So anyway, we will do a little bit of meditation. But in order to do meditation, we need to have things like lu en or sem en. Lu en means like kind of loosely translating isolating your form, your body,sem en isolating or retreating or actually I like to even use the word confinement. Confining your body and mind. Lu en, to isolate your body or your form, of course you can go to the mountains, forest, under the tree, where there is nobody and so on and so forth. It helps, it helps a lot, but if you don’t have it does not mean that the Buddhist meditation will end up, you will not having a buddhist meditation if you don’t have forest and caves. Basically the essence of lu en or isolating your body is sitting straight. Because when you sit straight then all this, Vairocana posture and all of that, I am sure, maybe lama can explain, but basically when you sit straight and do not respond to your physical needs, like you want to stretch, you want to yawn, you want to sort of move, if you don’t entertain them and if you really do not, if your phone rings suddenly, do not respond to that. If you suddenly remember that you didn’t close your window properly. Or I don’t know, if you have a mosquito sitting on your nose, and then you think about malaria and all of that, instead of shooing it away. Not responding to that just basically isolating yourself from these kind of distraction.
Student: Rinpoche you mentioned that there is a lot of interest in mindfulness in the west. And particularly there is lot of excitement about our so called science of happiness. And electrodes on our head, people measuring whether meditation objectively works. And I was wondering what you thought about that because a lot of Buddhist friends seem to get very excited about it. But it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. And I was wondering what you thought about it, because if it is really furthering the Dharma, the true Dharma or if it is sort of worldly.
I see. Well I am kind of, I am very arrogant about this. I tell you. You know Patrul Rinpoche, one of great master, he said: If you go to a barbaric land and if you need to teach this barbarics Dharma, then you have to act like one, speak like one. He said that. I have that kind of attitude. If modern people put so much emphasize on science, and if they think science is the only valid truth, and not only that, since they are already trapped with that logic, that way of thinking, on top of all our normal habitual patterns this is right, even though there is not a single reason why this is not a left. Or if we have decided to, if the modern people have decided to fall into that trap, then in order to talk to the modern people, yes I think this meditation with what, you said, all the scientific experiments, why not. But only to communicate because – I don’t know I haven’t met all the, I mean I don’t know, I meet so many different kind of scientist, seems to, but generally there is only one phenomena that will know the mind, and that is the mind itself. Nothing will know. All the other gadgets are toys, all the other systems are just another way of talking. And that is fine, that is fine. If that is the way to talk, why not. It is always like that, you know like cats have only two vowels I think, right? Cats. They can talk. They can talk wonderfully. We have how many vowels? And we are still not able to talk as much as we are really like to talk. And if the science needs to be bring into this situation, ya why not and we should also adapt. But if scientist or whoever, these people who are doing these experiments, if they could buy into what the Buddhist call non-duality, which is non other than the compassion, then actually it doesn’t even have to be referred as the Buddhism. I am not so attached to that label. But some – actually I have been talking with some people recently, very recently. But the dialog between the modern thinking and Buddhism, anything to do with the dualism and non-dualism seems to be so difficult. It is just so difficult. And of course, understandable it is difficult. Because non-dualism is not something, is not – we can only proof that dualism is futile or, I don’t know.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010
Yes of course, right now our mind is completely gone rigid. Our mind is gone totally wild. Even for one moment, maybe one moment you can but even for maybe three minutes you cannot concentrate on anything. But the beauty of the mind is, it’s trainable. You know this thing that we have, this thing that we call desire, anger, jealousy, all of these, we got these things because we train ourselves to have it this way. It is a training, desire, we just got trained this way and we become an expert in it at the moment. That is all there is, desire, anger, all of this. Depression, excitement, not so well trained for that one, the excitement, happiness, not so.
Okay now all the things that I was telling you about refuge are much more on a philosophical and theoretical level. When it comes down to the practice of course, unless you are very very immersed with the theory it is very difficult to always remind ourselves as somebody was telling me, death, impermanence, buddha nature. All of that is going to be difficult. For that we have all kinds of different methods. We have methods of visualization, we have methods of, other forms of, even the mindfulness practice such as shamata, vipassana, which is becoming kind of popular nowadays. Maybe not the actual vipassana but some form of mindfulness is becoming popular which I think is very good, taking refuge to the path of mindfulness because it is, you know, to be mindful is what mind is capable of. No other substance or entity or phenomena can do it to the mind. Only mind can be aware of itself. And this is what, we can do this. This is not a myth is not a mystery, it is very much doable, even now, you just did it. You can just do it, just look at your mind. And of course you would say I didn’t find anything, fantastic. That is what we want hear. And that is what we want you to experience. But then at the same time, second fantastic thing is, but you know I didn’t find but then you noticed something still bothering me, something still going up and down. Even more fantastic. Because now you are realizing the nonduality of emptiness and clarity. Mind is, if you look at it, you don’t find anything, but who is it that is doing the non finding thing. It is the mind. Mind is finding there is no mind. There we go, that is just amazing. And we all know that mind, without the mind, everything what we have is useless. It is because of mind we can taste our food, it is because of our mind we can feel sad, we can improve, we can forget, we can remember. Without the mind we are like a piece of wood.
You know how Buddha teaches? When Buddha taught, many of his teachings are seemingly contradictory. For instance, in big chunks like the First Sermon, the Second Sermon, the Third Sermon, they are all seemingly contradictory. And contradiction was never really looked down as something bad. In fact many times the language of contradiction is necessary to express certain things. Like in this case for instance. And I mean forget about different time, different timing of Buddha’s teaching. But even one phrase, I think it is Lankavatara Sutra, Buddha said ??? . In one go, in one line, there is already two contradiction. He said: “Mind, there is no mind, mind is luminous.” So the first line he was referring almost, he was indicating there is something called mind. In the second line, the immediate after that, he is negating the mind. And in the third line, he wasn’t really negating, but he was not also asserting. He was describing a luminosity.
Question: Your students consider you enlightened Rinpoche. Do you consider yourself enlightened?
Me? No. Because I am still a victim of condition. If I am enlightened then I shouldn’t be. If the students keep on thinking that I am enlightened it will only benefit them. If there is benefit, that is. That’s where the Buddhist teaching on mind comes in. Everything is your mind.
In the Vajrayana we talk about pure perception. To really see everything is pure, everything as a deity, everything as a mantra, impossible for now. In fact I have seen lot of people struggling, looking at your friend, and then thinking that: “Oh this my friend has sixteen arms, eight heads.” You are trying to think. That is actually not really the pure perception by the way. You are making up stories here. Actually the pure perception is rooted to this Mahayana concept that every perception is your mind. If you can just remember that, even simple things like if you and your husband or wife is having a really heated argument, really big dispute, really aggressive dispute, suddenly if you can remember that what I am seeing is actually my own perception. This will be like a cold water poured on a boiling water. Just to know that everything is your perception is a key to lots of enlightened qualities.
In the Virupa tradition first everything is introduced as a mind. All phenomena as a mind. Introduce all perceptions as a mind. That is how they establish. Then the second introduction is establish mind as illusion. And then the third, the third introduction is illusion as inexpressible. Illusion as an inexpressible. That is how the Virupa tradition likes to approach. And it is wonderful, because it is gradual establishing.
Just the fact that you are hearing the Dharma, this will cause some kind of a dent in your samsaric life. And that is already something to appreciate. Of course, we have endless stubborn negative emotions, it is not going to be easy. But as Saraha said: “Mind is like a gold.” The most beautiful thing about mind is it is something that can be trained, that can be transformed. And therefore all this infinite, almost inconceivable, seemingly conceivable kind of quality of the bodhicitta and the Mahayana path are actually achievable, they are all achievable.