Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin- TMC Frederick – Lojong – December 26, 27, 2011(Note: This teaching was a commentary on Jamgon Kongtol the Great’s now-classic Lojong text, The Great Path of Awakening. Khenpo Rinpoche read from the book itself (in English) and then expanded on it. The quotes from Jamgon Kongtrol appear below bolded and indented without quote marks. Quotes from other teachers appear with quote marks.)
…Need reasons for bodhichitta.
So, need to meditate on love. There are 2 kinds of love: one that leads to suffering, and one that is bigger. (In answer to question) Tonglen will come shortly. (Laughter) It is part of bodhichitta. But need a purpose first, otherwise, won’t do it. You can do anything with parents or kids, but not for strangers. Westerns always ask that question – “why?” That’s good. We have to figure out, what is the purpose for bodhichitta. You have to love someone who is kind to you. Before meditating love, you need to see reason to love this one. The kindness. What kind of kindness? Generally, Buddhas say “your mother.”
This person, my mother, has looked after me with great effort right from the moment I was conceived in her womb. Because she endured all the hardships of illness, cold, hunger, and others, because she gave me food and clothing and wiped away my filth, and because she taught me what is good and steered me away from evil, I met the teachings of Buddha and am now practicing the dharma.
But maybe individually, someone else too. Sometimes, you are taken care of by someone else. There are said to be 4 kindness: of giving life or giving birth, giving necessary things to survive, giving you an education, and of showing you in the world. Could be mother, father, everyone. But giving birth is always biological birth. She kept you in the womb for 9 months and suffered for a long time. Someone told me once, “I never understood why my mom said ‘I love you’ till I had kids of own.” If someone is really dear to you, you don’t need to meditate on love [artificially], it just comes. No matter how cruel, how bad you are, there is someone with a kind heart towards you, that thinks you are worth loving someone. This is part of our natural mind. This is not developing something that doesn’t exist in us already. Most of the time, we have negative conditions so we just can’t see it.
When you love someone, you care so much that when you see those bad circumstances, the negative things, and you always develop compassion. Lord Jitgon Sumgon said:
“Love is when a mother sees a child. Compassion is when someone sees someone with a really bad disease like leprosy, even your enemy, and you have sympathy.”
Then you think,” I need bodhichitta, I don’t want to see this anymore. I must do something to liberate them from this situation, this circumstance.” Best way? You have to become Buddhahood. Right now, we can’t liberate them, because we aren’t liberated. If you are in financial trouble you can’t help others financially. You need to be financially stable first. In the same way, lack of wisdom in yourself means it won’t work. You want to become Buddhahood. There are lots of ways to help. Each one needs different methods. We are not qualified. Who is perfectly qualified? Buddha. We want to become Buddhahood for the benefit of migrating beings. We can see why we need to mediate on bodhichitta. I am sure you have heard this many times, every teaching, but still….
Knowing and REALLY practicing are not the same thing. You can see really good food on TV, but it is not going to fill your stomach. Knowing is like that.
Then, when some real compassion, not just lip service, has been developed and instilled, learn to extend it step by step.
What is it this means? Tibetans say “not just talking.” Or as you say, “Talk is cheap.” (Laughter) Anyone can say lots of things. “Don’t do what I do, just do what I say.” Everyone can give a nice speech. (Laughter)
Train in Taking and Sending Alternately. put Them on the Breath
Or Training in practicing and taking, send these on the breath. Take all the sentient beings suffering and source of suffering. We are now in Tonglen. You take all the other sentient beings suffering into you, and you are giving all virtue, happiness, joy to other sentient beings.
In order to make this imagined exchange clearer, as you breathe in, imagine that black tar collecting all the suffering, obscurations, and evil of all sentient beings enters your own nostrils and is absorbed into your heart. Think that all sentient beings are forever free of misery and evil. As you breathe out, imagine that all your happiness and virtue pour out in the form of rays of moonlight from your nostrils and are absorbed by every sentient being.
Alternate. it is more clear if you put it in the breathing.
Three objects, three poisons, three seeds of virtue.
The three objects are the beautiful one, ugly one, neutral one. The three poisons are attachment to beautiful one, aversion to unpleasant one, and feeling neutral to neutral ones. There are no conceptual afflictive emotions with last one. And the three seeds of virtue?
May every bit of every sentient beings’ attachment be contained in this attachment of mine. May all sentient beings have the seed of virtue of being free of attachment. May this attachment of mine contain all their disturbing emotions and, until they attain buddhahood, may they be free of such disturbing emotions.
Aversion and other emotions are used in practice by working with them the same way. Thus, the three poisons become three limitless seeds of virtue.
This is taking circumstances on the path. No one is going to have attachment continually, so may all sentient beings be free of it. Do the same thing with aversions and ignorance.
Nagkpa Michael Campbell – So it’s the three poisons become the three seeds of virtue.
Use Sayings to Train in All Forms of Activity
Or can say this as “Use reminders in everything you do.” This is Verbally doing exercises, reminding us. Saying things like from Shantideva:
“While their evil ripens in me, may my goodness ripen in them.”
Literally chant this. It is a way to train mind by chanting. Chanting is really good meditation if you chant with understanding of meaning. If you don’t know what you are saying, how can you benefit? It’s not about becoming a scholar. You have to know what you are saying, what you have to think when you say it.
So, simply repeating things like this, or a deity’s mantra. When you look on each chanting, there is profound meaning. From that, develop concentration, [and from that] merits. That is what is called blessing. In the Kadampa tradition, they say “respect all sentient beings as lords” or:
“I offer all gain and victory to the lords, all sentient beings. I take all loss and defeat for myself.”
We will discuss that later.
Just saying words, I always chant, saying: “benefit all sentient beings. Benefit all sentient beings. “ I say it in Tibetan [since it’s more familiar]. I try to train myself to not be self-interested. Of course, I do from time to time become self-interested (Laughter) – but I try. Pick up some words from mind training and recite them over and over. Make a nice sentence, recite them. If it gives you pleasure and peace, recite that.
So, use reminders in everything you do. Quote from the 37 bodhisattva practices, or
“may all evils of sentient beings ripen in me, and may all my virtues ripen in them.”
This is the same as saying “may all sentient beings get peace, happiness. And if there is anything that you need to deal with, may it come to me. “
Now, question is here of what Khenchen Rinpoche has said (many times about bad conditions actually occurring.) If your compassion is not stable enough in the beginning, this is really difficult. It [Negative circumstances] may come to you, you may have regret, and you give up everything [all Dharma practices]. This is why you need to develop loving-kindness, compassion. Then, no matter how difficult it is, you won’t give up, like you wouldn’t give up on taking care of your kids, because you have that strong a commitment. If you can develop just as strong a commitment with [all] sentient beings, you can take on tonglen. But it is really difficult without that first. Lord Jitgon Sumgon said:
“The preliminary practices are always more important that the main practices.”
The 3 objects one is “carrying on the path” are your own circumstances. This is Lam Dom. When you have headache, think , “by my headache, may all sentient beings who create this cause of headache be freed.” This is the 3 objects, 3 poisons, 3 roots of virtue, sometimes called “3 seeds of virtue.” The translation is different, the meaning the same. If we can have that genuine compassion stable, any condition, you can handle.
Beginning the sequence of taking with you.
In order to be able to take on the sufferings of others, begin the sequence of exchange with yourself. Right now, take on mentally all the suffering that will ripen for you in the future. When that has been cleared away, take up all the sufferings of others.
We are talking about taking time. Don’t just jump into the next practice.
How to transform adversity into the path of awakening
When Evil Fills the World and its Inhabitants, Change Adverse Conditions Into the Path of Awakening
When your world is full of the pain and suffering that are the fruition of evil – when prosperity and wealth are diminishing, troublesome people create difficulties, and so on – you must change the adverse conditions in which you find yourself into the path of awakening.
We are becoming more degeneration, everyone suffering, more suffering, more negative emotions. when prosperity and wealth are diminishing…etc. must change adversity. There are 3 ways: relative bodhichitta, ultimate bodhichitta, and special practices.
Drive all blames into one.
What is the source of samsara? Ignorance is really the source, but in itself it’s ok. But ignorance leads to self-grasping. Some ignorance by itself doesn’t do much. Many times, we may have ‘neutral’ thoughts, when we have no thoughts, positive or negative. It is ignorance, but it is not a big bad thing. Self-grasping is what make us do all kinds of crazy things. All the bad things happen because of one thing: self-cherishing.
When your car is brand new, for example, you don’t want to let anyone one else touch it, forget driving it. (Laughter) Why? But when your car is really old, you don’t feel the same. But it’s the same if it’s a really junky car: You don’t care if they look, sit, drive. But if it’s new, you don’t want them to even look at it. ) (Laughter) But if it’s a junky car, the attachment is not there. I’m talking about your perception. That is the difference. Shantideva said :
“as much as you grasp this body, that much you feel like you have enemies.“
If you have a wound, you feel like people are touching it more than rest of body. Your feeling is stronger. That is exactly the same differential with attachment. That is what is meant by the “one” – the self-grasping. The self-grasping attitude is to be blamed.
All the sufferings I now experience are the results of those actions. No one else is to blame; this ego-cherishing attitude is to blame. I shall do whatever I can to subdue it.
Most of the time we are not noticing that, not concentrating on that, not paying attention to that. We always complain about others. If we write out complaints, we would have a big book at the end of the year. Maybe we can write that. This is recognizable, understandable. When we recognize, we can cut. But most of the time, we don’t like thinking that way. “My way or highway.” (Laughter) We have that attitude normally as humans. Even if we made a mistake ourselves, we try to blame someone else. But self-cherishing is source of all the trouble there is in the world Shantideva:
“If all of these arise from ego-clinging, What will this great demon do to me?”
Shantideva is similar. If someone body punches you, you can’t blame that person for everything. You need to blame yourself, which created this body that the other could punch. You have to blame self and other. It is your responsibility what kind of body you got. We got solid, so our pain becomes solid. As we reduce our grasping, our bodies become more like an illusion, our pain becomes reduced.
Be grateful to everyone.
In general, all methods for attaining buddhahood rely on sentient beings. Therefore, to the individual who wishes to awaken, sentient beings are as worthy of gratitude as buddhas.
This is Basically humans. Have to be grateful to everyone because we have comfortable life. Look around your house: how many of the things in your house can you make? Pretty much none. Someone else makes your TV, your computer, your heat, your power, and your roof – so this applies even in normal life. Some say “I am independent.” This does not exist. I am sure you can do some things, but you can’t do everything. Everything is collectively created. Pleasure and pain are collectively created. This is the other reason, especially as a Mahayana practitioner, you can’t do it yourself. This why they are called “Lord sentient beings.”
Which is more kind to you: sentient beings or Buddha? Shantideva said casually, you need both. Without Buddha, you wouldn’t have instructions. But without sentient beings, couldn’t apply them. If you have no enemies, no [opportunity to practice] patience. No beggars, no generosity is possible. Your path to liberation is not complete. There is a story of someone who got mad when someone interrupted their meditation of patience [editor’s note: this was a story about Patrul Rinpoche]. (Laughter) I don’t think so. You need someone to drive you crazy in order to practice patience.
To see Confusion as the Four kayas, the Protection of Emptiness is Insurpassable
Or Seeing 4 kayas as Ultimate protections
Sometimes in the Vajrayana, you see the phrase “meditate with the 3 vajras” – vajra body, vajra speech, vajra mind. Vajra body is all in enlightened form. You hear all sounds as mantra, all through as empty. Similarly, here is dharmakaya, emptiness is the supreme protection. The Milarepa and the demons story – he couldn’t make them go away. Then he meditated on emptiness, where there no demons or gods, so he entered ones’ mouth and it vanished.
When you rest in a state in which appearances simply arise but there is no clinging to them, the dharmakaya aspect is that they are empty in nature, the nirmanakaya aspect is they appear with clarity, the sambhogakaya aspect is that this emptiness and clarity occur together, and the swabhavakaya aspect is that these are inseparable.
Whatever appearances [there are], they are emptiness. This is dharmakaya or dharmadhatu. The Nirmanakaya is the illusory appearance. The nature of appearance is dharmakaya, the illusory appearance is Nirmanakaya. But they aren’t separate. Sambhogakaya is that they appear together, with no separatation. Like the Heart sutra says “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” Phagmodrupa said:
“From the hell realm to the enlightened state, everything changes due to the emptiness.”
If not empty, everything would have to be solid, unchangeable. Swabhavakaya is inseparable. Like in the Heart Sutra: “emptiness is no other than form, form is no other than emptiness.” Svabhavikakaya – dharmakaya divides into appearance point and emptiness point.
We have to stop here. Need to discuss this later. Need to make a chance to complain. (Laughter)
(To be continued)