Samsara and the nirvana – magic. It is a magic. Very samsara is the very nirvana. You cannot get rid of samsara and try to find the nirvana. You cannot get rid of water and try to find moisture.
As long as you are bound by the manifestation of cause, condition and effect, you are not liberated. That’s called samsara. When you are free from that, it’s called nirvana. But right now our small mind will not even begin to fathom a state where one will not be bound by manifestation of cause, condition and effect.
Basically wherever you go within the samsara there is always a suffering. Three kinds of suffering, suffering of suffering, suffering of change and all pervasive suffering.
Those who wish to achieve enlightenment, for them it is crucial to abandon attachment to three kinds of dhatus or three kinds of realms. We talked about that enough yesterday. In order to dispel this kind of confusion or attachment to samsara, what do you need. First, most important thing, you need to remember the downfall or the futility of the three existence. Futility of three existence. See, you are supposed to not want samsara. You are supposed to not want samsara. In order to not want samsara, you have to really know the fault of samsara. Therefore, if you know the fault, the futility of the samsara, then revulsion towards the samsara is easy. So therefore we need to generate the recognition, we need to recognize the fault of the samsara.
So the question, what is there in it for us, why should we practice this Mahayana path. Very simple answer. Don’t we all want to be happy? Happiness is the key. Don’t we all want to live happily forever. Happiness is what we want, happiness is what we are looking for. Happiness is what we are struggling for. Everything what we do in this world, science, economy, politic, philosophy, everything, one way or another it is supposedly a means to achieve that happiness. Individual happiness and happiness for all. Scientists are busy, politicians are busy, all they claim that they are trying to find the root of a certain cure. Buddhist not different actually, Buddhist are not exception. Yes, to begin with, yes the follower of the buddhadharma, they must enter to the Dharma looking for happiness, even so I was telling you that that is not the aim. They must come with a sense of tiredness and exhaustion towards the samsaric suffering. The same thing over and over and over. We have done this, been there, done that, sense of exhaustion towards all this. Samsaric life. So we are trying to look for long lasting if not for ever happiness.
You know we read Sutras. And then in our mind we compose a suffering. A samsara, intellectual samsara. And then we read Sutras and then we compose an intellectual nirvana. Now there is a real samsara and there is a real nirvana. We Buddhist we are trying to abandon the intellectual samsara and trying to achieve the intellectual nirvana. And we are not even one inch we are going to give up the real samsara and we don’t even think about the real nirvana. Because real nirvana is beyond our emotion.
The great saint Virupa, what is he saying? He is not saying that you should not wear tie. No, not at all. If you say, okay the tie is useless, is ridiculous, it is not good, therefore you should not wear tie. He is not saying that. Because if he says that it is a bit like a Sharvakayana path. Isn’t it? Escapism. Renounce the tie. Get rid of the tie. He is not saying that. What is he saying? You should wear the tie. But know at the same time that it is ridiculous. Wearing the tie, and you should wear it really nicely. And keep on thinking this is the most useless, ridiculous piece of cloth I am wearing. Impure perception. This is my impure perception. But I am putting it on so that my boss will be happy, so that my colleges will be happy, so that some people might get inspired by my look. You understand. If you can combine this then that is what we call accepting ridiculousness of the samsara into the path. The Vajrayana tantric path is like a big recycling machine. You collect all kinds of garbage and make it into something useable. That is the whole purpose of tantra.
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.
… 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.
In fact, bluntly speaking, when a Mahayana bodhisattva is taking refuge, not like all the other practitioners, who will take refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to protect them from samsara only. Mahayana bodhisattvas they take refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to protect them from both, samsara and nirvana.
Once again, this emotion or this defilement, again, I repeat, looking at transitory things, collection of transitory things, and thinking this is real. And specially looking at five aggregates and coming up with an obscure, I mean, absurd, ridiculous, baseless idea called me, self and having clinging to this self and is the root of the cause of the samsara. And the action or the karma is the condition. And everything that is projected from this ego clinging is basically samsara. So therefore, even if you are on the form realm, or formless realm, it is still a projection of this defilement, that is actually looking at transitory collection. So if you have attachment to samsara, you have no renunciation mind. Because you are still trying to – let’s say you meditate. You go beyond the karmadhatu and you reach to the form realm, rupadhatu. And there you transcend rupadhatu and go to the arupadhatu, which is the formless realm. But you are still not letting go this clinging to the transitory collections. And because of that you have no renunciation mind.
Now, let’s discuss a little bit about sattva. The word Bodhisattva has a connotation of a courageous being, a courageous person. When we talk about courage, we are not only talking about being able to face the enemy or the problem. We are also talking about being able to give up, do without friends, path, the tools that you use to counter the enemy. You should also be able to do without. That is really very profound courage. This is why the Mahayana path is the path that is not only afraid of samsara, but is also afraid of nirvana.
The Essence of Shantideva’s Writings, Prague 2010