So, we’re going to begin with the protector prayers.
[The group chants Praise to Six-Arm Mahakala and other protector prayers.]
Before the Mitukpa preparation and initiation, I will give a little introduction as there are some new people here to take the Mitukpa initiation.
The main purpose of taking the Mitukpa initiation is not to get some power to do miracles, become a famous healer or have success in business. It is nothing like that. It is to practice Dharma.
So, we have to get some idea of what Dharma means. Even though the subject of Dharma, the Buddha’s teaching, is like a limitless sky or ocean, we have to know what practicing Dharma really means. The real meditation, the real Dharma, is not something to bring suffering but something to bring happiness to ourselves and to others. Especially, Dharma is to benefit others, who are numberless. One meaning of Dharma is that which brings happiness beyond this life, up to enlightenment. So, that’s one definition of Dharma. Benefit means bringing happiness beyond this life. Dharma is what helps you at the time of your death, the most critical and most dangerous point in your life, and beyond that.
One point is that there is a continuity of consciousness; the mind doesn’t stop. When the body disintegrates or stops, the continuation of the consciousness doesn’t stop. It is not like the flame of a candle stopping when the wax finishes. It is not that the continuation of the consciousness also stops when the body stops. There is continuity of consciousness from life to life. As this present-life consciousness is the continuation of the past-life consciousness, this present consciousness continues to the next life. By the time of the next life, this life’s consciousness doesn’t exist but the continuity of it goes to the next life. That exists at that time. Yesterday’s consciousness doesn’t exist today but at this time there is the continuation of yesterday’s consciousness, just as today’s time continues to tomorrow, but when tomorrow happens, today doesn’t exist. So, like that, a continuity of the consciousness goes to the next life.
The consciousness takes either a suffering rebirth or a happy rebirth. There are only two choices: rebirth as a suffering transmigratory being or rebirth as a happy transmigratory being. There is no third choice. Taking the body of a happy transmigratory being doesn’t come from nonvirtue; it has to come from virtue, from virtuous thoughts and virtuous actions. The body of a suffering transmigratory being comes from nonvirtue; it doesn’t come from virtue. It is like medicinal fruit coming from a medicinal root and poisonous fruit coming from a poisonous root. They have separate evolutions; they have separate, different cause. From planting chilies, the nature of which is hot, you don’t get grapes, the nature of which is sweet, as a result. No matter how much you pray to receive grapes from chili seeds, it will never happen. It is not natural. Chili seeds are not the cause of grapes, the nature of which is sweet. By planting chili seeds, you get chilies, the nature of which is not. By planting grapes, the nature of which is sweet, you get the sweet result of grapes. The cause, the grape vine, and the result, the fruit, will have the same sweet nature. In a similar way, from virtue the result is only happiness and from nonvirtue the result is only suffering.
Whenever we die, whether tonight or this hour, it is definite that we will take rebirth. The exception is a meditator who has achieved the path of meditation. There are five paths to liberation: the path of merit, the preparatory path, the path of seeing, the path of meditation and no more learning. There are these five paths to achieve the cessation of all suffering and its cause, delusion and karma; this liberation means freedom forever from samsara, from the circling. For a practitioner who has achieved the path of meditation, there is no circling of their aggregates to the next life. The continuity of that meditator’s aggregates, which are suffering in nature, caused by karma and delusion and contaminated by the seeds of delusion, which are in the nature of negative imprints, doesn’t circle to the next life because that meditator has been able to completely remove the cause of delusion, the seed. Therefore, since there is no cause for delusion, it is impossible to delusion to ever arise again. So, there’s no continuation of that meditator’s aggregates.
Also, an arya bodhisattva, a bodhisattva who has achieved the path of seeing or the path of meditation, has totally abandoned suffering rebirth, old age, sickness and death.
In the five tantric stages to enlightenment, there are yogis who have achieved the clear light, which has the clear light of example and the clear light of meaning, and the illusory body, which has the impure illusory body and the pure illusory body. Any meditator who has achieved the clear light of meaning is not under the control of death; death is under the control of that meditator. They have been able to overcome death.
So, we have at least to achieve those stages: the path of meditation or no more learning in the Hinayana path; the path of seeing or above as a higher bodhisattva; or the clear light, especially the clear light of meaning, as a great tantric yogi. Otherwise, we have to be reborn again and again. We have to die and be reborn, die and be reborn. And where are we reborn? There are six realms, the nature of which is only suffering. We have to take the aggregates of a hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human, asura or sura. Those aggregates are contaminated by delusion or the seed, or cause, of delusion and are the production of karma and delusion. So, the aggregates of all the six types of beings in the six realms are only in the nature of suffering. They are of the nature of pervasive compounding suffering (or khyab pa du je kyi dug ngäl, in Tibetan).
In regard to pervasive, or khyab pa, as His Holiness often says in the teachings, the aggregates are under the control of karma and delusion. That’s one meaning of pervasive.
At present we have taken a human rebirth, with human aggregates. There is the association of the body and the mind. In regard to the body and the mind, there are the aggregates of form, feeling, recognition, compounding aggregates and consciousness. In regard to the mind, if you elaborate a little, there are the six consciousnesses and the fifty-one mental factors. From the fifty-one mental factors, if you take out the aggregates of feeling and recognition (the mental factor that discriminates objects as good or bad, beautiful or ugly and so forth), all the rest of the mental factors are included in the compounding aggregates. There is then the consciousness, the sixth consciousness, the mental consciousness, which is what travels from life to life.
The aggregates that we now have are pervasive compounding suffering. So, pervasive, as His Holiness says, means they are under the control of karma and delusion. That’s why we have fear. That’s why the mind has to experience fear. Recently an Indian or Westerner in an audience asked, “Why is there fear?” There are fear, loneliness, depression and all these other emotional thoughts. Compassion is also an emotional thought and devotion is also an emotional thought, but they are positive, not negative, emotional thoughts. Compassion for others is a pure mind wishing others to be free from suffering. When compassion is strong and you not only wish others to be free from suffering but actually take upon yourself the responsibility for doing it, your compassion becomes great compassion. When you take that universal responsibility upon yourself, at that time your compassion is Mahayana compassion. That compassion is pure; it’s not stained by self-cherishing thought. You are thinking purely of others; you are concerned purely about others. You are thinking purely of that sentient being’s happiness, of how that sentient being can be free from suffering.
Even though they are emotional thoughts, compassion and devotion are pure thoughts. These thoughts bring peace. When you feel strong devotion to guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, you feel peace in your heart. With great devotion, there is unbelievable peace in your mind. Your heart isn’t empty. You don’t feel empty; you feel full of great peace. Your mind is very calm, and there is inner happiness.
Anyway, there can so much suffering in your mind, so much fear. Everything is okay now, but you think, “Oh, I might get sick. I might die.” There is so much fear: there is fear of not meeting objects of desire and also fear of meeting undesirable objects, such as enemies, discomfort, criticism from others. Because there is attachment to comfort and happiness, there is then fear and worry about meeting discomfort and unhappiness. Because of attachment, there’s worldly concern. Because there is attachment to receiving praise from other people, there is worry and fear about receiving criticism. Because there is attachment to hearing people say that you beautiful or nice or wise and that what you are doing is wise or successful or whatever, there is worry and fear about receiving the opposite, about other people talking about your faults. Because of attachment to praise, there is always worry and fear about hearing criticism, about someone saying that you are stupid, selfish, ugly and so forth. In the same way, if there is attachment to a good reputation, if you desire many people in the area, in the country or even in the whole world to say good things about you, there will be worry and fear about receiving a bad reputation. If there is desire to receive material things—such as birthday presents, for example—there will be worry and fear about not receiving birthday presents. Anyway, I’m not going to elaborate further.
Here you can see both problems. Whenever there is worldly concern, whenever there is attachment clinging to this life, to comfort, shelter, food, clothing and so forth, there will then be worry and fear about discomfort and unhappiness. When there is attachment to praise, there is worry and fear about receiving criticism. When there’s attachment to a good reputation, when you want many people to say nice things about you, there will also be worry and fear about receiving a bad reputation. When there’s attachment to the receiving material things, there will then be worry and fear about the opposite, about not receiving material things.
So, you can now see that both are problems, both are suffering. When there is comfort, there is suffering because of the attachment, the grasping, to that. That’s the fundamental suffering. When the opposite happens and there is discomfort and unhappiness, you dislike that and so are unhappy. It is the same with praise and criticism, a good reputation and a bad reputation, receiving material things and not receiving material things. Whichever happens in your life, both are suffering. You might achieve these four desirable objects, which people commonly regard as a successful life. You might achieve fame in your country or in the world, which is regarded as success. You might be able to make hundred of thousands, millions or billions of dollars, which is success. You might receive praise, which is success. You might have comfort, food, clothing, shelter and so forth, which is success. This is what people commonly call success. However, even when you achieve these things, that is also suffering because of grasping, your clinging, to those things. When you have attachment to these things, there is then no peace in your heart; there’s no peace at all. There’s always something missing. If you examine your life, if you look inside your heart, it’s empty. Even though you have achieved these four desirable objects, there is dissatisfaction in your heart. There’s always something missing. Your life is always empty. Here I’m not talking about the emptiness that is the nature of every phenomenon.
Why is this worldly concern, this negative emotional mind, suffering? Why is it suffering even when you achieve those four desirable objects? There is a very clear explanation. Even if you have a successful life and achieve these four desirable objects, even if you have food, clothing, shelter, money and friends…. (During my teachings and initiations, there’s the suffering of not getting sleep.) Anyway, even though you may succeed in having food, clothing, shelter, money and friends, if you examine the nature of your mind, the nature of this clinging and grasping, it’s not peaceful. There is no peace. There is some kind of tension, or tightness, in relation to the object. Your mind becomes stuck to the object, like mosquitoes get stuck in candle wax or ants get stuck in honey. When mosquitoes or ants get stuck in that way, it’s very difficult to help them. Anyway, the nature of the mind is like that. You got stuck to the object; you’re not free. You are like a cow that is fastened with a rope to a stake, a tree or a rock. Or you are like a bird with its leg tied to a stone so that it can’t fly. Like that, your mind is not free; it’s stuck. During those times you’re not a free person; it’s like you’re in prison. Like those insects and animals that I mentioned, you’re tied by attachment to the object.
Even when you have success in life, even when you obtain these four desirable objects, the nature of these thoughts is not peaceful. The effect you get during this time from this desire is not peaceful. Not only that, but it’s disturbing to your mental continuum. It doesn’t give you peace, whereas devotion, compassion, renunciation, contentment, loving kindness, bodhicitta, cherishing others and the wisdom seeing emptiness all give peace to you, to your mental continuum. The nature of those minds is peace. They don’t disturb your mental continuum but give you peace and happiness. They purify your obscurations and negative karmas and bring you to liberation and to enlightenment. Now it is different with attachment and these other negative thoughts. When you say that you have success in your life, attachment to these four desirable objects is there. It is only disturbing to your mental continuum, instead of bringing peace. It brings only dissatisfaction, instead of bringing satisfaction. It is only suffering. It only causes dissatisfaction, which is one of the fundamental major sufferings in life. Whether you are born as a human being in the human realm or even as a deva in a deva realm, where the happiness and sensual enjoyment is millions of times greater than in the human realm, in reality there is this dissatisfaction. Attachment to pleasure causes only dissatisfaction; it causes only suffering. This is the fundamental suffering, or problem.
Because of dissatisfaction, you then kill others or kill yourself to get these four desirable objects. For your happiness, you kill others. And when the problem—you have lost money or your companion or can’t find a companion—is too much for you to handle and there’s not much space in your mind, it is then very easy to think of committing suicide. Because you don’t know what to do about your problems, the first thought that comes is to commit suicide. You kill yourself because you are under the control of desire and anger. It’s not done with free will.
Attachment clinging to these four desirable objects not only causes disturbance to your mental continuum, but it especially causes dissatisfaction, continual dissatisfaction. This is the main suffering. The other effect from desire for these four desirable objects is that it obscures your mind. It obscures your mind so that you don’t see the reality of life and of the object. It obscures your mind so that you don’t see that life and other causative phenomena are impermanent in nature. Seeing them as impermanent in nature stops your attachment to them, and that brings you to liberation from samsara. Discovering that they are impermanent in nature has the opposite effect. It stops the arising of negative emotional thoughts, such as attachment; it helps you to be free from them and to gradually cease them. With this realization of impermanence, you are able to control negative emotional thoughts, such as desire, and it then helps you to realize emptiness. By realizing the nature of emptiness, you are then able to cease the cause of delusion, the seed, and that’s how you’re able to achieve liberation.
Attachment to these four desirable objects, even though we might call it “success,” obscures the mind. It obscures us so that we don’t see that our own life and other causative phenomena are impermanent in nature and that this body is impure, or dirty, in nature rather than clean. We have the wrong concept that the body is clean. We continuously circle in samsara because of such wrong concepts.
Besides the wrong concepts of looking at impermanent things as permanent and at the dirty body as clean, or pure, we look at samsaric pleasure as real happiness. Samsaric pleasure is temporary pleasure; it doesn’t last and it doesn’t increase. Dharma happiness can be increased and can be completed; you can finish the work of practicing Dharma. On the other hand, samsaric pleasure not only doesn’t increase, but it doesn’t last and it also becomes the suffering of pain. When it degenerates, it becomes the suffering of pain. Why? Because that pleasure itself is suffering in nature. We label “pleasure” on a feeling that is only suffering in nature. That’s why it doesn’t increase, and not only does it not increase, but it doesn’t even continue. As we continue the action, as we put effort into it again and again, it leads to dissatisfaction. Therefore, even samsaric pleasure is only suffering in nature. If you analyze, if you meditate, you discover it is only suffering. That’s what wisdom discovers: it is only suffering. However, in the view of the hallucinated mind of attachment, it is real happiness, pure happiness. That which is only suffering in the view of wisdom is real happiness, pure happiness, in the view of the hallucinated mind of attachment. Again this attachment, this clinging, is another cause of samsara, making us to die and be reborn continuously.
As I was saying before, even if we succeed in obtaining these objects that attachment grasps after and say that we have a successful life, our life is still suffering. Why? Because the nature of that mind is suffering, not peaceful. The effect you get is disturbance to your mental continuum and no peace. On top of that, this negative emotional thought of attachment obscures your mind. That’s what I was explaining in this last part. It obscures your mind so that you don’t see that your life and other causative phenomena are impermanent in nature; you look at them as permanent, and it obscures you so that you don’t realize their impermanence. It obscures you so that you don’t see that samsaric pleasures are only suffering in nature; you look at them as the opposite, as real happiness, pure happiness. It also obscures your mind so that you don’t realize that the body is dirty in nature. When that realization is not there, the wrong concept looks at the body as clean, and attachment then arises. It also obscures your mind so that you don’t discover that all these things are empty. You have the wrong concept that they’re all real, in the sense of existing from their own side, and on the basis of that, attachment then arises again.
The conclusion of what I am saying is that here the problem didn’t come from outside. It’s very clear it didn’t come from outside. It is just your own mind that made up your life problem. It is just made up by your mind. It is simply made up by your concept, depending on what you label. Basically, none of these problems came from outside. You can see very clearly that it has totally to do with your mind. Both are superstitions. Attachment to the four desirable objects as good is superstition. Worry and fear about meeting undesirable objects is also superstition. So, everything is just a concept.
Now, to stop this, without talking about emptiness, which is a high subject, you just have to realize that this human body qualified by eight freedoms and ten richnesses is very precious and that with it you can achieve the three great meanings. You have to realize all the happiness that you can achieve with this and that you can cause to numberless sentient beings. You then think about the happiness of this life, the happiness of all the coming future lives, the liberation from samsara and the enlightenment, or great liberation, you can cause all sentient beings. By practicing Dharma with this perfect human body, you can do unbelievable things for the numberless sentient beings. And having this perfect human body is just about only once—it will be difficult to find again. You have to think especially about impermanence and death, about how death can happen any day, any time. Thinking about this subject of the nature of life immediately cuts this superstitious mind of attachment.
Why is attachment superstition, or [nam tok] in Tibetan? There’s no such object as that which attachment believes in and grasps. If you analyze, there’s no such thing. It’s like getting attached to beautiful things that you see in a dream. You can see that is superstition because the objects in the dream that you get attached to don’t exist. So, it’s exactly the same even when you are not sleeping and not having a dream. These four desirable objects and all the other things I mentioned before appear as something real, in the sense of existing from their own side. These desirable objects don’t appear to be merely labeled. All these things—receiving material things, praise, a good reputation, comfort, friends, money, food and clothing—are merely imputed by mind. That’s what you discover when you analyze how they exist: they exist in mere name, merely imputed by mind. Even though this is how they exist, to our hallucinated mind they all appear as something real, in the sense of existing from their own side. They all appear as something independent. They appear to have nothing to do with your mind; they appear to have nothing to do with your mind. This is an extremely gross hallucination.
As I was saying in one of the talks at the beginning, here there are all the false views of the four schools of Buddhist philosophy, from the Vatsiputriyas (ne mai bu pai depa), a sub-school of the Vaibhashika school—the false view that sees things as permanent, as existing alone without depending on parts, as existing without depending on cause and conditions and existing with their own freedom—up to the Prasangika, the second of the Madhyamaka schools. For the Prasangika school, the object to be refuted, or gak cha, is that little something extra than what is merely labeled by the mind. For the Svatantrika school, the object to be refuted is something totally existing from its own side without appearing to a non-defective, valid mind and that non-defective, valid mind labeling it. (The translation of terms needs to be done specifically according to the Tibetan words.) There is also the object to be refuted according to the Chittamatra, or Mind Only, school.
However, all the gak cha or wrong views from the points of view of the four schools of Buddhist philosophy are there, including the extremely gross view that things are permanent, exist alone without depending on parts and exist with their own freedom without depending on cause and conditions. On top of all this, you allow your mind to believe these piles of hallucinations and think, “This is good.” Attachment then arises. On the basis of all these big piles of hallucinations, attachment then arises. So, you can now see that what attachment grasps or apprehends is not there. That’s how attachment is superstition, or nam tok in Tibetan. The delusions are superstitions, and the king of the superstitions is, of course, ignorance, the concept that holds things as truly existent.
Sorry, it became long again….
I’ve now forgotten where I came from. I think I was trying to explain what Dharma is….
I explained before that Dharma means that which brings happiness, or benefit, beyond when we die, beyond this life, up to enlightenment. I talked about nonvirtue and the rebirth of a suffering transmigratory being and about virtue and the rebirth of a happy transmigratory being. So, from virtue you then have happiness in future lives and from nonvirtue you then have suffering in future lives. Therefore, you can see very clearly that the solution is Dharma. Dharma is positive, or virtuous, thoughts and the actions motivated by them. If you don’t want suffering and those suffering rebirths after this life and you want in happiness future lives, with the body of a happy transmigratory being, there is no other way except to practice Dharma. So, I have been saying what Dharma is and why we need to practice it.
Now, just to put it very simply, all the happiness of future lives—having a beautiful, a long life, wealth and so forth—has to come from Dharma, from virtue. Therefore, we need to practice Dharma in this life.
Much more important than this is achieving the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara, freedom forever from the oceans of samsaric suffering and its cause, delusion and karma. Dharma practice now becomes even more important because liberation comes only through Dharma, only through actualizing the path. In regard to the four noble truths, you have to realize true suffering and true cause of suffering then actualize true path and the cessation of suffering. So, this is Dharma. If what you wish is to be free forever from the cycle of all the sufferings of death, birth, old age and sickness, you must practice Dharma.
Especially, you must practice Dharma if you want great liberation, or full enlightenment, with completion of all the qualities of cessation (cessation of not only the gross defilements but even the subtle defilements) and completion of all the qualities of realization. The main goal of our life is to have the qualities of omniscience, perfect compassion and perfect power and thus be able to liberate the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment. Achieving enlightenment for sentient beings is the best, and engaging in the path to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings is Dharma. Here, this third one is why Dharma is the most important thing in life.
I was talking before about how attachment is suffering in nature. Following attachment brings only dissatisfaction, the fundamental suffering. Because of the dissatisfaction caused by attachment, you then engage in killing, stealing, telling lies and many other negative karmas, thus harming others and harming yourself. Attachment brings so many problems in life, and the negative emotional thought of attachment obscures the mind,
If you still want to be happy in this life, even if you don’t accept reincarnation, karma, future lives, liberation and enlightenment, you need to practice Dharma. Even though you don’t want all those other things, if you want this life to be happy, you need to practice Dharma. I have just described how, because of attachment to these four desirable objects, you have all this worry and fear about meeting undesirable objects. All that part of the problems in life come because of attachment to desirable objects. Even if you succeed in getting what you want, life is still suffering. I described the nature of the thought and what effects it has on you.
Therefore, since you don’t want to suffer in this life, since you want happiness, you need to practice contentment, renunciation. You need to let go of this obscuring, disturbing negative attitude of desire, which is renunciation. You need to let go of clinging and grasping. Here you need to practice Dharma. You need to practice renunciation, letting go of desire. You have no choice if you want happiness and peace. You have no choice if you want to have satisfaction. Even if you don’t accept all those other things and you think there is only this one life, since you want happiness, you have no choice: you have to practice renunciation. When you have problems with desire, such as relationship problems, there is unbelievable confusion; problems come one after another after another. It’s like being in hell. You are not physically in hell but mentally you are in hell. Since you don’t want that, you have to let go of desire, and that is Dharma. There’s no choice. The only solution left is to let go of desire, and that is Dharma.
Also, as I mentioned the other day, if you don’t practice patience but always follow anger, you break the relationship between you and your children, you and your husband or wife, you and your parents and you and your friends. If you don’t practice patience, you break all these relationships. You cause unhappiness to others and to yourself. If you don’t practice patience, it also becomes an obstacle to your job. You get upset and say something to your boss or the people you work with in the office, or they say or do something and you then get angry. If you don’t practice patience but get angry, you then say something negative out of anger, which only makes them angry. Your boss then fires you; you lose your job.
There is a story about one Tibetan boy in the United States, who couldn’t get a job for years. One of Geshe Sopa Rinpoche’s former attendants, who had disrobed, had found a good job, and he then helped the Tibetan boy to find a job. There was going to be a party, and an hour before the party the woman who was the head of the staff put a table outside and arranged some cookies on it. The Tibetan boy, not knowing he wasn’t meant to, started to eat the cookies. The woman in charge told him, “It’s not time yet—the party is later.” He got upset because she told him not to eat the cookies, and the next day he didn’t have a job. He was kicked out. His boss fired him.
Anyway, if you don’t practice patience, it also brings a lot of obstacles to success in your job. You have a lot of difficulties with others. If you want to have a stable job and you want everybody to be happy with you, there is no doubt that if you don’t practice patience and always follow anger, you won’t achieve your wishes. Therefore, to train your mind in patience becomes one of the extremely important parts of education or practice. Practicing patience is the remedy to anger, and that’s Dharma. Pacifying anger or stopping anger from arising is pure Dharma, just as letting go of desire is pure Dharma. When you practice compassion, that is pure Dharma; when you practice loving kindness, that is pure Dharma. Even if someone doesn’t accept all those other things, since they want the happiness of this life, they need to practice Dharma. They have no choice. When you practice as I mentioned in these few examples, that is pure Dharma. It is not that you are just acting as if you are practicing Dharma, just looking as if you are practicing Dharma, but not practicing real Dharma. Here it becomes pure Dharma.
Making offerings, reciting prayers, doing meditation, making charity—all these can look like Dharma, like spiritual activities, but they’re not real Dharma if the motivation is not Dharma. Someone can appear to be a religious person, a Dharma practitioner, but not be a real Dharma practitioner. That can happen. But here in this case, when you practice patience, even though you might be thinking of only the happiness of this life, it is the antidote to anger. When you practice loving kindness and compassion, it becomes the antidote to self-cherishing thought; you are cherishing others. When you practice renunciation, you let go of desire. That’s the real, pure Dharma. Therefore, even if you want nothing but the happiness of this life and you don’t accept happiness of future lives, liberation from samsara or enlightenment, you still have no choice: you have to practice Dharma.
Another definition of Dharma is “any action of body, speech or mind that becomes an antidote to delusion.” It is like, when we have different sicknesses, taking the medicine that is the antidote to each sickness. So, when any action of our body, speech or mind becomes an antidote to delusion, it becomes Dharma. That is one of the definitions of Dharma.
Even if you don’t believe in or accept reincarnation, karma, liberation from samsara and enlightenment, since you want happiness, you still need to practice Dharma. I have already done that part of the explanation. You can see this when you have a relationship problem, in particular, or when you’re wanting to expand your business. When you make a thousand dollars, you want ten thousand. When you make ten thousand dollars, you want a hundred thousand. When you make one hundred thousand, you want a million. When you’ve got a million, you want a billion. When you’ve got a billion, you want a trillion, and when you’ve got a trillion, you want a zillion dollars. You want so much—it keeps expanding. You then have so much worry and fear that success isn’t happening now or won’t keep happening in the future. When there is a lot of desire, there is so much confusion and so many problems in your life. So, the antidote is renunciation, letting go. To stop the problem you have to reduce your desire, which is renunciation, letting go. You have to let go of desire. Like branches spreading out from the main trunk of a tree, so many problems come from that one thing, desire. The antidote is to let go, which is renunciation. That then immediately brings satisfaction in your heart. Your empty heart is then filled with satisfaction, with inner peace and happiness. And when your mind is healthy, your body is then healthy. Your heart, circulation and everything else are healthy.
In recent years a lot of research has been done at Boston University, and it has proved how meditation is very important for the mind and how a peaceful, stable mind is helpful for the health of the body. This is particularly true of compassion. They discovered that thinking first of others and cherishing others in daily life, being concerned about others, helps to bring physical health. It has something to do with the heart. The researchers couldn’t find some subtle type of heard disease in those who have compassion for others. It has been proved that compassion definitely makes a difference to the health of the body.
Also, one Indian doctor in Delhi…. I don’t know how Indian doctors are regarded here, but generally…. India is now becoming a very developed country, even though before it was regarded as a primitive, third world country. However, many of the excellent doctors in the West are Indians. Many years ago, the ex-abbot of Sera Je, Geshe Jampa Tekchok, was in England, at Manjushri Institute, which was an FPMT center. Geshe Jampa Tekchok was there to teach philosophy and Geshe Kelsang was to teach the lam-rim and tantric commentaries. Anyway, when Geshe Jampa Tekchok had some health problems, he was taken to London to see a top doctor. When he finally reached this big hospital and went in to see the top doctor, he was shocked to see that he was an Indian because the general idea of Indians was that they were low and undeveloped. Geshe-la was shocked when he saw that the most expert doctor in that big London hospital was an Indian. This is a side-talk….
Anyway, this particular doctor in Delhi mentioned that his research showed that what causes heart attacks, circulation problems and things like that is thinking others are bad, putting negative label on other people. According to this doctor, doing this causes health problems.
I’m sure there are many people who died of heart attacks with those kinds of negative thoughts. You put a negative label on a person or a situation and then believe in that negative label you have given. After you believe in that, the person or situation appears negative to you; you see it as negative. You then get upset; you then feel bad. It is clear, however, that originally it came from your mind. What this doctor said is true.
So, one definition of Dharma is any action of body, speech or that becomes an antidote to delusion. When something becomes an antidote to delusion, it then becomes Dharma. And in relation to this definition I bring in the people who don’t believe in reincarnation, karma and all those other things but want the happiness of this life. They definitely need the Dharma if they want the happiness of this life.
All those other examples I mentioned are pure Dharma, real Dharma, because what you practice is an antidote to delusion. You stop the arising of anger, desire and all the other negative emotional thoughts or control them when they do arise. So, this becomes pure Dharma. If you chant mantras, recite sutras, do meditation, recite prayers or make charity with worldly concern, seeking only the happiness of this life in the form of a long life, health, power or wealth, what you do appears to be Dharma but it does not become Dharma. There is no question of pure Dharma here. There is no question of its becoming Dharma but not pure Dharma. It did not become Dharma at all. From the outside it appeared to be Dharma, but it did not become Dharma at all because the motivation was one of seeking the happiness of this life, of seeking just long life, good health, wealth or power. Your actions appeared to be Dharma but were not Dharma at all. I’m just comparing this to the other person who doesn’t accept all those other things and wants only the happiness of this life, but actually does things that are antidotes to the delusions, that definitely stop delusions. Anything that stops delusions, of course, is Dharma.
Also, His Holiness often says that Dharma is what mends the mind, what makes the mind better. This has a similar meaning. You make the mind that is impatient or angry in nature more tolerant; you make the mind that is more egoistic more caring and concerned about others or more compassionate; you make the mind that feels much desire more satisfied, more content. This is mending the mind, so this is Buddhadharma.
Geshe Sopa Rinpoche used to say that Dharma is that which holds you up from falling down into the lower realms. Basically, these are all different ways of expressing the same thing. Protecting you, or holding you up from falling down into the lower realms, means protecting your mind. When you protect your mind, you protect yourself from suffering. When you are practicing Dharma, you are protecting yourself from suffering. How? When you are practicing Dharma, your mind is in devotion to the guru or to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha rather than in heresy and other non-devotional thoughts. Your mind is in virtue, the cause of enlightenment, the cause of all temporary and ultimate happiness and success. In the same way, when your mind is in renunciation of this life rather than in the desire that clings to this life’s happiness, you have immediate peace and happiness in your life, in your heart, but also there is the happiness of future lives. The actions of body, speech and mind that you do with that first Dharma, renunciation of this life, become causes of the happiness of future lives, as well as a basis for liberation. Renunciation of this life is the initial foundation for achieving liberation, and there is then renunciation of future-life samsara.
When your mind is transformed into bodhicitta, not only do you have immediate peace and happiness, but there is the happiness of future lives, and also from that, liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. There is liberation from samsara because you collect so much merit with bodhicitta that you’re able to realize emptiness. That’s how you’re able to cease the root of samsara and achieve liberation from samsara with the help of bodhicitta. If you’re able to keep your mind in bodhicitta, you collect inconceivable, limitless skies of merits all the time. By transforming your mind into bodhicitta, you are able to achieve enlightenment, as well as all other happiness, including liberation and the happiness of future lives. Everything comes with bodhicitta. However, the opposite happens if your mind is selfish; there is no enlightenment, no liberation from samsara, no happiness of future lives and no happiness of this life. There is the opposite: only suffering. So, you can see that when you transform your mind into bodhicitta, you’re protecting yourself from self-cherishing thought and from all the problems that are the shortcomings of self-cherishing thought.
When you practice patience, you then protect your mind from anger, which harms you yourself, your family, your society, the people in your country, the world and all sentient beings. If you don’t practice patience, anger destroys the merit that has been collected in the past. As A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life explains, giving rise to anger for one second destroys one thousand eons of good karma collected by having made charity and so forth and by having made offerings to Tathagatas, Those Gone to Bliss (which means the buddhas), and so forth. Anger arising for one second can destroy all the merit you collected during one thousand eons. This example is mentioned in A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
Anger is harmful to happiness because it destroys the cause of happiness, virtue. Giving rise to anger is so harmful that it destroys one thousand eons of good karma. All that good karma that you put so much effort into collecting is destroyed. It also delays realizations. Similar to the shortcomings of anger mentioned there in A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, realizations are delayed for one thousand eons. Not only does anger destroy merit, but realizations also get delayed for the same number of eons. These are unbelievably heavy shortcomings.
Also, giving rise to anger always leaves a negative imprint on the mind. This then makes it more difficult in the future because when many negative imprints have been left on the mind, it makes it very difficult to control anger and practice patience in future lives. If you think in this way, you see that anger can harm from life to life. For example, one person’s anger can destroy the world; one person’s anger can destroy many millions of people. This has already happened quite a number of times in the past. Children have been burned in fires and many other people killed because one person with power and influence did not practice patience and destroyed many millions of people with their anger. This has happened quite a few times in the history of this world. If you think about from life to life, anger then harms all sentient beings. Not practicing patience and giving rise to anger in this life leaves a negative imprint on the mind, which then makes you give rise to anger again. You’re creating the cause to give rise to anger again. When you think about anger from life to life, it harms all sentient beings. It’s extremely dangerous.
When you transform your mind into patience, it means you are protecting yourself from all these sufferings that you could cause yourself from life to life, without end. You are also protecting yourself from all the harms you would cause numberless other sentient beings from life to life. It protects you from all those sufferings other sentient beings would receive. So, that is Dharma protecting you. At that time, when you practice Dharma, you are protecting yourself from suffering, from the cause of suffering and the resultant sufferings; you are protecting yourself from engaging in negative karma and all the resultant sufferings.
When you are practicing Dharma, you let go of desire; you let go of liking the four desirable objects and because of that, you let go of disliking the undesirable objects. When you are practicing this very first Dharma, letting go, or renunciation, of this desire clinging to this life, to these four desirable objects, there is unbelievable peace and happiness. No matter what happens in your life, whether there is comfort or discomfort, praise or criticism, a good reputation or a bad reputation, receiving material things or not receiving material things, it doesn’t disturb your mind. It doesn’t affect your mind because of this first Dharma, renunciation of this life. You have let go of the desire clinging to these four desirable objects, which means you have let go of desire, of clinging to this life. Therefore, no matter what happens in your life, no matter what situation you’re in, it doesn’t affect your mind. Your mind is continuously in a stable state of peace and happiness. Whatever happens, there’s always happiness in your life. For a pure Dharma practitioner, the four desirable and four undesirable objects are equalized. Having comfort and not having comfort, having a good reputation and having a bad reputation, having praise or having criticism, receiving material things and not receiving material things: they are the same; for the mind of a pure Dharma practitioner, they are equal. There are verses from Nagarjuna that explain how the four desirable and four undesirable objects are equalized. That is the definition of a pure Dharma practitioner.
Also, as Lama Atisha explained in Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, there are beings of four capabilities: the beings of high capability, of middling capability, of low capability and of ordinary capability. The being who leaves behind self-cherishing thought and practices the six paramitas and so forth in order to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings is the being of high capability. Such a being has that attitude wishing to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings and practices the six paramitas, the bodhisattva deeds, as the method to achieve it. The being of middling capability leaves behind samsara and with that attitude develops aversion to samsara, wishing to be free from samsara and aiming to achieve liberation. For success in that, such a being then practices the three higher trainings. The being of low capability leaves behind this life, which means the attachment clinging to this life and doing work for this life with this attachment, and aims to achieve the happiness of future lives. For success in that, they live in morality. There are the graduated paths of these three capable beings.
The other one, the being of ordinary capability, seeks only the happiness of this life. Their goal is to achieve only that. With an attitude of attachment to this life, they then work for that. Their actions are all nonvirtues because their motivation is attachment to this life, and the result is only suffering. In Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo used the example of four people reciting Tara prayers. Since the last one recited the Tara prayer only for the happiness of this life, their action did not become virtue, which means it became nonvirtue. Even though the subject was Dharma, their action became nonvirtue, and the result would be only suffering.
Another example would be chanting the mantra of a wrathful deity with anger, intending to harm other people. Even though that deity is an enlightened being, your action is pure nonvirtue, because your motivation is one of anger, wishing to harm other sentient beings. Of course, you are creating the karma to be reborn in the lower realms, even in a hell. Chanting the mantra of a deity doesn’t necessarily become virtue just because the deity is an enlightened being.
If we get reborn in a hell realm, we have to experience the most unbearable suffering for an unimaginable length of time. No matter how much we don’t like it, since the karma has already ripened, we have to experience it. No matter how many eons it takes, we have to experience it. At that time all the obstacles are gathered, as Geshe Sopa Rinpoche used to say. Now we have all the opportunities to practice Dharma, but at that time we have all the obstacles. One thing that makes the suffering so heavy is that, due to heavy karma, the body is huge. Also, the skin is very thin and sensitive, like the very thin skin over a boil, which is very painful when touched even by a hair. Since the skin is like that, there is unbelievable suffering. The suffering also lasts for an unbelievable length of time. For example, if you are born in the very first hot hell realm, called Being Alive Again and Again, the length of life is one great trag trig. As I mentioned the other day, ten times one hundred million is one tre bum, and ten tre brum is a great tre bum, and ten great tre bum is one trag trig, and ten trag trig is a great trag trig. If you are born in Being Alive Again and Again, you have to suffer there for that great length of time. Not only that, but on top of that, there are two great tre bum and then six tre bum. That is the length of the life span in the very first hell realm, and that is how long you have to suffer there. Despite the heavy suffering in this first hell, it is the lightest suffering compare to the suffering in the other hells. Compared to the eighth hot hell, this suffering is extremely short and light.
As I have also mentioned in the past, the heat of all human fires put together is like cool air, like air-conditioning, compared to the hell realms. One tiny spark from hell is much hotter than all the human fire energy put together. From this you can get an idea of how hot a tiny spark from hell is and of how heavy the hot suffering is in Being Alive Again and Again, the first category of hell.
In the next hell, Black Line, the length of life is double and the suffering is much heavier. In the next hell, Gathered and Crushed, the length of life is double that of the second hell and the suffering is much, much heavier. Because of your having killed insects and so forth, iron mountains appear in the form of the heads of the animals you have killed and, due to your negative karma, you’re crushed again and again between those huge iron mountains, with a waterfall of blood coming. It goes on and on like that until your karma finishes. As I mentioned, the life span here is much longer and this hell is much hotter than the second one. Can you imagine? It’s inexpressible.
There are then Crying and Great Crying. In Crying, the life span is much longer than in Gathered and Crushed and the suffering is much heavier. There is an iron house that is one with fire and, due to karma, you suddenly find yourself inside it. You then experience heavy suffering for an unbelievable length of time. Even when that karma is finished, there’s another one outside, where again you experience suffering for an unbelievable length of time. In Great Crying, there is unbelievable suffering. The life span is much, much longer and the suffering is far greater.
There are then Hot and Extremely Hot. Due to your negative karma, there is a very expansive container full of molten iron, and you are cooked in that, similar to cooking food. Karmic guardians use tools to move you up and down, like stirring food. When you are moved down, all the flesh melts from your bones; when you move back up, due to karma, all the flesh comes back. You again go down and all the flesh again melts. This happens over and over again. The karmic guardians also pour the molten metal into your mouth, so that it burns your stomach, and then ask you what you want. There are various other sufferings in the Hot and Extremely Hot hells, such as having your whole body completely fastened with red-hot iron. It depends on the negative karma. The result of telling lies is to have your tongue stretched out, with stakes around it, and plowed like a field. There is unimaginable suffering, due to karma.
In the eighth and last hot hell, Inexhaustible Suffering, since the beings there are one with fire, the only way to discriminate that a sentient being is there is by the sound. While it’s burning, you hear the sound of crying. The length of life there is one intermediate eon. That is the heaviest suffering in the lower realms, in the whole of samsara, and it lasts one intermediate eon, an unbelievable length of time.
There are then the sufferings of the eight cold hells. Your body can be completely caught in ice mountains, like a nail in a shoe or in the floor. As with the hot hells, with each lower hell, the suffering becomes heavier and heavier and lasts longer and longer. There are Blister, Burst Blister, Achoo and Kyiphu (which are expressions of suffering), Tightened Teeth, Lotus Cracking (this is not for pleasure but cracking from the unbelievable cold), Utpala Cracking. With Utpala Cracking, the suffering is much heavier than before. Your whole body becomes one with ice then cracks into many hundreds, many thousands, of cracks. As with the hot hells, with each successive hell the suffering is heavier and lasts much longer. So, that is the nature of the hells. Basically, these are results of the ten nonvirtues.
There are then the four or six ordinary hell realms. In one the whole ground is laid out with swords, and wherever you stand the swords cut you. Due to karma, this is actualized and you then experience suffering. There is a forest of trees with sword-leaves. When you climb the tree, the swords cut and pierce your body, and you experience unbelievable suffering.
There is also the hell called [shar ma ri dongpo], where your loved ones call you from the tops of trees, but when you try to climb up to them, all the branches and leaves become like swords. They all bend down and go through your body. There are copper dogs that chase you and eat you from behind. You also have the karmic appearance of eagles or hawks that pluck out your eyeballs. The birds do this from in front, while behind you are the big dogs. When finally you reach the top of the tree, your loved ones again call you from down below the tree. When you try to come down, all the branches of the tree turn up and pierce your body. In this way, there is unbelievable suffering.
It is easy to get an idea of the hell called [che wa ra me] because it is like lava from a volcano. Due to karma, you are born inside an ocean of lava, and until your karma finishes, you are drowned in that and suffer so much. I wonder whether there’s a connection between the hell realm and the lava that comes from under the ground. I think there’s some similarity.
In another hell you are in mud that is like a septic tank, and inside the mud, there are many animals with very long, needle-like beaks, which pierce your body while you are drowning in that filthy liquid. For an unbelievable length of time, until your karma finishes, you experience that. There are these four or six levels of hell realms.
The ordinary hell realms are in various, indefinite places in the human world. They can experienced in human forms but also in the forms of animals. There is nothing definite about them.
If you are born as a preta, you have to experience the heaviest suffering of hunger and thirst. You can’t find even one spoonful of food for hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of years. You can’t get even a drop of water, or see even the mark of water on the ground, for hundreds or thousands of years. There is unbelievably heavy suffering of hunger and thirst.
I’m not going into the details—the rest are mentioned in the lam-rim. Also, you have gone through this in Geshe Lama Konchog’s lam-rim teachings.
The sufferings of animals are unbelievable, but I’m not going to go through the stories as it would take a lot of time. However, the heaviest suffering of animals is ignorance. Because of their ignorance, they suffer so much. They are eaten by other animals. On top of being eaten by each other, human beings also eat them. They also experience sufferings of heat and cold and hunger and thirst. They are also tortured by people.
If our body suddenly started to become that of an animal in this life, if our head slowly started to turn into that of a cat, a dog or a snake, we would be unbelievably worried. If you had the money, you would spend a hundred thousand dollars to have an operation. There would be unbelievable fear. You would never fall asleep (unlike during my initiations). It would be so terrifying that you couldn’t bear it. If just your face turned into that of an animal, you would want to die. You would want to be killed or to commit suicide. It would be same if you are born like that straight after this life. In this life you see that as something unbearable, but in your next life you’re going to become like that. Because of our lack of understanding of karma and our lack of faith, in our hearts, we really don’t think that we are going to be there in those hell, preta and animal realms. We really don’t feel from our hearts that we will be born in those suffering realms. This is explained in our guru’s teachings and in Dharma texts by Buddha, but maybe if a doctor or a clairvoyant told us we would have more faith. We would then get frightened.
However, since we have created the karma, we could be in those realms at any time. We don’t want to think about those sufferings nor relate them to ourselves. Even the drawings of these realms are scary. But, in reality, we have created so much karma to be in those realms. Take today, for example. When we got up this morning, with what motivation did we get up? With what motivation did we dress? With what motivation did we wash? With what motivation did we eat? We should check with everything we’ve done. Maybe here at the moment it’s a little better because a lot of practices are being done, with the motivation at the beginning. Maybe some virtue is being collected today here in this situation. However, it’s different when we check everything we normally do when we’re at home. With what motivation did we go to do our job? We need to check from morning until night, until we go to sleep. If we check our motivation, even though we might think we are practicing Dharma, we will find that our motivation is mostly one of attachment clinging to this life, to this life’s happiness. We dress with that motivation, we wash with that motivation, we go to work with that motivation. Even when we try to do prayers (this is not the same for everybody), if we don’t examine well, we can be doing the prayers just for this life, for health, long life, success in the family or business and things like that. It’s different if the health, long life, success and wealth are for the benefit of other sentient beings. That becomes Dharma. But if you are doing things for oneself and for the happiness of this life, that motivation is only nonvirtue.
The motivation for all the eating and drinking and even the last thing, sleeping, is just attachment clinging to the happiness of this life. Since the motivation for all these actions becomes nonvirtue, it means that all the actions become negative karma, nonvirtue, which results in rebirth in the lower realms. When Dromtönpa asked Lama Atisha what the result of seeking the happiness of this life is, Lama Atisha said, “Rebirth in the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. The result of any action done unstained by attachment clinging to this life is rebirth in the deva and human realms.”
If you examine your daily life in this way when you are at home (it’s different here because of the conditions: you’re doing a lot of practice and the motivations are led), even when you try to practice Dharma, you find hardly anything that became Dharma. It can be like that. If we don’t examine, it looks as if we have practiced Dharma for many years; but if we examine, it could be possible for some people to find that not even one action has become Dharma. I had this same experience before. When I lived in the monastery at Buxa for eight years, I did some memorizing, some debate and various things like that, but it was like a child playing. Then when I was at Lawudo I found the text, Opening the Door of Dharma: The Very Beginning of Dharma Practice. It was only when I read that text and checked back that I discovered that I could not find even one action that had become Dharma in all those many years.
On top of this, we must first define what negative karma is. Attachment clinging to this life is where we spend most of our life. For some people, every single thing in their whole life from birth until death is done with just this motivation. Every single thing then becomes negative karma, whether the person lives for a hundred years or more than a hundred years. On top of this, there are the negative karmas of the ten nonvirtues. There is taking the lives of others, with some people having abortions, which is killing human beings; there is stealing; there is telling lies; there is hurting others with words; there is slandering; there is gossiping, which is always happening; there is covetousness, a negative karma of mind that is also always happening; there is ill will; there is heresy. If we check, we find many times that heresy has happened. Heresy can arise to guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. When we read the Arya Sanghata Sutra and other sutras, especially Buddha’s teachings about karma, we can think, “Oh, maybe this is not true.” In the stories of karma, Buddha has mentioned unbelievable things. Many stories of karma are hard to believe. They’re like the stories of things that actually happened in the world, of people with strange bodies, that are in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. They are similar to the karmic stories mentioned by Buddha in the texts. Since some of the stories that show how karma works are extremely hard to believe, heresy can arise and you think, “How can this be true?” If you check, it can be that heresy has arisen many times.
The result of a complete negative karma of heresy that has to do with the place, or environment, is that where there were gold, jewels and other treasures before, they aren’t there when you’re in that place. You are also in a place where there is no guide, nobody to save you. Also, it is very easy for you to be attracted to and believe wrong views. That’s why in the world there are more people who believe there is no reincarnation than believe there is reincarnation; there are more people who don’t believe in karma than believe in karma; and there are more people who don’t believe in Buddha than believe in Buddha. Even if you become a Buddhist and have studied Dharma so extensively that you have become an expert and can explain it well, after some time you could totally lose your faith in Dharma and believe there is no karma and no reincarnation. In your early life you might be Buddhist, and even a scholar who can explain Buddhism well, but later you totally lose your faith and are drawn to wrong views. This can happen due to past heresy leaving imprints on the mind. Such things have happened in the past. There is then no doubt that this happens to those who have some faith and haven’t really studied Dharma. They can change to another religion or totally lose faith in all religions. There’s no doubt that these kinds of things can happen. So, that is also the result of the past negative karma of heresy. There is worldly right view, which means faith in and understanding of karma, and there is the right view that is beyond the world, which means emptiness. There are very few who understand and believe in the Prasangika view of emptiness, but there are many who believe in wrong teachings on emptiness, which is due to past heresy.
The result of past-life heresy is that you again give rise to heresy in this life or in future lives. Heresy in the past life causes heresy to arise again in future lives; there is then all this suffering, besides the sufferings of the lower realms. From one action of heresy, the four suffering results become endless.
It is similar with ill will. You are born in a place where there are a lot of harms, such as wars, contagious diseases and other people and animals harming you, such as mosquitoes and other tiny insects biting you. You are born in such a place and experience all these harms. As a result of the past negative karma, you then again generate ill will toward others in this life. Because you again leave that negative imprint on your mind, in future lives ill will will arise again. Again, if you don’t purify that one negative karma, the four suffering results are endless.
The result of covetousness is that when you plan something, you don’t succeed. So, I think it must be because of covetousness that the Maitreya Project hasn’t been actualized so far. The result of the negative karma of mind, covetousness, is that you’re unable to have success in life. The possessed result, which has to do with the place, is that you’re born in a place where there was oil and other treasures before but they degenerate, becoming less and less. Giving rise to covetousness again in this life leaves negative imprints on the mind, which then make covetousness arise again in future lives. Like that, the four suffering results become endless. There is rebirth in the lower realms and then three suffering results experienced in the human realm: the possessed result, creating the result similar to the cause and experiencing the result similar to the cause.
It is similar with telling lies, slandering, saying words that hurt others and gossiping. The possessed result of telling lies is that even if you open a shop of other business, no clients come. If it’s a Dharma center, no meditators come to the center. If you are a taxi driver or a bus driver, you can’t get customers. If you open a restaurant, you don’t receive guests. Those are the possessed result of telling lies. In Lam-rim Chen-mo there is a quote from the Ten Bhumi Sutra about how if you are sailing a ship, you don’t have passengers; people don’t come.
Also, due to the negative karma of telling lies in this life or in past lives, you are cheated by other people. And when you say something, even though you are telling the truth, other people believe you lying. You also again create the negative karma of telling lies in this life and from that you again commit the negative karma of telling lies in the future. In this way you produce the four suffering results endlessly, until you purify that negative karma of telling lies.
The result of gossiping is that even when you say something to people, such as requesting their help or giving a talk, your speech has no power. People don’t listen to you. Even if you ask people to help you, your speech has no power, and you don’t succeed.
Also, the result of insulting or hurting other people with words is that when you talk to people, even though you have no motivation to hurt them, they interpret your words as hurtful. Even though you are not doing it at all, they interpret your words as hurting them. When people misinterpret your talk and totally believe that you said something you didn’t say, it’s the result of telling lies. The result of slander is the breakdown of relationships, such as in separation or divorce. So, each one of the four negative karmas of speech has four suffering results, and you experience them again and again, until you purify the negative karma.
The result of sexual misconduct is that when you live with someone you’re not harmonious and always fight; you fight with all the people in your family. Also, you are not harmonious with the people you work with in the office; they don’t like you and fight with you. Because of the negative imprint of sexual misconduct from past lives, in this life you again commit sexual misconduct, which again produces four suffering results. In your future lives you engage in sexual misconduct again and again, without end, until you purify the negative karma.
We have created all these negative karmas, even in this life. We create negative karma mostly with attachment, but on top of that, we create these specific negative karmas from the ten nonvirtues. Just in one day we create so much negative karma. Since we live our life solely with attachment clinging to this life, every activity we do is negative karma. We can see it is like this during one day, one week, one month, one year, since our birth and during beginningless rebirths. There is so much negative karma we haven’t purified, so much negative karma we haven’t finished experiencing. Whenever our death happens, we will experience the most terrifying lower realms. It is up to this breath. The moment this breath stops, that’s it: the lower realms are actualized. The moment when this breath stops, that’s it. It’s not something you have to travel very far for. Right after this breath stops, the next life in the lower realms is there. Before the breath stops, it is the human realm.
Since this could happen at any time, purification is most urgent. Without even a second’s delay, we must purify all the negative karma we have collected even in one day. Even one negative karma produces four suffering results endlessly. We must purify even this one negative karma without even a second’s delay, and there is no doubt that we must purify all the rest of the negative karmas from our past lives.
Therefore, we can see how much we need the Mitukpa initiation and Mitukpa practice, Mitukpa meditation and recitation. There is no doubt about that. To be qualified to do the practice, we need initiation.
Of course, for those who are fully ordained there are also all the vices, or nye che; those requiring individual confession; those that make to fall, or dung she; those with remainder; and the defeats. Of course, if you’re able to practice correctly, being fully ordained is the best; but if you’re unable to practice correctly, you receive rainfalls of negative karma, of vices. For the Sangha, the more vows you have taken and have been unable to keep, the more you have to purify, on top of all that I mentioned before. Of course, there are also things that need to be purified in relation to the bodhisattva and tantric vows. Therefore, we are taking the Mitukpa initiation.
Doing Mitukpa practice is unbelievably powerful. It is said in the text that if you recite the Mitukpa mantra even one time, it purifies the negative karma that continues from life to life. If you keep the Mitukpa mantra on your body (you could write it out and wear it around your neck), you will never experience untimely death.
If you recite this mantra with compassion in the ears of animals, people or spirits, they won’t go to the lower realms. Even for people who have already died and been born in the lower realms, if you mention their name and then recite the Mitukpa mantra with loving kindness and compassion, whether you recite one mala or 1,000 or 100,000 Mitukpa mantras, that sentient being who has already been born in the hell realm will be liberated from that hell realm. The Mitukpa mantra is so powerful that if you recite it by thinking of a being who has already been born in the lower realms, that being will be liberated. You can also chant this mantra and blow on mustard seed or water; if you then sprinkle it on a dead body or wash a dead body with the water, that person’s negative karma is purified, and they get a higher rebirth. Also, if you write out this mantra and put it on the head of a person who has died, even if that being has been born in the lower realms, after seven days they will definitely get a higher rebirth.
You can see here how extremely powerful the Mitukpa mantra is. If you see the Mitukpa mantra at the time of death, you will purify the very heavy negative karmas of the five uninterrupted negative karmas (having killed father, mother or an arhat, harmed Buddha, caused disunity among the Sangha). You also purify the very heavy negative karma of having abandoned the holy Dharma, which is heavier than having destroyed all the holy objects in this world, than having destroyed every single statue, stupa, scripture and other holy object in every single monastery, holy place or individual house. Even this heavy negative karma of abandoning the holy Dharma is purified by seeing the Mitukpa mantra. Even the heavy negative karmas of criticizing the arya Sangha (arhats, arya bodhisattvas and buddhas) are also purified.
It is very good to write out the Mitukpa mantra nicely and have it in your house, especially where people can see it. You can put it above a doorway. It is also one of the methods to help somebody who is dying. You give them the Mitukpa mantra as a present; they can put it next to their pillow or somewhere else where they can look at it. The card with the deities on it that I made some years ago to give to people who are dying has the Mitukpa mantra and a few other powerful mantras with similar benefits. Just looking at the mantras there purifies even the five uninterrupted negative karmas. Even if the person can’t read the mantras, just seeing them gives liberation. So, there is no doubt that if you do the recitation every day, at the time of your death Mitukpa Buddha will come to you; he will save you from the lower realms and invite you to the pure land.
The life story of [Lhatsun Dorje Chang, Yeshe Dondrub Denpa Gyaltsen] mentions that this lama was so afraid of getting reborn in the lower realms that he did Kunrig retreat five time. On top of that, because he was afraid of the negative karma collected during many lifetimes, this lama did a one-year Mitukpa retreat. Anyway, this is just part of his story. This practice is very, very powerful.
It is extremely worthwhile for those who have come for the retreat and even those who don’t have time to do the retreat now to do the recitation of the mantra every day. It would be excellent to do whatever you can. You can plan to do the retreat in the future, but it would be very good to do some recitation every day.
Before the disciple’s preparation, I need to give the torma to the interferers who interfere with the receiving and granting of the Mitukpa preparation, which is the preliminary to the great initiation.
During that time you can generate a bodhicitta motivation. By looking at samsara as suffering in nature, generate compassion for others and bodhicitta, which is the motivation for doing the preparation and taking the initiation.
I am going to do the gektor not only for both the preparation and the initiation but also for the retreat, because you also need a gektor before you begin the retreat. This gektor is for all three things.
[Rinpoche performs the gektor in Tibetan.]
Also, though I don’t do it all the time, I try to dedicate the gektor to any sentient being who needs a gektor puja. Whenever we do a practice or a puja, even though we are doing it for a specific person, it’s good to also dedicate it to any sentient being who needs that practice or puja. Your merit is far greater because it helps the numberless sentient beings who need the puja.
[Rinpoche continues to offer the gektor.]
Now offer a short mandala.
[The group starts to chant but Rinpoche interrupts them.]
You should visualize the lama from whom you’re taking the preparation as Mitukpa by stopping the appearance of an ordinary form. Because this is tantric practice, it involves transcending ordinary appearances and seeing everything as pure. So, you stop the impure appearance of the lama as an ordinary being and visualize them as one with Mitukpa. This is what you, the vajra disciple, have to do from your side.
You are outside the front, or eastern door, of the mandala. The whole mandala is built on a very large variegated vajra, and you are seated on its middle prong. From there you are facing towards the lama, whom you have visualized as Mitukpa. You are making a mandala offering to request the preparation for the great initiation. You offer your body, speech and mind and all your merits, manifested as skies of offerings, filling the entire universe.
[The group offers a short mandala.]
Think, “At this time I have received all the necessary conditions to practice Dharma. From my side I have received a precious human body qualified by eight freedoms and ten richnesses, which is extremely rare to achieve. As Buddha explained, it is more difficult to receive such a perfect human body than to have a grain stick to a pane of glass when you throw grain at it. At this time I have achieved such a perfect human body, which is most precious, and I have met the holy Dharma, which is extremely rare to meet, especially the Mahayana teaching. And there is no doubt that meeting tantra is much more rare. Even if you are Buddhist, it doesn’t mean you have the karma to hear even the name “bodhicitta.” To meet the Mahayana teaching is rare; on top of that, to meet tantric teachings is extremely rare. This happens to the smallest number. So, I have met tantric teachings at this time.” (Those who haven’t met tantra before will now meet the tantric teachings by taking this great initiation. By receiving this great initiation, you then enter the door of the Secret Mantra, or Vajrayana.) “I am unbelievably fortunate to have met the quick path to enlightenment, which enables one to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime. So, it’s incredible.
“Then, I have met a virtuous friend who can reveal the unmistaken path to enlightenment.” As I mentioned before, many of us have met and received initiations and teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other great masters. “To meet such masters, who have all the qualities, is extremely rare; they are difficult to find in this world. So, it’s unbelievable.”
At this time all the conditions to practice Dharma, which are extremely rare, have been gathered, and it will be extremely difficult to achieve them again. With what has been achieved, one can achieve all the happiness of future lives and the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. Even in each second one can create the cause to achieve these three.
Now, death can happen at any time, at any moment. Before that, one must make sure not to be reborn in the lower realms and to receive a higher rebirth. Now, even if one receives a deva or human rebirth, it is not free from suffering. Since it is under the control of karma and delusion and contaminated by the seed of delusion, it is pervaded by suffering. This is pervasive compounding suffering. The aggregates of all the beings of the deva realms of the desire, form and formless realms of the human realm, besides all the beings of the lower realms, are under the control of karma and delusion and contaminated by the seed of delusion. This is what pervasive means; they are pervaded by suffering. I was talking before about why the body and mind are suffering in nature, but I then got distracted and didn’t carry on with it. So, it is because of that that the body and mind are suffering in nature. And the consciousness, or mind, is contaminated by negative imprints, which cause delusions to arise delusions and compound the suffering. Since the negative imprint compounds the suffering, sickness, pain or some other problem can happen at any time. These negative imprints also compound the future-life sufferings; they produce future rebirths and future sufferings. So, deva and human aggregates are of the nature of pervasive compounding suffering.
Not only that but because of this foundation, we then also experience the suffering of change, the temporary samsaric pleasures. Besides that, there is also the suffering of pain. The entire suffering of samsara is encompassed in these three: pervasive compounding suffering, the suffering of change and the suffering of pain.
Nothing is definite in samsara. Even if we are born in a deva or human realm, there’s no certainty that we won’t be reborn again in the lower realms. That higher rebirth is just for a very short time. There is nothing definite about it. Because of all the negative karmas collected during beginningless rebirths and again in that life, we again get reborn in the lower realms.
Therefore, one must be free from samsara. However, even if one achieves liberation, which means freedom from the oceans of samsaric suffering, that alone is not sufficient. Achieving that alone is not the real purpose of human life. One must achieve full enlightenment, or great liberation, for sentient beings, with completion of all the qualities of cessation and of all the qualities of realization.
One of the reasons to do that is that even though all sentient beings have been our enemy and we have received harm from them, they have all also been our friend and we have received benefit from them. In regard to harm and help, we have received more benefit than harm from sentient beings.
Just as this is not the first time your present-life mother has been your mother, and she has been your mother numberless times, every sentient being—every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, asura and sura—has been your own mother numberless times.
Your present-life mother has been kind, especially in giving you a human body, which gives you the opportunity to practice Dharma and to achieve the happiness of future lives, liberation from samsara and enlightenment. Not only that, but by practicing Dharma with this body, you can actualize the path to enlightenment and then enlighten all sentient beings, liberating them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bringing them to enlightenment. So, this is not the first time your present-life mother has been kind in giving you a body. She has done it numberless times during beginningless rebirths—even the omniscient mind cannot see the beginning of her kindness.
There’s no doubt that your present mother saved your life from hundreds of dangers each day. She did that even in this life, for all the nine months you were in her stomach and for so many years after that. Even in this life, her kindness has been unbelievable. It’s inexpressible. This is not the first time she has been kind and protected your life from danger. In each of the numberless times she has been your mother, she has shown this second kindness of protecting your life from hundreds of dangers. She has shown this kindness numberless times during beginningless rebirths—even the omniscient mind cannot see the beginning of her kindness.
From the beginning, it’s very important to meditate on this as much as possible, and we must feel in our heart the depthless kindness of the mother.
Your mother also led you in the path of the world, which means she taught you how to walk, speak and so forth; from there, she helped you to receive an education. This is not the first time she has done this. Because of her kindness in giving you your body, protecting your life from hundreds of dangers each day and then helping you to get an education by sending you to school, you can now read Dharma books; you can read, learn about and write Buddha’s most precious teachings. So, that’s unbelievable. This is not the first time she has been kind in this way; she has given you education numberless times during beginningless rebirths—even the omniscient mind cannot see the beginning of her kindness in giving you education. Feel this depthless, beginningless kindness.
Next, she has been kind in bearing so much hardship for your wellbeing. She had to give up so many things that she liked during the nine months after you were conceived in her womb. She had to make sacrifices for you. She also protected your life from danger. Also think about abortion. If she had had an abortion, you now wouldn’t have this incredible opportunity to achieve the highest thing, enlightenment, and to enlighten all sentient beings.
You mother bore so much hardship, so much unbelievable pain, during your birth. I haven’t actually seen this, but you see it on TV all the time. Not only that, but she bore so much hardship in completely sacrificing herself for you for many years. She worked so hard to collect money, which she then spent on you, on your survival, your education, your comfort. She experienced so much worry and fear. She was always concerned about your health, your survival, your wellbeing, your future. She experienced exhaustion of body and mind for so many years. She herself started her education in kindergarten, then went from primary school through to college; she did so many years of study in order to find a job and make money. So many years of her life went into getting an education. After all this, when she then found a job and collected money, she spent it on me. So, that’s another aspect to consider: how so many years of her life have been spent for you.
The other point is that for my happiness, for my wellbeing, she also created so much negative karma by killing, stealing, telling lies, speaking harshly, covetousness and so forth. As a result of this negative karma, she will have to suffer alone in the lower realms. This is not the first time she has been kind to me in this way. She has borne hardships for me during beginningless rebirths—even Buddha’s holy mind, even Buddha’s omniscience, cannot see the beginning of this kindness. When she has been my mother, she has created so much negative karma for my wellbeing, and she has been born in the lower realms numberless times in the past. Because, not knowing Dharma, she created so much negative karma for my wellbeing, she had to suffer in the lower realms numberless times in the past.
From my side, I created so much disturbance, not only in the daytime but even at nighttime. I wouldn’t stay quiet but would always cry and bother her. I was always demanding something, always disturbing her, always making her life difficult, always wanting this and that, always crying, always making kaka and peepee. That is all she got. She would have to clean all this up, or hire somebody else to look after me.
Like this, every one of the numberless sentient beings—every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, asura and sura—has been my mother and kind to me numberless times. They have given me a body, protected my life from hundreds of dangers every day, led me in the path of the world and given me an education and borne so much hardship for me numberless times during beginningless rebirths. Even the omniscient mind cannot see the beginning of their kindness. It’s exactly the same with each and every single sentient being. Everybody here in this room did exactly the same things for me. And it is the same with every being I see around me: every mosquito flying around, every insect I see in the road, every ant, every worm, every bird and every dog. Everybody showed me these four types of kindness numberless times during beginningless rebirths, including the person who dislikes me, who criticizes me, whom I regard as my enemy. Everybody is exactly the same in having been my mother numberless times and showed me these four types of kindness numberless times.
Even if I scarified my life more times than the number of atoms of this earth to repay each kindness, it would never be enough; I cannot finish repaying it.
Now, I must repay their kindness. Giving them food, shelter and money would be good, but it would not actually repay their kindness. They have been wheel-turning kings, they have been kings of the deva realm and kings in the human realm; they have had much wealth numberless times, but it hasn’t freed them from samsara. From my side, the best way to repay their kindness is to free them from the suffering of samsara and bring them to enlightenment. So, they can do that only by practicing Dharma, only by actualizing the stages of the path to enlightenment, the lam-rim.
Now, it is my turn to repay their kindness, to repay my kind mother sentient beings. What sentient beings want is happiness, but since they are ignorant of the causes of happiness, they are devoid of happiness, even temporary happiness; or even if they have temporary happiness, they are devoid of ultimate happiness. Therefore, I must cause them to have happiness and the causes of happiness, especially ultimate happiness, which also includes full enlightenment. I must cause that to every hell being; I must cause that to every hungry ghost; I must cause that to every animal; I must cause that to every human being, every asura, every sura. I must cause that to everyone.
And what they do not want is suffering but they constantly create the causes of suffering; they constantly keep busy running to create the causes of suffering. So, I must free them from all their suffering and its causes. And even that, I must do by myself alone. As I have all the opportunities to actualize the path and to liberate them from all their suffering and its causes and bring to enlightenment, even by this reason, I have the responsibility to do this. I must do it. I must free them all their suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone. There’s no other means to do this except by my first achieving the state of omniscient mind, which can directly see all the karmas, levels of mind and wishes of sentient beings and all the methods that fit them to bring them from to happiness to happiness to enlightenment. Therefore, I must achieve the state of omniscient mind.
Now, if I don’t practice tantra but practice only the sutra path of Paramitayana, I will need to collect merit for three countless great eons, so it will take a long time for me to achieve enlightenment. By practicing tantra, even the lower tantras, I will be able to achieve full enlightenment in one lifetime, so I will be able to enlighten sentient beings much quicker. To practice tantra, my mind needs to be ripened by receiving a great initiation, and for that, I need to receive the preparation. Therefore, I’m going to take the preparation for the Mitukpa initiation for the benefit of all sentient beings.
So, the initiation will take one minute.
Also, a particular point is that to actualize the path to achieve enlightenment, we need to purify our defilements and negative karma, and Mitukpa is very powerful in doing this.
In regard to the preparation, the first part is the bodhicitta motivation. Only someone with that motivation of seeking enlightenment will be allowed to enter the mandala. And when you seek enlightenment, liberation, the happiness of future lives and the happiness of this life all come by the way.