You are on page 1of 10

The Two Truths

Please prepare this session by generating a mind of enlightenment, bodhicitta, to benefit the limitless number of sentient beings. I rejoice to have the opportunity to come here and teach the holy teaching of the Lord Buddha. Most of the participants in this audience now me, and this gives me an especially good feeling. !n important term in Tibetan Buddhism is nang, which means "inner# or "interior.# $appiness and misery shall not be understood with regard to e%ternal objects, and to attain ultimate and unchanging happiness, one needs to reali&e one's innermost being. (ne must strive to study the wor ings of the mind. )hen we reali&e our innermost being, we will reali&e the meaning of life and the meaning of the happiness that we e%perience in our life. In Buddhist teachings, the term "happiness# refers to authentic happiness. In the beginning is it important to study the teachings of the Buddha. The ancient Indian master, called *igniga, said, "Initially one should e%ert oneself in studying, followed by a phase of reflection, which should be followed a phase of meditation practice.# By engaging oneself in the study of the Buddha's teachings, one will achieve peace of mind. By gleaning wisdom from listening and studying, one can cut through the doubt and hesitation with regard to the ultimate truth and ac+uire a very determined mind. )hen one has gained certainty of the ultimate truth through listening and studying, as well as reflection and contemplation, one needs to implement this certainty by uniting it with the phase of meditation. By relying on the wisdom that comes from meditation, one will be able to uproot the disturbing emotions. The ,yingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism places a great deal of emphasis on analytical contemplation, which is the initial process of listening and studying. If one initially does not ac+uire the wisdom that comes from profound analysis, it is impossible to ac+uire wisdom from meditation. If concentrative meditation is not united with the analytical contemplation, by for e%ample only favoring analytical meditation, the Tibetan e%pression "idiot meditator# may be applicable. ,o benefit will come from such meditation. -o, one should unite analytical contemplation with concentrative meditation. Then, one should only do

# !ll samsaric phenomena are impermanent. If all these things lac true e%istence. there are two levels of truth. we are not able to turn our mind inwards and loo at ourselves. and adult. adolescent. !lso. I studied the teaching of the Buddha for ten years. one wants to have even more. But the mind of the Buddha perceives e%ternal phenomena in a completely different way. what is right and what is wrong. then what is the truth1 !ccording to the teaching of the Buddha. (ne can aspire to become wealthy. our e feelings change.concentrative meditation. and thin that one will be happy by the time one has a certain amount of money in the ban . "The 'I' does not have any true characteristics/ the ear does not have any true characteristics/ the tongue does have any true characteristics. (ur bodies ma e numerous sounds that we seldom hear. Impermanence applies e+ually to the e%ternal element of nature. to the sensory consciousnesses. !s sentient beings. as lac ing true e%istence and characteristics. The mind that is occupied with discursive thoughts is a deluded mind that tries to establish what is pure and what is impure. as soon as this happens.# This can be applied to all sensory organs. It is . but it ta es effort to see the stain on one's own. although we easily hear sounds from outside. Phenomena that have no characteristics do not e%ist. The first truth is relative truth/ the second truth is absolute truth. The Tibetan word for relative truth implies "all# and "without essence. -uch phenomena can be very deceptive. To +uote the heart sutra. It is easy for you to see the stain on somebody else's face. we are capable of developing a lot of discursive thoughts. contemplating and meditating. It is difficult to find ultimate fulfillment. Because of the function of the five senses of sentient beings. and then meditation came +uite easily. It is easy to observe that all phenomena are impermanent/ one can see an infant born and gradually grow into a toddler. what is true and what is untrue. )e tend to perceive e%ternal objective phenomena through our senses. -ometimes we e%perience joy/ sometimes misery. Therefore. and to the mind 0 they all lac true e%istence. The same goes for the sense of hearing. we are e%troverted. The deluded mind tries to decide what we see and hear by using our senses. what is deluded and what is not deluded. I brought up this in order to underline the importance of the processes of listening. $owever.

it is essential to reali&e the meaning of impermanence. with regard to your spouse. The presence of discursive thoughts in a mind that is filled with these emotions ma es it very difficult for us to attain the omniscient state of the Buddha. In contrast. the true e%istence. To reali&e relative truth. They are tainted by misery and suffering. and the singularity of the e%ternal phenomena. but cannot guarantee our happiness because new miseries will accompany the possession of new things. If you. Impermanence should be understood in terms of birth. if you believe in the permanence of the relative truth with regard to your beloved. reali&e the meaning of the relative truth in this way. $owever. To understand the meaning of relative truth. The Buddha said that lac ing something is an illusion. as a meditator. If this understanding develops into the reali&ation of the . if you reali&e the impermanent. one should reali&e that the e%ternal phenomena do not hold absolute happiness. But again. you will be at peace. old age. If we reali&e the impermanent nature of the objective reality of the objective phenomena. but the mind of Buddha -ha yamuni. if you reali&e the impermanence of relative truth with regards to all those things. one would see the nature of impermanence affecting his body. is enlightened and don't now the miseries of birth. If one observes the physical e%istence of Buddha -ha yamuni. attachment. your mind will not be perverted. selfless. one must understand impermanence. particularly with regard to your physical e%istence. and so is not lac ing something. you will receive immense benefit even if you lac the reali&ation of the ultimate truth. sic ness and death. such a reali&ation corresponds to the universal truth. )hen we lac something that we want we are miserable. Instead of trusting the objective phenomena. This situation changes when we obtain something that we want. you will suffer. with regard to your friends and family. !ll discursive thoughts can be traced to the three disturbing emotions. is a perverted view. empty. anger and ignorance. The view that holds onto the permanence.therefore difficult for a samsaric being to attain ultimate fulfillment. Birth is followed by destruction. and suffering nature of the e%ternal phenomena. or material objects.

speech and mind. this is the reali&ation of emptiness. Because of this. (ur mind nows only two things. and concentrate. 3or e%ample. and there is an infinite number of sounds that we cannot hear. speech and mind. for e%ample vertical. we do not believe the sounds we cannot hear. But if you shut the gates. remain silent. we are not able to understand all phenomena. then you probably will not be able to gain control over your disturbing emotions. 3or e%ample. our sense organs are incapable of perceiving the whole spectrum of reality. . if you open the gates of your mind or sense organs. at least while you are meditating. The Buddha gave instruction on how to practice closing the gates of one's body. )hen the Buddha said that the three realms are only in the mind. the absolute truth. In the sutra the Buddha tal s about the threefold meditation or samadhi meditation 5-ans rit. (ne of the Tibetan scholars said that if our eyes were placed in a different position. The same applies to our sense organs. )e believe the sounds we can hear. or true e%istence. (ur mind cannot go beyond these two e%tremes. 4arlier I said that the sense organs lac characteristics. The ultimate truth lies beyond the domain of e%pression and description. This is why the Buddha said that the sense organs lac characteristics. Because of this. !bsolute truth cannot be e%pressed because our mind is powerless to do so. They are determined by how our minds perceive them. one2pointed concentration6. and the s in/ their capacity to discern is very wea . to ma e firm. if you cannot see something. then our reality would be completely changed. then many discursive thoughts will come through. the e%treme of e%istence and the e%treme of non2 e%istence. The phenomena are not determined by the objective reality. $e said that one should sit still. this is a ind of meditation.emptiness of the true e%istence of objective phenomena. with a small hole. tongue. 3or e%ample. then you will certainly be able to suppress your conflicting emotions. then the discursive thought will be bloc ed from your mind. The Buddha tal s about the samadhi that is associated with the three gates of the body. The same applies to the nose. If we close our eyes and prevent our sense organs from being distracted. the ear is rather small. If you cannot do this for one wee . If you could practice this simple meditation techni+ue of in a +uiet place for seven days. you will not believe that it e%ists. it means that the actual determining factor is one's own mind.

but one will be capable of eradicating the root of the disturbing thoughts and emotions. )hatever we do is based on the true e%istence of self. This has been a very brief presentation of the relative truth and the ultimate truth. It is therefore important to combine the actual meditation session with the post meditation session. )e trust what "I# thin is true. Therefore. The Indian Buddhist master 8handra irti laid out the seven2fold reasoning of no2self of the chariot. then this self will become so huge that it ma es it difficult for us to see others. we thin is absolutely right. To do this one must analy&e and use one's investigative powers. )e put a tremendous amount of trust into the notion. one should observe one's body and try to determine whether there e%ists a self within the body or not. what "I# state is true. This implies . into one's daily life. (ne should not accept the teaching of the Buddha at face value/ one should thoroughly analy&e the teachings. it is impossible to e%perience happiness for oneself without e%periencing happiness for other sentient beings. then one is not only able to suppress and gain control over one's disturbing emotions. it is crucial for the meditator to use mindfulness to loo within his or her mind.(ur many past lives have made us very familiar with our disturbing emotions. )hen the formal meditation session is supplemented with post meditation practice. *o you have +uestions1 7uestion. There is a reason the Buddha gave the teaching on emptiness of the self. one can practice meditation in formal sessions and implement whatever meditative e%perience one has gained in the informal period. In this way. -ince infinite time we have accustomed to thin ing that an ego e%ists. in the practice of being mindful of one's body. If we build the ego in this manner. Because of the law of interdependence. then you are doing analytical meditation. If you meditate upon this seven2fold reasoning. 3or e%ample. )hatever the self does. and one needs to reali&e the validity of this reason. This is meditation. Is analytical meditation an absolute necessity for a real meditation e%perience1 The Buddha teaches about the emptiness of self.

the Buddha claims that the e%istence of the self is responsible for suffering. Therefore. because you have found your lost elephant. !nd the sign of whether you have meditated is the absence of discursive thoughts. 9ou are therefore a most receptive audience. 7uestion. you can drop your studies and apply this understanding to your meditation practice. listen. )hen does one now that one should stop studying and go into retreat instead1 )hen you gain a profound certainty with regard to the emptiness of self. That is why the elephant is used as a symbol in the Buddhist te%ts. It is crucial for a teacher to share his personal understanding with such an audience. this teaching will actually create peace in your mind. but it bears repeating. The Buddha has also said that the altruistic mind brings about benefit for all living beings. In order to trust the teachings of the Buddha. this is no point. *uring the time of the Buddha. I am a bit confused about the term "study# in this conte%t. the elephant was a very special and beloved animal. Then one can become convinced of the validity of these teachings. 8an you e%plain a little bit more about the meaning of study in this conte%t1 If you are capable of digesting the teaching. 7uestion. This is the foundation of the teaching of the Buddha. But until you develop this profound certainty. By relying on the phase of study and listening you are li ely to generate the . But if you still pursue your academic study through listening and reading after you have reali&ed the meaning of the view.that our e%perience is intimately connected with that of our fellow beings. I believe that many of you are +uite nowledgeable on this topic. reflect and meditate. because the way it is being presented it seems to imply more than an intellectual understanding 0 that there is an insight as well that must be gained by meditation. Therefore the sign of having studied and heard teachings is the e%perience of peace. when you hear instructions from a meditation master. and this peace will permeate your body and your speech. you should continue your study. But you can study for a lifetime without being finished. 4verybody nows this. and that many of you have been practicing for many years. one needs to study.

If the phase of study and listening allows you to e%clude discursive thoughts. while you are studying and listening.meditative e%perience of shamatha.# But if these compounds cannot eliminate illness. focus on what you are studying and hearing/ this constitutes the practice of one2 pointed concentration. -ometimes we thin that we can only meditate by separating ourselves from . our minds entertain many polarities and e%tremes such as e%istence. This habit of creating polarities within the *harma will interfere with the practice. but if you understand the meaning of *harma though the process of study and listening. To use an e%ample. and so on ad infinitum. instead of letting your mind become distracted. :iving rise to the e%perience of shamatha meditation will bring your closer to the successive meditation e%periences that will lead you to the e%perience of the vipashyana meditation. then this also constitutes a practice. !ny practice that will lessen one's discursive thoughts or conflicting emotions constitutes Buddhist meditation practice. the creation of polarities stops. you cannot call it "medicine. and one will not loo upon study and listening as not being meditation. This transformation can happen because we now how to do so. sitting or sleeping 0 within the practice of *harma. compounds that cure an illness are called "medicine. whether from listening or contemplation or meditation.# If you are able to lessen or prevent your discursive thoughts from occurring. or insight meditation. your mind will be protected from non virtuous objects. This type of practice will constitute the practice of both the *harma and meditation. 4veryday actions can be transformed into virtuous actions. Buddhist practice should not be understood only in terms of escaping to an isolated retreat and staying within a small cell. because you are studying dharma. 3or e%ample. wal ing around. at least while you are studying. But such a process alone will not guarantee the reali&ation of the vipashyana. then this is the practice of meditation. )e often thin that one particular aspect of *harma is not meditation. Before we enter into the gates of *harma. it is possible to unite all the trivial acts that one performs in one's daily life 0 such as wa ing up. non2e%istence. !lso. whereas another is genuinely lin ed with meditation practice. good and bad. )hen we enter the *harma. because the objective focus of your meditation is a virtuous object.

sitting and so on. $owever. !lso. with your whole being. These vegetarians should develop compassion towards the non2vegetarians. Then you now the meditative art of eating. The conceptual mind allows us to ma e the journey from the discursive mind to the non2discursive mind. if we implement our meditation practice with wal ing. In this way the discursive mind forms a ground. . then our mind will calm down. -ometimes I feel vipashyana is li e going through lists. eating. !lso. a certain amount of weariness is desirable. and therefore one should not condemn it. are strictly vegetarian. $ow should I avoid that1 To avoid e%periencing boredom one needs to alternate analytical meditation with concentrative meditation. some will brag about their vegetarianism and loo down upon those who are not vegetarians. Most of the people of Tibet spend their lives high up in the mountains. That is because his body. our mind will not be so interested in producing thoughts. apart for not eating flesh. They are eager to see these big cities. (ne does not need to distance oneself from regular life. Therefore. li e the seven fold reasoning of emptiness. 3or e%ample. The act of eating can be united with meditation. 3or e%ample.# 8hinese Buddhists. the food becomes tastier and more nutritious.society. even grass eaten by horses. the conceptual mind does possess certain +ualities. By eating in this way. If one's vegetarianism gives rise to such arrogant thoughts. but after having been there they want to go bac to the pure mountains. )hen we develop a sense of weariness with regard to the discursive mind. (ne goes in circles/ this is samsara. because of their craving for meat. In a way it becomes so familiar that the vitality is lost. but it is possible to meditate within a society. )hen you meet such practitioners. then this practice has not done much good. The process seems to become mechanical and boring. and one day maybe they find themselves in such a city. then the act becomes whole and total. speech and mind are ta ing part in the process of eating. It is similar to this. 7uestion. if the Buddha were to eat bad food. he would be able to e%tract nutrition from that food as if he were eating very wholesome food. especially mon s and nuns living in monasteries. eating is an ordinary activity. we should not condemn individuals who are entertaining discursive thoughts by thin ing that "I have fewer discursive thoughts than that person. and if you are eating with your totality.

In the tantric teaching. )hether you perceive the phenomenal world as pure or impure depends solely on your perceiving mind. This shift occurs because of a transformation of attitude. !ctually. whether you gain the enlightenment of liberation or not is your responsibility.ow. "I have showed you the path to liberation. then my engagement in Buddhist practice does not serve any real purpose. not in limited way. . nor is it poison. in reality the e%ternal enemy is neither our friend nor our enemy. have a philosophy that is profounder then that of others. reflection and meditation. . Buddha2nature. because in the final analysis the perceiving mind decides whether it is pure or impure.In the same way. But if one reali&es this meaning. !s the Buddha said. this will increase ego and arrogance. this wisdom will have the power to change your mind to perceive the reality. !lso. the Buddha says that all phenomenal e%perience and appearance in reality is infinite purity. the Buddha of boundless light. then the ne%t person transfigures into the Buddha of boundless light. one will not be able to recogni&e him. If one understands these teachings. If you study the *harma through listening and hearing. If one lac s this understanding. then this place can be paradise wherever one actually is. as a Buddhist. and ac+uire the corresponding wisdom. which will lead to the condemnation of others. If I. If one does not reali&e this. In the sutras. !s we said earlier. then even if one were to meet !mitabha. gradually a shift ta es place in our mind so that we are capable of generating a sense of love and compassion even towards our enemy. The actual nature of the so called enemy eludes both friend and enemy. !s we practice. It depends on the one ta ing the medicine. the Buddha says that the nature of all living being is sugatagarbha. This world can be a paradise or a hell. the phenomenal world of the three realms is nothing more than a creation of one's mind.# This means that your attitude and perspective are the most crucial elements. )e cannot describe the e%ternal world as pure or impure. in a real sense medicine is not medicine. or that my religion is more genuine than others. even if we thin we have has an enemy. one will go through hell on earth. the practice of humility with regard to all sentient beings is crucial. If this is the case. The e%ternal world escapes both purity and impurity. as it is.

. .(slo.une <==> Translated by Lama 8hangchub at ?arma Tashi Ling Buddhist 8entre.orway .