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this month's teachings A teaching given by Chgyal Namkhai Norbu Web cast from Merigar, August 13, 2002

Four Verses of Advice from Ogyen end!in "#art One$ %ood morning, good afternoon, good evening to a&& 'eo'&e (ho are interested around the (or&d) We are very ha''y to have this communication and to be together s'iritua&&y and menta&&y* We are here at Merigar at our August retreat* We have a very nice day* +t's not so (arm but it's very nice* We ,no( a&so that there are many 'eo'&e in the co&d (eather these days, in the sno(, but (e a&so ,no( that many of you are having (arm (eather so &et us en-oy this moment together in any case* + (ant to communicate some very sim'&e teaching to you* Among many of my .!ogchen teachers, one of the most im'ortant (as my unc&e (ho (as ca&&ed Ogyen end!in "O rgyan rten '!in$* /e (as not an inte&&ectua& 'erson but he (as an e0ce&&ent .!ogchen 'ractitioner and + received many .!ogchen 1'adesa teachings as (e&& as many teachings and ,no(&edge of 2antra 2oga from him* /e (as one of the most im'ortant students of Ad!om .rug'a* Ad!om .rug'a is a very im'ortant .!ogchen teacher (ho s'ent most of his &ife doing 'ractice and had a rea&&y very high rea&i!ation of .!ogchen* My unc&e (as an e0ce&&ent 'ractitioner and teacher, but not &i,e those teachers (ho have studied for a &ong time in an inte&&ectua& (ay* When + &ast sa( him in 1345 or 43, + don't remember (hich, + had gone to see him to receive some 'articu&ar ,no(&edge of 2antra 2oga* + s'ent a fe( days (ith him and (hen + &eft + as,ed him to give me some advice* +n genera& (e have that attitude (hen (e are fo&&o(ing a teacher, (e as, him to give us some advice* +t doesn't mean that + am te&&ing you to do that* "&aughter$ 6ut (e have that attitude* For e0am'&e + as,ed my teacher at 7o&&ege and he gave me some advice* + a&so as,ed other teachers &i,e Ayu 8handro and they gave me some advice* his advice is main&y about ho( to integrate teaching and go ahead (ith our 'ractice* 9ome teachers (rite 'ages of advice* For e0am'&e (hen + as,ed advice from one of my teachers, 8hon,ar :in'oche, he (rote me a &itt&e boo,&et of more than fifteen 'ages* +f someone is a 'ractitioner and a&so has inte&&ectua& ,no(&edge it is easy to (rite it do(n* 6ut (hen + as,ed my 1nc&e ogden, he said, ;O8 then, get a 'en and some 'a'er* 2ou (rite and + (i&& te&& you*; /e on&y gave me four verses* his (as his advice* Of course + considered this to be something very im'ortant and + (ant to e0'&ain these four verses to you so you too can maybe understand ho( advice on the essence of ,no(&edge is given* his is the first verse*

'7he bu'"s,yes bu$ means 'erson* When (e say 'che bu' in ibetan, it cou&d be ma&e or fema&e* +n <ng&ish (e say ''erson', (hich cou&d be ma&e or fema&e* '=odro den'a'"b&o gros &dan 'a$ means not on&y a 'erson but one (ho has a ca'acity of understanding, for e0am'&e, (hat is a good (ay, (hat is a bad (ay> a 'erson (ho can understand and a&so a''&y that understanding* +n genera& (e say that this is the characteristic of human beings* /uman beings are different from anima&s* Anima&s do not have that ca'acity* #eo'&e can e0'&ain, can ta&,, can communicate* ?ot on&y communicate but they can -udge and thin,* 9ome 'eo'&e are ab&e to communicate and distinguish the difference bet(een good and bad* hat ,ind of 'erson is ca&&ed '&odro den'a' and has this ,ind of inte&&igence* 9o this (as addressed to me, ;2ou are the ,ind of 'erson (ho has that ca'acity;* +t means, ;2ou aren't stu'id;, if + e0'&ain something, you ,no( ho( to understand and a''&y it* his is the first verse* he second verse has a very condensed meaning* ' sun tun cho chod ge(ar gyur' " shu& mthun chos s'yod dge bar 'gyur$* ' sun tun' means you ,no( ho( to a''&y everything according to its condition* +t is a very im'ortant (ord* +n genera& (e human beings ,no( a &ot of things* 6ut even if (e ,no( a &ot sometimes (e tend to go more (ith our fantasy and interests* his, ho(ever, doesn't corres'ond to the rea& condition* he rea& condition means ho( it is, its rea& function For e0am'&e, if you are in samsara, you ,no( (hat the condition of samsara is &i,e* 9amsara is not a&(ays '&easant> it is made u' of a &ot of suffering and 'rob&ems* When they have 'rob&ems, some 'eo'&e get u'set immediate&y* Why@ 6ecause they do not notice or understand (hat the condition of samsara is &i,e* +f, for e0am'&e, you are a(are that you are in samsara, you ,no( (hat the situation of samsara is &i,e, (hen you have a 'rob&em there is no reason for you to be too u'set* Of course if you have some 'rob&ems, it isn't very nice* 2ou are not ha''y but you ,no( (hat the situation is &i,e so you can acce't it the (ay it is and do your best to overcome and diminish 'rob&ems* his (ay you don't get charged u' and accumu&ate tensions* <ven (hen there are 'rob&ems, they become &ighter instead of heavier* his is ca&&edA ,no(ing ho( the situation or the condition is* First Mindfulness hen, in genera&, (hen (e are fo&&o(ing any ,ind of teaching, first of a&& our teachers introduce us to or teach us the Four Mindfu&nesses* Why do they teach the Four Minfu&nesses first@ 6ecause it is not something that (e have invented or created but is the rea& condition of our &ives* 6ut even if it is our rea& condition, (e are not a(are that it is* For this reason, teachers ma,e us understand and be a(are that the situation is &i,e that* he First Mindfu&ness ta&,s about being a(are of the 'reciousness of the human condition* When (e study in a more inte&&ectua& (ay

(e say that there are eighteen conditions* We are free from eight of these conditions* For e0am'&e (e are not in the he&& condition, (e are not in the condition of anima&s, (e are not 'retas, (e are not 'eo'&e (ithout the ca'acity to -udge or to s'ea,* We are not in a country or '&ace (here there is no teaching, no transmission, (here (e don't ,no( (hat the teaching or the 'ath is* <ven if (e have a human birth, if (e are in on&y one of these conditions then it is not so easy to be on the 'ath* 9o there are eight different categories* 6ut these eight do not rea&&y tota&&y re'resent our condition* his is on&y a ,ind of e0am'&e* We are free from a&& negative conditions> this is the rea& sense* And then there is '-or'a chu' (hich means the ten things that (e have 'erfected* Of these, five 'erfections are re&ated to the individua& and five are re&ated to our circumstances* 9o then (e &earn (hich is the first, second, third, etc* #articu&ar&y those (ho are interested in inte&&ectua& study &earn these to'ics one by one and (hen they have &earned them they thin, that they have rea&i!ed that ,no(&edge* +f you (ant to e0'&ain these ty'e of detai&s to someone, then you (i&& be ab&e to e0'&ain better but in the rea& sense, the 'rinci'&e is not doing ana&ysis* he 'rinci'&e is ,no(ing, understanding concrete&y (hat the rea& sense is* For e0am'&e if (e com'are ourse&ves to an anima& such as a dog, a nice dog, a very famous dog* <ven though that dog may be very famous, very goodB&oo,ing, it cannot -udge and thin, and fo&&o( teaching and do 'ractice as (e do* 9o it is very sim'&e to com'are ourse&ves to any ty'e of being in order to understand that (e have a very s'ecia& o''ortunity* When (e s'ea, about rea&i!ation such as that of my 1nc&e ogden (e are not ta&,ing about ancient history> it ha''ened very recent&y during the 7u&tura& :evo&ution* 9o if this ty'e of rea&i!ation sti&& e0ists that means that there is this 'ossibi&ity and that this 'ossibi&ity is re&ated to transmission, to a method of 'ractice* We have method, (e have transmission, (e have a teacher* A&so the transmission has not been interru'ted* We have a&& these things (hich means that (e have a very good o''ortunity to fo&&o( teaching and do 'ractice* 9o (e can rea&&y ref&ect on ho( 'recious our human e0istence is because (e can tru&y have some rea&i!ation* /aving rea&i!ation means that (e are tota&&y free from samsara, free from a&& suffering* ?ot on&y do (e become free ourse&ves but (e can he&' many other sentient beings* 9ome 'eo'&e say, ;Oh, + (ant to he&' others;* +t is a very good intention but before you can he&' others you need to have some rea&i!ation yourse&f* +f you have no rea&i!ation or ,no(&edge, you cannot he&' other beings* /e&'ing others doesn't mean that you go and give a &itt&e food or (ater or some other ty'e of he&'* hat ,ind is necessary but it is not rea& he&' for sentient beings because they are transmigrating continua&&y, infinite&y in samsara* /e&'ing means that you &iberate someone from that ty'e of samsara, you do something direct&y or indirect&y* 9o to do these things you need to have certain rea&i!ation and ,no(&edge* For e0am'&e, if you (ant to he&' someone (ho is i&&, you rea&&y need

to be a good doctor* hat means you need to study to become a good doctor* +t isn't enough that you go to that 'erson, offer a &itt&e (ater and say that you are he&'ing them* hat is an e0am'&e* Our rea&i!ation is very im'ortant* A&& these 'ossibi&ities are in our hands* Many teachers give advice saying that rea&i!ation is in our hands* hat means that the teacher gives you transmission, methods, and you ,no( (hat you shou&d do no(* ?o( rea&i!ation is more or &ess in your hands but (hether or not that rea&i!ation becomes com'&ete de'ends on you* 2ou remember (hat 6uddha said, ;+ give you the #ath, but rea&i!ation de'ends on you*; We have that ,ind of condition so this is the First Mindfu&ness* Second Mindfulness Mindfu&ness in genera& means something that (e shou&d a&(ays remember* Why@ 2ou can understand this (ith the 9econd Mindfu&ness* he 9econd Mindfu&ness is the ,no(&edge of im'ermanence* <ven though (e have this 'recious 'ath and transmission in our hands, (e e0ist in time* oday (e thin,, ;Oh, +'ve received a (onderfu& teaching and in a fe( days + (ant to do a 'ersona& retreat, + (ant to 'ractice); 6ut after a fe( days you go bac, to your -ob and meet &ots of 'rob&ems and you thin,, ;Oh, + can't do this today because +'ve got a &ot of im'ortant things to do, but +'&& do it ne0t (ee,); When the ne0t (ee, arrives you sti&& thin,, ;Ah, +'ve sti&& got a &ot of im'ortant things to do* Maybe +'&& do it the fo&&o(ing (ee,*; ?e0t (ee, never finishes, it a&(ays goes ahead and one day (e arrive at the end of our &ives and (e have a sur'rise* ;Oh, this is the end of &ife) What do + do no(@ What did + do@; And (e observe and discover that (e have s'ent a&& our &ife thin,ing of 'racticing ne0t (ee, but (hat (e have concrete&y is a co&&ection of teachings* We have a&(ays (ritten everything do(n but (e don't rea&&y need it because (hen (e die (e can't ta,e anything (ith us* hat means (e have not been a(are of time and (e have &ost that good o''ortunity* 9o even if there is a good o''ortunity, if (e do not understand and a''&y it, it has no va&ue* +n the .!ogchen teaching (e say that everybody has infinite 'otentia&ity* Our rea& condition and 'rimordia& 'otentia&ity is -ust &i,e that of <n&ightened 6eings* 6ut (e are ignorant and are not in that ,no(&edge* +f (e are not in that ,no(&edge, even though (e have that Cua&ity it has no function* 9o it is very im'ortant that (e a''&y Dour ,no(&edgeE and rea&i!e something* ime a&(ays 'asses very Cuic,&y* +f you observe chi&dren (hen they are gro(ing u', after a year or t(o has 'assed and (hen you see them again you thin,,; /o( much they have gro(n); 2ou on&y notice the chi&dren gro(ing but don't notice that your time is 'assing* <ven (hen (e &oo, in the mirror it is difficu&t to notice because (e &oo, there every day and the changes are gradua& not immediate* We seem more or &ess the same* 9'iritua&&y (e a&(ays fee& young* When + (as very sma&& one of my 7hFd masters to&d me, ;+ never had time to be a young man*; And + as,ed him, ;/o( is that 'ossib&e@; /e re'&ied, ;6ecause + sti&&

considered myse&f to be a chi&d* + a&(ays fe&t &i,e that* hen one day someone ca&&ed me an 'o&d mon,' and + discovered that + (as a&ready o&d); hat is very rea& because (e sti&& have the same fee&ing that (e had (hen (e (ere very young* 9o it is very im'ortant that (e ,no( that time is 'assing* For e0am'&e, no( it is summertime and if (e thin, about ne0t summer it seems a &ong (ay a(ay but actua&&y it arrives very Cuic,&y* When + dra( u' my retreat 'rogram + a&(ays notice that after a month, four months, five months (e (i&& do this and that retreat* + sti&& thin, (e have &ots of time unti& (e reach that 'oint Din timeE but then going ahead, day after day 'asses and becomes history* 9o it is very im'ortant for 'ractitioners to remember that time is 'assing Cuic,&y* +t isn't necessary that you concentrate on your death* +f you concentrate on your death too much you become 'essimistic and you a&so fee& bad* We don't need to do &ots of visua&i!ation of death but (e shou&d understand that it is something rea&* We must be a(are and 'resent about everything that is rea&* 6eing 'resent about time is very im'ortant* First of a&& it is very im'ortant for the teaching and the 'ractice* hat (ay (e can rea&i!e something* And a&so it is very im'ortant for ordinary &ife* An e0am'&e, if you are a young 'erson, you shou&d go to schoo& and study* his is your duty in our society in our human condition* +f you do not study and trave& around instead, then you &ose time* At the end, (hen you are thirty years o&d and start to study it is not so easy* When you ,no( that time is 'assing you can study and do (hat you have to do so that you (i&& have more time &ater on to 'ractice and do other things* +t is a&so very im'ortant for re&ationshi's in fami&ies and bet(een 'eo'&e such as husband and (ife (ho marry and stay together* When their emotions diminish, then a&& sorts of 'rob&ems manifest* At that moment they thin,, ;/o( can (e &ive a&& our &ives this (ay@;* hey thin, &i,e this, get charged u' and accumu&ate and deve&o' tension* +f you are a(are of time (hen you get married, then you thin,, ;We (ant to be together, he&'ing each other and co&&aborating, (e (ant to s'end our &ives together;* When time 'asses and your emotions diminish you (on't have this idea, ;Oh, ho( can (e s'end our &ives together@; because you ,no( (hat &ife means* =ife can be one day* =ife can be one (ee,, or even some years* here is no guarantee* Our &ife is -ust &i,e a cand&e &it in an o'en '&ace* here are three very 'recise facts* One is that (e rea&&y die one day* Another is that there are '&enty of secondary causes for dying* Another thing is that there is no guarantee (hether (e &ive a &ong or short time* When (e ,no( these things (e can become more a(are of the situation* +f you become more a(are of time then you can re&a0 the arguing and not 'aying res'ect to each other* +t is a&so very im'ortant to be very a(are of time* ime is 'assing and it is im'ermanent* Karma

2ou see, (e e0ist not on&y in time, but in genera& everything de'ends on our actions* We cannot e0ist (ithout doing something> (e are a&(ays in action* +n this case it is very im'ortant that (e ,no( that (e must not create negative ,arma and that the situation of ,arma is re&ated to time* We must a&(ays be a(are of ,arma, too* +f (e accumu&ate negative ,arma in any case (e e0'erience the effect of it* 9o instead of accumu&ating negative ,arma, (hen (e are a(are and the 'otentia&ity of negative ,arma arises, (e try to 'urify and e&iminate it* hat means that (e are doing our best* his mindfu&ness of ,arma is a&so very im'ortant* Why do (e need to be a(are of negative ,arma@ 6ecause (e are a&so ab&e to be a(are of the situation of samsara* We ,no( that samsara is fu&& of 'ainfu& 'rob&ems* A&& of the suffering of samsara is 'roduced by ,arma* 8arma is 'roduced in time so in this case it is very im'ortant that (e are mindfu& of this* With mindfu&ness (e don't create negative ,arma and in that (ay (e have &ess 'rob&ems of samsara* 9o you see these Four Mindfu&nesses are not something that (e have invented in a theoretica& (ay but are something concrete* First of a&& (e need to ,no( this and then a''&y this ,no(&edge in a correct (ay* +'&& give you a very sim'&e e0am'&e* +f you go to a foreign country (hich is very different from your o(n, such as a country (here there are some very heavy and terrib&e ru&es, then you must be a(are of the ru&es and the situation in that country* 2ou cannot do anything against the ru&es of that country* +t does not de'end on (hether you &i,e or dis&i,e the ru&es, (hether you agree or disagree* +f you (ant to return from that country then you must be a(are, 'ay res'ect and not argue (ith the 'eo'&e* his is ca&&ed, 'ho( the situation is'* 2ou ,no( about the situation, a''&y yourse&f to that so then you (i&& have &ess 'rob&ems* +n the same (ay, the four mindfu&ness are the universa& situation of our condition* Working with circumstances ?ot on&y the Four Mindfu&nesses but there are infinite things* We cannot ma,e a dictionary of them a&& and even if there (as a dictionary, you cou&dn't use it* 6ut it is much better that you use your a(areness, a''&ying it as you shou&d* hat is (hy in the .!ogchen teaching (hen (e s'ea, of our attitude, (e a&(ays say that (e shou&d (or, (ith circumstances* 7ircumstances mean that (hatever the situation is &i,e, (e a''&y Dour ,no(&edgeE in that (ay* 9ome 'eo'&e say, ;Oh, + cou&dn't come to this retreat* +'m rea&&y sorry because my mother is rea&&y i&& and in the hos'ita&;* Or other say that they have some i&&ness or 'rob&em* Or some say that they can't come because if they do they (i&& &ose their -ob* 9o then + re'&y to them, ;.on't (orry* When you have the 'ossibi&ity one day, you go and study and fo&&o( the teaching*; :emember that the most im'ortant thing is that you (or, (ith your circumstances*

7ircumstances say or sho( that you shou&dn't come to this retreat, that you shou&d do these other things* 2ou don't 'ay res'ect and come to the retreat, maybe &ater you (i&& have a &ot of 'rob&ems* 9o you see, then, (hat (or,ing (ith circumstances means* +n genera& it is very im'ortant for our 'ractitioners to &earn ho( to (or, (ith circumstances* hat is (hy + rea&&y &i,e this +ta&ian song (hich goes, ;=a vita, &a vita eG be&&a, basta avere un ombre&&a in Cueste giorni de&&a festa 'er co'rire &a testa;* D=ife, &ife is (onderfu&, a&& you need is an umbre&&a to shade your head during these days of ha''iness*E hat means it is sufficient to have an umbre&&a* 6ut it doesn't mean that if you have an umbre&&a you don't have any 'rob&ems* For e0am'&e, today (e don't need an umbre&&a* A fe( days ago, ho(ever, (hen there (as heavy rain, (e needed one* hat is ca&&ed circumstances* According to the circumstances if you need certain ,inds of 'ractices then you can a''&y them* +n the .!ogchen teaching (e say that if you don't fee& &i,e doing 'ractice, you shou&d never force yourse&f* 9ome 'eo'&e say, ;Oh, if + don't do 'ractice then my &a!iness (i&& be stronger than me and + (i&& &ose my 'ossibi&ity of doing 'ractice,; and you fight (ith your &a!iness* his is a method that is used more in the 9utra sty&e of 'ractice* +f you fo&&o( a .!ogchen teacher and you as, him, ;What sha&& + do@ + don't fee& &i,e 'racticing today*; he teacher (i&& say, ;O8* don't do any 'ractice* :e&a0, en-oy yourse&f*; 6ut don't re&a0 and en-oy yourse&f (ithout having 'resence* 2ou a&(ays need your 'resence* +f there is a continuation of your 'resence then you re&a0, you don't 'ractice* After a fe( days you (i&& discover (hy you don't fee& &i,e 'racticing* 2ou can't fee& that you don't (ant to do 'ractice (ithout having a cause* here is a&(ays a cause, a factor* +t's very im'ortant that you give yourse&f more s'ace, re&a0 and discover (hat it is* When you discover (hat it is then you can (or, (ith that and then you can do 'ractice, you have &ess 'rob&ems* #ractices are not on&y done in one (ay* 9ometimes (e do 'ractice in a forma&, ritua& (ay, you do it for one, t(o three, four days etc*, then one day you don't fee& &i,e doing it* 2ou fee& tired of doing it* hat's norma&* 6ut it isn't necessary that you do that ,ind of 'ractice* 2ou can do 'ractice in a re&a0ed (ay sim'&y re&a0ing in a state of %uruyoga or doing recitation of the Va-ra* here are many (ays of doing 'ractice and that is (hy you shou&d &earn them* 2ou need to &earn different ,inds of 'ractices so that you can (or, (ith circumstances* +n ibetan (e say that if someone sho(s you their inde0 finger, you shou&d re'&y (ith your inde0 finger, not (ith your &itt&e finger because it doesn't corres'ond* ?ot even (ith your thumb because it doesn't corres'ond* his is an e0am'&e to sho( that (e must (or, (ith the situation the (ay it is* his is ca&&ed (or,ing (ith circumstances and is rea&&y a very im'ortant thing* 9o then you ,no( ho( the situation is and ho( to (or, (ith that situation* his is the meaning of the (ords 'tsun tun' "tshu& mthun$ in the advice from my unc&e*