Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche – the Drigung Kagyu Fivefold Path of Mahamudra – Introduction part 2: Paying Homage and Taking Refuge, Overview, Impermanence – TMC May 2012

Paying Homage and Taking Refuge

“With devotion, I pay homage and take refuge with body, speech and mind in the body, speech and mind of the precious, unparalleled Drigungpa, embodiment of the non-dual wisdom awareness of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas of the three times.”

Who is Lord Jitgon Sumgon? The great Drigungpa, Lord Jitgon Sumgon, is the embodiment of the Buddhas of the past, the Buddhas of the present, and the Buddhas of the future.  He is unrivaled, un-equaled, and inconceivable. We can’t imagine that great teacher’s activities.

As the writer took refuge in Lord Jitgon Sumgon, our mind should too to experience his wisdom, the perfect mind. Reflect on this. We are so fortunate getting this opportunity to hear the name of such a great teacher who came to this planet and benefited so many sentient beings, and continues to (do so).


“Although one is frightened by seeing and hearing of the impermanence and suffering of all outer phenomena and inner sentient beings, one busily exhausts body and mind through attachment and aversion to this life, which causes nothing but a descent into the lower realms.”

We are frightened. This is fear of samsara. Everything is impermanent and always changing. Inner and outer phenomena create suffering. Like when a flood comes and washes away whole village or earthquake destroys whole cites, it create suffering. Look at this. Look at our minds in reality. This is how things abide, how every sentient being abides.

We keep so busy to fulfill our attachment, and are exhausted.  (We have) no energy left to read dharma books, or to meditate. We say we are too tired to meditate. But all these non-virtuous activities will not give fulfillment, they will only bring suffering.

“Though for eons ones tries to delight and appease one’s relatives, friends, and servants, one never succeeds in fully satisfying them. Though one maintains a household and spends one’s whole life amassing all necessary possessions, these bring one no benefit at the time of death.”

We try to make others happy. One day, they are happy.  But the next day, their face is frowning. Now what should we do? We can’t satisfy them fully. (We are) only feeding our attachment without bringing real benefit to them to free from suffering, free from samsara.  It is a reality check, isn’t it?

Household and amassing – This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have food and clothes; we need them to sustain (ourselves). But putting all attention on this doesn’t help at time of death. This is sometimes misunderstood.  This is saying; ’at end, what really brings benefit?’

“Though one may be skilled in this life’s activities and projects, the result is naught but self-deception.”

You may be skilled. (You have) lots of projects, do lots of things. But it is a self-deception: it’s all attachment and aversion.

Potential faults on the path

“Though one arrogantly thinks one knows it all, possessing an elegant turn of phrase, one has not freed oneself from attachment and aversion.”

Or one who arrogantly thinks he knows it all, saying, “I’ve read many dharma books, I am an expert. “ Very good language to speak. Everybody praises what a great speaker he or she is.

No matter that one desires to be learned and saintly, this grasping, propelled by the Mara of afflicting emotions, becomes the support of just those emotions.

One who says, “ I want to be learned, put myself up as a saint.” He is possessed by the Mara demon of emotions.

Though one exerts oneself in virtue of body and speech, and trains in pure living, these cause clinging to this life because one misses the point of the definitive lineage instructions.  Just as churning skim milk yields no butter, so no substance results from relying on elegant, but empty, phrases.

One trains in virtue… causes clinging to this life – “it proves I am a great practitioner.”

Does it make sense or not?

“Great meditators fear death and exert themselves for the next life, releasing the activities of his world, yet their virtuous activities are held back by minor concerns.”

Great meditators fear death… – They meditate because of fear of death.  I may say I have not fear of death. But when death comes, then see. (laughter) When you really get sick, really get pain, then see. All around, the things you have, you have a lot of fear. What to do, what not to do?

Preparing better position for next life. – Virtuous activities are held back. Small things are attached to to complete. You have a good motivation, but have ‘I’ve not finished this, finished that.’  Look at this.

“Though one meditates in solitude, if one is not pierced by devotion one will not be able to give rise to confidence in the meaning of the essence.”

Brave practitioner goes to solitude, but not pierced by devotion. – This is just an intellectual (approach), not strong devotion to the dharma teachings. One does not having strong devotion to the root and lineage masters. Because of that, the mind is divided, so mind cannot penetrate true nature of dharma.

“Even if one believes one is experiencing good Samadhi, if it is not a support for all conditions, one then lacks understanding of interdependence such that not all experiences arise as virtue. If one cannot naturally sustain self-arising wisdom, it is easy to be deceived by the exhaustion of mental activity.”

The Direct nature of mind is not seen if one has a good Samadhi, and gets attached to Samadhi, thinking ‘I have very good Samadhi.’ (You) can develop a condition of not seeing arising of wisdom of interdependence.

It is very important to pay attention to these. If one can maintain Samadhi and…see things as they are, it is self-arising wisdom. Our mind is creative.  This is not right. We need to relax, let it arise naturally, and have skill to see it directly.  It is easy to be deceived. It is so intense, and the intensity exhausts the mind.  (We) need to have skill how to keep the mind soft, gentle, and flexible, with no expectation. These are not easy. We don’t know how to handle own mind, these are so precious instructions. Sometimes we ignore these things, and look for a big thing. These are step-by-step instructions. They are so precious.

“Without the blessings of the lineage and experiemntial realization, all the writing in the many texts will become but excessive baggage, devoid of the fruit of liberation and omniscience.”

Without the blessings of the lineage… – To experience this essence, you need lineage blessing. (You need) your own devotion and confidence. Otherwise, all the books become excessive baggage.  You can talk very expert, “ this book says this, this book says that, this scholar says this,” all these quotations. But to get to the point of ‘just relax here’, you don’t know how to (do it).

“The Fivefold path encompasses the unceasing experience and realizations manifested from the exalted Vajradhara until now, these being the highway leading to he path of the Buddhas of the three times.”

Fivefold path encompasses… There are the complete teachings of sutra and tantra from Buddha Vajradhara till now.

“It also comprises the intention and tradition of all the Kagyu gurus; the essence of the precious three pitikas, and the extract of the four tantras.”

The Three pitikas are Vinaya, sutra, Abhidharma. This is the essence of those teachings. This text is the essence of the four tantras – kryia, yoga, upa, and maha.

“Thus, even should the sky fall and the ground crack apart, even should rocks fall from the right side and trees splinter from the left, it is crucial to practice this Fivefold path, without following the idle chatter of “some say this, others did that.” If one can understand the practice of this Fivefold path and rest in the dharmata, all faults will be transformed into good qualities, all obstacles into attainment, and one will achieve in one lifetime inseparability from the body, speech and mind of the great Vajradhara.”

(This is for) when you meditate. Without following idle chatter of ‘some say this is very profound, some say that is very profound,”. Without your own wisdom.  If one can understand… Dharmata is the nature of emptiness. All can be transformed into good qualities. This is dawning the confusion to wisdom.  This is how to attain the Vajradhara state in these short few lines.

“First, there should appear not so much as a hair’s tip of concern for the goals and achievements of this life. One should proceed to a solitary place such as a cemetery, forest, sheltering tree or empty cave and so forth where one’s positive and negative habits will inevitably surface. One should practice unifying whatever conditions of happiness and suffering arise in body, speech, and mind, into the state of nonduality.”

We shouldn’t have any attachment to this life. In a Solitary place, all the negative activities will be vanished. Unifying whatever occurs means when suffering comes, there is no fear, no aversion. When happiness comes, there is no grasping. So unified with emptiness, meditate.

The Samvata tantra states:

One should abide with a one-pointed mind
In the experience of yoga in an absolutely solitary place –
A cemetery and so forth.
In such a place, the body should not be indolent,
Lying down, leaning back, etc.
The Exalted One said, “the body with the five
Branches of meditation should be seated
In faultless vajra posture,
Free from all extremes.

Yoga means unification.The body shouldn’t be laying back and make a big snore. (laughter) Holding mala in hand and snoring (laughter)  The body can be in five branches or 7 branches (of Variochana posture). This is sitting cross-legged or in a chair, with backbone straight, chin down, hands in meditation posture, two eyes gazing downward (Rinpoche demonstrates) – like that. Your body should be where your cushion is, and then your mind should be where your body is. And then the mind should relax, soft, gentle because in first place- if you have a house, and have no time to use it, you keep your house empty. Second, when you come to your house, your mind is not with you, is in past or future, constantly. If you bring mind here, tense.  That doesn’t work.Wherever your seat is, your house is. Enjoy your house. And when your body is on your seat, bring your mind there and relax.  Mind, as mentioned, is so gentle. That becomes a very good foundation for meditation practice.

In the faultless vajra posture, free from lethargy or excitement, just relax, rejoice.  I usually say it is always important to rejoice at this opportunity. There is nothing more that one can achieve than this. “This is the most important thing that I can do, that I can achieve in a human life.” If you have that kind of mental attitude, then your practice can be successful.  Otherwise, you regard  (yourself) as inferior, and you can’t achieve anything. Why you see in Milarepa life story, ‘I am super human being, but what he is doing, he succeeding.’ This is how to delete our negative thoughts, release attachment, ignorance aversion. They can only be deleted by dharma practice. No modern medicines can release your afflictive emotions, no matter what medicine you try – our anger can’t be released by medication. That why dharma is indispensable.

Contemplate on death

“Contemplate: I will not remain long in this world, and will soon die. All this life’s activities and prosperity are like bubbles – impermanent and pointless. All sentient beings equal to space have been my mothers from beginningless time. By the power of confusion of clinging to a nonexistent self and accumulating the karma of attachment, aversion, and ignorance, these mothers wander in the ocean of samsara, experiencing inconceivable suffering in the six realms, without refuge or protection to rely upon.”

Think “I will not remain long in this world. Changing every moment. Impermanence is just occurring without my knowledge.” Have awareness you will soon die. Some think this is submissive way of thinking, making self weak.  This is way to capture optimal goal without missing, losing the opportunity.  Any time wasted is wasted, gone. You can’t bring back. Here, working to achieve complete enlightenment.

All this life’s activities are like bubbles – All the different degrees to achieve wealth of complete wisdom, compassion. Compared to that, the wealth of samsara is not so precious. Even in the samsara world, there is the desire world- karmadhatu.  (Higher than that) There is the form world- rupadhatu. Even to achieve this, one needs to renounce desire world.  Even when one achieves rupadhatu, to achieve arupadhatu, the formlessness world, one needs to renounce rupadhatu.

To achieve the one-pointed state, you need to relax. Inexpressible joy will manifest in mind because of this practice. (Compared to this) all the joy in this world is nothing by delusion. They come and go, but in meditation, joy and happiness is always there waiting. (We) Shouldn’t have misunderstanding (of this point).  In samsara, everybody needs some wealth and a good place to live, no question about that. But to be a practitioner, we must go one step above, because we desire to free from samsara. This means to renounce the samsara. It is not negated, but doing good things.

All sentient beings have been my mothers. “All sentient beings in the world ARE my mother.” Meditate on this. What a precious thought! There is no greater precious thought than this, bringing everybody into the mandala of mind, circle of mind. Look at this suffering. They don’t have this wisdom; they don’t know how to bring peace and happiness into mind. Meditate on this, and reflect that when we do this, affliction automatically disappears.

Power of clinging – These sentient beings have such strong attachment, but there is no self to attach to. The table is just illusory nature, put together from many pieces.  Then we attach to table as something inherently existing. This is delusion.  We attach to it, and we suffer. Helplessly, the sentient beings in the world suffer like this. When you really have this wisdom, it is heartbreaking.  (We will) Not get (this) emotionally, but through understanding.  It is called mental ability, the capacity to see things precisely.

Karma of attachment… – These mothers wander in the ocean of samsara, bewildered in confusion, and create all the causes of negative karma. Look at this and meditate. They wander in the ocean of samsara of the 6 realms without refuge, with no one to rely on. Everyone is equally confused. We have no other choice but to see this. This is contemplative meditation.

To have happiness and be free from suffering, and swiftly to achieve unsurpassable, perfect, complete enlightenment, I will generally perform virtuous deeds with body, speech and mind until I die; I will perform virtuous deeds with body speech and mind until I achieve enlightenment; I will perform virtuous deeds with body, speech, and mind until tomorrow.

“One should wear the armor of cultivating such a mind. If such precious bodhichitta, the mind of enlightenment, in not brought forth as a preparation, whatever Dharma one practices will not bring about perfect Buddhahood.”

The armor of cultivating such a mind -If there is no bodhichitta, whatever is practiced won’t lead to Buddhahood. Bodhichitta is the basis for the entire fivefold path.

When you practice this complete path, at the end, you will get the opportunity to see your confusion rather as wisdom. When your mind is confused, you are (too) confused to recognize your mind.  When you have all the conditions to see that nature of confusion, than that very confusion is nothing but empty. When you see this as solid, permanent, unique, you perceive that way. Then, when you develop your wisdom, (you see that due to) the many causes and conditions, it is just a manifestation; it is just your affliction. And the, there is the possibly to see this as no other than emptiness. So no separation. So that very fundamental confusion, you see as wisdom.

Samadhi is meditative equipoise, not disturbed by thoughts. That is Samadhi.

Go further, into the Meditation practice of: (Part 1) Love, compassion and bodhichitta. (to be continued…)


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Filed under Dharma teachings, Drikung Kagyu

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