When the karmic winds blows, if you are not strong enough, we are like a feather in the wind. Wherever the wind blows then we will be moved. Many of you, I am sure, you think you are in control, that that’s it, now I have passed the middle age, you know. Chances of me playing this stupid game of relationship and love is over. This is what you may think but we don’t know. You know karmic wind from the least expected place such as Bolivia, I don’t know, Rwanda. The karmic wind might blow towards you and next you might find yourself madly, truly, deeply, head over hill in love with a Rwandan, Bolivian, Chilean, I don’t know, something you least expect. This can happen, we don’t know. So same with me, really.
We are all dependent on conditions. None of us has control over anything. Forget external things, we cant have a control over what we will be feeling or thinking the next minute. When it comes, it comes. Then it will just blow you, push you, pull you, stretch you, flatten you. We are totally conditioned, we are so dependent. And it is not getting easier, modern life, modern structure, infrastructure is making us even more dependent on different things. And even faster. A rejection from your partner could come instantly in a SMS, you understand. In the past it may take like a month to walk. Like this, it is not more the case. So our emotion, the stressful life is like a roller-coaster. But anyway the point is, conditioned, we are ruled by conditions.
And trying to have a – this is good to be aware of – trying to have a love romance, candle light dinner, relationship, we within this situation where everything is dependent on so many things. Now think. I think it is quite a good awareness to have this. Because one of the biggest problem with the love and relationship is something called taking things for granted, isn’t it. When the couple meet, a week, two weeks, fantastic. You know, then a month for those people who are kind of slow in their thinking, a month, even a year, then due to all kinds of situations, stress, responsibility, morality, I don’t know, depression, you end up taking things for granted, specially your partner. You expect, you know, if your partner sms you every half an hour. And one day this partner, I don’t know, maybe she or he has a diarrhea problem or something, forget to sms within half an hour. Then it bothers you, it bugs you. Then there will be question: why didn’t you do it, what happened? All of this.
So I think to have awareness of this fact that we are so dependent on cause and conditions, everything, that awareness might create a space and a boundary.
I believe that we are going to talk about relationship and love and all those stuff today. And probably I am not the right person to talk about these things but on the other hand I maybe the very right person, because – this maybe little bit uncomfortable for some of you to hear but I have many teachers that I have received teachings from, they are, I would say, really Buddha in person. Their kindness, compassion, their tolerance. And in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition it is believed that the guru comes in many different kinds of manifestations.
So within this context I will say that I have also learned something so precious and awakening from a girl I fall in love madly. I tried to call her last night whether I could mention her name but she is not available. Right now all I could say is that she is a dutch. Very beautiful, free spirited. And her parents are kind of like bohemian hippie. So this was when I was around early twenties. With the permission of my main teacher I decided to go to London to study. And for the first time I left the traditional surrounding where there is things like brocades as a table cloth, high thrones, attendants. Basically really almost like a godly life in one way. I went to London and I was alone. And I learned lots of things like making breakfast for instance. And going to supermarket and almost buying a cat food, thinking that it is for human beings. So it was a big lesson. Actually I dare say this but many younger generations lamas, rinpoches, esteemed high lamas, I think they should go through this this is what I suggest actually. It should be in the part of the rinpoche training curriculum. They should fall in love – of course they should make toast and go to supermarket so on and so forth, but they should also fall in love and then this girl should reject him. Because then we know what is suffering. Because until then when we talk about the truth of suffering we are always talking about things that are written in the books like death, old age, sickness. All abstract stuff. Most of the lamas don’t know what is meant by paying bills. You know the pressure of living in the modern society. I have learned a lot but most importantly this girl taught me a lot. Because I was completely madly in love I think. Because she was very free spirited. Really extremely free spirited I would say. I think she grow up in a hippie community so for her, like she was like amazingly free spirited. Sometimes we would travel in the subway and then she would you know nudge me and say: What do you think of that boy? You know like somebody traveling, just ordinary passenger. And before long she would be talking to him and then after a few days they are already together. Just for a night or two. Not long. You know she discards him also. But she in her own way she was very loyal to me. But it was so painful. And here I am supposedly the lama who is supposed to teach the free spirit, non attachment, do whatever you want. There is this girl, jolly, all the time happy, and really giving me a really precious teaching. I must really consider her as one of my awakening teacher. So special I would say.
So I can I think in some ways maybe I could talk about relationship.
So today we sort of briefly discuss experiential perception. Okay we have all this kind of impure perceptions. So what do we do? We try to alter this. We try to change this with practice. So what we call yogis experiential perception. So that is what we are doing. Very briefly. No time and I don’t know anything anyway. So time is just an excuse. There is many different ways to alter this perception. One most popular and most economical, user friendly, risk free, lot of bonus, lot of profit is called love meditation. Meditate on love, love and kindness. See you are now beginning to change, alter this perception. Love and kindness. Love and kindness is basically a wish to make sentient beings, you are wishing them to be happy. And not only wishing them to be happy but you wish that they know how to gather or they have the cause of happiness, you understand. That is love and kindness meditation. You wish them happiness, you wish the sentient beings happiness. That is a big term, happiness is a very big term. For some, a gentle stroke is a happiness. For others, whips and chains are happiness. So as a Mahayana Buddhist are you giving both? Whoever want stroke, whips and chains, are you going to distribute. What is a happiness of George Bush is an unhappiness of Saddam Hussein. What is happiness for Saddam Hussein is a turn on for George Bush. So how do you then meditate. So actually we know the happiness, when the Buddhist, when the Vajrayana talks about happiness they are talking about related to the Dharma. Everybody wants to be happy. There is no dispute between the Buddha and the sentient beings. As far as wanting to be happy. But the sentient beings don’t know how to gather the happiness. Instead they end up creating, gathering causes and conditions that will make them suffer. So now that you know anything coming from emotions, jealousy, pride, anger, desire gives you unhappiness. Any kind of experience coming from an absence of ego, absence of ignorance, jealousy, pride and all the rest gives you happiness. And this is the happiness that you are wishing the sentient beings to have. A few tips. It is easy to think may all sentient beings have happiness. It is kind of abstract idea. It is very easy because you don’t have, because it is all sentient beings so you don’t have much responsibility actually. So you should think like many Kadampa masters say while thinking may all sentient beings have happiness you should actually care each and every individuals happiness. So you should pick one. If you want your practice to be effective pick someone whom you don’t like so much. Or pick someone who you feel threaten by. Your competitor. You know, competition. You competitor is not necessary a business competitor or anything. Competitor can be everywhere. If you walk along the beach. And then suddenly you see beautiful person, a girl or a boy, and you two are alone. No competitor. And you about to chatter up. Chatter up. You are about to pick on a conversation. And just as you are about to talk somebody walks in and he is also quite handsome. Dramatic, oh now you have a competitor. Another soul. So competitor is everywhere. In your thinking, in our everyday day to day life there is a competitor. There is always somebody competing with you, to take over your position. To take over your – they might not actually they didn’t come there to take over. But you are paranoia thinks. Because you are paranoid. You have so much impure perception. You think: “Oh oh, here comes a competitor.“ For all we know maybe this person is there to help you. So that you can actually do what you want to do. But we don’t think like that. We are always paranoid. We think that somebody is going to take over your position. So pick an individual being and then start doing the loving kindness meditation. If you still need some kind of a format then use Atisha Dipankara’s method such as tonglen. Breath out, give all the happiness and the cause of happiness. Breath in, all the cause of suffering and the suffering of the others. Stuff like that. So okay, what is happening here. Big alteration of impure perception. Can you see that. See, in the past you have impure perception because you think you whatever ego has interpreted is most important. Now you are changing that. In the past you think, you are only thinking about your own happiness. You are not really thinking about others. Now you are forcing yourself, may the other be happy. May he or she has the cause of happiness. See there is a disruption of impure perception. If you keep on doing this loving kindness meditation, such a yogi will have so called experiential perception. And do you know what that is. Let’s go back to the beach. A yogi is walking on the beach. And yogi is seeing a beautiful person and about to start a conversation with this. Somebody walks along and interrupts. Ah yogi happy, may he or she. Please you two, go ahead. Have conversation. You walk. Experiential. See perception has changed now. No paranoia. You are okay. That is good. Couldn’t care less. They can talk. To their heartfelt, to their heart’s content they can talk, talk and talk.
What I like about Buddhism is its corrosive aspect. It destroys itself. As a famous great Dzogchen master said. He said something like practicing spiritual path should be like sharpening knife. When you sharp knife, two exhaustions happen. Exhaustion of the whetstone and exhaustion of a metal. And this exhaustion is called sharp knife. On the one hand we have emotions to deal with. The antidote to this emotion is the love and compassion and all the meditation and discipline and so on and so forth. But they also have to exhaust.
Fundamental View of Buddhism, Moscow 2010
What you have to do, whatever the thought comes, just watch it. Do not fabricate, just watch. What do we mean by that? If an anger comes – watching it. As it comes. Again, here we have to be careful. Okay, so an anger comes. This is a little subtle, so listen carefully. An anger comes to you. Now that you have heard me saying, you just watch. So you watch. If you label as you watch, if you label “Ah, this is an anger”, you are beginning to grasp. Similarly, if there is a devotion arising in you mind, you just watch. But as soon as you are beginning to label it, then you are already grasping. So of course I don’t have to mention when the anger comes, if you think “Oh this is really bad, this is a negative thought, I have to get rid of it”, of course you are already grasping then. If a love and compassion comes and at that point you are so happy, you get so excited, you try to cultivate it, you try to remember it, you try to really look at it. Of course you are grasping already.
So what do you do? What is non-grasping? Whatever the thought comes, watching it, watching it, again and again. Many many examples. Like small children looking at paintings, wall paintings, you are supposed to look at it. Without any distinctions, without making any fabrication. Just watch. That, what does that do? That is slowly, slowly establishing the normality I was talking earlier. Because as soon as you grasp, then you are not letting it be. As soon as you grasp and you alter, you label, then you are poking it. As soon as you are poking it it will change. And then it will change its color, shape and all of that and when it changes its color and shape you will get attracted to it because it is a story, there is a story then. Then you get more and more entangled with the story and then – you know for the meditators, twenty minutes gone by, you are still in the story, forty minutes gone by, you are still in the story. For none meditators, for the ordinary people, not only twenty minutes they have been going, life time after life time, they finish one story, they go to another, with another story.
Basically it is this. Talking about mindfulness. You know, anger comes. Okay, anger comes, and this is the problem. Anger is the problem. So there is a way to fight with this. One is seeing the fault of the anger. You think and think and how bad it is, how it creates problems, how it destroys the world, all of that angle. That is one way. Another way, this I am stealing from Jamghon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye by the way, I better say this things. The other way is promoting the enemy of the anger, which is love and compassion. And we try to really think about love and compassion, talk about it, praise and read it, you know rap shoulder with people who have love and compassion. Whatever it takes basically. So you have two. There is another one good way, really good way, but difficult for the beginners, which is when the anger comes admitting it and really knowing it. That actually is the most economically, user friendly, what you call it, compact, very compact method. But this is difficult, very difficult, because we don’t have the habit of not doing anything. The moment the problem comes – this is why the shamata, shamata is one of the greatest method of not doing anything. You are just supposed to not do anything. Because if you do something – this is what Saraha said – if you do something you are stirring the muddy water. If you stir more it will become more. This is also the word ???, not doing anything basically. Just knowing. But this is difficult, this is very difficult. Not easy. Because mind has, our habit has so much tricks, it has learned lots of tricks. What it does, okay anger comes, okay anger is coming, and then you know. The moment you know you think: “Ah I know.” Right, “ah I know”, but that “ah I know” is actually, has already stolen your mindfulness. Because there is this ah, we call it sense of victory, you have been defeated by your sense of victory basically.
Emotions such as love and compassion is something that we can get used to. We can cultivate. We can invest. And then through the love and compassion, because of the sense of empathy, sense of equality, it can bring the understanding of nonduality.
When we talk about bodhicitta, we have to talk about the nonduality. Bodhicitta without the nonduality is not a bodhicitta. Without the nonduality, without that, it is just not possible. It is not possible at all. But the moment you understand the nonduality, or in other words dependent arising, then, you know up to now when we say all sentient beings, when we say all, we have an interpretation of all. What does that mean? All the Chinese, all the Indians. That is already making quite a lot. All the Brazilians, all the Indonesians. So in our mind, all means – you know there is a very good Tibetan word called ???. ???, measureless, it is beyond measure. But the moment we talk about measureless, automatically we think in terms of something big, which is wrong. ??? is not big. All in Buddhism has nothing to do with all, big. Big, infinite. All has to be accompanied with the view, emptiness. If you understand the emptiness, the meaning of the all has changed. So then when you know these things, then bodhicitta, which is the mind to help all sentient beings, is not an idealistic Lala Land policy. It is doable. If you do for one minute, it has an one minute success. If you do it for one month, it has its own month effect.