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ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung)
2nd year of 4 years teaching (transcribed from audio recording) http://www.khyentserecordings.org/namo/Dzongsar_Khyent se_Rinpoche.html
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 1/17
This is the second part of Dzogchen Longchen Nyingtik ngondro’s teaching. Those who have some knowledge in Nyingma tradition; I think many of us somehow, maybe it’s our past karmic life, karmic link with the masters, Dzogchen masters and the teachings. But anyway many of us have inclination or we have inspiration to practice the Dzogchen and somehow because Dzogchen is kind of, I don’t know, among many, many pith instructions or the oral transmissions or different kinds of transmission, somehow Dzogchen is one of this popular, trendier thing to do, thing to practice.
And I can see reason why also – because of its simplicity, straightforwardness and at times very outrageous. And also the Dzogchen teaching itself; in the Dzogchen tantric teachings, I am talking about the source of Dzogchen teachings - even the tantric text itself claims that as time degenerates, the path of the Dzogchen becomes even better. This is somewhat, somehow quite encouraging because time is definitely getting maybe rougher, and if the teaching works better than ever, that’s very good.
This comment of Dzogchen masters or the teachings saying that stating or claiming that the teaching works at the end of the, I mean during the degeneration, degenerated time, is not just a pure, sort of mm, method to win the people’s sort of, I don’t know, attention. In fact, it has a very quite a sophisticated logic behind this. For those who know a little bit of tantric teaching, you would recall that the four tantras of Vajrayana Buddhism is taught not only to the four types of disciples; disciples who are inclined, more inclined with Brahma, Brahmin kind of mentality or Brahmin kind of, Brahmin oriented. Those who are very mm, sort of cleanliness oriented, and; it sounds VERY MUCH actually us, like politically-correct oriented and health conscious and that kind of thing. And to them actually the lowest tantra was taught, the Kriya- tantra, which requires bathing and you know strict, very, you know clean and very wholesome and very; almost nothing can go wrong, sort of very less, less risk.
And then also the tantric teachings state that those who should have less or untouchable; you know in India there’s four different castes. The untouchable mentality, that’s very wild, eats everything, does all kinds, you know things, and to them, the highest tantra is taught, Anuyoga tantra. Now this is as stated in many of the Dzogchen tantric sources.
And not only that, Dzogchen teaching is also taught according to the four different kinds of time; four different times, sort of divided by you know, sublime time and then not that so sublime, and then degenerated and very degenerated time. And again for different time – during the most sublime time actually, the tantric teachings stated that the highest teachings such as Atiyoga would not work. Eh, there’re hundreds of reasons but more obvious reasons are during the sublime time, people don’t have that obvious strong emotions, aggression. So it was almost; it’s not, not a matter of not being necessary, okay.
In fact, it’s quite, you know if you recall last year’s teaching on the precious human body – according to Buddhist cosmology, it’s believed that few kalpas ago we, human beings, we had our time and the situation, situations were really, really perfect. And that time we didn’t need sun and moon. We had our own light from our body. And even the size of our body was supposedly very big and life spans are like eighty thousand eons and so on.
And Buddhist prayers actually; there’re Buddhist prayers that actually pray as a Vajrayana or Mahayana practitioner so that we will not reborn during that kind of good time. In fact even the Shakyamuni Buddha, for instance – Buddha’s appearance in this earth was not chosen during the good times. It was chosen when the human beings are going through a hundred’s life span, where there is suffering, where there is you know, emotions and so on.
So anyway, Dzog-pa Chen-po or Atiyoga is I guess with some very good motivation and some, just because you happen to be here; for some because we are such a lazy oriented person, we’re looking for a supposedly very quick and straightforward method. Anyway we’re all here aiming for the practice of Dzogchen. And for that we need to do ngondro, the preliminary; and we have chosen the most beautiful, the most elaborated eh, sort of commentary by Patrul Rinpoche.
I was recently reading in Australia because I thought behind my mind, I thought maybe because Patrul Rinpoche wrote this for the nomads in Tibet – some of the analogy might not work for people like here, you know like Bay Area, San Francisco people. But I was very wrong. In fact I realized a lot of things, apart from few, those nomad examples very much used as some of the examples – as an example for some of the things that we do. So basically you know, I don’t know, while some of you came from different places to listen to this, I’m not doing much, I’m going to just read ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher’.
Maybe the one thing that is, that might, that may be worthwhile, that is, that may be something that we do that is worthwhile - like during the afternoon, what’s it, last
time? - We do ‘lung’, the transmission of the actual book. Maybe that’s good because as Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, one of the, one of my teachers and also someone who passed away recently; I don’t know, some of you, you may know. He said which is very, very powerful. I thought his remark was very powerful. He said at that at the moment Dzogchen lineage blessing does exist alive. He even said very vividly, visually. He said at the moment, the Dzogchen teaching’s blessing like a vapour of dakinis’, eh, what do you call it? – Esteemed breath, the vapour is still not yet sort of faded; and it is at this point we should really practice and receive teachings. And that’s quite a powerful remark.
I, I don’t, most of the explanations that I will do, I will give you is actually very, very; it doesn’t do the justice. You should just read the book. It’s easy to understand. I’m not going to tell you anything that is not in here. Probably I will but that or if I did, it’s all a mistake if I did something I said. But if I do the ‘lung’ since I’ve received this transmission from many great masters, it might help you to keep that power of the lineage, that transmission.
So this ‘Kunzang Lamé Shyalung’ or Words of My Perfect Teacher has mainly two parts – the Common Foundation, the common teachings and Uncommon Foundation. I have a little bit of doubt. Maybe we can only finish, we can only finish the Common Foundation this time. And we will have to wait for the Uncommon Foundation from next year, starting from the Refuge and Bodhicitta, Vajrasattva and so on. But anyway, let’s see how it works. So we are doing, we had been doing the Common Foundation, which is a very, again advanced method, Vajrayana method of training the mind. Now as Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche wrote, as Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye wrote in his ‘Calling the Gurus’, at the end he wrote; this is something that you should really re ad. I think you will find this in Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s book called ‘Journey without a Goal’ probably, I think towards the beginning of that. There’re three things that I like to share, I think which is quite important. One thing he said is (Tibetan phrase); that’s a quite an important thing he said in ‘Calling the Gurus’. He said, he’s praying to the gurus – bless me gurus so that my dharma, dharma practice will sort of persist and reach to the end; so that my dharma practice will go on and actually reach where it should reach; it sort of, so that I will FINISH practicing dharma, so to speak, okay. I thought that’s quite important because most of us, I mean generally speaking in this world, to get an inspiration to practice the dharma is SO difficult, isn’t it? – So difficult. How many of us here, how many of us, that’s very little and so many millions out there. They, some of them have not even heard Buddha, let alone Patrul Rinpoche, or let alone ‘ Kunzang Lamé Shyalung’ or Dzog-pa Chen-po. So it’s very few of us is interested. And even though some of us like you and me are interested, have some inspiration to practice the dharma – to KEEP THAT WAY, ALL THE WAY until the end – is so difficult.
Practice the dharma diligently or even non-diligently all the way until the end is so difficult. We, we are not stubborn enough when it comes to this. We are not, we’re, we do not persist enough. We, I don’t know, we are not PUSHY enough, I guess. Normally we are pushy and stubborn and all of that; we put so much emphasis on this but I don’t know somehow we; yeah, we lose our inspiration. Interest in the dharma practice only happens when there’s a lama or there’s some kind of retreat. But then, you know it’s kind of SO DIFFICULT because there are so many things that we people like us need, do not even go through, which you people go through; I mean you have to pay tax, insurance, isn’t it? Telephone bills; those, for those you need to work. And when you work, you don’t get a job in the mountains; you have to get in the city. And in the city, there’s all this ‘THINGS’ that is distracting you that is making you not persist with the dharma practice. So it’s very difficult, but at the same time, don’t forget the good news I’ve told before – during the degenerate times Dzogchen works BETTER (laughter). This is something you have to keep in your head. It’s something really you should not forget.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 2/17
I mean even people like us, me, born in the Buddhist family, from the ten directions or the ten sides of me, mentally, physically I was GROOMED AND BRAINWASHED AND FED AND DONE EVERYTHING BY THE BUDDHISTS (laughter) – still my mind is not always on the dharma. About ninety-nine percent is usually on the worldly matters. If this happens to me (laughter), what chance do you have? (Huge laughter); But I eh, I don’t know; this is quite, quite; I’ve, I have talked to even recently, very recently I’ve talked to some of the lamas, Tibetan lamas – that the Tibetans are losing their interest in the dharma. If there is, it’s usually very fear-oriented. Buddha is almost treated as a god for rain, for harvest, for business and so on - not really for enlightenment. And the rest; the interest, even the practice of Buddhism in the West is growing. And this alone is a very, very, very good proof of karma and reincarnation, I think. I personally think, but that’s my personal sort of thinking. I think like Buddha said in the past, you know, Buddha was asked by one of his disciple monks. He said – you know during the degenerated time, a monk might not able to keep all the vows, what then? Then Buddha said - those monks who keep all
the vows intact during his time, during the Buddha’s time and a monk, during the degenerated time, which breaks all the vows except one or two – they will have equal merit on the path. Likewise, I guess the renunciation of the Tibetan monks or you know practitioners, so-called; and I think many of the renunciation, renouncing week-end for instance like this, you know, there is a little bit of renunciation, isn’t it? I mean there’re so many really good things to do out there (laughter). - Renouncing mm, I don’t know, ideas, commitment with your, you know non-Buddhist husband or wife, whatever. REALLY it takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of hard work; I, I, I should say maybe it’s equal, maybe it’s better even. So anyway, we have this to really; you know a lot of people have, many of us have inspiration to do the dharma, but to keep that ALL THE WAY is difficult. Now and we have to do that. We have to keep THAT intact. And what do we do? This is where this book comes in. This is when you need to hear more about and MORE like “Words of My Perfect Teacher”, especially the first part, the Common, Common Foundation. And second thing that, another, another thing that Jamgon Kongtrul wrote in that book; and in that “Calling the Guru” He said (Tibetan phrase) – THAT’S a very special again. There’re two things that as a dharma practitioner, there’re two things we should be able to reach. Forget about enlightenment. It’s so difficult, maybe too far, far out there; such a high aim, maybe not possible, but at least two things that we should be able to reach within this life-time. I’m not talking about rainbow body and all that (laughter). When you die, as you die, you should be able to reach to a state where you have no regret of not, of not, not having practiced. This is one thing we should manage to reach. You shouldn’t regret – oh, I haven’t done dharma practice at all. If you reach that, hey, I mean if you, if you manage to at least a little bit, not regret – that’s quite good. And also the second thing is; this is not during eh, when we’re, when we are dying but as we live, this, you and me, you know as we roam in this world, one thing we should, as a dharma practitioner, as a dharma practitioner. - What makes a good dharma practitioner, huh? As a dharma practitioner, we should – two things - okay. Within this, it has also two kinds of subcategories. We should be STRONG enough so that the conditions will not step over you; the conditions, whatever the conditions; that’s one thing. And on the top of that, if you can actually manipulate or mm; sort of defeat the conditions, circumstances – that’s even better. But at least, we should not let the conditions and the circumstances defeat us. This, this is a very, very, very, very profound thing that Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche said. And we let the things defeat us quite a lot. And many times, as Shantideva said in his book; some of you may remember – during the patience, he said – you know if somebody beat you with a stick, why are you blaming with this? – Somebody who is; if you blame, if you must blame, you should blame for having a soft body, YOURSELF; partly it’s because of your soft body that when somebody hit you, you have pain. If you don’t have the soft, sort of very vulnerable and sort of, then you will
not have pain. It is very, very right, you know. These great panditas of the past like Aryadeva, Shantideva – they’re, they are very, sometimes almost very childish kind of remarks are so profound. Not being, yeah, not letting the conditions bother us at least, defeat us if possible. But we always lose, and mainly because we put so much emphasis on comfort, and I don’t know, right situation. We put so much and more we do that, the more we become vulnerable. That’s why conditions always win, you understand. It’s like driving in the traffic, isn’t it? As soon as you want to get somewhere fast, traffics are there, red lights are more, green light never exists, you know, things like that. Or you lose your teeth; it’s that first attitude sort of. If you, if you are not in a hurry, then I don’t know, somehow you know like if you are driving, it doesn’t bother you. It’s like that; not letting the conditions bother you or defeat you. That’s one thing that we must be able to reach. We should really examine ourselves. Since this is kind of long project; within let’s say three years I think will take, including, including this year – let’s check after third year, whether we, how many conditions can we defeat or how many times we do not let the conditions defeat us. We should check. It’s something good, you know, good thing to do. I mean people like Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche – they are saying, you know, I mean there’s, there’re prayers like ‘let the emotions be’, you know ‘transforming the emotions as a path’, ‘transforming the what – best circumstances in the path’, and all that. Anyway there’re many ways to explain but if you not let the conditions defeat you, that’s already quite a good way to transform the circumstances and the situations as a path. You have reached quite a good level. This is one thing. And now, in order to gain that kind of strength so that conditions will not defeat us but hopefully we will defeat them. What do we do? Again we need teachings like “Words of My Perfect Teacher”, at least this first half, the Common Foundation, okay. And then another thing Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche said (Tibetan phrase) – this I find it incredible again; another incredible, very profound remark Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche said. (Tibetan phrase) - “gnyen po” is the antidote; “rang ‘gyur” is like you know a general or even a king. He sits on a throne and he sort of directs everyone. He knows what he’s doing. Situation is very chaotic, but usually the king sits on the throne, very calm, unmovable. And then everybody rely on him so when they look at him – sort of not nervous, very steady, majestic, heavy; then everybody also gain some kind of confidence – oh, looks like not too bad, you know. That’s what it’s mean by (Tibetan phrase), almost like not losing your territory, not losing your seat. ‘Gnyen po’ is antidote; for instance love and compassion meditation that we do. We are supposed to do, anyway. Love and compassion meditation, patience, what else? There’re so many antidotes that we have. I mean there’s so many pleasures, so many defilements. But we are also given by the masters all sorts of antidotes, right. We have them but most of our antidotes are not, are not adopting that ‘rang gyur’ attitude, which the king is doing. Our, our antidotes are very nervous; our antidotes, always in doubt, not even there most of the time. Our, the antidote doesn’t have enough strength.
So difficult; this is why if you are angry, you cannot just rely on reading Shantideva’s book and sort of solving that problem. It doesn’t work; might, might even make you angry more because it also brings a little bit of guilt in you. I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Shantideva, you know, disciple. I’m not being able to do this, like that. So we, we need to sort of rejuvenate, sort of boost these antidotes that we were given; so that our antidotes will always work at the right time, the right situation. And for that, again the Common Foundations are necessary. So these are the reasons why; you know this is a, THIS BOOK IS A MANUAL FOR PRACTITIONERS WHO ARE QUITE SERIOUS PRACTITIONERS, you know. So Common Foundations that we have been going through are mainly to develop these things. Basically, I mean; where were we? We were on the “Faults of Samsara”, right and the Human Realm – yes. With these teachings, what’s happening? It’s that the purpose of this teaching is not only to tell us how terrible these god realms and hungry ghosts and all that; this is not the purpose. The purpose is for us to change our kind of value, valuing system, you know the value; how much value we put on what kind of things. You know we put value on certain things. And Patrul Rinpoche and all these guys are saying that – if you want to be a serious dharma practitioner, then we really should change the certain sort of ways or the valuing system that we have. Basically this, I mean in this section we are going through how so-called samsara does not have any value. It’s completely futile, completely futile. By doing so, then you will have, you will see value of the dharma practice. And by seeing the value of dharma practice, not only you will have joy practising dharma; but you actually will PERSIST this all the way. So that no matter what kind of conditions arise, you will not give up; so the conditions will not defeat you. And by doing that, you gain much more control over your own mind, so that the antidote that you have will always ready to function. They’re all, they are not rusty. The antidote that you have, you are given are always at the right time, the right situation.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 3/17
And we have covered the three lower realms and we are beginning with the human realm. Well, as I said earlier, the book itself not that difficult. It’s not Madhyamika philosophy; something we have to, you know, ponder and argue research. It’s very
straight forward, but we’re doing ourselves a great deal of benefit by talking about it and thinking about it because in this degenerate time, even having this kind of conversation which has, which has the subject of how samsara has no value, is very rare. The moment you walk out of this house, every advertisement, everything that you see – there’s so many, there’s so much value on samsaric things – how cheap, how fast, how great, how comfortable they are and so on. So I will, yeah we are very fortunate. But I’m very fortunate that I have the opportunity, opportunity to sort of talk about this. I’m sure Patrul Rinpoche and all the great Dzogchen masters of the past and the present and the future will be very pleased. See I’m very religious (laughter), okay. So the suffering of the human beings – we, we can go quickly on this one. Eh, but some of the categories are quite interesting. Well, the three main sufferings – suffering of change, that’s, even though I mean we do go through lots of suffering, somehow we don’t know suffering. I mean obviously this is why Buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni, he chose the first subject to talk about this, suffering, no suffering, that’s what he said. So some of this categorization is quite good, if it, yeah, I think it’s such a skilful way of the past masters why they categorize sufferings like that. For instance, suffering of change - wherever we go, wherever we dwell in this samsara and whatever we experience, of course mainly we are here talking about happiness. You know, partying, lying on a sundeck, going to a very nice coffee shop, having a very eh, dream-like mixture, it’s almost like…what do you call it, this mix, mix, blender? Yeah, having, going through experience of eh, what do you call it – blending, mixing? Mixing, yeah, mixing anxiety and yeah, anxiety – I’m just trying to go through the list of what we feel when we are in love (laughter). What do we feel? Anxiety, expectation, what? - Confusion, chaos – sometimes organized though; and all of this, things like that. Whatever we are going through, one thing that is for sure is that none of this lasts. All these things change. They are always changing. At the end, none of them remains completely still; they have changed. I mean EVEN THEN WE STILL DON’T REALIZE doing it. I mean how many times we have changed husbands or wives, or boyfriends or girlfriends? We STILL don’t realize that this new one is going to be the same (laughter). Maybe you don’t know this so much; I know this very well (huge laughter). We never realize this, isn't it funny? We actually think – ah, this is a different one. This one is a very special one. But anyway (laughter); and none of them lasts. This is so true; none of these last. Relationship, money, position, power, attention, friendship - maybe some of them last longer than others. That’s the only thing that we have. Some of them last longer than the others. That’s ALL WE HAVE, NOTHING ELSE. Well that’s it, the first category of suffering (laughter).
And then suffering, suffering on, suffering of suffering, or suffering on the top of another suffering –that again we go through so much. Most of our activities, most of our sort of planning our livelihood – are very much suffering of suffering. We, yeah there’s so many. Now the third suffering is something that we should really think about. I don’t know some people translate this as all-pervasive suffering. How does it translate here? What? (Response from audience) – Suffering in the making – eh, that’s quite interesting. (Another response) Yes, the suffering of everything composite…yeah ‘sdug bsngal’, ‘sdug bsngal pa’, hmm. This is actually quite a, I mean maybe it’s not the right time to mention but you know, this is, THIS suffering is quite a big one, is quite a pervasive one – all pervasive suffering, some people call it, which is (Tibetan phrase) – I guess so. I mean even the tenth bhumi bodhisattva’s meditative state of mind also has this suffering. This is why even the TENTH bhumi bodhisattvas are objects of compassion by the Buddha. As long as it is a phenomenon that is you know, sort of compounded phenomena, then that compounded phenomena is suffering. There’s a very good reason – why? You know compounded phenomena are dependent phenomena. Dependent phenomena means uncertain; you have to depend on something and if that something is not working, then that, the first phenomena, one what? - You know it’s not independent; it’s dependent phenomena, its compounded phenomena. I mean in the commentary by Patrul Rinpoche – it’s very well, very clear here. In fact he eh, he also covered all the – very easy way to understand this suffering. He actually emphasized that most of so-called happiness that we have, in reality they are all compounded phenomena and therefore they are also suffering. Not only they are the suffering of this life, but they are maker of the cause of suffering for the next life. So therefore ye; and then the eh, suffering of birth that we have to go through. I guess many of us must have forgotten how we suffered when we’re born. Anyone remains? - No. Well if you read the commentaries, kind of everything very, very descriptive. Like when you are eating, when you are drinking - when the mother is drinking or eating something hot or cold, the pain or the suffering that you, who’s inside the mother’s womb, that you have to go through. And when you; and then suffering of old age - as Patrul Rinpoche said – after we’re born, after we’re born, after we get birth, after we, I mean after we’re born in this earth, most of the time we will then slowly engage into samsaric duties, samsaric work, samsaric phenomena. And then slowly, unconsciously, obviously somehow one day, you have already gotten OLD. Old age is big suffering isn’t it for many of us? Yeah I’ve been thinking about it, about this more and more now (laughter). One almost wishes that everything that has happened until now is like a rehearsal. If it has been a rehearsal, it will be really
good, you know to go back and start everything really nicely (laughter). Actually things that; you know sometimes when we wait for busses or planes to or when we wait for something like for instance when we wait until the movie starts - the film starts at 3.30 and then we’re there around 3. And then we’ve somehow fill up this gap between, from 3 to 3.30 – it’s amazing that we actually have the courage to sort of ‘kill’ the time. Isn’t it? – Amazing, so precious you know this time is so precious, but we do, don’t we? We, we WAIT; over we have half an hour, let’s go have something or let’s do something. We sort of fill up this gap; it’s so courageous to do - amazing because to think of it, this time will never come back. And then of course, we do lots of hiding our age; all of that - yeah, going through middle age crisis. Most of us here, as I see, yeah we’re kind of already on the top, most of us. And many of us actually reach; you know life is like this – most of us here already and we are now walking down. And read the descriptions of them, you know suffering of old age by Patrul Rinpoche – incredible, incredible - goodness, when we get ignored, when we’re referred as old … And then the suffering of sickness: because again this body, because this body is compounded phenomena because this body is made out of elements, different kind of elements. When one or more element dysfunctions, when one or more elements clashes then we go through pain - physical pain or even mental pain, all kinds of suffering. And then the suffering of death: when your body is thrown to the bed even though you wish to eat or drink; no - even though you see food, you know food or drink, you actually don’t feel like eating. And because somehow you know death is very near. There is a very strong but stay, yeah strong but kind of underneath depression that death is very near. And losing dignity; you lose your dignity because you know that you are soon not going to function as a human being. And you’re also already been visited or welcomed by all kinds of delusion that more, that specially comes during the near-death situation. I mean when it’s, as you’re going closer to you know death. then you go through all sorts of delusion. Even though you’ve, you own lots of possessions; you have not even a single power. You don’t even have a power to take even one single thing. Even though you cannot really take anything; you do not let them go. And these possessions, they do not follow you. And somehow as you die, your mind recalls some of the non-virtuous things that you have done in the past and this enhances your regret. And then another suffering that we go through – the fear of meeting hated enemies; that’s what we are now. I don’t think we have to go through this obviously, I mean generally speaking. But unconsciously we are always in fear of meeting something unpleasant. Fear of meeting enemies such as someone might scratch your car, someone might what do you call it, eh? – Burglary, yeah; yeah things like that.
And then also the fear of losing loved ones; now this, we have quite a lot. Read some of these Milarepa’s songs in this session – they are so beautiful. Suffering, the fear of losing loved ones – this is one of the standard sufferings that we have. Generally we, sentient beings, we’re always attached to one’s own family, relatives , ideas, religion, group, race. And, and we are not, even though we may not have obvious anger we, we do not really, we’re not really open or compassionate to others, enemies, other religions, other ideas.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 4/17
And then we have the suffering of not getting what one wants. In this samsara there is not a single being who does not wish to have happiness. Yeah, there’s not a single being who does not wish to have happiness. Everyone wish to have happiness. But happiness as you wish, as we wish; yeah actually having happiness as one wishes is VERY difficult, almost non-existent - partly because we have different kinds of happiness that we are looking for. Everyone has a different version of happiness. Everyone has, is insatiable, not simple. And then we have the suffering of encountering what one does NOT want. In this samsara all the sufferings that we have talked about - there’s not even one sentient being who wish, wishes to have suffering. But even though they may not wish to have this, MANY of us go through this pain and suffering. So these are the sort of outline of the human sufferings. Let me quickly go through the asura and god realms also. I think we can do that. Now let’s say if we’re reborn in the asura realm. Even though asura realm is as wealthy or as comfortable as god realm, almost as; because the asura realm, because one of the main causes is in the past life you have so much jealousy, and out of jealousy you’ve engaged in lot of non-virtuous actions - and because of that, the effect of jealousy and envy still continues. So within the asura realm also, there is constant conflict with each other even though there’s a lot of wealth, there’s a lot of comfort or whatever, power. Somehow the habit of jealousy is strongly there. And not only within the asura realm, they are very jealous or envious of god realm; and often it is said that they wage war between the
gods. And generally because the god realms are more higher sort of realm, also gods are much more powerful –asura realms always get defeated. And if you see in the Buddhist paintings on the, of the wheel of life, you will notice that asura realm, between the asura and the god realm – there’s usually a war, a scene of war. And the cause of this war is a tree, wish-fulfilling tree. The root of the tree, it actually grows in the asura realm but the tree is so big it sort of, it gives the flower and fruit in the god realm. This is actually a very symbolic teaching again. Somehow asura people, they are also very, because they, one of their; they are very POWERFUL, much more powerful than human beings. And many of the, among many causes and conditions that, that sentient beings get reborn in the asura realm is actually because of lot of virtuous actions also. And but there is a lot of jealousy, jealousy habit pattern. In order to symbolize that - we see the actual tree, the wishfulfilling tree, growing in the asura realm as if they own it. And they actually have it because of their past good karma. But their karma is NOT GOOD ENOUGH, that they don’t have the fruits and the flowers, even though they take care of it. They flower this tree, they put what you call it, fence and all that; but when it gives birth to flowers and fruits – it’s the gods who don’t do anything to this tree but they enjoy – just indicating there’s even higher karmic deeds that gods have created, symbolic. So it is many, there are many stories told by the monks, arhats, Buddha’s disciples who happen to visit asura realm and how they saw in the asura realm that even the ponds and waterfalls are all blood because they fight too much. Anyway lot of wealth, lot of power, and a lot of supernatural power also, but because of their jealousy, there’s constant suffering. And then the last of the six realms, the god realm - generally the cause and condition to make you reborn in the god realm because it is all virtuous action – therefore in the god realm, you will find a lot of wealth, a lot of happiness. In fact during the lifetime, during the god’s lifetime, you will not hear suffering or experience suffering at all. But because it’s such a pleasurable place, such a beautiful place – there’s so much joy, parties and all of that - you get carried away by ‘nyam nga’; nyam nga is distractions. There’s a problem of distractions. They, they are always constantly distracted. Even though there’re, what do you call it? – Eh, mortality or eh, lifespan; even though most ordinary gods, their lifespan is one eon, but they don’t even, they don’t even feel like a moment. One eon is nothing because they are too happy. They want more. So when the death comes, as the death comes, when the, when the power of their past lives’ virtuous actions and the intention is exhausted, then of course you will not remain because god realm is also compounded phenomena - so it’s impermanent.
It’s just very, very long happiness, that’s all. And when you reach to a level, a stage where you have to stop being god and being god – then that is the time that you, I mean the god suffers most. In fact, some commentaries I saw that their suffering, the level of suffering that the gods suffer - is seven times more than the ‘naraka’, the hell realm. But during those seven days, usually seven days they suffer - but their seven days is but for some of them, seven days is for us seven eons. Well, when they reach to that stage where they have to, they know; you see they also have some kind of not only omniscience, clairvoyance. So they themselves know they’re going to do . But their clairvoyance gets distracted all the time by the joy and the pleasure so they don’t concentrate. In fact it is believed that god, the King of the Gods, Indra – he was, he is a great bodhisattva, you know. He has made sure that when the gong that wakes up the gods you know, gods and goddesses in the god realm – that it, it makes a sound that says that ‘all compounded things are impermanent’. But I guess even then, many of the god realms, like we human beings, even though there’s a dharma, not many of them hear it. Anyway when they come to this stage, usually the gods have such a very radiant, strong light issuing from their bodies, that light will reduce. Their radiant or majestic quality, colour of their body will deteriorate or degenerate. Usually gods can sit on what they call it - god's mate - like a mat or god's mat or like a seat. No matter how long you sit there - for eons after eons you can sit, you'll never feel unhappy - sounds very California, I find (laughter). It's like a description of a sofa seat, I am sorry. And when the death comes, no matter how long you sit, you will always be bothered by some kind of unobvious eh, message of death, some kind of depression. And the god realms, gods - they have flower ornament. And these flower, fresh flower, fresh flower ornaments - they never rot. But when the death comes, just about seven days before, these flowers will begin to rot. And then similarly, their clothes; no matter how long they wear, they never get dirt. Then they begin to change, they begin to change that. Gods never sweat; then they begin to sweat - things like that. And then gods, gods are also very uncompassionate and uncaring, I guess. Only when they are joyful and having nice time, they all gather together and throw parties, whatever. Gods are known for being very big party people. But when they know that somebody's going to die, when the death is marked on someone - then all the other gods, because they don't like talking about death, they don't even want to do anything. So they pretend they don't see you or even the closest friend of yours might throw some flowers at you and say that - make sure that you when you die, you might be reborn in the human realm, then you will accumulate more merit and come back - things like that. SO, no matter where we are in these six realms, we cannot find happiness. This is why as a practitioner, dharma practitioner, follower of the Buddha, one must go, try
to go beyond this six realms. This is big REMARK here, because many of the practitioners; those who are following 'thirtikas', some of the non-Buddhist schools this is according to Buddhism, so it could be a prejudice, so be careful here. But anyway since I'm Buddhist and very, what do you call it - staunch Buddhist, is it? Yeah, yeah staunch Buddhist, I would say. Many of the thirtikas or non-Buddhists - they misunderstand between some of this higher realm of gods as nirvana. The Buddhist teachings and the teachers always warn you not to dwell on that. And there is a story for that; this story, maybe I should tell you. Some of, I'm sure you can read this here, yeah. Some people don't have books...
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 5/17
Buddha's brother - his name is actually 'Joy' - joy, isn't it? - ‘Gau” (a.k.a..Nanda) yeah. He's, he's very, very much in love with his own wife and she is also very much in love with his wife, I mean him, him. So they are very much in love together, with each other. Buddha, you know compassionate and omniscient, not like other bhiksus; you know like other bhiksus, you can only request them to, if someone requests for ordination, then you can give ordination - even, even that with certain qualifications. But with the Buddha, because of his omniscience, he would know who is, has ripened for you now bhiksu ordination, becoming monk basically. So he, from his omniscience, he knew that it is time that his younger brother gets ordination, but this younger brother, who is also newly-wed, enjoying very much. So much then when Buddha Shakyamuni came to Gau, you know his brother's palace, outside the palace. And you know he's a prince, they, of course Buddha's brother's also a prince. And he sent, he was thinking of sending some, some of his ministers, what you call it - attendants, to offer the alms, you know offerings. But it, the moment he hears, you know the Buddhist monks have this called ‘klasse’ – it’s like a stick that has a small bell on the top. It’s a traditional Buddhist monks’ … eh, in the old days they use this. And because in the, in so many, many, many lifetimes when Buddha was a bodhisattva, he has never told lies – because of that power, even the sound of that klasse, that stick, especially, especially the Buddha’s
stick – when his brother who is inside the room, hears this, he couldn’t bare just sitting here. He had to go out, like eh, he cannot ignore this. So, of course, his wife is saying – no, don’t go; because they are embracing each other all the time. And in fact, she says – okay if you must go, then come back. And the time for coming back is like she would put her saliva on the, on his forehead and before this saliva dries he has to come back (laughter). It’s that, she’s that attached. And then he went, offering the alms. And then Buddha said – well, it’s time for you, you know get ordination and all that. So again similar reason; Buddha never told lies in the past. He had to obey; he had to, no choice. So he went to the temple. He was there so brooding about missing his wife and all that. And in fact, he was trying to sneak out of the monastery. And then what did Buddha say? Okay let’s go for a walk. So he took his brother together and went for a walk. And then Buddha took to the hell, eh, where is it? - Mm, somewhere near Mount Kailash. And there they saw this white monkey, what, what do you call it? Monkey, yeah monkey, a type of monkey. And one, one of the, this monkey’s eyes is also missing and Buddha said – who’s more beautiful, your wife or this you know monkey? Of course you know his brother said – of course, my wife, she’s so beautiful and all that. Then Buddha said – okay, let’s go more and then they walked for more. Then Buddha took his brother to Tushita heaven and then so many palaces and gardens and all sorts of beautiful, incredible. Then Buddha went to one palace and it’s such a beautiful palace; like incredible that something he has never seen in his life. And in the centre is an empty throne and empty sort of bed, surrounded and by all these beautiful goddesses. And they are all doing arrangements like putting flowers and you know, cleaning the tables and all that. And then Buddha, he asked these goddesses – what are you guys doing here? Oh, these goddesses then said – you know in the earth realm, there’s someone called Gau, who is Buddha’s, you know brother. He’s now, he’s now ordained.as a monk; and as part of this merit when he became monk – when he dies, when he’s reborn as a god, and this is his palace and we are going to be his courtesans., like that. And then Buddha asked later – who’s more beautiful, these girls or your wife? And he said – OF COURSE, these girls. So then he back to the human realm and he was, you know VERY GOOD monk (laughter). He didn’t break any vows, nothing. He was very, very good. And then Buddha summoned all the, what the monks and asked, told them – never eat with Gau, never drink with him, don’t talk with him. When he comes in, you people go out; when he goes out, you people come in. Just don’t mingle with him at all because his motivation, his aim and your aim and your motivation is totally different.
So this happened and then of course he gets so sad because everybody’s ignoring him, and he actually went to Ananda, who is also his cousin. And even Ananda was ignoring him. And then he was so sad, he went to the Buddha and asked – everybody’s ignoring me, what to do? And then Buddha said – okay, let’s walk again, go for a walk. And then he took to the hell realm. And then there’re so many hideous, dangerous looking hell realms. In one section, there’re all these various scary looking monsters, hell guardians preparing a big what do you call it, ‘cauldron’? Yeah, hell fire and all that and the Buddh a asked – what are you doing? Oh, these hell guardians, they said – you know there’s this Buddha’s, there’s this Gau, someone who is at the moment a monk and he’s going and as part of that, he’s going to become god. And then he’s going to remain as god for like for a few hundred kalpas and after that he’s, you know sort of bad karma, bad karma waiting list, sort of (laughter). It’s going to throw him right down here and we are preparing for that. And then of course, Gau, his brother changed his mind. The Buddha was trying to say that we have to get out of these six realms. It’s a very good story, I think. That’s it for tonight and tomorrow we will do some ‘lung’ and some more explanations, okay. Do you want to ask some questions? Do you have some questions, yeah? I find who dares to ask. Questions are like rabbits, you know (laughter) lots of unsterilized rabbits. If you have one female and one male rabbits – you wait five days and there will be like SIX, and next you have FORTY, you know. So questions are like that. One should not ask too many questions, okay, okay. Student A: Eh, I don’t understand the difference between the first kind of suffering, the suffering of change and the third kind, the sort of suffering anticipating. The reason I feel confused … Rinpoche: The first one is talking more about the result, the impermanence itself changes; but second one is both the result and the cause. As we, as we come, as we compound two things. Student A: The, the suffering in the making? (Rinpoche: Yes) - Is about the result and the cause (Rinpoche: Yes) and the suffering of change is just the result? Rinpoche: Result, usually like getting old or changing like the weather, spring, winter like that. (Student A: Oh, I see) But all-pervasive suffering, even this with making, as we, as we do something like mm, like making food according to this, is also suffering. Student A: Okay, just you talked about that associated with suffering of everything composite; that I thought had to do with impermanence in particular?
Rinpoche: Yes, it’s like compounded things are like a cause and the result is impermanence, is it? (Student A: I see; thank you.) Yes… Student B: In the suffering of not getting what wants … Rinpoche: You don’t understand that? (LAUGHTER) How many times did you bleach your hair? (LAUGHTER) Student B: It’s a lot of minutes, I don’t know. It says a single spark of merit is worth more than a mountain of effort; and this some, it make me think of the subtle effort in ‘shinay’. Rinpoche: Yes, it can be. Usually virtuous actions are much more powerful than non-virtuous. You know, it’s very, also logical because non-virtuous is not our nature. We have the ‘buddha-nature’. Virtuous actions are actually much more of our nature. Student B: It seems the effort is so subtle. Effort, this effort to make a single spark of merit – it’s worth more than a mountain of effort and yet the effort … Rinpoche: I think does it explain; is there a story behind that? I think there’s a, there’s a king, right or is it here or maybe the next chapter? Eh, there is a king, what’s his name? - Malindunandana, something like that? No, he was a chakravartin, a very powerful king. And he was a very, very, very poor man and he saw Kashyapa Buddha. And he was begging somewhere, and as a result of begging, he only got what - five grains, right? Someone gave him five grains or something. As soon as he saw Kashyapa, he was so overjoyed, he threw that to Kashyapa. Five, six grains, I think; and two fell on Kashyapa’s head and then four fell on Kashyapa’s begging bowl. And because of that devotion and inspiration, when he, he was born again, he was a king – forgot the name. And he ruled; he was the only chakravartin who ruled god realm, asura realm and four continents of the earth. And he was, he was actually past life of Shakyamuni Buddha; and Shakyamuni Buddha told this story when someone asked him about the fault of pride. He was, he became very proud that he managed to conquer all and that and then afterwards he fall. Student B: So this speaks to a mind that doesn’t seek for what one wants... Rinpoche: Well, then of course the merit becomes more strong. The merit is not stained by all kinds of delusion. The lesser it’s stained by delusion, the more powerful this merit becomes; more indestructible merit becomes.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 6/17
Could have done the same thing to another person, he would not achieved that much merit, but because he did it to Kashyapa Buddha. It also depends how much, what - the merit also becomes more stronger, the object to whom you are offering or engaging with is if he or she is special. Then the merit becomes stronger because this person to whom you are engaging with because if he, if he or she is enlightened being, then they would know what to pray, what to aspire. Whereas a beggar, ordinary beggar don't know that, okay. Yes, Mandak, Mandaktri, he's called Mandaktri, a previous reincarnation of the Buddha who became extremely powerful through the power of his past merit, but lost his power due to some evil thoughts. I think it was pride when he lost his power. Student C: Speaking of pride, eh, you've said we should not let circumstances defeat us, which is my current problem. Eh, and then you spoke of, I believe you used the phrase - not losing your seed which Trungpa Rinpoche used to talk about. For us ordinary people, how do we do that and not invoke our pride? To me, that is... Rinpoche: Not to lose which one, the second one? Student C: Not to lose your seed; you talked about the antidote to, you know we need to persist in our practice. Rinpoche: See sergic, you mean...? (Assistance from audience) Student C: Seed, you said; you said something; the way you translated it is 'not losing our seed'. (Rinpoche: Yes, yes, mm, seed, yes) and so to me it sounds like a very prideful position for an ordinary person to have. (Rinpoche: Yes, yes) Well? Rinpoche: Well, no, no, it’s a...you can be very humble – that is your seed; you don’t have to lose that seed. And if you don’t manage, if you manage to not lose that humility seed, then you can be quite confident of it. Student C: But it’s too deep. Rinpoche: It is. Student C: How do you know when you, how do you know when you cross overinto pride?
Rinpoche: Okay, different stages need different answers, for that. Normally for the beginners, if anything that gives you a little bit of satisfaction, then usually there’s something wrong (laughter) – you understand. On the second stage if some, if anything that gives you a little bit of inspiration, then that’s good. Student C: And beyond? Rinpoche: Ah, I think beyond is, sort of you know they don’t really about results so much. Student C: Thank you. Student D: Sir, I’m just a little stuck, I’m wondering if you can help? The section on fear of losing one’s loved ones: I feel like intellectually I usually can feel things like attachment, and feel like intellectually I understand it even if I can’t prac tice it. But I couldn’t even intellectually quite get that one because I felt like I have so many teachings about how you’re supposed to venerate your parents and use them as a ground for being able to practice and being able to open. And so the whole section – I get feeling like I don’t want my parents to feel that way about me, you know; that it’s like you see all the stories like Milarepa and so on … Rinpoche: You can still venerate. None of this is not venerate and all that. Student C: It does; sir, it says how you know, when you’re born, your parents just make, parent you the most terrible way because they’re trying to make you into them … Rinpoche: Eh, when you’re born what; can you repeat that again? How, how you go to the suffering and all that? OH, this is quite different. This is not like Freudian, no, no, no (laughter). It’s just describing general suffering. It’s not; even the parents went through this, you understand. Their parents went through that too. So normally all human beings go through this suffering; you see here the interest is to introduce us that everything in every level, in every situation, whatever we do – is suffering. That’s their interest here. They do not pick up something and say that this is not a suffering here, alright? One should not have grasping, craving, attachment to everything – that’s our aim. Student D: So I guess the bigger question is how do you have a relationship or sort of respect or intimacy on any level, I mean parent, friend, lover ... without this attachment like what’s, what’s the quality of it? Rinpoche: It depends again, different stages. I would say…okay, are you talking mainly of the parents or just anything, anybody? Student D: Anything applicable, (Rinpoche: Friends?), anything yeah, friends.
Rinpoche: Friends, yeah; okay friends and loved ones – we should respect, we should value their phenomena. We should respect their phenomena. We should try to put our feet in their shoes as much as we can. And then we should not become, we should not become the food for their emotions, isn’t it? - Because that way, you are not helping them. So this is why I’m saying different stages may be first you do respect and all of that and then as you yourself become better, you check – am I feeding their emotions? If I am, then maybe I’m doing them more harm; why not I go inside my room and do a good shamatha practice and dedicate them this merit to your friend, because in the long run this will be helping. Student D: Why are they your friends if you don’t have any attachment to them? Rinpoche: Oh, from the worldly point of view, no; then they are not a friend. Yeah, from a spiritual point of view, eh, you are supposed to learn no difference between all these friends and strangers. That’s our aim. And for more, for very, very you know from the Vajrayana’s point of view, you only have one virtuous friend. And that’s all; one or two anyway, virtuous friend, and then this virtuous friend …you see it will come here. They will even say – you know what’s this friends or parents of worldly, they’re saying; worldly, worldly parents and worldly friends or worldly parents – what did they give you? They taught you how to be worldly, how to like praise, dislike criticism, they basically taught you how to ‘chain’ yourself. Not only they chain themselves, they chain you also. Now, again okay that’s one thing. Another thing, they also said this – mother sentient beings, they are so, so kind. They’ve given us so much, but not of their wisdom though, out of their attachment. They give so much for us. They shed their blood, they shed sweat, everything. So don’t you have to repay them? Yes, we have to by unchaining them, dismantling their chains. So that can invoke you know straight forward talk to, you know very skilful lying and all of that. That, that’s a very big question, you have asked a lifetime question here. Ask me again and again and I will tell you it’s time. What do you think? Student D: Good, thank you. Rinpoche: Okay, let’s go. So towards the end of eh, the third; okay wait, there’s two main, main sections of categories – the common, which is, which are the Common Foundation and Uncommon Foundation. And within the first section, Common, Common Foundation, we have four methods of turning our mind from samsara, turning our mind away from samsara. And last night we talked about Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s, some of the comments in his “Calling the Guru”; stressing how important it is to learn, to value this spiritual path, spiritual value. And also understand the futile or no-value in so-called samsaric
life, so that our mind will turn into the dharma – so that conditions will not defeat us, so that our antidote or our practice becomes effective when it is necessary. Within the four schools of, four lineages in Tibet, you will find similar teachings. There are actually like four, several; eh, within, within each school, there’s lot of teachings and lot of books and quite popular books. Each school has their own sort of favourite or most popular teachings on the preliminary of the foundation teachings. I think it’s good to read the others also. When ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher’ is mainly favoured and popular among the Nyingma school although many of the practitioners from the Kagyu tradition and Sakyapas in the past; I don’t know these days because nowadays people are very sectarian so they may not read so much. But in the past definitely people read. I know within the Sakya and Kagyu tradition, people read also ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher’.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 7/17
And within the Sakya School, there’s also a very extensive teaching. It’s called “Snang Gsum” - Three Perceptions; it's wonderful, again of course it’s a preliminary teaching, Mind training teaching; divert our attention more to the spiritual values and spiritual things from you know, instead of dwelling our attention to worldly things. And it’s very skilfully done by categorizing all the perceptions, our perceptions into three categories – impure perception, pure perception and experiential, experiential perception. It’s very, very skilful ways of the great Sakyapas. There are again a lot of documentaries, documentary and there are lots of teachings on this. Actually there's also a very good translation I have seen within the mm, in English, commentary actually written by Dezhung Rinpoche. I think that's one book that those who are seriously thinking of practising the dharma should read this. Three Perceptions - it's called; very, very good. Impure perception - when we talk about impure perception, we are talking a perception that's coming from deluded mind. And then pure perception - when the delusion is completely purified what you see then totally different way of looking at things. And experiential perception is from, as you sort of embark to the pure perception from you know, impure perception. As you sort of depart from the impure perception to, towards the pure perception, what happens then, you know in between that? What kind of experience you get?
It's a very wonderful way of categorizing; and then within the Kagyu tradition, there’s Gampopa’s (Sonam Rinchen), the Dakpo Targyen, Dakpo Rinpoche’s eh, I think roughly you can translate as ‘Jewel, Jewel Ornament’. It’s very, very, very important. In fact it’s a, it’s a very special text, that it could; it is used, it has, it was used by many, many philosophy schools as a, almost like a bridge between theoretical study and practice. Just, just aft, just before you begin practice after you finish the Buddhist philosophy study then as a, as a bridge between the theory, theory and practice. Many scholars of the past favoured Dakpo Targyen or the Jewel Ornament by Dakpo, Dakpo Rinpoche or Gampopa. And this is one of the main disciples of Milarepa. And then of course, how can we forget ‘Lamrin’? The great Tsongkhapa’s incredible work – mm, so special, the gradual path to enlightenment, step by step, carefully guided. Every attention is given, very detailed, and very, very Kadampa’s methodoriented, sort of very down to earth. And as you can find in some, some parts of the ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher’, it’s like; Lamrin is another teaching by Tsongkhapa like what do they call it in? I think in, in the West, they have this expression called what - ‘opening the can of worms’ is it? (Laughter) It’s like that.
It’s like that. It really opens a lot of faults. It’s, it’s like digging the fault. And Lamrin, as you go through the Lamrin, you will notice that not even a single fault is spared. Every single fault of human beings is sort of dug out. It’s such an important book.
And as a follower of Shakyamuni Buddha, you know even though we may not be able to read all, at least one or two. And especially if you want to, you know appreciate the greatness and the compassionate skilful means of the past masters. You should really read like I would suggest to as many of you to read, especially I can see a lot of what do you call it? Staunched is it? Staunched Nyingmapas and Kagyupas here; you know stubborn, conservative, narrow-minded (laughter); I can see a lot of this here.
Eh, I am a student of Trungpa Rinpoche or Sogyal Rinpoche or, therefore I am a Nyingma or Kagyu or, things like that. And also maybe I think I would suggest you do read Lamrin. You should really read Lamrin by Tsongkhapa - special man this one something that we cannot ignore and the ‘Three Perceptions’.
I am sure the Lamrin is translated, of course. FPMT would never leave it alone (laughter). Is there a good translation of Lamrin? Must have (response from audience), pardon? (Someone in audience: Liberation in the Palm of the Hand) Is
that Lamrin? That’s all? It’s never translated…oh. (Response from audience) Oh well, we have to wait until September then. That’s a shame because that’s a very, very special. Some people, MANY people in Tibet – they spend all their life just on Lamrin.
Well if you don’t want to do anything, if you have, if you, if you; I mean I can understand. If you, if you feel like you don’t want, you don’t want to do anything with these Tibetans, because Tibetans you know – I understand completely that (laughter). You know they, as much as they give you their wisdom, their whatever, wisdom that’s actually is not really owned by Tibetans themselves; but I don’t know somehow they feel it’s theirs. Anyway as much as they transfer this to you, I have also noticed constantly they give you a lot of their ‘dirt’, their sort of problems.
If you have, if you don’t want to do anything with those, then don’t read these Tibetan books. Stick with words by, works by people like Shantideva or Atisha Dipamkara. I mean you don’t need anything. Bodhichar, Bodhicharyavatara – that’s all you need. THAT’S, that’s the complete, that’s the quintessence of Lamrin, that’s the quintessence of Three Perceptions, that’s the quintessence of eh, Kunzang Lame Shyalung. It’s very SPECIAL.
But many of you, now that you have, especially we Vajrayana students; we, we like doing, you know chanting mantras. We feel that, well this is quite understandable, we feel that we have to do something – chant mantras or prostrations or mandala offering. THAT you may not find within the Bodhicharyavatara. But actually I shouldn’t say that because you’ll find it in a very, very bigger level; I mean Shantideva’s, I don’t know whether some of you recall, he said – a bodhisattva must first begin to learn vegetables, and then slowly learn how to give up their limbs. So there’s like a hundred thousand prostrations, probably more.
So, anyway we, we’re at the end of the third section of the Common foundation and we have just discovered roughly the six realms. The six, we introduced the six realms purely, it’s not; you know the purpose of introducing the six realms here is to make you realize that no matter where which realm you are, that you will find no happiness. Everything is covered by suffering. Yeah, this is what, that’s the main purpose.
And by knowing that where, wherever, whichever realm we are in, that we, that’s only suffering; then gradually we will learn to have real, sort of revulsion from the heart, you know kind of genuine renunciation mind will grow. And then you will have no interest in this life, so-called life. You’ll, you’re, your interest, your, I don’t know how to translate this one – it’s a very good expression. But “Tshe ‘di blo yis thongs”, “tshe blo thongs”, “tshe ‘di blo yis thongs” – ‘tshe ‘di’ means this life; ‘blo’ means mind; ‘thongs’ means give up. Give up but it has this connotation not to give up putting so much of value to this life. This is, this will appear.
I mean THAT is very, very necessary; I mean even, even if you are practising Theravada; that’s very necessary. Now many of us, I presume we have taken the Mahayana path, right? Now as a Mahayana practitioner, if you claim yourself as a Mahayana or Vajrayana practitioner, you are not supposed to practice the dharma for your own enlightenment. You should not CARE! I mean I hear people saying – my dharma practice is not good. I can never get enlightenment.
You know people worry about, people worry or people sort of demonstrate or brag about their humility, you know sort of (laughter) like – no, no, no I can never reach enlightenment judging from my behaviour. WHO CARES? (Laughter) You should NOT CARE; you should not care about your enlightenment at all. You are practising the dharma for OTHERS! - Other people’s enlightenment, not yours. You can be as dilige.., you know even if you become deluded and suffering in the samsara doesn’t matter. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
So it’s a very BIG attitude. It’s a very special attitude. But even if we may not reach to that level, okay even though okay, thus, that’s not possible. That’s almost: “I can’t do this; I, I have to care about my, my enlightenment. That’s the only thing that keeps me in Buddhism, you understand because I believe vaguely there is enlightenment, so-called enlightenment. Logically I can understand that is possible and that’s what I want; and that’s why I am here, still within, within the Buddhist path”.
If I genuinely have to adopt this attitude – ‘I don’t care about my enlightenment but for the others’ - it’s going to be very tough; it’s going to be very tough. But let’s say we are more Hinayana-oriented which, which we ARE actually. Most of us actually, although we have such a big mouth of practising Vajrayana or Dzogchen even, we are actually all sort of BARELY qualified as a very, very, very, very low class Hinayana practitioner. Now if you, even for that, one thing that you have to learn is to give up putting value on the samsaric things.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 8/17
There are some interesting stories in, in the book; you should read. Eh, you know these Kadampa practitioners; these are something that you will find in the Lamrin quite a lot. This is very, you know in Lamrin, Tsongkhapa’s Lamrin, you will find this a lot.
You know once a Kadampa student practitioner and this practitioner, this dharma practitioner, Kadampa student – he went to Reting Monastery, kind of very holy place. And there he was doing, going round the Reting Monastery and he met his master, Kadampa master. And Kadampa master said – ‘Oh, mm, I, I’m very happy that you are, you know going round monastery which is very good. But maybe you should practice dharma’.
And then the student thought – well I can see that this is a bit too distracting. Maybe what my master wants me is to read sutras, so he went inside the library and he was reading sutras. The master came, the master came and he said – ‘I’m so happy that you’re reading sutras but maybe you should practice the dharma’. And then he thought – well maybe I should meditate. That’s actually better than you know reading sutras and he did that. And the same thing happened.
And then at the end, he gave up and he asked his master – but I have tried everything like making offerings, doing meditation, reading sutras, chanting mantras, prostrations; you still keep on saying ‘practice dharma’ as if I have not done anything. So what am I supposed to do? Then the Kadampa master said – ‘You have to give up putting value on this life. You have to give up this, yes, seeing so much value in this life. Until you do that, you are not a dharma practitioner’.
I don’t know if you, some of you’ve heard Sakyapa’s very popular and very, very revered teaching called “Parting from the Four Desires” and in it actually, the first parting from the desire is – ‘If you have attachment to this life, you are not a dharma practitioner’. It’s a very important remark. And I mean it’s all in the text; many of you, I can see many of you have the book. But I just want; I want to draw your attention to some of the parts.
There is also quotation of Padampa Sangye. It is quite beautiful; he said – ‘All these possessions that we have, they are like mist so don’t, don’t think they are permanent that they will last. They will not last. They will go away like a mist. All this fame – they are like echo. Don’t think they are real. They are like echo, therefore don’t put attention; don’t put effort in collecting and becoming famous in collecting fame. All these jewels and ornaments – they are like rainbow. They look beautiful but they have no essence. They are completely sort of made out at different times in different situations. And this, actually many more which this Kadampa’s quotation I wanted you to draw, put some attention into that quotation.
So in order to practice genuinely, we now know that the first thing, the first and the most important thing is to understand the futility aspect of the samsara. And so in order to understand the futility aspect of the samsara, we have to understand the fault of this samsara. Therefore we meditate upon the fault of samsara again and again, completely opposite; you see normally, normally what we do is we always meditate even we may not use the word. We always learn, we always think about the goodness, the value, and I don’t know, glory and good aspect of the samsara. But this you do the opposite. You have to think about the fault of this samsara again and again.
By doing so, by understanding the fault of samsara then it brings lots of other benefits. It gives you; it will gradually develop a certain trust in cause, condition and effect. It will also bring love and compassion for those who have not understood the fault of samsara; you’ll automatically have love and compassion. All the enlightened qualities that come during the path will also gradually mature and arise within yourself. Therefore the Lord Buddha also decided of all his teachings, the first thing among the Four Noble Truths, the first thing he taught was the truth of suffering. And he said – know the suffering.
And that is also a key method to combat or to overcome this ego, that ego, yeah this ego that is like a source of all sorts of craving and grasping and all the emotions. That's it; that's the third of the Common, third category of the Common Foundation.
Now the Fourth and the last: now that's legendary karma - action, cause and; action, cause and result. I like to later on mm, you know anyone of you asks me questions because this subject is very big subject. We can talk about this for days. I still somehow, I don't know this is a big, maybe I'm very, very wrong.
Somehow I feel in the West, people have quite a good foundation of understanding when we talk about emptiness; of course not practically but at least intellectually. They can, it, the message gets through. Somehow you know the philosophy of interdependent reality, the philosophy of emptiness, the, the Buddhist philosophy of selflessness even - even though egoless-ness is something we cannot REALLY practice, we cannot really put into action, at least people can buy this idea, you know. Oh, well it makes sense.
At least the doubt or the questions that I hear can tell that there are; you know it's, it's, I guess you have the same similar expression. We say you know - a little knowledge is sort of dangerous - you understand. When it comes to the emptiness, the safe thing; I feel it's quite safe with emptiness and interdependent and all that, because many Westerners, not only Westerners but just everyone - they have no idea. So that's quite safe. It's quite safe; they've no knowledge.
But when it comes to KARMA, I even read some in the, some of the dictionaries or some of the thesauruses, and you can hear from the pop songs people use word 'karma' You can read even in the New York Times these days in articles. We can often hear from these big Hollywood stars talking about karma. And then as I hear from the dharma students talking about karma, asking questions about karma. And I don't know many times I feel karma is still not really gone through. The study of karma is not THERE; and that’s quite dangerous. Because that's a really, one of the most important, fundamental Buddhist view.
If you cannot accept karma, then karma or if you cannot understand karma, then you will not understand a lot of things. You will not understand the rest. I give you a good reason for this one. You know we talk about devotion, right. I'm, I'm not, this, this is also not coming from me, okay originally, I'm not creating this. I actually read just
before I came, I wanted to prepare something to talk about karma. So I read some of the Saha, Saraha's doha - 'doha' is song. And I'm actually, based on one of his songs, I'm saying some of these things.
You know we talk about devotion a lot within the Vajrayana practitioners especially. And the EXERCISE of the devotion, the practice of the devotion, the manifestation of devotion, as I see it using Saraha's doha, as a key to examine - I can see many of us have lack of understanding of cause, condition and effect. And that's very dangerous. Saraha's doha said; he's introducing the, he was introducing what, what is devotion.
In his doha, he said - Devotion, the root of the devotion or the epiti... or the essence of devotion - what is it? It's TRUSTING cause, condition and effect. That's VERY IMPORTANT, I think. Actually Saraha was a great scholar also. Mm, I mean, I don't really blame you so much because what's happening is this.
This is going to be a problem again and again. As we go through this journey of Buddhism, journey of this spiritual path; mm, ideally we need practice and a bit of theoretical studies, okay. As we talk last year (pause), okay, let's say I'm the vajra master okay. And if I'm not selfish, only interested in someone else's enlightenment, then I go around and look for disciples or a practitioner to whom I will share the instructions, the teachings. And as I do look that, I'm supposed to be looking for two kinds of disciples, two kinds of practitioners.
One - classic term is disciple of superior, superior faculties, disciple who has superior faculties; now THAT is someone who actually at least has mastered the philosophy of cause, condition and effect. Let’s say mm, a disciple who thinks – ah, they can’t have you know like I don’t know ex-tirthikas, ex-, some, some ex-scientists or I don’t know someone who believes, who used to believe that the world is created by an allmighty Creator but then later using your own logic and your own wisdom, you realize that maybe not really the, you know, fact and you search more. And then you come to this kind of, you know more, MORE UNDERSTANDING on cause, condition and effect. That’s, that’s one type of disciple.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 9/17
Another type of disciple is you may have no background on this kind of education, no knowledge. But just because you have certain karmic link which will be taught later, that you trust this person. Whatever he says; even he says fire is water, water is fire, you trust. Complete sort of; it’s almost like a blind trust but ACTUALLY they are equally…now don’t think. Many people seem to think nowadays because it’s a term, you know it’s a term, term – the words that we use always deceive us. You know people, when people talk about disciple, disciple of superior faculties, we always think – Ah, that’s a difficult-to-get, that kind of disciple.
But blind faith, you know not really blind faith but the second type of disciple’s kind of easy to get but that’s not true. They are equally difficult to get. Both are not possible, not too many these days because the first, first kind of disciples – they don’t have ENOUGH TRUST, enough eh, intellect to understand the whole cause, condition and effect. The second type of disciple, we have but they have instead of having complete trust, they have sceptical mind, and this and that. They have their doubts you know; so it’s very difficult to get.
I’m saying this as some kind of a background to one of, some of Saraha’s songs. Anyway as he said, the devotion is trust in cause, condition and effect; and I think it’s VERY IMPORTANT. If you, if you, if someone asks you a question – What is devotion? No, actually what is the word ‘faith’ means in English, can someone tell me? – Faith; does it have a bit of blindness in it, yeah? How about devotion? Yeah, (students respond), yeah; well when you exercise this, of course there is some attachment, I guess. But you know it’s like; you know I always use this example - it’s like cooking an egg again.
You have water, egg inside, fire, gas, whatever - cause, condition; no obstacles – nobody you know taking out the egg every few seconds (laughter). What do you do? Then what kind of trust do you have? Okay, no obstacles; fire, water, water is boiling
- you trust the egg is going to be cooked. THAT, according to Saraha, is the devotion – trusting in cause, condition and effect.
Now, cause, condition and effect – if you understand this three, then so-called this devotion, this, the devotion you see like Kagyu, Kagyupas – they always recite. What do they recite? Devotion is the head of the meditation or something like that, yeah; then you will know. It’s really, many people as they recite – ‘Devotion is the head of meditation, therefore you know kindly bless me so that I have more devotion’.
I don’t know, somehow out of my impure vision, I feel that people are referring to some kind of a faith. That’s what – I lack faith. When they say faith or devotion, I don’t know I have a feeling some people, many people are referring to some kind of NOTHING to do with understanding the cause, condition and effect. So please really this Saraha’s doha is a very, I think it’s a very important thing, especially the modern people, scientifically-oriented people like us should hear. Don’t you think?
You know this so-called four seals or four mudras the Buddhists talk about, which is like; which, which are the four things that makes you Buddhist? If you don’t have one of them, you are not, you are not Buddhist. And I would say the essence of this ‘four seals’ is actually believing in or trust; believing in or accepting the law of interdependent reality – that everything is interdependent. If you are accepting that, if you accept this FULLY, okay, then you are a follower of the Buddha. You may not call yourself a Buddhist but you are a follower of the Buddha.
Because based on this accept, COMPLETE acceptance of interdependent reality, you will; compassion fits there, love and kindness fit there, understanding of emptiness fits there, devotion fits there. Now I’m stressing this because CERTAIN amount or certain level of understanding the interdependence is you know possible. But to FULLY accept that EVERYTHING, every phenomenon, every single phenomenon – they are all interdependent reality, within the interdependent reality is quite difficult.
Maybe some scientists have managed to reach that, maybe, I don’t know. But I don’t know somehow their seemingly lack of compassion and lack of loving kindness doesn’t seem to tell me that they actually did understand the interdependent reality. And INTERDEPENDENT REALITY IS EMPTINESS, isn’t it? It is, it’s the, it’s the other interpretation of ‘emptiness’. Now we are talking about; okay this is the Fourth
Foundation, the Fourth Common Foundation. And this, even though it comes as part of the foundation, this is an actual teaching on interdependent reality – I think one of the most fundamental foundation teachings on interdependent reality. So this is why it’s here, before you do the Uncommon Foundation, understanding karma or the action, cause and result.
Think about some questions and you have maybe like five minutes break and you come back. And yes, ask me questions as if you are not a Buddhist, you understand. Don’t be afraid that you are violating a karma, you understand? Ask as, as if you really you know you do not believe in cause and condition and effect. You understand this is eh; yes we’ll see in five minutes. (After the break) Seeing, seeing you and me together is quite a good example of karma actually (laughter)
Student A: Altogether; Rinpoche, I’m, as one of your flunky students; eh, I, I hope you are not grimacing, I hope you’re smiling (laughter). (Rinpoche: Okay) I , I feel a bit like a fly stuck to a frying pan with oil on it, and losing its wings and its body parts. And I mean you’re like a breeze from the last year. I come back with the same kind of issues and problems. I mean work things; I don’t want to get into that here. But it’s like; I mean I’m so kind of, on some level, out of control by the cause and conditions around me that I mean on a practical level, I’m having tremendous troubles sleeping because eh, I, I’m, I’m frightened, anxious and nervous, and all this.
Rinpoche: About karma?
Student A: Well, I mean it’s even MORE IMMEDIATE than that because I mean it’s, it’s that; maybe it’s the experiential category we’re talking. Maybe I am not lucky. Maybe I’m not even that lucky that I’m in the experiential category. And so I mean I do manage to do a little bit of practice. Once in a while I think about things but eh, but I’m having trouble sleeping because the kind of morass that I’m stuck here, you know it’s like sinking in tar. And I mean when it’s in such an immediate level frankly that I mean I’m having trouble sleeping and functioning. I’m having trouble extricating myself. I keep fighting myself losing more body parts. Eh, do you have any suggestions for me, someone TOTALLY OUT of control, you know? I mean what do I do with this? I’m even having trouble contemplating in this condition.
Rinpoche: Okay I will talk to you about this. (Student A: Okay, thank you.)
Student B: Rinpoche, I have two questions and a request. But quick first question: as an ex-scientist, why do they always pick on the scientists? (Laughter) What’s the karma there (laughter)...?
Rinpoche: Do they pick up? Eh, actually they find friends in scientists. I mean they, they feel comfort with the scientists, actually many of them, as they know more.
Student B: Okay; and so this, this is my question on karma. Eh, in some of the teachings, at least my understanding – it’s been said that when you pray for someone else, have compassion for someone else, there’s merit for you and also merit for the other person, saying doing tonglen or something like that. And yet it seems like that from a karmic standpoint – I think this is where I have a misunderstanding. If you know you pray for me right now, and say you know - Jay Wye show enlightenment or be enlightened - I’m still not enlightened. So it seems like, what, what; how is karma and prayer got together? Why can’t someone, when you pray for somebody, it...
Rinpoche: That’s a good question, related to karma, yes – very many different levels of understanding, this one. For instance, for one, you have, you have a certain karma to help someone like me praying for you. You know we talked about this some other times. It’s almost like if someone like me is praying for you, yeah, we’re talking about merit; it is actually your own good karma of the past that created me who is praying for you. This can happen, I mean this, this is it.
But does not mean that you should not offer your gratitude; you should not offer your gratitude to me. If you are skilful, even after you know that it is your karma, good karma that create someone who’s having a good wish to you – now that if you want to have more good time, you should, you should still offer your gratitude towards me. That way you accumulate more karma. Yeah, we have to talk like this more, then I will have some kind of base, okay.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 10/17
Student B: Just, just quick request; maybe you were going to do this; eh, you know I would like to follow this path. I listen to your teachings from last year and you talked about increasing your value to the dharma. Well, maybe my value wasn’t so good because I wasn’t here last year and I was wondering if you can give the ‘lung’ from the beginning for those of us that were not here …
Rinpoche: Yes, some people ask me. Eh, mm, I don’t know, I will see but I will give you at least the complete Longchen Nyingtik root text ngondro, complete; that’s easy, okay. But with a little bit of arrangement, yes definitely. I’m not supposed to refuse anyway to (laughter) you know it’s just the timing. We can arrange some timing.
Student B: One of your students says you a fast reader (laughter). Thank you.
Student C: Eh, I think I have two parts. One is as a Buddhist and, and then not as a Buddhist. Eh, the, the question about that, eh, in terms of your saying that if you don’t understand karma, it’s so dangerous – is that because then you won’t be mindful or careful? For example if you’re boiling the egg, I mean it will only come out right if you pay attention to the amount of time that you don’t, you know burn the pan and the house on fire. That you would do that; you could do that, I suppose because of past karma, right. I mean when you were talking about in relation to devotion, I think a devotion having to do with generosity. I mean that you feel eh, a connection or link, even a recognition or like a re-cognition, something or someone and so then eh, you want to devote yourself to them.
But again if you didn’t understand karma, that you could do it in some sort of stupid way like what maybe if you do with compassion like what Trungpa Rinpoche used to call idiot compassion, could do it sort of stupid way if you didn’t understand karma.
Rinpoche: Mm, I’m not so clear but anyway you know many people talk about karma and we all know a little bit. I think many people go through guilt for killing cockroaches in the house because you have a little bit of understanding of karma. And but because you don’t have enough understanding, all you go through is guilt and that’s about it, you understand.
What we have to do, we have to really understand THOROUGHLY. But that’s quite difficult. In order again you see to understand thoroughly karma, you have actually to reach to certain level. This is the tricky part. When I’m talking, yeah…
Student C: I’m sorry. You have to understand that every, in the sense every step you take has an effect, a ripple, somewhere, somehow, affect something else.
Rinpoche: Yes, every motivation, every, even you think; yeah every thought has a karma, yes.
Student C: So, so that there’s kind of balance thing …
Rinpoche: Well there is a concept so-called neutral karma, but that’s usually a strict practitioner would also consider that as a mm, negative karma because you are wasting your time.
Student C: Okay, but the thing if this is involved in what you’re talking or not, I have a lot of trouble with; which in a way every time I hear it makes me want to run the other way from anything to do with Buddhism is this whole karma rebirth thing – about someone is poverty-stricken or gets hurt or terrible disease because of you know harm in another life. I mean this is strong but it really makes me sick.
Rinpoche: Yeah, but the thing is maybe what you to know is that can, what you need to know is the aspect of karma that is, that can be destroyed, that can be transformed, changeable. That’s the aspect that many people don’t know.
Many people actually think, you see especially this like Hollywood film stars, when they talk about karma, I can see they’re talking about what ‘fixed’ destinations. That is not at all. What do they call it? Yeah, pre-destinations or (Audience: It’s like destiny or fate) well, eh, FATE, yes, fate; fate or it’s everything mm, predetermined, is it; predetermined or not? But if you understand the karma, you are in the middle. You will not say everything is predetermined or you will also not say everything is not predetermined. Everything is INTERDEPENDENT.
Student C: Okay just really quickly; like if you have a baby born with AIDS, and his mother had AIDS, whatever, is it …?
Rinpoche: What’s this mother? Did you say something about mother?
Student C: Well, the, the mother had AIDS. Well the baby born to the mother so there’s a karmic connection, the baby had AIDS. My understanding …
Rinpoche: Eh, I didn’t answer; I mean can you, can you rephrase this again? I didn’t hear properly, eggs or …?
Student C: AIDS, yeah, like HIV, AIDS …
Rinpoche: Oh, okay, AIDS not eggs – AIDS (laughter), I couldn’t hear properly (laughter). (Student C: AIDS, yeah) Okay, yes.
Student C: Right, the baby has HIV, HIV-positive, eh, the mother HIV-positive whatever. One interdependent reality is that this is the mother and it affects the baby but the statement if I understand properly when I hear people say that this baby has AIDS because of what it did or didn’t do in the previous life.
Rinpoche: Right, and then go on.
Student C: Well eh, is that, I mean it’s just like sort, should I say it - is that true?
Rinpoche: Yes, it is true. It has to be. Everything is dependent so this, this disease cannot come just out of the blue.
Student C: But then how …?
Rinpoche: That should be more unfair, isn’t it if, if it came out of the blue?
Student C: No, I don’t, I don’t think so. (Rinpoche: Why not?) Because I just think that there are; it’s, it’s like a bumper sticker, you know just random acts of kindness, random acts of violence, but I mean you can’t affect things. It’s like I mean showing it’s like the Beatles’ song – I love you, take as equal to the love you make. Okay so you’re compassionate, and you do loving-kindness meditation and then you can. But a baby who’s born into a situation, I mean born sick you say from a previous life, the baby can’t undo the karma, it’s going to die.
Rinpoche: Oh no, there’s a past life; you see, that’s the whole thing. This is why people like Freud are stuck. They have no past-life notion. This is why they think they have to blame somewhere and then they usually end up blaming the parents. Something must have gone wrong during the parenting when the child was, you know, still a child; when this person. That’s as far as they can go.
Whereas Buddhists – there’s a whole list of past lives. Remember the Gods – this wait-list karma. If you have not done anything with that karma, it’s there waiting eons after eons. And when the time comes (Rinpoche snapped his fingers), it will ripen. And when it ripens, if it is a bad karma, you know you will think why I, I have to go through this?
But the thing is you are not omniscient. You don’t know what you have done in the past, things like that. I mean the story will come later. I mean even the Buddha,
according to Theravadas, even the Buddha once as he was walking in the forest, there was a small what eh? Thorn, poked him, hit, poked his feet and he told a story of when he was a guide in an island and how he had to kill someone and so on.
And there was this story of Nagajuna, if you read. Nagarjuna was a great you know master; he’s one of the eighty mahasiddhas. And he was, he achieved a certain level where no weapons can cut him. (Tibetan phrase) I don’t remember his Sanskrit name but one of the princes in India, his, his father yes; the prince wanted to become king. And his father never dies because his father is blessed by Nagajuna that until Nagajuna dies, his father will live, something like that.
And since he’s very anxious, he asked his mother what to do. Mother said that you better go and ask Nagajuna or even kill Nagajuna. And he tried, it didn’t work. And then Nagajuna afterwards – Look, it wouldn’t work if you hit me with a knife or whatever; but if you really want to kill me, you should hit, slash eh, kusha grass. If you wave that at my neck, my neck will be cut instantly. And this is because like millions of lifetimes before as he was cutting a grass, he killed one insect or something, you understand. And this is something; this is one karma that he forgot to sort of purify or whatever. I’m sure these are all very symbolic teachings and all that but still that’s how karma is understood.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 11/17
Karma, if you are, you know basically it’s this, this example I always use right? A drop of water like this; if you have no time, if you have no wind, fire, air, space – if you don’t have all the other elements, this drop of water, as a scientist, okay as non Buddhists – you have to believe that this drop of water will not disappear, wouldn’t you ? Why would this drop of water disappear or degenerate? - Because there is other elements that’s disturbing it; somebody to drink you know, that’s why it’s becoming you know non-existent or transforming into something.
But if there is none of these factors like sun to dry, wind to blow, a goat to lick this you know, drop of water; it will remain as a drop of water for eons after eons. As a scientist, I think you have to believe that. Student C: Thank you. Rinpoche: But earlier we were talking about something – what was it? Eh, yeah this predetermination is it? And the determination – this is something we should touch a little bit because this is where I think many people seem to also have a little bit of because I think many of the Western interpretation of karma seems to fall into both of them actually – predetermination or no determination. I don’t know somehow they seem to fall into both categories. Until recent, I thought ‘no determination’ - not, not predetermined is okay. But I, the way some people interpret it – I will let you interpret later – I didn’t like that so much so that I thought maybe we shouldn’t fall into that category also anyway. Student D: Rinpoche, eh, you mentioned, mentioned that teachers look for two types of disciples; one with superior faculty, and one, a second type with blind trust. And when I spoke to you for my refuge interview, eh, I present myself as a person of blind trust and you threw me out, and said you wouldn’t give me refuge. Rinpoche: And then … Student D: And then that cause a great deal of doubt and consternation in MYSELF because I thought I was doing something wrong. Because I thought blind trust was incorrect. So why, why do you do that? (Laughter) I’ve, I’ve been living within this; I’ve been living with this for eleven years, so you know. Rinpoche: I don’t remember doing this (laughter), didn’t it? Student D: What you said, what you said – Why you want to take refuge with me? Everybody says I’m crazy. They said this and they said that, I don’t care because I trust you, you know. So I was upset when you threw me out and said you won’t give me refuge; and I cried all night; so I hope you feel bad about that (laughter). (Rinpoche: Okay) So, so there’s no explanation like I mean is it wrong to trust? It’s not wrong to trust? Rinpoche: Well, I guess you have a certain karma (laughter) sort of to trust someone who would eh, eh, sort of stir your system of trusting. Student D: Okay but for other people; I’m thinking for other people. It’s not wrong for them to come up and trust you? It’s just my particular karma? Rinpoche: Let’s see (laughter). Student E: Rinpoche, I like to ask you about eh, non-theistic notion of karma, because I think part of what is difficult for many of us is that our interpretation of karma is connected with our upbringing in this culture. For example the Christians
have a sense of Judgement Day and that at end of time, you will come before God and be judged according to your past actions and you either go to heaven or to hell. And so there’s a sense that there’s a record-keeper, that someone is keeping score or report card. Eh, or sometimes I think notions of karma might also be very mechanical; so that you might say if you kill an animal, you will have bad karma. And the understanding of why you have bad karma seems often might be kind of, almost like a giant clock mechanism, somewhere all the clock pieces are working and it’s almost like mechanical notion – which I wonder if that’s actually … Rinpoche: Like if you do bad to him, he will do bad to you. Student E: Yeah, but you can also see that sometimes doesn’t happen so quickly so maybe the clock is an antiquated clock. In any case, I like to explore with you what is a non-theistic, in other words if no one is running the clock, if there is no person who is keeping the report card, how does this work? If it’s correct to say that killing an animal might bring you bad karma, how does that work that bad, bad karma results from killing the animal? Rinpoche: Well this will come more; I mean the whole chapter or the section we are going to talk about karma. That’s very good - keep this in your mind but as for now it’s, well it’s again the karma itself. You see some karma becomes stronger than the others so, I don’t know how to put this properly; it’s going to come. When the certain karma comes and it’s also so much to do with your motivation and the dedication, how you dedicate this. And dedication also could; if you okay let’s say if you form a karma that is so strong, a very what eh, with a very sober mind, and not making any mistakes with the object to whom you are relating with. And then finally when you have the dedication; I’m not talking about the prayers, but even your wish to harm someone and satisfaction when he or she is finally harmed something like that. This kind of cause and condition could sort of postpone or make the other minor karmas wait until this karma ripens and functions and exhaust. So this way, the karma, karma decides itself sort of. But then let’s say you do something good; let’s say Vajrasattva meditation but maybe not, not, not the best way of doing. But somehow you concentrate on one bad karma that you have accumulated. And this gets destroyed but you forget the others; and then on this place come the next. It’s a very, really very well organized actually, very well organized. Student E: I’m trying to explore what’s the difference is between a sense that there is some being who cause this organization, in other words, why is it that when you do Vajrasattva meditation that this results in good karma? Why would that happen if it is not some being who is keeping track and arranging this? How does it happen that this is good karma? Rinpoche: Yes, that’s a very big classic question that has been asked within the, what eh, Buddhist schools. And I would just quickly go through. You see this is why
like Hindus, in some cases they believe, you know atman and all sorts of qualities. They believe in sets which actually sort of are like storage that brings the karma towards your life.
Anyway the certain schools like Vaidya school of Buddhism, they actually believe there is a so-called, an entity called, in Tibetan they call it (Tibetan phrase) – not wasted; a quality of ‘not wasted’. They believe that there is an entity but this notion is defeated by higher Buddhist schools such as Chittamatra Buddhist School who believes such thing, such kind of entities never existed.
Only mind; the mind is the holder and the creator or the possessor or the vessel of all this karma. Well a more classic term, mind is a bit too obscure term; they call it ‘alaya’, ‘all-ground’, they call it. But truly existing, notion of truly existing alaya of this mind is also defeated by Madhyamika School, supposedly the highest Buddhist philosophical system. They say there is no such thing as a truly existing entity.
Relatively or conventionally we can accept that but there is no alaya truly existing. So there is a lot of debate on that but anyway for now, we say it’s the mind based on Chittamatra School. It’s the mind or the alaya that’s doing this thing. And according to THIS, what we do is we get rid of this mind; and when we get rid of this mind, then we get rid of all the karma, karma debt, karmic link, all of that.
And then you are completely naked, naked. When we talk about naked, we’re talking about, you know disrobing, sort of you know taking off your clothes; and the clothes happen to be the mind. And who is it that’s wearing this clothes? It’s, well many different terms. More standard term is buddha-nature, and Mahasandhi or Dzogchen term is ‘rigpa’, the awareness.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang
bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 12/17
If you, Tibetan word ‘sems chen’; sems chen means one who has mind; Tibetan, this word ‘sems chen’ is what the West has translated as sentient beings, okay. It’s a very interesting term because when we say one who has mind, then you all must think there must be an entity who is holding the mind. Now if you ask most of the masters, just to answer your question, although it’s very, very difficult to answer because you need a lot of explanation – they usually say it is the buddha-nature that is like a vessel for the mind at the moment or the one the one that wears the mind.
Really has got nothing to do with buddha-nature itself, that’s why it’s called liberation, freedom. As long as there is a cause, condition and effect, you are within the, you know chain. When you are completely free from this chain, then that’s what we call nirvana, isn’t it? But this will come; I hope this if, if it doesn’t satisfy you, you can come and ask again, okay. Yes.
Student A: Karma is cause, condition and effect. And what I, what is the – I understand it theoretically once it’s rolling but what is the initial cause?
Rinpoche: Mm, that’s a very big question again. See when you say ‘initial’, you are asking an ultimate question. You are asking, you are touching the subject of genesis. Whole philosophy, whole book is written on that by Chandrakirti for instance. Chandrakirti’s dharma, Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara – there is a complete discussion about where the things arise from. Self, other, both, neither; and then each of these four, he went through DETAILED arguments defeating opponents who believed things are arising from the self and other, and both and neither. Many of them are Buddhist schools; some of them are Hindu schools.
If you, generally to answer your question, on the relative level, you see on the relative level, there is no, you know; okay on the ultimate level, first of all, eh, this school, this, yeah this school which this text is based on, Madhyamika school, do not accept the idea so-called ‘initial’ because that’s just an idea. So they have all kinds of answers. They can, they will answer you like dependent on different times you know; at times they will answer you – It starts now, this minute. It can, they can also say it has no beginning. That’s the usual answer actually. There is no beginning. There is an individual end but there is no beginning.
Student A: Thank you.
Rinpoche: Okay, but that’s a very good, very important question. Probably that also is very related to this so-called determination and pre-determination, wanting to know the genesis, the first cause.
Student B: This is much more of a basic question here. Eh, at the risk of bragging about my humility here, eh, I want to confess that I really don’t understand karma. And it caused a lot of problems for me on the path because I’ve been trying to practice for a while here. Eh, and I think one of my difficulties is trying to grapple with the understanding of karma is coming from a Judea-Christian culture. And being, being Jewish and understanding, trying to understand karma with that background; so there is a lot of eh, sense of judgement that I have that I want to be deserving of the guru’s blessings.
Guru yoga is my main practice. I want, I want to be able to eh, not feel a sense of deficiency and accumulate enough so that I can eh, receive the blessings of the lama or refuge from the lama or an understanding. And, and it’s from a sense of, having a sense of deficiency; maybe that it caused me a lot of difficulties with karma because I have a sense of there being sins that I have still with an understanding of karma or there’ve been judgement. I think that may be different than really understanding how interdependence functions.
Rinpoche: This I need to know myself actually. Okay in Christianity and Judaism, in many traditional religions, in fact all religions, they believe in good deed. They believe, they believe in sort of bad deeds, non-virtuous actions. Okay mm, in many religions, they believe that stealing is not good, stuff like that. Now when they say this, when they make this kind of judgement, okay – you should not kill, you should not steal – on what basis they are making this kind of judgement, I want to know? Actually this is an important question, you know.
On what basis, why, why is it even considered BAD? Can, can anyone, can, what? (Response from one student: “God told Moses”). Yes, so, so that may be one reason because God said so. (Another student responded – ‘As you reap, so shall you sow’) - Pardon? (Student: ‘As you reap, so shall you sow; sorry, as you sow, shall you
reap’) As (Student explained) – that even the Buddhists might say. That’s, that’s a very similar retort.
Student B: It’s like what goes around comes around.
Rinpoche: Yes, that, that Buddhists can also say to a certain extent, but that there’s, I have a feeling there’s a different motivation or different explanation behind that. WHY, why what you plant, you will have, why?
Student C: I will say grace, that’s the Catholic’s belief. (Rinpoche: Pardon?) Catholics believe you will die in a state of grace so that it’s almost like; so you don’t have to understand how.
Rinpoche: Mm, I’m sure it’s much more sophisticated than these things (laughter). You’re, you are a very prejudiced Buddhist (laughter).
Student D: In Judaism, there’s a saying that if you, if you save one soul, you save the world; if you hurt one person, you hurt everyone. It’s very interdependent; it’s not just about God.
Rinpoche: If you save one soul, do you save all the souls? On what basis are they saying this? This is what I need to do. I mean every religion, not only religion; every human being wants to be good, and not; everyone, that’s everyone, that’ okay. The ACTION, I’m not judging, it is the philosophy. Why, why did it say so, you know? Buddhists, Buddhists tell not to kill. Christians say that, Judea, Judas, Jews say this. What do you call it, Muslims say this. Hindus say this but...
Student E: Archaeologists say this; it’s awkward. That’s what you need groups - that groups need to gather as one. In order for groups to gather as one because it creates social disorder, it creates unrest.
Rinpoche: See that is something that, I don’t know that is also something you can almost, there’s a little bit of eh, similarity with Buddhism – that’s interdependent. Just like if you are not, if you are harming others, you are harming yourself sort of, you
know. There, there’s a little bit of independence but I think it is the basic philosophy – why? Because this, yeah it’s a very big difficult subject.
Because otherwise I always find this, this, this concept ‘devotion’; you know when people practice devotion – I have devotion towards my guru. I mean normally everything is fine but I just feel that there’s a certain sense of – Okay he can do something bad, but I must have devotion. Now that’s right; that’s what you’re supposed to do in the Vajrayana.
But that devotion ITSELF has to be based on the philosophy of cause, condition and effect. And if you do that, then nothing can go wrong, even if you believe that your master or your Buddha, is doing completely ridiculous things – you still have devotion – that are fine. Wait; oh, yeah, you want to say something, yeah.
Student F: In the Western tradition, there are different philosophies within a matter of date whether one is safe with what works and then because you done things which God will look upon you favourably. And then another idea eh, that is started by Martin Luther that the important thing is to have faith in God and then you will be saved, no matter what, what you did if your faith is strong enough. But if you have faith in God and you were not doing the good things as an expression, that...
Rinpoche: See a Buddhist would also; a great Buddhist philosopher would use this similar method. The method doesn’t matter. I can tell, you know I can tell one of my friends and say – No matter what this lama does, you should have faith. That’s a method. That’s just a method. But it is the philosophy behind the method we have to think about. Okay, all these, yeah...
Student E: Thank you for making it easier to come up and ask questions about karma by, you know encouraging because it’s intimating to ask about such a fundamental thing for me anyway. And I think there’s kind of resignation that happens, maybe because of my lack of understanding or deep understanding of karma, sort of this shallow karma cause and effect. If you could talk a little bit about what you think or what you see it’s missing in the understanding, which you talk about you saw? We kind of missed it.
Would you talk about a little bit about what is missing and maybe also how in daily life, we can eh, attempt to carry a deeper understanding of karma? You know bring into our mind so while we’re living. It’s not just so – Oh, that’s karma; you know how to change it, how to kind of be with it.
Rinpoche: One thing that I see; I don’t know, personal judgement again. I have a feeling that many of us in the West, in the East, both, we think, okay. We have a certain feel towards the karma, you understand? Oh, you know bad karma. (Student E: It dominates, dominates us.) Yeah. That actually tells me they do not understand the karma, because karma is SO changeable and it’s in your hand. Why should we be afraid? In fact, if you understand karma because of karma you should actually relax.
If it is for someone else’s hand, then you should be worried. But it is in your hand. No matter what kind, how big amount of karma you have created , bad karma let’s say – you can do something about it. And it, the thing is it is CHANGEABLE. It is destroyable. It’s something you can purify if it is bad karma. Yes.
Student E: How are habitual patterns related to karma or bad karma?
Rinpoche: Very much, very much. You are, you are asking the really right questions here, one after another, yes. Habitual pattern is like a; actually it is that not only the karma, this is the thing – they are like the, like the chicken and egg, isn’t it, yes? You know like karma, habitual pattern - habit pattern is karma and it is also the cause of karma, it’s the result of karma. One habitual pattern, okay, is; it IS the karma. It is the cause of karma, cause of the next karma. It is the result of the past karma, things like that.
Student E: Eh, can you then suggest maybe a simple, very extremely simple way (laughter) when in your day-to-day doing a thing to have a better awareness of karma, not just kind of typical New Age resignation kind of thing.
Rinpoche: Well supposedly that there is, tonglen is supposedly the best, really. I think it is because you are, you are not really, you know what you’re doing; you see the Buddhist karma also depends so much on the motivation, not so much like a
Hindu you know, so much on the motivation. When you do the tonglen, you are exercising your motivation, so the whole earlier system of karma is changing.
Normally you would, you know try to push away the suffering and in the process of doing so, you create a lot of bad karma. But this time as you are doing the tonglen, you are saying – Yes, come, more, you know. Normally you are clinging to your happiness, and in the process of doing that, you know fear of losing the happiness, hope of getting more – you create more bad karma.
But as you are doing tonglen, again that system has changed. Now you are trying to sort get rid of your happiness as much as you can to the others. That’s supposedly very, very good. But anyway habitual pattern, karma, they will, you know they, they’re very related.
Student E: But if, if you do tonglen, you maybe don’t have to go through all the habitual patterns and figure out that you know, can you just use tonglen in the sense of a shortcut? (Rinpoche: Pardon?) Is tonglen a shortcut? Well if you sit around and think about all the habitual pattern – now this is happening, okay. Are you sort of saying tonglen...
Rinpoche: Well, awareness is something that we have to really get used to. It is, it’s, that’s you know, it’s not that eh, - DO TONGLEN basically, you do tonglen (laughter).
Student E: Thank you.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 13/17
Student F: I have two questions; one of them has to do have to do with the concept of blaming responsibility for karma. When I looked at my past lives, which I don’t, don’t know on a regular basis because I don’t have awareness of them. But let’s say I can look at my past lives. Say I kill in my last life and I’m afraid the karma in this life is acting out the karma I created then. I feel very strongly detached from what I did then, so I feel it’s not fair for me to blame myself for having killed somebody else then. Yet at the same time I’m responsible for this karma. And I guess my question is eh, what we’ve done in past lives is coming back to us and yet we have no awareness of it and no connection with it and it feels very removed. How much responsibility? I, I’m having trouble understanding the sense of responsibility we take for karma which was created in lives which we have no awareness and no connection... Rinpoche: Oh, you are very responsible of the past karma. Student F: But in terms of our perception, I have a hard time... Rinpoche: You can’t kill someone because someone kills you. It’s that what you are asking? Student F: I don’t think I’m asking a very clear question. I guess what I’m saying we have karma coming from events and lives which I personally have no connection to, and I’m confused as to how, in my mind to take responsibility for things which I have no awareness and no connection to. And I know the karma is going to do for me, the karma is going to continue acting out; but in terms of my maybe intellectualization … Rinpoche: But you are not only; it’s just that you are not eh, connection NOW. You have had connection with it. You just, something big happens, so-called death and birth in between – that’s all (laughter). Student F: So it’s unimportant for my mind, it’s (Rinpoche: What?) unimportant for my mind to make any kind, for my mind, for whatever to make any kind of eh, emotional connection to this because karma is going to take care of it anyway. I shouldn’t worry about it? Rinpoche: I didn’t get it. Can you … Student F: Should I assume that my karma from past lives is going to affect in this life and just leave it at that. Should I have some understanding …? Rinpoche: No, no; no, no, your karma could; not could, it’s DEFINITELY going to influence you; therefore before it influences you, you influence the karma. That’s the whole understanding of karma. And it is POSSIBLE; YOU CAN DO IT. It’s not like pre-determined. You can definitely. You can cut, you can change, you can postpone, you can shift here and there. You can do everything. It’s all in your hands.
Student F: Okay, and my second question; mm, eh, my second question has to do with something I remember vaguely that talks about if a butterfly flaps its wings here on the other side of the world, there is a hurricane. And it’s the concept of cause and effect, not karma; just simple cause and effect. How much effect my actions have, how much effect should I imagine about bad or good thing having on the world? Or in other words, how do I place my actions in the world? Does this make sense? Rinpoche: That you wait until, you know. I actually teach; maybe there’s something as an answer to you. Student F: Okay, thank you. Student G: Rinpoche, I want to ask a question about differences between tangible causes and effects, and intangible causes and effects. That is like you give the example of the egg being boiled and something tangible, we can examine scientifically. We can understand because it’s tangible; we put our hands on it, we know. And then with intangible causes and effects, we have eh; personally I can see the result, the intangible result of intangible causes like practising tonglen to purify motivation. But how is it intangible causes lead to tangible results? Rinpoche: Because again they are dependent; they are interdependent. Actually this brings something important because you know it’s not that we do not understand karma at all. We DO, it’s just not enough. Like as you said, certain things, certain cause, conditions and effects we can accept. But as we go further and further, more subtle ones we do not understand, we cannot accept. That’s why; okay it’s like egg. We are like an egg. First of all; okay we’re like an egg and cooking is like dharma practice, for instance. First of all, none of us even believe that we are; is there a word ‘cook-able’? – Yeah, cook-able, we do not believe that. See there is a lack of understanding of cause, condition and effect. It’s so hard to accept that we are cook-able (laughter). For that we take refuge hundred thousand times; that actually the first thing you do to understand, understand that we are cook-able. That’s why we do refuge. That’s the BASIS of refuge. You know in the Refuge, you say – I take refuge to the Buddha. Of course, as a method, we have the Buddha on the shrine and all of that. But the innermost Refuge is understanding that I have the buddha-nature – that is the real refuge. When you accept that, then you accept that you’re cook-able. Student G: I have one more question. That is how does karma attach to sentient being, like we say if I perform such an action, the future is coming to me? Me, specifically I carry the burden of that, actually. Rinpoche: How does…? Student G: How does karma, how does it attach to the sentient being in the way we talk about – the burden of the action being carried by that individual? Not the act doesn’t affect other individuals of course, but the actual burden of the action is
carried by the individual so that if you commit an action such as killing someone, then that is going to ripen for you specifically rather than someone else, how does it work? Rinpoche: Mm, again I think this will come here. So wait, and if I didn’t, this afternoon if I didn’t, if I have not covered this, you can ask again, yeah. (Student G: Thank you) Student H: Rinpoche, people have asked such big questions. This is more of a little question. Eh, when I go to visit my family, and we have this very nice family gathering and there’re little children around; and everybody’s speaking about family. And I see these relatives of mine who don’t have a particular spiritual practice – they have a very good life. They are very happy, enjoying things. I know the teachings tell me the reason why they are having such good fortune now is due to merit accumulated in the past and that without some kind of motivation of practice that this might eventually run out and circumstances will change. But I thought when I go home; I think why I’m involved in all of this? Why I don’t just be like them, relax and just an ordinary American life? So my understanding of karma is not so good. Rinpoche: Mm, this is what you become when you have too much information (laughter). But it’s too late now; you already have (laughter) and also later you will know we don’t know whether it’s also because of good karma. This is anything you would know. Sometimes when people have nice time, it does not mean that it’s because of their good karma. So this we will know later. (Student H: Okay, thank you) Student I: Rinpoche, this question may be related to what Kerry just tells us. I wonder this which perplexes me for years – cause, condition and effect in the god realm, because I think logically, at least I did; I’ve been stranding here thinking a lot because I was going to ask this. But logically you would find yourself in the god realm because of virtuous actions; actions which are part of virtuous actions have led, have brought you to a form and kind of realm. But it has seemed to me that, that would include motivation, that past virtuous actions would have included motivation to bring benefit to all beings. So there is always a paradox for me that when you take this form, you seem to forget that this motivation it seems because you can become so distracted and caught up by all too much intensity of pleasure of happiness, and it seems... Rinpoche: Are you talking about the god realm? Student I: The god realm that if, if your past aspiration help although there is a paradox for me too, because the highest aspiration would be not to reborn there. And not want to be reborn in there and not to want to be reborn in the god realm because there is too much risk that you will lose your merit because … Rinpoche: You don’t want to be reborn as a dharma practitioner that we are talking here of course. If you want to follow the dharma practice, then you do not want to be
reborn in the god realm. Student I: Yes, that’s very clear, that part is very clear. But how, how does it come about in cause and conditions that when you are in that realm; is it because although you have past virtuous actions, you haven’t been clear about why you have been doing. You haven’t had the motivation for the benefit of beings. You haven’t clearly enough; or I don’t know how, it’s always been difficult in even knowing how to put this. Rinpoche: I don’t know; I’m not so clear with your question. Anyway you know – cause of being reborn in a god realm is definitely virtuous deeds. But it’s not necessarily out of dharma. That’s quite different. (Student I: That’s exactly, yeah) A virtuous action such as not killing but dharma is totally different. Dharma is like, dharma has not killing but dharma is beyond all much more than not killing, okay. Student I: That’s exactly, yes; but I wondered, thank you.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 14/17
Student J: Rinpoche, that's a problem, at least I define this as a problem anyway. I keep bumping against in practice. It came up when I was reading the chapter on the defects of samsara. Eh, this may be the best way I can describe it. In the Sang attributed to Milarepa, on page 90 or 91, the very last line he says - In short practice without remembering death, any dharma is useless. And I have been thinking about that a lot lately. And you know especially as I practice, meditating and I start to think - Wait I am not remembering death. And I wound up doing the same thing with bodhicitta actually too; generate bodhicitta and going on to practice. And then I realize - Wait I don't have all beings in mind; you know I've forgotten bodhicitta, I've forgotten death. I’ve forgotten all the things I am supposed to practicing for and... Rinpoche: Think one and you think all. They are all related. One will bring all the others. I would say, I would suggest Adam, if you are a beginner, think about the death, impermanence actually more than anything else. Student J: And then is it okay to make a crazy request. You described yourself as a slightly crazy lama here this morning and maybe (Rinpoche: Someone did this, and
then) Laughter – I thought you accepted that; would you offer refuge to everyone here as a part of coming to this teaching? Rinpoche: Oh, let’s see what we could do. How about this Now can you hold on until like after lunch. Definitely you can come back. Yes we will have the lunch break. We will come back maybe like 2.15. How’s that, 2.15? And then after lunch, we’re usually dull so we won’t do the teachings but I will do the transmission that you can just listen (laughter). And then around 3 I will start to teach again. We will try to cover the karma. That was good – the question and answer which was very necessary for me sort of know what to say because I know there is some; I know and I actually believe that is a little bit of misunderstanding going on. But I almost cannot pinpoint what, what is the real misunderstanding. Actually we should talk slightly more before the teaching again okay. What I will do is, I don’t think this time we can start from the beginning. I will start; I will continue reading from the point where I left last time. But towards the end when we finish this text, reading whole text, if we still have time then those who miss, I can read it from the beginning. So if you have just joined this time, you have missed the human realm before this break. We should continue a little bit more, discussions on the cause and conditions and the karma. Because not only the devotion, even the concept of blessing – you know grant me blessing so that I can do this and that, I have a feeling these terms are very obscuring to me. Blessings – what is it? Is blessing something that you don’t have to, you would think that someone else creates this for you, is it? What is it, blessing? What is the concept of blessing? Student K: May I say that I feel it’s the transferring an energy to a person to energize them … Rinpoche: Is it? Okay do you think, do you feel that it is something that you didn’t do it? It’s something that God, or whoever guru, he does it. Only he can do it and then you are asking him, saying like – Well I can’t do this. Can you do this to me? (Student K: Yes, yes) (Laughter) Do you think so? Student L: Has to be, has to be a relationship… Rinpoche: Yes, of course; you have to at least ask, he wants to give you; this I know. Student L: And you also has to have openness, so there has to be something, there has to be a way you can receive it. Sometimes you receive; sometimes you are unable to, then … Rinpoche: Okay, the concept of blessing is also something that will; your understanding of blessing will also become better if you understand more about cause, condition, effects and karma, I think.
Anyway this morning, things that we discuss; I don’t think we can actually, let me, unless we actually have you know; I remember asking someone to actually write questions, really ridiculous, simple, can be completely fresh and innocent questions about karma. Because every time when we talk about karma, we also get tangled with all sorts of philosophy and all kinds of religious backgrounds, I guess. That also makes us understand less. It’s quite simple in one way. The function, the process of the karma and the way it manifests is quite difficult, I mean quite difficult to understand. THAT actually no one understands, only I mean someone like, someone enlightened like the Buddha could understand. Eh, it’s like the story of Shariputra. You know, Shariputra not understanding a lay person’s eh, merit that he has in his very, very, very many lifetimes before he has actually accumulated merit. But Shariputra, even he was among the Buddha’s disciples, he was referred as the supreme of prajna which means he actually knew also a lot of things in the past lives and so. But he failed to see that. The only, only completely enlightened being could tell what particular incident of the result of a karma is caused by which past life or this life’s action. Of course if you go through that, then it becomes very difficult. But mm, my understanding of the, sort of misinterpretation, not really misinterpretation but maybe not enough interpretation, incomplete interpretation of karma in the modern world seems to be that mm, people think, people interpret karma as a more predetermined instead of, predetermined phenomena like if you had accumulated bad karma in the past then…There’s many things that; okay, one if you’re going through suffering, then usually we think that this is because of bad karma, isn’t it? That’s one thing we, we should not jump into conclusion because we don’t know. It maybe because of good karma also, you know; that’s one thing. Another thing; eh, somehow when people talk about karma, people think about – Oh, I have to go that right, because of my karma. I have to go through that. That’s also, that’s not the right way interpreting karma because I mean I think what you have to think is remember when we, when we, when I brought the analogy of cooking the egg – that’s one very important factor is, remember I was telling you ‘no obstacles’. If you have; okay there’s water, there’s boiling, there’s fire, there’s everything; someone’s boiling it even, but I have stressed and this actually you should underline – IF THERE IS NO OBSTACLES, then the egg would be boiled, the egg would be cooked. This needs to be underlined because if someone, even if all the conditions are perfect, you cannot say for sure it’s going to be cooked. You cannot rea lly say that, because what if someone comes and puts more cold water or ice, or something like that. It can delay the cooking of the egg. What if someone picks up the egg and take it out. It can also cause not cooking at all; so things like that. I’m talking about analogy. So many things can happen; so it’s changeable. It’s very, very changeable, and it’s in your hand. No one, even Buddha himself said he can tell you how you can manipulate or how you can change but he
can’t really CHANGE IT for you. You have to do it by yourself. It’s your own responsibility.
Because for me sometimes I feel that when people talk about you know sort of fixed karma, then people also feel a little bit, begin to feel a little irresponsible. I think this is very, very tricky, we’ll see. I thought she was asking like that. Were you Chrissie? (Yeah) Eh, that you can do, you can really change a lot, but of course again eh, don’t be too; okay too impatient or don’t have.
Mm, okay there are situations like this – the egg you boil, a lot of hot water, there’s a fire. And then in two seconds, it’s going to be cooked – now you want to change. That’s bit too late, isn’t it? Right; many people think, many people think that way also, I understand. This is why karma is quite difficult; needs, I need to hear your doubt because there is so much information, I don’t know what to tell you, what is it that’s really not getting through?
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 15/17
The example that I; was it yesterday or today? I’m completely spaced out. Did I say something about Mandrika, the king, once he was a beggar; he begged and he got five grains and he threw them – yes that was yesterday, right? Yeah, six grains; yeah in this, in his case, we can use this as an example.
The amount of him offering is very little, just six grains. But that didn’t matter. Of course, I don’t know what exactly happened. I’m only doing the guessing. I guess as a beggar, the six grains must be very important for him. Some, so that, that make the six grains very precious for him and it’s a big sacrifice.
The object to him he offered, Kashyapa Buddha, I think so Kashyapa Buddha, made it much more special. But according to the Mahayana, it was not special enough. He didn’t do it right actually. He only dedicated, he, he only did it for personal comfort, personal whatever, eh gain. That way he only reached the chakravartin’s state. He should have dedicated this merit for the sake of all the sentient beings.
You see the motivation plays a big role in the bodhicitta which is the supreme motivation. Therefore Mahayana always emphasizes us - always should have the bodhicitta, always. So yeah, ask me before the break like maybe ten minutes, you can ask some questions, yeah. Related to the karma, yeah did you want to ask this oh, many questions (laughter), yes.
Student A: Rinpoche, I have a question about purification of karma. Eh, when we have eh, activities we remember from this life, and eh, eh, we think of them, we regret them, we make strong determination not to repeat them and purification practice like Vajrasattva.
From the things in this life that I regret, I can only assume that I have mountains of activities from other lives that I would regret, that I would want to purify. Yet I can’t bring those to mind. How does purification work for activities, negative actions that we have done in previous lives that we have no memory of?
Rinpoche: Oh, that was something that Lucy asked earlier, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it that we do not feel responsible to something we were not, not aware of?
Student A: I feel responsible; just I don’t feel aware (laughter).
Rinpoche: Yeah, that’s GOOD ENOUGH. Actually that’s good enough. You don’t need to be aware of; endless, endless and maybe you better not. (Tibetan phrase) I forgot the expression. It’s a Theravadan expression. It’s a beautiful, says – If you can put all the bones of all your past lives, it is seven times higher than the mountain, eh Mount Meru. If you can gather all the tears that you have cried, it is seven times bigger than all the oceans put together.
Something like that you know and all you need to do is to have to know that you are responsible for your own karma. And that’s why in places like confession or purification practice like Vajrasattva, it even says that non-virtuous actions that I have created deliberately or that I have, you know that I have created without my knowledge. It actually includes that of the past, present and the future. Even the future ones you can purify. Yes that’s and the Vajrasattva is very important again. This is also again basically interdependent reality, the philosophy of interdependent reality, philosophy of cause, condition and effect.
If you make offerings of butter lamps to the past, present and the future, all, all the Buddhas of the past, future and the present, if you put them all together and make each of them a butter lamp offering – you have so much merit. But Vajrasattva’s tantra says – All this merit put together is NOTHING compared to ONE-TIME RECITAION without even visualization of Vajrasattva mantra. You can purify. (Student A: Thank you)
Student B: Rinpoche, you said that no one can do for you but the Buddha can show you some methods, and one of those methods is prayer. (Rinpoche: Yes) So then how does prayer work?
Rinpoche: Because actually you’re doing it.
Student B: Yeah, that was going to be kind of my question. What is the correct, kind of most effective way to pray and how to think about praying?
Rinpoche: Eh, praying or supplicating...
Student B: To Padmasambhava, to Tara...
Rinpoche: Yes; well generally you’re exposed. Ah, there’s so many like which will come here as part of this teaching. Vajrasattva is considered very, very special and also of course Padmasambhava’s Guru Yoga practice; eh, it’s endless. Okay basic one; the basic, basic purifying is by exposing your past, present and the future misdeeds, motivations by exposing your ego. That’s the basic one.
And then on the top of that, if you want to more fancy or more quicker or whatever, then you have Vajrasattva. It has all this cleansing with the visualization . It’s kind of good; it has visualization of clean, cleaning everything and even visualizing the bad karma as in the form of pus and blood and the charcoal coloured liquid and the animals and so on, understand?
And then there is even better than that one, probably the most supreme supposedly. The supreme way of confessing or purifying is by understanding, that’s quite difficult; by understanding so-called karma is not truly existent. Remaining in the emptiness – that’s very difficult, that’s a very difficult one.
So I would suggest what you, which will come in the Vajrasattva, if you are still alive (laughter), we, we pray Vajrasattva, Vajrasattva cleanses us; and Vajrasattva then dissolves into you. And then after the dissolution of Vajrasattva, we then stay for a while, and watch this state of non-existence of karma, non-existence of the agent of the karma, the, the what, one experiences the karmic result and all of that. And we try to remain in that level, okay.
Now in the Atiyoga and especially in the Vajra, Vajrayana, there is another method that is another aspect of this third, third; the third way of purifying is quite difficult. But because Vajrayana is such a great method, very skilful and very easy so to speak, it has actually come out with a very good idea which has the equal blessing or the effect of doing the third type. And easier by mixing your deluded mind and wisdom mind of Padmasambhava again and again - by doing that you are actually doing the third one. That’s the very special method of the Vajrayana which the other schools don’t even begin to have the idea about.
Student C: Rinpoche, I understand that how I am here now is because of my karma. And I understand karma can be transformed or purified but how is it anything other than my karma that leads me to try to purify or transform?
Rinpoche: How is it?
Student C: What else is there than my karma that is leading me to try to purify karma?
Rinpoche: Yeah that’s your good karma.
Student C: But where, but it’s all; so where is my choice? (Laughter)
Rinpoche: Ha, that’s interesting; that’s interesting way of thinking, yes. You have a choice because you can, you can enhance, extend, encourage this kind of karma more than the other. Well we, we; one thing that is one state of no choice, okay; that is we don’t have choice of not being affected by karma - THAT we have no choice. That is we can say predetermined also. Even that I would not know; individually I would not say that because if you practice, you can be free from karma, right, okay. But the choice is between the bad karma and the good karma. You can choose to have that.
Student C: But doesn’t that come from my karma how I make the choice?
Rinpoche: Yes, so for instance do you want to have, do you still want to go, do you still want to practice eh, Longchen Nyingtik ngondro in next life? You’d better get used to this, even hear this or even you touch this head, things like this. Yeah touch the body, what we call liberation through touching; then eat it, liberation through tasting, do that. This is why we practice so that next life you can say I have no choice but I have to read “Words of My Perfect Teacher” (laughter). (Student C: Okay, thank you).
Student D: Eh, my question is a little more basic. Yes, we have a change of karma...
Rinpoche: Pardon, actually ask me basic question; it’s much better.
Student D: Change of karma – it makes sense to me that when you see the karma whatever previous lives come to fruition and put you into this situation. Is it the way you change your karma the way is how you relate to that situation? Where you go
about your habitual pattern and cleanse the situation or push it away like switch it around from here to death. Does it make sense?
Rinpoche: Mm, no; can you say that again?
Student D: Eh, how is it you change your negative karma or even to cut, I mean negative karma from past lives into positive karma? Is it when it comes to...?
Rinpoche: How, how you change from bad to good? (Student D: Yeah) Oh, many methods; by having good motivation, by purifying it, by – oh, so many. Eh, which is, that is a whole sort of section that’s dedicated to deity called Vajrasattva; by visualizations, by acknowledge, by acknowledging, by going against your hang-ups, habitual pattern, inhibitions, by exposing the ego, insecurity, all kinds of this. (Student D: Okay, thanks).
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 16/17
Student E: In addition to the misinterpretation of seeing karma as fixed by fate, I’m wondering if sometimes we go the other extreme and see it as complete total individual responsibility with all the blame and guilt that tend to go with it. We look at the baby that’s born with HIV and when we hear a Buddha’s saying – that’s the baby’s karma; that’s saying the baby is to be blamed and a bad baby who deserves to die and so forth. And seeing it in those terms, I don’t believe in that. I don’t want to believe in that and I’m wondering maybe we’re forgetting the emptiness of self and the impermanence of self. So the question is to what extent is a person in this life responsible for the
result of karma accumulated in a previous life? Rinpoche: Mm, this is very interesting. Let’s, let us go back one by one. What is it, the word ‘deserves it’? (Audience response: Justice) Student E: Justice, yeah, I think it ties in with the Western idea of justice. I think sometimes karma is seen as… Rinpoche: The egg is cooked. We will say – Oh well, the egg deserves it, sort of (laughter). Well, this is a very; this is again maybe a fundamental difference between the Western thinking and…This word ‘deserves it’. What is the, what is the difference between ‘deserving it’ and ‘earning it’? Student E: I think it ties with this idea of punishment in Western religion that if you’re bad during your life, you will be punished by going to hell. Rinpoche: But somehow I feel that punishment always have someone there doing this punishment. You know I tell you, the fundamental thing we should not forget is… (Pause). Yes, your idea of emptiness was good. Let me clarify that a little bit more. You see Buddhists, first of all; I think it’s wrong to only think that first you create bad karma and then you suffer. At times it might work like that, but at times it doesn’t. You see first of all, in a much more profound level of Buddhist interpretation of hell, the very anger or the aggression is - when a person who has so much anger, the person’s reflection of the phenomena is the hell. So in this case, where does the notion ‘deserves it’ and ‘earn it’ fit in? I mean, I don’t know where we can use the word ‘deserves it’ because it’s not. It’s his reflection, it’s his or her phenomena. Someone who has that emotion, that kind of karma, that kind of negative emotions – wherever this person goes or dwells or being reborn, changing of course, will go through this kind of experience. It’s a (pause); this concept of deserving, ‘deserves it’, it’s quite new to me. Student E: Could, could it be eh, seeing karma as a system of cosmic justice instead of a system of delusion? Rinpoche: Mm, karma is delusion; system of what did you say? Student E: Cosmic justice; I think there eh, maybe some, sometimes Hindu ideas of karma interpreted that way… Rinpoche: There’s not really a court or someone who decides, that’s the thing. There is no witness; you are the only witness. (Audience: There seems to be a law) What? (Audience: There seems to be a law…) Law; what does law mean? Please tell me, interpretation.
(A short period of discussion between different students in the audience for a while) I see there’s a really big fundamental difference in here. This will take some time, I think, but anyway it’s good that you brought up. This is; yeah as you said, it’s not only that extreme. Somehow also you see there’s so-called karmic link and karmic debt. There’s so much karmic link. Why we, you and I are talking? Why you’re not talking with Monica Lewinsky? (Laughter) You know, you understand? Student E: I didn’t know she had a workshop (laughter). Rinpoche: There’s, there’s that, there’s a karmic link and karmic link is a very beautiful word but it is karmic debt also. Karmic link itself is a karmic debt. By your; I, I don’t know, I’ve explained this to you many times before also. As soon as I stand up – you stand up (laughter). And you are trying to show some kind of respect and I am very much in karmic debt with you. How many are people here? About hundred, two hundred; two hundred times five hundred is what? (Answer from audience: ten thousand) For ten thousand lifetimes I have to get up every time (laughter) you come, you understand. But if I am clever, tonight or right this moment, I can dedicate your merit of standing up and I stand up, knowing that this is their appreciation, their respect to me, and by doing, standing up then they will gain some merit. May this merit remain with them until they achieve enlightenment. Not only I deposit a bit more in my karmic bank, and because based on the karmic link between you and me, it will also help you – because of the karmic link. That’s why the teaching is helping. You see for instance, if you and I have no karmic link, no matter what I teach you, you will not understand. Remember the story of Milarepa. Milarepa went, Milarepa, this great master went to Lama Rongton Lhaga, who is the great Dzogchen master and he gave Dzogchen teaching. And the first time, first night when he met, he gave the Dzogchen teaching, the complete. Nothing happened, nothing. The next day, Lama Rongton said – You and I have no karmic link. You go and meet Marpa Lotsawa. As soon as he heard Marpa Lotsawa, there was all his hair stood up, tears in his eyes and as soon as; Marpa not, he didn’t give ri ght away teachings. He was sort of almost torturing him all the time but he got everything. Based on karmic link, things were; so important to understand this one, this dependent arising, cause and condition and all that, okay. Student F: I’m not sure how like deserving something come into this? But we’re going to be talking about the ten virtuous and non-virtuous actions and all have correlations to come. For example being generous; and it seems that the mix-up a lot of times happen with Westerners confusing why and how? So if I’m very comfortable materially; eh, maybe I excel in the stock market or something and that’s how I got money, but that’s not why. The ‘why’ is because I was generous.
And it seems that, that distinction helps me very much.in the ‘why’ is always the case if you are generous, the ripening effect is always the case that you will receive. But if you invest in the stock market, it may go up and it may go down, that’s ‘how’. You see I think the why and how is really helpful in understanding karma. (Rinpoche: I see) That but, but I have one question for the why and how doesn’t really answer and that’s – Why is the karma increased if you commit a karma, it gets bigger, the effect gets bigger? Rinpoche: Oh, it’s a part of your motivation. It depends so much on your motivation. Some, some, not all the karma become bigger. Some eh, like if you want to really harm someone, and wish that this someone would have all kinds of absolute unhappiness – that’s quite a heavy motivation. And that, unless you cut this with producing some obstacles to this, you will have, this karma will multiply. Student F: I mean it stays in my mind stream and it just multiplies… Rinpoche: Stays within your so-called ‘alaya’ or the mind; it can stay very unconsciously for a long, long time. But when the time ripens, it can happen again. Now… Student G: A break? (Laughter) Rinpoche: I have a karmic problem with not understanding your; this person’s question; so please help everyone (laughter). Okay I’m listening.
THE WORDS OF MY PERFECT TEACHER - by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (San Francisco 2000) (Tib. ཀུན་བཟང་བླ་མའི་ཞལ་ལུང་, Kunzang Lamé Shyalung; Wyl. kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) ...part 17/17
Student G: Eh, okay, in this ground alaya…
Rinpoche: What? (Laughter) Student G: In this ground alaya, (Rinpoche: Okay) we have these potentials, let’s call them seeds. And when all the causes and conditions come together which are many, for those seeds to manifest, then they manifest. So it has to have not only soil, but water and sunshine and right amount and timing of each – this potential. So these are like the facts of karma (Rinpoche: Mm). And then we’ve have confidence in this result. When these facts come together, the results will manifest; mm okay. On this basis; eh, okay let’s say for instance I have a seed of junkie habit. Rinpoche: What’s that? Student G: Junkie, drug habit, addiction yeah; so I have this potential and I go to Paris on holiday. And when I’m in Paris, I see the Eiffel Tower, and because of this potential, I look at the Eiffel Tower, I think “Ah, hypodermic” (laughter). Rinpoche: What’s that? Student G: Needle, a needle; a needle for my junkie habit. I can a shot, I can get high. Yeah, okay that’s scenario one (laughter). Scenario two: now that we also have to bear in mind, it’s a result of karma. Of course everything is like a roller. If I kick over a crate, everything is a result of karma, it’s a non-stop stream, yah; so the fact… Rinpoche: Okay wait; Jodie can you listen to this carefully. Student G: The fact that I find myself in Paris at all is a result of karma. And then I find myself by the Eiffel Tower is a result of a karma. Okay, scenario A. Scenario B, very similar, very subtle difference, not because; I’m saying now the first one was because of the junkie habit I was attracted to go to Paris so I project my vision of the hypodermic onto the Eiffel Tower. Scenario B, because of karma I find myself in Paris at the Eiffel Tower and therefore the karmic potential of the hypodermic has the opportunity to manifest when I look at the Eiffel Tower. Now which comes first and does it make any difference which way it works around?
Rinpoche: Jodie, can you interpret this? (Laughter) Can you please…what? (Background feedback) Student G: Chicken or egg? Rinpoche: Chicken or egg? (Laughter) Student G: Classic English expression; which came first, chicken or the egg? Rinpoche: They’re interdependent so they came together. Student G: They are interdependent when you look at the result. When you look at the causes, you have to say that Paris comes first… Rinpoche: The cause is the result of another cause. Student G: Yes, I said that in the beginning, but it’s not what I’m asking. Rinpoche: Okay, what is it that you’re asking? Student G: What I am asking is that you can say the result of previous karma link to this… Rinpoche: What is a previous? Student G: Previous, before (Rinpoche: Okay) was I found myself in Paris. And then there’s the other seed of the junkie habit have the opportunity to manifest. Okay it come like that OR the other way round. The other way round is that because of the junkie habit, I was attracted to go to Paris so then I can run my movie of the hypodermic onto the Eiffel Tower rather than finding myself in Paris first and then having the opportunity to run the movie. (Laughter) Do you understand the difference in the questions? Rinpoche: I’m trying to think about this (laughter). Student G: Do you know the reason that I ask? Rinpoche: No, no, can you ask this to Jodie and Jodie will in the next session - she will interpret this.
Student G: Okay; I just tell you the reason that I ask, because in one way it appears to me ultimately, there is no difference in cause which you have one chance to influence from one side and from the other. That’s why I ask. Rinpoche: That’s interesting but you didn’t have to go through all that junkie business (laughter). Student H: Rinpoche, can you hear me? (Rinpoche: Yes) Is it dangerous to talk about karma? Rinpoche: No, no, not so bad. (Student H: Never?) Yeah (Student H: Never ever?) Pardon (laughter) no, no, it’s not dangerous at all. Student H: Is talking karma too? (Rinpoche: Yes it is) And so when does knowledge become an obstacle? Rinpoche: Every knowledge is obstacles, you know but at the moment most of the obstacles, they are used (Student H: Used?) - as a step. It’s like going upstairs. The stairs is not your bedroom; as you, your bedroom is upstairs, you have to use it. Student H: I guess what I’m asking is how do I confess all my karma, all of it? Rinpoche: Well, you don’t have to; you know there was one gentleman who asked this question. You don’t have to be aware of. If you can, of course, but you should feel responsible. (Student H: Sir?) Responsible for what you have done in the past and in the future. Student H: Thank you. Rinpoche: Maybe we should have a break. Is that okay? Is it okay? (After the break) So now we will go through the actual, the chapter of the Karma and actions, the principle cause, principle of cause and effect. I hope some the discussions we had this morning and earlier afternoon has created some kind of background. Because if you are only reading the manual, especially when we; you see there are different texts, you know. These texts are like a practice manual. So if you are not, especially; I think it works for nomads for instance because the nomads – they don’t think other things; they don’t, they
might not you know they’re, for instance maybe like during the Patrul Rinpoche’s time, the nomads are very devoted. They don’t ask questions, they don’t in different things. So just a mere practice manual like this is good enough, but for many of us, I don’t know fortunately or unfortunately we’re, we sort of have certain information. We have our background, difference of background. We have certain knowledge but not enough, not complete, sometimes a little misunderstood. So I can see if we read this manual, practice manual straightforward without a little bit of background understanding, fundamental understanding, you might almost; take especially this chapter as almost like a theistic, a very theistic teaching. You can’t do evil actions. You must do good, things like that. It’s very theistic you know, theistic. But I hope at least you have a little different approach towards this outline. The actual outline is not that difficult to learn; it’s just difficult to practice. Negative actions to be abandoned -the first; and anyway Patrul Rinpoche’s saying here – Wherever we’re, wherever we’re reborn, we are thrown by karma. Yeah, before that I want to, I’ve been trying to get this quotation of Chandrakirti which might also give you a different, which might give you a good background. I don’t remember the actual shloka very, I don’t remember completely but Chandrakirti said something (pause). He said something like – Those who are ignorant, they will develop, okay they will accumulate negative, negative bad karma and then they will go to hell. Those who are ignorant, eh, he said those who are ignorant, they will accumulate bad karma and they will go to hell. Also those who are ignorant, they will accumulate good karma and they will go to heaven. For those who are wise, they will try not to engage with any karma and they will be liberated, you understand. It’s, I, I can’t; maybe tomorrow I’ll remember these verses. This should give you the idea of karma, sort of just different parts of understanding of karma. Karma is important. It’s VERY IMPORTANT to understand. But when we, in the process of you know understanding the karma and trying to be good Buddhists, we tend to think – being Buddhists is, ultimately being good Buddhists mean getting rid of all the bad karma and do only good karma. But according to Chandrakirti, sounds like it is not. That does not make you the perfect Buddhist or at least Mahayana practitioner. You are supposed to liberate from the karma. Okay, anyway wherever you’re reborn, it’s cause and condition by your
karma, not necessarily past life, but the past moment, past days. No creator or entity is deciding this. No one is sending you, no one has the right to do this, no one has power to do this. Nobody is deciding where you should go and where you shouldn’t. Also it’s not that out of the blue you sort of appeared here, you know sort of without any cause or condition or effect. You sort of suddenly appear and you suddenly have eh, I don’t know, a million dollars or you suddenly eh, on a wheelchair the rest of your life or it’s not, it’s not just suddenly sort of happen that way. This is why for practitioners like us, one must get accustomed to purify bad karma as much as possible and accumulate good karma, okay. Because by accumulating the good karma gently, gradually then we know that one day we even have to purify that good karma also. Because if you don’t; if you don’t, the bad karma, you will never reach that level. So then negative actions to be abandoned; killing or taking life. What is, yeah I think mm, (pause as Rinpoche goes through the papers). Taking life – the deed or action of taking life, perform based on the aggression, sort of motivated by aggression. Motivated by yeah, aggression such as hating enemy and because of that you kill your enemy. Desire because you want to eat someone else’s flesh and or wear someone else’s skin, fur, whatever. Then because of that desire you kill. Also you can perform killing out of your ignorance like some of the tirthikas, some of the non-Buddhist schools who believe that by killing horses and goats, it can please gods, you know like sacrifice, all that. Sacrificial you know pujas. Now there’s one point here which I underline; the Patrul Rinpoche’s saying, it’s very, very true. Many of us think that well; many of us in this room, we don’t really kill – this is what we think; that we actually directly don’t really kill. But Patrul Rinpoche’s saying that is not really true. Most of us are directly or indirectly involved with killing. Of course, when, when we talk about killing, we are not only talking about killing of a human being. Because for a Buddhist, a big human being, between a big human being and a small insect like ant – there’s no difference, they are both sentient beings. And this is one section that you should read actually. It’s a very good scolding towards the lamas especially. Yeah, I will not read because I’m too embarrassed.
Ah, the issue on vegetarian and non-vegetarian is very much touched here. Patrul Rinpoche never ate meat. And many lamas in Tibet, they eat meat; and they have all kinds of excuses – poor Tibetans not having vegetables, stuff like that. But there were a lot of vegetarians, you know in Tibet. Next time you should argue the Tibetans, lamas,,, Of course the Vajrayana explanation about you know mandana and bala and all that; that’s something that’s beyond here. Vajrayana never gives permission to eat meat. What Vajrayana did was Vajrayana was stressing us to not to have preference between dirty food and clean food. At times, I feel that there’s a little bit of untimely teaching because you know Tantra, Tantric teachings were first originated in India. In India there was such a big Brahmin culture and the Brahmin, Brahmins, they really look down at meat and meat-eater. And this is why in some of the highest Yoga Tantras, you see in the feast and stull like that – wine and meat. But such substances are used to teach us the non-duality, but anyway this is not the time to talk about it. I’m just mention, mention this to you as a preview of deeper and higher understanding of Vajrayana.
FINITO…THE END OF SECOND YEAR OF FOUR YEAR TEACHINGS
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher, San Francisco, 2000 - 2nd year of 4 years teaching (transcribed from audio recording) http://www.khyentserecordings.org/namo/Dzongsar_Khyent se_Rinpoche.html
Dedication of Merit –
ge war di yi nyur du dak Through this merit, may I quickly orgyen lama drub gyur ne Accomplish the level of the Oddiyana Lama and through that dro wa chik kyang ma lü pa May all beings, without exception, de yi sa la gö par shok Be established at that level.
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