pith instructions

pith instructions

Buddha taught many many infinite teachings referred as the sutras, the words of the Buddha. And then there are many many shastras which are commentaries to the teachings of the Buddha. So these are generally the two categories of teachings available I guess. But there is another category which is very popular among the Tibetan, four Tibetan schools, and specially I think within the Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyupa, they really treasure this a lot, which is called menga, pith instructions or advices. Because sometimes Buddha’s words are very, Buddha’s words are infinite. Buddha’s words are too profound as Chandrakirti stated, until you have achieved the first bhumi, you can not even understand the words of the Buddha thoroughly. So understanding the words of the Buddha can be quite challenging for ordinary beings. Therefore we have the shastras. But shastras can be very, you know, grand, and so complex. So what we need, specially if you are interested in practicing, what we need is some kind of a guideline, guideline to, is actually it is like a pith instruction on guideline, some kind of a guide. Menga it’s called in Tibetan. This is very much treasured as I said before by many past masters. Shenpa shidrel lojong, shenpa shidrel actually falls into the category of menga, pith instructions. And pith instructions are really really valuable. I always use this example and I will use this again, because I am actually, this is again myself using my own experience. I don’t know how to ride bicycle. I tried to learn so many many days. Somehow I don’t know with my own, bodily, I don’t know, function or whatever, it just doesn’t work. But it is getting better, getting better. Now there is, I am sure you can read, the science of bicycle. Where is the first tires made, who invented bicycle, all of that. That’s going to help me at all. I just want to ride. So there is all that kind of theoretical teachings which you can read from page one to the end. Now if you have time I guess you can but we don’t have that kind time. So I need some kind of a pith instruction from a skilled bike rider. And this teacher, the master, can, looking at me, because of my capacity, he is now looking at this disciple who has a different constitution, sense, devotion, diligence, all of that. And the timing of course, timing. And my master has to give according to that, pith instruction. And this could involve all kinds of seemingly nothing to do with the teachings such as: “Oh every time ride a bicycle you should have a shot of a tequila or something like that because he might think that I am too you know like hyper that maybe needs to drug out a little bit. So then I can balance a bit more. Or I am to paranoid that I am hit my knees on here and there. So when you have several shots of tequila you loose all that kind of importance. These are what we call pith instructions, so valuable. So valuable. Because in short time a skilled master, a devoted student, can achieve a lot, without reading the history of bicycle.

Parting from the four attachments, Nepal June 2009
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