni was enlightened. The first five disciples of his, beginning from that there were thousands of disciples who received transmission from him. Thousands of human disciples and countless disciples of different levels, not just humans, but sprits, gods, etc.
They truly received a transmission from the Buddha with their devotion, not just "let's see how this goes," but they truly went with devotion and received the Dharma from the Buddha. That is the beginning of the lineage. And that is passed down to their disciples. They became gurus, they are not Buddha. They represent the Buddha and those who are disciples of those masters, who were disciples of the Buddha, they received lineage this from these masters, who were disciples of the Buddha.
Out of these disciples many became masters, because they practiced sincerely and they had reached certain state of ability to transmit the lineage. They transmitted it to their disciples. This way where-ever Buddhism went, all the way north to Mongolia and further, and all the way south to Sri Lanka and further and now all over the West actually including African continent, and eastwards towards Burma, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, all those places. To north towards Tibet and I think some Buddhists also reached certain parts of Russia. This way the lineage is spread from masters to disciples.
And we can say Buddhism is there as long as those lineages are alive. But Buddhism will not be there, when those lineages are gone. I don't think that is going to happen soon. According to Lord Buddha's teaching, it is going to remain for another couple of thousands of years. So the lineage is going to remain for some time.
Today I would like to do two sets of practice with you, the first is shine and lhaktong with little bit meditation on nature of mind. Of course whenever we meditate it is our nature of mind that is meditating. There is nobody else meditating. No matter how much bell you ring, how much you call and knock, there is nobody there except the nature of mind. That is ultimately what we end up working out. Here are some particular practices, which are techniques of practising meditation, which is practising nature of mind. It has to start with refuge and bodhichitta, and some very basic shine and lhaktong, very simple form of shine and lhaktong.
And then I would like to do another set of practice with you, which is to recite the text of the four-armed Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara). To recite om mani peme hung and to do simple prayers related to each one of the six-syllable mantra. Om mani peme hung is the six-syllable mantra. Some people like to say om mani peme hung hri and that's fine, hri is the heart-syllable of Avalokiteshvara. Actually you visualize it, you don't say it, but sometimes people like to say it. Then it is becomes seven-syllable mantra. So we say it as a six-syllable mantra. These two practices will be more than enough for this afternoon, I think.
Do all of you know how to say refuge and bodhichitta?
Then further Four Limitless Thoughts:
For those of you who don't know how to say it, you can think about the meaning, while those who know will say it. The first two lines in the refuge prayer mean: "I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha until I attain the Buddhahood. You should think about this when we say the first two lines. The second two lines are: all the merit and goodness that I accumulate through this, may I attain the Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood. Those are the last two lines. When we say these four lines, those of you who don't know how to say it, think about it from your heart. We say it three times.
Then we say the four sentences, which are elaboration of the bodhichitta: limitless loving-kindness, limitless compassion, limitless joy and limitless impartiality. The limitless loving-kindness means: may all sentient beings be happy and possess and develop causes and conditions of happiness. The second sentence is compassion: may all sentient beings be free from suffering and be free from causes and conditions for suffering.
The third is joy: may all sentient beings always remain joyful and happy, and be with the causes and conditions of joyfulness and happiness. May they never be without it. That is limitless joy, the absolute opposite of jealousy. We have a huge human weakness, that when something happens to us, it makes me naturally without any hesitation, without any shame to say: "Why me?" Why me means "Why not everybody?" If we think what we are saying, it's pretty bad, but everybody says that very easily: "Why that has to happen to me?" So, opposite f that: "Why not me?" Each sentient being is "me," you will call yourself "me" and I will call myself "me". Because of "me" this suffering happens. If there is no "me", this suffering will not happen.
And this me has done lots of things, we have been human countless lifetimes, we have been king, queen, general, lawyer, priest, father, mother countless lifetimes. We have been snake, scorpion, cockroach, amoeba countless lifetimes. We have been god countless lifetimes and we have been in hell countless lifetimes. So we have been everything countless lifetimes. How can we think and imagine that we haven't done anything wrong during all of those countless lifetimes? So, why not me? Okay? That is the joy for other people's happiness and joy.
Then impartiality. The loving-kindness, compassion and joy have to be impartial, because partial loving-kindness is there in everyone, even the most vicious predator - I don't know which one is, but through seeing Natural Geographic's documentaries I think hyena is the most vicious predator. Very mean, eats and kills almost anything. Hyena does not kill it's own kind and it's own child. Partial compassion, joy and loving-kindness is there, in everyone. You think of the worst person on Earth; we all say very easily Hitler was the worst person on Earth. We don't know but we read, watch and hear, and it sounds like he was a very bad person, but I'm sure there is someone he loved, there is someone he cared for, there is someone whose happiness makes him happy, I'm sure.
So some loving-kindness, compassion and joy, partial one is there in everyone. But what makes bodhisattva different is that bodhisattva's loving-kindness, compassion and joy are impartial. They are limitless and limitless in a sense that bodhisattva is not saying: "Let's pray for the poor people or for the rich people or for those who are sick or for those who are healthy. Let's pray for those who are Buddhists or let's pray for those who are not Buddhists," we are not saying that. This prayer, this dedication is for all sentient beings: humans, animals, gods, hell-beings. Highest are gods, lowest are hell-beings. All sentient beings. In the middle are we human beings. It is limitless regarding to whom the motivation is generated and for what the motivation is generated. For what? Each one to be free with no limitation whatsoever. And that can only be described by describing the Buddhahood. So it is limitless in all sense.
Now we say these four lines and those of you who know how to say it say it with me and those who don't know how to say it, you know what we are saying, so you follow us in the meaning. And I don't think anyone of you has any disagreement with those four things. There is no-one who doesn't like to be happy, there is no-one who likes to suffer and this is the basic. This prayer is about this basic thing.
Now we do shine meditation (shamata in Sanskrit). It simply means to keep your mind calm and stable, and it is a most pleasant state of being: if you are calm and peaceful and stable, you feel good. Physically you relax and as a method we use our breathing. We breathe as slowly and completely as possible 21 times. That means we breathe out slowly and completely, until it is about to become uncomfortable, don't let it become uncomfortable. Then pause for a second and breathe in as slowly and completely as possible, until it's about to become uncomfortable; don't let it become uncomfortable. Then pause for a few seconds and you count that in your head as one. We do this 21 times. If you want to close your eyes, it's okay, if you want to open your eyes, it's okay. Actually in our lineage we breathe from the nose and mouth, both, but for many people it's difficult. They are used to breathe from the nose. It's okay, you can close your mouth and breathe from your nose, no problem.
For first few seconds just relax. We keep our body straight. Now we are counting our breathing, 21 sets of breathing.
Now just remain and maintain that calm stable state of mind. Our body is relaxed and our mind is calm. Now you can open your eyes and slowly look around, but maintain your calm-abiding state of mind.
In this we maintain our calm state of mind and observe the inseparability of body and its feelings, such as breathing; comfortableness, uncomfortableness, it is inseparable. Body and sensation or feeling are inseparable. One cannot say: "this is my body and this is my physical sensation." They are absolutely interdependent; there is no body which is not related to a sensation. There is no sensation or feeling not related to the body. They are interdependent. Feeling doesn't exist independently and body doesn't exist independently. That is the emptiness of the body and the sensation.
Now we maintain the calm-abiding state and observe the mental: the joy, happiness, unhappiness, good thoughts, bad thoughts, whatever is there right now. All of these thoughts and the feeling of the mind are not separate from our mind. They are interrelated. You cannot say: "This is my mind and this is my feeling." They are absolutely interdependent.
That is the emptiness, the feeling. And we maintain our calm-abiding sate of mind, and focus on our thoughts, whatever thought that is there. It is not separate from our essence; in Sanskrit we call it Dharmata. Dharma and Dharmata. There is no thought which is having nothing to do with our essence, it is beyond thought, beyond any dualistic entity, yet thought is dualistic. Just like wave and the ocean; you cannot say "This is the wave and this is the ocean." That is the emptiness of the mind, which manifests as thought.
We maintain the calm-abiding state of mind… (turning the tape, missing some teachings)
They are all interconnected, there is nothing unrelated to everything, everything is related to everything. Therefore, by itself nothing exists. Body, mind, space, elements, thoughts and feelings are all interconnected. That is the emptiness of everything.
Now we maintain our calm-abiding state of mind and without going through each one of those details, just be as it is.
Listen these few words, as you maintain your calm-abiding state of mind. Wandering mind is observing the mind that never wanders. That mind which does not wander, observes itself by itself. When your ultimate essence is recognized by yourself, then all the wandering mind becomes wisdom. I repeat: Wandering mind observes the mind, the essence which never wanders. The mind which is not wandering, observes itself. When you recognize and realise your essence, then all the wandering mind becomes wisdom.
As we first experience the calm-abiding state of mind, then we progress from there and observe everything. The way we see everything the clear and calm state of mind, then nothing is complicated, everything is simple. We see the emptiness of everything. Emptiness does not mean nothing, emptiness means everything. Relatively everything is interrelated to everything, therefore ultimately everything is limitless. It is not nothing, it is everything. Buddha, which we pray and supplicate and we are devoted to, is not separated from us. He is in each one of us. When we recognize a glimpse of the emptiness, then Buddha within us manifests. We manifest in a form of joy, confidence and certainty. It is so clear to us that each one of us is embodiment of Buddha itself. The only difference between us and Buddha is: he is totally awakened and totally pure and he did overcome all the shortcomings that we all have. And he is perfect. Forever perfect.
For us that is yet to happen, but we see glimpses of that and we feel glimpses of that, when we practise these very simple but very sacred practices of lineage. Practice of compassion, devotion, emptiness and non-dualism. It doesn't matter, what kind of weaknesses and shortcomings we have; one thing we are sure: this essence of ours is incorruptible. Nothing can corrupt it, nothing can stain it; our essence is primordial pureness, primordial wisdom, primordial limitless freedom. Glimpses of that we experience, when we are meditating in front of the image of Buddha, in environment within the mandala of the Buddha, which every Dharma-centre should be.
Now this first step, which we have done through breathing, and this second step, which we used, the state of calmness which we achieved through shine, that is lhaktong.
Now we just sit and relax for few seconds.
Now we maintain that calm state of mind with clarity, and dedicate the merit of this practice. I will explain the four-sentence dedication prayer, which we will say: By the merit of this practice may I attain realisation of Buddhahood. Literally it says omniscience but omniscience means Buddhahood here. And may I liberate all sentient beings from the suffering of the ocean of Samsara. Definition of ocean of Samsara is: as long as we are dualistic, we are in Samsara. Anything that is pursued through dualism can never be fulfilled. The appetite of dualism is equal to the size of the entire space. There is no way to fulfil your desire, greed, hatred, jealousy, pride, stinginess and fear. There is no way to fulfil that. In the living history and beyond no-one, not one single person, man or woman, managed to fulfil the defilements through dualistic means. Therefore the only way to fulfil our limitless potential is by the realisation of non-dualism, which is described by many terminologists, such as Ultimate Bodhichitta, Ground Mahamudra, Fruition Mahamudra, primordial wisdom, ultimate emptiness. All kind of terms are used to describe it, but all of that simply means: the limitless essence, which is the essence of each one of us right now, is not somewhere, it is in us right now. And each one of us is the embodiment of this. So we will say this prayer:
These four sentences we will say three times and you dedicate the merit sincerely for the benefit of all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood.
We will say a short prayer together several times. This is a very important blessing in our lineage. This is written the 1st Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye: Calling the Guru from Distance. It is saying that I supplicate the precious Guru. If your background is sikh religion, you will like it, because it is guruvadyam. "I with sincere deep devotion call you, who are the most kind one, and I don’t have anywhere to turn, except my Guru. May the mind of my Guru and me become one."
When I'm saying it I am calling my Guru, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, and when you say it, you are calling whoever is your Guru. And if you don't have a Guru, then we all call for the Buddha. He is the Guru of the Gurus.
There are few more lines of the same prayer. It says: "I supplicate the precious Guru: may my selfishness, my ego, may I be able to renounce my ego." That is the first prayer. They are giving a very big job for all Gurus. Help me, help.
This ego of mine has been dominating and tormenting me for countless lifetimes. Enough is enough. Please help me, so that I can renounce this ego of mine. The second one is: in the worldly things, truly speaking there is nothing meaningful. I'm not saying I renounced everything. I watch BBC, I watch Discovery channel and National Geography channel. They are my favourite channels and they are wonderful. I did not renounce everything. I don't like bad food, I like good food. I don't like to wear dirty unwashed clothes. I like clean washed clothes. I don't like too hot or too cold. I'm not saying I renounced everything, I'm not a yogi. I wish to be, but I'm not. Maybe at best: 21st century yogi, at best, with all exaggerations, that's maybe what I am!
But I really wish to and I think we should really wish to. By wishing, little by little, we will manage. And the blessing will make it happen. When a big rock falls from the mountain top, even the rock doesn't want to fall down, it will roll down. So, when our devotion is sincere and our compassion is there, the blessing of the lineage is there, even we don't want to progress we will progress. We have to have our basic motivation and aspiration, of course, but sometimes the wisdom comes from within and it shines through or senses. We hear more clearly, we smell more clearly, we see more clearly; I'm not saying I will throw my spectacles away, not that kind of seeing, but more clearly. We understand more clearly, that's what blessing does.
So, we are asking our Guru that there is nothing meaningful in Samsaric things: in fame, fortune, everything, there is nothing really truly meaningful there. It is all game. Like cricket, you have thrower, all kind of people with all kind of names, and game is lost and game is won by one hundred points or two hundred points. I don't think there is more than three hundred points. Therefore the whole thing, the whole Samsara from heaven to hell is just like that. There is nothing meaningful. The absolute meaningfulness is not there, except for the absolute limitless freedom, which is already in us. That is called Buddhahood.
We are asking our Guru: may I realise the meaninglessness of all of these games. We are asking for that blessing - that is the second. The third is, now being more pentacle: "May we only have one thought staying with us, a good, positive, meaningful Dharma-thought. And may I be free from all those thoughts and ambitions, which are not positive, which are negative, which are not beneficial, which are harmful, may I be free from all of that."
When we pray, we pray the maximum, don't be modest. Don't think "It's impossible, I can't say that." You say that, because it's a prayer, the maximum. So, "May all the thoughts which are impure stop their existence in my head. May only the positive thought manifest and remain." We pray for that. Then we are saying: "Our mind, our essence never dies and is never born, it is timeless, limitless and ultimate. Everything else is relative: time is relative, space is relative, everything is relative, except for the ultimate essence who knows: everything is relative. Who realised that everything is relative. There is something. You can't say there is nothing. When you say: everything is relative, who says that? Who knows that? So the essence of that is ultimate. But other than that, everything is relative. So may the essence of me, the nature of mind, which is birthless and deathless, ever-present and primordial, may I realise this. This is another prayer.
The next sentence says that "May all the illusion…" When we say "there is nothing meaningful in Samsara, it doesn't mean we are anti Samsara. Anti samsara is in my view equal to anti Nirvana. You can't be anti Samsara, because Samsara and Nirvana are equal in essence. You can't be anti this side of the coin and anti that side of the coin. It doesn't work. Therefore, may all the illusion be pacified and brought to cessation by itself. So we don't need to struggle and be against something to overcome something. Just transform it by itself. That is the Trul-par rang-sar shi-war jin-gyi-lop.
Trulpa means illusion, rang-sar means in its place, shiwa means become peaceful, purified. That's fourth. And now the last one: "May I realise everything that is there, in me, outside of me, in the far distance and near me, everything is manifestation of the Dharmakaya. Everything is sacred. Every stone on the street is sacred. Every street dog is sacred. All the cows are sacred, no problem. But every person is sacred, every leaf in the tree and out of the tree, in the garbage, is sacred. There is nothing which is not sacred. May I realise this. It is part of the Dharmakaya.
This is the continuation of the guruvadyam.
Now we do the short Chenrezig practice. We start with refuge and bodhichitta, which can be followed by the four limitless thoughts. After that is the visualization.
The endless space is filled by the countless sentient beings. Your father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends, enemies, all countless sentient beings of the entire universe are behind you. It's a sea of sentient beings. And above you there is a beautiful white lotus, huge. And on top of the white disc there is a moon-disc of white moon-crystal. White in colour and cool, peaceful disc. On top of that there is a letter Hri in Sanskrit or in Tibetan. It is long Hri with two dots after it. It is white and standing on top of the moon and it radiates light which reaches all directions and purifies the suffering and defilements of all sentient beings, as the light penetrates through all of them. That blesses the body, speech and mind of all sentient beings from heaven to hell. They all become an embodiment of compassion.
With that in mind you say this prayer, which has many steps of visualization, but I will not go through that. If we do that we need one whole weekend to go through it, but I think most of you know the steps. And if you don't, this much is enough. So, blessed. As the result the merit of helping all sentient beings and your devotion, this Hri transforms into Avalokiteshvara with four arms. Two arms are [folded in prayer] and two arms like this: one holds a lotus and one holds a crystal mala, rosary. That is how four-arm Chenrezig looks like. White in colour, like a crystal container filled with pure milk, that kind of white.
This Chenrezig becomes the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. This Chenrezig is your creation, you visualised it. Now this Chenrezig becomes the embodiment of true Chenrezig, the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, whose view was to remain a Bodhisattva, until the last sentient being attain the Buddhahood. Whatever it takes for a sentient being to become Buddha (you don't have to be most strong [?] or most clever political politician to become Buddha) is ultimate sincere pure Bodhichitta. The Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva represents that. Until last sentient being becomes Buddha, it is relevant. Therefore Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is relevant to all sentient beings, until the last sentient being attains Buddhahood. We call him the Father of all the Buddhas. In some Buddhist traditions Avalokiteshvara manifests in a female form. In Tibetan Buddhism, when it manifests in a female form, we don't call her Avalokiteshvara, we call her Tara. But in other Buddhism they call her sometimes Avalokiteshvara. It is the same thing.
When the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva manifests there, his blessing is transforming all sentient beings into an embodiment of compassion, and all the environment into pure land, paradise or heaven. I don't know which is the right word exactly, because so many projections are attached to both paradise and heaven. So I will not use that, but pure land is pure manifestation, mandala is the original word; so it becomes the mandala of everything.
We think of this and say this prayer. And when we chant the mantra, there is a particular thought to generate which I will explain later. Now all of you who know how to say this prayer, say it with me and I will not repeat these prayers three times, just one time.
Now we sing om mani peme hung. This is called six-syllable mantra. All of Tibet is known as the compassion subject of Avalokiteshvara. Our spiritual head, our temporal leader is embodiment of Avalokiteshvara, right from the beginning. All the great incarnations are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara. In Tibet the kids, before they are able to say mama and papa, they are able to say om mani peme hung, because mamis seldom call papa the papa and papas seldom call mama the mama. But papa and mama every day say om mani peme hung. So they learn om mani peme hung before they learn papa and mama. It's true. So this is a very important sacred mantra.
It is carved on wood, carved on stone, carved on mountains, the print of it is put on water and prayer wheels are turned by water, it's printed on cloth and let the wind pray. It is everywhere, om mani peme hung. And the meaning of that is very simple. Om represents the purification of our ego. Ma represents purification of our jealousy. Ni represents purification of our greed and attachment. Pe represents the purification of our ignorance. Me represents purification of our stinginess and hung represents the purification of our hatred. From heaven to hell it's the result of our six defilements, and we are purifying the six defilements, so that as the result our essence, which is free from six defilements will manifest.
At the same time sentient beings, who are suffering in the six realms, also will be freed from their suffering. Gods are suffering in the heaven, because they have everything and they will lose it, they are not forever. When they know what they know - they have a certain kind of - we call it ngön she in Tibetan - knowing the future, knowing the past, so they know, and they suffer because they are going to lose everything and they know where they will be born.
The asuras (demi-gods) are suffering as result of jealousy to the gods and they are always fighting with the gods. And they can never defeat the gods, the gods are superior. There is no-one in Samsara higher, better and more powerful than gods. Demigods are always jealous; they always fight and they always lose, and that is their suffering.
And we know human suffering very well. Humans are most greedy ones. The birds, dogs and cockroaches are not flying in space-shuttle or driving in cars, but we have all these things and we still want to have all kind of things. So I don't have to tell you, you know much more than I do what we want, what we have and what we are planning to have in the future: hundred years from now, two hundred years from now. We all know, there is no end. That is the suffering of human beings, the greed.
And then, the animals are suffering from ignorance, because people raise thousands and thousands of cows, sheep, chickens, fishes to be slaughtered. If they really wanted to: ten men cannot control one cow, impossible. Three, four people cannot control a sheep. Chickens have wings, thy can fly (not very well but they can fly, better than us), anyway they are at our mercy and if they are going to be slaughtered tomorrow, they won't know it today. They just sit there. They don't want to die, they don't want to be hurt, but they are ignorant. And I know people even in the Dharma who came to me and told me, that they wanted to come to India to practice Dharma, but they had three dogs and two cats and they had to put them to sleep. I have met several people like that. They say their pets will suffer with other people. "I took so good care of them and now I want to come here to practice Dharma, so I can't bear how they will be treated by other people, because they are so spoiled by me, so I put them all to sleep." It's not sleep, you know what I mean. So, they don't know. If they knew, they could run away. If a cat ran away, you could be the world's gold medal winner in 1000 meters or even marathon, but you could not catch a cat or a dog. Impossible. I really respect animals, especially dogs, dogs are very good, but they are ignorant. They are at our mercy and we do whatever we like with them. So the animals are suffering from ignorance.
Hungry ghosts are suffering from stinginess, because if we are stingy, we are born as a hungry ghost. They have nothing and they have to look for everything. Some of the hungry ghosts' body is like a mountain and neck is like a string. So, to feed the body food has to go through a neck size of a string, that kind of manifestation. There are all kinds of hungry ghosts, not only that type, but hungry ghosts are a reality, and hell is also a reality, because the worst of the worst is possible if the best of the best is possible. So if we believe in gods, which are best of the best, we have to end up believing in hell, because there has to be the worst of the worst. And if we believe in us as so and so, that makes us even more having no choice, but believing in better than us and worse than us. That we cannot see [those realms], does not mean it does not exist. Our eyes are just balls of liquid which have some ability to see certain things with the help of certain kind of light. It does not justify that if you can't see it does not exist. So all the six realms, om mani peme hung represents that.
To make it simple: "May I be free from six defilements and may all sentient beings be free from six defilements, may all sentient beings from heaven to hell become free and realise their primordial wisdom." That is what we are saying. This particular chanting of om mani peme hung is very simple one. There are so many of them and this is one: four om mani peme hungs make one chant. The first one is our total devotion to Avalokiteshvara. The second one is that we offer all goodness to Avalokiteshvara. The third is that we receive the blessing and abhisekh of Avalokiteshvara. The fourth is that we dedicate that abhisekh for the benefit of all sentient beings. our om mani peme hungs make one simple chanting.
Chanting the short mantra with a tune
OM MANI PEME HUNG, OM MANI PEME HUNG…
While people go on with the chanting I will say the prayers, which describe all the six realms of Avalokiteshvara.
OM MANI PEME HUNG, OM MANI PEME HUNG…
Now, as the conclusion of the visualization, when we say:
...these three sentences mean that I and all sentient beings' physical body become blessed by Avalokiteshvara's body, so that we manifest as Avalokiteshvara. And all the sounds, sounds of beings, sounds of nature, everything is blessed by Avalokiteshvara's speech, so that everything is om mani peme hung. And all the thoughts of sentient beings are blessed by Avalokiteshvara's mind so that it is the primordial wisdom of Avalokiteshvara. So we say these thee sentences as a conclusion and we sit quietly for few seconds and we make these few seconds as a confirmation or an observation of that presence of Avalokiteshvara and transformation of all sentient beings into the mandala of Avalokitesvara. After that we make the dedication. [Chanting and silence.]
Now we dedicate the merit of our Avalokiteshvara practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.
This is particularly Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva's practice dedication. It says: "Because of this merit may I attain the realisation of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. And may I liberate all sentient beings to reach the realisation of Avalokiteshvara". That means to become the embodiment of Bodhichitta, the embodiment of Avalokiteshvara. [Chanting the dedication three times.]
It is quite traditional to say Amitabha Pure Land prayer and dedication at the end. We say the short Amitabha Pure Land prayer.
I hope today's meditation and prayer session is meaningful for you. Now you have both the teaching and the transmission of these practices and if you want to do it at home it is absolutely fine. If you don't have the text you have to find the text. The dharma centre here can provide you or… something you want you will find it! Don't worry about it.
I am very happy that all the things you asked me to teach yesterday and today I was able to fulfil and how meaningful it is depends on my ability to communicate with you and your openness to understand what I'm saying. It depends on so many things. Anyway I wish for the best for everybody and I personally enjoyed it. I'm very happy. I sincerely pray that the works of your master, the Dharma projects will flourish and be completed without any difficulties, and whatever obstacles are there, physical, economical, practical or whatever should be solved, because all sentient beings and also especially your great projects in India definitely deserve all the greatness and goodness that Dharma can offer.
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