Language that we use is so limited. In fact that is why ?..? the ultimate truth cannot be spoken, listen to, thought about, contemplated, you cannot meditate, you cannot fathom, the ultimate truth. Because our language is inadequate, this is why every time we talk about emptiness to you, you, most of us, we ended up thinking in the terms of negation. Some kind of a nihilistic non-existence. And this is where things can really go wrong. And you know, I was telling you: “If you have a ego as big as mountain that is fine. But if you have a misunderstanding on emptiness and attachment to that, even as small as a sesame seed, that is far worse.” That is what Buddha said.
Student: Can Rinpoche tell me what is the difference between a very strong aspiration and attachment. And how strong is not over strong.
Okay. For the beginners like us, very difficult to differentiate. But here, the practice of the bodhisattva, aspiration, it has to have an element of wishing for enlightenment. Then it eventually, it cannot be the ordinary attachment. Because ordinary attachment is something to do with making your life more comfortable. The enlightenment is different so it has to have that element.
The question here at that point: What is it that is making our mind rigid? What is it that is really making our mind rigid?
The real cause that is making our mind so rigid, consistently, all the time, in big number, is attachment to transitory phenomena. In this case, it is basically attachment to this life. It is the attachment to this life that is making our mind rigid. There is no flexibility. You are attached to this life so options are very little. There is not so much option. So this is why Shantideva in all his eight chapter of Bodhicaryavatara, from ten directions he attacks attachment to this life. Not only this life but in his text it goes on in many, with attachment to a lot of things.
Meditation generally means – okay we can through some of the terms. One of the tibetan word, ?..?, that is a very big word by the way. ?..? has a connotation of equality or equanimity which also indicates or refers to non-duality. ?..? is like really leaving it alone. Not poking, not altering, not fabricating, just leaving it alone. Keeping it as it is. Not altering. Not posing. Not leaving things as they are or as fit is. That is definition of ?..? which is also another name for meditation.
This is not possible if you have attachment to this life. Because if you have attachment to this life you cannot afford not to pose. You cannot afford not to fabricate. You have to always alter. Because that is the ultimate aim.
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.
Many of the worldly views change all the time. It is only today in places like India the girls, mostly girls but also the men, they are working so hard to be slim. You rewind the Indian history two thousand years, Cholas and Gupta’s time to be plumb is really nice, to be, it is sensual, it is abundunce, it is considered good. And at the time I am sure everybody is trying hard to be something else. This at that time was the value. The value has changed. In China the same thing. I think in certain dynasty the small feet is considered really valuable I should say.
But the view that is taught by the Manjushri, if you have grasping you have no view, that doesn’t change. That is how it is and what it is right from the beginning. It has not changed, it is not going to change.
If you have attachment to this life and if you do the hearing and contemplation, such kind of hearing and contemplation will only increase the wealth of pride. And obtaining such kind of wealth of pride will develop arrogance. The arrogance of despising those who you project as someone who has not, who hasn’t heard or contemplated. Hearing and contemplation done with an attachment to this life will also cause you to have jealousy or envy towards those who have hearing or contemplation. Such kind of hearing and contemplation will only generate the motivation of acquiring material wealth or worldly entourage or disciples. So therefore, such kind of hearing and contemplation will become like the cause of lower realm or lower birth. So Drakpa Gyaltsen says, ?..? therefore hearing and contemplation coming from attachment to this life, in other words hearing and contemplation which is motivated with eight worldly dharma, should be discarded.
After that, after taking the refuge or after really applying the refuge as your practice, after disciplining yourself with the triple gem, what do we then do? Or not only after, after it is not like time cases here. What else can we do, what else should we do. Thö sam gom sum, hearing, contemplation and meditation. So here Jetsun Rinpoche Drakpa Gyaltsen is poking us again. ?..?
It is indispensable, hearing and contemplation is indispensable. Someone who is trying to engaging into hearing and contemplation means, someone who is acquiring the enlightened wealth. This is quite an important point by the way. ?..? Someone who is doing the hearing and contemplation must do it in order to dispel the ignorance. Someone who is doing the hearing and contemplation must do it so that so what you are hearing and what you are contemplating will benefit others. Lastly we should do the hearing and contemplation, most importantly we should do this hearing and contemplation so that this hearing and contemplation becomes the seed of the dharmakaya. So important all these. Because when we do the hearing and contemplation, we are trying to finish our PhD. We are trying to finish our thesis, doctor degrees or something like that. We are trying to become a smart person. Well informed, well read person. That’s again attachment to this life. Isn’t it. Basically hearing and contemplation, we do it not for degrees, not for your career. Also when we do the hearing and contemplation, instead of going, instead this hearing and contemplation going against the ignorance, you suddenly become kind of very proud, egoistic. This is one big problem with Rinpoches like myself, Khenpos, learned monks, so called learned monks. And then now this is of course being transferred to many western, european, american. chinese buddhist students, I don’t know, instructor or teacher, or stuff like that. Yes, to the certain extend, many of this students or teacher, whatever your want to call them, they have gathered lot of information. It is like, they studied diligently, but because they have studied and contemplated diligently with a motivation of really wanting to build their image, build their – basically whatever they are doing is not really going against the ego, against the ignorance. You see lots of problems.
If you take refuge to the buddha, dharma, sangha, for long life, for wealth, for success, for I don’t know, right match. All kind of things, for Barcelona team to win, all kind of ridiculous things also. It doesn’t matter, whatever. Pick one. Okay you pray to the buddha, dharma and sangha to live long. And now look at our mind. What do we need by live long. If there is a choice we want to live forever remember. We want to live forever. Living long, for ever and ever is by reality it is not possible. Buddha himself said all compounded things are impermanent. So you are asking the Buddha to make us live for ever and ever and I am compounded phenomena, you Buddha you who taught me that all compounded things are impermanent, can you make me live for ever and ever. It is a contradiction. It doesn’t work. So this is why taking refuge, it doesn’t matter, anything to do with the dharma practice, tse di la shen na choe pa min, if you have attachment to this life you are not a dharma practitioner.
See, the question is why should we not have attachment to this life. So we visit the fourth one. Zin pa choong na ta wa min. Because it you are attached to this life or as long as you have an attachment to something, remember attachment, engrossment, infatuation, meaning even slight attachment means you have lost your sense, you have lost your rationality. Therefore you are bound to suffer. It is because of that. It is a strategy. It is actually, the whole dharma practice is, specially things like parting from the four desires, is really actually like a strategy, it is a life management.
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.
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.
Anyway I am giving you an example of having attachment to this live. Really, it is not something as simple as resigning the job, giving up your family, job, possession. Giving up your, I don’t know, gold plated teeth. It is not just as simple as that. Giving up attachment to this life really involves a lot of things. In my case, I have to really watch this hypocrisy. Anything that builds you a nest, comfortable, you have a nest. We are always building nest. Anything that contributes fortifying this nest is attachment to the life. So just because you will shave your hair becoming monk, not necessarily automatically you will end up abandoning attachment to this life. Because the hair and attachment has got nothing much in common. Hair gets without shaving it disappears, it does not mean that attachment disappears.
And if this life is important, then you are not really a Dharma practitioner. Wow, this is really a very very big statement. You might think, okay I should resign my job, tell goodbye to all our family, and then become a nun or a monk in some monastery here, and then therefore you have at least accomplished the first parting from the four desire. You should not kid yourself thinking like that. Because you don’t have to go anywhere to really witness the living proof that that’s not always the case. And that living proof is myself. We, the dharma practitioner, so called dharma practitioner. And in a way, in many ways I envy you. You don’t have Rinpoche name, you don’t have all these things that comes with the Rinpoche package so to speak. I don’t know with many other Rinpoches but I for one I can tell you, so called the monasteries, dharma centers, teachings, all of these, no matter how much we try, there is always an element of serving this life. It always ends up becoming a tool or a means to serve this life. For instance as I was saying yesterday, during the motivation, if I am teaching you right now and if my motivation is to really make you, I don’t know, make you fall for my words, if my motivation is to impress you. What I am trying to do is, I am giving you teaching and my motivation is trying to impress you, so it is coming back to this life. By making you impressed with me, marketing strategy has been successful you see. And just a side note, you have to be careful with me specially because by birth I belong to the zodiac sign of gemini. And I read somewhere that the gemini people can sell ice cube to Eskimos. So anyway, really, thinking about this life, fame for instance, so much hypocrisy, really, I will use myself as an example. So much hypocrisy, and specially, I don’t know about the west but we in Asia and specially Indians, Chinese, Tibetan, we have so much old culture and tradition. As much as old culture and traditions are so valuable in one way, they also create lots of hypocrisy. There are things that I am at the moment not doing, such as I didn’t turn up today with a Che Guevara T-shirt. And this is because I do care about my outlook, specially in Kathmandu. I still depend on lot of the approval of the Tibetans you see. So I have to be careful here. I have to really behave. So my behavior, my well behave, my really well behaved is actually not coming from this good disciplined, practice of discipline. It is just, I don’t want to be outcasted. And this, not wishing to be outcasted, is very much attachment to this life. Because if Tibetans, my colleagues, my fellow Tibetans or Chinese, I don’t know whoever, if they talk behind, if say bad things about me then I will lose my disciple. I might lose my friends and might not get a job. So there is so much fear, there is so much of serving myself only.
So really, actually, the Buddhist path is actually really practical, it is not really an abstract religious sort of mystical path. It is really practical, it is really practical. People talk about economy, people talk about ecology, people talk about saving the earth, people talk about harmony. Parting from the four teaching, if people can even apply a little bit, ecologically, politically, socially, it will definitely, it will improve. And it has got nothing to do with some kind of a super human heavenly sort of beings helping us. It has nothing to do with that. It is very, it is blatantly clear. It is because if you can apply the four method of abandoning the attachments to these four objects, scientifically, rationally you can clearly see that it will improve. It will definitely improve our way of living. And if individually, if many individual can apply this, definitely there is a collective effect.
I am sure many of you have seen this painting, wheel of life, sidpai korlo we call it. Okay. In fact in the future if your non Buddhist friend asks you what is the definition of life according to Buddhism what you should do is go to a book shop and buy this painting and show. This is it. This is the description or a definition of life according to Buddhism. Okay. Just briefly, in the center you see a pig, a bird, and a snake which represents ignorance, passion and aggression. Which is the delusion that we have. Now these three then perceive, when you have ignorance, passion and aggression then everything you see is impure. It is like you are looking at a snow mountain, white snow mountain. But you are wearing a blue, red and an orange sun glass on the top of each other. And then you look at the snow and that snow is not white. You see a purplish kind of snow. So if you ask, whether the snow is purple, of course not. How come you see it purple. Because you see it wearing three layers of sun glass. That is why all you vision or perception is altered, manipulated. So to begin with we already have three sun glass, snake sun glass, bird sun glass, and then the – what was it the other – pig, right. Out of these three, as you see things, you see five realms, five or six realms. So hell realm, hell, hungry ghost, animal, good, asura, human. These are the six realms that you are experience or you perceive. Let’s stick with our language here. Okay this is a snang sum teaching so we should use the same language I guess. So that is the perception you get, that is the perception you end up with. Right at the outside, we see a big monster, clutching, holding the wheel of life. This monster actually represents time, time. Time is like a monster it is changing. Time means change of course. If everything is not changing that means freeze. Then there is no past time, no present time, no future time. And we like time. At the time we hate the time. It is a monster, it is really a monster. Okay all this perception are subject to time, all this perception are subject to time. Meaning our perception are going to change all the time, all the time. Of course some takes longer than the other but no perception ever last forever.
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.
Making offerings, whether it is real substance like a lamp offering or water or incense. Or imagined offering substance. This is also very good because it is directly countering attachment or miserliness.
We have to live for dharma, we should never have the dharma for the life. Life for dharma, not dharma for life.