December 31, 1997
(A teaching given in 1997 at Losang Drakpa, Kuala Lumpur)
…pivotal point or very important point that we covered yesterday so because it is pivotal or very important so I thought I will go over it with you today for a few minutes as a refresher and so that the new faces can understand, and since tomorrow is New Year and many people have engagements and could not have made it. In this case, today is very auspicious because we start off the New Year Eve with Dharma and also tomorrow we start off the Dharma again. So never before in our previous years or in our previous lives we have such an auspicious occasion where we can start off such an auspicious time with the holy teachings of the Dharma.
So one should rejoice that at this time one is not frivolously wasting time or going out or doing things that one has normally done which does not bring one, happiness in this life or in previous lives. But this time, one has sacrificed, one has given up, one has made the effort to come to the holy Dharma. This is in itself quite an auspicious event and at the time when the old year is finishing it is auspicious in the sense that we give up our old habits and our old ways of negative type acting and we are starting the New Year with Dharma on a new basis and a new motivation and a new kind of transformation, a new type of life. So it is very, very auspicious.
Today I do extensive prayers and request the masters of the lineage all the way back to the Buddha to give their holy presence here so that we may be able to understand the Dharma, listen to the Dharma, concentrate on it, contemplate on it and therefore gain the holy result which is full enlightenment.
Again one should not listen to the Dharma with the faults of the three parts. One should not listen to the Dharma with low motivation. The three faulty parts are: the part that is facing down, the part that is facing up but dirty and the part that leaks. One who is listening to Dharma with the part facing down is like someone who comes with a closed mind. So when the part is down even though it is raining hard, no water can be collected inside. The second part which is facing up and collecting the water but it is contaminated. Even if we put the cleanest and best, to put in the part to eat or whatever, it will be contaminated although the item is good. In this example, it is coming to the Dharma with wrong motivation. It is coming to listen to the Dharma to pass time, to listen to the Dharma because you are bored. In order to listen to the Dharma, in order to get wealthy, to get young, to get beautiful, to just simply to have a good life. That is listening to the Dharma with a faulty part, that in the part that is contaminated with a faulty motivation. Then the third one is to have leaks and cracks. Whatever you listen to the Dharma you agree upon, you think it is excellent, you think it is wonderful, yet one does not practice. It enters one ear and leaves through the other.
So one should not listen to the Dharma with the three faulty parts.
On should not listen to the Dharma with low motivation – that one may get good life, one may get a healthy life, one may get money, one may get a deity who helps us to get a long life, health, excellence, money, wealth. We may gain some practice which will help us get a good future life. We should not be listening or practicing the Dharma with such lowly motivations when we have such a precious jewel. When we have such an excellent jewel, when we have such an excellent method, we should aim for the highest and not settle for the middle or lower scope.
That would be that all sentient beings inclusive of oneself are just like oneself want happiness. Everyone is not different, everyone wants happiness. Everyone is completely looking for happiness. Even the tiniest ant or tiniest insect is looking for happiness. Not anyone wants one moment of suffering, one moment of happiness. On that basis, others and myself, there is completely no difference. They want happiness and I want happiness. If they want happiness, there are more of them and there is only one of me. How can I as a logical person forsake other people and think about only myself? How can I practice Dharma only for myself and nothing for other people? That is completely illogical. I will in fact practice Dharma for the sake of all other sentient beings who are suffering and who have not met Dharma and who do not know about Dharma, who have not heard about Dharma, who have no idea about Dharma and therefore are ignorant of the true method to gain happiness and the true method to cessate/stop unhappiness.
So I will listen to the Dharma and therefore by gaining knowledge and by gaining experience of the Dharma, I will put it into practice into my daily life in order that I may gain the fully enlightened state of a conqueror Buddha like Lord Shakyamuni. Therefore I shall not rest in enlightenment and come back to this world again and again and again until all suffering ceases, until the last sentient being is released. With this motivation, therefore I shall listen to the holy teaching of the Dharma.
This motivation is such that even when traveling in your car and going through traffic jams, sacrificing what you usually do, sitting here in a posture that is uncomfortable to your body, thinking and focusing becomes and act of merit, it becomes an act of Dharma. If the motivation is low, if the motivation is just to gain higher rebirths only, in order to get more health, in order to get more wealth, position and beauty and power, in order to gain friends and influences, to only be involved in social activities, to go to the Dharma centers to meet other friends, if the motivation is that it becomes not a Dharma practice. It becomes a worldly practice. These actions that you do become worldly actions. They do not become the merit or karma for you to become a fully enlightened being. It is not the actions that you do that determine whether it is Dharma or not. It is the motivation behind the action. It is the motivation.
Lord Buddha, in one of his previous lifetimes in the Jataka Tales, was on a ship traveling with five hundred merchants. Lord Buddha was the captain of the ship in charge, responsible for the crew. Although he was not a Buddha, he was a highly realized bodhisattva. Being a highly realized bodhisattva, he had very powerful clairvoyance that can read the mind of others. While he was traveling on the ship, he realized that one of the members on board had the intention to kill the other members and robbing them of all their possessions. Buddha out of great compassion, in order that the four hundred and ninety eight members are not to be killed and in order that the intended killer not accumulate such negative karma and go to the lower realm for millenniums, Buddha generated the great compassion. Buddha had no choice but to kill that person. Buddha killing that person became an act of merit, became an act of Dharma, became an act of Dharma for enlightenment because that act became completely pure, the object was correct and also the intention was faultless.
Therefore, actions that seemingly appear negative if done on the basis of bodhichitta or compassion will gain good results. Whereas actions that seemingly seem like Dharma, if you go to the Dharma centers, if you meditate, if you pray, if you do your mantras, if you make offerings, if you buy statues, if you do charity, if you help the poor, if you do these actions but the motivation or intention is to look good in front of your friends to gain position and power, to move up in life, to impress or to gain higher rebirth or to gain wealth then that action in itself is not Dharma, that action becomes stained and it becomes a worldly action. Therefore it does not equate Dharma.
So when one goes to the Dharma center, one has taken refuge, one has a nice altar, one makes offerings, one chants mantras and prayers, but it does not make one a Dharma practitioner. One knows one is a Dharma practitioner when one’s act is done without the eight worldly concerns. Any Dharma action in order for it to be qualified as a Dharma action must be free of the eight worldly concerns – the concern to encounter pleasure, the concern to encounter material gain, the concern to encounter praise and fine reputation, the concern to avoid pain, to avoid material loss, to avoid blame and poor reputation. If you do Dharma with the motivation to gain pleasure, material gain, praise and fine reputation, and to avoid material loss, blame and poor reputation, then you are not practicing Dharma. Although you can be sitting in a cave reciting millions and millions of mantras and doing millions and millions of meditation, if any of your Dharma practices is done with any of the eight worldly concerns, you are not a Dharma practitioner. You may practice Dharma for seven, eight, nine or ten years, you can practice for twenty, thirty or forty years and if you check yourself carefully and deeply, not one single grain of improvement can you find. In fact, your mind becomes lower, becomes more attached, becomes more angry, becomes more negative. In fact, you will start using Dharma as an excuse to cover up your inequities, all your mistakes, your pride, your ego.
If you are practicing Dharma without the eight worldly concerns, then yearly you see an improvement in your mind. You should definitely see an improvement in your worldly situations of/if your worldly situations are decreasing/ deteriorating and the years in the Dharma is increasing, in general it is a very bad sign. It is a sign that you have not been practicing the Dharma sincerely and well. If you find that your mind yearly becomes more and more agitated, more and more angry, more and more hateful, more and more spiteful, more and more vengeful, if it becomes any of those delusion, you have been doing your Dharma practice wrong. It is not that the Dharma is wrong, it is not that the Buddha is wrong, it is not that the practice is wrong, it is the way that you are doing it. If you have a wonderful car you cannot drive it and you have an accident you cannot blame the dealer, you cannot blame the maker, you cannot blame the car. Only yourself.
Like that Dharma is excellent, Dharma is pure, Dharma is unstained, unsullied. But one must know how to practice Dharma. And before any type of practice of Dharma one should definitely, intimately internalize – get to know, understand what is to be avoided and what is not and that is to practice the Dharma. Without any of the eight worldly concerns, if it is done with that you will not gain the results. Definitely you will not gain the results.
In general, and religious tradition basically has only one aim. Any religious tradition, the aim is to bring about harmony, love and compassion and the betterment of society or the happiness of the individual. Any religious tradition, the reason for it is to bring about a good harmonious, happy situation or happy society. Therefore on the basis of knowing that motivation, any religious teacher of the past of any religious denomination has taught a particular path according to time, geography, culture and situation of the people. Therefore those religious teachers might have changed the words or changed the circumstances but the meaning is always basically the same. Basically the same – not to harm, not to bring unhappiness to others but to increase others’ happiness, to benefit others, that is the basic or fundamental aim of any religious practice.
If a certain religious practitioner of any denomination does it wrong or has a bad way of doing things, it does not mean that the Dharma is bad, it does not mean that the particular religious denomination is bad, but the person, like the unskilled driver of a car, does not know how to practice that particular faith well.
On the basic, that any religious teacher in the world, it is the denomination that has taught a particular path to bring about harmony for us. On that basis and on that motivation alone we can gain a very wonderful respect, we can gain a very wonderful appreciation, a very wonderful overview of any religious faith or denomination. Any religious faith or any denomination is good, is excellent because it teaches a very pure path. If you want to go to K.L. from different cities such as Ipoh, Penang and Malacca, etc. we can take different types of road. We can take a rougher road, a smoother road or a faster road. We can take it by walking, we can take it by riding a bike, we can take it by taking a vehicle, we can take it by airplane. How fast or slow and by what road, it doesn’t matter as long as we are traveling on that road.
Therefore realizing the motivation of each religious teacher, realizing the magnificent motivation and altruistic intention of each religious teacher who has manifested in this world regardless of the religious denomination, we can gain a very deep respect for all religious traditions, any religious tradition and not just within the Buddhist faith, the Buddhist sect, the Buddhist denomination. Any religious tradition. On that sincere basis, on that sincere thinking, we can gain great respect for any great religious denomination.
And whether it is a correct religious denomination or not is checked, whether the teachings teach you to tame your delusions or not, and as I check the world religious teach us different methods to tame the delusions in our minds. We are so-called Buddhists within the Buddhist faith, our affinity, our karma, our propensity, our liking is within the Buddhist faith. Within a restaurant, you have many different types of food. No need to argue what food you are going to eat as long as your stomach is filled. You become full. Your hunger is taken care of. So like that, there are different religious denominations, different religious teaches and different religious methods. With the different religious there are different types of sects and methods, all are excellent, all intentions are the same. The important thing is for us to pick one.
By these religious methods, one can gain mental happiness. By worldly methods, one can gain some kind of physical comfort, one cannot gain mental happiness. If by worldly methods and worldly items and possessions we can gain happiness, then the more possessions we have, the more wealth, we have, the more power or position we have the happier we should became. In fact, if we were to check well, people in high places or high positions, people of wealth and power are quite unhappy. They do not have free time. They have a lot of health problems, they have a lot of worries. They have a lot of tension. Even when they die, at the time of death, they cannot die in peace, wondering what’s going to happen to the hard-earned wealth that they are going to leave behind them, who’s going to handle the mantle. What’s going to happen to their hard-earned wealth.
People who are worldly and ignorant do not know what brings happiness, are attached to worldly things – diamonds, cars, houses, mates, friends, position and power. Worldly people who do not know the methods of happiness are attached. Therefore if they have a car, or a diamond ring, or a nice house then every single day they have it, they should create more and more and more happiness. In fact, when we have a new possession for the first few days, we may feel kid of transitory happiness but as the days go by, it becomes a problem or a source of suffering. For example, the car, you have to maintain it, we have to pay its fees. We have to make sure it is not broken. We have to make sure we park it right so that no one hits it. We have to make sure that it looks nice, that the paint doesn’t crack, that is clean and wash it. And when it is getting older, we sell it off. These are subtle sources of suffering. These are subtle sources of unhappiness. Yet our ignorant mind grasps on to such an object and think it is a source of happiness, yet not knowing one is suffering, yet not knowing that one is unhappy.
That is applicable to all Dharmas. All Dharmas in this case means all phenomena, all objects that we are attached to whether it be a mate, a friend, or a person we are married to. Our wife is very young, our wife is very beautiful. We are attracted but as the years go by maybe she gets a bit of paunchy, some lives started coming in and we start looking at other people, we start looking at other things. It shows that all phenomena are transitory. It shows that we are attached and that we like things that we think bring us happiness, bring us some kind of comfort. If it did bring us comfort then from that day we possessed and owned it, every single day, the happiness should increase and become better and better and better.
It doesn’t mean that you should go and throw away your jewelry, your rings, your bank accounts, your wives. It doesn’t mean that. What it means is not to be attached to it. To have it, to possess it but at the same time to realize that those are not what bring real happiness. They are supplements to keep your body fit and your mind in shape so that you can look and practice Dharma to gain real happiness. You should have a comfortable place to stay, you should have proper food, you should take care of yourself. If you are in a job in a high position and you need to be effective to impress others to get business, it is all right. But you have to realize that itself is not an end, and that itself is not good enough to justify yourself to only do that and not practice any Dharma. Oh, I must take care of myself. I must be well. I must be in position. I must be this and this and that and that. That is not justifiable. Everything is transitory. Everything is transitory. Everything must come to an end. Again it will generate itself in another form, again it will dissolve.
Yesterday, we gave the teaching on continuity, or continuum. Yesterday, what I spoke on, I will tell you very briefly again. The teaching on continuity as spoken by the great Dharmakirti.
Everything moves on continuity, everything is continuous. It has to have a beginning. It has to have an end. The beginning is beginning-less but end has an end. There is the cessation of sufferings. Like all phenomena, as I talked about, have to have a beginning. A piece of paper. It must have been to the press, it must have been to the printer, before that it must have been pulp, it must have been a tree, it must have been a sapling, it must have been a seed. It must have been born from a previous tree and that from a previous tree and on and on. In fact, the lineage is uncountable.
Like that our human body is also uncountable. Our human body is innumerable. It has no end and it has no beginning. We, our human bodies in order for it to exist at this moment, it might have had previous existence based on logic. Our human body existed at 8 o’clock, it must be around at 7 o’clock, it must be around at 6 o’clock, at five, at four, at three, yesterday, the day before, last month, last year, ten years ago, whatever. If we were conceived at 10am as I explained yesterday, our body at 9:59 was apparently inside our parents. The white cell of the father and the red cell of the mother. Those two cells must have come from our parents. Those two cells must have come together at 10 o’clock. At 10 o’clock, we were conceived. At 9:59, our body also had a previous moment. At that moment we were inside our parents. Like that when we trace back and back and back, again and again and again, our parents must have come from their parents and from their parents and from their parents and so on innumerously/innumerably. So innumerable that it is uncountable, almost uncountable beyond human comprehension beyond comprehension. Innumerable. Therefore at 9:59, you enter the womb of the mother and took formation (you were conceived) at 10 am. Similarly, that’s where your physical body came from.
Now in order for your mind to exist at this moment, it must have been existing a previous moment. It must be existing at 8:19, 8:18, 8:17……. It must have been existing at 8 o’clock, seven, six. It must have been existing yesterday. You see, the mind, ‘kicit’ means instantaneous moves instantaneously. It moves like this, like this (Tsem Ripoche demonstrates). It moves constantly to form a continuum. The mind doesn’t just exist and then goes. In order for it to have an existence at this moment, it must have a previous moment – a previous, a previous, a previous to form a continuum. Therefore, 8 o’clock, 8:01, 8:02, 8:03, 8:04, 8:05, …06, …07, …08, …09 and so on continuously. In order for the mind to exist tomorrow, it must exist today, it can’t just appear tomorrow. Like that, in order for your mind to exist at 8:20 now, it must have existed at 8:19. It was continuous – 8 o’clock, 7 o’clock, 6 o’clock, yesterday, the day before, the previous month, last year, all the way back to when we were ten years old, nine, eight, seven, six, to the time we were one year old.
Then we move back to the time when we were inside our mother’s womb – the nine approximate months of gestation. Your mind was still existing in subtle form – not as active as now but still existing. Now when you were conceived at 10 o’clock, at9:59, you mind must have existed. In order for your mind to have existed at 10 o’clock, it must have existed at 9:59. Think about that carefully. It must have existed at 9:59, and therefore existed at 9:58, 9:57 … 9 o’clock, 8 o’clock, 7 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 5 o’clock. If you were born on the 24th at 10:00, where were you on the 23rd at 10:00, on the 22nd at 10:00?
Now if you say your body come from your parents, it is logically correct and can be scientifically proven. But if you say to me that your mind has come from your parents, scientifically, logically, I can debate with you. Then if your mind at 9:59 came from your parents, it came out of your parents and entered your mother’s womb, therefore to created your mind, then your mind must be a perfect off-shoot of your parents’ mind – your thinking and your likes and dislikes in this life. Therefore if your parents are geniuses, are experts and good in music, you must be likewise, you must be the same. If your parents are not intelligent, you must also be unintelligent. If your parents are highly intelligent, you must be geniuses. If your parents are experts on computers, you must be also. If your parents are simple farmers, you must carry on and be a simple farmer. True, certain conditions, certain things that we like may be conditioned by our parents, for a period of time because we have been with them for a certain period of time and we have been conditioned to like this and that, and this and that. But deep down inside our way of thinking is completely different from our parents, mostly. 99.9% of the time our thinking is different from our parents, that 0.1% that we meet is coincidental. So if that is the case, we can logically refute and say; If our mind was existing at 10:00, logically it must have been existing at 9:59. Now, you can ask yourself where was that mind at 9:59? Where was that mind at 9:58, 9:57? It must have existed in order for it to have exist at 10:00. All phenomena must exist on a continuous basis. It must have a previous moment in order for it to happen the next moment. It cannot just spontaneously arise at 10 o’clock. Any phenomenon, any object whether it is living or not living. So where was your mind at 9:59, 9:58, 9 o’clock, 8 o’clock? It must have been existing outside of that womb in another form, perhaps in another dimension. That was your previous life. So in order for you to have your mind now, in order for it to be existing at 10:00, it must be existing at 9:59, most probably in your previous lives, carried on.
Like that if you die at 11 o’clock, whatever date in the future, at 11 o’clock, your body starts to deteriorate – it is deteriorating, but it will deteriorate at a faster or quicker rate. It will deteriorate starting at 11 o’clock at a faster rate. After a few months, you can say that it basically completely goes, except the bones which will deteriorate again and again. It goes back into the earth and generate into another form. It generates into another being, with mind or without mind. In fact, it will become nourishment for another type of living being. So your body degenerates and continues in another form.
Then at 11:00, where is your mind when you die and leave your body? Where is your mind at 11:01, 11:02? Your body continues to exist in another form and your mind will also continue to exist in another form. It will continue. That will be your next rebirth.
What determines you to take on a future rebirth? Where? Within the six realms: the hell realm, the petas realm or spirit realm, animal realm, human realm, demigods or deva realm, highest god realm – not god as a Buddha or Pusa, not this sense of gods but gods with worldly sense pleasures. Your rebirth in one of the six realms again according/are in accordance to the dispositions and the imprints that you have collected in your previous lives and most importantly in this life and more importantly the state of mind at 11 o’clock that you have died in will bring up the karmic imprints that you have accumulated in this life and your previous lives. For example, you could have been a great farmer cultivating plants, flowers and whatnots. You could have been a simple gardener cultivating flower seeds you have taken the time to put the manure on the ground, take weeds and pebbles out to make it smooth and soft, pliable, plantable. Then you plant the seeds. You water it everyday and protect it. You keep the dogs and cats away. Then when just the seeds are about to sprout, at that time if you give good protection and you watch it well, then it will sprout strong and big. Then at that moment, one of your kids come by and trample on it and crush it. Or a bird can come by and thinking it is a work kills it. Or cat or dog can come around and urinate on it and kill it. At that moment whether it will grow or not depends on your protection. Similarly at the time of death, although you may be a great Dharma practitioner and you have worked very hard during your life, but if your greed, avarice, hatred and anger are not controlled at the time of death, you worry: What’s going to happen to my family? What’s going to happen to my possessions? What’s going to happen to my position, my name, my fame? What’s going to happen? And if you become attached and due to your attachment, your previous karma that you have collected that is negative will sprout immediately. Whereas if at the point of death, you keep a calm, pleasant and good state of mind focusing on the three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha or your guru (sifu) or any Dharma teachings, and you focus and be detached, then immediately the Dharma seed will sprout and you take on a good rebirth immediately.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any bad seeds or if you take a bad rebirth that doesn’t mean that you don’t have good seeds. It means that at that very moment, the moment of truth, the positive seed that you have collected will sprout. Right now we are filled with karmic imprints or karmic seeds. When and how they sprout is determined by what mental activity you focus on. If you focus on negative activities or harmful things, negative seeds will come out, will sprout. Similarly having a good flower bed, whatever flower you concentrate on or cultivate will grow better. So if you cultivate and you work on your good or positives seeds, therefore, your positive seeds will arise. While you are working on your positive seeds, then the negative seeds that you have accrued in your previous lives and in this life will slowly be purified, by purifactory/purification practices. Whereas if you concentrate on negative things: lying, divisive talk, harmful talk, harsh speech, stealing, adultery, killing, any of these actions.
And if you gain some kind of success or you gain some kind of temporal or transitory happiness (if we may label it happiness), and if we gain it, it doesn’t mean you are doing well. What it means is that in your storage, or bank of karma, the good seeds are being used up and only the bad seeds will remain so that when you die you will in fact immediately take a bad rebirth. Immediately, you will take a bad rebirth. It is like we have a bank account. We don’t make more money and we replenish it. If we use it frivolously over again and again and again, definitely it will exhaust. Whereas if we use it wisely and replenish it more than what we use, we will definitely have a lovely and wonderful savings. But if in this life if we frivolously spend our good karma by taking care of our physical health, our well-being, our sensory and physical pleasures and we use the good karma we have collected in our previous lives and in this life for frivolous activities, sensory pleasures, then we are using up our positive karma and we will only have negative karma. That is why certain people are very wealthy, very successful and very high in life and all of a sudden they fall flat on their faces. They lose their positions, they lose their name, they lose their everything. And they suffer, and they cry and scream, they run out and look for help. They are desperate. Because they have been using their store of good karma for the wrong things and not replenishing it with more positive karma.
Whereas a Dharma practitioner is modest in his possession, in his activities, in his sensory pleasures and therefore uses very little of his good karma and at the same time practicing Dharma and collecting more positive karma adding to what they already have, replenishing and increasing. Therefore, a Dharma practitioner will only move up. And if a Dharma practitioner has more problems and more sufferings, and if a true Dharma practitioner has more problems and more heartaches, it is a very good sign. Why is it a very good sign? Because the karma for them to suffer in a deeper or more harsh and rough environment is being exhausted. For example, if you were very thirsty, if you have the karma to be thirsty, if you have that karma, if you are thirsty as human in this human realm in this OK country, in this OK environment, even though you are thirsty, you suffer for a short while thirst, you can go out and get something to drink, ask for something, look for something, buy something. Whereas if you are thirsty and are in a hell situation or animal situation, you will not be able to get anything for yourself. It is the same karma but due to the environment, the suffering will be more or less. Is that clear? Does anyone have questions on that? I want that to be very clear.
If you were to suffer the karma of being thirsty in the human realm, the thirst will be temporary and short and not as hard or difficult to bear. Whereas if you have the same karma in a different such as in the animal or the spirit or hell realms, you will not be able to take care of your thirst. It is the same karma. Like that a good Dharma practitioner if you get sufferings: financial disasters, disharmony, hate, heartaches, discomfort and sickness, you should in fact rejoice with dignity. If you are a real Dharma practitioner and accept your lot. You should realize, that you are purifying your negative karma now, and by the blessings, of the three Jewels and the gurus and your purification practices you are suffering your negative karma now and therefore you will not have to suffer in the future. For example, if you did lots of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, you are meant to have a car accident and you help or assist a lot of people and you do charity and you control your anger, our human desires and lust, you control them to the best of your ability and lessen them and practice, you still have the karma to have the accident and maybe you were supposed to break both your arms and legs and maybe even injure your spine in the accident but due to some purification practices you have done, you still have the accident but break only one arm, as opposed to both your arms and your legs as well as your spine. Whereas if you increase the power of your practice, you can even prevent yourself from having any broken bones – just a light accident. Whereas if you purify your karma even more by practice, instead o f a heavy crash, you have a light skid and may be a slight dent and if you practice more, you may be able to purify the karma completely that you do not have an accident at all. It can affect your karma, it can affect what happens to you but you ultimately have to do it. They will teach you, show you and explain but you in fact have to do it.
If you know you are going to have an accident tomorrow and Kuan Yin comes to you in a dream and says to you: Don’t go tomorrow. But you don’t listen to her words, you are too excited to meet your girlfriend or your boyfriend. You are too excited to go to the disco. You are too attached to your girlfriend or boyfriend and you can’t let go. You don’t heed her advice and you get into an accident. It is not Kuan Yin’s fault. She did her best to protect you. You ultimately have to suffer the karma. Whereas if in the beginning you have lessened your delusions, attachment, anger, hatred – if you have begun lessening that and then if Kuan Yin gives an answer in your dreams a warning and you listen because you have already lessened your attachment, instead of going to see your boyfriend or girlfriend in this bar or disco, you call up your boyfriend or girlfriend and say, ‘I can’t make it today, please forgive me’. And if you don’t go you can avoid it.
That is a very rough example. You are taught the methods, you are given the methods. It is up to you to practice.
If something goes wrong, don’t go wailing and crying to your teacher, don’t close up your altar, scream at Kuan Yin, scream at Buddha and say, ‘Why you didn’t help me?’ That is not logical. When you do that it may be very dramatic. Other Dharma practitioners who don’t know much may say ‘Oh yeah, that’s true’. But people who know the truth, people who understand the workings of Karma will in fact have great pity, will in fact have great compassion and say, ‘ Oh he/she doesn’t understand, never mind.’ The Buddha can work only if you agree and you try to do it. The Lamas, the Ripoches and the sifus and the monks can only do something for you if you agree to do it wholeheartedly, not half-heartedly, not quarter heartedly, not one or two percent but one hundred percent. OK, now if we have to bargain, let us make it fifty percent for now, but at least make an attempt. These teachings are designed to take you out of suffering, not designed to imprison you.
Just as I explained yesterday, a railing is designed to protect a child from falling over the ledge. It is not designed to imprison the child. The rules of a country, the rules of a city, the rules of a house, the rules of a school or institution are there to protect the individual on the whole, not to imprison the individual. If the rule is based on truth and honesty, then of course, it is designed to protect the individual.
Like that the Buddha teaches things to protect you. The Dharma is protection. The real refuge that you go for protection and your trust is the Dharma. When you actually practice the Dharma and you engage in the Dharma, and you read, contemplate, think, and you enact the Dharma in your lives, you will see that things will be different.
If you enact indifference/act indifferent and if you do not practice the Dharma, how do you expect true, happiness and peace to come? If you think it is to get a higher or better job with a bigger salary, expand your work, expand your fleet of cars, expand your fleet of wives, no. If that were the case, then the more wives, the more cars, the more jewels you have, you should be in continuous non-stop bliss! And I don’t think any of us are.
Therefore, think about the workings of karma. Now you may think, Well, I have already created this karma, I will have to suffer, what I have already created. I have no choice. No, that is not the case. There are certain types of karmas that you have which you cannot stop anymore, which already have sprouted. There are certain types of karmas that you do not have to suffer, which have not begun to sprout or which have yet to sprout. For example, if you are very sick and through this sickness you are meant to die, very severe sickness and you are meant to die, and you do good practice and you do purification practices and you do excellent practices. You do practices to purify and to collect good karma, you will still get sick but at the same time maybe you won’t die….at the same time you won’t die. You will live, you will continue. How much you enact the Dharma and how you practice in your life, how much and the degree, and the sincerity and the authenticity of your practice will reflect in your daily lives, immediately, in your attitude and in your mind. Immediately. Slowly in your way of life. Example such as your physical form and the place you live, that karma has sprouted and therefore you are in that particular physical form, that particular shape, likes and dislikes. It has already sprouted. There is not much you can do about that. But things such as sickness, things such as your ignorant mind – these things can be changed because the karma has not fully sprouted. Why has not fully sprouted? We can see it because the mind can still be changed. Health – we can get well, there are medicines, there are methods. Think about it clearly.
Things that you cannot change because the karma has ripened you accept with dignity, with a grain of salt, and accept with grace and not scream out, shout out, fight back, kick and grovel on the ground and complain about your lot to others again and again. What benefit does that bring? Whereas things that you can change, you do something about it but you it at the right method. If you have financial difficulties and financial problem, for example, don’t shout and scream and talk about and advertise it. But do something about it. Do something about it on two level: on a spiritual level and on a worldly level. The spiritual level is to meditate on miserliness and the effects of miserliness. And therefore, your mind starts to detach itself from miserliness and therefore cut off future potential to suffer poverty. On a worldly level, you do not do crooked business – lie about your products, lie about your skill, lie about what you have not done. You should pursue what you are doing in a worldly way honestly with effort and with enthusiasm. And then through those two methods, you can make a change in your situation. If you have problems in your difficulties and they are the result of your negative karma due to negative, negative actions, how can you further your situation with more negative actions, thinking that if I do this and I get my lump sum of money, I will do good actions. Impossible! Illogical! Good actions create good results. Negative actions create negative results. If you have a negative result now and you perpetual it with further negative actions, hoping to get a positive result, it is illogical. You cannot plant an orange seed and wait to get an apple tree. And when the apple tree comes up what happens? Excuse the term, you are playing stupid! If you do business, as an example, or you apply anything in your life, if you do it with negative intention, negative method, or positive method with negative intention or good intention with negative method, you will not get positive results. Temporarily may be you get some money. Temporarily you get some relationship or friends or comfort but ultimately you will suffer, now and in your next life. So how can negative actions bring about positive results? It is not logical. It has no basis. You can ask any spiritual denomination. Anyone in the world who has any type of logic, any spiritual teacher, any religion. If you ask, that will be correct. How can negative actions bring about positive results? How can small negative things and a little positive things mix around together to bring about positive results? It cannot! Please think about it with your intelligent educated minds. This is not something for you to accept on the basis of faith. It is not something that is pounded in your ears, to say that if you don’t believe it, you will go to hell. This is logical, it is clear, it is black and white. Think about it.
When you think about it ‘Toh tu nah’ which means that if you can perceive it then realize that it is true, then enact it into your lives, apply it into your lives immediately. Not tomorrow, not after the business deal. Immediately! And any negative actions that you have collected from your previous lives and in this life that you have done negatively you do not have to suffer the results. You definitely do not have to suffer the results. Any actions that have been accrued by killings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, idle gossip, covertures malice, holding wrong views. Any of those actions based on the root negative deeds that you have done in your lives (this life and in your previous lives) whether you can remember or not. You do not have to suffer the results. You do not.
On what basis? Karma is impermanent and therefore it can be changed. Karma is not permanent. All phenomena are impermanent and therefore karma is phenomena – one type of phenomena. Logically, you can change that karma. You can redirect it.
If we have a snow mountain and lots of snow of has fallen and the sun has been unusually hotter and more snow has melted, eighty, ninety kilometers down there is a small village which usually enjoys a river that has more water flowing during that season. But this year there is danger that it becomes wiped out by flood. If those people take preventive measures they can avoid destruction. If the mountain is here and the village is here, half-way down they can build trenches or dams to divert the water from the village, instead of straight away to the village. We make trenches or rivers going this, and this way, several rivers to divert the force of the river to bypass and circumvent around the village so that the villages is not destroyed. Preventive measures.
Like that the snow mountain is like the store of your negative actions, collected on the basis of the ten non-virtues which I have mentioned yesterday and today in detail. And collected by body speech and mind that may be averted or diverted or lessened. When your store of demerits are lessened, such as like the snow on the snow mountain is ready to come down, the sun is like the environment cause or condition. Environment does not only refer to the place around here but to the people and the way they think. When the snow is about to melt and come down to destroy the village (the village is yourself), if you take preventive measures you will definitely lessen its strength. Definitely you can lessen its strength. By that you did not push the water up, you did not dry up the water, you did not destroy or evaporate the water. Like that you cannot make your karma disappear, you cannot destroy your karma, you cannot avoid your karma like the river but you like that you can lessen the karma and its effects. How? By purification practices.
What purification practices? Many. But all purifactory/purification practices are based on the four powers, ‘Tok shi’ – four opponent powers, all purification practices are based on the four opponent powers. The purification practices regardless, can be prostrations, mandala offering, vajrasattva mantras. They can be visiting the holy places, offering to the Three Jewels, performing charities, etcetera, etcetera, for it to have any effect. For it to have effect will depend not on the amount you do, how you do it, where you do it. For it to have any effect any purification practices must be based on the four opponent powers. Number one is remorse, regret wishing that you have not done it, to be ashamed of it and not to parade around like a peacock and be proud of your negative actions and be proud that you are evil and be proud that you have a big mouth, be proud that you can fight, be proud that you can sway people, be proud that you can buy people, be proud that you can push people around because you have some power, position or wealth, to parade around like is shameless peacock, but to actually have shame, to regret, to remorse from the heart and that regret and remorse will be based on knowing that these actions will bring harm and unhappiness to oneself in the future again. Therefore, fearing the consequences for oneself and others. Knowing on a logical sound basis, that this will come to you and you do not want to experience it you will not want it to come like that silly village down there enjoying having parties, not worrying about the flash flood coming. Jumping up and down singing karaoke, whatever, and when the flood comes everyone is killed except a few survivors and everyone sat around and mourn. ‘We should have done something. We should have done something’. Too late. You should do preventive practices. Number one is remorse and regret.
Number two is to resolve not to do it again. A deep resolve not to do it again. If that action is very strong and you cannot uproot it immediately, at least take it out slowly and gradually, if not immediately. So if you lie, if you scream like myself – I scream a few times a day at my monks – try to make it nine. It used to be fifteen by the way, and now it has become nine, nine and a half. Sometimes it goes back to nine, sometimes it goes to nine and a quarter. Now I want to make it eight. My New Year resolution is to make it to eight – my screaming at my attendants and monks, eight. And then next year, seven. That is reachable. That is a good and reachable goal. That is not because I am doing it but because I don’t want to be screamed at in my future life. In this life because I am so attached, and because I am so conditioned, and because I am unenlightened and because I am an ordinary being, I realize I do that, so therefore, my New Year resolution, tonight at 12:01am will be to scream at my monks eight times a day, and not nine. But actually I am going to work a little harder – I am going to make it five or four. In any case with the delusion that we have the strongest, whether it is desire, whether it is screaming or shouting, whether it is the wish to lie about a product that we have that we know that is third class and we say it is first class or second class. Or if we have attachment to certain people whom we know our detrimental to our lives we should gradually lessen those actions step by step. How? By realizing that damaging effects – number one. By knowing immediately these have a damaging effect and ultimately we will suffer because of the negative karma accrued from those negative actions. Therefore number one, to have remorse. Number two to have sincerely wish not to do it again. Not smoking in front of your friends in a karaoke bar. This year I am going to buy one Mercedes less. This year I am going to have one car less. This year I am going to scream at my wife one time less, at my husband one time less just to impress my friends. And then when we go back we do it double, we do it more. That is not true result. And no matter how much fun or entertaining it might seem at the moment when the results of those actions come and ripen, you will be in deep trouble, deep, deep trouble – and then you will grovel and scream and wail and roll on the ground and cry and pull your hair out. And run to your sifus, run to the Taoist temples, and run to the monks. That’s where I get my business! So don’t give me any business. No more business. That’s when you run to the Kuan Yin temple with joss-sticks shaking, crying, on your knees, wishing for help and assistance. Too late! Too late! When you have an accident you run to the Kuan Yin temple and say, please don’t let me have an accident – not very smart.
But you avoid it from the beginning – the first is remorse, the second is the true resolve not to do it again and be compassionate with yourself. How come I didn’t become a Buddha on the third of January and you jump off the cliff. You run back to your sifu. You give your books back, you give your statue back. ‘This is not for me – it doesn’t work.’ No, you have to understand that you have been in Samsara for thousands and thousands of years.
In this life, if you eat a lot of cake like me, you like cheese cakes and black forest, the minute you walk to the bakery, your heart starts to palpitate because you are excited. Every time you say ‘Diet, diet. I will go on a diet’ but if someone brings you a cheese cake out of love, you make up an excuse saying, ‘Oh you are so kind, if I don’t eat it I will hurt your feelings. If I don’t eat it, it goes to waste.’ It shows a lack of strength of character in myself! So if I take the cheese cakes on a continuous basis like what I have been taking. I look at myself now – 50kg heavier than when I was in 1992, more health problems. And if I go on this way, I will destroy my health, destroy it. Forget about the physical appearance which doesn’t really matter but health wise I destroy my precious human body, like that to be compassionate even to yourself you realize that in this life alone we have a bad habit. How hard it is to pull it out. How hard it is to uproot it. How hard it is. If small habit like my cheese cake habit is so hard to uproot, which I feel is very difficult to uproot, and I haven’t uprooted it and my friends are not helping me. It is so difficult. I have attachment for lasagna, cake and spaghetti. Whenever someone says, I bring that to you, my mind says ‘no’ but my mouth says ‘yes’. I don’t know why. If is automatic. In any case the habit is so strong. It is just an example.
So with small habits like that if we cannot get rid of how can we expect to get rid of ignorance, hatred, desire, jealousy, anger, malice, covetousness in two, three days, in two, three years? It is illogical assumption that you can get rid of it so fast when you have that habit for so many previous, previous, previous, so many lifetimes – innumerable! How can we just get rid of it in two, three days? Then we give everything back: our dharma, our malas and we go to our sifus and say goodbye and we go to the karaoke. No, it cannot happen so easy like that. Be compassionate and be forgiving with yourself. But don’t be too forgiving, then you go off the other bend. Next year Rinpoche, next year. This year it is not going to work for me. I have already fallen off the cliff.
Not to go extremes, both extremes, go the middle way. But if you shout ten times a day like me, you make it nine. And believe me, with training, with effort and enthusiasm and with contemplation on its disbenefits you will definitely be able to uproot it. You will definitely be able to lessen it. I have been able to lessen my shouting for sure. I have many witnesses. I have lessened. Like that I have lessened my jealousies. I have my hatred and vengeance. When I was in America, if someone did something to me, I wouldn’t speak to them for months, not because I hated them but because I just ignored them, let them go. Now if someone does something to me, I just ignore them for a few days, not out of hatred but to let the person simmer down and myself simmer down and with prayers and hope that in the future it won’t happen again, very sincerely, I am telling you. I am not so easy anymore to fall into those traps, not because I am a Rinpoche, Rinpoche will not throw the label out. I know I am a human being with a lot of faults – a lot of pluses. The aim here is to increase the pluses and to lessen the faults. And thank goodness I have Dharma to show me how. In this case, Buddhist Dharma. Again here, is to lessen those faults. So by being compassionate and forgiving and with time and patience even with yourself, you can lessen those activities.
And you can make a promise not to do those again in the future. And gradually you make eight, seven, six. Even if you take fifty years to get rid of your anger, it is fabulous. Because you will never have anger again, therefore you will never collect the karma that comes from anger and therefore you will never have to suffer the repercussions of that effect which is to be born in a barren land, a land that is bare and scarce in nourishment. That is rough that is dirty. You will avoid rebirth in that. And that rooting out of anger can be taken with you because the anger is from the mind and when you die you take the mind with you. Therefore, if you take your mind with you in the next life you start with one step ahead: no anger, you work on jealousy. Then next life more and more and more. Eventually to enlightenment. But if you use your precious human life with ten endowments and eight freedoms that I have taught yesterday in detail, if you use your precious human life to accumulate wealth, long life, friends, beauty, power and position, etcetera, if you do it for those reason and because they are not associated with the mind you cannot take them with you in your next life. They will be left behind and therefore they are bereft of any benefit in the ultimate term. Therefore they are empty. So if you waste your life hundred percent on these transitory, transient, temporary, illusive happiness, when you leave you will be very unhappy.
Therefore to focus your mind on what will really bring you happiness which is the complete destructing of delusion: the three main delusions being ignorance, hatred and desire. The three if you condense them in ignorance, which is what binds us to suffering, uncontrolled existence.
People like his Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness Sakya Trinzin, Tenzin Khenytse Rinpoche, for example, those beings are not in cyclic existence without control. They are here with control, with power, with intention, skillfully helping others out. That is a different situation, like when Buddha took birth on this planet controlled, with the intention to show the final enlightenment. He could have got enlightened in the Garden Heaven (Tushita) but he purposely manifested enlightenment in our world as an example, as a play for us to emulate upon.
Like that if you destroy all your delusions and all their extensions ten you can definitely gain great happiness on the logical basis that when these delusions are acted out you will not act upon them. When you do not act upon them, you do not accumulate further negative karma, therefore you will not suffer the results. That is very logical.
That’s why Buddha says you do not need to depend on an external god, an external deity. You do not need gods and deities and spirits to get you to enlightenment. It is for you and yourself alone. Salvation is in your hands. On that logical basis, please meditate and contemplate and think about that. You know when you start contemplating and meditating and when our attitude changes and therefore your actions. Don’t think about meditating on naked deities with consorts, fifty thousand arms, lots of heads, wrathful in the middle of fire and smoke, riding on horses, mules, chickens…. I don’t know what they are riding on. Don’t think about meditating on these deities that are fat or skinny, different colors if you do not even try for a minute to change your own delusions. Those deities are covering their mouths, laughing at you and at the same time trying to look compassionate when you lookup at them because that is not the way to enlightenment.
If you recite a few mantras, make offerings, do a few prostrations, make images of Buddhas, keep a picture of our guru, stuck on our forehead and can become enlighten, then we would have been enlightened a long time ago. I have been doing that for years and I am still not enlightened – far from it. That’s my guru. I have gone for this refuge ceremony, I have gone for this initiation, I got this statue, that Mala, I have gone to India, my gurus are His Holiness, the Eminence, is Faultlessness, his Worship and on and on and on. Yet look at us: shameless heaps of negative karma! Untouched.
Therefore to make your new year’s resolution immediately your New Year resolution, your life resolution to decrease your delusions step by step by step immediately based on sound backing. That is the second of the four opponent powers. And some of you are thinking, oh do we have time for the third and fourth? Yes, we do. First: remorse, second: make a vow not to do it again. Even if you don’t want to do it again, make small vows. You go in front of the Buddha, your Kuan Yin, your sifu, your meditational deity, yourself, if wish for happiness and you are a free thinker and say: Today from 9am to 9pm, I will not shout at anyone. And tomorrow you shout a little and the net day you take the vows. Then again and again and again. Gradually lessening that. I do that. I do for one hour at a time, not one day at a time. I know myself. I’ll say from 9:00 to 10:00, I won’t shout – that’s the time I am usually sleeping, I usually wake up at 11:00. No need to have a big Rinpoche on a big throne in your centers. You do it yourself, you have communion with the Buddha. You say it in front of the altar. It doesn’t matter if it is Kuan Yin or Shakyamuni or if the Buddha image is porcelain or clay or whatever. To have communion with the Three Jewels and consciously say: from today on, from tonight I will not do it. That is it.
That’s the secret. No mantras, no bells, no initiation. Sorry, if you can sit there and think about cheese cakes and spaghettis and boyfriends and girlfriends and going out to the karaoke, and celebrations and drinks and while you are meditating a nice lady walks by and you look at her. The mantra is not going to help you. It’s not going to help you. It is not going to do a thing. Then you put the mantra on tape on the table and let it play round and round and you can just take a nap. If you can get enlightened like this you come and see me and I will try it. That is not the way to make your commitments. weekly commitments, monthly and increase it to yearly and increase it to life. Be practical, be forgiving, be compassionate and be simple with yourself and know your limitations. If your limitations are great, wonderful. Don’t shout the next morning ‘I have made this commitment’ and then fail and look stupid in front of your friends. Be a real communion, be a real commitment.
Number three is to do purification practices, antidote practices – any antidotes such as Vajrasattva meditation, The Thirty-five confession Buddhas meditation, taking refuge, prostrations, mandala offerings – any of those practices. Visiting holy places, serving your teacher – any of those purificatory/purification practices will help to purify your already accumulated negative karma.
Then number four, the last of the four opponent powers, is to do the opposite of what you have been doing. Instead of shouting, speak softly, instead of having anger, practice patience. Instead of being attached, try to be detached. When you see people who bother you and drive your crazy, force a smile and then go away and don’t say anything. If you like to gossip about people, lessen it, stop it. If you are used to upgrading your credits but you know you are in the lowest grade, stop it. You make a little money now and later you will be suffering poverty, look out into the world and see how many people are poverty stricken and how many people are actually wealthy. The ration is quite a bit difference. To do the opposite actions: to develop compassion, to read Dharma books with good motivation, to take refuge, to do meditation, to listen to the Dharma, to contribute to the Dharma emotionally, physically, financially, anyway that you can sincerely.
If you do these four opponent powers and you apply that to any Dharma or purification practices, definitely, surely and steadily you will become purified. And you will get the signs and dreams of purifications. For example in your dreams, you will have signs that you are washing your guru, washing a Buddha statue, vomiting, walking up a mountain, seeing the sunrise, seeing the moon rise, or coming out of quicksand, or coming out of a deep pool. You will have these signs and very clearly. That I can guarantee you.
I am not saying that I am so purified, I am so excellent, but one day I was in the dark doing some purification practices. I had a dream that H. H. the great Zong Rinpoche came. Zong Rinpoche is one of my root gurus. H. H. Zong Rinpoche came into my room and I had a bucket of water and use it to wash his feet, and I was washing with lots of live and care. I was washing them and dried them and put my head over them. And then I woke up very happy. Then I asked one of my other gurus who was with me, H. H. Drikung Rinpoche of Kagjupa sect, and I said to him that I had these signs and asked what does that mean and he said, ‘Oh, your purification practices are taking effect.’ This I share with you but not to say that I have attained. I still have a lot to attain. I still have a lot more to purify. But because of those purification practices I can tell you that a lot of sicknesses that would have come to me have been avoided and the sicknesses that have come to me have been very much less and the degree is less. And also when I take certain medicines it takes effect.
Purification practices work and it must be based on the four opponent powers. If the four opponent powers are applied and you do the purification practices you will be able to purify your karma, good karma. And if it is dedicated for bodhichitta, for enlightenment, it will become merit.
There is a difference between good karma and merit. Merit is what propels you to enlightenment. Good karma is what propels you to good rebirth in this life. They are different. Merit can equal both but karma cannot equal both. Merit will give you a good life, good situation, good sustenance, friends, family and position, power and etcetera, etcetera, and those accessories if I may, will help you on your journey to enlightenment. Whereas good karma, not merit, that is collected on the basis of false or wrong motivation will give you good wealth, happiness like family, high caste, etcetera, etcetera, but will not propel you to enlightenment but will in fact bring you down in samsara. For example, Mother Theresa has wealth, and power and standing in the world in fact propels her to enlightenment. And enlightenment is also in our hands. Do you see the difference between merit and good karma? There is a big difference. Do not mistake yourselves.
Therefore it beholds us to make a very good motivation before any Dharma talk, any Dharma action, any prostrations, meditation, practices, pilgrimages, meeting our guru. In fact, any charitable actions before we do, we should develop an extremely good motivation. Therefore that action will affect the collection of merit, not good karma.
The result of good karma is someone who is very wealthy and rich and just give away to show friends, to show how wealthy they are, how their position is. What they do is good but the result will be rebirth in the human realm again in the future with some sort of wealth, or as a god with some sort of wealth but that wealth will pull them down. They can be reborn in a family that is very wealthy but they experience beatings, sufferings, abuse. They can also be reborn in a very wealthy family as a French poodle, getting wonderful food, getting wonderful bath, getting your fur trimmed. You can be born into a wealthy that does not take care of you. You can be born in a wealthy family and enjoy wealth for a few years and die. Or you can be born in a wealthy family where you are excluded from inheritance. Wealth and charitable acts do not equal charitable results.
Charitable acts with good motivations will equal good results – enlightenment, regardless of the actions. Like a mother scolding her child out of love as opposed to me scolding my mum out of anger. Both are scolding but the motivation is different. Therefore the results will be completely different. It is very logical. It is not the action.
Therefore one must apply the four opponent power: remorse, the resolution not to do it again, antidote – any antidote application such as Vajrasattvas, such as prostrations, mandalas, purification practices, and fourthly to do the opposite of what you have been doing such as to do charity, to have compassion, to meditate, to study in fact to substitute your negative activities with your time of positive activities. That is very basic, that is very fundamental, that is in every religious faith. Therefore as I told you at the beginning of this teaching that the teaching of every religious faith is fundamentally the same. Now, what is left for us is to do it.
Today all of you know, today all of you are of sound mind and you can do it. And you can absorb it, you can understand it and you can do it. It is up to you to do it. It is up to you to apply it. Therefore salvation is in your hands.
Now yesterday, we talked about the ten negative actions. Now we will talk about the some virtuous karma and its results. There are two types of karma: throwing karma and completing karma. Good throwing karma leads to rebirth in one of the higher realms, and good completing karma to a happy situation in that realm. Good throwing karma leads to rebirth in one of those higher realms: humans, demi-gods, gods. Or if you want to use Sanskrit: manusa, asuras, and devas. Asuras are demi-gods or half the status of gods, between humans and gods. For example, the condition of a human who constantly suffers from illness is due to that person having good throwing karma and bad completing karma. He had good throwing karma that throw him into rebirth as a human but yet as a human he cannot fulfill his full human potential due to his completing karma which created him to be sick constantly. If bad throwing and completing karma are combined it lead to rebirth in the hell regions – a bad throwing karma and a bad completing karma. The situation of pet dog who is fed and treated well is the result of a bad throwing karma but good completing karma. The situation of a human that is poverty stricken is the result of a good throwing karma and bad completing karma.
A human who has his five senses intact who is relatively well-fed, who has all the needs to sustain his life provided and to practice Dharma is the result of good throwing karma and good completing karma. That is actually a very very rare event. For example without any pride and prejudice, how many people have attended a Dharma talk? The result of very much good throwing karma but the completing karma is not there. Why? Because the dharma actually teaches you the true methods to the cessation of suffering. In order to hear it, you must have throwing karma, completing karma and merits, especially merits.
Like that restraining oneself from the ten non-virtues is essential in developing skilful means and wisdom. If one is able to refrain from the three mental vices, those of the body and speech will be easily avoided. If you can avoid the three negative mental states, the vices of the body and speech will be easily controlled. It is the mind. If one’s mental activity is under control it good to live in a populated place because it leads to love and compassion, because you have the opportunity to practice love and compassion with those people who are not loving and compassionate. Further, such an environment offers a situation where one’s anger may be aroused thus giving one the opportunity to apply the four opponent powers and to develop the virtue of patience. But without their mental control it is better to live in seclusion. The beginner is like a rabbit and his delusions are like an elephant. So his remedy for his delusions is very weak. If one lives as a town dweller, it is good to check one’s motivation before going out and watch for the craving that arises as one walks through the town.
The fruit of non-virtuous act in which there is intention and completion of the act must be experienced unless the four opponent powers are applied. However if there is an act without intention one does not need to experience the karmic fruit of that act.
There are further three types of karma ‘tong tze you you ghi leh’ or the karma of which the fruit is experienced in this life. The second is the karma of which the fruit is experienced in the next life. Third is the karma that is to be experienced in the next several lives. In order to attain higher states of existence to help others the following eight qualities are very beneficial. All good karma, all good actions, all positive actions, are based on the avoidance of ten non-virtuous acts which we have talked about yesterday in detail, killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, idle gossip, covetousness, malice and holding wrong views. All suffering can be destroyed on the basis of just those ten avoidances. How simple and wonderful, how basically easy to learn because Buddha has given the method. Because by avoiding those ten the mind becomes calmer, negativities do not accrue anymore and what has been accrued becomes purified.
Number one, restrain from killing and helping others out of trouble, such as being a doctor or a nurse is the cause of a long life. If you have long life, this enables one to attain one’s goal and those of others. One needs long life in order to take advantage of the fully endowed human form, so it is important to take good care of one’s body. Number two: patience and such acts painting, repairing religious temples, statues and so forth, will enable one to have the karma to have a pleasing physical appearance. People are immediately attracted to one whose appearance is pleasing. Thus such a one is in a better position to offer help. Number three: humility overcoming one’s pride and respecting one’s elders and other people in general will result in birth in a race for a place that is highly regarded by society. Others listen to such people whereas they might ignore a low caste person even one who is very wise in general. Number four: the act of making offerings and making charity will result in wealth. This can be used to help others, people who require food and clothing before, they can practice the Dharma. Number five: restrain from the four non-virtues act of speech – lying, divisive speech, harsh talk and idle speech. Restrain from these four actions of the speech will give you the karma in the future and now to always be truthful. Therefore this increases one’s speech will be pleasant and people will listen. People will respect you. People will like hearing your voice. In general, you will gain a pleasant life, and a clear strong voice that is very pleasant and melodious to hear when one is restrained in acts of speech. Beautiful voice, pleasant voice, voice that reaches others, that touches others, that can change others, that can guide others, that is respected by others. This is the type of speech that you will get like H. H. the Dalai Lama whose voice regardless of the words even the tone of the voice bring tears because it is so beautiful. Or some singers who when you just hear their voice brings pleasure. It is the result of refraining from the four unwholesome acts of speech. Number six: combining humility with the use one’s power to the full extent to be of benefit to others. Prayers to the Triple Gems for attainment of a fully endowed body with the eight qualities in the next life will also be the cause for power and fame. Combining humility, the direct result will be to gain power and fame in your future life. And now in fact a person with these attributes has a greater influence over others and thus can effectively bring about changes for their benefit. For example, a king can cause monasteries and stupas to be built. Number seven: by helping the poor and the weak and doing for them what they are unable to do, not hitting any living beings, not even one’s pet animal, will be the further case of having a capable mind and body. Helping the poor and the weak, the sick, the disabled, and not hitting others, not abusing others’ bodies will result in a healthy body and mind in a future life and in this life in fact. If such a person can follow the instructions of his guru and by attempting and achieving goals which others will not strive for, attaining enlightenment in one life. Number eight: rejoicing in the Triple Gem, having reverence for others and reciting the Manjurshri mantra etcetera, this will result in very strong will power. Will power that cannot be diverted, pushed off its goals or easily manipulated. To have will power, having this, one will be content while following any practices and you will even have the ability to live in a cave alone, if necessary in order to do your practices. If you have strong determination in getting a girlfriend, if you have strong will power in order to get a good business, that is not a positive sign, that is in fact a negative sign. It is a sign that it will increase your delusions. When you are afraid of meditation, you afraid of seclusion in caves and you are afraid of these places, it is a sign that in your previous lives you did not rejoice in other people’s good deeds, in the Triple Gem’s good deeds. You did not have reverence far others. And you in fact did not have respect for the true activities that will benefit your life and future lives, others and eventually your own enlightenment. Having willpower in the correct sense you will be content and happy with practices and events that will come along and you will not be influenced by worldly people, worldly advice and talk you will be very strong in your determination to practice. Even when your teacher says: ‘Go into a cave. Go into a retreat for one year’, you will say ‘I will do so’. When the teacher says come to a Dharma talk, go into a retreat, do this meditation, recite this prayer one million times, you will think of every excuse that is existing not to do it. It shows a lack willpower in the correct sense of the word. But when your teacher says: ‘Go get a good job. Fix yourself up. Go get a nice boyfriend’ before he finishes half the sentence you are out of the door. That is the wrong type of willpower. That is willpower towards delusion and delusional activities.
These eight are not necessarily for the attainment of enlightenment. But they do make progress faster and one’s act more effective. Having them is like traveling from point A to B in a go-cart and out to the beyond. These eight results are not the aim of practice by the avoidance of the non-virtuous acts, four of speech, three of body, one can accumulate the karma to attain these eight positions: long life, a pleasing physical appearance, birth in a high society, high race, wealth, to be truthful, powerful, famous, a healthy able body with strong willpower. These will help you and supplement you and bring you up and others to the Dharma. To be born in a high caste, naturally you will be respected. To be born with a good pleasing physical appearance that is good to look at, nice to look but does not attract other people’s desires but to have charisma. When other people see you or hear you or are with you, they are attracted and spell-bound by your Dharma charisma. Not to have a pleasing appearance that brings desire or passion. That is the wrong type of charisma, but to have Dharmic charisma to attract others just by appearance, to look different. Just by seeing you, someone says ‘Hey, he looks different. What is it about them?’ And by that way is one method to bring them to Dharma. To have wealth, to use it for the benefit of others, to always have good speech, pleasant speech, to have power in fame so that you can influence others on to the good path, to have healthy body and mind so that whatever one wishes to do positively, one is able. To have strong willpower so that you will not be pushed off the path, no matter what people do to you, how much beating you get, how much scolding, how much people may make fun of you or tease you, or cheat you or whether all the people in the world or your society people are saying the wrong things yet you have the strong determination from a very young age to do it, and you know it is right and you do it. And not to be thrown off in spite of the obstacles. It is the result of rejoicing in others’ merits and especially the Triple Gem, having reverence for others and also meditation upon Manjushri. Any of those factors.
Those are not what we want out of Dharma practice. They will be a by product of our Dharma practice. They will come without our asking for it. Therefore, you do have to create or dedicate your merits for achieving long life, health, wealth, fame, beauty, position. You do not. You dedicate it for enlightenment and those eight qualities will come naturally like a lake in the summer monsoon rains, it will swell up naturally without expectations. Therefore, it is always very beneficial to have excellent motivation, to dedicate it to the supreme of the supreme, enlightenment.
And on the basis of the avoidance of the ten non-virtuous activities coupled with the four opponent powers, that is Dharma practice, that is real Dharma practice. Without that, the initiations, the mantras, the meditation, everything is useless. So if your Dharma practice consists of rolling the malas (rolling your rosaries) having a beautiful altar, giving gifts to the Sangha, if it consists only of that you will get some benefits by the power of the Three Jewels but the benefits will not be lasting like enlightenment. There will be some sort of benefit like wealth – fleeting wealth, fleeting happy state of mind because the object you have done this is relation to the power to grant that.
So virtuous karma, in order to take the full benefit of the eight qualities, one should try to benefit all creatures. That is the motivation.
Does anyone have any question? Today we have gone into karma strongly. Yesterday we talked about previous lives, how they exist on a logical basis. Today, at the beginning, I have gone over with you. This has strengthened your already, maybe strong or not strong belief in reincarnation. At least in our cultures, our Eastern cultures, we have a strong belief in reincarnation. We have been part of it, we have been exposed. If our grandmother told us on that basis, we will just believe it. But yesterday I have given you a sound irrefutable basis to contemplate on reincarnation.
Today we have talked about the workings of karma. Remember refuge through Dharma practice motivated by the wish to free others on the basis of the ten avoidance of the then non-virtuous actions coupled with four opponent powers. This is Dharma practice, this is the core. This is the essence.
If this is done then meditation, mantras, initiations, making statues, making religious artifacts, helping the Sangha, sponsoring the Rinpoches, sponsoring monks, sponsoring the monasteries, sponsoring centers will bring true benefit: will not bring karma but merits. Think about it carefully. On these basis if you do any Dharma practice, you will gain results quickly. I hate to use this, but it is not the quantity but the quality. It is better to recite one Shakyamuni mantra or one Om Mani Padme Hum with remorse (regret), with the vow not to do negative actions and to do antidote actions, such as compassion and meditation and to avoid the ten negative actions, then to do one Om Mani Padme Hum on this basis is better than to do one million without those. And that is the truth. Enlightenment is not from your mouth. It is from your mind. So if your mind is not developed, how can the mouth be effective? It can supplement it, if it is coupled with the right mind.
From today on, I beg you, I implore you, I ask you, I request you with folded hands and on my knees that all of you take these teachings to heart and that from today on to make a change in your lives. To change your attitude even 0.01% from today on, from the teaching and not to leave the teaching on the shelf and brag how beautiful it is, how wonderful it is, how you received it and how excellent it was, etcetera, etcetera, to put flowery praises on it but to actually enact it, use it and do it. Therefore, your purpose of coming here today and my purpose of coming here today and your coming here and all the people we are involved in my coming in small and great ways, equally will be benefited. That’s how an affinity with people, lamas, and teachers and Buddhas and Sanghas that you like will become stronger. When that affinity and karma become stronger, your negativity will lessen because the definition of a spiritual friend or guide is one that when you stay around them, your positive activities will increase and your negative activities will decrease. That is the definition of a spiritual friend, that is your guru, sangha, dharma brothers and sisters, etcetera, etcetera. When you hang around these people, when you stay around these people, you will notice with time that your negative actions decrease and your positive actions increase. That is the definition of a spiritual friend. You want to have affinity with these people.
Does anyone have any question on the teaching, we had yesterday and the day before yesterday before we go on? No questions? It is clear. Is it necessary to go over the logical analysis on reincarnation? Will you be bored? A lot of new faces, I see. Is it necessary? The day before yesterday we went over (it) for about half and hour. Yesterday we went over for about fifteen minutes. Today we will go over for about seven or eight minutes so that those who have steadily attended everyday won’t be bored and yet the new people will not be left out either.
The whole basis of Buddhism is the theory of reincarnation. The whole basis that Buddhism is based on is the theory of reincarnation. And how that comes about is not something made up or something that is used to scare young kids, that is used to scare us into doing this and that practice. Not this type of practice. But it is a very exact or precise science that is very logical, that can be examined in your own mind which was already spoken by Lord Buddha. And later further explained by great masters such as Dharmakirti. This is one of the main texts that we study in the monasteries.
Dharmakirti spoke of all phenomena as existing on the basis of continuity or continuum. All objects are on the basis of a continuum, of a continuity. For example, I gave the example of a piece of paper the other day. In order for this paper to exist now, it has to have existed via previous moment and is a previous moment. It has to have existed yesterday and the day before and if we go back and back and back and examine it carefully, it has existed at the printers. Before that it was a pulp or recycled. Before that it was a tree. Before that it was a sapling and a seed. From that seed, it had to have come from another tree and therefore if we go backwards in the same procedure, the previous tree, the previous tree, the previous tree and back and back and back without count, innumerable. So therefore, like that all phenomena that exist in this world are operating on the same basis. Like that our bodies are operating on the same basis, the basis of continuity. Now for our body to exist, now at 8 o’clock, it must have existed at 7:30, 6:30, 6 o’clock and so on. It must have existed yesterday, the day before. It must have existed last week, the week before that. It must have existed the previous month and the month before that, last year and the year before that and back, back, back, back. The body could not have just come out of nowhere. The paper, the book, the cup, the table, the altar, the place could not have come out of nowhere and just appeared out of the sky. It must have had a source, it must have had a previous moment. It must have a previous continuous moment.
Like that the body must have had a previous moment going back and back and back. So if we look at the body it has a previous moment and a previous moment which if gathers momentum, it becomes minute, it becomes hours, it becomes days. It becomes months, it becomes years and on ad on. So like that all the way up to the point of our birth even if we were born inside our mother’s womb. This is just an example. Of course the labor takes a longer time than that. Then before that we must have been in our mother’s womb. In our kind mother’s womb. Then nine months of gestation inside our mother’s womb and even all the way back. If you go back to the formation of the fetus and way back, back, back to the point of conception where the white cell of the father and the red cell of the mother, as Buddha spoke in the Tantras, combine at that moment in order that we are conceived. So say if we were conceived at 9 o’clock, then at 8:59 that white cell and that red cell must have been in or parents and therefore, that previous moment before our conception, we just cannot be conceived out of nowhere. We must have been coming from somewhere. Like that continuity, if we go backwards, those cells if we trace back go back to our parents, to their parents and their parents and back, back, back to the time to their childhood, when they were children and back, back, back to the time when they were in their parents’ wombs and they went back to their parents and they to their parents and so on. It is innumerable. It goes back to so many thousands and thousands of millenniums actually. Like that we don’t have the intellectual or mental capacity to count how many. We do not have the clairvoyance to see how many. But it goes back and back and back. Innumerable. Uncountable. Like that it is definitely like counting the stars in the sky but it is beyond our human comprehension to be able to count the number of stars in the sky. So we put a label saying, innumerable as the Buddha states. Therefore, at the moment of conception, we can see very clearly that on a continuous basis, we bring it back fort from our parents, the cells and come and form inside from our mother’s womb. And inside our mother’s womb we have been conceived at around nine o’clock At nine o’clock up to approximately nine month, our body develop to a complete fetus until birth and it continues up, up, up until this very point where we are existing right now and tomorrow second by second it must exist, forming minutes, forming hours, forming days, weeks, months and years. And going on and on and on like that continuously.
Even when our body dies, it physically continues differently in different forms. The body doesn’t just disappear, whether you are cremated, whether you are burned or interned in the ground, whatever, the body will continue in another form. Even when you are cremated and your ashes thrown on the ground, your ashes will nurture new forms of life. In fact, your body will continue in a new form of life and continue again and again without stop, without end, no matter how minute.
Like that our mind is also a phenomena in Buddhism, like our body and like all objects that we can see with our physical eye, that is tangible. It is called all phenomena. So all phenomena operate on the basis of a continuum. Our mind is also a type of phenomena. It also operates on a continuum. Like that in order for your mind to exist now at 8 o’clock it must have existed at 7:59, at 7 o’clock and on and on, backwards and backwards, going all the way back to the time to your childhood, to the time when you were very young and even when you cannot remember clearly what you did when you were four, what you did when you were three, what you did when you were one. Even when you don’t remember when you were inside your mother’s womb, even if you cannot remember what happened in there, it doesn’t deny the fact that it didn’t exist, it doesn’t deny the fact that it wasn’t there simply because you cannot remember. That is illogical. So like that when you think on a logical basis you have had a previous life. Like that you have had a previous moment, if brought your mind continuum back all the way to the time you were born. And that was brought back all the way into your mother’s womb and that was brought back nine months to the previous conception at nine o’clock when you were conceived. There at that point of conception the red and white cell the previous moment for those cells to combine to form you that previous moment was from your parents of you think about it carefully, that is very logical.
What about at ten o’clock, where did the mind come from? How did the mind appear? At nine o’clock you were conceived. You were existing from nine o’clock. What is the continuum, if you go back at 8:59? Where was your mind at 8:59? Didn’t just pop out of the sky? Did it just appear with the body? Was it just formed with the body? It is illogical. The mind being a phenomenon must have had a precious continuum – must have had a previous moment in order for it to exist at 9 o’clock. So the mind must have been existing at 8:59, 8:58, 8:57, 8 o’clock, 7 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 5 o’clock etcetera, etcetera. So if you have been born on the 24th, you must have existed on the 23rd, 22nd, 21st, 20th, 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th and so on and on for it to have existed. In order for it to forward, you must also be able to trace it backward on a logical basis. If you cannot trace it backward, how can it go forward? It must have come from somewhere. Therefore, at 9 o’clock you were conceived, your body can be traced coming from your parents. Where was your mind? Where was your mind at 8:59? As the great Dharmakirti has explained, at 8:59 you were existing in another form, existing in another way, existing in another plane. It can be in a different plane, it can be existing in this world in different forms. At 8:58, you were in a different form, at 8:57 you were in your previous form. Therefore at 8:59, we can use a simple example. At 8:59 your mind had died. That mind in order to exist again by the power of its karma, took on a new form which took rebirth in the womb of your new mother at 9 am. So the mind entered at 8:59, it entered and continued to 9 o’clock, and from 9 o’clock, your parents’ cells combine to grow at this point. And your mind which was at 8:59 in another life form took on rebirth at 9 o’clock to continue up to this point.
Likewise, when we go backward, we can go forward. Up till this point, up to 27, 28 or 29 years old, I am not sure about my birth date. In any case let’s say I am twenty-one, it sounds nicer. Some of you are laughing. OK, let’s say I am twenty-two. I am twenty –two. I must progress to twenty-three, twenty four, twenty five, twenty six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight….thirty, forty, fifty. Let’s say sixty. It has to continue from that point just from my age of twenty-two up to fifty.
Let’s say I am going to die at the age of fifty. When I die at the age of fifty, when I leave my body, the body will continue in another way. What about the mind? How will it continue? It must exist. It cannot just disappear. This energy cannot just disappear so easily. So if we die, let’s say at 12 o’clock. At 12 o’clock, your mind and body functions cease. They cease to exist in their present form. They will exist in another form. They will go down as nutrients into ground. Let’s make it simple. At 12:01 where is your mind? At 12:02, where is your mind? At 12:03, 12:04 etcetera, etcetera. Where is your mind the next day, the next day, the next day? On a logical basis your mind works on a continuity. It works continuously. It moves continuously. In order for it to exist at this moment it has to have a previous moment. It works on a continuity.
Like that if you say that your mind come from your parents, it is not very logical because physically we have the attributes of our parents. If not our parents, at least our grandparents. But if we check mentally, we are quite different from our parents – the way we think and the way we act. Our kids are quite different from us. In fact the likes of the parents of this life are the dislikes of the kids. The parents likes are the dislikes of the children. You can have scientific geniuses as parents and not very intelligent children. You can have not very intelligent parents and extremely intelligent children. So if the mind were stemming from the parents, then the minds must resemble the parents in everyway. Now what resemblances, we might have to our parents’ way of think or moving or doing things is just a matter of conditioning. When we have been with someone for a very very long time and we look up to that person and you only know how to do things in this way, then in that way we may do things similarly but that does not prove that the mind has come from the parents because the majority of us are quite different from our parents – our careers, our skills, what we like and we don’t like are quite different from our parents. So on a logical examination, the mind cannot just have existed at the time of birth. It must have had a previous moment. The mind could not have come from the parents because if it did it has to resemble the parents, like our physical bodies. Even genetically our diseases are sometimes inherited. It must have come from our parents. But we are completely different from our parents, completely different. That is where the conflict arises, but that is a whole different story.
Then on this basis, Buddha with his great omniscience and clairvoyance can put the doctrine of reincarnation in or ordinary worldly terms on that basis. There are actual people who can see clearly or remember what happened to them when they were five, what happened to them when they were four, where they were when they were one. There are even people who can remember clearly what they were doing inside the womb, what they were thinking and how they were feeling. There are even people who can remember what they were doing in their previous life, very very clearly. They can remember the one before that by the power of their meditation. Even today with the right meditation you will be able to unlock the powers of your memory and your mind which (never mind previous lives) will help you to focus, make your mind straight, powerful, clear like an arrow, very sharp that you can remember things when you were very very young that you can remember things that you will never recall otherwise. And therefore going back to your previous life and previous existences and what you have been doing. Only the Buddha as a fully enlightened being can see their previous lives clearly without fault all the way back back back. People who have certain meditational abilities can see their previous lives up to a certain point and the stop and some can see your previous lives to a certain point and then stop. It depends on your meditational abilities.
On that basis which I have condensed, Buddhism bases its doctrine on reincarnation, reincarnation meaning the mind taking on a new rebirth, taking up a new situation again and again.
I explained yesterday that there are three types of karma, and sub-divisions. The three types of karma are positive karma, neutral karma and negative karma. Karma is the Sanskrit word for action or deed, what we are doing. Karma is just a word that has been used over and over and over. This sometimes, it is used as a joke. Karma means action. So good action, bad action, neutral action. Good action is determined by, be it your body, speech and mind, benefits others and oneself. Bad action is any act that you do that creates harm and unhappiness to others and oneself. Neutral action is any action that brings no harm and brings no good to others, for example, eating. So good karma or good actions s create a positive result. Negative actions create negative results. It is very simple. Therefore, what rebirth you take, what environment you take in and the situation that you go through and the form that you have to go through, and the positive or negative feelings, and the positive and negative experiences that you have to go through all depend on karma. All actions definitely have results. Definitely will have a result. All actions cannot be without results.
It also operates on continuity basis. Whether the results come to you quickly or whether the results come slowly still definitely the results will come. On the basis we can base the theory of reincarnation. Along with reincarnation, there must be deeds or acts. Without deeds and acts people cannot just wander around and get a new rebirth. If there is a doctrine of karma then it could explain very clearly why some people are very attractive, why some people are very unattractive, why some people are born in a very good places, happy places and why some people are born in unhappy places, why some people have a lot of sickness and illness and some people have very unhealthy bodies, why some people are born in pleasant environments, where they can get food and water and get jobs easily and some people are born in unpleasant environment.
In Buddhism we do not accept or deny a God theory. It is something we do not worry about at this moment. It is not a denial, it is not an acceptance. What we concentrate on is deeds and actions at this moment, because if you do good things, if you do positive things, definitely you have a positive results. If you do harmful things you will have harmful results. Whether there is a God punishing you or rewarding you or whether there is karma, giving you the fruitioning or ripening of your actions, at this point it is not a big concern for us. But if you operate on a Buddhist or Hindu thought (which based on) karma, then you be careful of your actions. How you speak to others, how you interact and react to others on the basis that these negative actions or positive actions will fruition back upon you. If you operate on a god theory which is if you do good actions, it is recorded and you will be rewarded in heaven or when if you do negative things and harm your whole life and if you die you will be condemned to hell. If that theory helps you to do positive things, it is all right. If the theory of karma helps you to do positive things, it is all right – no difference. There is no conflict. We should not make a conflict out of it. We shouldn’t see it as a conflict because there is no conflict. The ultimate that we want is a good positive, harmonious society. And if the society is harmonious and kind to their environment and the beings such as animals and spirits, everyone lives in harmony and respect to each other. This is the goal of all religious practices. So if the goal of all religious practices is that and if a person likes to do that on the basis of God, it is all right. If that person does it on the basis of karma, it is all right. Because if this guy gives to charity and I give to charity, and this guy will say, ‘Oh I will be rewarded in heaven because I do charity.’ When these two meet, from the outside the both do charity, they both help people. They both are assisting. There is no difference. There is no need to argue whether there is God, there is no karma or there is no God, there is karma. So in that case, there is no need to do charity – just back and forth, back and forth. It is illogical. No need to argue. No need to clarify with each other. What you believe, what helps you is perfect.
The enlightened ones, the Buddhas, did not manifest always in the form of a Buddha with slanting eyes or in India or as Jesus or Mohammed. They will manifest in all forms: as Buddha, as Jesus, as Muhammad, as Krishna, etcetera, etcetera, all over this world system to benefit people, to teach the doctrine to people according to time, place, culture and environment. These beings will manifest and teach you how to be kind, compassionate, harmonious individuals. The method they teach you will be again be according to time, culture and situation. Which, church, synagogue, mosque is the right church, the right synagogue, the right mosque etcetera, etcetera. We waste our whole life arguing and not doing any spiritual practice. We have actually wasted the opportunity to utilize the purpose of these places, the purpose of these doctrines to become a better being.
Instead of utilizing these holy doctrines to become a better human being, we have used these doctrines in the opposite direction which from that creates conflicts, disharmony and unhappiness. It is like an example I gave yesterday. If you don’t know how to drive a car, you bang it up, but that doesn’t mean the car is bad or the maker is bad or the dealer. It means that you don’t know how to drive it, whatever theory that you would like to operate on in your lives, whatever theory. Even as a non-religious person, a person who does not want to take on any religion, but he has respect for the other persons, the environment, the other beings and on that basis of respect, morality and treat other kindly and develop himself mentally, that is OK. Because in the end at the moment of truth, at the time that comes, if there is a heaven they will all go there. If there is karma all will take a good rebirth. If there is neither, according to the non-religious person, still you have not wasted life. You have lived your life as a real human being and not as an animal that fights and secures its own den and territory and hunts and scavenges for food all day long and procreates the young. We are not animals, we have a higher intelligence, we have a higher ability. This ability can be made to put into the development of the mind. If it is put into development of the mind then we can go very far.
If it is put into the development of just wealth, position, power, games, entertainment, fun, if it is just used for this then actually this great ability is wasted. Because lasting happiness can come from outer, physical objects, then the more physical outer objects that we have, the happier we must become. If happiness were based on good appearance then every supermodels in the world should be very very happy. All the film stars should be extremely happy, so happy that they have no time to cry or have any kind of distress but if we read all these kinds of magazine they have all these kinds of unhappiness. If happiness were based on wealth, then every single person that has wealth in this world should be very happy, free of problems. If happiness were based on friends then the more friends we have the more love we must feel, the more comfort and happiness we must feel. But in fact, if we have wealth we know why the friends are coming. But if we don’t have wealth, we look around and say, where are our friends? No friends. Friends also you cannot base your happiness on. And also if you base your happiness on an object that is transitory, that is transient and passes, as soon as that object changes or that transitory nature takes effect, for example your friend moves away, your friend dies, your car is stolen, your car is banged up, your wealth is lost overnight on the shares, the minute you lose it, then unhappiness comes. So if you base your happiness on that, there are many faults: the faults of transientness/transience or the faults of impermanence, that fault that thee objects cannot be the ones that bring you happiness. If it is, then the more you have, the happier you should be, the more joyous you should be. In fact if we check it, it is not.
Happiness is a state of mind. If happiness is the state of mind, then that mind must be developed. How an outer physical object creates a state of mind? It can supplement a state of mind. For example if you eat good food and you can keep your body well and you don’t feel uncomfortable, it can help, it can assist. But t is not the cause or real cause, it is environment or temporary cause to your happiness. It is not the ultimate cause. Real happiness comes from inner disarmament or freedom from one’s own negative traits, negative delusions.
Delusions such as ignorance, hatred and desire comes jealous, craving, dissatisfaction, anger, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, will arise. When these negative emotions arise and propel you to do something negative and therefore get a negative result, that is when unhappiness comes. If you have two cups: one is a better cup and the other a worse cup and your friend comes along and take the better cup and you get upset. Your happiness is not based on that cup, your happiness is not complete because you do not have giving, you do not have rejoicing. And you are attached, you have desire. Because you have desire, you will argue with your friend, and say, why are you so greedy? You take the better cup and you leave me the worse cup. In fact, if you want real (happiness), you won’t even be attached which one your friend took as long as you have a cup. Because you yourself are very greedy, because you yourself are very attached, coming from desire, so when he took the other cup, you feel very unhappy. But the deluded mind tricks you into saying, no my happiness is dependent on that cup. He took that cup, that better cup, therefore I am unhappy. But in fact if you investigate clearly, the unhappiness is not the cup, it is the situation in which your state of mind has been reflected on. Then when we see the that cup is taken away and we see the worse cup and we take that home, every time we see it, we reinforce that which we condition ourselves to think: he took the better cup. He is a bad person. He is an evil person. He is not really my friend. I am unhappy.
So people who concentrate on it very much, over and over and over again become crazy or become neurotic, will become extremely attached, possessive. And therefore, they apply their possessiveness to other aspects of their lives, to their husbands, to their wives, to their jewelry, their cars, their furniture, their house, their office, their bank accounts, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And therefore, when one of these things are taken away, when one of these things do not produce the desired results, we experience unhappiness. And therefore, we point to the source of our unhappiness, at that particular situation, at that particular person, that particular object. We have pointed at it. Again and again we delude ourselves into that.
And then by that deluded state of mind, we have perceived that our unhappiness has come from that object, for example, that person who has taken the cup from us, then we proceed to create negative result, negative karma. We call up the person. At first we say nicely, can I have the cup back and you take the other on? The other person says, no I got if first. And you say, I thought you were going to take the other one and I take this one. Negative karma of speech, more anger, more unhappiness and every time you see this person, you feel angry. Maybe you even got to the extent of going up to the person and beating him up, having a nice fight. Maybe you call up a gang to work on him. Maybe you have position and power and lock him up in jail, just for a simple thing.
Therefore, every single action that you do out of hate and desire, now hate comes in, every single action will create an mental imprint in your mind, a mental seed in your mind, a mental karmic imprint in your mind which will fruition at a later time, at a later situation. And if that imprint was negative as in this case, then you will get negative result. For example, if you speak very harsh words out of hatred and desire and ignorance. Any of these three poisons, any of these delusions, if you speak any harsh word on the basis of these three to that person, you have collected a karma of the speech, that is negative. Therefore, as a result of having this spoken, in your future life, you will take rebirth in an environment that is very dry, that is very rough, that is very dirty and the simple things that you need to live such as water and shelter are going to be very difficult. To get water, you must travel miles and miles or kilometers and kilometers, walk in the hot sun, on rocks just to get that water and bring it back and go through so much effort. Even to get a job, to collect some firewood, or to grow something on your garden, or grow something to eat, when you grow something a kind of drought comes along. Bad weather conditions destroy it. From that harsh speech that you have given to other people, when you shout at people, when you say negative things at other people, when you say harsh words at other people with the three delusions as the motivating factor, you will create a situation that you will reborn in a negative environment.
How you may say, how can such a few words create such an energy? It can. How can a small or small seed bear such an apple tree or an orange tree or a pear tree? It is just a tiny little seed. Yes, it may be a small little seed that has the potential to grow something big. Like that although the karma is something very small, it is very minute at this time, it will increases and become bigger and bigger and bigger.
Like that there are many people who did not come on the first day because of previous engagements then I will go through these quickly for your benefit because I see that the audience is very sincere, not that yesterday and the day before, the audience was not very sincere. Sincere also. New people sincere too.
For a lay person, there are ten actions that we should avoid whether you are religious person or a non-religious person, whether you are a Jew, whether you are a Christian, whether you are a Muslim, a Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, (and) etcetera. Whatever religious nominations you are these are the ten basic things that we should avoid as humans, with consideration and respect for others because they also have their karmic effects. There must be a couple of motivations involved, mind thoughts involved. In order to have karmic effects: 1) One must have the intention to do one of these ten actions. 2) One must know one is going to do the action, not just do it but knowingly do it. 3) One must carry out the actions. After the action is carried out and the effect has taken place, 4) and the last is one must rejoice that you have it: Oh, I have done this action. So to have the intend, to do it, the action gets complete and then rejoicing, be happy that you have done it.
So I have the intention of breaking his cup, I actually pushed it. Maybe it just rolled off and doesn’t get broken. The karma is still there but not as strong as when the cup is broken. Or I want to break that cup, I push it over and then it breaks and when I see him very sad I feel remorse and regret. Then the karmic effect becomes less. Then another ‘situation’ is I want to break the cup: I push it, it gets broken and the other person is depressed and I am extremely happy and I am rejoicing. And I am thinking of another way to make him even unhappier. The action is complete. The karma becomes very very strong, very, very powerful and that result will come back. You must have the four causes. Can anyone think of a better word? Four ……? Never mind, we just say the four causes. The four causes must be there for the action to be complete. So in order that these four are there, the actual actions are….
Now tomorrow will be New Year. In two hours and ten minutes, time it will be New Year. I am sure most of you will be awake still. Have communion with the Three Jewels. If you are from another religious sect, fine, have communion with Mohamed, with God, with Jesus. Have communion with the God of Israel. It doesn’t matter, but have communion with them and say that from now on, I will avoid the for negative actions of speech, three of the mind and three of the body – killing, stealing, sexual misconduct. Three of the body. Four of the speech – lying, harsh speech, divisive speech, gossip (idle talk). That is your new year resolution. Not to get a new diamond ring or to get to England, or to get a relationship, a success or bust. No. Your resolution should be to avoid the ten non-virtuous actions to the best of your ability and not for one or two days and then you get back to your old self. But to continuously do it again and again and again until your root it out and therefore bring happiness to yourself and to others. That should be your new year resolution. If you begin that and you start that, everything will change for you. People around you will like you. They will like you better if they already like you. Your mind will be calm and you will be happier.
And if you decided to engage in tantric practices, you will be able to attain your enlightenment at the most in sixteen lifetimes, at the least one lifetime. He is able to, therefore appear in whatever guise, form, shape, colour, size, time, place, object animate or inanimate in order to benefit you. And we don’t know if our neighbor is a Buddha emanation or not. Do not look at them for face value. We do not have the wisdom eye or clairvoyance to see who is an emanation, who has attained and who has not. Do not assume that that person has not attained, simply on face value. It is very dangerous in that way.
Make your New Year resolutions clear and strong. Start your Dharma practice on New Year’s Day, in two hours time. Start it. Begin it. Regret, have remorse, promise not to do negative actions, do purification practices, do practices that collect merit on New Year and from then on, avoid the ten non-virtues. Nobody is asking you to sit in a cave to meditate on a deity with some fifty thousand arms. You cannot even count the hands, forget about visualizing. No one is asking you to go to some monastery in India and shave off your hair. No one is asking you to remove and hang up your clothes in the woods and rub ashes all over your body and run about naked in the rain. But the Buddha is asking you to avoid the ten non-virtues and apply the four purification practices for your own benefit.
If that is hard, have a good time in samsara, I am getting out. And if you are very sick, it is scary to go to the hospital and get poked on, to get cut, to get needles, to get examination, to get exposed to radiation and get our hair falling out. It is scary to hang out and you don’t know what they are doing to you, what is going to happen. It is definitely scary but how scary would it be if your disease progress and you don’t go to the hospital. Yes, it is scary and difficult if you don’t avoid the ten non-virtues and the results come. How scary would that be. Think about it. No one is asking you today to do anything that is out of your ability or your intellectual capacities. Think about it. Make your correct resolutions. It is the time. It is ripe. You are not too old and you are not too young.
The great Mahasiddha, Tentipa, lived about a thousand years after Buddha. He was a carpet weaver. He expanded his business very widely because he was hardworking, industrious, and he made the greatest and most wonderful carpets. He got the greatest patrons, the riches people in town. Even the king patronized him. His carpets were the talk of different cities and different towns and different districts in his country, in India. When he got old he lost his ability, he lost his nimbleness of his hands, everything, and he could not do it anymore. He passed his knowledge to his four sons who were equally industrious equality smart as their father. They respected their father and mother with grace, with dignity and with deep love. And they worked at their business very successfully and it grew more and more even bigger than their father had ever done it in his life. In front of the shop, they had displays of their carpets and at the back was where they worked. And way at the back there was a jasmine garden and their living quarters. They had a big compound. And when the father became old and unable to work, out of respect they kept their father in front near the display area, the display room. And lots of customers would come and the father would sit there quietly while the sons talked and advertised and show them samples. After a while the sons started to marry, each brought back his wife home. It was the custom in India to bring the wives home, the wives were equally hardworking industrious and respectful of their parents, the in-laws. And their husbands respected their wives. And it was very harmonious.
After a while age crept up and the father lost some sensory power, he started to drool and could not control his urine. He couldn’t hear well. He in fact would fall asleep and when customers came, not knowing that he was the father, it was not an inviting display for their business. So their wives asked their husbands to remove their father to the back and build a nice little house at the back to relax. The husbands listened and they did so. And in the jasmine garden, they built a nice little house in the back for him. The father was very angry, very upset, very disgusted, very hurt. In my prime, I was the best, very excellent. In my old age, I gave all to my sons and they abandoned and throw me at the back. I am a source of shame and disgust for them. He became very hurt and agitated and therefore, very very frustrated and angry person. He was in his seventies.
One day, a mendicant came along. He was actually a realized person. In Sanskrit, we call them ‘mahasiddha’, ‘great attained one’ A mahasiddha came. And it was usual in the Buddhist country that the mahasiddha comes and begs at the door. He stood at the door and the sisters immediately love it. It was an honor to offer food to this mendicant monk, this teacher. They invited him in and washed his feet, touched their heads to his feet and offered him delicious food and waited on and served him. Then he gave them a talk on Dharma. And they asked him, ‘Please stay in our house for one night to honor our house and bless our place, please stay.’ So the medicant said, ‘No. I am not used to staying in comfortable places. I usually live in the forest, near the rivers, in trees, in caves.’ ‘Just for one night, out of compassion with us.’ The four wives implored. He agreed out of compassion. But I will not sleep on a high comfortable bed. I will sleep in the garden. The sisters ere excited and the y prepared a place in the garden. Then they led the mahasiddha into the garden and left him to do his prayers.
When the mahasiddha was meditating in the night he heard a kind of grumbling and a kind of scowling. He went to investigate and he saw a little house. He saw a decrepit old man. And he asked, ‘What are you grumbling about? What are you complaining about?’ And he told him. The guru asked him, ‘Would you like a method to get out of your suffering permanently?’ And the old man said, ‘Yes, I do.’ So the guru that whole night without sleeping and the old man also the whole night without sleeping (which is an impossible task to me) taught him what I taught you today. The avoidance of the ten non-virtues, the four opponent powers and initiated him into the tantric circle of Hevajra which is very common in the holy Sakya Lineage, Hevajra Tantra.
From that day on since he took the vow, the father stopped complaining, stopped talking immediately. He realized the disbenefits. He went into meditation on Hevajra. He meditated for twelve year silently and quietly. Everyday the lovely wives would take care of his food, bathed him and washed him. And they just saw him as an ordinary father, an ordinary person but they wondered why he was so quiet.
One day, there was a commission for a wonderful carpet and it was a very very big sum that they had received for that carpet. They went to the patron’s house and delivered the carpet and had a little celebration. During the celebration, the wives forgot about the father, and when they remembered they gathered the food immediately and ran to the father to see what was going on. They were sure that the old man would start grumbling again. They forgot to feed him his dinner. When the sister ran there, they saw a little glow that was coming from the hut the father was living in. And when they looked in, their mouths were agape and the trays dropped, because around the father were sixteen beautiful goddesses (not ordinary goddesses) with different types of savories and different types of curries (maybe cheese cakes in my case, huh, sixteen different types of cheese cakes), surrounding the father with cheese cakes and with their delicate fingers put in into the mouth of the mahasiddha. And he, his body like a sixteen year old youth, his body was like a polished mirror, bright and beautiful and shining, floating about the air, receiving the beautiful delights. Don’t you wish you were there?
The sisters ran back. They thought they were hallucinating as if somebody put something in their drink at a party. They ran back and said, ‘Hey! Hey!’ calling their husbands. ‘Either we have gone man or the old man has gone mad.’ Everyone ran back to witness and the old man was floating into air. The sixteen goddesses dissolved. The sixteen goddesses were the sixteen deities of the Hevajra mandala. The old man manifested as the Hevajra deity and taught them Dharma beginning with the Four Noble Truths. And from then on the father lived for a few more years teaching the Dharma. At the time of death, he was able to take a few hundred disciples with him without leaving his body behind. This old father flew into the sky with his vajra and bell crossed, and with an entourage or his disciples to enter the Buddha fields. He flew up into the sky. That was the great mahasiddha Tentipa. He started his meditational practices in his seventies.
Anyone can do it, anytime – it is determination. Anyone, anytime, thousands of mahasiddhas but eighty four recorded mahasiddhas – it is called Masters of enchantment. I have the book. It is from Snow Lion Publications. It is very excellent. It is very very inspirational. One should read through it. The point of this is that one can do it anytime, if one has the determination. And the best time now is start on the new year, start 1997 off….with Dharma. Not outer Dharma but inner Dharma. Don’t make a big nose, put on all the party hats and run to the karaoke. Make communion with the Three Jewels. Make communion with Jesus. Make communion with Muhammed with Krishna, etcetera, etcetera. Make communion with them. And pray and start with the avoidance of the ten non-virtuous actions and the four opponent powers. Any question?
Q: Can you please elaborate on the throwing and completing karma again?
A: Yes, that is very simple. Throwing karma is what brings you immediately into a certain existence. Completing karma is what completes the existence. If you have the karma to throw you into good existence, that is good throwing karma. That is the karma that propels or throws you into the existence of a human. But in order for that human to have meaning, it has to have good completing karma which is wealth, name, fame, appearance, Dharma, etcetera. Whereas if you have bad throwing karma and good completing karma you can be reborn as a dog but unlike other dogs that are born in the streets, you are reborn in a family that take care of you, that feeds you, that cuddles you. They care about you and love you and when you die, they put you in a coffin too. You understand? Throwing is what puts you in a certain situation, but whether that situation is pleasant or unpleasant is completion karma. Understood?
Q: How does one………………….. (not discernable)
A: It is a good motivation. It is not a good motivation. It is not motivated by the eight worldly concerns.
Q: Sometimes we don’t realize it.
A: How can you not realize it? Whether you shout at someone out of love or at someone out of hate, you don’t know? When you steal or when you give, you don’t know the difference? When you feel the frustrations at someone or you say something harsh to them, when forgive them and never minded, you can see the distinction? Any action that harms others in anyway is negative action.
Q: But sometime you don’t realize it.
A: Exactly! After sometimes you realize and catch yourself again and again and again, and then you can stop yourself at the beginning, exactly. Training yourself, awareness, exactly, very good, exactly. I will be teaching you meditation but not today of course, which will help you to increase your awareness of what you do. It is a meditation that is good for anybody: free thinkers, Buddhists, non-Buddhists – anyone to gain awareness. Very good. You come to that. Any other questions?
Q: Rinpoche, in our daily existence as humans, we ourselves may be teaching Dharma and patience, but if we ourselves are in the world. Socialising with other human beings, who are not practicing Dharma, and they are throwing their weight at us and we are the victims, what shall we do? We cannot wait for our good karma.
A: Are you a victim? Is it because of the negative karma that you have collected or because of the good karma that you have collected? I don’t think so.
Q: But it is the external environment.
A: But is the external environment created by your good karma or your bad karma?
Q: That is not my question.
A: Listen to mine, to my question. When you answer that you will have the answer to yours. Is the external negative environment created as a result of your negative karma or your positive karma?
Q: The negative karma.
A: Good! Who created the negative karma for you to experience that negative environment?
Q: Perhaps your ownself.
A: Bingo! So by experiencing that you are at the same time purifying it. If they throw things at you and if you throw back, you will only get thrown at again. If they throw things at you and you practice patience and you realize that that is the result of your own negative karma, therefore, you are the victim and you don’t react back anymore. That karma will be purified, number one. And then no further karma to experience that again will be accrued. Do you understand? To realise that that is the extension of your own negative karma and not to do it again in order to increase the negative karma in order to experience it again. And to have patience. Do you understand? It is difficult, isn’t it? But if you fight back, it is going to be more difficult in the future. There are many of them and only one of you. Eventually the victimization will stop. Do you understand? That’s Dharma. That should be your New Year resolution. Very good question. Every centre I go to one person will ask that. I am glad you ask the question for the benefit of everyone. Maybe you are the emanation of Buddha to say that. Very good. Very good. Do you understand? Think about that. I will give you some reading materials that will help you on that. Any other questions?
The three non-virtuous actions of the body are killing, stealing, sexual misconduct. The four acts of the speech are lying, divisive talk, abuse, idle gossip. Then the last one – the three non-virtuous of the acts of the mind – are craving or desire, ill-will and wrong view. So killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, divisive speech, abuse, idle gossip, craving, ill-will, wrong views. These are the ten actions which we should definitely avoid. Definitely.
Now I will go over for the benefit of everyone. Now you may think, oh all this monk has to do is to teach this, this, this. Let me tell you, this is basic for everyone. Without this, you can forget the higher practices in any religion. You can forget any higher practices in Buddhism. You can forget about higher studies, about mantras and initiations, going to holy places and on and on. Without these ten basics as ordinary human being you do not have the qualities to be classified as a human being, if you do not bold on to these ten ethics. It is very, very important as human beings. That is what differentiate us from animals. So, 1) Killing, the intent must be there. So killing one’s parents, killing a holy being, killing a Buddha is not possible but the intent can be there, or an arahant is very powerful karma. It will result immediately in unhappiness in one’s life. Killing another human being is also very, very harmful. In fact, if we kill animals the result will come back to us also…Why? Because it creates unhappiness, it creates separation, it creates pain for another being. Whether the being is intelligent or not, every single being has the right to live and exist in peace, in happiness, and when we take that away from them we create pain, we create anxiety. We can even see pigs that are taken to slaughter, crying and squealing and wailing. I have seen it. They know. They definitely know. So to create that kind of pain and to absorb that kind of pain in our body, what kind of people do we become?
Not nice people, definitely not. After a while seeing the blood gush out – the first time we see it, it is kind of squeamish, the second, third, fourth time we see it, we get used to it, we have sunk to a lower level. So killing of any type is very, very negative karma.
And the effect of killing will be being born in one, of the three lower states of existence, either hell, spirit realm or animal realm. The second one is if you take rebirth as a human, you will have a tendency or liking to killing, you will have a short life and you will have a lot of illnesses. Even if you have a lot of illness and you take medicines, even if you go to certain hospitals, you will not be healed. People say, how come I practice Dharma and then I cannot get this, I cannot get that, I cannot achieve that? For everybody in the hospital to get well, nobody dies is according to the karma, how fast how quick, and how precise you get your results. Just because a hospital has a few deaths, we cannot say it is bad. No. By the power of killing and its negative results, one will always have a short life and an unhappy life – a life that is filled and fraught with illness and even when you get ill, medicines have no effect. You will always be in pain and a (have) a short life. Some kids when they are born, they like to step on a lot of bugs naturally. Some kids are very natural. Instincts from their previous lives have carried over in their lives. The third is that if you have a human life, even good food that is given to you will not become nourishing. Even vitamins given to you will not be nourishing and the body will be very weak. Whatever you do your body will not respond to medicines, treatment, nourishment, anything. These are some of the results of killing, some, not all the results.
Then we have stealing. Stealing can be done by taking out somebody’s object and with their knowing, or not knowing at first. Stealing can be swindling with words, in writing, using false ways to sell a product or advertising a certain product to be a thing from a certain country and selling off like that when you have sold your product on a wrong basis and the other person believers you and bought it and you feel happy about the result and you go to the Bahamas for a vacation, the action is completed. So stealing can be in the form of robbing, it can be in the form of swindling with words or writing, using false ways. Even as I said on the first day, if someone leaves some money in your care and forgot about it and you don’t remind them and keep it, that is stealing.
The result of stealing will be one of the three lower realms for sure. After the three lower realms, when you come out, you will be born as a human and you will never be able to escape poverty. Or you are born in a rich family but you will never be able to get any of the money or inheritance. Or, whatever you do or whatever jobs you do, whatever effort you put in, nothing comes out of it. You may label this bad luck. Some people do very little and get big results; some people do very much but do not get any results. Or, this kind of bad karma can result in (using ancient examples) destruction of crops where there are bad weather conditions. The farmers on your left and right are OK but yours are destroyed. Why? You are in the same area. Stealing will have definite result in poverty, any type of poverty: temporary, future. Some people are very rich businessmen but they fall down. Some people whatever business they do, do not give results. Some people when they do business, they gain lots of money but they lose it or it is stolen from them. That is the result of stealing from others.
Then sexual misconduct again is having intercourse with someone who is not your partner. So of course if you are a man, you are not with your wife but with another lady and vice versa. And if you do it in unnatural ways. And if you do it near your religious teachers, near religious institutions, near your altar, on religious holidays and also it says during the day. Buddha says sexual desire is strong in all humans and therefore it is important to restrain oneself from adultery. Very, very strong. If you commit any of those actions as a lay person, then the result of that will be the three lower realms and when you take rebirth again, there will be disharmony with your mates (between husband and wife), you will always have disharmony, arguments and fighting back and forth, not liking each other and running off again and again. And also you will have the effect of living in dirty places, unendurable places and places that are very, very unpleasant, very, very unbearable but you have no choice but to stay. That will be some of the results you will get from adultery.
Realizing that for a short time, we may get some pleasure out of your action which is negative, for a short time, temporary pleasures, but these actions will in the end bring about negative results, unhappy results. Meditating on that, thinking or contemplating on that again and again, slowly but in time. One should detach oneself from these actions. One should have remorse, one should have regret. One should promise not to do it again. One should have communion with one’s Deity: Buddha, Jesus, etcetera. One should have communion and promise not to do these again and to restraint oneself because not doing so will bring very, very bad results. And if you don’t believe in future lives but in this very life you can see disharmony already brought into your lives. So it is very logical.
The next one is the four actions of speech: lying, divisive speech, abuse and idle talk, lying can be with words, gestures or even a wink. The result of lying will be rebirth in one of the lower realms. In the future, whatever you say, no one will take you seriously, no one will listen to you, no one will ever believe you. All the time whatever you say will have to make a lot of noise, jumping up and down to get anyone’s attention. Even if you do that you push people further away. No one wants to listen to you as a result of lying. And whatever one tries to endeavor in one will be deceived, cheated and tricked by others and your endeavors will become unsuccessful, completely unsuccessful.
Divisive speech is any speech with the intention to divide between two friends, two parties, two organizations, etcetera, etcetera. This type of speech……..(end of CD3) and how to say, very, very smelly.
And the next one will be abuse or slander. That will lead you to a low rebirth, and in this life and future lives you will have a low reputation, unable to get along with others and everybody will instinctively speak about you behind your back even if you didn’t do anything, even if you are totally innocent. People will speak against you. And again you will be reborn in a dirty, unpleasant and dangerous environment, with wild animals, natural disasters. Very dangerous environment.
And the last of speech is idle gossip. Any type of speech about useless things that does not benefit oneself or others. Just talking on and on and on, idly gossiping on and on and on will created the kind of karma where in your next human life, your words will not influence others in anyway, not even your kids. Even when you try to teach your kid the good things, with good intention, even they will not listen to you, not even anybody else whom you meet. You will uselessly talk whenever the opportunity arises – just talk and talk and talk. There is another example here. If you have a garden or field, one will not reap harvest from it.
Ill will. Three actions of the mind will be craving, ill will and wrong view. That will be ill will, having hatred against someone and therefore acting upon it. One will gain rebirth in one of the three lower realms. If one gains rebirth as a human, one will have perpetual fear. One’s fear will always be groundless, incontrollable and always getting harmed and always getting destruction and disharmony without even creating it in that life. One is always in that situation and one will endure continuous sickness and unhappiness and live in places of war and heavy violence as a result of hatred and malice.
And the next one will be craving or desire – the wish that when someone else has something good, when someone else has something positive, one cannot rejoice, one cannot be happy, one wants to destroy or take that possession, one wants to do something to harm or to bring that person or the person’s business, etcetera down. The result of that will be in your future lives, no matter what situation you are in, whether it is very wealthy or a poor situation, you will always have continual dissatisfaction. Always dissatisfied. Always will be unhappy. If you can have the most beautiful mate, the most wonderful house and the highest name, the highest caste, still you will be unhappy, always looking for a way out, perhaps looking for the wrong type of escapism like suicide. Then one’s environment that one lives in will be fraught with poverty, with constant misfortune.
Then the last one would be wrong views. Wrong views such as thinking of doing negative things will have positive results and positive things will have negative results and perpetuating that. Or any type of wrong views along those lines will be rebirth where whatever studies you do in the future, whatever you try to advance in scholastics will not be successful. If you try to do any type of meditational practices, it will not be successful although you may try to do it in very, very ascetic ways. You put all your effort and energy to it, still you will not get results. Your mind will be dull, will be slow, very stupid. If you go to a mine, you will never find treasures as a result of having wrong views.
These are the ten non-virtuous actions that as human beings you should try to avoid so as not to experience the karmic effects. These karmic effects will follow the mind from one life to the next life, to the next life, to the next life until the situation occurs that with the fruition either you get the suffering or the unhappiness as the result. So it is very important, very, very important to avoid those ten.
Buddha taught basically that human life is very short, fraught with suffering, fraught with unhappiness. We do our best to make everything pleasant. We do our best to make everything wonderful. We do our best to pull ourselves to make everything wonderful, fabulous and beautiful like making make-up over our face. Then to escape from suffering or Samsara, suffering existence, cyclic existence which in Sanskrit, we say Samsara. We must crack its roots by eliminating self-grasping, a mental continuum. This depends on higher training, this depends on higher concentration, this depends on higher moral discipline. Now Buddha taught specifically many, many different types of sufferings: 1) birth 2) aging 3) sickness 4) death 5) having to part with what we like 6) having to encounter what we do not like 7) failing to satisfy our desire….the list goes on and on.
We had to spend nine months inside our mothers’ womb. When our mothers drink something hot it scalds one skin; when our mother drinks something cold, we freeze. Although we cannot remember, it is a very tight sac, it is very close, it is very small and there is no movement of any type. If there is any movement, it is very slight and quite restrained. Quite a lot of suffering for nine months, staying inside, unmoving. For example, if she runs, our body is badly jolted. During this time, we are alone and the suffering, that we experience inside the womb is quite intense. And then when we finally take rebirth, they say it is like being pushed between a narrow crevice of two hand rocks into a harsh alien world unable to speak, unable to express one’s views, unable to talk. We have at that point if we are ordinary beings we would have forgotten our previous lifetimes. Forgotten completely. We have to start anew, we are dumb. We have to start everything anew again. Our skin is so tender that even the softest cloth feels abrasive. When we are hungry, we cannot say so. When we are in pain, we cannot say this is hurting me. The only sign we make are hot tears and furious gestures. We are completely helpless and have to be taught everything: how to eat, how to sit, how to talk. And we have to start this process again and again and again.
Then aging. As soon as we are born the process of aging begins. As we grow old our youth and vitality diminishes. We become bent, unattractive and burdened with illness. Our eyesight becomes weaken and our hearing fails. We cannot derive the same enjoyment was we used to such as food, drinks and entertainment. We are too weak to play games and we are often too exhausted even for entertainment. When we are young we can travel a lot, even around the whole world but when we are old, we cannot even walk to or own front door. We become too weak to engage in many worldly activities. Our spiritual activities are often curtailed. For example, we cannot make prostrations and we cannot travel far to seek teachings or sit for a long time. Our memory and our concentration weaken. Anything that we focus on, we forget immediately. Our intellect which used to be very sharp becomes very dull. Unable to do the work we used to do or the way we used to help others, we begin to feel useless in society and start to lose self-respect. We are often neglected by our children and we watch helplessly as our old friends and contemporaries get sick and die. Inexorably, your loneliness deepens. We did not practice Dharma when we were younger and had the opportunity. We passed the few remaining years with a growing fear of death and a deepening sense of regret, for our wasted life.
Then along with that sickness, having been born as a human, it is impossible to escape having to experience sickness in this life. When we fall ill, we are like a bird that has been soaring in the sky and suddenly shot down. Even a mild illness can be completely incapacitating. We enjoy the food we like and take part in the activities with our friends. We may be told hat we can never again eat our favorite food, drink alcohol and engage in strenuous exercises. If our disease is more serious, we may have to undergo a more painful and possibly risky operation. Should these fail, we will be told that the doctors can do nothing to cure us and we have only a short time left to live. If we have not used our life to practice Dharma, we shall be overcome with fear and regret. Young people in their prime may be struck down by an incurable degenerative illness. Though they may be alive for many years, they have to watch themselves slowly deteriorate. Realizing that closes hopes and dreams will never be fulfilled, they may wish that they die sooner. When we hear about the diseases that happen to others we remember that the same may happen to us. While we remain in Samsara, we are never safe from the threat of sickness, ever.
Death. If during our life, we have worked hard to acquire possession and become very attached to them, we shall experience great sufferings when we are separated from them at the time of death. Even now we find it difficult to lend one of our treasured possessions to someone else, let alone give it away. No wonder we become so miserable when we realize in the hands of death we have to abandon everything. Give up everything. When we die we have to part with even our closest friends. We have to leave our partner though we have spent our lives together for many years, never even spending a day apart. If we are attached to our friends, we will experience great misery at the time of our death. All that we shall be able to do is to hold their hands. We shall not be able to halt the process of death even if they plead with us not to die. Usually we are very attached and feel jealous if they leave us on our own and spend time with someone else, but when we die, we shall have to leave all our friends with others forever. If we have children, we shall have to leave them when we die, and all the spiritual friends who have helped us in this life. When we die this body that we have cherished and cared for in so many ways will be left behind. It will become mindless like a stone and be buried in the ground and cremated. If we have not practiced Dharma and have not practiced virtuous actions at the time of death we shall develop fear and stress as well as bodily pain.
Having to part with what we like. Before the separation at the time of death, we have to experience temporary separation from the people we like. We have to leave the country where our friends and relatives live, or we may lose the job we like, we may lose our reputation. Many times in this life, we have to feel the misery of parting with the people we like or seeking and loving the things that we find pleasant and attractive. But when we die, we have to part with them forever, all the companions, all the enjoyments, all possessions.
Having to encounter what we do not like. We are often forced to live or work with people whom we found unpleasant such as those who criticize us for no reason and those who interfere with our wishes. Sometimes we may find ourselves in a very dangerous situation such as in a fire or earthquake, attacked by a mugger or killer. If our country goes to war, we may be called up to fight or else be imprisoned. If we refuse, our homes may be bombed and our relatives killed. Our lives may be in extreme situations which we find annoying. On holidays, it rains or else the heat is threatening. Our business fails, or we lose our job or we lose our savings. We argue with our father and our children give us many worries. Our old friends suddenly turn against us. Suddenly everything seems to go wrong. Even in our Dharma practice, we continually meet obstacles. Even if we sit down and meditate we are distracted by outside noise, the telephone rings or someone comes to see us. Sometimes it seems that even though we have practiced Dharma for years but our delusions seem to be stronger than ever. Even though we try hard to be considerate, sometimes our family, our friends become unhappy about our Dharma practice. It is just like we are living in a thorn bush. Whatever we do to try adjust ourselves to make ourselves more comfortable, the thorns prick us more deeply.
In Samsara or cyclic existence, aggravations and frustration are the natural state of affairs. In cyclic existence, frustration and aggravations is a natural state of affairs. You should expect it, like when you walk near the shore-line of the ocean, don’t be surprised when your toes and feet get wet. In Samsara it is a natural state of affairs to have aggravation and frustrations, constantly.
Failing to satisfy our desire, we have countless desires many of which cannot be fulfilled and those that are fulfilled do not bring us any satisfaction for which we have hope. The sky is the limit. Many people are not even able to satisfy the modest desires – the basic necessities of life such as adequate food, clothing, shelter, companionship, tolerable work or some degree of personal freedom. Unfortunately these basic needs or desires do not end there. Soon we need a car, a better luxurious home, a better paying job. A holiday at the seaside may be sufficient. But our expectations continually increase and now we need expensive……..holidays. Ambition and competitiveness are the common cause of dissatisfaction. The ambitious school child cannot rest content until he or she comes out top in the class, nor the businessman until he has made his fortune. Clearly not everyone can come top. For one person to win the others must lose. But even then the winner is not satisfied for long. The ambition drives them on until they are too beaten, worn our or dead.
Another reason why we fail to satisfy our desires is that are often contradictory. Another reason why we fail to satisfy all our desires is that they are often contradictory. For example, we want both worldly success and simple life. We want fame and at the same time privacy. We want delicious fattening rich foods and at the same time a slim figure. We want excitement and at the same time security. We may remain in our old ways all the time and still expect to be popular. Contradictions. We may wish Dharma realizations and yet seek reputation and material wealth. Contradictions. Our desires often involve other people and this creates expectations. Many relationships break up because of unrealistic expectations and desires. Contradictions. Wealth and yet a simple life. How can that be? All that entails you to be wealthy excludes you from having a simple life. Fame. Everyone wants to be famous and well-known. But when it becomes overbearing you want to have privacy. Out of question! We love delicious food yet we still want to be slim. We want a lot of excitement and at the same time we want security. We want everything our way and our way only but we also want to be popular – contradictory. We see how our deluded mind tricks us and make us do things that bring the opposite results. We want Dharma realizations, we want to have wisdom, good meditation. We want to have clairvoyance, but at the same time we covet a good reputation and material wealth. Contradictions.
We seek in society the perfect home, the perfect partner. But perfection cannot be found in Samsara. It cannot be found in existence because our existence is based on imperfect acts, therefore creating imperfect situations and environment. We constantly seek perfection but we constantly meet up with imperfections, constantly. We can never let our guard down because we have created the karmic seed for us to experience the karma of imperfection. No karma or perfection or happiness or lasting peace can be achieved in Samsara, in existence. It cannot be. It is not possible for impure transient objects to provide the lasting joy that we seek. Transient objects, lasting joy. Contradictions! All objects that we seek after or want are transient – temporary. How can transient objects that will die or disappear or be taken away from us created lasting joy? How can it? Illogical. Yet we still seek lasting joy in transient impermanent object! A new car, a new partner, more jewelry, bigger bank accounts, better job, better situations, more gains, more entertainment, when the very nature of the phenomena are transient or impermanent, how can they created permanent happiness?
This can only be obtained by purifying our merit. Ignorance is the fundamental cause of Samsara or existence but worldly desire is the fuel that perpetuates it. Therefore, we need to reduce our worldly desire by recognizing their faults. We don’t have to run out naked into the rain, into the mountains become unattached and become enunciates. That is illogical and that is also extreme. We also should not cover ourselves in lack of luxury and comfort of material things in order to get happiness. These are extremes. They cannot bear happiness. The only way to gain happiness is to realize that your mind has deluded you, has tricked you into believing that these things bring happiness, whereas the actual happiness comes about through the destruction of the delusions themselves: ignorance, hatred and desire. When those delusions are rooted out and destroyed, then when you have possessions, when you have friends, when you have people you are not attached. You do not act out of attachment. You do not have hatred and you will not act out of hatred. Then only these objects be pleasant.
All great beings have been renunciates. Buddha or Jesus, Muhammad, all have been renunciates. They did not become renunciates because they were failure in business, or because they were low caste or because they were intelligent but because they realized from the start that these transient, impermanent phenomena objects or things we grasp our mind to think they bring us happiness. They realized earlier on that these did not bring happiness, therefore they have taught a doctrine according to time, culture and situation, to in fact root out those three delusions.
When this thought arise clearly and definitely in our mind, we meditate until the thought comes to separate away and definitely in our mind we meditate until the thought comes to separate away from ourselves the delusions and these states of mind. The way to start this in our mind is to start thinking, contemplating, meditating and analyzing the faults and unhappiness they have already brought you. By thinking about it again and again and again and contemplating on it again and again and again in a logical mind, a same mind will clearly see the faults and therefore you will slowly release yourself and become detached to it, like someone who is an alcoholic who thinks and contemplates on the disbenefits of alcohol and the harm on his or her body and the disharmony of the family, wastage of money, time and energy. Again and again and again, they think about it. Contemplate it again and again and again. Finally and slowly then reduce drinking step by step and until finally they don’t drink it. Finally latter even the smell does not bother them anymore.
The only way to get out of these suffering is a devoted, sincere effort to root out these delusions. If these are not rooted out then all the extensions of these delusions such as anger and fighting, disputes, jealousy and the ten non-virtuous acts of life: lying, divisive talk, abuse, idle gossip, killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, etcetera will arise spontaneously. You commit it and again, that karma is collected, stored in your mind and then at the right situation in turn, that karma will fruition into a certain type of suffering as I have described earlier in brief. It is very logical. So therefore, it behooves us to find our real enemies, to devote our time to the object of real and lasting happiness.
We can have family, we don’t have to become monks and nuns or celibates, or hermits or yogis. We can have our normal family, we can have our normal situations, but realize the situation you are in mentally detached, mentally let go. It doesn’t mean: goodbye wife, I am going to meditate and be detached. No, not that. Mentally become less attached to it and therefore the ten non-virtuous actions do not arise and become less, and therefore the ten non-virtuous actions become less, the negative results and suffering decrease and eventually is eliminated.
Once you have taken refuge, whether you have done it in a formal ceremony which basically takes ten minutes or if you have not done the ceremony but you have taken refuge every single day in your life by having complete confidence in the Supreme Teacher, the Buddha, in the Supreme path, which frees you from delusions, the Dharma, in the Supreme friends that bring you up in the world, the Sangha. Our spiritual friends, our relationship with them will develop into less negative activities and more positive activities. That is the definition of a spiritual friend. If you have a spiritual friend and your negative activities are increasing then something is wrong. And definitely when one takes refuge, one has commitments.
Today it is already a quarter to ten. Today is the first. Yes, the time has gone very quickly. Today please bear with me, I know all of you have to go to work, you have busy lives and don’t get to sleep till twelve like me and some other people. But please bear with me tonight for a little longer. Bear with me the heat and let us finish. I have two or three subjects left. Believe it or not, I am rushing through it. In the monastery, it takes a month to go this over. It is very extensive – over and over. I have gone for teachings that are six or seven hours a day for a month or a month and a half at a time and let me tell you, I could not even move my legs at the end of three, four weeks. I had to be picked up and moved out. So please bear with me today and let me finish. It is the last night here, not the last time I hope, but the last night at this center. So please be patient with this monk who speaks a lot and shouts at you the whole night long telling you how bad you are. Please bear with me and finish off tonight and make it an auspicious finish. Tomorrow you will be a little bit sleepy for work. Tell your boss that you had a big party last night. It is a big party. It is the first time we have given so much effort for something that will bear us so much benefit. So please bear with me. Is everyone alright? (Yes). Thank you. Thank you.
Then, the refuge commitment. The commitment is very important. After you have taken refuge, there are twelve things that you should avoid. 1) Not to go to teachers who contradict the right path, who tell you to lie, to steal, to hurt, to harm. Not to take refuge in teachers and doctrines that contradict the right doctrine 2) To regard every image of the Buddha as an actual image. And not to make the distinction that is Buddha statue is made of clay, this is made of gold, this is made of copper, this is made of brass, this is old, this is an antique, this is new. The new ones, the clay ones, the ones that are not made well you put at the bottom or hide at the back, but the gold one, the antique one, the expensive one you put in front. There is no difference: a Buddha is a Buddha. It shows your ignorance. Any image hat we have named the Buddha whether they are short, fat, slender, white, black, whether they are from clay, brass, silver, aluminum are to be respected as a Buddha image, equally 3) To regard any Dharma scriptures as the Dharma Jewel. So when you take any Dharma scripture – the Koran, the Bible, you should make sure your hands are clean and washed and you are not picking your nose, or digging your ears or twisting your hair and taking the saliva and turning the pages. Before you take it you should touch it to your head. After you have read it and contemplated on it you should touch it to your head and show reverence. It should be kept in the highest and cleanest and best places and bound in the best material that you can afford. Usually Dharma books are thrown at side, thrown together with the ‘house and garden’ and all the beauty magazines.
But our account books and our deeds are kept in a very safe, clan and wonderful place, locked away. And when we go to get our deeds, our accounts books and our interest book, we wash our hands with ceremony and we take time and we lock the door (almost make three prostrations) we unlock the safe, we look at it, we kiss it, we think about it, we may even sleep with it. We look at it again, touch it to our head and feel complete bliss. But when it is a Dharma book….(throwing action). After you take refuge, it is not right. If a Dharma book is and in the gutter and it is raining, you say, ‘Oh it is raining, just leave it.’ If we see twenty dollar in the gutter, even if it is raining, we would fish it our, get it out of the gutter. It shows our lack of respect and knowledge of what a holy text should be treated. A holy text should be kept high with a lot of respect and it should be well bound. It shouldn’t be thrown here and there with our reading materials: House and Garden, beauty magazines, motorcycle, ….preview, Rolling Stones – all that should be kept separately. Because this will bring to enlightenment because this will bring you – you know where? How can they be put together with no respect? Just throw them together with your other documents just in a corner, shriveled up, let it rot. No! Your diploma, you frame it and put it in a very nice place, shine the spot light on it, so that everybody can see your doctorate, your PhD. On that basis, this will bring you to enlightenment, how much respect you should show it. It should be in a high clean place, practically and if one day it become old and damaged, we should visualize it that the letters, from into light dissolves into you and bless you and it becomes an empty book or whatever you take out to a clean place and burn it, not with your garbage and your trash and your old clothes. Respectfully, in a clean place, burn it. While you are burning it, you can recite some precious mantras like OM MANI PADME HUM or OM MUNI MUNI MAHAMUNI YE SVAHA or OM ARAPACHA NADI. And with respect. That is the vow of refuge. Surprise. 4) Not to allow yourself, people who reject the Buddha’s Teaching or Teachings of Truth. It does mean: you are not Buddha’s followers, get out! No, Buddha’s Teachings have a wide view. People who are practicing the avoidance of the ten non-virtues are your friends. Of course we can have Christian, Muslim and Hindu friends. Of course. But if he calls himself a Buddhist but is not practicing Buddhist and you go out with him, go to the karaoke, get drunk, come back, we are all Buddhist. No, doesn’t work out like that. Wrong. That is not a real friend. Do not be fooled by people who pull you down gradually. And you wake up with a hangover. Fifty aspirins. OM MANI PADME HUM, OM MANI PADME HUM….. While you are meditating, you think about all the hospitals and “Doctor, doctor, doctor………” It is not the right place. 5) Then to regard anyone who ordains and wears the robes as the actual Sangha. Anyone who is ordained and of any religious denomination. And I am not trying to get respect out of you, believe me. You respect people who are ordained because they have given up their hair, their beautiful clothes, they have given up beaches and parties, they have given up Estee Lauder (nuns), they have given up everything that you cannot give up. They do not waste their time and practice the dharma fully. They are practicing the dharma, they have 253 vows that they are holding daily. And they are using the vows of protection form them like a fence protecting a small child going over ledge. And they are therefore practicing Dharma one hundred percent. Therefore worthy objects of reverence. ………
…..if you do, by the power of their vows and your negative speech you will receive harm. It is not that these holy beings when you curse them they do something bad back to you, they won’t be…..holy, they won’t be monks or nuns or religious priests or practitioners anymore if they do negative things. Because they are focusing on positive things on more than you can ever. And they have the vows as spoken by the Buddha.
First, those vows have power and each day they hold these vows is one day they come closer to enlightenment quicker than you, and they become better and able guides to help you. They have given up enjoyments, entertainments, fund, attachment to their body, running around wasting time. They have devoted to practicing Dharma one hundred per cent therefore to be able to teach you, to help you, to assist you, to guide. Perhaps to inspire you. How can we say negative things, do negative things or order them around like your pet dogs? Do this, do that. In fact, with folded hands on your knees you should request them to do certain things. Even if you cannot fold your hands and go on your knees to make such a display, never mind, but from your heart with respect, ‘Can you do this, can you do that?’ And if they say ‘no’, ‘why not?’ No, no, not like that. If they don’t do, why not? ‘Hmn, sami, sami, give me back my angpow!’ Take back, run upstairs, and complain, ‘Wow, wow, wow,………’. Weeks on end complaining about ‘wow, wow, wow…….’ Well, let me tell you something: the karma that you collect will be more powerful than the karma from abusing a normal person because they don’t have the vows. Definitely. In fact, if they say ‘no’, we should say ‘yes, venerable sifu.’ ‘Oh yes, OK’. Don’t disturb their minds and don’t go out casually to see if he has done something or he didn’t. Never mind, he must have his reasons. No, not to be tricky in your divisive talk. If you so show respect to the objects who guide you, you will be guided correctly. Monks and nuns and religious practitioners of any denomination should be put on a higher place, cleaner place, talked to with respect, shown respect, given respect.
The religion people will take care of your spiritual needs now and in the future. It is your duty to take care of their normal everyday worldly needs. It is an inter-relationship, it is a balance. They will do all the things you cannot do, and you will do all the things that they cannot do, and therefore support each other, help each other.
If you happen to come across a degenerate monk or nun, no need to say anything. You don’t have to help them, you don’t support them, you don’t have to abuse them. You go away. Bye! It is not that you are stupid or anything, you know the truth because you have eyes and ears. But hold judgment, because to newcomer, who comes along and you are abusing a monk or nun, say something bad to them – you are abusing them. To a newcomer, anyone can do that and they about doing that to any monks and nuns. Therefore, you have created a cycle for them to be reborn in the lower realms by going against a good person with the vows with morality. So even if you come across a degenerate, person like that, if you can this is a normal world, I am not perfect. But not talk rumors and spread rumors and do thing. If you don’t want to be involved, fine. It is your choice. But if you create talk about other people, to be involved, the danger will come. And so even if he is a degenerate monk, he has 253 vows, if ten are broken, he still has 243. So if you say something to him, the effect of your karma will not be 253 on the basis but 243. Even a completely fallen and degenerate monk is better than a heretic – one who rejects any good teachings. So be very careful with our mouths and our actions about the Sangha of any denomination. And please forgive me for saying this to you and I promise you that I am not saying this because I am a monk but I try to practice that being a monk. I try to practice that myself to other monk, not that I am successful to my students but they forgive me. But I am trying to educate you and let you know. I am not trying to get you to do everything for the monks and nuns and that monks and nuns are wonderful. They have their responsibilities too. Believe me, they do.
So think about that logically. Even a stupid monk, an uneducated monk, a monk who cannot teach or stupid nun, still he or she is a monk, a monk or a nun or a priest. And they still have their vows regardless of their high attainments or not. It is said in the Vinaya scriptures that bodhisattva like Kuan Yin Pusa manifests as an ordinary man or as an ordinary monk and this monk is not a Buddha, no attainment, nothing special but he holds his vows well, if there are two seats, the higher seat should be offered to the monk. And Kuan Yin’s emanation must prostrate to the monk, otherwise the Three Jewels will not be complete. It is said in the Vinaya Sutras on the basis of the vows which the Buddha has spoken first, so if you can show disrespect to monks, it shows you show disrespect to the state that they represent. If you show disrespect to the Sangha – monks, nuns, priests or anything – it shows your lack knowledge of what they represent and you create the karma not to attain what they will attain eventually. Therefore in the future when you meditate, when you do prayers, when you go to churches or talks or talks or the synagogues, you try to do, listen to good things, you get distracted. There, you get sleepy, you get bored, you get…………., you think about cheese cakes. That is a sign that you have shown very deep disrespect to someone who should be respected.
Think about it. It is for your spiritual evolution that I am talking about it. This is not something that I have made up at this moment. You can check any Dharma book in any language – Chinese, Tibetan, Hindi. In Thailand, when monks come by people must get down on their knees. And when they offer them food on their knees and with their head down, the monks don’t look at the patrons and they don’t look into their bowls to see if there is a cheese cake. They get one, they pray, they don’t get one they don’t pray – like me! They take what is given to them and they put on the head of the patrons and immediately recite the sutra for the good rebirth of that patron, without attachment. And the monks go back to the monasteries to do their prayers and to spend time on their meditation to advance. That is the purpose of the Sangha and lay patron relationship. You will offer dana and assistance to the state that you respect and you will achieve. You will achieve by the power of your karma and by the power of their vows. By the power of their vows as spoken by the Buddha. 6) To go for refuge to the Three Jewels again and again, remember their qualities. To go again and again for refuge, to the Buddha who is free from fears. It doesn’t mean going for the ceremonies every time a Lama shows up. You run to ceremonies. It means daily to recall the vows, to recall the dharma, to practice the Dharma, to remember the Refuge again and again. 7) Whenever you eat, to offer the first portion of food to your altar, if you have one. We will talk about how to set up the altar briefly. To offer the first portion of your food before you touch it. Then before you eat you have a small plate, and put a small portion of your rice or vegetables, whatever you haves and you offer to your altar if you have one and then you keep it there and at the end of the day or in the afternoon, you can take it and dump it in a clean place. And every day at least to do it once, but if three times a day, it is fabulous. But at least once a day. And when you offer, as I said the nicer crispier vegetables you put it on your plate, the vegetables at the bottom that is overcooked or burnt, you put on the plate, and the sticky rice at the bottom, you put on the plate and say, I take refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. No, not like that. Put the best portion of your meal, you offer up. And try not to make the plate too small. One grain of rice, and we take refuge. And not too big. From the mouth, we say it but from the heart we say it miserly – a good size everyday. Not to use that bowl for other things but for offerings on the altar. To always be with compassion to encourage others to practice to have refuge with compassion. If you don’t practice you go to hell! That is not the way. Oh you talk too much, bad karma, you look at yourself. What are you saying to her? What are you saying to him? And to encourage others with compassion and skill. But if you are not practicing well, just keep quiet, because other people will look and say, practice Dharma look like that, let’s go to the beach. Right? 9) Then, remembering the benefits of going for refuge. Remember the benefits. The benefits are many. Out of some of the benefits, you have basically eight benefits after taking refuge (but there are a lot more):
- You become a true Buddhist
- You become a candidate for all the vows: the ten refuge vows. Without vows, no attainments, without foundation, no wall, and no roof. The basis of attainment is the vows based on the ten avoidances, five precepts, etc, etc. If you do not have refuge, you are not candidate for the vows. If you don’t have vows, you will not have any attainments, you will not change. Vows are meant to protect you not to imprison you.
- You will use up your delusions and previously acquired karma. Your delusions will become less, your wisdom will become more.
- You accumulate a lot more good karma on the basis of refuge because in only follow the dharma you will get good karma and therefore the results. And with proper motivation, merits which leads to enlightenment.
- You will not be bothered by humans and non-humans. If there are earth spirits, ghosts, demons, people try to make curses on you – black magic, no one can ever hurt you again after true refuge. None of these harms an ever bother you again if you take refuge. You will not fall, and if you take refuge and someone curses you – it happens a lot around here, I notice, or put a spell on you, or put something in your purse or something in your car, whatever, try to ruin you. If you take refuge, the curses, amulets are nullified immediately because nothing is more supreme than the Buddha on the basis of compassion. Compassion overcomes everything. And he has one hundred percent compassion.
- You will not fall into the lower realms as an animal, spirit or hell realm. Because if you take real refuge, you stop doing negative actions and therefore you will not have negative results and therefore will not fall into the lower realms.
- You will effortlessly achieve all temporary and long term aims. All temporary aims in this life, you will achieve effortlessly
- And in the end you become enlightened quicker
These are the eight benefits of refuge. To remember the benefit of refuge again, as says in the texts, three times in the day and three times in the night. Exception even once a day is OK. If you can do that. 10) To perform every action with complete trust in the Three Jewels. What kind of trust? On the basis of karma: when negative things happen, with dignity, with grace, take it. When positive things happen don’t jump up and down and pull your hair out of excitement. Realize its transitory nature. To trust every action in the Three Jewels. 11) then never to forsake the Three Jewels even at the cot of your life or as a joke. Hah, if you are not going to do that, I am not going to practice anymore. You lose. Never to forsake the Three Jewels even at the cost of your life.
The twelve refuge vows after you have taken refuge is not to go against teachers or doctrines that counter the positive. Never. To regard all images of the Buddha as the Buddha regardless of the material, age, form. Not to harm others based on the ten non-virtuous actions. To regard any Dharma scriptures as the actual Dharma Jewel. Not to allow yourself to be influenced by people who reject the correct path. To regard anyone who wears the robes as the true Sangha and as an object of refuge. To go for refuge to the Three Jewels again and again. To offer the first portion of whatever you eat daily and remember the Three Jewels kindness. With compassion, encourage others to go for refuge. Remembering the benefits of going for refuge daily. To perform every action with complete trust in the three Jewels and never forsake the Three Jewels even at the cost of your lives or as a joke.
When you take refuge, you get a new Dharma name, signifying rebirth – from negative to positive. When you take refuge, from that moment on, you say consciously and openly, advertising, I will stop or lessen my negative deeds. You are advertising and in fact you are swearing in front of your sifu, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, that from that moment on, you will lessen and eventually eradicate your negative actions. That is refuge. And if do that the eight benefits and the auxiliary benefits will ensue, will follow you like a shadow to its body. You may think that the commitments are hard but again if you don’t take, how hard will it be. Think. Always on those terms. Think on a wide broader spectrum.
Then set up an altar if you family members agree. If it is an inter-religions and your partner agrees and it doesn’t offend and the altar is an object for you to collect merit, an object to remind you of your refuge and your practice of meditation and not for show, not as an ornament to you house. To set up the altar is very nice. There are three necessary items to your altar which are the representations of the Buddha’s body, Buddha’s speech and Buddha’s mind. So on every Buddhist altar…..if you can you have an altar, if you can’t never mind. It doesn’t mean you are not a Buddhist.
Buddha is everywhere, wherever you think the Buddha is, he is there. To have a Buddha image in any form. The Buddha has the power to de-atomize and change to any form, really, easily. Just like the simple H2O can change into mist, can change into ice, change into the precipitation of rain, snowflakes. Surely the Buddha has more power over his physical form than plain old rain. So Buddha can manifest in many forms. The Buddha’s wisdom is not like our wisdom, it can manifest intangible forms. And the Buddha’s wisdom manifest in the great Manjushri Pusa, the one with the flaming sword cutting off all obscurations. It doesn’t mean he is going to cut your ignorance, your hatred, your desire, your illusions. It represents the power of the Dharma in the form of the wisdom, sword to slice through your thick coat of ignorance, hatred and desire and your attachments. Then the Buddha manifests his great compassion, his wish to help others in the form of Kuan Yin Pusa, with a thousand arms, with four arms. The four-armed Kuan Yin Pusa represents the Buddha’s great compassion. The Buddha’s great power – his ability to remain stabilizing power – manifest in the form of a wrathful Pusa or Boddhisattva who is Vajrapani. This is Buddha’s power manifesting as Vajrapani in a wrathful form. He is wrathful showing his flames, his three eyes, hair and flames, wearing tiger skin and snakes. He is showing a fearful fierce form not at you but at your delusions, your ignorance and your hatred and your desire, your negative karma and your negative activities. He is designed to scare you and stop you in a fierce way from doing negative things.
In Tibet, some lamas bring around Dharma in a very peaceful and serene way like Kuan Yin. Some lamas manifest wrath: they beat you, they scream at you, they yell at you in order to bring you to the path of Dharma but the underlying motivation is compassion, whether it is Vajrapani wrathful or he manifest as a Kuan Yin, the intention is to help, never to harm. Our relationship with them whether it is peaceful or wrathful will always bring you to the Dharma path. There is a sign that their method is upon good intention.
Then the Buddha like that, manifest as three different Pusas: Kuan Yin (or in Tibetan Cheurezig and in Sanskrit Avalokitesvara), then wisdom is Manjushri (which in Sanskrit mean eloquent speech) or Manjushri Pusa, and the third one is Vajrapani ( or Chin Kang Pusa in Chinese). Vajrapani means power. And like that Buddha will manifest as Tara (here on the right side of Manjushri) all the Buddha’s skilful activities will manifest as a female goddess, Tara. The Buddha coming in the form of a Lama or teacher or these three Pusas rejoining into one and emanate on the earth to teach and to help, again as the great Tsongkhapa (as you can see here in the thangka. Wearing the yellow hat in the centre). Tsongkhapa is the manifestation of three Pusas, all three. So the Buddha divides and again combines to manifest on this earth in order to help and to assists.
Some of us have a lots of compassion but are not so smart – need Manjushri. Some of us are quite smart and quite fierce – need Kuan Yin. Some of us are fearful – need Vajrapani. Some of us are smart and compassionate but not so successful in whatever we do – need Tara. So the Buddha manifest in different myriads of forms to skillfully assist us. Which ever Pusa you pray to, which ever Buddha you pray to, it is the Buddha, but the Buddha will have a special link as to why he manifested in that way. So if you pray to Manjushri Pusa, wisdom will be stressed, doing along compassion and power and activity and skilful means. If you pray to Tara Pusa (Tomo Pusa), then quick activity along with compassion is stressed. Like a doctor who specializes in different fields, like different specialists. He is a doctor, he studies all the things that a doctor needs to know but he specializes…….
The physical form, the sound and meditation will create a situation in your karma and your energies and your mind and your ‘qi’ to develop quicker than the other deities. It doesn’t mean that if you practice Manjushri you don’t get compassion but it means that one aspect of enlightenment stressed. But when you are praying to Manjushri, you are simultaneously praying to all the Pusas –all: because they are the manifestations of all the Buddhas. So don’t think that if you have two on the altar, your wife is praying to Buddha, and you are praying to Tara or your husband is praying to Buddha and you to Tara, hmmmm….something wrong here…..No, don’t think. They will never think like that. Tara won’t punch Buddha because he has a higher seat. Or if you have a joss-stick and you think you have to have a joss-stick container for each Buddha, you offer one and you think the others are looking at you…hmmmm……Then you offer the other one and you think the other one is looking at you. When you offer food, you think: only one cup, but there are two, how to drink? Don’t think like that. It is very small. The Buddhas are compassionate, when you pray to one Buddha, when you are making offerings to one deity, you are making offerings to all simultaneously. If you are praying to medicine Buddha, he is the medicinal healing aspect of Shakyamuni, the Buddha energy for healing, healing ultimately ignorance, hatred and desire, temporarily your diseases and your distractions and your obstacles.
So to our karmic imprints and instincts, some of us have more bad karma for health, so we need medicine Buddha. Some of us have less wisdom, so we worship Manjushri. We can focus on that activity, we are deficient in and at the same time gaining enlightenment through any of them. So you can have more than one or just one – it is up to you. The bigger the better: the better the material the better, whatever financially you can afford. It is better to buy a precious statue of the Buddha and put precious ornaments and put gold and jewels on your image than to put jewels on yourself, paint your face, put on beautiful clothes and parade around, and sit in front of the mirror and look at yourself for two or three hours. For yourself, the biggest nine carat ring if you get diamonds at parties and you make sure the angle just hit the light in your friends’ face. But for the Buddha, you buy a cheap semi-precious stone, maybe glass, close your eyes and blink, ‘Oh for you Buddha,. May I gain enlightenment. May I get the best. Oh I am so devoted to you. I am a good practitioner’. Nothing! The Buddha sits there and keep quiet but he is compassionate. Logically. To ornament a Buddha the merits you gain is the real wealth. You are ornamenting or making offerings to a being who is free from all states of sufferings, therefore by making offerings to them, the best jewelry, the best clothes, gold the best statue and you keep them well, you are actually creating the merits and the karma to attain the enlightened state and directly, you will attain wealth. If you do not have the karma to attain wealth, when you get it, you will lose it, it gets stolen or you use it up quickly. If you have the karma to get it, whether you do work or not, you will get it. The best way is to make offerings to the Three Jewels. The most efficient way. If I may go further, with deep respect to all of you and not to try to sway your thoughts or anything but with respect, the best way is Sangha. If you have business problems, if you have family problems, offer to the Sangha from your heart, prostrate three times, offer with both hands and pray that all beings may be free from the problems that you have and then with respect, make offerings. It is one of the best way. It is predominant in all the Buddhist countries, you know.
Then once you get your Buddha statue, if you can fill the inside with mantras, fine. If it is too small, you can fill it with precious or semi-precious depending on your financial ability. Fill it up. If not, at least put on temporary mantra. You can write OM AH HUM in English. If you misspell it, no problem. Put it inside. If the statue is empty, it is said to collect spirits. But don’t get scared, ‘Oh my deities have been empty for years’. Never mind. If you can it is OK, if not you visualize the Buddha strongly there, filling up the statue. Never mind it is OK. So don’t get worried and superstitious.
They cover up the Buddha and some people keep a round hole in front because they think: ‘Oh the Buddha cannot give the blessings. How can Buddha be blocked from blessing with a piece of glass? People ask me whether I need to cut a hole in the front. I said: ‘Why?’ I thought it was the Buddha can’t breathe or what. ‘No, no, I cannot get the blessing and also when I pray my prayer don’t go to him.’ So that is why they put a hole. I say: ‘Why do you put the glass, why don’t you take it off and get all the blessings, all there’. Don’t think the Buddha is so stupid that the piece of glass can block his blessings. You can cover it so that the dust doesn’t collect on the physical representation of his body.
When you need to move it and clean it, move it with clean hands and good motivation, make three prostrations, you remove it and clean it and put it back. You clean it as often as possible. In the process, if you happen to break it or chip it, it is the end of the world. No! Not with the intention, Buddha is compassionate. Don’t worry, none of the will happen. How can a compassionate being take revenge if you remove it while he was having his tea? Cannot! If that is the case you pick it up and throw it out of the window. Bye! Go back to karaoke. Don’t be so stuck with this kind of practice. I am not saying you are, but in case, because I have been approached with these questions.
Then on the left of the Buddha, you put a Dharma text whether it is big, made of gold, silver wrapped nicely or what, Chinese, Tibetan, Hindi, it doesn’t matter. Any representation of the Buddha’s dharma should be on the Altar.
Then on the right, there should be a ‘stupa’. Here in front of Kuan Yin Pusa on the altar, there is a white figurine called the ‘stupa’ or pagoda in Chinese. This represents the Buddha’s enlightened mind.
So you are worshipping the body, speech and mind of the Buddha. You should all obtain a Buddha, Dharma representation. How high, how small, the material is up to you – up to your finances. The better, the more expense for you, the more the better. No problem and no conflict between the different deities. Sometimes I give Buddha Sakyamuni to people, they say ‘is it OK to place next to Kuan Yin?’ I say no, they will fight. Of course it is OK. No problem. They are the same. It is just like five different types of glasses: one is yellow, green, blue, white and the volume inside is the same. Inside the same but outside, it is different.
And you should make beautiful offerings in front – of flowers, incenses, light (electric light is OK) and change daily. You clean it nicely. Even as you clean around the altar, you should not think my boyfriend is coming, my girlfriend is coming, so I make it clean. Even as you clean you should think that the Buddha is present. I should clean for the Buddha.
And finally in front of the altar you should not fight, say bad things, do negative things. You should have some respect. If (and this is not a joke, excuse me for saying it), some people have one room apartments and they are living with their girlfriend or boyfriend, how do they keep their altar and they have to do their thing at night. How? That is very practical. Actually you can cover up the image. In Tibet, we have altars with curtains to cover up. It is not that Buddha cannot see through the curtains, you know. It is just a matter of respect. It is just a matter of respect from your heart. So just in case, and I am not trying to be…..really, these people who have these kinds of thoughts. Some people have and they are not bad, they have questions that should be answered.
Then we should make beautiful offerings. We should use un-chipped cups, with the best quality you can afford. When cleaning, even the cleaning instruments should be separate. The cloth that you use. You blow your nose and you wipe it. I don’t think it is a good idea. Everything should be separate. When you make offerings of flowers, everything should be of good quality. You can put artificial flowers, jade flowers, real flowers; artificial lights – no problem. With water, tea, yoghurt, milk, anything pure and fresh, from your hear. The amount is up to you. You can even offer cheese cake and then bring it back and eat it as a blessing. That is what I do. You can, but you shouldn’t offer it up, look at it and say, ‘Oh, I want it. Not like that. Should be free from miserliness.
That is the way to set up and altar. That is the way a simple explanation. Or if you can …symbol of the Buddha, no problem.
And if you can create Buddha images, make Dharma texts and help the Sangha, it is excellent. Again, I am telling you for general knowledge. The more Buddha images you create…..it is said in the scriptures, even a line drawn on the Buddha with anger will plant a seed in your mind that you will see the real Buddha – uh, ten million Buddhas in the future. That is the power of Buddha’s form. So imagine if you were to see a Buddha image with faith, how much more benefit is brings. A Buddha’s image will bring peace, harmony, correct feng shui, correct energy, bring solace, and remind you of your practice, and remind you of the state of being that you can achieve and all the positive qualities that are available for human kind. It will remind you of that. And to make offerings, the praise, the ‘kow tow’ to the Buddha is that way – any form as a reminder that you are attracted to those qualities, that you wasn’t shoes qualities. Then any image of the Buddha is excellent. And to make as many images as possible. By making Buddha images, one creates the indirect karma of attaining a beautiful body, a healthy body and strong body because if you create an image that represents that there is the fruition of that, therefore one will also create the karma to get that. So one should make as many Buddha images as possible to give away to people who want it. Take it. I don’t want. Take it. I don’t want. Take it. Not that type. Give to some who need it. As much as possible.
Then to print dharma books. How much benefit you get from Dharma books to read. There are many people who cannot buy it, who are poor. To make it, to give it to bring Dharma in their lives and whenever they read it and their mind changes and start to detach and start to transform because of that, it is because of your sponsorship for that book. Any attainments that they get will propel your attainments. So if they read the part about anger, they practice and meditate and they lessen their anger, you will lessen the karma to lessen your anger fast because you have created that in others. It is excellent to sponsor religious institutions. It is excellent to sponsor patrons of Dharma, to sponsor the printing and give away free. And never sell Buddha statues, never sell dharma books. No, never.
In Tibet when we make the statues, when we make the books, we go to the artisan before. People who make statues take that as a personal practice because if they cannot meditate they make beautiful statues for other people to meditate with. Therefore, when you go to buy statues from them, you offer whatever amount you are willing to offer. They will never complain. Today it has become commercial. Unfortunately, we cannot do anything. But one should not sell statues in any shape or form. If you ask someone to pick one up, you give the exact money, the exact price, and if you have to take a one two dollar loss, take it so that you don’t make black karma. It is excellent. Then that is the simplicity of an altar.Then the last topic that I will cover – to some people’s dismay and to some people’s happiness – Is the actual simple meditation that you can begin, in any religious denomination. It is a technique taught by the Buddha to calm your mind. Ideally, you get up, you make offerings on your altar. You do some kowtows, pray, do your mediation deities whether it is Buddha, or Tara. Then you sit for meditation and do dedication. Ideally. If you are of other religious denomination it is not a problem. On wake up, you can still do the meditation to calm your mind but you can recite these verses. As Buddhists these are wonderful verses for training the mind (the Eight Verses for Training the Mind).
- With the determination of accomplishing the highest for all sentient being, even as a wish granting gem, may I hold them dear at all times
- Whenever I associate with someone, I think myself the lowest amongst all and hold others supreme close to my heart (humility)
- In all my actions, may I search through my mind and as soon as I flick it, delusion arises endangering myself and others, may I firmly face and avert it
- When I see beings of wicked nature pressed by violence, sins and sufferings, may I hold patience, these rare ones as dear as precious gems
- When others out of envy treat me badly with abuse, slander and ……., my life, may I suffer defeat and offer the victory to others. (May you inherit the kingdom of heaven)
- When the one whom I have great hope hurts me very badly, may I behold him as my supreme teacher
- In short may I directly and indirectly offer benefit and happiness to all sentient beings. May I swiftly take the harm and sufferings of all
- May all these not be defiled by the eight worldly principles (that we talked about) by perceiving all phenomena as illusive become unattached and free from suffering.
One should recite this as a reminder of what one should do daily and begin the meditation. Or if you are a practicing Buddhist, you get up, you do your offerings, kowtow, you sit, take refuge. You pray to your meditational deity, if you like. If you don’t, Shakyamuni or Kuan Yin. No problem – all are the same. Recite the prayers and mantras that go along with them.
If medicine Buddha and you pray that all sentient beings gain enlightenment. Then if you like, the Eight Verses of Training the Mind and then the actual meditation. And then afterwards the dedication.
I will show you the meditation and then I will conclude. It is actually very simple and easy. There are two types of meditation. The heart of Dharma practice is meditation. Without meditation, no attainment will come along. So just reciting mantras, to Dharma talks but you don’t meditate, nothing can be achieved. Nothing. The first purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful.
If you mind is calm and peaceful, we shall be free from worries and mental discomfort. So we shall experience two happiness. If our mind is not peaceful, we shall find it very difficult to be happy even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful and we shall experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually we shall be able to remain happy at all times even in the most difficult circumstances.
Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind, blown here and there by external circumstance. When things go well the mind is happy but when things do not go well, the mind immediately becomes unhappy. For example, if we get what we want such as new possessions or a new partner, we become excited and cling to them tightly. But since we cannot have everything, we want and since we will inevitably be separated from friends and possessions we currently enjoy the mental stickiness or attachment serves to cause us pain. On the other hand, if we do not get what we want and we lose something that we like, we become despondent or irritated. For example, if we are forced to work with colleagues we dislike, we shall probably feel irritated and aggrieved with the result that we shall not be able to work efficiently and our time of work will become stressful and unrewarding. Such fluctuations and mood arise because we are too closely involved with our external situations. We are like a child making a sand castle, who is excited when it is first made but who becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy at all times rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extreme of the states of excitement and despondency.
Please read this paragraph again because it is very important. Such fluctuations of the moods arise because we are too closely involved in the external situation. We are like a child making a sand castle who is excited when it is first made, and become upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enable us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium or balanced mind that is happy at all times rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates or fluctuates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.
If you train in a meditation method systematically, eventually we shall be able to eradicate from our mind the delusions that are the causes of all our problems and suffering. In this way, we shall come to experience a permanent inner peace known as liberation or nirvana. Then day and night, we shall experience only peace and happiness. Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with virtue. It is a mind that analyses or concentrates on a virtuous object. A virtuous object is one that causes us to develop a peaceful mind when we analyze it or concentrate on it. Any virtuous object – if you ask me to give the definition – the more you concentrate, the more you do it, the more peace, and more harmony it will create for others and for oneself. That is the definition of a virtuous act or activity or state of mind. Anything that creates more harm, more worry, more anxiety is a non-virtuous activity. If we contemplate an object that causes you to develop an un-peaceful mind, anger or hatred or negative actions, this indicates that, that object is non-virtuous. There are also many objects that are neither virtuous nor non-virtuous but neutral.
There are two types of meditation: analytical meditation and placement meditation. Analytical meditation is when you contemplate and think about a subject over and over and over again until your mind becomes detached or transformed or changes. Placement meditation is to develop concentration: samatha, vipassana meditation in the holy Thai tradition to get complete concentration. With concentration when the mind calms down, this is like the ocean waves churning when the sea is rough, sediment are churned up and the water becomes murky. When the wind dies down the sediment settles and the water becomes clear. Right now our mind is like the sea water being blown by wind, churning all the sand, and the mud and the pebbles, therefore the water is unclear. The moment the sea comes down we can see through the water clearly. Our mind becomes lucid and subtle.
Before you can do good contemplated meditation you must do placement meditation. If can do both, it is wonderful if you have enough time and you can achieve both simultaneously. With placement meditation you will have more focus or concentration in your daily lives, more calmness, more happiness because your mind is focused and calm and released.
The first stage of meditation is to stop distraction and to make our mind clear and lucid. This can be accomplished by practicing a simple breathing meditation. We choose the fine place and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit the traditional crossed-legged posture or any other posture that is comfortable. If you wish, you can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy. We sit with our eyes partially close, with our attention on our breathing. We breathe naturally, comfortably through our nostrils, without trying to control our breath. We try to become aware of the sensation as our breath enters and leaves the nostrils. We do this as I give the explanation. If you cannot follow, never mind, but still think. At first our mind will be very busy and we may even feel that the meditation is making our mind even busier. But in reality we are just becoming to be aware how busy our mind really is. There will be great temptation to follow the different thoughts as the arise…….
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