There is a Tibetan word called tshur thong wa. Tshur thong wa means one that sees this side. One that sees only this side. That’s the term, only. One that sees only this side. So by getting accustomed to things like precious human body and impermanence, what it does is, it suddenly begins to not only see this side, but then you begin to see other side. And that’s beginning to – your vision, your view, when it is no more limited to only this side, this life, then you have a renunciation mind. So that’s why you will see people with the begging bowl and very ascetic looking and very renounced looking but they are only looking at this side, still. So they are not necessarily renounced person.
Contrary to many people’s believe renunciation is not a practice of asceticism, like penance. It is not a practice of penance.
Now I like to point out, the word suffering again is overused. And it is kind misleading to lot of people. You know when I was teaching about four seals of buddhadharma, that all compounded things are impermanent, by large everybody can accept. Then, and with a good reason, they accept. They are very convinced. ?..? also if I say, when I was talking about all phenomena as emptiness, well, and also nirvana is beyond extreme, those two, they don’t even bother not accepting because most of the time, it is like, it pass this from the top, they don’t want. But you know, I have noticed, the second line, all emotions are suffering, oh my god, everyone, passionately disagrees with me. Passionately. Emotions, all emotions are ?..? And actually many people even try to correct me, maybe Rinpoche, maybe emotion is not the right word. And actually I think to the certain extend they are right. Emotion, ?..?, maybe the Tibetan word ?..? is much bigger than the word emotion. But to up keeping my stubbornness and also actually now deliberately I use the word emotion, deliberately. Emotions are suffering. ?..? Because people think: Oh yah okay negative emotions are properly of course suffering. But how about love? How about devotion? How about inspiration? How about creativity? How about ecstasy, how about all of that. Those are not suffering. This is where I think the definition of the suffering is something that we have to ponder.
Of course common sense is a good thing. It is very practical. Some of you have heard this, I think this is true account actually. Few years ago, you see the common sense, the common, when you have so much common sense the culture that cherishes common sense has hard time understanding the concept of non-duality.
Few years ago in India, there was so many problems of rats. You know in Delhi. I read it somewhere, I think it is true and even it is not true it has some significance to this story so I will tell you. So many rats. So the government in Delhi decided to have a rat police. Several hundred of them just to basically kill or eliminate rats. Two years, I think, after two years or something like that, they only caught two rats. Of course immediately our reaction is: oh the Indians, completely inefficient, they are just like chaotic and all of that. But to me it is so beautiful story because to the Indians mouse or the rat is a ride of god Ganesh. It is a wealth deities ride. You don’t want to kill a wealth deity. And the mind that can actually chew and digest the complexity of a big elephant riding a small rat shows that there is a culture or some kind of condition to really appreciate the non-duality. Everything works, okay, monkey god, god with the six arms, god with the thousand arms, no problem. God does not necessary has to have a halo. God can be anything that is hideous looking like a Kali.
The three types of teachings taught to three types of vessels are briefly:
Teachings or the practice that involves abandoning the ten non virtuous actions, applying the ten virtuous actions or thoughts for the sake of next life, better life in the future. And then next life, better life. That is basically what we call teaching taught to the ??? . ???, I don’t know if we should call it lesser. Okay for the time being let’s call it lesser capacity vessels.
For the greater vessels, the teachings and the practice that involves basically ???, or the three kinds of discipline. Which is the discipline of discipline, ???, or the practice of the discipline. Practice of meditation and practice of wisdom. These are generally recommended to those who are greater vessels.
For the greatest vessel, among many other teachings, the practice and the teaching of bodhicitta mind, six paramitas and so on and so forth is emphasized.
Now here one thing we need to note it down is that all three types of teachings taught to three types of vessels are definitely not interested in this life. It has to be something to do beyond this life.
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.
Basically instead of using the word precious human body, maybe practically, we can use the word opportunity. This opportunity that we have is so precious, I can’t waste it. I should not waste this precious opportunity starting this minute. I cannot afford to think: “Well, let me finish my work a few years. One day I will settle down somewhere in Pharping or somewhere in the mountains and then do retreat.” Because we can’t plan like that, we are never sure when the death will strike.
If you have attachment to this life and if you meditate, even though you are somewhere very very quite, isolated, doing retreat, in reality you have ???. ??? means you are busy, you have engagement. Because you are engaged with, because you have attachment to this life. So you are busy, you are occupied, you are not free basically.
Such kind of meditation will just cause arrogance, so that condemning or criticizing those who doing the hearing and contemplation. Such kind of meditation will just create envy and jealousy towards those who also meditate. Such kind of meditation even though it is labelled as a meditation it is nothing more than a subtle or a big distraction. It is basically a distraction.
Keeping the right attitude or motivation of the mahayana path, please listen to the following
Zin pa choong na ta wa min. If you have attachment to this life, you are not a dharma practitioner. In order to practice that as we discussed yesterday we begin with laying the foundation of discipline. Among many methods of disciplining ourselves the most supreme one is taking refuge or disciplining oneself by surrendering to the buddha, dharma and sangha.
This very short and pithy instructions, if you have attachment to this life, you are not a dharma practitioner, really covers a lot of elements of the mahayana path. Not only the mahayana path actually, all the three vehicles. Since this is actually properly the primary foundation that we have to lay I am this morning going to again visit to this subject.
So this I asked you to do it [just sitting for three minutes] because we can use this as an analogy, as an example. Now here what we did, we took refuge to a technique. That is why it is not an ultimate practice of refuge, it is a relative practice of refuge. We took refuge to a technique. But remember I was telling you, a big element of the refuge has to be undeceiving. This to a materialistic oriented people, this is the biggest deception. While you do this three minutes of doing nothing, Footsie Down Jones are going up and down. Economy is going crazy. So if you are materialistic, yes this is a very big deception. But if you are spiritually, if you really want to seek a spiritual path, then this is not a deception. Why? Because – for this reason first it’s important actually how much come to a proper conclusion, that how much you really want to take refuge to a spiritual path. This is very important before you take refuge, you have to come to a conclusion. And what does that mean? We don’t have much time to talk about this but if you ask me what is the real, what’s the real meaning of being spiritual or practicing a spiritual path? What is the purpose of following a spiritual path? I don’t know other spiritual path but in Buddhism, if you are asking me for Buddhism, according to the Buddhadharma, then to take refuge to a spiritual path actually means from the worldly point of view, to take refuge to path of uselessness. That’s so important to accept. You have to really be brave and be ready to be useless, at least for three minutes a day. If you don’t have that, then your feet is, one is on the materialistic world and one is on the spiritual world. You will not walk. You will not manage to do your worldly, materialistic path properly, because you are thinking about some sort of spiritual path which will only frustrate you and make you feel guilty, you know, force you, you go completely behind while everybody is getting promotion and getting good job and all of that. I am talking from the very highest level. Spiritually you can’t also do properly because you are sort of attached to this worldly life. This is a challenge. We can discuss about this later but this needs to be sorted out first.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010
Again, in the Shravakayana, specially in the Shravakayana, Sangha is usually referred to ordained, ordained with either two hundred fifty different kind of vows or three hundred something vows. Someone who has renounced the worldly life, someone who has permanently or temporarily adopted the life of renunciant. Those, only those are considered members of the Sangha. In the Mahayana, anyone who has taken the Bodhisattva Vow, anyone who has actually – what did he say, Shantideva, I forgot the word, the moment you have the bodhicitta vow then this person will become a Bodhisattva, this person will become object of veneration by gods and human beings. So basically anyone who has taken the Bodhisattva becomes Sangha, Mahayana Sangha. In the Vajrayana, anyone who has taken the five different Buddha family precepts, or four abhishekas, actually even three or five, three Buddha family precepts, five Buddha family precepts, or four abhishekas. They become Vajrayana Sangha. Basically those who are following the path to become Vidyadhara, the holder of awareness. Those become Vajrayana Sangha.
In the ancient time in India there was a nun. And because it used to, India, probably still now, it is a male dominating society. And this Buddhist nun, she was so concerned about the Buddhist teaching. Degeneration of the Buddha’s teaching and so on and so forth. And she really wants to do something. She has already renounced her life, worldly life, so she is a nun. And she realized that as a woman, in that society, she couldn’t do much. So what did she do? She renounced her Bikshuni vow and she got married with a king and then came Asanga, the greatest commentator of some of the most important Buddhist philosophy, Yogacara school. And as if that was not scandalous enough, she then jilted the prince and married a Brahmin. And then came out Vasubandhu, another great commentator of Yogacara School and many important text today. So this I would say is one of the greatest renunciation. Renouncing the renunciation is probably one of the greatest renunciation.
Buddhism beyond boundaries and time, Nepal 2007
How should a Vajrayana practitioner understand renunciation. Just like a tie. It is ridiculous but you wear it still. You keep on thinking it’s ridiculous. This is really the best form of renunciation. Don’t deprive yourself with the tie. Because if you do that it is a bit like a sort of a Sharvakayana kind of renunciation. Basically you have to realize that all this kind of worldly pleasure, worldly success, worldly gain has no essence. And if you look at it carefully, it is true. They have no end, there is no essence, we have done so much and we have acquired so much, we have managed to achieve so much, but never enough. We still want more and we think it’s necessary. And many times it is not.
To really realize the emptiness, first Shantideva said, only with the insight wisdom, only with the wisdom can penetrate the cause of impure perception, which is ego. Cause of the impure perception is our ego, our emotions. You can only penetrate them with the wisdom, wisdom of understanding that things does not exist truly. But this kind of insight wisdom can only happen when you have a really good shamata as a ground, as a foundation. So Shantideva said one must first apply shamata method before the vipassana. And even this shamata can only come when you have a proper renunciation and revulsion towards the samsara. Renunciation mind.
If you can apply the emptiness in the notion of the renunciation, then the renunciation becomes complete.
There is a question regarding: “If you have attachment to this life you are not a Dharma practitioner” and then therefore how about things like Long Life Initiation and Maratika, the concept of visiting to this Guru Rinpoche place called Maratika where Guru Padmasambhava attained the deathless body. Should we be wishing for that, sort of immortal state and all that?
In the tantric – you know Tantra is so vast. If you think Buddhism, specially Mahayana Buddhism is so vast, it is nothing compared to the Tantra. Tantra is very very very vast. Tantra is not just a ritual and all that. Tantra has its own world. Tantra is a whole civilization. Yes in the tantric practices there are things like long life pills, tse-ril, long life initiation, long life deities. But it is important that we know that ???, deathless lotus born, this deathless has something to do with, again, the nonduality. When you actualize the nonduality there is nobody dying, there is no death. You have gone beyond the time. And therefore, you have gone beyond the – how should I put it – you have gone beyond the unnecessary details such as birth and death and old age and sickness. These are details, you know, details that manifest in the impure perception. But, having said all this, as an effect, as an effect of the tendrel, again it is a depending arising. As a tendrel – the Tibetan usage of the word tendrel is sometimes it is referred to something auspicious, which is kind of sweet, but fundamentally what it means is creating the right cause and condition. So when you approach to the nondual, deathless, as an effect, as you approach, there is also – you know in the Tantra they talk about the supreme attainment and the common attainment. As a common attainment, yes, you will also have the fruit of actually long life.
You are supposed to not want samsara. Right? You are supposed to not want samsara. In order to not want samsara, you have to really know the fault of the samsara. Therefore, if you know the fault, the fertility of the samsara, then the revulsion towards the samsara is easy. So therefore we need to generate the recognition, we need to recognize the fault of the samsara.
We have to live for dharma, we should never have the dharma for the life. Life for dharma, not dharma for life.
… when we talk about the second point, you can say, nobody likes the suffering. Of course not. So for you maybe it is easy to hear, that “oh well, you know, samsaric suffering, of course I don’t want.” Yes nobody wants, even the small insect, they don’t want the suffering. But the problem is, we don’t like the obvious samsaric pain, but we do like the samsaric glory. This samsaric glory, samsaric gain, samsaric beauty which is like time bomb, which will explode sooner or later. That is what we need to really concentrate and put the lower value, or no value at all. Basically it is easier for us to see no value in pain and anxiety. Much more difficult to see no value in samsaric glory.