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.
So yes, we should pray for long life, we should pray for wining the lottery, we should pray for, you know, prosperity, we should. But as a motivation practitioner, one should always pray, pray and then at the end or somewhere in the beginning or middle doesn’t matter, try to have this thing that – okay I let out one secret. I am sure some of, you know this, some of you football fan. Several reasons, it is all emotional reasons by the way, it is nothing enlightened, I don’t know why I am telling you these things. I don’t like Manchester United. Because the players are so, I don’t know this is all my perception of course, I never met any of them. Forget about meeting, I don’t think I could be even a mile close to them. Too important these people are. But I don’t know their attitude, the way they walk the way they grin themselves, everyone I don’t like. Specially the manager. And it is painful. Specially if you are anti Manchester United, because they always win. They are so good at it. Yes that is a good thing, they are really powerful. So I will tell you a secret. This time during the Champions League, I found myself praying Barcelona must win. Actually I like Barcelona very much. I don’t know, everything about them, you know the team. Of course it is my perception. So you know what is my excuse. Please all the dharmapalas, whoever, please let Barcelona win, because if Barcelona wins it will make my mind ease and then when my mind is easy or calm then I will practice the dharma. Because if Manchester United wins I will be depressed I don’t know maybe for a few weeks.
By the way applying the practice of motivation is not an excuse of easy way out from all these infinite bodhisattva activities, it is not. It is in fact entering to the door of these infinite bodhisattva activities.
There are two indispensable method or a skill in order to, to achieve enlightenment. And they are purification of defilements and accumulation of merit and wisdom. If you closely observe the path of the Buddha you will realize a big aspect or character of path consist of this two elements, the element of purifying defilements and accumulation of merit or wisdom. Accumulation of the merit or the wisdom, and specially accumulation of the merit, such an important attribute of the path can begin even here, now, this very minute with the right motivation of listening to the teachings. And myself with the right motivation of sharing this teachings to you. And when I say right motivation not just to make ourselves loaded with all kinds of scholastic information. Not just out of curiosity, anthropological curiosity, but really genuine kind heart to help others and ultimately place them in the state of enlightenment. With this motivation, if you begin listening to this teaching then as Shantideva said, even if you fall asleep during the teaching, somehow you will accumulate the merit effortlessly. And I am not making this up, you can always refer to the Bodhicharyavatara. I think it is in the second chapter. So for this reason, I remind you to tune, generate, tune the right motivation, generate the right motivation.
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.
Shakyamuni Buddha said that everything, all the phenomena are circumstantial and the circumstance depends on motivation. So first of all I cant stress enough that we have to tune our motivation.
I noticed this in the past that sometimes when I teach without a proper motivation but actually having done fairly well with the actual logic and composition of the teachings it ends up confusing everyone, really not benefiting anyone. But at times, once in a while I remember tuning my motivation and then I teach something that does not make any sense, completely confusing but I meet people later and they say that really helped. So I think the motivation is very powerful.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010
Some of you maybe quite new with Buddhism. For those who are new I really admire because it is kind of a honeymoon period, it is really inspiring. Buddhism for many of us, those who loves wisdom, those who loves intellectual approach to the spiritual matters. It is wonderful. Buddhism is very logical, rational. At the same time it has a sort of endless depth. Therefore to be inspired by the Buddha, his teachings and the example of his followers is amazing. It is really really wonderful. But those who are jaded like myself, those who have been Buddhist for many many years or those who have been born as a Buddhist, jaded Buddhist I call them. Callus is it? Under our feet, there is a part of flesh that has become almost insensitive. You know like no feeling, the callus Buddhist. Jaded Buddhist. These Buddhist like myself, we really need to think seriously about the motivation. Motivation really makes a big difference. Because as I stressed yesterday, for many of us in the beginning we come to the Buddhist path because we think Buddhism is going to fix your problematic life. That is not the right motivation. That is a very ?theistic motivation. Many people do this. Christian do this. I am sure Muslim do this. Actually you don’t need Buddhism. If you need to just fix the problems in your life you don’t need Buddhism. Actually to tell the truth Buddhism is not the best solution to fix your problem in your life. Buddhism I dare say it actually adds more problem. Because you hear all this information like impermanence. Right? That doesn’t help. It is very sad. Things like egolessness. All this doesn’t really help. Many of us, we come to Buddhist path because we think that Buddhism – I don’t blame you actually. The blame must, if there is any blame it must go to the teachers. Specially the Tibetan teachers I think. The Tibetan teachers they portray Buddhism as some kind of a shamanistic, ritualistic sort of – okay you have this problem, this is the remedy. Do this puja, do that puja. Do this, do that. And if it is coming from the right view, right act, right meditation, right explanation. Wonderful. The tantric methods are powerful, enlightening, and compassionate. Amazing. But if it is coming for purely a motivation to solve a temporal problem it is dangerous. It’s misleading. And it is because of this many of you guys, you end up trying to learn Tibetan culture instead of learning Buddhism. If you are a Tibetologist, by all means go ahead. That is what you are here for. But if you want enlightenment you don’t need Tibetan education. You don’t need the Tibetan culture as the ultimate necessity. Of course, whatever is given by the master, that is necessary. I am telling you this because I am questioning the motivation of many of us including myself. Until today as a Buddhist I can proudly say to the world that in the name of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha we have not yet massacred a lot of people, caused bloodshed, invade other countries, convert them by force. We haven’t done that yet. And I strongly emphasize the word yet. Because it can happen. I think there is a tendency that it can happen. Because you know why? Because most of the Buddhist we are so much in love with the cultural aspect of Buddhism, not the Buddhadharma itself. A very important question to be asked I believe.
You know just now during the break many people are asking me questions such as the relationship between guru and the student. That is another big subject. And many of the student and guru relationship does not work or falls apart because first coming with the wrong motivation. Secondly, well wrong motivation of course is an impure perception already. And then while you are having relationship with the guru because of that impure motivation all the perception is also impure. I will elaborate this. Okay, you go to a guru okay, you go to a guru and your motivation is not for enlightenment but your motivation is to be near the guru you understand. To be near the guru. I want to stress this a little bit because I don’t know somehow watching many of Kungfu film, the Chinese Kungfu film, and also the Chinese history. I mean this is not a problem with the Chinese society alone. Tibetans have the same problem. Indians, I don’t know, I think they have the same problem. But because right now we are, I mean the Chinese society. Let’s talk about this. This seems to be a big problem, you know, what you call it. They call it, what, the big brother, ‘Ta Er Ker’ or something. When one Kungfu master dies he has to have a successor, isn’t it. The lineage holder. Isn’t it, lineage holder. Many of the Kungfu film is about two student fighting about who becomes the lineage holder, isn’t it. Not only in the Kungfu film but you read in a – even what is his name, master Huineng sixth patriarch, Huineng . He had a tough time because some of the students didn’t want him to be the sixth patriarch. Didn’t want him to have the begging bowl and the robe. There was a lot of tough time. So what I am saying is some disciples, some students, some people come not for enlightenment but to become the ‘Ta Er Ker’,you understand, the big brother, the lineage holder. Or they want to become or – there are so many strange things like that. People come so that they can take photograph with the Rinpoche. Or the highest Lama is the best. And then later they can show it to a lower student and, see I am someone special. You better do what I say. You understand. I am kind of a special. There are so many I have noticed this. And these are all what I call impure perception. Because in Buddhism really the sole purpose of practicing the Buddha Dharma is to achieve enlightenment. Who cares about lineage holder or to become the second in command. Anyway, you should not be aiming for a second in command. You should be aiming for the first in command which is the enlightenment. That should be the real purpose. But this is easier to say then practice. Many people, many disciples, many many disciples, because their motivation is to be close to their guru, sometimes if the guru ignores them for about half a day, they go through a depression for sixth month. Depression, they eat prozac. Is it prozac. And so much pain, so much. And then if another student also becomes slightly favored, favored boy of the guru, then your situation becomes very insecure. Oh oh, I have a competitor. I have you know a competition. You understand. All this stems from a wrong motivation. Your motivation for enlightenment. Your motivation is to be recognized. To be the recognized person. And that is why we have pain. You see, why we call it impure perception, because it brings you pain. It really brings so much pain.
Snang sum is telling us, when we have defilement we have impure perceptions. Impure perception meaning everything is permanent, everything is one, everything is solid, everything is unchangable. And all kinds of – and we can go on and on talk about this impure perception. So much of it. So much hope, so much fear. Not only on the ordinary, what you call it, mundane worldly life. Even in the spiritual world, if you are not careful impure perception can arise. This is why I was telling you right from the beginning: What is our motivation here. What is our motivation. It is really to achieve enlightenment. If it is then everything will become easier. Things are less complicated.
Now let’s go back to the motivation again. As I said, first of all, your motivation to listen to this teaching should be because you want to achieve enlightenment. Really. If not, if your motivation of listening to this teaching is to have a, I don’t know, successful buying or selling of a share or a stock market or something, won’t help. I will tell you honestly. All this, not one word will help you. Better go a business conference, or somewhere. Better you read some other books. This actually is the opposite I tell you. This tells you how samsara is futile, how they are meaningless, how they are useless. And then yet you go to a teaching and ask for, and look for a teaching that will make your business successful. It is wrong, it doesn’t work like that. That is the first motivation. The second is a Mahayana exclusive motivation. We should be listening to this teaching not only for the enlightenment of ourselves individually but also for the sake of all sentient beings. That is very very important. If you are a Mahayana practitioner that’s so important. Specially for the Mahayana practitioners. It is easier to the say then done. Just briefly. If we are Mahayana practitioner, you know how many Mahayana practitioner including myself, firstly we don’t practice much. Secondly, even so if we do practice, we are so worried about our practice and the result of this practice. We don’t really care about other people’s enlightenment. A Mahayana practitioner should not really care about the failure or the success of their spiritual practice. Mahayana practitioner must be practicing Dharma for the sake of others. If a Mahayana practitioner observes someone else doing spiritually or materially or worldly better than yourself and if you feel envious or jealous, that means the bodhicitta is not there. That means you are still more important than all the others. That needs to be changed and we have to think, we receive this teachings for the sake of all the sentient beings. That is the second kind of motivation.
It is important to really check our motivation. Hopefully the motivation is triggered with wish to receive this teachings that one will reach enlightenment. I say this hopefully because most of the time when we practice, when we hear the teachings, or when we are practicing the Dharma, most of the time we don’t do it for enlightenment. Enlightenment is almost like a – if it happens, that’s good. But if it doesn’t happen it is also okay. Most of time we go to temples, we go to teachings, because we like to live happily. We want to make the life easier, happier. Isn’t it? Specially, this is the Asian weakness I think. We chant mantras for long life. Long life is not enlightenment. Long life is long life. We don’t know by having long life we are going to have a better life. We receive teachings so that one will be successful in whatever we are doing. Being successful is not necessary enlightenment. This is why I am stressing, what kind of motivation do you have. Do I have. Do we all have. Ideally, so called long life, success, good health, good marriage, good relationship, all this should be what we call side bonus. What the bodhisattvas, for the practitioners like us, this should be the bonus. Enlightenment should be the real goal, the ultimate goal. That should be our goal. And I am stressing this, because if our aim is wrong, right, if our ultimate aim – I am talking about two kinds of aims – ultimate goal or the aim, and relative bonus, temporary bonus, relative goal. If we have the right aim, specially the ultimate aim, then even something falls apart in our day to day life, the trust to the triple gem, the trust to the guru, trust to the path will always be there. Otherwise, in the course of my being Buddhist all this time I have seen so many people coming to the Buddhadharma, hoping so that their samsaric activity will be successful. That is their ultimate aim. Coming with that kind of motivation. And then of course our life so many things go wrong. That is the nature of life. Okay, today we are happy but who knows what happens tomorrow. A tomato stucks in your throat while you are enjoying a nice food of some of this wonderful hawker centers. And then that will be it. Your life has reached to the end. All because of a stupid tomato. And this could happen. Life is totally fragile. This is something that we have, that we so dearly clutch and grasp to. And that is our life and certainly life is the most fragile. And everything is, specially now, so fast, so fragile. And I have seen people with this kind of motivation, they come to the Dharma, practice the Dharma, and then of course something goes wrong and then they loose trust to the triple gem. “Oh, you know, Buddha is not helping us.” See the approach to the Buddha is very theistic, like any religion. Like Christian, or Hindu – maybe not Hindu – but Muslims. If you have that kind of attitude or motivation then your action what you are applying and your view is contradicting. So this is why I ask to really analyze why we are here. It is good to analyze like that. Even if it is intellectually.
Once again, we generate the right motivation. Not only this time, but at all times, whatever we do, we do, we try to do it with right motivation of wishing to enlighten all sentient beings. This must precede everything what we do. And whatever action that we apply at the end, it is important to dedicate the merit. And in the middle, while we are doing whatever we are doing, such as listening to the Dharma teachings, such as offering circumambulation to the stupa, making offerings of lamps or incense, it is important that we realize that all this is just an illusion. That virtues action is illusion, non virtues action is illusion, motivation is illusion, myself is an illusion, path is illusion, the result, enlightenment, is also illusion. If you think that way, it is called the three wholesome ways to seal everything as the virtues, as a three seal or three wholesome ways to turn everything into the path to enlightenment.