HE Garchen Rinpoche – Creation and Completion Part 1: Creation Stage – 01/16/2010 – Gaitherburg, MD

(ed. note – These notes are my imperfect attempt at a transcription of the great Drikung Kagyu/Nyingma lama Garchen Rinpoche on a teaching he gave right outside DC on the topic of the creation and completion stages in Vajrayana buddhism. Very deep, but also very, very practical. )
There’s not much more I can say about him that’s not said better in this promo from the documentary about Rinpoche’s life, “For the Benefit of all beings“.

First, begin practice with refuge in the 3 jewels. After refuge, must observe the precepts of refuge, the excellent path of the 3 jewels. In the middle, cultivate bodhichitta, which is the actual protection. First take refuge, but ultimately bodhichitta IS the precious dharma. All samayas are contained in bodhichitta. The ultimate protection. First after refuge, consider all Sentient beings. Samaya is like making a jeweled mala. You take all the beads, poke a hole in the beads and put them on a string, which is the bond that keeps beads together. The bond is the ultimate/ relative samayas. The mind of all the Buddhas and Sentient beings have a single ground. The conventional samayas are loving-kindness-compassion. It is to understand the nature of samsara and nirvana nd cultivate compassion. If you understand Buddha nature/ empty nature of mind/ in union with loving-kindness – we will actually connect to the Buddhas- 2 fold- Buddha nature, _conventional bodhichitta- understand samaya. We will give rise to bodhichitta, even in refuge.

ZAH HUM BAH HO– summon deities, become non-dual. What becomes non-dual? The mind of bodhichitta. Based on that understanding, engage is visualization mantra. If no bodhichitta, no great results. If samaya degenerates, it is like a burnt seed- no fruit will grow.

If you are not keeping samaya, even if we do Vajrayana practices, there is no great power. So must recognize samayas. Buddhas observe the samayas to the guru. This does not mean to have faith in one guru, and point out faults of other gurus. No. 32 in the 37 bodhisattva practices says that, looking down on others, brings our own ruin.

32) If, influenced by disturbing emotions, one points out another bodhisattva’s faults, oneself is diminished. Therefore, not speaking about the faults of those who have entered the Great Vehicle is the bodhisattvas’ practice.

Any master is probably a mixture of faults and qualities. Since we have faults, we can only see faults. It’s like a magnet pulling the negativities, faults. Seeing faults of others is harming ourselves.

If thinking of 1 person as good, and all others as bad, it leads to ill will. This will then lead to wrong views. If someone is doing negative conduct, is his business. He may go to hell realm, but not our business. We must purify our mindstreams by purifying our conduct. We are only harming ourselves if we criticize them.

In the beginning, we must purify wrong views and prejudices. To do this, we must see the entire universe in the form of deities. The Universe of the 5 elements is the 5 consorts which Naturally arise. The 5 afflictive emotions, when seen in pure nature are the 5 wisdoms. If you think like this, mind will be vast, and you will be happy. If you see afflictions, mind will be like ice flow.

Must see in practice difference between grasping and non-grasping.
Samayas of guru and students. A feeling of love- like a mother and child, a great vast love. This is bodhichitta. Buddhas of 3 times have great love for all Sentient beings. Connecting to this is connects to all sentient beings.
Milarepa said “the cause of the hell realms is hatred. So we must avoid it, even at the risk of our own life. Love is precious- the root samaya. “
Observing love is through mindfulness/ heedfulness – bodhisattva practice # 36.

36) In brief, whatever conduct one engages in, one should ask, “What is the state of my mind?” Accomplishing others’ purpose through constantly maintaining mindfulness and awareness is the bodhisattvas’ practice.

Sustaining love through sustaining mindful awareness contains all the samayas of the 3 vehicles – Pratimoksha, bodhisattva, and vajrayana.

Then there are the branch samayas. I don’t remember them all. For example, there is the branch samaya of Vajravarahai not to eat pork. It is good if you can keep these samayas, but not essential. If you give rise to love, you will connect with the yidam to become the yidam deity. If you are not giving rise to love/bodhichitta, however, you may be reborn in form of deity, but as a hungry spirit.

If you want to make light, you need to connect the cables to the plug. Otherwise, there is no light. In the same way is the union of emptiness + compassion. If you connect these two, your mind will be illuminated. It is very important to understand this point.

As mentioned before, Creation stage has three important points.

  1. clearly visualize the form clearly,
  2. understand pure qualities of deity, and most important
  3. to cultivate divine pride, that “I am the deity”. Look inside ones mind till one finds certainty that one is the deity. How does the deity exist on one’s mind?

Guru rinpoche said,  “The actual deity is bodhichitta. Mind is the life force. The life force of the deity is love.”

In our activities, we are supposed to perceive all males as Chenrezig and females as Tara, and all perceptions as the deity at the inner level.

If you are fixating on the external appearances, that if you must see them, they must (literally} look like Chenrezig, one is mistaken. Chenrezig is the embodiment of bodhichitta. If one has great love, then he or she is Chenrezig or Tara. When one has given rise to such a mind, one will be able to work to help beings extensively. When cultivating this attitude, must be firm. No doubts. You are endowed with Buddha nature. We are like children of the Buddhas. If we give rise to grasping, you won’t recognize it. But If we give rise to altruistic mind, we ARE it.

“If I have given rise to bodhichitta, I am the deity. The deity is established in my mind.“ We can gain confidence, trust in mind. Naturally, all afflictive emotions will disappear.

Look inside your own mind, give rise to unity of emptiness + compassion, will gain confidence in ourselves. In the world, some things appear pure and some impure.
Beings are temporarily stained by adventitious stains. These stains temporarily obscure Buddha nature.

From understanding that all sentient beings are endowed with Buddha nature, will be able to cultivate pure view for all other sentient beings. When afflictive emotions appear, will see them as temporary, lacking true existence. Will see this grasping is.
Like understanding the nature of ice is water. When seeing this, mind will be at ease.

1) The union of appearance and emptiness, one doesn’t grasp at appearing forms. One will also not grasp at difference of self and others.
2) The union of sound + emptiness.
Not grasping at sounds.
3) The union of thoughts and emptiness.
Appearing thoughts as awareness.

These are the 3 vajras. Milarepa said “When you understand these points, then free from any doubt, having taken refuge, you will give rise to bodhichitta. Can give rise to confidence that one is the deity. Bodhichitta, love and faith will increase, and afflictive emotions will decrease.”

Also, Siddhis will arise. There are two kinds, Common and extraordinary.
Common siddhis bring temporarily benefit, but won’t lead to enlightenment. They may lead to obstacles later.

Creation stage- in 100,000 songs of milarepa. pg. 376 of English version. There is much benefit to reading these.
If you mediate and give rise to creation of yidam deity, if you habituate the deity, then that body will be …just like a rainbow. Nothing to be identified. Speech will be the Union of sound + emptiness.
Mind will be the union of clarity and emptiness. Like luminosity of sun and moon, no prejudice no bias, self grasping will be exhausted.

Ordinary Body, speech and mind are realized as vajra Body, speech and mind.
When 3 doors abide in the original state, the mind abides in ease, in accord with dharma. As dharma becomes path, there is great delight.

These are the powers of proper creation stage practice. This is the great difference of sutra + Tanta. Tantra is the close path. If habituate on bodhichitta over and over, then propensities of the afflictive emotions will decrease.

For example, Sometimes when we practice shamatha, we get a very still mind, and lose awareness of body. But when getting up and doing activities, we get grasping to self. Due to self-grasping, we create karmas. When one habituates creation stage again + again.

Milarepa- “ eating food becomes a tsok. If you have not forgotten deity, if eating food, no mind thinking, “this is my food”. Can partake of anything, if no fixation to good and bad taste. Partaking a food is a tsok. If one doesn’t give rise to deity, will think, “This is my food”. This awareness of self will then fall in the mind like snowflakes accumulating.”

Lord Jitgon Sumgön said (the the Gong Chik)  “some say there are three kinds of actions: positive, negative, and neutral. This is not true. There is only virtue and non-virtue. There is no neutral. Neutral is ignorance, which is non-virtue.

In mantrayana- stay inseparable from deity, if inseparable, when eating food.
Like fire and wood in contact. Wood will be burned away by fire in an instant.
When we maintain mindfulness, then our mistaken perceptions will be dispelled.

Visualizing form of deity, which appeared in our mind like a rainbow appearing in the sky. rWe will forget about our ordinary body, and everything that appears will appear illusionary.

When reciting mantra, will be no fixation on speech. If one does this for a long time authentically, these are the powers that will arise.

The 3 vajra- purify fixations on body as existing – if one sustains this mind, then any obscurations that arise will not defile the mind. This is the mind vajra.One becomes like vajradhara, the union of clarity + emptiness- if there no fixation in mind, understand transcending birth and death. Will see birth and death as an illusion. Then will be no fear of death.

See all arisings and cessation are only illusions we haven’t recognized. If we have engaged in the creation and completion stages correctly, these are the powers that will arise.

“The mind that is union of clarity + emptiness- like luminosity of sun and moon, free from any bias, – when no grasping at sound, mind will abide like the luminosity of sun and moon. If afflicting thoughts are just like clouds in sky, temporary adventitious, then the luminosity of the sun and moon will arise. “

Regarding free from any bias, the pure view.
Lord Jitgon Sumgön said not to grasp at the 3 great ones – the supreme realization.
Mahydyamika, mahamudra, and dzogchen.
When it comes down to practice, mind must not cling to these three thoughts, otherwise then a bias will arise in the mind.

When all the grasping is released, then the nature of mind will be seen.
Through blessing of guru and devotion of student, sometimes the natural state of mind will be seen. For a beginner, may be a very short time, but when one habituates it. , Will be longer and longer time.

In the practice of a beginning practitioner, may be a bias. Sometimes keep view, and sometime conceptualize – “meditation going well/ not going well” – hopes /expectations will arise.

Milarepa- sometimes good / bad thoughts will appear in mind. don’t be attached to good/ bad thoughts, and don’t have aversion to bad thoughts.

Gampopa- sometimes faults of agitation will appear. Apply antidotes. For example, if one emits a loud PHET syllable, a disturbed mind will become clear. If a mind ia very agitated, look into space.

Milarepa- don’t grasp at faults of lack of clarity + agitation.

Sometimes we think “mediation going well/ not going well”.
If in meditation, no need to conceptualize these. It is not necessary. Just like butter lamp is not needed in the daytime.

Different practitioners have different methods. In brief, must dispel all grasping, biases.

Will be no thinking, “is going well”. Milarepa said they will appear like an apparition in space, like a cloud in the sky that will vanish is if no grasping.

In reference to self-arising 3 vajras of body, speech and mind.
In mind, when there is no grasping, the mind can’t be obscured, naturally, because one is endowed with b-nature, will naturally see all appearances as the nature of the deity. Will hear all sounds as the union of sound and emptiness.
Ex guru rinpoche, no inner grasping of the mind, the external objects won’t disappear, but the mind will remain clear.
Doesn’t mean the perceptions of forms and sound will disappear. Means there is no grasping. What union of form and emptiness means is the grasping to forms is gone.
Union of sound and emptiness is grasping to sounds is gone.

One is then inseparable from the deity. Whenever temporary grasping to appearances and sounds is released, will naturally attain enlightenment, the dharmakaya. Will understand all beings naturally transcend body, speech and mind.

When we engage in the creation stage practice, one must give rise to such a pure view. Through this view, do not let perfect conduct slip by. Must see everything as purity, but must observe customs of county and show great respect.
In our conduct, must be in accord with traditions of country.

We talk about 5 meats and 5 nectars. If don’t understand everything is pure form beginning, will see pure and impure. May see our body as pure and the best, and everything else is dirty. This is dualistic grasping we naturally have, which keeps us in bondage we need to purify this mind. We must heed our activity.

View must be vast like space, and conduct fine like flour. See all people as pure, but observe rules of karma. Avoid the 10 unvirtuous actions. It is said (probably by Lord Jitgon Sumgon) that outer conduct should be in accord with vinaya, inner with bodhichitta, and we Should secretly hold the view of Vajrayana – we don’t hold any phenomena of samsara + nirvana as having lasting existence.

Before I talked about creation stage, and benefits and powers of creation stage, how we can transform impure into pure perceptions in this lifetime. If we can do this, we can’t be harmed by spells, and so forth. One will attain common siddhis and ultimately enlightenment. Also, in bardo, if one doesn’t forget form, then in an instant, one may attain enlightenment in the 2nd stage of the bardo after death.

We nurture our mindstreams + at same time, accumulate mantras ex. 10 syllables, each 100,000 times. – 1 million. We must accumulate the number, but must abide in Samadhi one-pointedly inseparable with deity without distraction. Through the Power on mantra, will be able to engage in 4 enlightened activities.

There are 9 benefits of mantra. Of these, there are 3 it is really useful to know.
– See mantra as deity, see mantra as an offering, and see mantra as a siddhi.

When we recite mantra, we must also focus one-pointedly on visualization. Must also give rise to faith and devotion.
3 types.

Qualities of the deities/ Buddhas posses knowledge, love, great powers.
Knowledge- wisdom to see all fruitions of actions.
Love for all beings like mother for child.
Powers- when we merge our mind with the deity, we will sew seeds of the d-kaya, and be able to accomplish it.

See mantra chain – like pouring milk into tea and must stir it.
First the mantra garland rotates slowly, and then accelerates. If you remain in view it becomes very fast. Then, can recite in non-conceptual state- in mahamudra, this is the actual meditation.

When thoughts appear, can focus on mantra garland. Emanate light as offering to Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Infinite mantras like rainbows multiplying.

Qualities in mind of bodhichitta. Light rays can purify sentient beings obscurations. Infinite light from mantra chain.

In this way, have awareness of mantra as the deity.

An offering, a purification of obscurations of sentient beings, and a gathering of the powers of the Buddhas and blessings.

Ultimately, one attains siddhis, then mantras become siddhis, our mind and mind of deity become inseparable and will never be apart again.
Like if one has a friend one loves very much, they are never not with you.
At that time, then the actual powers of the deity will arise. The principle power- the altruistic mind – the actual power.
Love and compassion increase, if they increase, wisdom will increase.
1 must never, never practice mantra through hopes and expectations.
In the future, one may get harm from that.

From mind of compassion free of grasping, one will attain highest accomplishment.

If one has practiced in retreat, then one will become so close to the deity, one is never separate from the deity again.

When we recite mantra and visualize the deity, the mediation is like fire, the mantra is like wind. Fire and wind come together, wind will fan fire.

Must recite mantra clearly. Sometimes, many disciples gather and recite in a melody, some think if one does melody, will be too slowly to accumulate.
But when one sings it clear and pristine, then a single recitation can count for 10 or more.

Reciting 1 mantra clear is better than 100 unclearly. Reciting slowly clearly with melody makes mind very clear. Clarity of the sounds of mantra very important. Mantra chain has benefits like the prayer wheel I hold.
It leaves a virtuous imprint in others’ minds.
Especially me – I’m a sinful person – I haven’t’ had a chance to go into retreat – so, since I am a sinful person, when I spin the prayer wheel, it is of great benefit to me to purify my negativities.
For the body, the physical virtue of each rotation is like a circumambulation –
With each rotation, 100,000 mantas inside radiate out.
The mantras reach all Sentient beings emanated out. In this way, it benefits all beings.

If you lose mindfulness, you will loose the prayer wheel. Is why I brought prayer wheel to the US. Is a very effective method of accumulating benefit with body, speech and mind.
Plus, anyone seeing will not get lower rebirth. The seed of liberation is planted. Great merit. Linked to mantra chain. Effective way to accomplish something great through small activity. When I do it, others like to do what I am doing, so they are doing it to. (laughs)

We say Emanations of Chenrezig and Tara are coming down when we spin prayer wheel.– internally, what we really mean is the mind of love and compassion has taken place in our mindstream. In brief, The Buddhas teachings are only a method to increase love and compassion.

Many great benefits of recitation. Sometimes, disciples gather to chant or sing mantras, and it is recorded on CD. As long as the sound remains, will benefit beings with and without bodies by planting seeds of liberation. Even after we have died, we will still get merit from it when people listen to recording.

Reciting mantra will temporarily expel obstacles, as well as create connection to love and compassion. It is like calling the deity by phone –a very quick connection. These are the benefits.

And then, the completion stage.

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1 Comment

Filed under Dharma teachings, Drikung Kagyu

One response to “HE Garchen Rinpoche – Creation and Completion Part 1: Creation Stage – 01/16/2010 – Gaitherburg, MD

  1. Lars

    Thanks!!!
    -Lars

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