Khandro Rinpoche 2012 annual retreat – talk 5: part 1: Patrul Rinpoche practice text based on Bodhicharyavatara – Elaborate explanations of Paramitas: Diligence

(continued from talk  4, part 4)

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

Lopön Barbara has kindly made available an outline [of the teachings so far] for all of you, particularly those of you here for this weekend. Since many have come in later it’s alright to have it, it’s not restricted and so forth, but it’s mainly for those taking transmissions. This is a practice text, not a theory text; this is a practice text, so the outline is given to give you a step-by-step guide for meditation. The full text with the commentary that is available needs a little work. So I am asking Lama Roar, along with Jetsunla, to do the editing later. This will be made available to you later. But many of you take excellent notes, as well of course as the recordings will be available if you need them. But the idea is to use the text and use the outline for daily contemplation.     

Beginning, of course with the generation of bodhichitta. How you begin the session of meditation, To even simplify by saying, ”begin by generating bodhichitta,” you have it in your mind immediately to have more than vague idea of what bodhichitta is. If you are truly engaged in the path of transformation, you cannot just come up with vague ideas. If you do just come up with vague ideas, it is almost sort of… Let me give you an example. If every morning, you wake up, and you come to dinning tent, and pick up some wild trees or roots around here, it’s kind of a vague meal. It is edible, but not what you expect of a meal to be. You can title it ‘breakfast.’ There is no harm in that. You can have grass, the cows eat grass, and you can survive on grass.  But unless you are a sort of a crazy minded person, you won’t be satisfied.   In the same way, if you need a salary, and at the end of a month of working hard, someone pays your salary, like what people sometimes do at the end empowerments when someone leaves a check at the end, having considered that they have gotten it. (Laughter)  you wouldn’t be satisfied with that! It’s very vague.  So, thinking, “May my mind be kind“ or some kind of thought like that is ok to be done for the first few times, the first few days, or first  few weeks, ok. But ultimately, bodhichitta has to be realized.   It has to be thought through carefully, “what are the defining characteristics of bodhichitta?” All that we spoke about in the first talk, how does Shantideva define bodhichitta?

Therefore, at that instant, when the mind is generating bodhichitta, even if the mind cannot continue to do it with a pure immaculate attitude, during that time when you are actually recalling bodhichitta, you can at the very least release yourself from the troubles and chains of the obscurations and the defilements. You must give yourself opportunity to rest without ignorance, to rest without desire, to rest without anger, to rest without pride, to rest without jealousy and to build up from that moment. Just as Shantideva says in the Bodhicharyavatara, “just as fleeting is the striking of lighting in a clouded, dark night” and for a brief moment there is illumination.  In the same way, brief as it may be, the natural resting in you nature must be there. Then, after locating that, gradually build that familiarity, that certainty, that and trust and confidence up, until mind can rest in it more and more. In the beginning, of we try to rest. But it is unfamiliar, it is so easy to get tainted by the personal pronouns –Oh I want this, Oh I’d like that, “this is me, mine, I” – immediately change that to a supplication to the lineage masters, may their blessings provide greater  insight so this brief glimpse of my own bodhichitta nature may be strengthened. In order that I am able to train this compassionate mind, the 2nd characteristic, so that this compassionate mind, knowing other are my mother. Especially, contemplate, allow mind to become bigger, observe all the acts of kindness that one is recipient of, and then generate from that strengthened gratitude for whatever understanding one has achieved. We foolishly think ‘If I have this…” the basis of your pursuits, all factors collect.  On the other hand, the basis would remain empty if all the factors were contributed by others.  Beginning from those who gave you birth, , those who were your mother, those who cared for you, those who introduced you to life, those who gave you love, those who gave you capabilities that you are today able to be happy about. There is a contribution from many other people. Even simple things, like the devices you use, are the efforts of other people.  Beyond just paying for the devices, the production makes life…. able to explore more. There should be gratefulness in experiencing the many different dependencies, because of which life is easier. There is a network of dependencies. How can you now feel gratitude, how can you allow gratitude to be the basis of “how best can I repay the kindness?”  Karmic debt has to be paid. Search in kindness. Nothing would be a better expression of the gratitude; nothing would be a better return of kindness that one has received, than the expression of loving-kindness and compassion, then to return the love with love, to return the compassion with compassion. Even if I am not able to do now, know that kindness and openness to all sentient beings.  9:16

All are connected. It may be distant, but it leaves a network of karmic connection. Thought the connections with beings seen and unseen, those I know, those I don’t know, existences i can feel and those I cannot, use the karmic connection to extend gratitude to all sentient beings. If there is power and truth in the words of dharma, if karma is actually really as genuinely true as the Buddha and dharma says, then through that truth, may I generate aspiration to reach all sentient beings.  10:06

I myself I often have to keep in mind, I don’t have the power to reach to all sentient beings. But I do trust the aspirations of all the enlightened beings. In their aspiration I join their aspiration, in the form of the words they have written in the form of the chants they have written, may I join my aspiration with their aspiration reaching out to all sentient beings.  In that way, being able to generation compassion, devotion. But see how important, as Patrul Rinpoche says, “…not only to dwell on aspiration bodhichitta, but also engaging in bodhichitta.” Generate bodhichitta, going into the practice of reciting the 7 branch offering individually. Of course when you do it as group, there is no way to time it. But when you do it individually, time it in accordance with what you need. No one is pushing and pulling with a certain tempo, so the speed of recitation, take all the time you want.

Even if doing three Prostrations take a half-hour, if mind is really tuned into essence, then I think it is far superior to doing hundreds of Prostrations without really knowing why or having a vague idea, the numbers become more important. When the speed of doing things becomes more important, that completely destroys the essence of the path of practice.

Doing 3,7,21 Prostrations correctly is very good. Then sitting and doing the various stages of offerings is training the mind to be free of opposing factors such as stinginess in the case of offering. Visualize offerings of body, speech and mind. Particularly with offerings and confession, be mindful of any lack of mindfulness that lead you to accumulate negative karma then generate the 4 powers (of….) and do all the practices Patrul Rinpoche gave to fortify the mind.  Then, spend some time recollecting the accomplishments of others. Really see the accomplishments of Buddha, then really see the accomplishments of bodhisattvas, then really see the accomplishments of the shravakas, really see the accomplishments of the enlightened beings, and then really see the accomplishments of people you know. Spend time not just reciting, but as a start to look at essence of recitation. Then, spend some time resting in joyfulness. Think that there is so much goodness. Pure expressions… so many reasons to be happy, joyful. Taking yourself out of the picture. Without you, everything is very, very nice as it is.  Then, supplicate for the wheel of dharma to turn, for the great beings to remain, and then whatever actions of the past and present… Most important, think that “in this meditation session, may this sincere practice become the cause of …for all sentient beings.”  This is essential.  Do NOT jump over certain things. “I don’t want to do # four, I don’t want to do # 6 today,” Those are partial contemplations.  The precision and detail has the power to challenge habitual patterns. Laziness, complacency, convenience: these are the marks of dwelling in ignorance. Knowing the ways of generating antidotes is essential. Then, after the practice of the 7 branch offering, have courage to test how much you have worked with yourself by working with the paramitas, which is bodhichitta in action.

So, we have been speaking about paramitas, the characteristics. So what we can say “paramita” is truly adorned with perfection of qualities.  We will start today with diligence.

The outline of the text is up to date to yesterday. So, until Lopön Barbara and Lopön Jann can make available the updated outline, make notes following that outline yourself.

Elaborate explanations of Paramitas

Diligence

Patrul Rinpoche says, “in order to know diligence, or perseverance, the question one has to understand is “what IS Diligence? What IS Exertion?” Sometimes we may be exerting in something that looks like dharma, such as doing many Prostrations, such as sitting many hours, such as reading many texts, but because the self is still indulged, what appears to be dharma may actually be self-indulgence.  Ego is very tricky.

Because of dharma you want to be happy, Because of dharma you don’t want to be suffering, Because of dharma you want to be praised. The praise of your own self is sufficient. Many of us try to fill the vacuum of feeling useless by bringing in dharma in different ways. Then you try to value your self-worth by sort of mixing yourself with different things that look like dharma. If you look carefully, outwardly, these things look very spiritual. Nobody can refute that. For example, you may be sitting in a field, sitting under one of the future trees. (Laughs) Who can say anything? You are meditating.  To make things, worse, there will be some will admire you and praise you for that, and then your mind will become neurotic.  You will never know when it has changed into a display of dharma rather than actually engaged in practice.   20:12  So therefore, watch out for these perseverance’s or exertions that you do bring in which actually are not dharma practice; they have much more with the search for praise or not being blamed. You’ve come this far, don’t want to waste it. So in some ways, you berate yourself, and because of that, one may be engaged in dharma.

Then, dharma to obtain. Becoming clever in dharma is a very attractive quality.  Becoming very sort of lost in the ambition of getting something. For example, even Enlightenment is a very deceptive thing. It is very essential for meditators to keep in mind, “What do you mean by enlightenment?”  If you think Enlightenment is a fruit to eat, or it is a place to be, or some kind of trophy to get, or a certificate to get, that is a very wrong understanding.  That is one’s own conceptual thought that this is some kind of a trophy you have to get, this is some kind of a medal you have to get.  Enlightenment, whatever that English word might mean, in Sanskrit the root word where it comes from is ‘Nirvana’, which is ‘free from ignorance.’ When we aspire to achieve enlightenment, we are actually looking at a resultant state that realizes the true nature. And in that realization of that true nature, you have to be prepared also for whatever you are most attached to also be dissolved by that true nature. So realize that Enlightenment actually devours whatever is false. The truth has to shine in such a way that it eliminates whatever is false; otherwise, truth is not truth.  So if the power of truth has to exhaust what is false, so meditator has to be ready for the moment where a lot of things that you are attached to could also be false. Where your ambition could be false, where your own self could be false, when what you hold true to be other could also be a falsity, where at that realization moment,  the truth has to have the power of  exhausting.        Therefore, Enlightenment means whatever is not true, you are able to willingly be able to exhaust. So that’s why the wonderful realization of the bodhisattva is nothing other than the courage to recognize this.    What separates an arhat from a bodhisattva is this, that the bodhisattva is not greater by any means except that he or she has an insight into knowing that ultimately there isn’t  even your own Enlightenment to hold onto, because that is an equal amount of basis. There is no difference between holding on to your own self, your own conceptual egoistic self, and your enlightenment self.  There is no difference. There is a different name.  They are different labels:  one is made in India, one is made in China. (Laughs) But otherwise, it’s about the same thing, just given different names. Therefore, the bodhisattva’s insight is far superior, because he or she tries, and traverses on the bhumis means, from the First bhumi to the 10th bhumi, a bodhisattva gradually develops that courage to slowly let go of even subtlest of the ambitions to make one’s self be brave enough to face the truth which will take all the ground one wants to stand upon as well. This is an absolute groundless feeling, this is essential for Mahayana practitioners.  When talking of perseverance, one MUST from the beginning walk a path that exhausts falsities. Directing diligence more in the direction of the realization of the absolute truth.  Patrul Rinpoche says, What is diligence? Diligence should be seen clearly by classifying it into 2 aspects:

  1. Overcoming factors that are incompatible with perseverance or diligence; and
  2. Cultivating conducive factors.”

In simple ways, Diligence must be understood to be that which contains the 2 qualities of abandoning that which is not necessary and cultivating that which is good for oneself, and not mistaking what to cultivate and what to abandon.

In other words, Patrul Rinpoche says, “Diligence is not where you are cultivating what you should not, and abandoning what you should,” which is very often, in our case, what we do.

25:57  We are all fond of dharma. I don’t call it devotion; I call it fondness at this level. Let’s not even look at the big picture now. But look at your daily actions of body, speech and mind. What should you let go of? Discerning wisdom will see all the things you have done from breakfast till now. How many things did you say and do that you didn’t need to say or do as a meditator.  Mind? We are not even going to get there now.  (Laughter) How many things that you should have done as a meditator did you not do you should have? How many things as a meditator did you not say that you should have? How many thoughts as a meditator did you not think that you should have?  Even the things you didn’t have to do, there was effort involved, and it didn’t spontaneously arise. Effort is there.  In examining one’s own self, Patrul Rinpoche says, “Just as there is misplaced wisdom; there is misplaced diligence, where diligence is not given the right direction.”  In order to really work with generation of diligence, one must really understand what to abandon and what to cultivate.  28:07

1)    Overcoming factors incompatible with diligence. I was thinking this morning that Patrul Rinpoche gives three factors; I could come up with a lot. (Laughs) Sometimes it seems everything I think and do is an opposing factor to diligence.

  1. Laziness of inactivity
  2. Laziness of attachment to negative behavior
  3. Laziness of self-discouragement

In these three, all are gathered.

  1. Laziness of Inactivity- Simple gross laziness. Where you don’t want to do things, especially because you allow yourself to sustain laziness. One of the marks of a lazy person is one who makes a big deal of little things. This is something I would like most of you, especially our young people here, to keep in mind. 29:10  One thing to keep in mind with spirituality is the human mind develops many ways you can distort the teachings. This kind of distortion you can bring into oneself.  What I am trying to say is, those who practice dharma well are seen to be very lazy often. It is so well disguised in all forms of contemplation and renunciation and resting in natural ease. These we can easily distort. Because of which, the first laziness, we must watch for. There can’t be a better way to recognize it in you to keep the mind.  See how it is important to keep the mind active in positive ways.
  2. Laziness of Attachment to negative behavior. True attachment to self-cherishing, attachment to absorption, attachment to wanting too much for oneself. There is never an end to how many beautiful things you want to see, there is never an end to how many nice things you want to hear, or taste, or smell, or have physically-you think your body needs it – and especially your mind. This morning I had an interesting conversation with Lopön (—–) about how much of an attraction there is here is to speech.  For example, with friends. Kosha Cabana is a very popular place on here [at Lotus Garden], even if it is an open space, and the seats are not that comfortable as you would find at other Kosha Cabanas I guess. (Laughter).  You meet over there, you speak with friends.   By comparison, if you come to shrine room, there are fewer people, isn’t it? And at the Buddha statue, there are 1-2 people maximum there doing prayers and meditating.  I never knew that the English word “retreat” meant “meeting friends and gossiping!”(laughs)  This is something to look at. It’s not something that should not be done entirely, but there is a certain attachment to forms, sounds, smells, tastes, textures.  As a practitioner, you maybe not able to let go of these right now, it is something that “it’s asking so much of me right now.” On one hand, yes, that’s why you are here, that’s why you are practicing, so there is no need to water down that point. (Laughs)  But on the other hand, a process at least has to be there. What used to happen 5 years ago shouldn’t happen this year.  This year should be a mark of greater non-attachment to negativities Therefore, whatever increases selfishness,  whatever increases aggression,  whatever increases jealousy,  whatever increases ignorance, whatever increases arrogance, whatever increases inability to let go of our negative aspects, If one is not able to let go of that, that is the second category, which is a mark of laziness of attachment to negative behavior.  It must be kept in mind this isn’t a teaching given for someone else. We aren’t talking about people outside of this shrine room, we are talking about people inside this shrine room individually, each one of us. (Laughs) 34:00
  3. Laziness of Self-discouragement.  When you don’t want to give up the laziness of inactivity, when you don’t want to give up the laziness of negative behaviors; you will slyly go to the thirdlaziness of self-discouragement. “Oh I can’t do this. Oh I’m not cut out for this. It’s too early.”  This is the moment you would love to be a shravaka or a prateaykabuddha(laughs). When the work of a bodhisattva really begins, people start to root for the shravakas and prateaykabuddha with a sympathetic understand of how right they are. (Laughs) From the Mahayana perspective, this is self-discouragement, where you discourage yourself into just stopping at that moment where just one hesitation, if you are able to overcome it, one more hard work. 35:00 if a little more diligence were used, you would actually have the potential of really invoking your own intrinsic Buddha nature.  So, Patrul Rinpoche says, “contemplate before actually training in the Paramita of diligence; examine traces of laziness of inactivity, laziness attachment to negative behaviors, and laziness of self-discouragement. If you find them, then apply the antidotes.”

Antidotes to laziness   

  1. Antidote to inactivity: Hook of impermanence If you find inactivity and attraction to laziness, immediately think more of impermanence, about how fragile this life is. Really, really contemplate impermanence. Keep impermanence in mind, allow it to be antidote.
  2. Antidote to attraction to negative behavior: Outweigh Negative behavior  Think of the preciousness of the dharma and generate strong joyfulness in what one has done, teachings one has received, how fortunate you are to obtain, practice, and recognize the dharma.  Outweigh the attraction to negative behavior and strengthen resolve in dharma, allow this resolve to become stronger than the afflictive emotion.
  3. Antidote to self-discouragement: Confidence in Buddha nature 37:25 When there is self-discouragement, it is the mark of someone who doesn’t really believe in the intrinsic Buddha nature within oneself. Therefore, spend time contemplating on what the Buddha nature is. Receive teachings, read, contemplate, examine your own self to see the Buddha nature, or the basic goodness, and abide in the sense of intrinsic Buddha nature in oneself. One will always find one who always sees a faint glimpse of Buddha nature, can’t ignore the fact of the rich quality of Buddha nature. This good nature is far more precious than the thought of discouragement.  The example we always use is of someone who feels poverty stricken while holding a pot of gold.  If you feel this, you are ignoring you have this wealth with you. One who recognizes intrinsic Buddha nature, cannot ignore the fact of how wealthy you are with the qualities, and the madness of the thought ignoring richness of positive qualities, that there is no basis for the self-discouragement.

Hook of impermanence, preciousness of dharma obtained, confidence of Buddha nature. These three are seen to be the antidotes for overcoming the three kinds of laziness. This is in the context of the outline of the first factors for overcoming negative factors that are incompatible with diligence. The second classification is cultivating conducive factors.

Where should we be diligent? We should be diligent in these 6 aspects.

2)      Cultivating conducive factors

1. Force of aspiration    Where one is diligent in aspiration “may I cultivate the qualities of the bodhisattvas.” May I generate kindness, May I generate goodness, loving-kindness.” What should we be diligent in? Patrul Rinpoche says “we must be diligent in Cultivating the qualities of bodhisattvas.”

2. Force of self-confidence  Strengthen self-confidence. What is it? It is defines as a strong stable commitment to the fact that one can overcome habitual patterns.  Self-confidence is the certainty of the determination in one’s self that believes it can have the power to overcome habitual patterns.  It is very true; this is a characteristic of bodhisattvas. Courage is one of the three characteristics of a bodhisattva.  Shantideva himself defines a bodhisattva The three qualities of a bodhisattva is one with mind free from obscurations, able to accomplish all the positive qualities, and in these two, he or she is courageous. The courage is founded on the confidence of keeping the resolution, resolve is very strong.  For force of self-confidence is strong, it must be further supported.  Those that support self-confidence are these three:

a.       self-confidence of action
b.      self-confidence of Capacity
c.       self-confidence of Knowing afflictions

The general explanation is we need courage to overcome the challenges of habitual patterns.  But order to overcome habitual patterns, these three are needed.

  1. Self-confidence of action. This is like the example of the sun.  Looking at the sun that arises, a meditator should recognize: the sun arises alone, the sun moves through the day without relying on anything or anyone else. Likewise, a meditator on the Mahayana path should move alone. The sun shines on everything.  A Mahayana meditator should realize that you are entrusted with that courage to engage in the action to, by oneself, free oneself from defilements, just as the rising of the sun destroys darkness. In the same way, from yourself, you must yourself engage in action of refraining from negative actions that are the cause of pain to self and others. Like the sun as it moves alone, in the same way, oneself alone overcomes the Mara of neurosis.  Throughout the day, there are plenty of instances that will allow you to defeat the Mara of neurosis. Every moment you can demonstrate or overcome neurosis.  As a person engaging bodhichitta must ….His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche used to always say, “You don’t have the luxury of not doing a virtuous action.By the power of commitment and the realization of bodhichitta, being useful for others needs to go back to knowing ultimate bodhichitta and relative bodhichitta. Since it is our ultimate nature, why not? And because we want happiness of relative nature, we need good causes.  Because of these two, we have no choice but to defeat the Maras. Must strive to illuminate others, and build self-confidence of action to help others, and orient the mind to shift gears from (helping) self to helping others.   This is built by the second self-confidence:
  2. Self-confidence of capacity. Contemplation, reflection enables you to see how much greater your capacity is compared to others. If you ask, “Why should I be diligent compared to others being lazy?” The answer is, “You are born the holder of a precious human birth.  Others are seemingly born human too but don’t recognize it. You have met the teachers, you have the antidotes, and you have the know-how of seeing things as they truly are.” The one who has greater capacity should be one who strives with greater confidence.  Self-confidence of capacity is to be proud of your capacity. People are scared of the word ‘pride.’ But there are times where the pride can be constructive.  (In this case,) being proud of one’s capacity is essential.  50:41
  3.  Self-confidence from knowing afflictions. What does it mean?    Self-confidence from knowing afflictions is to know how insignificant afflictions actually are.  By seeing if you do not particularly indulge, none of the afflictions of themselves have the capacity to grow to affect anyone.  If you do not wish, there is no affliction. If you do not want, there is no affliction. If you do not do, there is no affliction. A bubble arises on the surface of the lake. It is up to you whether to be terrified of it or not. Crazy as our minds can be, we can think “that looks like a nuclear bomb!” and hide behind a bush, imagining the horns and tails of a bubble (laughs).  A sensible person would see it arise, burst, and that’s it.  Thoughts are like that.  It’s up to you whether or how you exaggerate it so it becomes what we later call afflictions or defilements. It is up to you as meditator. Afflictions on their own don’t have any power to manifest.  Where confidence arises, not in any other way, but in knowing what you can in terms of letting go of negativities. It’s simpler than driving a car. You just have to stay in the street correctly.

3. Force of special joy   With Patrul Rinpoche, the main emphasis in his life was not being afraid to celebrate good qualities in oneself. Where there is no joyfulness of good qualities, this will always affect ability to return with enthusiasm to the path of practice. It is essential to generate diligence with positive qualities. This is the force of joy. Every day, reflect on good things you can accomplish, small things you can transform.  Small things such as that you were going to get angry at something, and you didn’t.  But this isn’t making the story line stronger. In same way, the 4th force,

4. Force of moderation To be diligent in positive qualities, you need the force of moderation. Maintaining a balance in your life is the best way to define this. There are some meditators who dwell in misery. They like the sadness; it’s a very spiritual thing to do. Through all civilizations, spirituality has always been connected to tragedy.  When you look on movies of Catholic nuns, there is always so much tragedy (laughs).  From a Buddhist perspective, this is odd. Someone on the path of practice should be happy. Stereotypes of religions in diverse cultures are that one has to be sad. In Buddhism, there is impermanence and no self, so who should be sad (laughs)? We are sadly generous, sadly diligent, sadly meditating, and the other paramitas.  It shouldn’t be sad. You are a human being with so many good qualities, and giving qualities a direction adds the possibility of instilling so much happiness in self and other. There is balancing the fact of suffering and the fact of happiness.  There are those and in you¸ as the weight of the suffering decreases, the weight of the happiness will increase. Maintaining this balance (is) where whatever you are persevering in doesn’t drown you in tragedy. Rather, increases your joyfulness.   The Force of moderation is to take into consideration all those factors that will make you a happy practitioner. Whatever practice you are doing should be happy. Lots of reasons to be happy. There is no better news than that Buddha-nature is intrinsic in you.  Karma is changeable, in your reach. Life is full of recourses (?) that can change your life and change the lives of many others. You can give rise to wisdom.  In this moment, we can exert effort and make this moment something happy. Must recognize this power in oneself, it should be path of happiness.

When to rest and how to rest

Patrul Rinpoche at this point says it should be known “when to rest and how to rest.” (When one is) disheartened, physically tired, and …born in samsara, with habitual patterns, it is easy to get discouraged, disheartened, or physically exhausted.  Even if bodhichitta is strong, there must be mind that says “you can’t help others if you can’t yourself.”  If you are mentally exhausted, take a break. Give yourself enough gaps in time to recuperate. When you feel better, and then see continuity. Many practitioners don’t see this because you get into an “I’m a bad student” trip. No one is keeping track. Good and bad student is your own thing. There are difficulties and conducive moments. When one is going good, continue.  But don’t be complacent, it won’t stay.  When there are difficulties, see it as such so it won’t last.  Don’t need to “start all over again.” You can’t start all over again. You have all the same knowledge, same mind to continue. So, it is important knowing how to rest when disheartened, physically exhausted, or mentally exhausted.

Physically tired. You are always tired, some of you (laughs). There is an assumption of physically tired and then actually physically tired.  For some of you Western sangha, your mind is racing all the time; (to the point) it physically tires you.  If physically doing a lot or mentally exhausted…  But, moderation must include continuing with renewed vigor afterward.

5. Force of Willingness to abandon mental afflictions It is important order on if one will incorporate paramita of diligence in practice. “Are you willing to abandon afflictions?” Ask yourself. Ultimately, you decide. The afflictions don’t decide. You decide how long you carry them.  Perseverance is willingness to give up mental afflictions. Patrul Rinpoche says “unless you decide, you won’t do it.”

6. Force of mastery This is mastery in self-discipline, is mastery in taming one’s own mind, gaining mastery in recollecting instructions and advice of the teacher when needed, master in maintaining control over your own body, speech and mind.  The adorning qualities of a Mahayana practitioner.

“I am diligent” means “I must be self-disciplined.” In the same way, one must tame one’s own mind in abandoning negative actions and cultivating virtuous actions, and must recollect instructions when you most need it.  A teaching is never as precious as when you apply when most needed.  Where it is most needed is when mind is most confused, when mind is most attached, when mind is most anxious. That is when the teachings should be recollected and put in action.  That is the paramita of diligence.  Also maintaining discipline of body, speech and mind, so that they don’t become a cause of suffering of self and others.

These forces are cultivating virtue.  This and abandoning negative actions are the paramita of diligence. When you are not diligent in these, it is misplaced diligence. If doing Prostrations or prayers doesn’t carry these, then there may be an outer appearance spiritual practice, but inwardly, it is nothing other than ego.

(Continued)

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