In buddhism and specially in mahayana buddhism – well not only mahayana actually, buddhism we talk about metta, karuna. But this kind of love taught in buddhism is what we call limitless love. Some of you who are familiar with the buddhist concept of four limitless thoughts you will know. In fact love is the first thing out of four limitless practice we are introduced. And the definition of the love is wishing all sentient beings to be happy and not only to be happy but to have the sense of gathering the cause of happiness. And such kind of love is aimed at all sentient beings. Therefore the object is limitless. Such kind of love has no personal agenda. So from the intention point of view it is limitless. Such kind of love is not aimed at acquiring happiness in the sense of you know mundane happiness. But this kind of love is really aimed at true happiness which is enlightenment or in other words to awaken from net of delusion. So it is limitless, it is not limited as how we – the ordinary concept of love.
As usual, please with two kinds of motivation, listen or engage with the practice of hearing the dharma. And the two motivations are: seeing the futility of samsara, in an other words, realizing ultimately there is no value in all the samsaric activities. And seeing the infinite value of the enlightenment and path to the enlightenment. And then the second motivation being the mahayana motivation, that you will listen to this teachings for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Okay, very simple. Enlightenment is when you are not a sucker of the logic of four plus four is eight. You understand? That is it. That is it. Because we are all sucker of this logic. Enlightened being is not a sucker of this logic. Plus lot of other things.
Student: But I think crazy people are also … of that.
Oh very good, excellent, excellent. Very very good. Actually at glance I would say, an ordinary person, a very ordinary person, deluded being like me looking at a crazy person and a Tilopa, or a Virupa or Naropa, can’t tell difference.
So because you know what is the word definition of crazy people. Those who are not a sucker of conventional truth. And if you want to be the follower of the conventional truth. Yes, then. In fact these Tilopa or Naropa or Virupa thinks that all those people who are sucker of four plus four is eight, they are the crazy. They just can’t understand why you have to suck into this.
Student: But I think for most of us students here we still living in the worldly life and we have to cope with the worldly rule and remember four plus four is nine. So how to …
No no. This is good, this is good.
Student: Sorry is eight.
This is very good. Excellent. See, most of us we have to remember that four plus four is not really eight. Is neither nine. Definitely not one. But for the conventional sake we will use it. That is what we call skillful means. We have to get along with the people.
Student: Yes I think so we need to learn how to survive in this world, worldly world with the enlightened mind properly.
Of course. Yes. Chandrakirti has stated this long time ago. Never ever we should destroy or refute what is conventionally accepted. Never. Buddha, if you asked him: “What is four plus four?” He will say eight.
But, you know, there is a great scholar. He is the best actually, in the contemporary Tibetan scholar, he is my hero. He is called Gendun Chopel. He is really good. He said, for instance if a terrorist comes and points a gun at you and says: “Okay, lady. You have to say this wall is red. Otherwise I am going to kill you.” You will say it is red even so you don’t mean it. He said that all the Buddha’s teaching are just like that. All sentient beings are coming with the gun of suffering and then Buddha has to say all kind of things, this is blue, this is red. He is really good.
And as I was telling you, what should the value do? It should give you the statisfaction or it should give you gratificaiton or at least your value should protect you from problems or suffering. Ah. If you have the view of non-grasping you are protected from all kinds of problems, all kinds of suffering. Because it is the grasping that is causing the problems. And by the way when we say zin pa choong na ta wa min, if you have a grasping you have no view, this grasping is not only like a grasping of gross things such as grasping to your laptop, grasping to your clubs, grasping to your favorite spot, grasping to your – we are not only talking about this kind of gross grasping. Do you know in zin pa choong na ta wa min at this stage even if you grasp at the notion enlightenment you have no view. This is saying a lot. It is completely, it is being really really – even the enlightenment, even the concept such as emptiness, if you have a grasping you have no view. Buddha Shakyamuni said that. ?..? Buddha Shakyamuni said to Kashyapa, ego as big as a Mount Meru is actually not so bad, but clinging or attachment to emptiness, even as small as a sesame seed is far more dangerous. So grasping is the problem because grasping creates the problem. This is a big statement by the way.
Okay lets go through the four. If you have attachment to this life you are not a dharma practitioner. Which kind of automatically makes you think: Oh it is good to think about next life, isn’t it. Okay I don’t have attachment to this life but next life yes I want to be reborn in a better rebirth, ah Drakpa Gyaltsen is saying: No no no. That is also not so good. So next life is out, canceled. So you think okay this life is, one should not be aiming for this life, one should not be aiming for the better rebirth in the next life. So I guess I should really look for enlightenment. Then you know Manjushri or Sachen Kunga Nyingpo or Drakpa Gyaltsen saying: Oh well, wait a minute. If you are only doing it for yourself that is not good too. So that is how gradually all the selfishness compassion, not knowing whether it is a compassion or not, all these things needs to be taken care off. That is why there is a gradual path. Of course.
The second connotation or the second element of the discipline, this discipline must qualify, this discipline must be able to use as a step, stepping stone, or a step, steps, that takes you to enlightenment. What a profound statement, it is so profound. It so profound because here already here already Drakpa Gyaltsen is indicating discipline is not enlightenment, this is a very important thing to know. Many people are so attached to discipline. They think that is the it. They are so attached to the discipline. But Drakpa Gyaltsen is saying, discipline is a step towards, it has to work as a step towards enlightenment. It is not the enlightenment but it has to be a step, steps towards the enlightenment.
So if you are talking about the general discipline, even the mundane secular worldly discipline is very important. In fact this is what is taught by the great social thinker should I call them like Confucius, like in India maybe books like Arthashastra by Chanakya. They are to really have a framework of how to have a content wealthy and not dysfunctional life. Now in the spiritual path we are aiming higher, we are not only looking for a functional society, functional family, wealth, health. We are aiming for enlightenment, we are – and specially in the Mahayana path we are not only aiming enlightenment for myself, ourselves, we are aiming enlightenment for everyone, every being. So therefore a much more profound level of discipline is absolutely necessary.
You know it’s easy to say we have the right motivation but we should really contemplate on this. Are we here to listen to these teachings for the enlightenment. We all like to say yes. Or anyway, it’s safer to say in this way anyway, among the Buddhist. But even that statement that I am here to learn the path of enlightenment, I am here to listen to teachings so that I will achieve enlightenment, even that, even the fact that do you really want to achieve enlightenment, that is something that you should contemplate. I must confess, I for one, I am not that, I am not all the time attracted to enlightenment. Really. I am much more attracted to the samsaric success, the gain, I don’t know the influence, the game that we play, I am very much for this. Enlightenment as a romantic notion, the golden color, the light, the omniscience, all of that is fine. And specially when I am tormented suddenly with certain problems, then of course I think about enlightenment. When I am up in the air and when my plane goes through turbulence, then I think about enlightenment. As soon as I am on the ground and surrounded by friends, families, attention, gain, don’t think about enlightenment. And not only that, sometimes I contemplate, and if you really contemplate, enlightenment is a state where you have amazing qualities, supposedly amazing qualities. And from the emotional point of view, all these amazing qualities that enlightenment supposed to have such as omniscience, you should really think, do you really want to be omniscient. Because if you do have an omniscience, there will be no surprise. You cannot read one good detective novel. You already know the end. You can’t enjoy anything. You cant enjoy a new food, you cant taste a new drink, because you already know. You cant gossip around, you cant chat around because you already know the answer. So from the emotional point of view, enlightenment is, from our deluded emotional point of view, enlightenment is really utterly, such a boring place, where you have no excitement, no excitement at all. Why do we need this? So this way, it is quite important to really tune our motivation.
Aspiration, really, aspiration is so important. May I be able to control my mind. May I be able to see the balance. May I be able to decode this matrix. Aspiration. Because if you have aspiration – you see the problem with us is that we are not wanting the enlightenment enough. That is the problem. So develop this aspiration again and again. Make it want, more than want, we need to need enlightenment. That is so important. So develop aspiration. And not only for oneself but to others.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010
Now for the Mahayana and therefore for the Vajrayana there is an extra discipline. The extra discipline is ???, the discipline of benefiting others. And this is what actually, I love the Indian thinking. So amazing. Even, forget Buddhism, even the standard Indian, what you call it, concept of strategy in our life so to speak, I am generalizing this, I am simplifying this so much. Just this is very, this are Indian thinking, and the Indian thinking always have this kind of treasure, I think it is a treasure, which is like in the Arthashastra of Chāṇakya , he said: In order to have a fulfilling life, you have to have four strategy. You should have fun he says, you should have fun. You should have money to have fun. And you should have the discipline to have the money and the fun. Now this much I think everybody got it. But what we forgot is the fourth one which is so important. The fourth one is moksha, and the end of the day one who is trying to have fun, one who is trying to make money to have fun, one who is trying to have discipline to have fun and making money, they must realize, none of this works. This you have to realize. And this is, similarly here also it is like that. In the Mahayana, we have the discipline of refraining from doing wrong things and thinking wrong things. We have a discipline of gathering doing right things and all the enlightened qualities and all of that. But for Mahayana, for the Bodhisattva, even more importantly you have to have a discipline that if it is benefiting others, if it is to enlighten others, the two other discipline must be erased. In order to enlighten sentient beings, other sentient beings, if you don’t lie – let’s say if you are lying can enlighten somebody, big lie, not small lies like I haven’t seen him, you know not like that. Very very big lies. The only three things that you are not allowed to is covetous mind, harmful mind and wrong view. Other than that, anything is acceptable. If you don’t do it actually, if you don’t steal, rob a bank even, and if it is benefiting sentient beings, benefiting meaning not just to give them food and clothing or shelter, enlightening sentient beings.
You know Shantideva said, I like quoting this quotation, Shantideva, a great Mahayana master, he said: In order to dispel the suffering, the practitioners are allowed to have one ignorance. And that is thinking that there is an enlightenment.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010
Daringness. What do I mean by daringness? I was telling earlier. To be useless. You know really, why we don’t have the daringness? Because we think there is something to lose. You have to really prepare to lose everything. Until, if you hang on even a little bit like a handkerchief, that will be so sad right, that you almost managed to get enlightenment except for that handkerchief. That would have been such a ridiculous thing. So you have to really be able to get rid of, and all kinds of, oh this is useful, let’s take this. You know like, to the spiritual journey, you go without any packing. Anything being packed. No sandwich, no fresh underwear, no comb, nothing, you walk naked. This is kind of necessary. This is difficult though. Very difficult. Because you always, oh no this one, the toothpick we need. I usually need a toothpick. I better take along because what if I have an itchy feeling under my teeth or something like that you know. Something like, it is always a ridiculous problem, it is always a small ridiculous stupid problem that will disturb your enlightenment. It’s never going to be some you know like very sophisticated obstacle with the fangs and tails, you know very majestic looking obstacle that is going to stop you achieving enlightenment. It is always going to be something really ridiculous I tell you. Like a worn out shoes, I don’t know, I don’t know. Like a football ticket, I have a feeling that is going to be mine. Okay.
You know if you read the life of the Buddha, twelve deeds of the Buddha. After the six years of penance Buddha went to the present day Bodhgaya. There under the Bodhi tree, he sat. And, what happened? Just as he was about to be enlightened, just as he was about to crush the last residual of ignorance, the usual suspect came. The lord of the Mara, the evil, the lord of the evil. That alone is actually a very very significant symbolic teaching. If there is any practitioners, you should hear this. You know when we practice Dharma many times we have obstacles like lost of inspirations, lost of devotion, lost of compassion, lost of wanting to even sit. Things like this. This actually means you are about to get it. Just like the Buddha, just he was about to get it, then the usual suspect came. This is their job, they are paid to do this kind of things. So that is the time where you have to be really mean. Sort of an enlightened way of being mean. You have to learn to do this. [Where is it?] Anyway, who came? The evil, the lord of the evil. The lord of the demon, the mara, he came. He tried all kind of things, he sent his daughters to seduce the Buddha, right? The story goes like that. That is not the last battle. The last battle was the lord of the mara came with the five different arrows. And the five different arrows are things like – this is what I was looking for but I couldn’t find anyway, just like doubt, distraction, making a big deal out of eight worldly dharmas. Desire. Yes, desire is a very big one actually. I think there is actually an order, I think it was Asvaghosa. Beautiful, the first arrow he aimed at the Buddha was I think the aggression. That, that’s the easiest one. And then it was desire. Things like that. I think the last one is the doubt or the distraction, I don’t remember this. Just constant distraction. We are just constantly distracted. For instance we don’t, you are sitting, your bottom is on that chair right now, and you are not feeling your sensation of your underwear and the chair and the hardness of the floor. You are not aware of it. You are wearing necklaces, you are not aware of its weight. Totally distracted, we are basically like a zombie, right, zombie. Yes. Just not aware of anything. Not aware of feeling, not aware of sound, not aware of what we are thinking. Just that. That is actually, I think is the, the enemies when they fight with you, they always send their best, right, the last, of course. They have to reserve that, that is the last bullet. Yes I think, constant distraction. I think before that is the doubt, doubt you know like. And doubt comes, do you know why? Doubt is there because you have become, you have become a victim of logic. That is why there is this doubt. You have become a logician. Logic is the most powerful way to make yourself trapped. So these are evil actually in Buddhadharma.
My answer to what is really bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is, put it very simply, bodhicitta is a wish – if you ask this question, what is bodhicitta, usually the answer is this wish and practice to enlighten all the sentient beings. But the word enlightenment has the connotation of nonduality. Because when we talk about enlightenment, enlightenment meaning awakened from something. Awakened from what? Awakened from a sleep, a deep sleep. And what is that sleep? What is that ignorance? It is non other than the dualism. So all the Buddhist practice, generosity, morality, including exotic methods in the Vajrayana, Tantrayana, such as visualization, all of this must be accompanied by the wisdom of nonduality.
Like even shine, forget about the vipassana, even the shamata alone will bring you somewhere. I can tell you easily if you do continuously every day eight hours of shamata for let’s say five years, you will have ???. Like you will have maybe just one nut a day, then you will still look beautiful, you will still not be hungry. And because you have so much ??? you can look at people and you can just almost eighty percent you can tell what they are thinking. Because your mind has become so, you know, vibrant. And creativity, all of that. But that is what shamata does. But our old friend, the ego, is still there, intact. Very much. Not only that, those who have lot of ???, because of their calm abiding, calm abiding, so clear, clairvoyance, and to the certain extend a bit of a – a little bit of a wisdom, a little bit. But not so much compassion, because you are not investing on it. Seemingly wisdom actually, not really the wisdom. The seemingly wisdom, why? It is bit like, it is like water, muddy water, you are not stirring it for six years. So all the mud has a time to settle down. So seemingly very clear, absolutely clear. But all the mud is down there. Any time, any situation, can stir it and all the mud will come out. So this we have seen a lot, I mean I personally have seen a lot of people who have a really good shamata. I know some people in New Zealand, they tell me a lot too. We talked a lot about this. And because they have a little bit of clairvoyance, little bit their intuition has become so much better. They are calm, all of that, creative. And they have a certain sort of abnormal power like living with one strawberry only. So then they have so much pride that I can do this. Why do you need guru. See I can do this, I don’t have a guru, I can do this. And this is exactly what Palden Dawa Drakpa, Chandrakirti or Nagarjuna was saying. Mistaking, duplicate enlightenment as an original enlightenment. This is a duplicate. Artificial, it is like you know Gucci bag made it China kind of thing. Looks exactly same. Only for a while though. Then for about a month, this Gucci bag worns out, the stitches come out. You know it has no resale value you see. And it has other problems, people can think it’s a real Gucci. That is a big problem because they could kill you. Because thinking that this is a real Gucci they can stab you. Like that, for a fake Gucci. So this thing can happen. So if you want to get rid of that mud from the root you need vipassana.
Really, please think, from now on think that Dharma practice is an art to change perception. And once you change the perception, really, then you are released from all this paranoia. And that’s enlightenment. This is how you have to educate yourself.
When we are following a guru we need to check him for three years that is traditionally the approach.
But now most people don’t do that. And then the essence of Varjayana is pure perception, that starts from the Guru we have to see the Guru as pure. I think that has been one of the requirement for being a qualified Vajrayana student. But then if we are following a Guru without checking sometimes we might think he did something we don’t …
Checking is important that is why oiyou have to study first. You should always study, ??? we call it. You should hear, you should contemplate. You should really study. And then you should check. But keep in mind when you check the guru this critical mind is not other than your own mind. You are not bringing a sober mind to check. It’s your mind doing it. What I am saying is you have to have a little bit of a balance here. Because you can check and check and check for next five hundred lifetimes. And it does not mean that you will not find a fault one day. As long as you have an impure perception you will always find one. Right? But when you check keep this in mind, like all this “do not depend on a person but depend on his teachings.” Like it doesn’t matter whether he uses forks or chopsticks when he eats his noodles. That shouldn’t matter. But it does matter whether he teaches you emptiness or soul. You understand? That is really important. I am serious. Some people choose guru just because they use chopsticks over the fork. People do that because you can relate. That is how we do. We love our guru to have a similar quality like us. We love anchovy pizza and if our guru likes – it is a bit like choosing wife actually. You have to have a common, what you call it, something common to share with. It is a relationship. It is really a big build up of a relationship. A relationship is always so complicated. Do you know why? Because we like our partner to have something in common with oneself. Beethoven, I don’t know, Mozart, Jazz, Jennifer Lopez. Something to talk about. Right? But we also want our partner to be slightly special. Because if he or she is completely like you, boring. So human mind is so complicated, so it is a bit like guru. Guru is same. We like our guru to be human. I mean imagine you have a guru whenever you invite to a restaurant for a lunch he flies in, sits on the table, looks at the food, sucks in all the food instantly. Well if you have some superstitious ridden friends they might get impressed but your normal friends I don’t think they have a good time with. You understand? You don’t like to have this super human quality at all the time. Human mind is so complicated. We like our guru to be human, but at the same time slightly super human. Not too super human. So bare all this is mind and then analyze. What you need is the path to enlightenment. Is he going to give you this or not? Does he have this or not? And most of all, is he or she interested in your enlightenment? That is so important. Because specially if you are a Vajrayana practitioner, basically looking for a guru means looking for someone to destroy you. You are basically hiring someone to destroy you. You are giving him the payment of body, speech and mind and quality and activity and all your belongings and everything so that he is going to destroy you. Guru is someone who you don’t negotiate. No negotiations. No discussions, no negotiations, no compromise, nothing. No scheduling. Basically almost all the questions that begin with WH have to be abandoned. Why, what, when, who, all of that. It is difficult. Very difficult. But if you want a quick enlightenment it is a necessary. It is not necessary for everyone. If you are a Mahayana or a Sharvaka practitioner, guru devotion like Vajrayana talks not necessary. You don’t need this burden of guru. Really. It is a burden. Why would you like someone to destroy you. No need.
Enlightenment, basically you want to know what is enlightenment. As I said, enlightenment is an absence of paranoia. Okay I will tell you. We have so many obsessions, obsessions. Certain impulse obsessions too. You understand? Obsessions. Obsessions coming from our own habitual tendencies that is coming from past life or obsession taught by our mother, father, grand parents. Or obsession that is taught by the great Confucius master. Obsession that is coming from our culture. All of this. And these obsessions really binds you, make you life limited. I will give you one example. Maybe you are the very right, very person. Think, I am giving you an example. You know sometimes when we go to bed some people have this obsession that they have to put their shoes in order right next to the bed. Really right in order. Facing to the door not to the bed. They go to sleep, they wonder: “Did I put my shoes right? Maybe not.” You check. You look at the shoes. Yeah it is facing there. Facing the door. It is right in order, it is not upside down. And then you sleep. Half an hour: “Was that my dream or did I really put it.” You get up and check. I am just giving you are very extreme example but if you think all our life is a bit like that. Our life. There is so much obsession. Like parent’s obsessions that the kids must study this this this this this. Husband’s obsession that wife must do this and that. Wife’s obsession of husband must do this and that. You understand. We have a certain rules we made and expect the other people to perform. That is what we call obsession. As you practice the Dharma, you practice and practice and practice. One day you kick out your right foot with the shoes. The shoe landed on the shrine, on top of the shrine, I don’t know. Left shoe goes right through the bath room and sink into the toilet. You still sleep, nothing, you don’t care a bit where it went. That is enlightenment. No more obsessions, no more clinging. There is a short form of that, in America we call it ccl. Couldn’t care less. You have to reach to that. Ccl is the American version of enlightenment. Couldn’t care less. But then again it is accompanied with the compassion so. Not only you have ccl, you actually want other people to have ccl. That is important.