Khandro Rinpoche 2012 annual retreat: August 28th, Talk 1, Part 3- Outer preliminaries – The Four Reminders

(continued from part 2)

The Four Reminders

It is possible your shamatha is distracted. If distracted, following thoughts sound, forms, and going back to mental chatter, read the first verse of the Four Reminders. *

This precious human existence is, like an udumbara flower, difficult to attain.
If found, it is of greater benefit than the wish-fulfilling jewel.
However, having attained such a precious existence just this once,
we do not accomplish the ultimate aim of great benefit,
but instead waste it meaninglessly.
Guru, embodiment of the Three Jewels, look upon us with compassion.
Bestow your blessings so that we fulfill the meaning of this precious existence.

Immediately sit down and really take time to contemplate on this. When will you get another opportunity to do this?  These are antidotes to the five poisons.

All compounded phenomena are impermanent like a flash of lightning.
No matter how one reflects on any container [world] and its contents [phenomena therein],
One sees they are all subject to destruction.
Nevertheless, deceiving ourselves with a mind which clings to impermanence,
we abide in a sphere of heedlessness.
Guru, embodiment of the Three Jewels, look upon us with compassion.
Bestow your blessings so that we are ever-mindful of the impermanence of death.

As a Vajrayanaist, your mind will be able to cultivate the best antidote when it is most needed.  No matter how one reflects on anything – the world or the container- really think about it clearly- death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain. Nevertheless, deceiving ourselves with a mind which clings to impermanence, we abide in a sphere of heedlessness.

Be ever mindful of impermanence of death prior to ngondro. But not only during meditation session, let it permeate throughout the day. Whenever you about to do something, about to say something, about to have hope and fear, think of impermanence and see if you are able to gather the essence of the teachings in own mind.

We deceive ourselves with a mind that clings to permanence. See how much clinging there is to permanence. Even those thoughts of impermanence you have are fleeting in comparison to the thoughts of permanence. You think permanence is relevant. Therefore you have all sorts of ambitions and anxiousness. The moment you really keep impermanence in mind, you will be happier and kinder. Where sense of kindness not there, when selfishness is there, there is a lacking of understanding impermanence. If contentment and happiness missing, there is lack of understanding impermanence. See it is self, and supplicate the guru to put in one’s mindstream:

Bestow your blessings so we are ever mindful of the impermanence of death.

In the Tibetan text, it literally says, “forgetting impermanence, holding onto permanence, we fool ourselves. For those who dwell in this lacking mindfulness, may the 3 jewels bless us that we are ever mindful of impermanence and death.”

The karmic fruition of virtuous and unvirtuous actions is never lost.
From this infallible path [truth] of cause and effect appears the phenomena of samsara and nirvana. We understand that one’s actions ripen upon oneself.
Yet, we are unable to engage and disengage in the appropriate manner.
Guru, embodiment of the Three Jewels, look upon us with compassion.
Bestow your blessings so that we cultivate virtue and abandon unvirtuous deeds.

Whatever white, or virtuous actions are done, never exhausted. Whatever black actions are done never lost, virtue ripens, negativity ripens. How many of you are aware of that? Don’t need to raise hands. (Laughs). Very important to keep in mind, when you find self doing things you shouldn’t do, knowing something is not what we are talking – something so strong that you don’t do anything physically, say anything, and think anything that is unkind. That is indication of understanding power of causes you create.

From this infallible cause and effect- everything good, untainted- positive causes. Negative actions of samsara- arise from infallible cause and effect. Important to keep in mind, whatever you experience- result of cause you create. Happy, unhappy, cause you crazed. Friends, enemies, because of the causes contentment, non-contentment, because of the cause.   How many of you keep constant awareness of karma? Before you indulge habitual tendencies, think “that is karmically negative.” if one can develop that mindfulness that is truly doing third reminder, if not, and then supplicate the 3 jewels so you can engage and disengage in appropriate manner.  Disengage in Negative ….not only reading and contemplating, but thorough power of contemplation, being very — especially, doing ngondro, must keep awareness of cause and effect very strong- every time you meet distraction, something that takes your mind away from own practice of ngondro – transform it- into strong sense of karma, awareness of how in post-meditation practice, especially outside content of formal ngondro, being mindful of karma is a ngondro practice.  being mindful of Karma, purification through prostrations, Vajrasattva mantra, turning mind to refuge, bodhichitta, selflessness through mandala, the intrinsic Buddha nature – can be brought down to mindfulness of cause and effect , mindful –  is bodhichitta, is freedom from self-grasping, is confidence of Buddha nature. The Third Reminder is very important.

All contaminated aggregates are causes of suffering and are possessed with many torments.
Even that which appears pleasurable is a deceiver.
The three realms of existence are like a pit of fire.
Yet, we who are filled with attachment do not realize this.
Guru, embodiment of the Three Jewels, look upon us with compassion.
Bestow your blessings so that we give rise to the mind of renunciation.

All contaminated aggregates are causes of suffering. But do you really see the contamination of the aggregates? Limiting the understanding of aggregates is contamination. Not letting forms, feeling, perception, formations, consciousness to be freed from your concepts is the contamination of aggregates.  Contaminated aggregates are causes of suffering; to free the 5 Skandhas from dualistic tendencies is cessation.

Even that which appears pleasurable becomes a deceiver…” Neither do we realize we are the creator of the realms of suffering, nor do we do anything to free ourselves or others from suffering.  So, freedom from …freeing all that arises from the shackles, imprisonment of own egos demand, may I free all sentient beings from suffering.  All sentient beings torments by diverse suffering – no one wants suffering, but each of them creates realms of suffering for self and others just as others do it constantly, may I see myself doing it.  May I see – not knowing true nature, we continually creates the cause we are most afraid of. Seeing this, may I receive blessings of the 3 Jewels, whose realization enables myself to bring able revulsion to the cause that brings about samsara.  renunciation to the cause- constant interference with things that arise, contamination of forms, contamination of sounds, contamination of thoughts.

This 4th Reminder always ends with the line ”may this give rise to mind of renunciation.” May my mind renounce habitual patterns, how? Through determination and strengthened resolve to not give rise to samsaric causes. One watches own mind, what would be the best that could be relied upon to be free. Good aspiration, but very fragile, what would be most excellent support that could keep the resolve. In the enlightened Buddha, dharma, bodhisattvas- if my mind refers to the 3 refuges and truth of 4 jewels, that refuge could be strong to support momentarily and withstand the magnetic pull to distractions of body, speech and mind.  Renunciation and search for support- than one starts to understand power of 3 Jewels.

Refuge is desperately searching for a support.

You can’t swim, someone tosses you in a river, then someone throws you a life saver- would be very happy to have that- can put head through it, and can kick legs like you know how to swim.  Likewise, your aspiration is like a baby, surrounded by stormy waves of own neurosis- refuges begins to see Buddha, dharma and sangha as a light in one’s own darkness. Keeping the mind to be missed w body, speech and mind to —into the Buddha, dharma and sangha, I turn my body, speech, and mind.  Keeping steady in that, I take refuge in Buddha, dharma and sangha.  saying it, keeping mind focused – up to you how many times- how long you stay supported by these 3 subtle reference- resting without being constantly induced, following thoughts, physically, mentally, verbally restless.  Atisha said “you could be taking refuge all the time.”  Samsara and nirvana is about what you take refuge in.  Taking refuge in Buddha, dharma and sangha gives one power…

Really, we started with “don’t modify, rest in nature of mind.”

You can start in resting in nature of mind without modification of any kind. If you could do that, nothing else is needed. If you can’t, then taking refuge assists in resting in non-modification. Vajrayana can be a long or short path: It depends on your strength of resting in own nature of mind.

So i’ll stop here with the text for today….

…Because (later) today, you are all going to turn up looking like flowers.  In a way, this is very good. After several years of seeing growth of sangha, and many of you becoming good friends, I think occasionally having an opportunity to meet informally.  Drosang – let the mind be gladly open. In monastic situation, 1 or 2 times a year, practitioners are encouraged to be with one another. Always with the view, but to be with each other, socially. When it is not done enough- you are all culturally very hard-working, so you bring that attitude into the dharma. So you all look like hardworking people, which brings in a roughness, where there is no difference with working in a field or construction site.  What we mean is where grace, elegance, beauty, subtleness- comes down to elegance is a little lost when it comes to meditators. Especially in Tibetan Buddhist- become hardy- almost a sense of tobacco chewing (Laughs). once in a while, is good to be graceful and elegant.  As Kongtrol Rinpoche said, – flowers.  Frumpy lotus aren’t so nice, should think of lotus garden people as graceful.  Is a chance to see friends informally- not be so all “up the hill, then down the hill, port a potties” – hope you all can rest up a bit, rest your minds, appreciate each other’s company. Last year was so nice – wasn’t plan, but people started inquiring- there was some letters to effect that some couldn’t make it- even more important that retreat itself (Laughs).   I hope everyone does go.

Traditionally, one goes into something that “something that pleases the mind” – emphasizes 3 essential points. Whatever you do:

1)      refrains from hurting others;

2)       becomes a source of goodness for others ; and

3)      Is always a chance to train the mind.

As a Vajrayana meditator, whatever you do is ok, as long as you refrain from that which harms others and engage in that which helps others. 

(End of Talk)

*note: This version of the Four Reminders was written by Mipham the Great.

1 Comment

Filed under Dharma teachings, Khandro Rinpoche

One response to “Khandro Rinpoche 2012 annual retreat: August 28th, Talk 1, Part 3- Outer preliminaries – The Four Reminders

  1. Pingback: Khandro Rinpoche 2012 annual retreat: August 28th, Talk 1, Part 2- Outer preliminaries – Calling the Guru From Afar | Randrols Ramblings

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