I am very happy to meet again old students who attended the previous courses and have not yet experienced death and impermanence. And even though you lived long time in the West still, there’s that energy existing in the mind, and you have come again to try to develop further. And also I would like to mention thank you very much also the new people who have come here to practice some meditation, to study, who are seeking an inner method to achieve peace in the mind, inner peace. You have taken much effort, and had many difficulties coming from such far countries to study this method.
I am not saying thank you very much because you came to listen to my terrible voice. I am not saying thank you very much for that! But I am saying that you have such aim to obtain peace of mind and to learn the methods to obtain, and for that you have had to coming from such far countries and bear many difficulties. For that reason I want thank you. I have great rejoicefulness. I think that it is extremely good that the new people who came to take course, who came to practice meditation, feel that the life and all the old methods they tried before don’t really eliminate the problem, don’t really stop physical and mental sufferings. And feeling that this is not right, there must be something else, some other method. So, you have come, wanting to seek those other new methods which you haven’t actualized, which you haven’t experienced, without closing your mind—by opening your mind, by opening the door of your own wisdom. You have come to let your mind to receive the understanding of other methods. Which means you to make yourself free.
If you always concentrated on the same method to obtain happiness—what you have been doing before, the old methods—you can never change the mind, never open the mind for other new methods. In that way, there is no way to understand those other new methods. And then you constantly make mistakes. You do the work to obtain peace of mind but what do you receive from that? By trying that method, it just problems. You put yourself in prison, instead of making yourself free. You are always bound by that limited understanding.
An example is this. A child is born in very dark building, where there are no windows or doors, where he can see through the different outside phenomena. It is a completely dark building, and there is only one tiny hole he can see through, but what he sees through that hole is a very ugly place, just desert. Growing up in that dark building, he might believe that the entire environment outside is desert, just desert, even though there are many other beautiful objects—beautiful mountains and beautiful flower gardens and beautiful houses, many different views. But that child never comes out of that building and never sees those things, so he believes everything what is outside is only desert. (Only desert: I think I am mixing with the food dessert! Desert, you know: just sand, no water, where there is much sun, very hot, like, you don’t want to be there.)
That is why I usually feel great rejoicefulness when people want to seek a new method, whose mind is opened, to understand the new methods to obtain the mind peace. Because in that way that person starts on the root of the path to temporal happiness and ultimate happiness: that person has started on the root of the path. As he opened his mind to seek different methods, not closer, so there is a possibility to achieve all the happiness—all the temporal happiness and ultimate everlasting happiness. When Tibetan lamas see a person helping himself in that way, they feel great rejoicefulness.
THE REASON WE DO PUJAS
Just before the discourse, I am going to do short puja or, another way of saying: a method, method that is explained by Buddha. The first method, that is to do with the offering, with the cakes, the offering cake. And then there are different, after that there will be different prayers that will be said. All those are different psychological methods, like a psychologist to cure the patient has to use different skills, different methods, different subjects even with one patient. Even with one patient, for his different problems he has to use different methods. Similarly, different doctors cure different problems that the patient has using different methods. Taking tablets or liquids to drink, having surgery—there are many different methods to cure even one patient. So like this, there are thousand, thousands, thousands of hindrances to understand the teachings, for the teachings to become effective, to be beneficial for our mind and for the meditations to be successful and to be able to actualize the meditations. There are thousands and thousands of hindrances which disturbs us, so there are many different methods.
All these different prayers, reciting mantras, are different psychological methods for different hindrances, which have been abiding in our mind.
For example: even for a person to come to the East from West, there are so many hindrances: for the whole trip to be successful there are so much hindrances. And because there are so many hindrances, many people cannot come. So many people want to come to Nepal and India, they want to see Himalayan mountains, they want to see the things there are to see in the East, but they can’t because of obstacles. Even just for this temporal pleasure, to obtain just this temporal pleasure there are so many hindrances. Even in the West there are so many people who want to come to see the Himalayan mountains and who want to see Mount Everest, but they don’t have enough money, or there are many other hindrances like this.
So this is similar. What we are doing here, the work what we are doing here is not just to obtain temporal happiness, is not just to obtain mind peace for one hour or one day, for one month, not like this. The work what we are going to do here is to eliminate completely the whole of suffering and to achieve everlasting or ultimate happiness. This is the greatest work. So, of course, this is not easy. If even just to obtain temporal pleasure of coming to the East has so many hindrances, of course, for something like this there must be so many thousands of hindrances.
So, therefore, before the discourse, I am going to do a short puja and, which are, all are meditation subjects.
The coughing might make the language unclear, you know. This time, coughing is souvenir from Switzerland! So it’s precious to spread and to keep it!
THE MEANING OF DHARMA
You people came here to do a meditation course and I’m supposed to teach the teachings on meditation: the method to eliminate the problems and to obtain the peace in the mind. But from my side I don’t think that I can. I’m not capable to teach on meditation, because I don’t practice Dharma, I don’t practice Dharma, I don’t practice the teachings and I have no one single experience. For the teacher to teach, for the teacher to teach meditation, to teach teachings to disciples, first of all he himself should have experience through practice. So I don’t have that qualification. My experience is just only telling lies that I am religious person, just only imitating a religious Tibetan monk. I have no knowledge of Dharma, not one single experience of meditation, so there is no way that I can benefit to your mind.
You people coming here to do this course and to listen my ridiculous talk, it is definite that why we are meeting each other like this, and that I have to talk about Dharma to you and that you are listening, is because we have met each other in our previous lives. We made a connection in the previous lives, so that is why we are all here. That is why in this life, even though we don’t know why, somehow this relationship has happened at such place, that you are listening, and that I have to talk about Dharma.
However, if I talk a little bit about Dharma by imitating the teachings I have received from my incomparably kind gurus, the highly realized gurus, just by imitating the words I heard from them, maybe there is a little bit of benefit.
Of the subject that is Dharma, there are different spiritual teachings. The methods of the Dharma that we are going to try to understand and practice and actualize is the method which is Dharma, explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddhadharma is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s psychology—although perhaps using the term “psychology” is also limited. It is a method, it is a psychological method that is explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.It is the perfect and infallible method to pacify completely all the mental and physical sufferings, and to achieve ultimate happiness, everlasting happiness.
What does “Dharma” mean? It is that which saves, that which saves sentient beings from the whole entire suffering and its cause. It is a method which has the function of saving sentient beings from all suffering. For example: if a person is going to fall down a precipice, from a cliff, but there is a rope that the person can hold on to, which helps that person not fall down and not damage to his body, that rope is the thing that saves the person from the danger of falling down. This is just a simple example, just an idea what Dharma means, what it means.
The purpose of practicing Dharma is to obtain happiness and eliminate all suffering—it saves from suffering.
If I practice Dharma, my Dharma saves me from suffering, from the various sufferings and the causes of sufferings, and my Dharma offers me all temporal happiness. Happiness and suffering are internal factors; they are not external factors. So, the principal cause of happiness is not material phenomena.
If the cause of happiness were material phenomena, then in the previous time, when this earth evolved, when there were the original human beings, at that time there was not the high material progress there is now, and so in those times there would have been much greater suffering, no peace. And conversely, these days there should be much more greater peace, much more greater happiness in the world than those times when there were first, original human beings were on this earth. But it is not like this. In fact in those times, in the time of those original human beings, there was much greater peace, even though there was no one machine to be seen.
Just one example. If you think of one country where there is highest material development, consider whether there has been less and less suffering and greater and greater happiness as material things have developed. If you think of one country you can understand. And also if we think of just one person who wasn’t wealthy in his earlier life but became wealthy later on, having incredible material possessions. Just by checking his experience, which time in his life did he have more realizations, more contentment, more quietness. Even just by checking like this, even in the story of one person, you can see that when he was not wealthy his mind was much freer and there were more realizations than when he became wealthy and had a great reputation and so much material power. Then, the mind was much more worried; there was greater and greater worry.
An example like this which shows the principal cause of happiness is not material phenomena. Even here, we who don’t have that much in material things, but our mind is much happier, it has more realizations than the person who has the most incredible reputation in the world and who has incredible material power and who has incredible populations under him. If you check up the different experiences of mind, you’ll see this. Even if we don’t have that much material power, that many people working under us, even if we don’t have that much reputation, but the mind has much realizations, it has much calmness and less worry than those people. Through this example, you can understand.
It’s the same thing with suffering. Just as the happiness does not depend on having the material things, in the same way suffering does not depend on not having material things. The principal cause of the suffering isn’t not having material possessions. You can understand that from this example. both suffering and happiness are internal factors. The cause of happiness, the cause of suffering are internal factors, within the mind.
From what type of mind does happiness arise? Happiness arises from a good mind, happiness comes from a good mind, from a virtuous mind. Another name for a good mind is a virtuous mind, whose nature is calmness, is peaceful. Suffering arises from bad thoughts, from nonvirtuous thoughts. Another name is nonvirtuous thoughts, whose nature is unpeaceful and cruel.
THE DANGERS OF ATTACHMENT
From nonvirtuous thoughts, suffering arises. For instance, ignorance, hatred, attachment, pride, jealousy—there are many other delusions, there are many other bad thoughts like this. For instance, a person who has much worry with material possessions, about them being stolen by other people, being confiscated by other people, breaking down—no matter how many material possessions that person has, he still thinks, “I don’t have enough.” He thinks in his mind, “I don’t have enough material possessions. I want this and that. This and that are missing,” He wants better and better quality; he wants more and more. And all these problems, all this aggression, arise when he loses his money, when he loses his material possessions, when his factory closes. There are all these problems, all this aggression, so much depression, all caused by attachment, the dissatisfactory mind. Through this, we can understand how all these material life’s problems are caused by mind, by the bad thought, the dissatisfactory mind of attachment.
Similarly, a person who has hundreds of clothes at home still thinks, “I don’t have enough,” and still wants more and more, always worrying that there is not enough. Never able to get enough, never able to make enough money to get all the material possessions that seem necessary. All this worry is caused by the bad thoughts, by attachment. While experiencing all these thoughts, all these problems, all this dissatisfaction of never having enough, of always wanting more, if that person could all of a sudden changes his mind, “Oh, what I have now is enough to keep me warm, to keep my body warm, why I should worry? Why I should worry about getting better quality material or getting more, I have enough to protect my body from the cold.” Whenever he makes a determination like this in his mind, all of a sudden there is a great realization. When he makes the determination that he has enough to protect his body for one or two years and there is nothing to worry about, all of a sudden, there is a great realization, there is calmness in his mind.
This happiness that the person experiences comes from the good thought, renouncing attachment that always seeks more and better. His happiness he experienced arises from the good thought, which is the opposite of attachment, which is the contented and satisfied mind. From just this example, from this experience, we can see how happiness arises, how the happiness is received from the good thought.
The example is like this. By renouncing attachment that seeks more and better quality material possessions, what he is doing, that itself is Dharma, that itself is Dharma. Even though the person himself doesn’t call it Dharma, even though he thinks, “I’m not a religious person, I’m not a Dharma practitioner.” What he is doing, when he renounces attachment, that itself is practicing Dharma. And through his Dharma practice, he experiences happiness, his mind becomes calm and peaceful.
When I was in England just before, at the center, on television, there was the story of a single person who lives in England, who doesn’t live in a family, who lives alone. Before, in his early life, I think he opened the car factory and he made many cars, and he made business for a long time, selling cars like this. By doing that business he became very wealthy and he had a very big property, a very huge building. In that building, I think, there were maybe thirty or thirty rooms maybe more than that, I’m not sure. He was alone, just him and his bodyguard, who has long boots and long hair. Because he’s very wealthy, and maybe to protect him from danger. What did he do at nighttime, when he went to bed? As there were many rooms, in each room there was a large and very comfortable bed and he slept in one room, in one bed, on each night. The next might he went to sleep in another room, in that bed, and another night still in another room, other bed, like this. He changed his bed each night, so he slept by going round and round like this, sleeping in different rooms. And he drank. He didn’t eat much, but he drank, I think, six or seven bottles of alcohol. I think he can’t eat so much somehow!
Because he drank so much, I think he drank in order to makes friends more easily. He had one or two dogs outside so if people came, if thieves or robbers came to steal from him, the dogs were trained to kill them. They were trained to jump up and bite at the neck of the person.
At each weekend, what did he do? He had many small model cars, like children play with, and he came outside and there’s a kind of cement table, sort of a round thing. Then he put the small model cars on that and poured kerosene over the cars there, and with the help of the bodyguard, he lights matches and set alight to the cars. He did that each weekend.
On the program he was talking and he explained the reason he did this was because he now hates cars, because that what made his life bored, that was what spoiled his life, it was what made his life addicted in that way, and unhappy. Even though he had that huge property, he had that many material possessions, he thought what caused his life to be so unhappy, what spoiled his life was the cars, because he had made a car business before. With the car business he become extremely rich and allowed him to have all those material possessions, but even though had everything, he got bored and he did not know what to do with his life. He didn’t know how to make his life happy. He had everything, but still life was not happy and his mind was not satisfied. He didn’t know how to make his life happy. So he blamed all the problems of his life, all his unhappiness, on cars, and he had a kind of aversion for cars. That was the significance of burning the small model cars each weekend—he thought he was destroying the root of his suffering and or his unhappiness.
And he cried that his life was essenceless, he had not found yet the essence of the life. He was very upset, he was crying, telling like this about his life. The reason I mentioned this, the short story of this person, is because he had only been concentrating completely on externals, only the material development, material progression. He never made progression in the mind, nothing, he made nothing to progress, to make his mind better. So, instead of his life becoming more and more satisfied, happier and happier, having more and more realizations in his life, he became more and more unhappy, more and more worried. That made him drink more and more. Actually, all his life’s problems were caused by the dissatisfactory mind, by attachment.
Similarly, the problems that what we experience, fighting each other, killing each other, all these things in the family, between a couple, in society—so many of these are also caused by attachment.
After being married to one wife, a man changes and tries another wife, then changes again and tries another one—like this in one life, the same thing, changing five or six times. Even seventeen times! Those others are usual, but there may be more than that! Seventeen times recently happened—there was a story in Malaysia. There must be stories happening in other countries. In Malaysia there was an one old man, whose age was over 117. One of his girlfriends—I don’t know what she did–—somehow she was in prison, and she owed a lot of money to, she was in debt, so she had to pay. This old man came to help her, to give her some money so she could be released from prison. In his life, this old man changed wives seventeen times. He went to prison to make arrangement for another wedding and when he was leaving he told her that he would marry her soon.
Never being satisfied with one person, with one husband or one wife, changing many times like this, creates much confusion. Even people who were friends, you make them enemies, you cause many people to be jealous, to get angry. Then fighting each other, killing each other—all this aggression, all this depression. Then you commit suicide yourself. All these things, all these problems are caused by the dissatisfied mind of attachment. We can see this clearly from the example.
So, I think I stop here. As these are the source of the life’s problems, therefore, this is the reason we practice Dharma, to be free from these delusions, these bad thoughts.
ATTACHMENT TO ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
The big problems in the life that so many people have through drinking alcohol is also caused by the dissatisfied mind, which causes the mind to have no control over desire. Without talking about the dangers it causes to person’s mind and body, coming from attachment whatever garbage there is in the mind of the person, the secret things, blaming other people, at that time everything comes out, like in a movie.
Besides all that, it makes so many other problems. The drunk easily gets angry even though in the view of other ordinary people there’s no actual reason. Because there’s no control in his mind even, without any base, he easily gets angry and fights other people. Also that time there is no more shame, there is no more fear in the mind of that person. Because the mind, the consciousness has no control, if there are also weapons around, there is real danger to the lives of the people around—family, children, other people, and it causes danger to even his own life. There are so many examples of that happening. Then he completely destroys his material possessions, what he has collected with so much effort, things he and his wife have worked day and night to buy. On top of that, he can’t work properly, he can’t do his job, and so he gets dismissed or kicked out from the office. After losing his job, his family suffers. There is no more money left, so he can’t take care of the family, he can’t take care of the children. For his parents and his wife there is so much worry. It is difficult to take care of him. All those problems are caused by the dissatisfied mind, attachment. You can see this clearly.
Smoking is similar to that. A person who smokes many cigarettes cuts short his life. Even though, if he didn’t smoke, his natural lifespan would be long, he himself causes his life to be shorter. On one hand, he has a natural long life and on the other hand he lacks the understanding of the effects on the elements, he lacks the understanding of the effects of this to his mind and body. He causes this himself; other people do not cause this, he himself causes this shortage of life. Then, he damages his own lungs and liver, or maybe has a heart attack. There are many diseases, it makes the inside things like rotten fruit. There are so much dangerous disease like cancer, which are difficult for doctors to cure. So things like that happen.
Anyway, besides becoming physically unhealthy, without question mentally smoking is harmful. It also damages the mind; it pollutes the mind. It pollutes the body, it pollutes the mind, and it also pollutes—whatever they are called, the nadis—the arteries, that many people talk about who are studying yoga, they talk about chakras. It pollutes the chakras. It has many damaging effects to the mind. Physically & mentally he becomes unhealthy and all these problems comes. His teeth become yellow, and we can see even the face loses its color. Even in the nails also, you can see the signs; they look burnt. Even when you see the person’s face, you can see, you can feel whether that person is smoking a lot or not, you can see even from the face you can feel the vibrations. Even if he is not smoking, you can’t stand to be close to him, because of the smell. Even though he’s not smoking at the moment, but the smoke is living inside. There is a smell, you can still smell it.
Anyway all these problems, which is difficult to cure by medicine, if you think if you check back the cause of the problem, it is attachment. That is very clear. Not smoking cigarettes doesn’t cause death, it doesn’t cause starvation. Anyway, you can see all such problems are caused by attachment, the dissatisfied mind.
It’s the same thing with drug addicts. A drug addict has also lost control over desire, attachment. Because he is unable to control the, he can’t give up the habit, and because of that his life has all those other side effects. Because of that, his parents hate him and refuse to take care of him. As he gets more addicted, he has less control and most of the time he is more and more unconscious. All these problems—going in the prison, owing a lot of money—all these are caused by the dissatisfied mind, by attachment.
Even terrorism comes from the dissatisfied mind. This is happening so much in Germany, with terrorists causing much danger to many people, shooting people and each other, creating so many problems. They are confusing many people and causing many governments to have meetings. [RL GL] All these things again are the problem of attachment, of not controlling attachment. Because a person can’t control attachment, all these problems happen, causing problems to other people, disturbing the happiness of other sentient beings.
Then also kidnapping. There are many problems in the West of people being kidnapped. That is one of the worst things; it is incredible, very dangerous. You have to make a choice, either your life or all the money in the bank, either you give your life to the person, or you give the money in the bank that you have been storing in your life. Even with the daughter or sons of the family, the parents have to pay incredible sums of money, which they could never repay in their life—so much they would have to be born and have another life, and work again to pay it all back. Such an incredible sum of money, even in one life they couldn’t pay it. This is a very bad thing. Problems such as this are created by mind. It is not created by mountains, it’s not created by the earth, it’s not created by rocks or water or weathering. It’s by the mind. By bad thoughts.
We had one Italian student, last year, actually, quite an old man, who was in danger of death twice in one year. He lived alone, and was alone at home when gunmen came in and tied him to a chair. They put guns to his neck and confiscated whatever money he had. Fortunately, as he was screaming, downstairs there was a lady who heard it, and she quickly made a phone call. Then they left. They kept on phoning him and demanding more. I don’t remember exactly how much, but it was too much! [RL GL] I think certain a number of millions. They had fixed the date, “If you don’t pay before then we will kill you.” He was in such danger. I think he escaped, though. [GL] Lama Yeshe sent an Italian monk to guard him, to protect him. He lives alone and is quite old so Lama thought a monk from the monastery could protect him.
Anyway, the main point of the story is you should understand how the attached mind is dangerous, how delusions, how bad thoughts such as attachment are dangerous.
We can see clearly how attachment disturbs the happiness of oneself and the happiness of other sentient beings. It constantly makes the person create the cause of unhappiness, of suffering, and it always binds him, it doesn’t let the person get liberated, to be free from attachment, from the suffering of attachment.
For example, attachment always causes further attachment. That’s how attachment keeps beings in suffering. Therefore, it is extremely important to renounce attachment as much as possible. If you want to know what attachment means, it is a thought. Attachment is a thought that sinks into an object of beauty. The mind gets stuck, or it sinks, and it becomes difficult to separate from the object. That is the nature of attachment. To find out what is attachment, what is not attachment, mind that is in such a nature, that is attachment. So that’s why mind gets stuck on the beautiful object and it’s difficult to separate, it’s extremely difficult to separate. That’s why mind gets confused; that’s why unhappiness and problems rise.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF ANGER
Then anger. Two insects, two tiny insect fighting one another, killing one another—this is caused by anger. Two people fighting each other, hurting each other, destroying each other’s material possessions—this is caused by anger. If somebody is in a dining room eating food, when he has anger, even if he is eating off of a nice plate, even though there’s not a single benefit, he breaks the dishes, he breaks the cups—whatever expensive material possessions are around, he breaks. Or he beats up other people, or destroys other’s material possessions; he even kills other people.
Even if his body is lying on a luxurious comfortable bed, when the mind is not happy, when the mind is angry, he can’t feel the enjoyment. Even if he has beautiful house. When the mind is angry the person cannot feel enjoyment. Even if he’s eating delicious, expensive food, he can’t feel the taste, he can’t feel the enjoyment.
Many times we hear of a husband killing his wife and the children that were born to him. We even hear of the daughter or son killing the parents who helped them. All the time we see pictures in the newspaper, on the television—fires, fighting, rioting, protesting, angry people trying to destroy different things. Black people trying to destroy white people’s property; white people trying to destroy black people’s property. Starting fires, throwing bombs, destroying hotels, banks, markets—killing so many millions of people with bombs. And besides the millions of people, animals, killing so many creatures, destroying their happiness.
All those problems, the unhappiness of the living beings in this world, these are all caused by anger. One person’s anger can destroy many countries, can destroy many millions and millions of people and their material enjoyments. One person’s anger can destroy so much. Like, for example, you can think of Hitler, how many millions of people were killed by him. From this example you see how one person’s anger is so harmful, incredibly harmful that it can ruin so many countries and millions of people. That one person’s anger is not physical, it is a mental thing, it is colorless, shapeless, it is mere thought, it is only thought, but you can easily see, how if we do not try to control anger, how dangerous it is. Besides being so dangerous for ourselves, it is so dangerous for other sentient beings.
Anger is so extremely harmful for our own peace and other sentient beings’ peace. It is like one fire spark. If it touches the grass or a wire, it can burn down the whole property, it can destroy the whole factory. One small spark can burn the whole farm easily, quickly. Like that anger is so harmful, even one small spark of anger
Anger is so harmful for the peace of mind of ourselves and others, so therefore by understanding the harmfulness of anger it is necessary, whenever anger arises, it is necessary to be aware when anger is starting to rise and to learn to control it. By being aware, it is extremely important for the benefit of ourselves, for our own peace, and for the benefit of other sentient beings, for all sentient beings’ peace.
THE MOST DANGEROUS IGNORANCE IS NOT KNOWING WHAT SELF IS
Ignorance. Ignorance, again, is extremely harmful. Ignorance is like this: ignorance is unseeing or unknowing, unseeing or unknowing, not knowing. A person who is ignorant, who follows ignorance is like the person who runs towards a very high cliff where there is danger to fall down but completely believes there is definitely a road leading to a beautiful park. He completely believes this, but he is not running on a road that leads to a beautiful park, but where there is a cliff and great danger of falling down. Just like this example, as he follows his ignorance, it causes him to fall down and hurt himself, to kill himself. Ignorance is similar to this. Not knowing Dharma, not really knowing what is the cause of suffering and what is the cause of happiness is like this. The danger of this ignorance, not knowing Dharma, is like this example.
Actually, the ignorance of not knowing Dharma is much more harmful than blindly running towards a precipice believing it to be the road to a beautiful park. The ignorance of not knowing Dharma is many thousands of times more harmful than that blind person’s ignorance of not recognizing the road.
And among the ignorance of not knowing Dharma, the most harmful, the greatest ignorance is the ignorance not understanding the meaning of the self. This is one ignorance of Dharma, not understanding the absolute nature of the self. So therefore it is extremely important to make the ignorance that we have less and less. The more ignorance in the mind of a person, there is that much more suffering for that sentient being.
The conclusion is, even if we could be free from this suffering body, which produces pain, with which we experience sickness, old age and many other problems, even if we didn’t have this suffering body, even if it was our mind alone, since our mind is not liberated from the delusions, from bad thoughts, from the nonvirtuous thoughts, since it is bound, not free from these disturbing bad thoughts—ignorance, anger, attachment—then we are still not free. We are not free from suffering because our mind is not free from suffering.
REAL FREEDOM IS CESSATION OF SUFFERING
So now, what is real freedom? What is real liberation, real freedom? Now we are coming to the point, we have to recognize it. [RL GL] The complete cessation of the disturbing negative thoughts, the cessation of the disturbing negative thoughts, that is real freedom. That is ultimate freedom.
Even if you say, “I want liberation,” as long as you do not renounce these disturbing negative thoughts, and as long as you doesn’t practice Dharma, even if you put an announcement in newspapers or on television announcing, “I want liberation,”—you put it in Time magazine, you make meetings, you make documents, you make applications with the government declaring “We need liberation,”—women’s liberation, men’s liberation, dogs’ liberation (I’m just joking)—and even though the government says “Yes, you can have liberation,” it is announced everywhere, in all the small towns, in every newspaper saying that you have got liberation—even with all this, if your own mind is not liberated from disturbing negative thoughts, you will still always have problems; you are still not free from your own problems
If your mind’s not free from the disturbing negative thoughts, so you still have your own problems, therefore there is no way you can be liberated even though you say, “the government gave me liberation” on paper.
The conclusion is this. We want such perfect peace, the cessation of disturbing negative thoughts, to be completely free from all the suffering, from all the problems, from all delusions, from disturbing negative thoughts, and the cause of suffering. For that, there is no other method except the Dharma that can save us from this suffering, and to achieve such this perfect peace, ultimate happiness. We can achieve this only by practicing Dharma, only by developing the mind, only by making the mind better and better, creating less and less negative thoughts.
So, I think I stop here.
HOW TO MEDITATE
As you have already been doing breathing meditation, I think you have some idea. If I just mention some things I think you can understand, without needing to rely on my words to do the meditation.
So, before doing the meditation practice, in order to have the action become positive, if you want to meditate, there is a preparation. If you want to eat, if you want to make a cake, first you have to make preparations: what different stuff to buy, going to the supermarket, coming back home, then getting all the ingredients together to make it how you want. Without any preparation for the cake, you can’t bake the cake. You think of your mind as the cake, it doesn’t just appear outside on the table, it doesn’t just appear in your hand. Just as this needs preparation, meditation needs preparation, for the meditation to become real meditation, to become the meditation that you want. For it to become a meditation that benefits the mind, that purifies the disturbing negative thoughts, the delusions.
The meditation has to become Dharma, so you have to make the action of meditation Dharma. To become Dharma, before the meditation you have to have the motivation. For the meditation to become Dharma, to purify the disturbing negative thoughts, to cause happiness, first you should have the correct motivation, that which is Dharma, which is oneness with Dharma. That is the preparation. Then the meditation or any other action becomes Dharma, becomes a good action, a cause of happiness. So, first think, motivate like this. You can think right away as I repeat.
Ignorance, anger and attachment, these poisonous minds. Those who understand a little bit about reincarnation think, “Since beginningless time, these have caused me to suffer, obliged me to suffer until now. Even in the present, they constantly oblige me to suffer, and they also will oblige me to suffer in the future.” Those who cannot understand reincarnation, the existence of past lives, think, “These three poisonous minds have been obliging me to suffer since I was born until now, and will continue obliging me to suffer in the future. Only when I become free from delusions, from the three poisonous minds, will I receive the blissful state of peace for myself. But that is not right, that is a selfish motivation. I must achieve the highest blissful state, enlightenment, the state of buddhahood, in order to free all sentient beings from all their suffering stage and to reach the highest blissful state, enlightenment. Therefore, I am going to do the purifying breathing meditation.”
Now at this time, what you can do is this. As you breathe out from your right nostril, visualize all these three poisonous minds, the delusions, come out in the form of smoke, of pollution. If you want to think of the pollution like you can see in California, also you can think as you breathe out, “all these pollutions are coming out.” Then, like smoke coming out of a chimney, where there is a factory, so much smoke like that comes from the nose, then it goes away, crossing the whole world and then it disperses, it completely disperses. Then after that, as you breathe in slowly, visualize the holy beings, such as the perfectly enlightened beings, the Buddha, perfect understanding, power, the limitless knowledge of understanding, the limitless knowledge of power, compassion, and holy beings, like the bodhisattvas and then think, “I am receiving from all the holy beings infinite knowledge, I am receiving the bodhisattva’s knowledge, the loving compassionate thought of enlightenment. I am receiving this from the holy beings bodhisattvas in the form of white light.” As it goes to the left nostril, it goes inside and goes to the heart and it cleans the whole body—even all the atoms of the body—and you feel much blissfulness at the heart.
Then think, “I have received all the infinite knowledge of the perfectly enlightened buddhas, and the knowledge of the bodhisattvas, the loving compassionate though of enlightenment. Think like that.
Then the second round you do vice versa. As you breathe out your left nostril you purify the disturbing negative thoughts in the form of pollution and as you breathe in your right nostril, you are receiving the light through the right nostril, think it is the essence of the knowledge of the buddhas and bodhisattvas and same thing, filled with blissfulness.
As you breathe out third time, you breathe out through both nostrils and you purify. And as you breathe in through both nostrils, you receive the light of the wisdom of the knowledge of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. You can try to meditate like this.
First you have to breathe in otherwise there’s no breath to breathe out. [RL, GL] So, you breathe in first, you visualize, then you do the purifying breathing meditation.
You need to put in a little bit physical effort, because if you don’t, if you just do your normal breathing then… A person whose mind is not so disturbed, whose concentration can last, who can concentrate on the normal breath without putting physical effort, that is OK. The main purpose of this breathing meditation technique is to not let the mind slip into nonvirtue, to not let the mind to go to the side of the disturbing negative thoughts. If the mind does go to that side, if the mind becomes nonvirtuous, if it becomes angry or attached, you can’t meditate. It is difficult to concentrate, difficult to meditate. In order to meditate, the mind has to become virtuous first. To start the meditation, first the motivation has to be virtuous, the mind has to be virtuous. In order to keep the disturbing negative thoughts from going to that side, therefore the breathing technique is used by the meditators. It is a technique to cheat the mind, so that mind can be under your control, otherwise, the mind is not under your control, you are under the mind’s control, the control of the disturbing negative thoughts. Then you can’t meditate, you can’t make the mind calm. In order to meditate, you have to have the mind under your control, and for that you have to make the mind virtuous. Therefore, first the breathing technique is used.
What I’m saying is, if your concentration can last on just the normal breath, breathing slowly in and out, that is very good, but if not, you can do like this. If mind is very disturbed, even the purifying breathing practice cannot do it. If the mind is very, very disturbed, you can close a nostril like this. First you breathe in, then blow left nostril like this, then you breathe out, even if it makes noise. As you put physical effort in, it is easier to concentrate. Then, the same again like this. Breathe in and out, breathing in and out like this by putting physical effort. Even though it makes noise it doesn’t matter, because as it makes a noise you can concentrate upon that. It can be done like that at the beginning, then maybe after one set like this maybe you can do it without so much noise, the quiet breathing meditation, the rest of the meditation purifying the disturbing negative thoughts. In that way, the breathing meditation, even for five minutes, becomes real Dharma. It becomes real Dharma. It becomes a very powerful remedy, like medicine to our real sickness, the disturbing negative thoughts. So, you can try like this.
THE REASON FOR THE PRAYERS
We are going to do a little bit on the different methods which involve the action of speech. Besides the action of mind meditating, thinking about the meaning of the prayers, saying also involves action of speech. Prayers remind us of the subject of the meditation [and saying them] purifies the negative karma—the negative power and the disturbing negative thoughts that cause us various problems—created with our body, speech and mind.
So, these different prayers are different methods to purify different hindrances, in order to actualize the meditation quicker to be able to understand clearly the teachings, to be able to become effective. As we say them, the prayers that contain the meditation subject, besides purifying ourselves, we have to also purify other sentient beings. So it is like this. Everybody does the prayer. We don’t have enough books that contains the different prayers, the different practical purifying practical methods, which contain the method to collect merit. It will be printed soon, so when it is ready you can try to read and understand it.
Actually, in a briefly introduction, I can’t really explain the meaning of these different prayers, the different methods they use that make them effective, or how they should be practiced. It is difficult to understand, and to talk about it in detail takes much time. The whole following meditation, what we are going to talk about or when we are going to try to practice, all that meditation, also Mantrayana, the tantra meditation, also comes in the prayers. So, therefore, it’s a very extensive—a very profound subject. It is something that we can come to understand slowly and gradually as we go into it deeper and more clearly, following the meditation practices.
It is not a mindless ritual, one that has no meaning, like we usually think of rituals in the West. It’s not like this.
[Prayer: Lama La Kyab Su Chi Wo…]
[Rinpoche chants preliminary prayers.]
THE NEED FOR A COMPASSIONATE MOTIVATION
For one sentient being, the cause of suffering, the root of the whole sentient being’s suffering is this: the disturbing thought, the delusions that are abiding in the mind of that sentient being. And in the same way, the root of all the problems of the whole world—all the confusion there is in the world—is the disturbing thoughts, the delusions, as I briefly mentioned yesterday. So until the sentient beings of this world are free from this root of the suffering, disturbing thought, the delusions, until they are free, there can be no peace. As long as they don’t try to diminish the root of the suffering, the disturbing thoughts, which are in their minds, no matter whatever other methods they try to have peace in their minds and in the world, they will fail. There’s no way to bring peace in the world, as long as they don’t try to diminish the disturbing thoughts, which are the root of the suffering. There is no hope to cease the problems of the world, or problems of one sentient being.
You have to practice Dharma, you have to practice meditation in order to achieve a blissful state of peace such as the cessation of the whole suffering. Wanting to achieve such a blissful state of peace for yourself is a good idea. It is a good idea. That motivation is much better than wanting to practice meditation or practice Dharma to obtain just temporal pleasure, such as having a month’s holiday, or a week’s holiday, just wishing for the pleasure of only this life.
However, even though you wish to achieve the blissful state of peace for yourself, that is a selfish motive. That doesn’t make you different or higher from the animals, the nonhuman beings. Even the nonhuman beings, the animals, also have that similar wish, thinking, “How good it is if I receive happiness.” Even when they find water to drink, it would not think that water should be kept because there are other animals who are suffering from thirst and who also need water. It does not think, “I should leave it. I should keep it for the benefit of other animals.” Even if an animal has found a small bunch of grass, the animal would not think that there are many other animals who are starving, and it is needed for then. Without thinking any of this, they think, “How good it is if I get it. I will drink myself, I will eat it myself.” By holding in the heart “my happiness,” the animal only keeps in his heart, only concern for his own happiness. So with that motivation, whatever drink whatever food that animal finds he drinks for himself.
Since nonhuman beings, other animals, have similar thoughts, wishing happiness for themselves, even if we wish to achieve the blissful state of peace for ourselves, that is not right. That is a selfish motive. There are numberless sentient beings, who are the field from where we receive all our happiness, all our enjoyment.
HAPPINESS COMES FROM OTHERS
For instance, how is the happiness, the pleasure that we receive by eating food received? From other sentient being, from the field of the sentient beings. There is not one single morsel of food we have ever received that has not depended on the kindness of the sentient beings! There is not one single crumb. To get that food, many creatures have been being killed in the fields, or suffered. Many human beings, too, have suffered, have borne much difficulty for us to actualize, to receive the food. Like this, it is similar thing with clothing, our pleasure of wearing clothes has come from the kindness of sentient beings. So many sentient beings have suffered, working to create the clothes that we enjoy. Also, our pleasure that we experience by having a place to live is also dependent on other sentient beings. There is no place that we can enjoy without depending on the sentient beings; there is not one small place where we can enjoy where we can sit down that does not depend on the kindness of the sentient beings!
If we carefully think like this, we can see clearly how our pleasure is received, from the kindness of sentient beings; it depends on the help of sentient beings. Therefore, besides all this temporal happiness, all the ultimate happiness, the whole enjoyment, any perfections, the perfection of place, of material enjoyments, anything, we have received from the field of the sentient beings. Besides this, also all the ultimate happiness we have received from the field, from sentient beings. Since there’s not one single, tiny happiness, not one tiny pleasure that we experience without depending on sentient beings, therefore, it is very evil to always be concerned only with our own happiness, to never be concerned with obtaining the happiness for other sentient beings, and to guide other sentient beings from suffering. Such this thought is a very unworthy one, an evil one.
SUFFERING COMES FROM THE SELF
All happiness comes from others, but on the other hand, not one of the problems—none of the many sufferings big or small—we experience is caused by other sentient beings. There’s not even one sentient being from whom we have received any suffering, who has caused us one tiny bit of suffering.
So, where does all this suffering arise from? All the suffering we experience arises from ourselves. How has all this sufferings arisen from ourselves?
Then the question can come up in our mind: “Yeah, many times, even though I didn’t create the problem, I didn’t create the situation, other people, other sentient beings accused me, they gave me trouble. Even though I didn’t do anything, even though I did not create the situation, they caused it. It’s not true that there’s not one sentient being who causes my suffering, there’s not one sentient beings from whom I receive my suffering. It’s not true. Many times, even though I don’t create the situation, other people accused and gave me trouble.”
All the suffering we experience which involves other sentient beings was originally caused by ourselves. Originally it came from us, not from them. How?
First of all, there is the self-cherishing that abides in our mind, the devil, the self-cherishing thought that abides in our mind. We listen to this devil, the self-cherishing thought and we follow it, and following it, we create the cause, we create the situation where other people are forced to harm us. It is just circling. The cause starts from ourselves, it circles and the suffering comes back on our own head. It circles like this. So, in fact we have caused other sentient beings to give us harm, to give us trouble.
Like this, even though we think that a problems has nothing to do with us, that it is entirely the fault of the other person, in fact that is completely wrong. It is a mistake. Anything, any suffering, any problem that we experience, all arises from ourselves. How? By following the self-cherishing thought. All suffering arises from the self-cherishing thought.
At the moment it might not be so clear, but gradually, if you think carefully, deeply, you can see how all the problems, all the unhappiness, all the confusion that we experience are only our own fault. The original creator us, ourselves.
We’ll have a pipi break.
OTHERS ARE THE CAUSE OF OUR LIBERATION
Since all our own happiness is received from the field of the sentient beings and all the suffering arises from ourselves, therefore sentient beings are so precious, so extremely, extremely precious. Even if there’s a collection of diamonds the size of Mount Everest, one sentient being is much more precious to us than that. One sentient being is such much precious to us than a collection of diamonds the size of Mount Everest.
Therefore, we should cherish other sentient beings and we could renounce ourselves. We should cherish other sentient beings, we should take care of other sentient beings and we should renounce ourselves.
Since we are the base from where all our suffering arises, and sentient beings are the field from where all our happiness arises and are therefore extremely kind to us, and since what they wish is happiness, but because they’re ignorant of the causes of happiness and so always do the wrong practice [we have a responsibility to help them]. Instead of avoiding the cause of suffering, they practice the cause of suffering, thinking this is the method which brings happiness. And on the other hand they don’t practice the cause of happiness, believing that it is the cause of suffering. They avoid the cause of happiness, like this. No matter how much the sentient beings do not desire suffering, because of ignorance, of not recognizing what the cause of suffering is, they always run towards it, continuously creating the cause of suffering.
Therefore, since they are extremely kind like this, and since we have met the Dharma, the teachings, by meeting the teachings then we can recognize what is the cause of suffering, what is the actual cause of happiness, and we can actualize the path. We can liberate ourselves completely from all suffering. We can attain the highest blissful state, enlightenment and we can help all sentient beings, releasing them from all suffering and leading them to enlightenment. We have the possibility to help all sentient beings.
At the moment, we cannot guide even ourselves. At the moment we can’t guide even ourselves alone from suffering, so we don’t have the power to guide all sentient beings from suffering. Who has the power? Who can release sentient beings from all sufferings and lead them enlightenment? Only a buddha, a fully enlightened being, using different methods of body, speech and mind, can guide them from suffering and lead them to enlightenment. Even each beam of a buddha’s holy body can guide numberless sentient beings from suffering, and can bring happiness in the minds of great numbers of sentient beings. Even each beam of the a buddha’s holy body can do incredible beneficial work to an incredible number of sentient beings.
WHAT ENLIGHTENMENT IS
A further explanation of what enlightenment is will come afterwards. The simple way of saying it is this. At the moment our mind is not completely purified of all the disturbing negative thoughts, of all the obscurations, the dualistic mind, and because of that, our mind is not completely qualified in the whole of knowledge. Another way of saying is that our mind is not perfected in all the realizations, because our mind is not completely purified of all obscurations, the disturbing negative thoughts, the dualistic mind. Because of that, our mind is not qualified in all knowledge, not perfected in all the realizations.
Whenever our mind is purified of all obscurations and is qualified in having all knowledge, all realizations, at that time, when our mind is in such a state, that is what is called enlightenment. Therefore, at the moment we haven’t achieved enlightenment. Whenever our mind reaches that state, qualified like that, then we will have attained enlightenment.
Another way of saying it is we are enlightened when our mind is fully developed. Simply speaking, when our knowledge is fully developed, when there’s no knowledge missing, there no knowledge left that we don’t understand, that we don’t know, when there’s not one aspect of existence left outside our understanding, when there is no realization is missing—at that time we have attained enlightenment, we have become a buddha. We are a perfectly enlightened being. There is not one single obscuration left, there is not one single realization missing, no knowledge is missing, the mind is qualified of all knowledge, all realizations, so what’s why it’s perfected, and any person who has such a mind is a perfectly enlightened being.
When we attain this enlightenment, there’s perfect knowledge of understanding, perfect knowledge of compassion, perfect knowledge of power. Like this. When we attain enlightenment, at that time our mind becomes an omniscient mind.
This omniscient mind can clearly see all the future existence, not just a billion times, not just a trillion times, anything that will happen in the future, any future existence can be seen clearly. At the same time, the omniscient mind can clearly see all present existence and all past existence. So there is not one single existence, there is not one single atom, there is not one of the numberless sentient beings that an omniscient mind cannot see. There is not one sentient being’s mind, not one sentient being’s thought that an omniscient mind cannot read or cannot see.
STORIES OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha who is a perfect enlightened being, has this power. For instance, if all the plants from all the different countries, from different places, were taken and cut into very very small pieces, and then put into the big ocean and mixed well for a long time—maybe for eons, after they were taken out, each grain of these plants could be recognized by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—where it came from, from which country, from which area, from which part of the tree, limb or root or whatever.
With his power, his perfect knowledge, if someone asks Guru Shakyamuni Buddha about them, he can tell clearly without one single mistake, from which country that plant came from and from which part of the plant, and from which place, mountain or land, name of the town, without one single mistake. This is one example, just a small idea of the perfect knowledge and understanding that the Buddha has.
When we attain enlightenment we achieve perfect knowledge and understanding, and we can clearly see not just the numberless sentient beings, but each sentient being’s different thoughts. Whatever different thoughts we have now, here, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is seeing clearly. Right now, whatever we are thinking spontaneously, there is not one single second that enlightened beings’ omniscient mind does not see the sentient beings, does not read their thoughts.
“Because of having perfect knowledge and understanding, I can guide. When I receive enlightenment, I achieve this perfect knowledge and understanding so I can guide sentient beings. Also I will attain infinite compassion.”
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—like all enlightened beings—certainly doesn’t have a partial mind, feeling great compassion only for those sentient beings who like him and make offerings to him, and disliking and not guiding sentient beings who don’t make offerings to him. For Guru Shakyamuni Buddha there is no difference between the two—those who make offerings and always admire him with much devotion and those who have heresy and complaints and don’t make offerings. There is no difference for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha between them; he doesn’t have partial mind. There is infinite compassion equally for all sentient beings.
When Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India, after taking the aspect of a prince in India and a married man, he took the form of a pure monk. During that time there was a king whose name was Maigeta(?) who always criticized Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, always competing with his knowledge and power. He always tried to abuse Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Even though he himself is always free from the cause of sickness, sometimes Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, for the benefit of other sentient beings, took the aspect of being ill. His doctor made pills that had incredible power, so powerful that ordinary beings could not take them, they would be unable to live if they did.
Because he always tried to compete with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, he also tried to take those pills, but as he swallowed the first he couldn’t stand it, he suffered so much. The Buddha came to him and said, “If it is true that I have equal compassion to you and my son, then your sickness should be cured right away, right at this moment.” Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha put his palm on the king’s head, but because he always competed with the Buddha he thought, “How dare Gautama touch his hand on my head.” But, right at that moment that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha touched his hand on his head, his disease was completely get cured. Right at that moment it became completely cured.
THE BUDDHA AND THE MONKS GREAT PATH AND SMALL PATH
When you receive enlightenment you become highly skilled at working for other sentient beings as you have perfect knowledge and understanding, compassion and the power.
There are stories of how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, subdued very deeply ignorant living beings, In previous times, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in India. there was an monk called Small Path, who has achieved the blissful state of peace, nirvana, and so be became an arhat. I’ll just mention very briefly how he was subdued by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
His family had two children. The first one was called Great Path, who also achieved nirvana and became an arhat. The second, his younger brother, was called Small Path. Why? Because before they were born, their mother gave birth to many children, but they did not survive, they all died.
The elder son was called Great Path was because his life was saved by talking the center of four roads where there was a big road. So when he was baby, just after he was born, he was taken there to ask for a prayer from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his followers came. As they passed along that road, founders of other religious and their followers also passed by.
[Editor's Note: Audio is very unclear. There are likely to be mistakes in this section]
It was suggested to his mother by an old man that if she wanted her child to survive she should name him. She should wrap him in a white cloth and give him to a young girl, we would stand and wait in the center of the big road, and as people passed by, ask for prayers.. So the mother followed the old man’s instructions. Because this son was saved by taking the big path, so the girl who was carrying the baby requested the disciples of the founder of other religion to pray for the baby to have long life to fulfill the parent’s wishes.
After that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples came and again she asked for prayers, and they prayed for the baby to have long life and the parents’ Dharma wishes to be successful. . So the baby did not die that day unlike her other babies who hadn’t even lasted one day. So, the older brother was saved like this. He didn’t die before the sun set, and she brought back to home.
After that another child was born. This time, the girl took the baby to a small, very narrow path in the town. No other people came through. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, as all the time he sees sentient beings and is always concerned with working for other sentient beings, with his psychic powers he saw the young girl waiting, carrying another baby. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha came, after a long waiting the came to that in front of the young girl, in the narrow road. So she asked for prayers, and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha prayed, and the baby, too, was saved. So this is why the name was given by the mother, Small Path whereas the elder brother’s name was the Great Path.
The elder brother became an expert in his studies, all the knowledge. In India, one of the castes is called Brahmin, and the subject that they studied included poems or other things. He studied Dharma, became ordained, and he actualized the path and became an arhat. His younger brother, Small Path, was also sent to study all these subjects that the Brahmins taught. His first teacher taught him two words—si dam. When he learned si he forgot dam, when he learned dam he forgot si. And again, maybe the same teacher or maybe another teacher, teacher tried to the teach him another words—om bhu. When he learned om he forgot bhu, when he learned bhu he forgot om. His teachers found it so difficult they all got tired and bored and they kicked him out. By that time his family was very poor.
Then he went to see his elder brother, the one who was an arhat. His elder brother taught him one stanza, four lines, but even though the arhat taught him for three months, still Small Path couldn’t learn one stanza by heart. All the people around, such as the shepherds, had learnt this stanza very well the one stanza by heart, but Small Path still couldn’t say it.
Anyway, his elder brother checked up whether he should be controlled by peaceful or wrathful means and saw with his psychic power that it should be by wrathful means, so he kicked him out of the monastery, leaving him outside the door, saying like this how ignorant and slow he was. Feeling like this, he was left there.
Small Path was incredible worried, crying so much. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha saw this with his psychic powers and came in front of him and asked, “Why are you crying like this?” So then Small Path explained everything that had happened, how he found it impossible to learn anything. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said, “I can teach you.” Small path said he could never learn because he was too slow, too ignorant. This was what he had been told by others, his teachers and he repeated it. So Guru Shakyamuni Buddha told him to go to the monastery and clean the monks’ shoes.
Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took him to the monastery and let him clean the monks’ shoes. While they were doing meditation and prayers in the monastery, their shoes were left outside, so Guru Shakyamuni Buddha let him to clean their shoes. And also Guru Shakyamuni Buddha taught him two words, “avoid dirt, avoid smell.” Guru Shakyamuni Buddha also asked the monks as they passed by to remind him of these words. By cleaning the monks’ shoes on and on, afterwards he could say these words by heart, “avoid dirt, avoid smell.”
After he learned the words by heart, his job was changed. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said, “Now you can leave that work and clean the outside of the monastery.” He went outside the grounds and cleaned, but when he had finished cleaning one side, the other side was dirty, and when he had finished cleaning that side, the first side had become dirt again. In that way, he had to clean continuously, one side after the other, like this. As he was doing this, he kept repeating, “avoid dirt, avoid smell,” then one stanza which he could not learn before even in three months just appeared in his mind, and besides just the words, he completely realized their meaning. He completely realized the meaning that was contained in this one stanza.
The one stanza which contained the subject, talked about the entire path, the evolution of suffering, the nature of suffering, how the delusions are the cause of suffering. So he completely realized the meaning of that stanza just by doing this work, which was instructed by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Then, seeing the truth, he fully realized the absolute nature of reality and became a arhat, achieving the blissful state of peace.
Normally this does not happen, it’s unusual. Right after finishing cleaning again dirt comes there. This is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s skillful method. Usually it doesn’t happen. But for him to keep on working, so that it purified his ignorance—such an incredibly deep ignorance—for that reason Guru Shakyamuni Buddha made the dirt come back right after he has finished cleaning, and the same thing with cleaning the monks’ shoes.
After he became a arhat, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha told him to go to give teachings. There was a nunnery, nearby and the Buddha’s servant who usually accompanied him wherever he went, Kungawa, went with a message to the nunnery that Small Path was going to come there to give a teaching. When they head that Small Path was going to give a teaching at the nunnery, the nuns freaked out!! They thought he could not learn even one stanza. “Such an ignorant person, he could not learn even one stanza even in three months, so how can he compete with the nuns, how can he teach us? They must be abusing us, putting us down us, we the nuns!” They couldn’t stand it. So the nuns had a meeting, and they proposed to shame him when he came to give the teaching. They completely believed that he couldn’t give the teaching, so they wanted to oppose him. They wanted to shame him.
Having fixed the date for the teaching, the nuns went to the city to announce to everybody that they should came on this day to receive teaching from Small Path, “Everybody should come. If you don’t come you will never become free from suffering, you will never realize absolute true nature.” They put it like that, laying such a heavy burden on him. The nuns made everybody come to the monastery. With everybody there, when we was unable to teach, that would be the best way to shame him, to put him down.
On that day, an incredible number of people came from all over the country. When Small Path came the nuns, they put a very high throne, without steps, for him to teach from, so he would not know what to do.
As he arrived, somehow he just was there on the throne. Nobody knew how he got up there without steps. They didn’t know how he reached the throne. But an amazing thing happened, and he was on the throne. After he sat down on the throne, he told the people the meaning of the stanza he had learned in three months he will explain for six months. Then he gave the teaching, which was contained in that one-stanza poem. Some people came just with a curious mind, just to watch, but many came with a serious mind, and many people achieved the realization of shunyata by listening to the teaching. Many people became arhats, many people entered into the path, many people have received the realization of refuge, many people received different realizations. So, he became one of the expert arhats, among many of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples who are arhats, he was the one of the most skillful arhats to give teachings.
That’s just one story how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has subdued such incredibly ignorant being, by these two words, om and bhu. Just by saying these one time we can learn them, without repeating on and on!
So like this, there are many such stories, of incredible beings who have incredible, unbelievable attachment, and how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha helped then, and beings who have incredible unbelievable pride, and how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha subdued them. There are many other stories like this.
When we attain enlightenment, we can guide sentient beings from suffering and lead on the path to enlightenment. We can work for other sentient beings without effort.
If we should attain enlightenment in order to perfectly work for sentient beings, then what is the cause of enlightenment? What should we do in order to quickly attain enlightenment? The principal cause of enlightenment is bodhicitta, the precious, the loving compassionate thought of enlightenment. How quickly we can achieve enlightenment depends on how much we can practice bodhicitta, the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment, and how quickly we actualize this.
MEDITATION: WATCHING THE MIND
First we’ll do a breathing meditation. You breathe strongly from both nostrils, you breathe out, and you purify, and as you breathe in, you visualize you are receiving the knowledge of the buddhas, and the loving-compassionate thought of enlightenment, the knowledge that the bodhisattvas have.
This time you are just going to do it very simply. Just breathe out through both nostrils, and as you do, when the light of knowledge is received, you keep the mind inside. This expression, I’m not saying the mind is outside, it is expression to not wander outside, without thinking of outside objects. Slow down the mind, make it calm, keep it quiet. Then think, be aware what you are thinking. Concentrate: “What I am thinking?” Whatever thoughts you have, be aware of them—“I’m thinking this”—and watch that thought within the mind. Question yourself, “What I am thinking?” Whatever thought you have, watch that thought or that mind. As you recognize that thought, question yourself about what you are thinking. Then as you found it—“Oh, I am thinking this. I have this thought.”—then when you catch the thought, recognize it and just watch it.
While you are doing this, if anger or attachment arises, it’s extremely good to recognize it and just watch it. That is very good. While you are doing this, if anger or attachment arises, it’s extremely good to recognize it. Like when you catch a thief, you try to recognize it’s a thief, and you catch the thief and destroy it. This time, when it arises, you can use it for meditation, you can meditate upon it, you can analyze the nature of attachment, the nature of anger. You can meditate on it.
If anger or attachment arises, think you are just examining the nature of anger or attachment. If you have pride, just examine the nature of pride. When you watch the thought, or the mind, examine like this. What is its color? What is its shape? And the same thing with anger, attachment, pride, jealousy. Examine the nature of such a mind, whether it has color or shape, and specially check whether the anger, attachment, pride or jealous mind is coming from the brain, coming down like this. Or coming from the feet, from the inside of the shoes, the toes. Where is it coming from? From the brain? Where do you feel it?
Actually your own feeling is what, is where? Your own feelings of anger, attachment—is it oneness with the brain? You check up, whether it’s coming from the brain, where you feel it. Actually, your own feeling is what? Is it oneness with the brain, or not? Your own experience is what? Your conception of your own experience, is there a difference or not? Your own intellectual conception of your thoughts and your own experience—check whether there’s any difference? If a disturbing emotion arises, it’s very good. Then you can check up like that.
So before you do that, think, “I’m going to practice the meditation in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all the kind sentient beings.”
We do some more, another session, watching the mind, specially a checking meditation on attachment. Maybe it’s good to remember the object first. Let the object, anger, arise, then examine its nature. Examine how do you feel? Do you feel anger is in the brain? Is it coming from the brain? Or how it is? Like that you check up. Whether attachment is part of brain, whether you feel it is part of the brain, like this you try to recognize your real experience. Try to recognize without listening to your intellectual conceptions. Then question whether it has color or shape. If you find it has color and shape, examine the properties of that color and shape and see whether it is real color and shape of the mind, or if it is only your visualization.
You know, sometimes if you visualize white light, sometimes you can even visualize different colors. And so, as you think of different colors, then there will be different pictures in the mind, there will be that picture in the mind. So examine whether that is, whether you believe color and mind, or whether it is just your visualization. Ask yourself, “Is the color I have visualized the color of the mind or not. Check up like this. If you find this color, this shape. If you don’t find them, then just concentrate, concentrate purely on the nature of the thought.
Another meditation to do is this. Today’s consciousness, my mind today is a continuation of yesterday’s mind. Yesterday’s mind is a continuation of day the mind of the day before yesterday’s. Like that, this year’s mind is a continuation of last year’s mind, and last year’s mind is a continuation of the previous year’s. Then try to go back like this, try to go back like this, to the childhood mind, the time when you were a baby, and try to go back all the way to your mother’s womb. Try to go back to the very first moment of conception, to the very first time that the mind, the consciousness, takes place in the mother’s womb. Try to go right back to that. And then ask yourself the question, “What is the cause of that mind, that first moment of consciousness of this life?"