Longchenpa’s The Precious Mala of the Four Dharmas
July 18, 2014
We are learning the teaching of Longchenpa, the Four Dharmas, and yesterday we listened to the explanation of the First Dharma, blo chos su ‘gro ba, the First Dharma means our mind is directed to that dharma, to the path. We ordinarily live with dualistic vision. We think about how we can be comfortable and this is our dualistic vision. What do we need? We need clothing for our body, we need to drink and eat to maintain our physical body; we are sacrificing only for that, there is nothing else really we are thinking of. This is considered our comfort. So some people have realized that comfort, some money, some potentiality for living, and then they are satisfied. This is our ordinary life. That means they have no idea that our life has something like a continuation. If we know there is some continuation, then of course we know that is not sufficient. If that is sufficient then we are the same as animals; animals can also do something for eating and drinking. When their stomach is full, they are happy and remain. We have a little more capacity than animals, because even if we are full in the stomach we are not satisfied because we know there is tomorrow and there is also our family and there are many other problems to overcome. This is our superior capacity. But we are not thinking very much of the continuation of our life.
When Chandrakirti explained our present and future life, he gave an example of breathing in a very simple way. Breathing is life. We inhale and after inhaling what will there be? Exhaling. And after exhaling, there is inhaling. Otherwise there is no continuation of life. In the same way, our life is going ahead and it is not sufficient, even logically, that we can’t see something concrete regarding the next life. It is complicated. But we can understand what Buddha explained for example. In the condition of the human being, Buddha says that our condition is in this moment is not always the same, everyone has different circumstances, differences of birthplace, of parents, of situation, wealthy, poor condition, etc. So why do we have this? This is related to cause and effect, there had been cause before, and before does not mean when we were in the mother’s womb, because in the mother’s womb we are not producing any cause. But we can understand there was something before and there is also something in the future, otherwise everyone would be the same. So why are we different?
Buddha said sngon mar ci bya da lta’i lus la ltos,“To know what we did in our past life, we observe our present condition.” In the present, everyone is different and this is the production of our karma. There was cause and this is the fruit. Now we are in the fruit, how we are is the fruit. So how do we deal with the next time? Then we can also understand if there is something different in this life, there had been cause, and of course, there will also be future. In the future then, good or bad, we should observe our actions. Now we are alive and we do our best and our best means we are producing good cause and there will be some good fruit. If we are ignorant of that, then of course we create many problems. So this is the teaching of cause and effect from the Buddha and we do our best to apply it and not commit negativities.
So the teaching means we are following, thinking and observing. It is not only sufficient that our stomach is full in this moment, but we must also think for the future, for the next time – how we can have a better condition. So when we have this idea that when someone has many problems, illnesses, etc. – we understand that these problems are a production of the negative cause we have accumulated before – many times we say that illness is connected to a karmic cause. All situations that manifest in our lives are related to a karmic cause and for that reason we purify and do our best. So this means when we have this kind of idea we go to the direction of the path, blo chos su ‘gro ba,which means not only thinking of our stomachs. blo chos su ‘gro ba.That is what we explained yesterday.
Today we have the second argument, chos lam du slob pa means when we are going in the direction of the dharma, we think, “Oh, now I am going in the direction in the dharma”, and we think that is sufficient. It is not sufficient. For example, we start with a relationship, bodhicitta, and we try to understand what it means and how it works; what is its function. When we know, we apply everything in a perfect way. Then chos lam du slob pa means how we give instructions from the teachings in a perfect way and the instructions do not remain as a good idea, but become something concrete and useful. This is the real meaning of chos lam du slob pa.
In general, we have many of these kinds of problems with our distractions. For example, some people are interested in the teachings and there are some teachers giving teachings and explaining and we go and say, “Oh, how nice, many explanations I like, these teachings are fantastic.” We write down what the teacher said, but why are we writing it down? We are writing it down because we think it is interesting and one day we want to do something, but that ‘one day ’ never comes. And then tomorrow another teacher comes and we receive more teachings, so instead of applying what we had written down, we think, “Oh, there is a teacher and teaching and they are going there and this teacher is also explaining, giving many nice things”, and you write down the second collection, the third and fourth collection, all the life we are only making a collection. The idea is that one day we want to do this, otherwise we don’t write it down. But this famous one day never arrives and our life is passing. One day we arrive at the end of our life and at that moment what we have is a collection of paper. We are not integrated and we did nothing concrete. This is something dangerous in our lives; with distraction we go on that way.
Even if we have a very nice collection, we cannot bring it to the bardo. When we die we leave all. It is not even useful for our children, at least if it was something of use for the future generations, for our children, but it is not useful because children want to do just like you did, because they are children and they have their lives. They want their own collection. So then our teachings and what we learned in a lifetime become useless. We must not become like that. Then it becomes like chos lam du slob pa, what we learned – at least a small thing becomes something useful in our lives. Concrete. Then any kind of teaching becomes something really important. So this is the conclusion of the second argument. You must not lose the essence when you go after words and many explanations.
/de ltar rab dkar dam pa’i chos mchog la/_/dad pas rab zhugs thar lam ‘dod rnams kyis/_/rang gi sems nyid rab tu gdul bya’i phyir/_/chos de lam du ‘gro ba rab tu gces/
When we are interested in the dharma and we have that desire to learn, we need to re-educate our mind. In general we always go after mind, we are not going after that only, but we should re-educate our mind so we can apply the real sense of the teaching, something concrete. Otherwise, even if we learn something interesting we end up going with our fantasy, and fantasy means our mind can create so many things. So we believe this fantasy and then most of the time we are going after that [fantasy] and then there is no conclusion. This is the real meaning.
/’di ltar rgyal ba’i bstan la rab zhugs nas/_/thos bsam sgom par chas pa de dag kyang /_/kha cig ma zhi rang rgyud ngan pa dang /_/la la lam log dman dang lam gol zhugs/
Sometimes people are interested in the path, the teaching, not only interested but also dedicating a little to studying and following the teaching; maybe they have not met a good teacher, a good teaching and a perfect path. In our dualistic vision we have so many different conditions. So, for example, if you are going to learn a teaching, you should really check the teacher first of all, if the teacher is really serious or not, if the teacher is really giving useful teachings or not. Otherwise people say, “Oh, it is a very interesting teaching”, and you are following it and then after some years you discover the teacher and teaching is not serious. Then you criticize this teacher, for example. We have this kind of situation because we live in dualistic vision, in the limited condition of the human being. So in this case it is much better if you are interested in the dharma or the teaching, you follow with open eyes, not blindly. This is very important. “Opened eyes” means knowing how the teacher and the teaching are and if there is something really useful not. You know and follow that and you will not have this kind of problem.
In general, everything is related to position and economics. Someone says, “Oh, we are interested to do a kind of dharma center and dharma publicity”, and then, “Oh, there is a fantastic teacher, it is not necessary that you receive particular teachings, all you have to do is be in front of this teacher, and you can receive a blessing and you can almost have realization.” I have seen a lot of this kind of publicity in the West. They are doing that to make money. Many people come and then they do a kind of dharma center and live comfortably. So this is not dharma. We must understand this kind of problem otherwise we have problems later. It is better we open our eyes and follow the teaching and then there is not this kind of problem.
So here it also says kha cig ma zhi rang rgyud ngan pa dang/, even if someone is following a teaching and they have no serious desire and their desire is something based in their own interest, someone can be on the path and receive a perfect teaching, but they are receiving it in the wrong way. There is also that possibility. You see, today we have a lot of publicity saying, “Oh, this teacher is fantastic, this is some emanation of the student of Buddha Shakyamuni”, for example, and then many other people saying, “Oh there is a fantastic teacher”, not looking at how the real situation is and this is called publicity. We cannot have realization from publicity. So it is very important we open our eyes and not go this way, otherwise we can also go in the wrong direction. For example, someone does not have serious knowledge of the teaching and they are given a dharma name or something wonderful; many people follow in that way and then later they find something wrong.
We must understand that we are living in the limited condition of the human being. Good and bad always exist. Many years ago when I went to Greece, they were talking about reincarnations and making publicity and saying, “Oh, Namkhai Norbu is a very important teacher, he is a reincarnation of someone.” I don’t feel that at all. But I have some knowledge of the Dzogchen teaching with my experience; I can communicate that and it is beneficial for others. It is not important if I am a reincarnation or not. I am saying don’t follow and jump after a reincarnation. We also have good and bad reincarnations. In Tibet, there are different kinds of reincarnations. Also reincarnations are recognized and become chiefs of the monastery etc., this is not a tradition from Buddha Shakyamuni. This did not exist. This only developed in Tibet.
The source of this reincarnation system is the Karmapa. The Karmapa was something wonderful and interesting and for that reason everyone followed that way. If you want to know the history of the Karmapa, for example, he became very famous, not only for Tibetans but also for Chinese, and many people followed [and still follow] the Karmapa. The first Karmapa was called the Karmapadus gsum mkhyen pa, it means omniscient of the three times. So this Karmapa was fantastic and he became very famous and had so many students. Then at the end of the life of the Karmapa, all his students were saying, “Oh, please don’t die, otherwise how can we remain here on this earth?” The Karmapa said, “You don’t worry, you do the practice I taught, this is more important.” But people were not satisfied. The Karmapa said, “Because we are living in time we cannot have infinite lives, nobody can, even Buddha Shakyamuni manifested death, and now this is my time and there is nothing to do. But you don’t worry, we will meet again.” Then they were a little satisfied that somehow they could meet him again. But the Karmapa did not say where he would be born and where and how they would meet him, etc. So after the Karmapa passed away, after a few years, inkong po,Southern Tibet, in that place, there had been a small child and when he started to speak, he always said, “Oh, I am the Karmapa, I am Karmapa.” This became very famous. Also the students of the Karmapa in Central Tibet heard that and they said, “That must be the Karmapa”, and they went there and found this child and they recognized this as the rebirth of the Karmapa, of course, and they invited him to mtshur phu, the residence of the Karmapa. He became very famous and the monastery became very wealthy and the condition perfect. There was a lot of wealth. There is the second Karmapa, called Karma Pakshi. Karma Pakshi also became very famous. He was not only famous, but also powerful. The residence of the first Karmapa was already established, so Karma Pashi did not have to start his position again, everything was already there. Then the second Karmapa became wonderful and very famous. Of course then there was the 3rd Karmapa and when that Karmapa manifested, all the schools, Kagyupa, Sakyapa, Gelugpa, Nyingmapa, all schools, etc, saw that when you have a reincarnation it is very good for the monastery. That way the monastery becomes wealthy. Monks can live in an easier way. This is the tradition and how it developed including the Gelugpa, the Panchen Lama, and the Dalai Lama, etc. So the tradition of reincarnations comes from there.
I am not saying it is wrong. Reincarnation exists, really there are also some fantastic things, but human beings are limited. In the monasteries when an important lama passes away, they hope the birth of the reincarnation will be a chief of the country people or from a rich family or related to some important lamas, already famous, and then somehow entering and influencing the recognition of the reincarnation, etc. That is why sometimes there are perfect reincarnations and imperfect reincarnations. How can we understand if a reincarnation is not perfect…sometimes they have two or three teachers beating and educating them and when they are getting a little older they escape from the monastery. That is an example. This is called bad. It’s manifesting that way. Some reincarnations do not need much effort for studying, for example, in the ordinary way. When teachers give initiations, introductions, etc, they are waking up and easily learning everything and manifesting fantastically. This is the trace of the reincarnation. I know there are these different kinds.
For example, when I was in school in Khamje,in Derghe, when I finished my college I went there to study the logic of the Sakyapa. We studied, and I had already been studying for more than five years, so when I finished my college I went to other schools to test my knowledge, and for that reason I went to Khamje. I was already an old student. When we were there, there was a very young reincarnation of the Sakyapa calledNyagre Trulku.He was very young, much younger than me. We became very good friends and we always studied together and after lessons we ate and studied together. Sometimes when I found some difficulties with the explanations given by the teacher and I said, “Oh, this point is a little difficult, how can I understand what the teacher explained”, he knew the perfect way to explain it, but he was only in his third year of school. He was much younger than me. Then I thought, “Oh, he is really a reincarnation.” That is an example that reincarnations exist. But we must know a little, not jumping when someone says, “Oh this is a reincarnation”, like this…sometimes they are good and sometimes they do not really correspond. We must understand these things. When I was explaining in Greece saying reincarnations exist, good and bad, at the end of the lessons some people said, “Oh, you give this explanation and we are very disillusioned because we are always thinking that Tibet is a kind of paradise and all Tibetans are yogis.” I said, “No, in Tibet we have bandits, thieves, very bad people also, not only Mahasiddhas and realized beings. You know where Tibet is, Tibet is on this globe near China and India, this is called Tibet, we are eating and drinking, we are sleeping; we do everything. Tibetans are human beings, not living in paradise.” People have this kind of fantasy. Then I said you must not go after fantasy, you should understand something concretely; otherwise later you can have a problem. But even I explained this they were not really very much convinced. It’s important we know.
So then, /’dod sred che dang tshe ‘dir g.yengs la sogs/_/chos dang ‘gal ba’i nyes pa de dag kun/_/chos de lam du ma song dag las byung /, when we are following a teaching, we also have so many and strong desires and attachments and we are always distracted, etc.; this does not correspond with the real sense of the teaching. The teaching is contrary. Why are distractions and attachments manifesting that way? Because we are not applying the real sense of the teaching, we are not going in this direction. We are only living in fantasy so then it does not work. This is the meaning.
/de las ‘di phyi’i nyes pa tshad med de/_/’khrul pas bslus gang ‘chi khar ‘gyod pa nyid/_/bar dor ‘jigs dngangs phyi mar ngan song ‘gro/_/gtan du srid las thar pa’i skabs med do/_/de bas chos de lam du ‘gro bar bya/
In our distracted and dualistic condition we are distracted with that, and we can create so many problems, also in our lives, and then at the end before we are dying we discover that, but then it is too late. At that final moment when we discover our distractions, there is not much benefit, so it is much better we know earlier and we do our best. /bar dor ‘jigs dngangs phyi mar ngan song ‘gro/, so then we arrive at the end of life and we have not done anything concretely. We feel afraid and we know there will be the state of the bardo – there will be our future life and the consequence of our negative actions. /gtandu srid las thar pa’i skabs med do/, when we apply and produce that we cannot liberate our condition for this transmigration. /de bas chos de lam du ‘gro bar bya/, for that reason, it is not only very important we are going to the dharma, but in a perfect way, and then dharma becomes something useful in our life.
/ji ltar nad kyi gnyen por mi dag gis/_/bkru sman sbyar yang de nyid ma dag na/_/yongs su gdung bas slar la gdungs pa bzhin/_/gnyen por ma song chos la dgos pa ci/
Here it gives an example that if we have a kind of illness in our dimension and some doctors give us medicine for cleaning and purifying to take away this illness, even if we are using this kind of medicine for purifying, if we are not really clean at the base, we repeat this illness and problem again when there are secondary causes. The problem manifests again and we cannot overcome it. In the same way, when we are following the teaching, if we have some emotions then we know through the teaching which kind of antidote we need for freeing them. It depends on the capacity of the individual. The Sutra teaching is always explaining which is the antidote. For example, Sutra says if we are angry then what the antidote is, and we know the consequence of anger and that it produces negative things. When we know and think that, that becomes the antidote, and then we do not go after anger. We think, “Oh it is very heavy and we can produce strong negativities” and that awareness itself becomes the antidote. This is just like in the Sutra teaching.
If we are going in the Vajrayana style of teaching, if we have anger we transform it into wisdom. For example, instead of being angry with someone, in the moment you feel anger and you are charged with that anger, you transform into some very wrathful manifestation like Vajarapani or Vajrakilaya, and you are not pretending to be very angry, but you are very angry, and that is transformed into a manifestation of a pure dimension. It does not mean that in Vajrayana we transform into Vajrapani to fight with an enemy. Some people have this kind of idea, but this is impure vision. When we are angry inside impure vision – I was here, he was there, and he is making me angry, now I am angry – this is all dualistic vision.
When we transform we transform into a pure dimension; we are not living here and he is there, and there is all this kind of problem of the impure vision. So this is very important to understand. Once many years ago, one of my students, when I gave teachings of the practice of Simhamukha, said she was interested and was chanting the Simhamukha mantra and then one day this same student told me, “One day I was very angry with my father, my father was not paying respect to my desire, and so I beat my father saying a ka sa ma ra tsha shan da, etc.” I told the student that was very bad. Simhamukha is not for fighting with someone. If you transform into Simhamukha, you transform into a pure dimension, and in a pure dimension there is no dualistic condition. A samsaric situation that is transformed into a pure dimension is a Vajrayana method, not like an antidote or something in the Sutric style. This is Vajrayana style.
If we are Dzogchen practitioners we don’t need any antidote or any transformation; if you are in a state of contemplation you are not in a dualistic condition. When you are really angry with someone, if you are instantly in the state of contemplation, the anger self liberates. That is an example. There are different ways connected with the different capacities of the individual. If you have the capacity to transform through self –liberation, fantastic, you should do that. If you do not have that capacity, then it is not necessary and if you have a little familiarity, you transform into a wrathful manifestation and that is also ok. If you also do not have that capacity then like in Sutra style, since the consequence of anger is very heavy, you can remember that and slowly compassion arises instead of anger.
/gnyen por ma song chos la dgos pa ci/, for that, if we apply the teaching and it is not becoming something concrete, then there is not much sense. /’di na de ‘dra’i nyes pa tshad med pas/_/dad ldan skye bos legs par shes par bya/, for people interested in the teaching it is very important that we have perfect knowledge. /de la chos de lam du ‘gro ba ni/, for having our knowledge in a perfect way, our intention should to go in the direction of the dharma. /thog mar dge ba’i bshes la rag las pas/_/mtshan ldan bla ma dam pa bsten pa gces/, first of all, what we need and what is the most important is that we need to follow a teacher. The teacher is for when you want to know how the path is, how you should apply, etc. The teacher is the one who explains teaching’s real sense to you. This is called teaching. /mtshan ldan bla ma dam pa bsten pa gces/, this means a teacher who has knowledge; knowledge that not only comes from books, not someone who has only learned from a book and explains that way. When the teacher has only this book knowledge we say “we are dancing on a book”. This is not a perfect teacher.
The perfect teacher is the one who has experience and knows how it works, and then this perfect teacher introduces you and you listen and can understand. This is called mtshan ldan bla ma, mtshan ldan means perfect teacher. /de las legs rgyu’i yon tan du ma ‘byung /, when you follow a perfect teacher you receive so many benefits; your attitude, your way of doing practice, what the sense of the practice is, you can discover all. This is explaining qualifications of the teacher; how a teacher must be worthy of following. /de yang thabs mkhas thugs rje’i bdag nyid can/. Thabs mkhas means a teacher knows how the condition of the student is, in which way to communicate with the student, this is called thabs mkhas. Thabs means method, mkhas means knowing which kind of method the teacher needs to use for the student. thugs rje’i dang nyid, thugs rje means compassion, in this case. Not only does the teacher have knowledge, but also it is very important for the teacher to make the student understand and wake the student up. This is really the perfect teacher’s desire. The teacher’s desire is not only that they think they themselves are great scholars and they explain wonderfully, not that, some people have this kind of idea. zhi zhing dul ba, zhimeans the teacher is calm and patient, even if it is necessary to repeat something two or three times. The teacher tries to do this for the student. bzod dang ldan pameans even if there are always difficulties, the person can go ahead. /sdom dang dam tshig spyod tshul phun sum tshogs/ means if there is something connected to our body, speech and mind, with some vows, or if there is a practitioner of the Vajrayana, then there is a samaya commitment, so also they are paying respect and applying in the correct way.
Some people say, “I am a teacher and I can do everything”, but then they do strange things and this does not correspond. spyod tshul phun sum tshogs, spyod tshul means attitudes, how the teacher should be, paying respect for others’ dimension, etc., in the perfect way. /mang du thos shing legs par sbyangs pa che/. Mang du thos means studying and knowing not only one book and the explanations of one book, but also the background and knowledge of the teaching in general, etc.- having sufficient knowledge. legs par sbyangs pa means learned and studied, not only with words, but also with experience. That is called legs par sbyangs pa. /byin rlabs tshad med, which means also there are blessings. Blessings mean if the teacher really has knowledge and is transmitting it to the student, this is how the student receives blessings.
Some people say, “Oh please give me blessings”, and they are asking for the traditional way, “Oh please put your hand on my head”, and they think, “Oh I received a blessing”, but this is not blessing. Blessingreally means the teaching. The teacher is giving the teaching, you are listening and understanding something, this is a serious blessing. Buddha said, “I give you the path, this knowledge, but realization depends on you.” The Buddha never said, “I put my hand on your head and you receive blessings.” There is no Sutra that exists that says that. Some people are always ready to put the hands on the head, many people are going this way, they have this attitude and they say, “Please put your hand on my head.” Then sometimes I ask, what the difference is between the head and the hand and I touch their hand. If there are blessings on the hand, then there are also blessings on the head.
/byin rlabs tshad med gzhan snang rang gis ‘gyur/ gzhan snang rang gis ‘gyur means also that the teacher becomes a good example for the student. The students are learning how the teacher is manifesting, how to communicate and the students apply in that way and then receive that. /tshe ‘di ma ‘dres chos brgyad mkha’ ltar dag, in this life the teacher is not concentrated on or interested in worldly situations. Worldly situations for a teacher means he/she wants to become very famous; they want to have an important position, always concentrating on these kinds of worldly things, and of course this is not a serious teacher. ‘jig rten chos brgyad means eight aspects of worldly things, the teacher wants to become very important, very rich, very powerful, all these things, which are not so important. But a real teacher is not interested in a worldly situation. /’brel tshad don ldan thar lam ‘god pa ‘di/ ‘brel tshad don ldan means a teacher has a relationship with someone and really creates a good karmic relationship with that person. This is called ‘brel tshad don ldan. For example, giving the teaching and knowledge so that the student understands in which direction they should go, this helps, even if you don‘t succeed to have knowledge in that moment, but you know in which direction you should go. This is really called ‘brel tshad don ldan.
The teacher who has the capacity to create this kind of ‘brel tshad don ldan in kaliyuga, in our condition of samsara, this kind of teacher is just like an emanation of the Buddha, an enlightened one. That means something positive. /rab dang gus pa chen pos bsten parbya/, when you have this kind of teacher, you pay supreme respect. If you have the desire to learn and study, you should do that. This is something very precious in a lifetime. This is the meaning. /de las phan yon tshad med zad med de/_/srid la skyo zhing nges ‘byung blo sna thung /, when we are following a teacher in that way, we can have many benefits, infinitely. srid la skyo zhing. First of all, we understand how our real condition is – our relative condition. Existence is in the dimension of suffering, the human being is only living a short time and then passing away and everything becomes history. So we know that and we are not too interested in the relative condition. nges ‘byung means when we are interested to go in this direction we understand that it is very important to understand and be in the real sense, and that this is our real nature. blo sna thung means that mind is not continually in fantasy, and when strange thoughts arise in the mind, we discover immediately how the mind is creating problems. When you have this knowledge it means blo na thung, and then the mind cannot condition you.
/tshe ‘di blos thongs ‘khrul snang bdag ‘dzin ‘jig, in this life we are not only interested in the worldly situation, day after day and night after night, always that way, we know our life is provisional, just like being in the state of the dream. When we are dreaming, in that moment we believe in the dream, we think it is concrete, but after a little while we wake up and discover it is unreal. In the same way when we finish our life, we discover that our life, what has passed, was unreal, just like a dream. ‘khrul snang bdag ‘dzin ‘jig: bdag ‘dzin ‘jig means to diminish our ego. Everybody has a very strong ego. How can understand that? You can observe yourself and immediately discover. We are always thinking we are better than others. You can’t say that, otherwise people think you are badly educated, you may say, “Oh you are very good, you are very clever”, but you always think you know much better.
Sometimes you see people discussing useless things; if there is something important sometimes it is beneficial to discuss. Even if it is something not important, people are discussing for hours and hours because two people have two egos. My way of seeing is perfect for me but another person does not accept that. Then you try and convince that person of your idea. Then you end up discussing useless things and there is no conclusion, nothing. So it is a manifestation of the ego. It is very important we know that. So then bdag ‘dzin ‘jig means when we observe with that kind of knowledge, that tendency diminishes. /ngang gis dul zhing thos bsam sgom pa ldan/ ngang gyis dul means we are becoming a little humble in our condition because our ego has diminished. thos bsam sgom pa ldan, also what we have studied, what we are thinking, judging, analyzing, becomes more useful. /dad sogs rgya che sbyangs ba’i yon tan ldan/, then everything we have studied and learned becomes more useful in our short life. /tshe ‘di don yod phyi ma ‘bas dang bcas/_/de phyir dam pa rnams la bsten par bya/, so then increasing this kind of qualification in this life becomes very useful for us in order to live comfortably in a relaxed way. Also it creates positive thoughts and its fruit for the future is positive. /de phyir dam pa rnams la bsten par bya/, for that reason it is very important we follow a good teacher. These are all the qualifications of the teacher, first qualification of the teacher, second qualification of the teacher, and the benefits when we follow that.
/de yang rang gi sgo gsum zol med pas/_/nad pas sman pa tshong pas dad dpon dang /_gru pas mnyan pa mgron pas skyel ma ltar/_/gus pa’i sri zhus rtag tu mnyes par bya/, also this is the way of following the teacher. There are also some examples. It means each person has body, speech and mind, all three existences. It is not that we create something false, but we follow the teacher seriously. nad pas sman pa, for example, if someone has an illness and they go to a doctor, they recognize who the doctor is, the doctor knows this person has this illness. This person is not discussing with the doctor. The doctor says you should do like this, you should have this attitude, you should do your diet like this, you should take this medicine and you say yes, and try to do your best. In this same way you follow the teacher, not discussing with the teacher, but you try to listen, observe and understand. Then, tshong pas dad dpon means a businessman is going very far for doing business and many people are working for him and they should follow what is this businessman’s desire, something like this. It means we are not going after our individual ego.
gru pas mnyan pa, also when we are traveling on the water in a boat, someone is leading and we should respect that person. We should respect where he is going and what he is doing. If we say, “We can’t go in that direction”, we have problems. mgron pas skyel ma, also if we are traveling somewhere and we do not know where we are and some person is leading, if they have that knowledge and say we should go this way, not that way, we should respect that. Sometimes we do not pay respect and we think we know better. When we went to Nepal we did something like that. I did not, but some of my students did. They were Westerners and they felt these sherpas didn’t know very well what they were doing. Sherpas are always bringing things and traveling, day after day, they know the distances and very well how one should travel. The sherpas said we should go in one direction and the Western students said another. The Westerners were looking at a map and telling the sherpas they were going a very far distance and that they should not go in that way and there was a more direct way – the Westerners insisted and they all traveled that way. In the end, the sherpas felt very tired, it was a very difficult journey, and in the night they escaped. That is an example. Here Longchenpa already knows that./gus pa’i sri zhus rtag tu mnyes par bya/, we respect the teacher and we do our best. That is the meaning.
/ma dad log par lta ba’i sems skyes na/_/skad cig grangs bzhin ngan ‘gror ‘jug par gsung /, when we are following a teacher, and we are not following in a perfect way and we create problems for the teacher, then it says, /skad cig grangs bzhin ngan ‘gror ‘jug par gsung / So, according to what we did, the quantity, we need to have punishment in the future life; for example we are in the lower states and we should pay. This is what it says in the Sutra teaching. /de bas bshags sdom ‘gyod tshangs chen po yis/_/dam tshig rnam dag mig bzhin bsrung la ‘bad/, for that reason, if we did something wrong we recognize that and we should do purification. It is very important. Otherwise there are some problems. /dam tshig rnam dag mig bzhin bsrung la ‘bad/, particularly when we receive a Vajrayana style of teaching, then it is very important, dam tshig, samaya. Samaya is not a vow, I told you already, a vow is Sutra style, vow of the body, speech and mind, when we receive that vow we should follow that in the perfect way until we die. Our vows function until we die. When we die, the vow is finished because a vow is related also to the physical body. Now the physical body is going to a cemetery. It is not respecting the vow. So it is finished. But samaya is different. Samaya means commitments, how we take in Vajrayana teaching, this samaya is something we must keep until we have total realization and not only in this life. So samaya is very important.
It doesn’t mean that when we follow a teaching we never create problems with samaya. We can create problems many times, that is not a problem. We are living in a dualistic way, so we can make many mistakes. But the recognition of that is important; the principle of samaya is to keep samaya perfectly, and that means that when we did something wrong we recognize it and purify. Some people say, “Oh I want to purify, I created some problems with my brothers and sisters of the Vajra.” They know very well that samaya is related to all our practitioners together. Then they think, “Oh I want to purify, which is the best method?” The best method of purifying samaya is doing a Ganapuja. Ganapuja is one of the methods in Vajrayana for purifying and I will explain later. Then they say, “Oh, we did samaya purification and then we did a Ganapuja together, the Ganapuja is finished, and we also did purification, but tensions remain. I don’t like him [or her] because they create problems.” If you are always keeping this tension, then you have not purified. For example, when we purify it means we change completely and we purify that. Something like a new beginning and then we start. This is what is called purified samaya. It is very important that we are keeping samaya in the perfect way. bshags sdom ‘gyod tshangs chen po yis/_/dam tshig rnam dag mig bzhin bsrung la ‘bad/, we should keep a perfect way of protecting our samaya just like we protect our eyes, we are trying to protect our eyes if there are some problems.
/de ltar bshes gnyen dam pa rab bsten nas/_/thos bsam sgom pas rang rgyud sbyangs byas nas/_/thar pa kho na ‘dod pa’i bsam pa yis/_/gang byed dge ba ‘dun pas bsgyur ba ni/_/chos de lam du ‘gro ba’i man ngag yin/
So when we follow a teaching and a teacher and the teacher is giving advice, we are receiving many teachings, we are studying, learning, applying, this is called thos bsam sgom gsum, when we follow a teacher. What should we do when we follow a teacher? First we should listen and understand. After we listen, then we reflect. Reflecting also on ourselves, if we have a little deeper knowledge combined with our condition, we reflect and see if it corresponds or not. Then this is called bsam pa, or thinking, observing, then sgom pa means applying, concretely integrating and doing something; then it becomes something concrete. thos bsam sgom gsum. rang rgyud sbyangs byas nas, how our condition becomes more alive with that knowledge. /thar pa kho na ‘dod pa’i bsam pa yis/, we are thinking that we want to be free from our dualistic vision and this samsaric situation. Any activities we are doing in our daily lives we are always dealing with that principle. That means we are integrating with that principle. /chos de lam du ‘gro ba’i man ngag yin/, that means when we have an idea of dharma, practice, etc., it becomes something concrete.
/nyan dang sems dang kha ton byed pa na’ang /_/rang rgyud thar pa’i don du de brtsam zhing /_/’bri dang klog dang ‘dzin dang ‘chad pa na’ang /_/thar pa kho na ‘dod pas brtsam par bya/
That means any kind of action we apply we always concentrate that this action becomes the cause or method for becoming totally realized and in the real sense that means we are totally in our real nature, even if we are listening or concentrating. kha ton, kha ton means chanting, even some mantras etc., rang rgyud thar pa’i dun du, so the purpose is to direct us to that [the real sense]. /’bri dang klog dang ‘dzin dang ‘chad pa na’ang /, also when we are writing, reading or memorizing to remember for continuation, everything is concentrated on this principle of total realization. The essence of total realization is just like the Vajrayana and Dzogchen teaching; it means we are in our real nature.
/sgom dang lta dang spyod par byed pa na’ang /_/thar pa kho na’i sems dang ma bral bas/_/nges ‘byung skyo shas drag pos ‘bad par bya/_/snying po’i man ngag ‘di las gong na med/
Even if we are doing any kind of meditation, studying different points of view or any kinds of attitudes we apply, different kinds related to Sutra and Varjrayana styles, anything that we apply, everything is directed towards having total realization. We have this presence. /nges ‘byung skyo shas drag pos ‘bad par bya/, so having that presence, we apply everything in that way and that brings integration of our real knowledge. /snying po’i man ngag ‘di las gong na med/, beyond this essential point, there is nothing more essential in the teachings. That is true, for example, here it is more combined with Sutra teaching, but we think this also in the Dzogchen Teaching. Everything goes in the direction of the state of realization, this is the main point; the main point is having realization. That is supreme.
/za nyal ‘gro ‘dug smra brjod bsam la sogs/_/mdor na bya ba gang dang gang byed kyang /_/thar pa ‘dod pa’i blo dang ma bral bas/_/skyo shas bskyed de sems rgyud gdul bar bya/
So any kind of four moments we are in, this is how Buddha explained in the Sutra, saying our life is passing with four moments. The four moments are za, cham, ‘gro, ‘dug. Za means we are eating or drinking to keep our physical body alive, cham means we are walking, nyal means we are sleeping, ‘dug means we are sitting. These are the four moments we are passing all our time with. For that reason, in any of these moments we must be present and know and deal with having total realization, to bring ourselves in this direction. Za cham ‘gro ‘dug smra brjod bsam la sogs, also, smra brjod means when we are speaking, brjod means when we are talking, bsam means when we are thinking or judging. /mdor na bya ba gang dang gang byed kyang /, the conclusion is that any kind of application of the four moments we are doing in our life, /thar pa ‘dod pa’i blo dang ma bral bas/ we never lose the desire that we are going toward total realization in the end. /skyo shas bskyed de sems rgyud gdul bar bya/, so in that way, we have the continuation of that presence and we are re-educating our mind in that way. /’di ni dam chos lam du ‘gro ba’i gnad/, this is how the path becomes something that goes in the correct way, /khyad par theg chen lam du ‘gro byed pa/_/dge ba gang byed gzhan don dmigs pa ste/, particularly when we are following the Mahayana style of the teaching and it is going in a perfect way, /dge ba gang byed gzhan don dmigs pa ste/, any kind of good actions that we apply, we always apply for the purpose of having benefit for others, not only ourselves. /snying rjes sems bskyed mos bsngo yi rang bzhing /, arising compassion means not only artificially, we think that this is compassion and we should be compassionate, but we know how the situation is because we are on the path, and when we are on the path, sooner or later, we have total realization. But we know how many sentient beings are not on the path. They have no guarantee they can have realization. When they have no realization, suffering is their samsaric situation. Definitively there is infinite suffering. So when we know that, of course compassion arises. It is serious compassion, not artificial, contrived compassion. Bodhisattvas concentrate on this and then infinite compassion arises.
I remember the video they prepared when His Holiness the Dalai Lama was giving a teaching in Karmaling, in Northern France. That teaching was something about the Bodhisattva, I don’t remember very precisely. When he started to teach His Holiness did a kind of invocation to Buddha, Bodhisattvas, etc., and after that he started to teach. In that moment he said, “In our samsara, we have infinite sentient beings”, he said only these words and then he started to cry. He cried for a long time and he could not speak. That means true compassion is arising, not artificial, so if we concentrate a little on how the situation of samsara is, how much suffering there is, for example, if we only think of this globe, for example, in this moment hundreds and hundreds of people are dying, that is an example. That is how it is. So we must know this and then our compassion is really alive.
I remember some people when I gave teachings at a retreat in England, and when we finished the teaching someone said, “ When I am following other Buddhist teachings, they are always explaining compassion, how important it is, and you are not saying anything. Why are you not explaining compassion a little?” I said I am not a teacher who explains how to cultivate artificial compassion. I am trying to help people understand how our real nature is and how the nature of samsara is. If you know that, then serious compassion arises, not only artificial. So this is also important to know.
/khyad par theg chen lam du ‘gro byed pa/_/dge ba gang byed gzhan don dmigs pa ste, particularly in Mahayana, it is very important we increase compassion. Sems bskyed means we are cultivating bodhicitta for that reason. There are two kinds of bodhicitta, one is explained in a more intellectual way, bodhicitta of intention and bodhicitta of application. At the beginning any kind of practice we do in Mahayana or Vajrayana style, there is always refuge and bodhicitta. I said already that refuge is the essence, what we follow on a path, this is really refuge. Cultivating bodhicitta means we know which kind of intention we have in this moment. When we observe, we notice which kind of intention we have. If we have a bad intention we understand that, it is not good and we cultivate a good intention instead of bad. We throw bad intention away. Otherwise we follow that bad intention and we produce negative karma.
For Mahayana practitioners it is not necessary to have a kind of vow like in Hinayana. If they are serious practitioners they have the capacity to follow intention. The practitioners are always present, noticing what kind of intention they have, if there is any kind of bad intention immediately they cultivate a good intention. Good intentions bring good actions. This is the very essential practice of Mahayana. Also everybody can do this and follow the principle of the Mahayana teaching; it is very, very important. I am not asking you to do Mahayana practice more traditionally, that you should go in a temple, sing, offer flowers, etc. If there is a possibility to do this, why not, it is very nice. But this is not the main point. This is a secondary thing in Mahayana. The Mahayana principle is that we observe our mind, which kind of intention we have, and this we can do in any moment. If you do that frequently, you become a good practitioner of Mahayana. You don’t need any vow and you can control all negativities. If there is no bad intention, no bad action arises.
So when we are learning about how to produce negative karma, negative karma is not only that we have a kind of bad intention, not only that. There is also bad intention where we do not recognize it or cultivate good intention, so that means we are distracted and we follow that. When we apply that and after we produce that negative result and we are satisfied, then we produced a negative karma, the potentiality of negative karma. In Mahayana it is very important to know what negative potentiality is. Some people think any kind of bad things become negative karma, it is not that way, for doing negative or positive things, to create karma we always need three qualifications.
The first indispensible qualification is intention. For example, if I want to kill someone, that is bad intention. Maybe I can kill directly, maybe I couldn’t do that, when I couldn’t do it and I want to apply this action. I can ask my friend, for example, or someone I pay money to, I ask someone to kill for me, for example, and I pay a lot of money. We make an agreement, then this person goes to kill that person – of course if I am going directly we can understand and that is the first type of negative karma. But if I have that intention, and the application is direct or indirect, at the end that person says, “Oh, I killed your enemy”, and then I arrive and receive that information precisely and he shows me something to convince me, and then I must pay, for example. Then I am satisfied and have realized my goal. So it is qualified and has the potentiality of negative karma for producing a secondary cause. When there is secondary cause, then the negative karma manifests that. So this is called karma.
For example, if we are walking in the street, and there are small animals in the earth that maybe you didn’t see before putting your feet down, when you put your feet down you are thinking there may be an animal, but you already put your feet down. The animal is killed. Of course this is negative because this animal suffered and that is negative. But you had no intention to kill that animal and when you killed the animal you felt sorry. You didn’t have the idea to kill. You are not producing a negative karma in a perfect way, with the three principles, but it becomes an obstacle.
In Tibetan we say sdig pa and sgrib pa. sdig pa, which means negative potentiality; negative potentiality that is really perfectly produced and then becomes an impediment for realization and has such kind of potentiality. This is really the negative potentiality of karma. sgrib pa means obstacles. Of course it is not positive, but sgrib pa is not only producing negative karma. If we can purify more easily, when you do some purification practices, Vajrasattva etc., they say we purify all sdig pa dang sgrib pa. sdig pa means impediments, potentiality of negative karma that we have produced; sgrib pa means only a kind of obstacle. Of course, when you do not purify sgrib pa, it slowly becomes heavier; that is normal. So intention is very important in Mahayana. Try to do this kind of practice, you don’t need anything like a specific place or specific time to do it; it is very powerful. And in the Dzogchen teachings it says we need to be present. When you are present you can work also with that, with intention; when there is a bad intention you throw it away.
mos bsngo means that when we are doing any kind of practice, there are three sacred things. First at the beginning, in the Mahayana system, we do refuge and bodhicitta. You already know the meaning of that. Then at the end, anything we have produced, good actions, etc., we dedicate for all sentient beings. This is the last. And between that, what did we practice? Even if we have no capacity to govern all this by being in a state of contemplation, the supreme capacity, even if we do not have that capacity, we do not think reality is the relative condition. Everything is just like a dream, just like reflections, unreal. Buddha said everything is unreal. When we are in that knowledge, also its potentiality is empowered in that practice. So these are called the three sacred things and we should apply in that way.
/sems can don phyir yongs su bsgrub pa’o/ so with all these applications we can do benefit for all sentient beings.
/’di ltar ‘gro kun bdag gi pha dang ma/_/gnyen dang rtsa lag phan gdags zhing yin la/_/bdag kyang bzhan don byang chub sems bskyed pas/_/’gro ba’i don du dge ba bsgrub par bya/_/bdag gi dge bas ‘gro ba bde bar ‘gyur/
We know we need to create compassion for all sentient beings. All sentient beings are just like our father and mother. Our father and mother, in general, are very important for our life. If there were no father and mother, we would not have our life here. But in some modern societies people say they don’t like their mother and father and they are fighting with them. This is very bad. This is more developed in the Western world, for example in Tibet and the Eastern countries young people have a lot of respect for parents; it is very important. So we think just father and mother are important, also the explanation in Mahayana says pha ma ma byas pa ci kyang med/, which means when we infinitely transmigrate, nobody knows what we have been, sometimes we are a dog or cat or birds, all are then our parents, father and mother, nobody knows, there are infinite transmigrations. This is one of the reasons. gnyen dang rtsa lag,also like friends and relations, when we have a father and mother, and relations, etc., we say, ”Oh they are my relations, I want to help them, I love them”, etc, we have this limited kind of love. So we need to develop this love for all sentient beings. So that is the meaning.
/bdag kyang bzhan don byang chub sems bskyed pas/_/’gro ba’i don du dge ba bsgrub par bya/, now we are increasing and developing that compassion, like our teachers and practitioners did in ancient times. We are doing that in the same way. du dge ba bsgrub par bya, we are increasing virtue, benefits increase, everything, for the benefit of all sentient beings. /bdag gi dge bas ‘gro ba bde bar ‘gyur/, what we produce, good actions etc., also becomes good cause for all sentient beings. /de kun sdug bsngal bdag la smin pa dang /_/bdag gi dge ba ‘gro la smin gyur te/_/lus can thams cad sangs rgyas thob par shog, so this you remember in the Mahayana tradition. Some teachers say you should do the practice of gtong len. gtong means we offer our happiness to people who are suffering. Then we take the suffering of these people, not a physical exchange, but an exchange that is related to mind.
Some people tell me that they followed a teaching on how to do gtong len practice, it seems nice but they feel afraid. They are afraid because if there is someone who has an illness like cancer for example, they think they are taking this illness of cancer and giving their very good health to this person. In their mind they do an exchange and then they say, “I have tried to do this, but I feel afraid. Maybe the cancer will really come.” So if you have this idea you are not doing gtong len. If you are really doing gtong len you need to have courage, otherwise there is not much sense.
/lus can thams cad sangs rgyas thob par shog, in that way all sentient beings have realization. So this is not something concrete but we apply it with our mind, just like the practice of chöd. You already know chöd practice, chöd means to cut through our ego. So what is the principle of the chöd? There are two important arguments in the practice of chöd. One is Guruyoga. Guruyoga is for getting in the real sense of the realization. Also the principle of chöd is related with Vajrayana and the Dzogchen state. Another way for cutting through our ego is called lus sbyin. Lus means physical body, the material aspect, sbyin means we are offering, In general we always feel afraid, or there are bad spirits, and they are coming to take away our physical body and we feel afraid. We ask for help for protecting us from that. Then we have these kinds of practices.
Machig Lapdron, ma gcig lab sgron, who created chöd, is saying it is much better that we say, “Oh bad spirits come here and enjoy! You eat me!” Through this we overcome this attachment, because attachment is with the mind, not the physical body. When some people are trying to do chöd practice, they want to go in a forest, in the nighttime in the cemetery, for example, where they can feel more alive with movements around them, etc. Then when they call the bad spirits in the nighttime in a wild place they can feel something. They are more present. Practitioners are going somewhere with that idea. Then in the nighttime when they are doing practice, instead of bad spirits coming, many mosquitoes come and bite them and the practitioners are saying, “Oh, I am giving you (the mosquito) my physical body”, and they remain and insist to do practice and then tomorrow they have an illness. Mosquitoes bite, but mosquitoes bite on the physical level, and you are doing offering of your physical body on the mental level. You must distinguish those two things. We couldn’t offer our physical body like a bodhisattva, bodhisattvas have no problem, they have realization. For that reason in Nepal we have stag mo lus sbyin, this place people visit, where bodhisattvas offer their bodies to the tigers. So it is important to distinguish.
/dge ba gang rnams sbyor ba sems bskyed dang /_/dngos gzhi mi dmigs rjes la bsngo ba bya/, so whatever we call our practice, at the beginning we cultivate bodhicitta and at the end also we dedicate. /de yang ‘khor gsum yongs su dag pa ni/_/sbyang bya sbyang byed yongs su sbyang ba po/ ‘khor gsum yongs su dang pa means that what we are giving, for example, and to whom we are giving ourselves, and from whom is it being given, these are the three considerations. Then we must understand that all these considerations, everything, is unreal. Otherwise (our Mahayaha practice) will not be something concrete. de yang ‘khor gsum yong su dag pa: yong su dag means pure, and knowing how the real condition is. /sbyang bya sbyang byed yongs su sbyang ba po/, even if we do purification with these three dualistic considerations, it will have a positive effect if we do not see these three as something real./sgyu ‘dra med la snang tsam sprul pa bzhin/, just like reflections in the mirror, something unreal, not real, /rang bzhin dag pas gzhan gyi don phyir bsngo/ in that way, we are dedicating and applying everything.
mos pa rgyal dang rgyal ba’i chos rnams dang /_rgyal sras dam pa rnams dang bsod nams zhing /_/ma lus kun la rab tu dad pa ste/_/rang don gnyis don gzhan don mos pa las/_/bstod dang bkur dang bsngags pa dpe med thob/
We are applying, just like a realized being, how they continually committed to doing benefit for others and in that way how they realized. For example, when we are doing practice, at the beginning we say we need to cultivate bodhicitta; cultivating bodhicitta means we are committing to have total realization for the benefit of all sentient beings. One time we cultivate that way, two times, three times, we make infinite commitments. One day, when we have this total realization, of course we have all those commitments, commitments related also to when we were on the path. There was some relation with sentient beings and then these sentient beings receive our wisdom because we are connected. So we must go ahead that way.
/mos pa rgyal dang rgyal ba’i chos rnams dang /_rgyal sras dam pa rnams dang bsod nams zhing /_/ma lus kun la rab tu dad pa ste/, we are repeating how the realized beings did in ancient times and /rang don gnyis don gzhan don mos pa las/ for ourselves having benefit for realization; not only for ourselves, but for all sentient beings. Then everything is becoming the perfect condition. That is the real meaning.
/yi rang rgyal dang de sras ‘gro kun dang /_/dge ba kun la dga’ ba sgom pa ste/_/’di ni bsod nams phung po dpag tu med/
If someone is doing good actions, instead of being jealous, we are satisfied, we are satisfied and we reproduce what that person did. It is also important for earning merit. rgyal dang de sras ‘gro kun dang/, all applied this method, Bodhisattvas, Buddhas, etc., /dge ba kun la dga’ ba sgom pa ste/ any kind of virtuous manifestations, we know are very positive. /’di ni bsod nams phung po dpag tu med/ that means we are accumulating great quantities of merits. /tshad med chen por bsgyur ba’i thabs mchog yin/, this is the method of also accumulating merits. smon lam rnam dag ‘gro ba’i don phyir gdab/, for that reason we need to do invocations in the perfect way with our minds for the dedication for the benefit of sentient beings. /spyod yul dag pa’i man ngag bsgom par bya/, so this is the way to apply the method of the teaching in a perfect way.
/tha mal phyogs su skad cig ma yengs par/_/sgo gsum dge ba gzhan don snying por bya/_/rang rgyud btul nas lhag pa’i sems bskyed ldan/_/chos gang lam du ‘gro zhes bya ba lags/
So when we are not distracted in our ordinary way and we are present, our body, speech and mind and everything is dealing with virtuous activities; we are always re-educating our mind and we cultivate the principle of bodhicitta, then any kind of practice we do is going in the perfect way.
/de ltar don zab ngo mtshar rnga ‘gra’i dbyangs/_/zab cing rgya che’i nga ro snyan grags pa/_/ma rig gnyid myos ‘gro kun rab sad de/_/zhi ba’i dga’ ston rgya cher mthong bar shog
For that teaching and explanation, we make cause for waking up, we make people understand what they should do to go in the direction of the dharma in a perfect way. /chos bzhi rin po che’i phreng ba las/_/chos lam du ‘gro ba’i rabs te gnyis pa’o/So this is the teaching of the second dharma.
Transcribed by Naomi Zeitz
Edited by Naomi Zeitz and Jacob Braverman
With the kind assistance of Adriano Clemente and Igor Legati