This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By Ven. Kalu Rinpoche
LIBRARY OF TIBETAN WORKS AND ARCHIVES
Copyright 1987: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
First published in 1973 as a pamphlet Published in Four Essential Buddhist Texts in 1981, 1982 Reprint 1992 Reprint 1998
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.
Cover drawing: Ngawang Choephel
Published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, and printed at Indraprastha Press (CBT),
4 Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi- 100 002.
LTWA December. 1987 . Kalu Rinpoche was first published as a pamphlet by us in 1973. is one of Tibet's foremost living meditation masters.Foreword The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation by Ven. It is hoped that this meditation manual will provide the reader with a deeper insight into the complex scope of Tibetan Buddhist thought and practice. Gyatsho Tshering Director. Ven. In 1981 it was included in an anthology (Four Essential Buddhist Texts) which was reprinted in 1982. Kalu Rinpoche. T he Foundation of Buddhist Meditation outlines the basic meditation practices common to all sects of Tibetan Bud dhism. the present head of the Shang-pa Kagyu tradition. and has guided hundreds of disciples through three-year retreats in many countries. Once again we are pleased to offer it independently with minor revisions in response to persistent demand.
please. Moreover when many positive qualities are cultivated. May this work deliver many sentient beings from the ocean of suffering. may they attain the Castle of Buddha. after which Kungo Losang Lhalungpa checked and corrected the translation manu script. This book. So. and will either obtain Buddhahood in this life or will become free of this cycle. Kalu Rinpoche (Karma Drub-gyud Ten-dzin) for the benefit of all who practice the Dharma. strive at Dharma practice. one will consolidate a basis for the holy Dharma. Kalu Rinpoche . one will tum away from the cycle of exist ence and strive to procure freedom. the four teachings which motivate reli gious practice and the attributes of the T hree Jewels are explained. was written by myself. If one completely understands the significance of all these things. etc. will believe in action and result (karma). but. don't just penetrate the significance of all three things.lntroduc�tion In this manual. in addition. this cycle of existence. Ken McLoed of Canada did the translation from the Tibetan into English.
primitive tribes to which no religion has appeared.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation by The Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche Now in order to embark upon religious practice. to be born in a central country which has religion. i. the stability of the Doctrine. believing neither in religion nor in the law of action and result.1 those human beings who have wrong views. Thus. an awareness of the difficulties of meeting with the opportunities and blessings of this life will anchor the mind and lead one to enter religion. i. to reverse the tide of karma. because of strong revulsion one will want to procure only freedom. to possess . to have all five senses intact. Together. the five blessings. then through the contemplation of impermanence. virtue to be taken up. and when the misery of the cycle of existence is understood. belief in seed and results will cause evil to be rejected. the existence of many who follow the Doctrine. To possess the ten blessings means first to have the five blessings which accrue through oneself. First to possess the eight opportunities means not to be born in the eight unrestful existences which are the hell. right from the start. the long lived gods adrift on the currents of desire.e. and one to act with propriety.e. and those who cannot understand the meaning of religion due to retarda tion or defects in speech. laziness will be abandoned and one will strive at such practice. ears or eyes. preta and animal realms all tormented by suffering exclu sively. and secondly. from oneself and the five through others comprise the ten blessings. the teaching of religion (Dharma). to have the five blessings whi�. to obtain the body of a human. those born in a dark aeon when Buddha has not appeared.:h accrue through others. the appearance of Buddha. and through the kindness and faith of others to have favorable circumstances for religious prac tice. and to have faith in the T hree Jewels.
The karmic cause is the cultivation of a completely pure ethical code. The difficulty of meeting with it is illustrated in three ways: by considering the cause. those in the celestial and anti-god realms as the stars at night. resolve to dismiss all worldly work. which is great activity for little purpose. makes no use and so loses them. For example. the numbers. and an ex ample. and applying through meditation transformation and spiritual perfection. Number means that while hell beings are as numerous as the dust particles of the earth. and a blind turtle surfaced once every hundred years. enjoyment . finding as many jewels would fill a house. Thus.6 Kalu Rinpoche these. pretas as the sand of the Ganges (the sacred river in India). not to set out to follow the path to freedom and so. for that turtle to put its neck in the yoke would be easier than to obtain the precious human birth. Secondly. Obtain the nectar of religion from a qualified teacher (or spiritual friend). Such individuals are very rare. forms the hu man birth. those who have a precious human birth with opportunities and bless ings are like daytime stars. it is taught that if all the world were water and a wooden yoke were thereupon to be tossed by the winds. and don't deceive oneself or pretend that one understands Dharma or that one can medi tate. What is impermanence? All gatherings of riches. never depart from the resolution to complete the practice of Dharma by accumu lated spiritual merits. animals as snow flakes. at this time when the precious human birth has been obtained. strong cling ing to this life diminishes and one is able to cultivate virtue. and then after completely comprehending the significance of the Holy Dharma. a poor man who. eliminating mental impurities. for example. if impermanence is contemplated. is more wasteful than. when completely free from the suffering of the cycle of existence to obtain the permanent peace of Buddhahood. So now. eighteen opportunities and blessings.
grass. the external world which seems solid and firm is impermanent and will be destroyed in stages by fire. though strong and fleet of foot. those who have gathered together are separated. those born die. In addition. for the force of the coming summer causes the earth to be moist and blue-green in color. Thus every thing is but impermanent. there is no freedom in flight. The force of the coming spring causes the earth to be soft and reddish-brown in colour. erudite discourse can do nought. Death can come in the mother's womb. Impermanent is like a continual water fall: some thing else similar arises. and minute draws closer to death. trees and plants become dry and brittle. wealth or riches. or at birth. One's self in each year. When the sun goes behind the mountain. are impermanent. Though brave and greatly courageous. The sun and moon rising and setting are also imper manent. in the end. The force of the coming autumn causes the earth to be firm and reddish-yellow in color. trees and plants de velop leaves and petals. All sentient beings/ the inner contents of the external world. at night black and dark. Nor is this life certain in its length. month. a passing moment. grass. all that are now are dying. clever schemes. or after old age: the time of death is not certain. in the time of youth. All those who came before have died. in the end. Brave troops. grass. build ings ruined. or when one can just begin to crawl or walk. though clever and eloquent. in the end. in the end. all to come will but die. hour. trees and plants bring forth shoots and buds. The force of the coming winter causes the earth to be hard and grey in color. one cannot tum back death. there is no one who can possibly delay or detain it. water and wind.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 7 and splendor are. trees and plants ripen in fruit. and so on season by season. all these will not turn it away. But this is impermanent. sharp weap ons. power and influence. day. At day it is clear and bright. Moreover hours and minutes are impermanent. Also there are the causes of death: fire . dispersed. a beautiful girl's body.
father and mother. The corpse carriers carry him across the threshold and away to be buried in a cemetery. good complexion. avalanches. When the sickness of death strikes. the basis for this departure. demons. "I also will come to the same end. For. hears or thinks of another's death. medicine. the three Precious Jewels3 and the Lama are the friends who can provide refuge. There is no yearning for or joy at the coming of death. no eyes will ever see him again. etc. think . is part of everything. After all that has taken place. his suffering and fear increase and he despairs of leaving every thing and having to go alone. after one has set aside land and house and farm. he suffers with no means to prevent the thorns of pain. and feels happy and comfortable has no thought for death. cremated. T hink. Since virtue and vice are . hidden in a crevice or given to birds or dogs etc. whether early or late. one must go powerless." Once death has come. children. Any man at all who has a sound body. or a drop of dew on a blade of grass. falling houses. Which of these causes of death will come is not certain.8 Kalu Rinpoche and water." At that time. a bubble in water. alone and friendless to an unfamiliar realm. even a person who loved him very much does not want to keep his corpse longer than a day or two. his body's strength ebbs and he cannot even sit in a crouch: the glow of health wanes. It is loathed. and he looks like a corpse. together with one's own body. relatives and close friends. bad food. This life is like a butter lamp in a hurricane. property and possessions. and he kno ws he is to die. "I also do not pass beyond this nature. none of these is of any benefit. brother and spouse. the terrifying Bardo (the stage between death and birth). poison. rituals. weapons. earthquakes. everyone is sickened and looks on in fear. or ceremonies. one must make it part of oneself. whenever one sees. As the last meal is taken and the last words are uttered. Since without the slightest exception. wind and lightning.
aversion. if. it is necessary to cultivate mindfulness of the failings of the cycle. never dies. Contemplation of impermanence in this way leads to comprehension of the impermanence of all composite things. etc. and has under stood the implications of religion. secretions from the mother and father. the power of the defilements (desire.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 9 the only things that bring benefit or harm. In addition. so is the body. Then. Although there be death and imperma nence. has a full compliment of capabili ties. enemies change to friends. etc. space consciousness. this holding to the impermanent as permanent is like existing in the delusions of a madman. has met spiritual teachers and friends. Then . and one works with diligence. it would be easy. since the time one has to live is like the sun peeping through clouds. mighty become paupers. the four elements. but mind. think about practicing religion completely and vow to do so diligently. manifest attachment to this life decreases. poor become rich. Since this body is made from the fusion of various parts: black and white karma. Thirdly . whose nature is empty. the high become low. like a fire dying or water evaporating.) is destroyed. The aggregates of mind and body which have come from strong clinging and is the manifestation of delusion breaks up and is dispersed. the low high. This precious human birth now obtained can convey and comprehend ideas. even after the sufferings of the cycle have been experienced intensely for a long time. So. and all compounded things are impermanent. nothing happens afterwards. If it should go to waste. strive now to wards pure and perfect religious practice. Thus. undying nature of mind and obtain the perfect accomplishment of the Great Symbol.. faith in religion increases. He who practices religion is never depressed or weary and will finally realize the meaning of the unborn. such a foundation as this body may not be obtained again. friends to enemies: in all these changes nothing goes beyond its essential nature of impermanence.
Sounding Kyehu.. In each of the four directions. when potential sor row. There. Road Full of Razors. First. situated four in each of four directions of the great hells. suffering. The eight cold hells are called Blistering. Hot. in indefinite places. Black Line. there are four other hells called Fire and Hot Mud Trench. from various potentials and causes such as defile ments. The lifespan increases by. and it is as cold as can be. the occa sional hells may be above or below ground. etc. Sound ing Achoo. Very Hot. one is subjected to sufferings suggested by the meaning of the names. Teeth Chattering. as does the suffering.factors of twenty successively. killing. the beings of the eight hot hells called Reviving.sorrows. Crying in Agony. changes to the feeling of sorrow. These hells. Cracks Like a Flower. The length of time spent and amount of suffering increase by factors of four from hell.e. i. The composition of the skandhas4 incorporates the es sential nature of the cycle. sentient beings in the six realms experience many different . Crushing and Destruction. make a total of sixteen neighbor ing hells. and the life span is indefinite. the time taken to exhaust the seeds would be one lifespan there. the sorrow that really is experi enced is the sorrow of sorrows. through the other cold hells. and Worst Torment pass their time only suffering from death.10 Kalu Rinpoche again. and Cracks Like a Large Lotus. There is no freedom from any of these three sufferings. karma. Neither the suffering nor lifespan is strictly deter mined. inclinations. it is the sorrow of changes. and the only reason for being there is to suffer. . birth takes place wherever appropriate in any of the realms. In these dwelling places all the mountains and valleys are ice and snow. heat and flames. Finally. Particularly. through various causes. Cesspool of Rotting Corpses. and River of Hot Ashes. W hen there is the existence of the skandhas there is the existence of the poten tial sorrow that pervades formations. The length of time spent in Blistering is given as follows: if from eighty bushels of sesame seeds one seed were removed each year. Cracks Like a Lotus.
one should have compassion and strive at the means to avoid birth there. Foolish and stupid. seven times every day usually.e. such as killing. food and fluid become filth or molten metal. cows. i.. Those inwardly obscured have mouths no larger than the eye of a needle. Of the three higher realms and their circumstances. they suffer immeasurably. hunger and thirst. Fear of garuda birds constantly plagues them. Continually subject to the suffering of quarrel ling. heat. For those obscured in food and drink. These are the circumstances of the three lower realms. compassion. On top of this great suffering. hungry and thirsty. the . worms. when examined accurately. cold. etc. will be seen to have sorrows which seem in-exhaustible. Since they all neither know nor recall even a vestige of the root of virtue. For all nagas. All those animals which one can see with one's own eyes. and thus. ever eating one another. etc.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 1 1 The pretas: those obscured outwardly d o not see a drop of water for twelve years and experience the sorrow of having dry food only. through heat and cold. Those with particular burdens have many pretas living in and eating their bodies and each mother gives birth to five hundred children. Size and shape of body and lifespan are uncertain and varied. they become subject to desire and attachments and the other defilements. faith. and those scattered and living in the places of men: antelopes. and stomachs as big as mountains. In the animal realms. unable to seek food and drink. grabbing. eyes as thin as a horse's hair. insects. experience the sorrow of not putting anything into their mouths and throats.. there are all those such as nagas. arms and legs like blades of grass. frightened and panic-stricken. etc.5 etc. One day there is as long as a month for humans. who dwell in seclusion in the ocean or under the ground. carnivores. etc. and commit various unwholesome acts. they live for five hundred years. deer. scorching sand falls like rain and flays the flesh to the bone.
According to the amount of merit previously accumulated. there is suffer ing like being immersed in ice. or a hut of grass or leaves or a crack in a wall. According to whether one is to be born male or female. all conscious memory is jumbled like the unclear dreams of a thick sleep. sickness and death. it is like being pierced by iron needles. the shape forms and sorrows come. one sees from afar a beau tiful house. After the previous body has been cast aside. one feels attachment and aversion to the mother and father. the Storing Up Wind causes the four elements to manifest strongly. In the third week. First is the suffering of birth. the Hole Forming Wind comes and the nine orifices form. At that time. In the first week in the mother's womb. and rushes there. the appearance is of soft rice. By stages. now the shape is like an insect and is called Tar Tar. Then the secretions of the mother and fluid from the father and one's own consciousness are mixed. similar changes take place stage by stage until the seventh week when the Twisting Wind gives rise to the four arms and legs. the suffering is like being crushed by boulders. and when she has intercourse. there is the recognition that the womb is really like a jail: . And so. the suffering is like having the limbs pulled out by a strong person and being spread out by a stick. in the eighth week. In the second week. when she eats a great deal. this stage is named Mer Mer. when running or being very active.12 Kalu Rinpoche first to be explained is that of humans. In the thirty-seventh week after entering the womb. When the mother takes something cold. in fear and in pain. then like hanging in the air. in the imagined Bardo body one passes the time powerless. At that time. There are four great sorrows: birth. if only a little is eaten. the suffering is like being roasted or fried on hot copper. there is the additional suffering as if a finger were probing an open wound. old age. the All-Touching Wind causes the four elements to manifest and the appearance is like cold butter and is call Nur Nur. like rolling down into a large abyss.
also. If these sorrows are thought about. etc. After one sees clearly that there is nothing else but death. memories are unclear. and was stewed in the gravy of the mother 's blood. one is very depressed. At this time. The lift of the body is broken. and completely depressing. etc. When the . So. various sorrows such as the skin being flayed (when first washed) will come. at the time of coming out there is the sorrow of being thrown into the centre of life. The wealth gathered before is exhausted and there is much suffering from being powerless. one has to sit with the head bent down in sadness.. and out one comes. and there is little inclination to do anything. the touch of the body has little pleasure and mentally. the hair changes in color.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 13 dark and smelly and filthy. wrinkled and shrivelled. just as a freshly blooming lotus is white and red but when old becomes dry. is no longer beautiful. At later times. until the body was completely finished. now it changes to being bent and stooped and needs a cane for support. at which time there is suffering like being spun on an iron wheel. the eyes no longer see forms clearly. Thus. from the first moment of concep tion in the womb. inducing the desire to escape. the ears don't hear sounds. the hands stretch out. now remem bered. one is moved in the direction of the gate of birth by the Flower Gathering Wind. one is unhappy and contemptuous. the power of the mind is destroyed. the Mouth Down Wind tu. both sitting and moving are wearisome. the tongue doesn't taste flavors. Where as the body was straight and firm before. one was cooked as if in molten copper. Now. In the thirty-eighth week. The capabilities of the sense exhausted. the face. the skin which was fine and soft like Chinese silk becomes a thick heap of wrinkles. are immeasurable. disturbed by twenty-eight different winds. the suffering is like being pulled through a net of iron. When born. is there anyone who thinks he is willing to enter the womb again? The sufferings of old age. now forgotten. Because everything is disordered and chaotic. the nose doesn't sense odors.ms the body upside down.
This world is cast aside. mouth and nose gape open. all means are exhausted. As fire dissolves into wind. With tearS trickling at the time of departure. power and spouse. one has to be carefully examined. mucous. causes a rasping sound. is felt with great apprehension and fear. Then water is ab sorbed into fire. spittle. is chased by the winds of karma. House. there is no wish to eat or drink nor power to do what one wants. etc. Then . one feels that one is being carried away in flood. body heat begins to leave the limbs and it is as if there were a great fire roaring and burning inside oneself. Composite things that age together decay together. is carried away by a great ocean. The suffering of death: for all ordinary mortals. urine and stools defile the body. moving in and out. nose and so forth. and wanders with no fixed aim. The time is passed in such suffering. farm. the mouth and nose become dry and the eyes tum upward. the doctors give up. The breath. what is familiar changes. one breathes hoarsely. the great change comes. strong and violent delusions arouse fear and panic. the sickness of death strikes. the mouth is parched. jewels. fields. as soon as they come to the great crossroads on the road of the cycle. property and wealth are exhausted. one is dependent on doctors. enters into great darkness. even if the day passes. together with the body so dear: all are set aside. property. As wind dissolves into consciousness the breath stops and a great wind. wealth.14 Kalu Rinpoche present time passes. first earth is absorbed into water and the trembling body feels as if a mountain were relentlessly crushing it. fortune. and one moves to another realm. the movement of breath ceases. there is still the night. nor can one lie in the sick bed. legs and arms thrash about and one trembles uncontrollably. the end of life is reached. the lower half of the body can't bear the upper. The sufferings of disease are: one can't bear the ravages of fever. falls into a great abyss. gisting and whining. they are cut off and divorced from happiness and tormented by disease. and fluid dribbles uncontrollably from the mouth.
gods suffer from quarrelling with the titans. even when living. the suffering caused by meeting angry enemies or being beaten. insiders. then red and then black are perceived. the force of karma brings birth in the appropriate place in the six realms. with everyone. these four great sufferings are not the only ones. Also there are the sorrows of seeking but not finding what one doesn't have and the sorrow of being unable to keep what one does have. and from death and banishment. also. that it's as if there were nothing. in these degenerate times one has to spend all the time. day and night. . all mental activity ceases and one becomes oblivious. There are no means to forget this sorrow. five signs appear: the god's clothes become smelly. killed. and aversion. his garland and flowers wilt. and abused by poisons one to the point of not eating at day nor sleeping at night. mental activity is revived and the various manifestations of the Bardo arise. and there is especially violent suffering from quarrelling with the gods. One sometimes has to be separated from those one loves dearly. Then. Once again. suffering from anxiety. However. but delusions appearing like magic. spouse. Thus. If revulsion (for existence) and contentment (with one's material situation) arise. struck. generally. etc. be ever mindful of the failings of desire's yearn ings. just like ripples on water. Especially. defeated. white bril liance. and know that all the dharmas6 of the cycle of existence are at no time still. one's parents. attachment. The sufferings of the titans are: although equal to the gods in riches and possessions. depression. the force of jeal ousy causes them to quarrel with outsiders. is absorbed into ignorance.. or like dreams. In the desire realm. After a period of between three and four days.The FoundaHon of Buddhist Meditation 15 when consciousness. one is completely separated from them by death. one will be able to sit quietly with the mind happy and at ease. from not satisfying the yearnings of desire. There are also other sorrows. At death. broth ers.
etc. is to kill from stupidity. skin. and death. one must understand karmic cause and result. Fourthly. First. bones. Taking life out of desire means killing for the sake of meat. he suffers greatly and is panic-stricken. and animals from stupidity. and perfect Buddha hood. the completely developed result is birth as a sen tient being in hell. sickness. there is taking life. old age. seeing the place of his next birth. Now the subjection to the various manifestations of delu sions of comfort and discomfort in the six worlds and the three realms7 arises through the power of karma. one must strive to be free from sinking into the cycle of the ocean of suffer ing. because death does come and one has no power to stay. the result that agrees with the experience is that one will have a short life and much sickness and. titans from quarrelling and gods from death and their subsequent fall. So. or to protect oneself or one's friends. and to attain the blissful. From these actions. Although in the form and formless realms there are no sufferings like these. the result which corresponds with the cause of the act is that one likes to take life. The ten vices are given as follows. He must experience these sorrows for seven day s. out of anger means that which is done in enmity or quarrelling. Secondly. sacred. the result in environment is that one is born in a rocky and steep land where there is much danger for life.. if born as a human. Through the gate of the body. for a long succes sion of lives. and his seat becomes uncomfortable. there is taking . or for money. since hell beings suffer from heat and cold. and humans suffer from birth.. All the other gods and goddesses run away. there is the sorrow of fetching a worse situation. and dy ing by himself. which originate from a defiled mind. and to take life for offering or gifts. foolish ness and eating each other.16 Kalu Rinpoche perspiration breaks out from his armpits. his body begins to smell. thinking it is virtuous or the like. pretas from hunger and thirst. one will have to face being killed. non meritorious actions are the ten vices. musk. etc.
with crags. or when forbidden by religion. and to be born in a country that is steep and precipitous. to cause a split by speaking indirectly.e. and the country of birth is very dusty. or when one's wife is pregnant. if born as a human. or daughter. near a stupa. and if born as a human. to have halitosis. i. when forbidden by commitment. The various kinds are lying about one's spiritual attainments. measures or by cheating. if born as a human. if born as a human. when observing a tempo rary vow of chastity. i. to be divorced from compan ionship. again. The various results successively are birth in the pretas. and to be born in a country that is high and low. to like to lie. another man's wife. and telling ordinary lies. and hot and cold. are birth among hell beings. or concubines of another man or king. The results. not even with one's wife in the vicinity of a Lama.e. The four results are to be born in the animal realm. to hear various unpleasant words and sounds. to be poor and unhappy. The four results are birth in the pretas. to like schisms. in a place where many are gathered. sister. in a temple.e. with one's mother. Harsh language entails speaking viciously to another. and stealing deceptively in contracts. ly ing to cause harm. to slander in various way s tl•Jough jokes and jests. one is alway s dissatis fied with one's own spouse and constantly thinks of others.. are birth in hell. and to be born in a country with much snow and hail. Thirdly.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 17 that which is not given. Through the door of speech: first there is ly ing. to alway s like evil speech. i. clandestine stealing without being seen. . ravines and brambles. to receive much slander. and to speak vilely of another to his friends and those near to him. Creating disharmony means to cause two people to disagree in the presence of each other. etc. successively. one's spouse is unattrac tive and quarrelsome like an enemy . stealing forcefully and violently with little provocation. and to be born where the land is hot and dry. The results. to like to steal. and to cause a split subversively when they are separated. there are wrong desires which means copulation when forbidden by relationship.
The results. to have great desire. to take ungiven wealth from the Three Jewels. character. to cauuse disharmony among the congregation of monks or religious friends. to have no inclination whatsoever for study ing and to be born in a poor and barren country. to covet precious objects which are consecrated to the Three Jewels. and if born as a human. to belittle the One-Thus-Gone (Tathagata).18 Kalu Rinpoche Idle talk means to repeat mantras wrongly. not to accomplish what one thinks of. no one enjoy s one's speech. Coveting includes being so very attached to one's ancestry. are birth in the hells. The results. are to be born as an animal. through idle talk to cause one who wishes to practice religion to wander. Again the results are birth as an animal. are to be born in the pretas. and to explain religion to those who have no respect for it. one's speech is ignoble. successively.· and to be born in a country that is harsh. Then there are the vices of mind. to engen- . father. mountainous and cut with deep gorges. if born as a human. T he very worst acts among the ten vices are: to take the life of one's father. and if born as a human. and to be born in a country where crops grow badly. or thinking that what is under another 's control should be under one's own. again. and one is born where summer and winter are confused. to talk a lot with no purpose. ill-will means to be so angry as to fight or go to war with another. through seduction to cause another to break vows of chastity or celibacy. to be angry in nature. or spiritual teacher. and if born as a human. or that Holy Ones are imperfect. wealth or possessions that one thinks that should they grace another. to deceive a lama through lies. that the relative and ultimate truths are wrong. successively. to speak harshly to one's mother. to explain scrip tures incorrectly. to be treated as an enemy for no reason. to think :meanly from jealousy. The results. to be so stupid that one understands nothing. or to think of harming someone out of enmity. body. Wrong views consist of holding the opinion that there is no truth in action and result. or an awakened saint. it would not be right.
Good and bad actions mixed together lead to the multifari ous lives of the three higher realms. when lies are abandoned and truth is spoken the results are to be born among gods or men. Committing many bad actions leads to birth as a hell-being. they grow ever larger. jealousy and pride lead to birth as a hell-being.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 19 der ill-will potent enough to commit inexpiable action. and morals are protected. will take joy in giving. animal. to have everyone regard one's words as true.e. etc. to like to give honest views. etc. and to be in a level country where fruit is alway s ripening. titan. as the one transgressed against is high. the power of king. man. even if born as an ordinary human. birth as a preta. and a few as an animal. desire. and will be born in a country with the best in food and riches. the results are birth . if and when born as a human. one is born as a hell being. Accordingly. to have contentment in continual friendship. anger. Secondly. one's life is long and free from sickness. a helping mind. preta. and god respectively. When taking life is aban doned. low. i. small wants. one is rich and for oceans of lives will be happy and joyful with little thought for killing.. the results are to be born among celestial beings. It is taught that as long as these evil acts are not abandoned. or preta respectively. or in-between in station. and life protected. to have a fine. when attachment to one's country is abandoned. will be accumulated. the completely ripened result is birth as a god. committing a moderate number. unattached love. animal. beautiful spouse with whom one is in accord. and if and when born as a human. When wrong desires are abandoned. as for meritorious karma. as human and celestial beings. When creating disharmony is given up and one is the agent for reconciliation. and. and to have wrong views from holding conflicting opinions. greed stupidity. contentment. it arises from the components of virtue. and to be in a country both pleasant and com fortable. one will have the very best wealth and possessions. U the defilements are considered. As for speech. and one is generous.
From that overall background. and when at various times in the trance. and to be born in a gentle country moderate in temperature. and one will always like agreement. Thirdly. one is born among gods or men. the third absorption is reached and when all four cease. there is no examination or investigation. joy. yet joy or bliss. everything spoken will be regarded as true and will please everyone. When wrong views are abandoned. and to be born in a pleasant place. to be born happy and to accomplish whatever one thinks of. these trances are based on the practice of the ten virtuous deeds. to rest in everyone's praise and to hear pleasing speech. the result obtained is birth in such a state. to accomplish any purpose that one wishes. When joy ceases and there is just bliss. When ill-will is abandoned and one has a helpful mind. the karma of stillness: when the seed is the practice of concentration in meditative trances . the second absorption is reached. to be always content with one's possessions. investigation. is venerated and inherits the best intelligence and wisdom. and food and wealth will be easily found when sought. one's words are noble and pleasing to others.20 Kalu Rinpoche among gods or men. to enjoy gentle talk. and bliss are all present. there are eight preparations which pre cede the actual concentration. When covetousness is abandoned and there is content ment and few wants. the results are birth among gods and men. When idle talk is abandoned and one bears only meaningful news. When harsh language is abandoned and one speaks softly or gently. the country will have little hail or sleet. the results are to be born among gods or men. the results are to be born among gods or men. one is happy with little talking and the country is even in terrain and climate. enjoys striving at studying and is born in a country with fertile land and wholesome food. to be loved by all. the fourth is . Generally. and to be born in a country where whatever is needed or wanted comes. the results are birth among men. examination. the first stage of absorption has been achieved. to desire to help sentient beings. When in the actual practice.
this life may pass in great prosperity because of other karmic conditions. thus mind becomes detached and penetrates to the next stage. the agent which produces the substance of Samsara is no other than these three types of sullied karma. All these eight trances consist of a one-pointed virtuous mind. Accordingly. in the cycle of existence the root is ignorance from which arises the clinging to duality. this life may pass in misery because of other karmic conditions such as stealing from others in a past life: for example. from awareness on the other come wisdom. there are the perceptions the Infinity of Consciousness. since from differing actions different results will come. various. From good or bad karma come the results of the higher and lower realms and their corresponding happiness. there is successively more separation from attachment. Nothingness and Peak Cyclic Existence. As the mind arrives on each succeeding level.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 2 1 reached. such. Even though this life is generated as the karmic result of virtue which was practiced in the immediately preceding life. If both generative karma and over all karmic conditions are virtuous. and suffering. one would have to be born as a poorman. as generosity in previous lives: an example would be a rich serpent-god (naga). the birth might be such as a Universal Monarch. faith compassion and a helpful disposition. If this absorption is practiced. In this state the subtle discrimination of of of is neither there nor not there. When the absorption deepens beyond these four. Even though this life is generated as the karmic result of evil practiced in the immediately preceding life. one is born in the perception of the Infinity Space. All the varied karma makes the multiplicity of these beings. . and one can be born as celestial beings in these states of perception. one experiences the Infinity of Space. Beyond this absorption. then as a hell being. then from dis criminating consciousness on the one hand come the defile ments. In brief. uncertain sorrows and comforts are experienced. if both are evil. When the good and bad karma is mixed.
etc. Particular karma will be experienced from the karma of each individual sentient being and is the varied experience of happiness and sorrow because of differences in individual environment. Or one may accumulate karma with no actions. but when the mind is full of harm. Through generosity. Or one may not gather anything through one's actions such as sitting down to meditate but letting the mind wander. While protecting life results in long life. or killing a man from anger.e. striking and beating causes much sickness. Although one may . bodies and possessions. Some results are called 'Those To Be Experi enced After Birth': these include the five inexpiable and the five nearly inexpiable actions/ whose results will be experi enced immediately after this life. Collective karma is the accumulation of similar karma and so produces similar results. One may accumulate karma through actions which would be like worshipping the Jewels through faith. Since after the results from white karma are finished. whenever they come. the results from black are experienced. by Lha Jin8 who experienced the fires of hell in this life. all sentient beings per ceive the universe the same way.22 Kalu Rinpoche Present karma whose results are experienced in this very life are such as: inexpiable action prepared and ex ecuted in reference to a Buddha (or Enlightened Sage). one comes to have great possessions. happi ness in early life may tum to misery in later life. such as rejoicing in the bad or good actions of others. or it refers to pure thought and object such as the man and wife who gave Sariputra a meal and later harvested ears of com of gold. Black thought joined to white action would be like erect ing a monastery or stupa for the sake of fame. for instance. i. one will have many enemies. White thought joined with black action would be like speaking roughly or beating and striking someone in order to help him. Those to be experienced at another time will be experienced in three or four later births.
The results of smaller generosity have led to birth in a poor household. etc. Although previous vir tuous karma may be small. and while the birth is one joined to great power.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 23 find a beautiful. Revulsion at the cycle and the urge to procure freedom are like the root of a tree. when . Although previously one may have very powerfully practiced virtue. one becomes respected and is praised and revered by all. the flowers are in possession of the essence of transforma tion and perfection (according to esoteric teachings).e. When previously one practiced religion out of faith and compassion. etc. disharmony created in one's past life results in discord. the power of jealously or other defilements distorts prayers. making offerings. and the fruit is the attainment of the Castle of Full Enlightenment. etc. jealousy of other 's generosity results in oneself becoming destitute in this life. faith with compassion is like the trunk. perfect spouse as a result of abandoning adultery. the levels are virtues beyond limit. If one comes to believe in the inevitable results of inter dependence and cause and effect. Those who abandon harsh language will be loved by all.. those who covet will always be destitute.. Although born rich because of previous generosity.. practice of virtue and abandonment of unwholesome action are the branches. but through service to all one's elders and par ents. and one travels onwards on the path to enlightenment. Although one is born in a home with wealthy parents from having made offerings and being generous. When one has become disgusted with the cycle of exist ence (Samsara). religion is similarly practiced. then indeed one has penetrated to the centre of the root of the teaching of Bud dha. how does one practice religion? First. one is born into a religious home. at the present time family. gifts. one perpetrates un wholesome karma very powerfully. when one stands fast with faith at death. body and possessions are the very best. i. Buddha. not liking religion results in becoming one with wrong views.
If one does not know the reason for wanting to practice religion. the real nature of Awakening is to possess three qualities: the great cessation which is the complete removal of the two obscurations together with their associated habits. and the great brave mind which is activity arising continually and pervasively from spontaneous compassion for the benefit of beings. this state is called Awakened Enlightenment (Buddha). Through the practice of absorption in meditation devoid of conceptualization. mind is enlightened in the two knowledges of knowing how everything appears.24 Kalu Rinpoche one knows the attributes of the Rare Jewels. cleared obscuration away. The Awakened One (Buddha). Each cause has its own result. it would be like shooting an arrow in a black fog. when all karma is accumulated through actions powered by compassion for those lower and by faith in sacred objects. not confused by all the phenomena of discrimination. he attained Completely Per fected Awakening Enlightenment. as a sentient being first produced the Thought of Enlightenment (Bodhi chitta). the twin manifestations of Enlightenment are obtained. When the meanings are considered after the awakening from the sleep-like ignorance. one goes for refuge and then learns the reason for clearing away obscurations10 and gathering accumulations of spiritual merits through one's devotion. merit is gathered whose result when completely ripened is the accomplish ment of two form manifestations. and then for three immeasurable aeons gathered spiritual merits. Through the possession of the Compassionate Thought and from the successive per fection of both the accumulations which are gathered by performing the six perfections. Now. wis dom is accumulated and the flawless result is the accom plishment of the Body of Dharma. and when the five paths and ten stages were crossed. . etc. Therefore. the methods of practice or the results of religious practice. perfected en lightened deeds as vast as an ocean. the great realization of awareness which is an accurate seeing. Moreover.
present and future. existence. Subduing beings with exposition on various arts and science is the Skillful Emanation. This is the Awareness of Knowledge. and cessation. It is as if everything were placed in the palm of the hand. In the Jogmin-gyi Shing11 Buddha Field beyond the three realms. In the great awareness of Buddha. Functioning which never ceases and brooks no interruption. though functioning in different ways according to the po tential of individuals having conducive or adverse relations. the twin form manifestations manifest from previ ous aspiration and invocation for manifestation. Nirvana or the path that is not known or seen. is the Bodily Emanation. in order to help train beings. the Perfect Manifestation Body arises before all the tenth level BodhisattvasY This gathering of the Buddha's own appearance and the appearance of the Bodhisattvas is called the Mutual Manifestation Body. etc. yet opens the doors to temporal benefit to the higher realms and then to final freedom. there is not any Dharma in Samsara. the Dharma Body appears when the obscurations of inaccurate knowledged are cleared away. benefit for all sentient beings is administered by the Perfect Emanation. Through the twelve great deeds. and the Emanation Body by the clearing away of the obscurations of karma .The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 25 The omnipresent Body of Dharma pervades all Samsara and Nirvana. unconfusedly.. the result of karma-everything is known individually. and clearly without any obscuration. In their distinctive manifestations. Subduing beings in vari ous forms such as a king and a deer. Great spontaneous love going out to all beings without discrimi nation with regard to distance or association with a cease less flow of kindness is loving-kindness and compassion. Thus. and is devoid of arising. is beyond all intellectual postulation. the Manifestation Body by clearing away the obscurations of defilements. the seeds of karma. the past. The karma of the three times. and continues to arise until all of . form the innate power and blessings of the Dharma Body.
With the power of inspiration and blessings of the above. the power of neces sities which is the ability to rain down riches and jewels and food for all sentient beings. and the power of Dharma. which is the ability to obtain and stay in any existence at will.26 Kalu Rinpoche the cycle that exists is emptied is called deeds and function ing. and understanding that all dharmas (subjective and objective phenomena) are empty in reality and realizing that they are like magic. This is the capability of refuge from the power of Samsara. Thus. which is the abiiity to be absorbed exactly in whatever state of meditation is desired. those who have arrived at the eighth up to the tenth levels possess ten powers: the power of life. loving kindness and compassion. deeds and functioning. the power over karma. which is the ability to change any of the four elements at will. the power of creation. which is the ability to inspire others to cultivate good karma which will be experienced at another time. and power and capa bility for protection are the supreme qualities of Awakened Enlightenment. the power of birth. which is the ability to be born in the desire realm without getting stained by impurities by staying in meditation. the power of mind. which is to know completely the true significance of all dharma (phenomena). the power of wisdom. Now. which is the ability to demonstrate innumerable miracles for the benefit of sentient beings. devotion. the all-knowing awareness. Absorbed completely in Peaceful Tranquility and Insight. respect. the power of miracles. love and compassion. which is the ability to satisfy completely the minds of sentient beings of different tongues and different capabilities by explaining the Dharma in its . destroys all clinging to the reality of Samsara. a sentient being. and crossing the Five Paths and Ten Stages with the six and ten perfec tions. he is protected from the great fear and sufferings of the cycle of existence and guided to ultimate Enlighten ment. through the successive arising of f aith.
stuttering. capability and realm. Arhants13 and all those on the spiritual stages from the first to the tenth and final comprise the Transcendent Sangha.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 27 assembly of words and phrases in one single exposition. and Sangha the companions. both kind and mean. etc. four grounds for no fear. the thirty-two major perfections and eighty minor perfections of the body. Buddhas are much greater and more sacred. until all of Samsara is emptied.. or Vajrayana. the Dharma. and other realms. Dharma the path. and animals. Thus one should go for refuge in the knowledge that Buddha is the permanent refuge. etc. even though speaking to every stream of being which is to be trained in places both near and far. and all the distinct and completely ripened attributes number over a million. Such is the Precious Rare Sangha. halting. which ever is applicable. Then. From the play of the discipline of Buddha. nagas. hidden and unencompassable by thought. there would be no disagreement. noble in the beginning. with pure melody rains down the Dharma of the various ve hicles. and men.. sixty special tones of harmo nious speech. simultaneously on gods. middle and end. all who have practiced the Dharma the best of all speech successively: Sravkas. Moreover. The Sangha of individuals consists of all those who abide in any of the three vows: ordination. according to faith. etc.. ten forces. Such is Precious Rare Awakened Enlighten ment (Buddha). deep and extensive. If through some incon ceivably great miracle the form were seen. in their own respective tongues. is lacking in all faults such as speaking too quickly. In addition. who is the very self of . the Accom plished Conqueror beyond sorrow. eighteen differences. Bodhisattva. the quality of the sound is perfectly suited. Such is the Precious Rare Dharma. In all the Buddha realms. gentle and melodious. Pratyekas. and is soft. Speech. With respect to these powers. works for the benefit of beings. Great and Small. the other worlds.
The objects in which refuge is sought are all of the above. believ ing in and wanting to reach Buddha. radiant with brilliant light. He who bestows the pith of the y ogas of Transformation and Perfection of these Yidams at every stage of ripening. By listening to the speech of all the Awakened Ones and individuals who have studied the meaning of the Dharma and to practice and follow in their path is to go for refuge in the Sangha. To go for refuge. offer every thing substantial and imaginable that is beautiful or pleasing in form.28 Kalu Rinpoche the five wisdoms and three bodies. liberation . taste. To practice its methods and to take it to heart is to go for refuge in Dharma. one believes the Dharma that he taught. sound. arise the assembly of deities. and final attainment is the Lama. root of all blessings. Thus. extending. speech and mind. and with devotion prostrate before them with body. smell. the Yidarns. imagine that all the deities of the Three Jewels and Three Roots are really gathered in the sky. Buddha decreed that in every life. and ultimately from the sorrow of the lower realms and the cycle (from now until the moment of enlightenment). Depending on that practice all actions. both this and later. H one goes for refuge in Buddha with clear faith. The seekers of refuge are oneself and all sentient beings. the roots of all activity. The real reason for refuge is to seek refuge from the eight and sixteen fears. and touch. one will not be born in lower realms. nor will obstacles cause one to stumble. pacifying. one will meet the precious Doctrine of Buddha and will not encounter evil companions and will not stay in thought and action. roots of attainment. understanding these three things is the root of the religion of Buddha. one will travel the path of freedom. and subduing are accomplished with the support of Dakinis and Defenders of the Dharma. the cy cle of existence will come to an end. influencing. and with all vehicles having a foundation. If one goes for refuge in such a way. With extreme regret confess all the obscuring unwholesome acts that have been accumulated . These are the three roots.
devotion. i. and then meditates on the Six Yogas. With all these and one's own great faith. Then as all fog-like obscurations and unwholesome acts are thinned out and purified. mind and body become full of bliss. Have great faith in the Sakya. retention. the Enlightened State of Buddha. Gelug. By gaining mastery over vase like energy through four practices and with various exer cises. that all dharrnas are by their essential nature non-demonstrable fall together. especially Heat Yoga. secret and inconceivable. These are blessings which all these objects of refuge have.e. the very being of knowledge. great merit and inconceivable qualities. in body. the unity of warmth and blissful emptiness. the Great Symbol (Mahamudra) is realized. and scattering of vital fluids. thus.e. in speech. when ripened in his stream of being by . the basis and interdependence of all the truths of the arising of conditions and of emptiness. Kagyu and Nyingrna schools.The Foundation of Buddhist Meditation 29 from the time that has no beginning. and as the accumulation of merit and wisdom rise bit by bit. is attained. and sets out to meditate and realize a Yidam. and inner thought. To go for refuge with great faith and to clear away obscurations and to gather accumulations are extremely important . as excellent fruit and grain grows from sound roots and stalks. Until then. since all are exactly the means of liberating all sentient beings from Sarnsara by training them all in the religion of Awakened Enlightenment. Someone of the highest capabilities. love and capa bility. and through the projection. and vow not to commit them in the future. one trains the mind in concentration and purification. Enlightens. abandons wrong action and consolidates the five foundations which are each prac ticed one hundred thousand times. Awakened Enlightenment. all the happiness of the higher realms is experienced. there is Awakening. during the intervening lives. i. the wisdom of knowledge of all that is and the way it is. For the substance of the practice of religion. one of the middle capability practices virtue. like the sun. in mind. distribution. Then.
Now if one is able to comprehend well the meaning of all these teachings. and compassion will arise for all suffering sentient beings. one will definitely come to obtain both ordinary and perfect attainments. if one devotes to a Lama.30 Kalu Rinpoche initiation. Then. . and after seeking the key instruction. meditates. immediately after the explanation of Mahamudra or perfection. Faith will be born from an understanding of the qualities of the Precious Rare Ones. and the resolve to peruse the benefits of freedom will be born. meditates and will cross decisively the various paths and stages. one will tum away from clinging to the cycle.
Skandha is a Sanskrit word meaning heap or pile. . 12. human. 9. 2. or a saint. The six worlds are as in note 2. phenomena. was Buddha Shakyamuni's cousin. Dharma. Lha Jin. 10. A sentient being may be viewed as a heap of forms. titan. Sentient being refers to any being that possesses mind: i. volitions. feelings. since they have a serpent like body. to bring down a nun. These will be discussed later. he succeeded in hurting Buddha with a stone. the Dharma and the Sangha. 6. and to destroy a temple or shrine. Obscurations are mental impurities that hide the true nature of mind (ignorance). refers to all subjective and objective 7. or Devadatta. 11 . but may be very powerful or rich. 4.NOTE'S 1. The three realms are the desire realm (from the hell beings up to and including the first level of gods). in this context. cognitions. from passions. as a titan or as a god (or celestial being). The five inexpiable acts are: to kill one's mother. and the formless realm (the last four levels). Jogmin-gyi-Shing is the Buddha field of the celestial Buddha Vajradhara (Dorje Chang). Nagas are a class of animals that might be termed serpent gods. These are various classes of accomplished spiritual beings. As a result. he came to suffer extreme agony later in his life. 8. or to harm a Buddha. The three Precious Jewels are the Buddha. preta. mutilate an image of Buddha or scrip tures. The three higher births are birth as a human. animal. 13. 5. and consciousness. father spiritual teacher. the form realm (the next seventeen levels of gods). hell being. a 3.e. On one occasion. Bodhisattvas are Awakened Saints who pursue enlighten ment in order to liberate all sentient beings from sorrow. or god. The five nearly inexpiable acts are: to kill a novice or full monk. The ten levels of Bodhisattvas reflect the degree of realization of enlightenment attained. and from karma. Somewhat envious of Buddha's station. he tried to harm Buddha on a number of occasions.
Foundation of Meditation Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989) of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition. In The Foundation o f Buddhist M editation Rinpoche gives a concise explanation of the Buddhist path leading to the supreme goal of enlightenment for the welfare of all living beings. ISBN : 8 1-85102-61-9 . was one of the leading Kagyu meditation masters of this century.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.