Khandro Rinpoche 2012 annual retreat – talk 4: part 3: Patrul Rinpoche practice text based on Bodhicharyavatara – Elaborate explanations of Paramitas: Discipline

(continued from talk  4, part 2)

A Step by step guided meditation on the profound Mahayana text of Bodhicharyavatara by Patrul Rinpoche called “The Sun of Brilliant Clarity”

Elaborate explanations of Paramitas

These are the different facets Patrul Rinpoche emphasizes in cultivating in one’s body, speech and mind in order to become a suitable vehicle for bodhichitta.  To stress the point, bodhichitta is a complex word. To be untainted, it encompasses every speech, all the gross and subtle patterns of mind. The whole being must transform. When you look at all the classifications and sub- classifications, 4 of this, 6 of that don’t think you can pick and choose. That would be like choosing to be satisfied being born with one leg and one arm.  To manifest, must actually embody all these qualities.  In same way, must maintain paramita of discipline.


These 6 disciplines need to be incorporated in life.  What is Buddhist ethics? How to incorporate into life. Discipline can never happen without mindful attention. 

  1. Mindful attention. Patrul Rinpoche says “continually observing and examining the current state of you, body, speech and mind.   We never actually practice mindfulness of the present moment. “How can I be mindful if this, that happens? “ Patrul Rinpoche says, “mindful is seeing, what is your body doing now? What is your Speech doing now? What is your Mind doing now?” In that mindfulness, not only seeing what it is you are doing, but seeing if it is accomplishing what needs to be accomplished, and seeing if it is indulging in what doesn’t need to be done.  Discrimination must be done.  Observing and examining, awakening the wisdom, and making sure it is doing what it is supposed to and not doing what is supposed to not be doing. One may have all the precepts and vows, but if the acute observation is missing, than the 256 rules are all just rules and regulations.  But if there is acute mindfulness, and there is body not doing what it shouldn’t do, speech body not doing what it shouldn’t do, mind body not doing what it shouldn’t do, and body, speech and mind are doing what they are supposed to, whether one wears Robes or not.
  2. Confidence or confidence in the effects of cause and effect. Where there is confidence or certainly in knowledge and understanding of what is cause, what is effect and knowing what designs all our experience of this and other realms are simply cause and effect.  If we are fortunate and happy, it is brought about by cause and effect. If we are suffering, that has been brought about by cause and effect. Karma is the one (thing) that defines the 6 realms. When that (understanding) is there, then we know aspirations can’t be accomplished tile this is attained. We know that praying to some invisible force to alleviate suffering… It is far more helpful to know you need to create more virtue and cut unvirtuous actions.  Discipline isn’t imposing rules and regulations. It is imposing if circumstances are important. If you wish to be free from suffering, you can’t ignore cause and effect.
  3. Know that if one cannot help oneself, how can one help others? If one doesn’t work with one’s self, will you realistically be able to transform self into vehicle to help others? Knowing clearly with view where one can’t help oneself, one won’t help others.   Really wishing to help others- but can’t be done without helping others.  Incorporating ethics in body, speech and mind.
  4. Not abandoning mentally a sentient being. Forsaking sentient beings in order to truly be able to practice discipline…is so one can train in avoiding mentally all sentient beings.  This is another way of saying disciplining of oneself is way in which Mahayana can arise. Mahayana is the view that doesn’t abandon sentient beings.
  5. Abandoning perusing the path of practice only for oneself.
  6. To abandon the 4 negative dharmas, or the 4 impure dharmas

i.      Letting go of deception. Deceiving those who are the object of veneration. This is deceiving the guru, Buddha, dharma and sangha, sentient beings.  Where a person is reluctant to be incorporating paramita of discipline, in content of refuge, joking usually, anyone reluctant to take on commitments precepts- lay precepts – 5 lay precepts not to kill, steal, sexual misconduct, faithful to partner if not celibate, to take intoxicants, to lie.  When we do this, there is a lot of bartering, “can I change partners once in a while.” “I will of it for 3 months, 4 days and 3 hours.” (laughter)   On the other hand, you are being honest. But who are you keeping these disciplines for? You are doing it to commit to path of dharma. There is no such thing as part-time practitioners, but we begin to resemble one.  When you park in the lot down the hill here at Lotus Garden, you are a Buddhist, but when you leave the gate, you aren’t.  There is self-deception. This is where the whole-heartedness of not engaging the dharma doesn’t happen. when this happens, no change, no change, no habitual patterns change. The actual fruition of dharma doesn’t happen; this is deceiving objects of veneration. Can’t resist reverting to old habitual patterns.  Discipline tightens you where ego has little space to maneuver. No option but to let go of itself.  Discipline is antidote to deception.

ii.      Letting go of Regret.  Regret that is misplaced, for the virtues one has accomplished or intends to accomplish., where undertaking vows and commitments- enhances possibility of virtue of body, speech and mind- doesn’t allow regret to be powerful as if commitment is not made.  Commitment to virtuous action, then later a setback. If committed, and —- not much leeway for the regret.  Discipline protects.

iii.      Letting go of criticizing the enlightened beings. Criticizing the enlightened beings is one of the greatest killers in seeing virtues in Buddha, dharma and sangha. Distracted mind has little e time to reflect on qualities of 3 jewels.  Mind included to seeing fault in objects of refuge.  The ego gains more victory in not being able to overcome habitual patterns.  Eventually, need to awaken wisdom to overcome all habitual patterns. If you haven’t done this yet, you are dependent on references – teacher, Buddha, dharma and sangha. References to relay on to invoke awareness. But if the owner of the references is diminished from your own criticism, nor is your wisdom powerful enough, your mind crawls bodhichitta into own habitual patterns.  Need to lessen criticisms and have refuge as basic support. However, that tendency of cynicism – the negative dharma- can be diminished by discipline.

iv.      Letting go of cheating ordinary beings. We do this all the time, every time you promise to be kind, and then don’t you are cheating beings. When we read profound words “may I be a boat, a rock, etc. “where aspiration is made by not evident in action, is not different than cheating beings.  These 4 are to be abandoned.  What is this- mindfulness, confidence of cause and effect… abandoning idea of forsaking sentient beings, not thinking of own liberation, and abandoning 4 imperfections- this is the perfection of paramita of discipline.




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