The practice is probably the only way to understand in depth the path of the Buddha Dharma. But Buddha himself had encouraged critical analysis, critical thinking. He has warned again and again against blindly plunging into any kind of spiritual path. He said never depend on the person but depend on the truth. There is no better way to achieve that than studying Buddhism academically, approaching it intellectually, and with critical thinking.
English with Chinese Subtitles
three more videos
This video gives a brief history of the Dzongsar Shedras and how Rinpoche came to be the patron of over 1500 monks. It gives a brief biography of Rinpoche’s early life.
Do we really have to have a human teacher? It depends on your schedule, timetable. If you have lots and lots and lots of time, well maybe you can read a book and you can sort of get by. Maybe, maybe, we are not sure. You know it’s like driving car. You don’t want a driving instructor, so you read A to Z, page 1 to page 100, everything. You have the time, so you read it, memorize it, and then try it and then again read it. Maybe it will work. By the time you know how to drive you will be like 98 years old. If you can accept that, no problem.
Now you don’t have much time. Let’s say you don’t have much time. And you are kind of an impatient person. Ha, you need a teacher then. Because you know the driving instructor might not tell you anything about this page 1 to 100, nothing. He might never use this. Especially if this driving instructor knows you well. Let’s say this driving instructor knows you, that you’re kind of a sleepy person. And you go to this driving instructor: please teach me how to drive. The driving instructor tells you: okay, drink a coffee. That is the first thing to do, drink coffee. Espresso, double. That is not in the book. Because book is for general people. Otherwise everybody has to drink coffee. The driving instructor will tell you drink coffee because he knows you.
Another reason why one must have a spiritual instructor is books and the statues, they don’t talk. So anytime you want to misbehave you can do whatever you like. If you feel guilty, just go behind the statue and do whatever you like. Anyway you think that he will never know.
Now on the highest level. On the highest level spiritual master is very important. On the highest level, spiritual master is someone whom you hire to destroy yourself. That’s his job, to destroy you systematically, deconstruct you systematically. He might – and that involves a lot of skill by the way – this destroyer might even make you believe that sometimes you are winning. Just as you think you are winning, his job is to pull the rug underneath you. But you asked for it.
If you meet a teacher and through his instructions and his coaching if you can gradually minimize and do away with your obsessions it’s working. And this obsession could be lets say you used to iron your underwear after washing. Maybe starch it even. That kind of obsession, it has to be ironed, even your underwear, socks even. Maybe after one week of shamata, vipassana meditation then you say: okay maybe no need to starch. That is a little bit of an enlightenment there. After two weeks of shamata, vipassana you don’t iron. Very good. After maybe about six month of shamata vipassana you don’t even wash your underwear. Quite good, quite good. After three years you don’t even mind that people actually are talking behind you about you not washing underwear. That is really good. You have become free, you have become liberated from social expectations. This actually ??? . Then you might actually end up developing another obsession of not washing the underwear. Then your teacher comes and says: hey you better wash your underwear every hour. And then, if you can do it without blinking your eyes, without thinking twice, that’s it. You have been liberated. This is called going beyond dirty and clean underwear. The great Indian Buddhist scholar Chandrakirti said: The idiots do bad things and go to hell. Idiots do good things and go to heaven. Only the wise one will go beyond doing good and bad and then get the liberation.
website of the film: nakedmindthefilm.org
Buddha’s teachings such as Four Noble Truth, Fours Seals, these are beyond boundary. For instance like Buddha’s teachings that all compounded things are impermanent. It’s not culturally bound, it is not bound by gender. It is true with everything, all the time. So what I think, what Westerners have to do in order to – not only the Westerner, generally in the modern life, now we have build a certain system where we almost don’t know how to get out, such as paying bills. You have to pay bills otherwise you will be arrested. So in order to pay bills you have to work. In order to work you have to have lots of things, like you have to have a phone, you have to have a laptop. Then all those needs to be updated. So more and more you get entangled with these things. But – as Buddha said himself many times – I still think that it’s very possible, because spiritual path is the way you look at these things. Basically it’s an attitude. It’s a mental attitude towards this kind of life. As long as you change that attitude. For instance like renunciation. Let’s talk about renunciation. Now renunciation is usually almost always referred to like shaving hair, wearing a robe, going to a cave, begging alms, walking bare feet. That’s one way of understanding the renunciation. But if we talk about another way, renunciation is basically having this attitude that what I am doing for the sake of paying bill is just a tool, it’s just so that I can survive. It’s not like my goal. It’s a technique, it is a tool for me to survive, but my real goal is to search the truth. So for instance like a maybe modern Buddhist can work, get a job, not to become billionaire, unless there is a different purpose. To be a billionaire, to own a Ferrari is not the goal. But to work so that you have enough support system so that you can carry on your main goal which is a spiritual goal.