Notes on Teaching given by Garchen Rinpoche at Vancouver, 2003
author : Karma Lingpa
Tape 1 of 12
All dharma brothers and sisters, wish you “tra shi de leg”. You have come from long distances and in doing so, you have made many sacrifices. You did so in order to receive the sublime dharma teaching for which I am very grateful for you all.
I have come here many times before. In this world there are many lamas and teachers who go here and there to dispense dharma teachings. When we say Buddhism, in Buddhism there are vast amount of teachings just like mount meru if we could put a shape or size to the amount of dharma teachings that are out there, but if we sum it up there are nothing outside the two bodhicittas. When you actually sit down and practice, all the huge amount of Buddhist teachings are included in the two bodhicittas.
What are the two essential ingredients, the essence of the Buddha’s teachings, those are the two bodhicittas. What are those two bodhicittas? One is the “relative bodhicitta”, how does the practice of relative bodhicitta help us? It will help us to see the “absolute bodhicitta”. What is “absolute bodhicitta”? Absolute bodhicitta in Sanskrit is called “tathagata garba” or the Buddha nature. Buddha himself said, “All sentient beings are enlightened except that their Buddha nature are temporarily obscured.” So therefore we need to “unobscure” our Buddha nature, we need to cleanse our Buddha nature. In order to do that we need the two bodhicitta. To sum up the two bodhicitta means to benefit other beings.
When we talk in terms of obscurations of one’s Buddha nature, take the example of sky or space, cloud and sun. One’s ordinary mind is like the space, obscuration is like the cloud and bodhicitta is like the sun. We are going back to the obscurations that obscured the nature of the mind; different individuals have different layers of obscurations. Let’s take the example of those who have very little obscuration, well they are the right kind of vessels or practitioners of tantric practice. Those intermediate, those who have the level of obscurations neither two thin nor too thick kind of intermediate, for them the bodhisattva vow or the Mahayana practice would perhaps the suitable. If one has a very thick layer of obscuration who would have difficulties in understanding the other folds of teachings, perhaps Theravada tradition is suitable. So these are three different vehicles designed to suit the intellectual capacity of different individuals but the basic teaching, the foundation, the basis is the same.
We can talk about the “two truths”, the relative truth and the absolute truth. The practice of self-liberation and practitioners of self-liberation and bodhisattvas, these two will fall into the category of relative truth. Tantric practice will fall under the category of absolute truth. So when we say, “we need to cleanse our mind”, that suggests that our mind is not pure and clean and by this we must understand that it is not clean because it is obscured. Obscuration means that we have a great deal of conceptual thoughts. When you grasp conceptual thoughts, when you treat conceptual thoughts as reality, meaning “having an inherent or independent existence”. This creates obscuration which brings about in this life sufferings and in the Bardo stages all kind of sufferings and situations. The reason why sentient beings are in cyclic existences, in samsara, it starts with conceptual thoughts. So it is the destination or getting rid of conceptual thoughts which equates with the purification or cleansing of the mind.
So when you read through the pages of these teachings, you must come to the conclusion that you must know what to practice. There is the spiritualism and there is the materialism out there. There are the ways of the enlightened and there are the ways of the non-enlightened. The commonalities between the two is that in both cases what we strive for is happiness and causes of happiness. In both cases what we want to abandon is suffering and causes of suffering. So if we leave the spiritual teacher for a while and look at the ways of the human for example, everything we do hustling and bustling, the aim and goal is exactly the same. Now for dharma teachings, spiritualism is slightly different in that when we practice dharma we are not practice only for this life but we practice dharma so that we can have happiness and causes of happiness at all time and abandon suffering and causes of suffering for good. We are talking about permanent and eternal happiness.
If you know how to practice spiritualism, then it does not matter which branch of spiritualism one follows, one is definitely going to benefit other beings. I’ve talked about the two bodhichittas, first is relative bodhicitta. If one does not have relative bodhicitta, then one can conclude by saying that there is no way at all to have any kind of experiential understanding of the absolute bodhicitta. Yes, all sentient beings have the basic Buddha nature, that Buddha nature we can say is something like water but the mind stream of sentient beings in cyclic existence is like ice cube because of afflictive emotions. Just try to visualize a freezer in while there are all bunch of ice cubes. What turns this Buddha nature which is just like water into ice cubes, it is attachment that transforms water into ice cube and because of it being transformed into ice cubes there are whole lot of pain and suffering associated with this. What we need to do is, we need to turn those ice cubes back to water. In order to do that the heat is the bodhicitta, the relative bodhicitta
So when you know what to practice and how to practice, it is very, very important. Otherwise if you are highly learned, do a great deal of dharma practice, recitation of sutra, recitation of mantra, practice, meditation, if you do not have bodhicitta, all you would ever gain in return is one would be reborn in higher realms of existence but this kind of practice will not help you to reach enlightenment. When you have bodhicitta in your heart, that bodhicitta has dual purpose of benefiting others and bringing about peace and happiness for yourself. The 37 Bodhisattva Practices, the little booklet that I’ve printed and distributed for the last so many years, contains the gist of what bodhicitta is all about. When we say relative bodhicitta, you have to recognize that all sentient beings are no different from one’s own biological mother. Therefore one has to have a mind set to genuinely wanted to benefit all mother sentient beings. That is to say that when it comes to actual application, putting this ideal into practice. Of course you would put this practice according to your own means and according to your own situation. When you receive teachings whatever you do, you should think that it is to benefit sentient beings. So let’s classify all Buddha’s teachings into three classifications, one is Buddhist’s view. Buddhist’s view should be that all sentient beings are one’s own parents; therefore there are plenty of reasons why one should generate love and kindness towards them. That is the Buddhist’s view. Buddhist’s meditation, one should actually think, cleanse the mind in accepting that all sentient beings are one’s own parents and therefore you have to meditate and generate loving kindness and compassion towards them. The third is conduct. How would you actually in terms of intangible ways, how would you put all the view and meditation into practice? The application is the incorporation of the six perfections or the six paramitas in your daily activities. When you do this, when you have loving kindness and compassion in your heart, when you apply those by incorporating the six perfections or six paramitas, then there is a saying in Tibetan language, “wherever you go all places would be Buddhas’ pureland. Whomsoever you meet all those would be deities.” So when you generate loving kindness and compassion and apply, it is beneficial to others which in turn bring about peace and happiness to yourself.
All dharma activities, if we separate them and put in pigeon holes, they should fall in the six perfections or six paramitas. I am giving a dharma discourse right now and everything I say must fit in these pigeon holes or six paramitas. When you listen to dharma discourse you must also make sure that everything you hear must fit in the six pigeon holes. Your physical activities, your speech, your mental activities, all these your mind must be trained to be able to incorporate the six perfections or six paramitas. For example when a dharma teachings is giving or when you receive dharma teaching or when you come and receive teaching, everything that cost you to come here and receive dharma teaching can be said that it is the first of the six paramitas which is “giving”. Once you are here receiving the teaching without attachment, aversion, without mental judgement, without any kind of conflict in your mind stream, and when you do so and receive dharma teaching with loving kindness in your mind stream, then that would be adhering to the morality, the moral code of conduct which would be the second of the six perfections. When you make that effort, whatever sacrifices you have made, whatever you persevere, and the effort that you are making right now to sit down quietly and receive the teaching is “patience”. As I always do sometimes where there is the need for translators’ little footnote of clarification, I do that. Where I think it is really important I would like to do that here. One of the six paramitas, translation in English language always translated as “patience”; please understand that it is not just the word “patience”. Depending upon other context, it can very well be endurance, perseverance because like the heavy burden that Milarepa carried on his back, you know until there are all the blacks and blues, that we cannot say Milarepa is very patient, but endure. So depending on the context you use it is not always patience, but it can mean endurance, it can mean perseverance. Going back to Rinpoche’s teaching now, when you receive teaching you are doing so to benefit sentient beings, that requires certain amount of stability in your mind set and that is Samadhi or single pointed concentration, one of the six paramitas. When you do all these kind of things, what enables you to do all these things? It is wisdom, indiscriminating wisdom of what is attachment and what is aversion. All these things are possible because of your wisdom. That is also one of the six paramitas. In the 37 Bodhisattva Practices, it is clearly mentioned that when there is no indiscriminating wisdom one cannot possibly practice the rest of the five paramitas. So starting from now till you reach enlightenment, at all times in your practice you need the sixth paramitas which is indiscriminating wisdom.
Today’s topic is the “introduction to Bardo state”, Bardo or intermediate gap between death and rebirth. In Bardo teaching we have a complete teachings of all the paths, different stage different path, Bardo teaching includes everything. Bardo teachings have teachings related to this current life as well as lives after. Gyobpa Rinpoche, the founder of Drikung Kagyu lineage, said that “when you have an experiential understanding of absolute truth, in it you’ll find that the experiences of this life, the Bardo state and the life after are absolutely the same”. This current life when you have an experiential understanding of the absolute truth, you’ll find that all these experiences in this current life are just like dreams, like illusions. What it means is that one would have an experiential understanding that none of these experiences are inherently existing or having independent existence. Does it mean that all activities will cease, no we will go and do our daily activities like normal but we have this experiential understanding that all these phenomena do not have an inherent existence. Therefore one would not have grasping or attachment. Bardo state is exactly the same like that. When you do not have attachment and grasping, then there will not be the question of arising fear.
When Gyobpa Rinpoche says the experiences of this life, the Bardo state and the life after, he is saying, he is teaching us that when we do not have attachment, when we see that our experiences in this life as illusions, as dreams, then there will not be the cause to attachment and aversion because now we have no grasping to our experiences as reality. So when we do not have attachment or grasping, you can go on and do the same thing you have already been doing, sleeping, eating, do whatever you do. You’ll be doing the same thing but because you do not have attachment or aversion, none of these activities are going to affect us. Where we have joy and happiness, it is arisen but we do not have attachment or clinging, grasping. When you do not have attachment and clinging to joy, happiness, bliss, then at the other end of the spectrum is pain and suffering. When pain and suffering do arise, we would not recognize it as pain and suffering, it is an emotion that arises. An emotion that is not be treated as aversion because we do not have attachment. Where there is no attachment there should not be any aversion. So these are really the practices and experiences of bodhisattvas, to them they are free of attachment and free of aversion. When peace and joy arise there is no attachment and when pain and suffering arise there is no aversion. But for our cases it is different.
We will go to Page 23 of the text. This dealt with the Bardo of the present life. Rinpoche is going to give commentary on this.
We are going to read from Page 23 “From the profound path…” to the second Tibetan line on Page 24 in English.
There are six different bardos. One that we are dealing right now is the Bardo of birthplace or birthplace Bardo as stated in the text. Here in one dictionary it says Bardo of the present life. Rinpoche says it is the Bardo from the time of one’s birth to one’s departure from this world which is one’s death. It is that period. We are talking really is the Bardo of this present life, this current life. A great deal of this have been said in the 37 Bodhisattva Practices. In the text where it says, “Tshe La Long Med…” the English translation for that is “there is no spare time in this life”. The reference here is in the Buddhist’s teaching we referred to the what is called the “four mind reversals” which are talking about the “rarity of human life”, impermanence etc. The particular reference in this case where it says “not having time to spare” is talking about impermanence. There is no telling when the death is going to strike.
“Tshe La Long Med…”, the Tibetan root text, “tshe” is life, “long” is spare time or leisure, “med” is negative. That is “no time to spare in this life”. We all know that none of us is going to live forever. That we understand but our problem is we do not feel that. We feel that we are going to live for a long time. We tend to think about and say there is a case or there was a case that there is a person who lived for hundred years, 105 years etc. etc. We do not really feel that death can come any time. There are countless number of causes of death as we all know, some passed away in mother’s womb and it is said that this very planet is going to, one day come to nothing. On a daily basis we can see and understand that the stars exploded and occasionally we hear the news that someone you once knew had passed away. But what is actually happening in the world is on a constant basis, beings are born and beings are passing away. We have worlds on this planet where thousands of people are perished, there are natural calamities like earthquakes, typhoons, famine, and thousands and thousands of beings perished. So when we say we do not have time to spare, first we hear this, it is the words of the Buddha that the outer shell, the very cosmos is going to come to an end one day. It is the words of the Buddha that all inner inhabitants are subject to birth and death. So when we have this teaching from the Buddha, we have to take this teaching to heart, sit down and actually meditate and feel this. That’s why in our preliminary practice we have a hundred days set aside just to sit down and meditate on the four mind reversals. If you do not sit down and meditate on these, then you are just going to have an academic understanding of this and you never going to feel these things. Someone asks to a master and says, “if I were to practice just one aspect of dharma, which is the most profound of all the practices?” The answer to that is the meditation on impermanence of all phenomena including life. When you think about that it is so important because it is impermanent of life and death that inspires you to in the first place enter the path of dharma.
(End of Tape 1 of 12)
Tape 2 of 12
The root text, the next one is “le lo”. “Le Lo” in Tibetan is laziness. Laziness is ignorance. This forms part of the seven different kinds of negative conducts. When something has to be done, one will procrastinate and say, “well, what has to be done this year I’ll put off till next year” and one would say to oneself, “well, let’s take a rest, we can always attend to that later on”. One of the seven negative thoughts is “doubt”. When you hear about impermanence, immediately you should induce a sense of emergence in yourself and say to yourself, “what is it all about impermanence?” See how valid it is, how much it applies to you. When you know that it is a valid thing and that it applies to you, one should make it an extra effort in your dharma practice, day and night time. Whenever there is a spare moment say “om ma ni ped med hung” etc. When you made that extra effort, it is diligence or diligent effort which is antidote to laziness.
This morning we had talked about laziness and the root text here it says, “there is no spare time in this life, abandoning laziness” etc. Now here how do we abandon laziness? To abandon laziness we have to learn, reflect and meditate. The first one literally in Tibetan is “hearing” and in essence it means “learning”. Once you have learned and you reflect on what you have learned. One should reflect on what you have learned and come to some kind of decision, sit down and meditate on those. We have heard a great deal, in another word we have learned a great deal about Buddhism. Now it is time to hold on to the essence teaching. The essence teaching is the “two truths”, the “relative truth” and “absolute truth”. What is relative truth? Relative truth is the cause and effect relationship. What it tells you is if you undertake or do virtuous deeds it is going to bring about happiness and if you conduct yourself in non-virtuous deeds, these non-virtuous deeds are going to bring about pain and suffering. Both the good causes and bad causes are within one’s own mind. Virtuous and non-virtuous both are in our own mind. Now it is time to turn inwardly and see the essence teaching.
When one’s intent or motivation is tainted with discursive thoughts, even when one is going to do virtues, something apparently is virtuous; it would turn out to be non-virtuous. The result would be non-virtuous. Behind all discursive thoughts and actions lies the root cause of all, which is attachment and grasping. It is attachment and grasping from which arises the 84,000 different kinds of afflictive emotions. Three poisons, for example, cause one’s rebirth in the three lower realms of existence. One’s existence in samsara consisting six realms of existence is because of the six negative emotions and behind all these is attachment and grasping. When we talk in terms of virtues, behind each virtuous deed lies the driving force which is love. Love is the cause of happiness for oneself and others. Where there is love there is peace and happiness in this current life. It is one thing that brings about benefiting others and peace and happiness to oneself. Where there is love and bodhicitta there will be peace and happiness in this current life or short term and it is also the reason for bringing about lasting peace and happiness. So when we say cause and effect relationship we are basically talking about attachment, grasping on one hand and benefiting others on the other.
We say that cause and effect relationship is infallible because Buddha had taught us like that. Why is that so? Buddha said whatever you had been in former lives it reflected on how you are what you are in your physical body in this life. Buddha said whatever you are going to be in your future life it is reflected on your mind in this life. So in this life we do not have freedom or control over what we desire. All want happiness and causes of happiness but few have happiness and causes of happiness because the majority of us succumb to the three poisons, the root of which is attachment and grasping. The three poisons are attachment, aversion and ignorance. When we succumb to the three poisons whatever we are in this life is the ripening of the karma that we had created in former lives. The beings of all the six realms of existence in samsara are the product of whatever they had done in former lives. So when you believe in this, both theoretically and otherwise, when you accept that cause and effect relationship is absolutely infallible, if you have this kind of belief, then whenever there is a negative thought arising in your mind stream and immediately you would want to do something about it. In any case when you know what cause and effect relationship is all about you would not want to part from this current existence with a great deal of negative imprints on your mind stream, those imprints being attachment, aversion and ignorance. It is because these would be the cause of one’s rebirth in the three lower realms of existence. So watchful mind is what is needed here. Be mindful and watchful because when you part away from this existence with these negative imprints and these would be so negative that it is bad for you and it is bad for others. So first learn what cause and effect relationship is all about, listen to the teaching and then reflect on this teaching. Finally when you come to some kind of resolution in your mind as what cause and relationship is, then it is time to sit down and meditate. So this is what we called relative truth, which is cause and effect relationship.
Absolute truth is mahamudra or dzogchen teaching. The essence of mahamudra and dzogchen teaching is they both talk about emptiness. Absolute truth means emptiness. Emptiness does not mean that it is empty of everything and that it does not have any kind of qualities. So when we talk in terms of emptiness what we are talking about, empty of what? It is empty of causes and conditions. When we understand this and when you meditate on loving kindness and compassion and when you experience the true nature of mind, you will experience that mind is just like the space. It is empty of afflictive emotions. When afflictive emotions arise, when you do not unleash these afflictive emotions and when you do not have attachment and grasping, it will be something like the burning away of a seed. When the seed is burnt away there is no question of that seed germinating and a flower blooming. When you do not grasp both pain and pleasure, when you understand that both pain and pleasure do not have independent existence, which is emptiness, then whatever kind of thought arises, that thought would not create karma. That thought will dissipate by itself because the mind, the nature of mind is like space, it is the dharmakaya state of Buddhahood. All ground is like the space and when you do not create karma by unleashing or by doing things with conceptual thoughts, then you are in tune with absolute truth or emptiness.
Going back to the three key words, one is hearing or learning, the second one is reflecting and the third meditating. What do we meditate on? When we meditate we must have our alert mind on guard. Just like Milarepa said the practice must be incorporated in one’s normal ordinary activities like walking, talking, sleeping and eating at all times. One must be mindful, watchful and virtuous. When we say meditate, meditate on loving kindness and compassion with your alert mind, always remaining in that virtuous mode of generating loving kindness and compassion. Thinking of all sentient beings as one’s own parents, meditating on loving kindness and compassion which will create the causes and conditions for you to be able to get rid of the poisons like desire. When you go into shamatha meditation and when you experience the true nature of mind, that is the state of mind that we are seeking for and that state of mind is self-seeing awareness, self-illuminating awareness. What kind of qualities does this state of mind, state of emptiness have? It is clarity whose essence is emptiness. Or put it in a different way it is emptiness whose nature is clarity. So when you experience that experience then you understand that it is the experience of emptiness and through meditation it is time then to stabilize that meditation.
The commentary is on the last Tibetan line on Page 23 where it says, “nang sem lam long…” When you understand the true nature of mind then you’ll find that the true nature of mind is like the space, sky up above. You’ll understand that both happiness and suffering are emptiness or they are empty of inherent existence. You’ll understand that the six realms of existence are the creation of afflictive emotions. The outer cosmos, inner sentient beings, all these are the creations of afflictive emotions and those emotions come from the mind. The nature of the mind is like the space. The root text here, “nang sem”, “nang” means appearances and “sem” is the mind, mind and appearances. “Lam long” is taking them into the path, taking them as the path. If you can take the appearances and the mind, the ordinary mind, whatever appears on the mind into the path, as the path, and then you’ll find that both samsara and nirvana arise from the three kayas or the three bodies of the enlightened beings. We have said from the very beginning that the ground is emptiness which is dharmakaya and out of emptiness, we talk about celestial mansion, we talk about deities etc. etc., the samboghakaya state of Buddhahood, and the samsara and the inhabitants or the beings within are very very transient and temporary, otherwise their basic nature is the Buddha nature. The six realms of existence are temporary because none of these six existences have independent or inherent existence and these are included in the three kayas or the three bodies of the enlightened beings. If you want to understand and have this experience then you have to turn inwardly and look at the nature of your own mind.
The minute you have an experiential understanding of what emptiness is all about, instantaneously your grasping that all phenomena have a reality or nature will dismantle. So when you look at whatever kind of phenomenon it may be, when you understand that that phenomenon does not have an independent existence, in that state of mind when you come across a human being and look at him or her. Indeed you do see a form out there but you realize and understand that form is a temporary thing, it is a composite thing. Whatever is composite is subject to destruction. But when you look at the form and say to yourself, “that form is a composite thing and the only thing that is exactly the same with me is the mind in its pure form”. His or her mind and the nature of my mind are exactly the same. So in that kind of mentality you do not have attachment or grasping. Then if you can prolong that experience with your watchful mind, that is the way to go. When you do not have attachment and grasping the state of mind can be labeled as clarity and emptiness or the union of clarity and emptiness. The essence being emptiness like the space is dharmakaya. The nature being clear is sambongaya, the seed of samboghakaya. We all talking about the mind, the mind’s essence is emptiness like the space, dharmakaya. Mind’s nature is clarity like the seed of sambongaya. Then mind is neither here or there, it is all-pervading, all-pervading nature of divine grace or compassion. It is the seed of nirmanakaya state of Buddhahood. That is why we say our own mind embodies all the three kayas and when you stabilize this experiential understanding, then we call that attainment of enlightenment. Quickly putting everything into proper perspective, the subject topic is Bardo, Rinpoche is discussing the six bardos and right now we are dealing with the first Bardo. The teaching is by Karma Lingpa.
Turn to Page 24 first line where it says, “at this moment where we have for once attained a human body”. If we aspires to attain the three kayas or three bodies of the enlightened beings, then we have to be born as a human being with all the wonderful attributes, eight leisures, ten endowments, all together 18 wonderful attributes. In the teaching we are taught that how difficult it is to be born as a human being with all these wonderful attributes and this teaching is given to us by citing examples as to how it is difficult to be born as a human being, by citing numerical figures and by citing what kind of causes and conditions one would need to be born as a human being. Now after having born as a precious human being, then it is up to us to engage in a mixture of mundane and spiritual activities. If we can be like Milarepa then of course it is wonderful, but in most of our cases it would be very difficult. So at least let there be either 50/50 or quarter of our ordinary activities and spiritual activities. So let us incorporate in our mundane activities the six perfections or six paramitas. The outer physical body is not the important thing, the inner mind is and because it is the wonderful precious human life that we have, we must make the best possible use and that we must not waste it. This is the teaching of hidden treasure by Guru Rinpoche and so each word is valid and important to us.
Next Bardo is “mi lam” Bardo, the dream Bardo. Bardo is an intermediate gap or “interlude” referring to any situation in between one major situation and the one following it. When you go to sleep, we are talking about tonight till tomorrow morning. In that period, when you go off to sleep, Rinpoche says, it is exactly the same as passing away. Sleep or die…
(End of Tape 2 of 12)
Tape 3 of 12
…in the sense that both do not have an independent identity, absolute, both are relative. In that way both are same.
In the first Bardo I’ve said the appearances are the creation of the mind, same thing applies to dream. In your dream sometimes the dream can be very elaborate. You go to fancy places, meet all kinds of people and do all kinds of activities etc. So you can say that all these things that appear in the dream state is absolutely the same as the appearances in that all the things seeing or experiencing in the dream state is kind of expansion of your own mind.
Then the third line on Page 24 which reads with the words, “kye ma”. “Kye ma” is kind of lamenting, something like “alas”. It goes on to say, “when the dream Bardo is dawning upon me, abandoning carelessly, and stupidly lying like a corpse, enters the natural sphere of unwavering attentiveness”. “Ti mug” is ignorance and “ro nyal”, through ignorance arising laziness and resulting in sleeping like a corpse. Sometimes when you ask what is the purpose of sleeping like a corpse and someone will turn around and tell you that it will enhance your health, it’s a good thing for your health. That is just about it. When you go on sleeping like a corpse that is because you are not mindful, heedful and watchful. The teaching here says that we should not do that. In this dream Bardo or the interlude of the dream state we should not just sleep like a corpse and that be the end of it. Rinpoche says one should always be not wandering away your attention. What it means is sleeping and dreaming an ordinary dream that is not the way to go. Even in your sleep you should be mindful, heedful and watchful. Sleep and dream are in the state of the true nature of mind. How do we achieve that? There is a thing called “vajra wind recitation”. When you breathe in, then hold the breath and breathe out, each time you’ll be reciting “om ah hung”, “Om ah hung”, “Om ah hung…”. What you are doing is you are training not only when you are awake but training your mind to be able to remain alert in your sleep. You’ll train it till you attain the ability to remember to recognize the dream when you do have a dream. When all of a sudden you have a dream you realize “oh, I am in a state of dream!” and be able to say that. Spinning the hand prayer wheel for example, Rinpoche says, it is also useful in keeping a person alert and mindful to the extent that when you are sleeping and have a dream, all of a sudden because of your training in mindfulness, you remember the prayer wheel, “oh, yes! I should be spinning that prayer wheel” and simultaneously realize that you are in a dream state.
Question: When we recite the “om ah hung”, is that a breathing exercise?
Answer: “Om ah hung” is what we called “vajra wind recitation”. What it does is, it ties in with merging of the mind with wind. To be able to do that we seek for the help of reciting that “om ah hung”, “om ah hung”. What we are trying to do is that we are trying to do something to our physical body, speech and mind. The Tibetan words mean a whole lots of things, the heedfulness and carefulness. So to be physically heedful or careful, sleeping like the buddha with the right side down have the flat palm of your right hand under your right cheek and sleep in a manner that is conducive to proper dharma practice. That is your physical body. Speech, instead of engaging in other things, recite “om ah hung, om ah hung…” Keep on doing that and carrying that experience into your sleep. Mind, try with all the effort, make the mind, train the mind to be free of conceptual thoughts. So for that purpose we have this vajra wind recitation.
We are talking about the second Bardo which is dream Bardo. We have said we should not sleep like a corpse but always try to be watchful, mindful and heedful. Now what should we actually be doing, it says recognizing your dreams, practice transforming illusion into luminosity. In this particular case, Rinpoche says, we are kind of practice step by step. The first step would be we train the mind to dream virtuous things. We train the mind to always dream something virtuous, something to help others etc. When we are able to do that, then the next stage would be to phasing out the dream all together. The frequency of your dream will be lesser, lesser and lesser. The final phase would be train the mind to remain in a thing called luminosity, that is in your dream state. Rinpoche says that there are three different levels of sleep. When you go into sleep, the first layer would be kind of superficial that’s where you start dreaming dreams. If you go a little deeper than that you will go actually fall into sleep. If you go deeper than that it is kind of really, really deep sleep. The final aim of training the mind, in the dream yoga if you like, is to train mind so that when you accomplish it, in the last two levels of sleep i.e. the sleep and the deep sleep, there will be a luminosity like lighting a small candle in a vase there will be that clear luminosity in your dream state. It will not be solid in your sleep. It will not be kind of blacking out. Here there are two key words in the last line. “Trul Gyur”, it is translated as practice of transforming illusion into luminosity. In one dictionary, “Trul Gyur” is apparitions and transformations, it is talking about a great deal more than luminosity in your deep sleep but you are now manifesting all kind of things and apparitions. Rinpoche says that is another topic.
Page 24 last Tibetan line which says, “mi lam zung le…” etc. Here the three key words are, “mi lam” is dream, the translation here is, “recognizing your dreams, practice transforming illusion into luminosity.” Really I would translate this as, “manifestation and transformation or “Trul Gyur” for transforming illusion. Rinpoche says using dream as a tool and manifest at will the things that you want to manifest in your dream and transform those so manifested, whatever you have willfully manifested in your dream state, transform those manifestations into other things. That enhances your meditation in the true nature. Here Rinpoche says it is indeed very difficult to be able to do all these things. To be able to do all these things one would require to go into retreat for a long time and stabilize one’s meditation in calm-abiding meditation. But Rinpoche can talk about what can be done if one has many years of experience in meditation and finally stabilize one’s meditation in calm-abiding.
The words “Trul Gyur” as I’ve translated as “manifestation and transformation” is precisely right as Rinpoche is explaining right now. Rinpoche says, Milarepa said if you can experience day time experiences and night time dreams as being same in that both do not have inherent existence and that both are illusory, then it is a definite sign of successful stabilized meditation. Now how can you train your mind to achieve all these things especially in the dream stage? Rinpoche says during the day time all phenomena that you come into contact, sight, sound and everything, if you train the mind to accept that all these are composite things and that none of these are permanent. This will help you to lessen your attachment and aversion, and gradually completely get rid of attachment and aversion. That is one way of beginning to train the mind towards being able to manipulate with your dreams. Another method is sitting upright and sleeping or dozing off in a meditative state with day time experiences slowly merging with the process of dozing off into a sleep and carry that day time wakeful experience into your drowsiness and finally dozing off to sleep. Another way would be sleep on your right side with the flat palm of your right hand under your right cheek and eat as little dinner as possible. I’ve asked specifically because I want to be sure about those two words that I translated as “manifestation and transformation”. I’ve asked how do these tie in with the dream state. Rinpoche says as your meditation and experience progresses then you can doze off to a sleep and in your dream you can do all kinds of sophisticated things like having a dream of yourself transforming into a bird and that bird flying off to Amitabha’s Sukhavati for example, and coming face to face with Amitabha. That is the word “manifestation” manifesting yourself into a bird and doing everything. Then the “transformation” part, I’ve asked how does it play in the dream. Transformation here in the text it says, “transforming into luminosity”. Rinpoche says that part is really difficult, “luminosity” part of it but Rinpoche did not say a great deal on that.
There is this word “luminosity”, the reason why I say it is difficult to deal with for us is that luminosity is transformed experiences we talked about dozing off, the dream state and then deep sleep and very, very deep sleep. Now transformation of experiences, dream experiences during that very, very deep sleep into luminosity that is going to be very difficult. If one is able to do that the end result, what happens is, reaching enlightenment in one life time. The way this happens is when you pass away, when you go through the actual dying process, when everything the life force starts to cease, when everything come to a point where there is a pitch darkness, kind of blacking out, consciousness ceases, instantaneously there will be, because of one’s own practices, there will be this overwhelming experience of luminosity. In that luminosity one would just reach enlightenment instantaneously. That is what we are talking about when we talk about luminosity. So we leave this aside. If we are as practitioners being able to recognize in our dream state that indeed we are dreaming and that it is substanceless, that it is something not worthy of attachment and grasping. This ties in with the creation stage of the practice. If we can at will recognize all our dream experience as dream experience. This is an indication enough to suggest that one would be able to reach the samboghakaya state of Buddhahood in the Bardo state, that is to say after death. To us most practitioners why it is so important is, as practitioner who are trying to understand what the concept of emptiness is and what conceptual thoughts do etc. etc. With aspirational prayers we must try to train the mind so that your pre-bed-time experiences in whatever kind of meditative state you are in, carry that meditative state into the sleep period forget about remembering or manipulating with the dream etc. etc. But when you do wake up then train the mind to be able to immediately be back on track in that same meditative mode that you were before you went to sleep. So there is the continuity. If we can establish that, if we can through meditation, through practice we can do that, then in the words of Khenpo Munsel, they told us that we will never have to experience the extremes of Bardo state after death.
We say when you are having a dream experience and when you recognize and have this experiential understanding of the true nature of mind during the dream state, then it is said that one will reach enlightenment etc. etc. There is a sound reason for that. In all sutrayana teachings and in all tantric teachings, in a uniform fashion Lord Buddha teaches us that all sentient beings have Buddha nature. Now here it talks about luminosity. What happens is during the sleep, when you go into the sleep especially when you are in a very, very deep sleep, all your conceptual thoughts cease. It is something like merging yourself, kind of reverting yourself back to your true nature, true nature being the essence of the Buddhas, that Buddha nature. During mahamudra or dzogchen teachings when you are being introducing to the true nature of mind which is the introduction to the Buddhist’s view, we make mention of a self-luminosity. That means now we have two luminosities, one is the ground luminosity and the other is self-luminosity. A state of mind that is completely free of conceptual thought is called ground luminosity. Whatever is processed within you, as introduced to you during mahamudra or dzogchen teachings is called the self-luminosity. So the merging of the two we call it “mother and child reunion”. Mother being the ground luminosity and child being the self-luminosity and the two are kind of reunited. When that reunion takes place then that state of mind is the union of clarity and emptiness. To this day we all sentient beings have attachment and aversion, when you are free of conceptual thoughts, that means there is no attachment and there is no aversion and that state of mind is called the self-seeing wisdom which sees the non-existence of attachment or aversion. That state of mind is like the space, the sheer clarity and luminosity and that state of mind is the same as the state of mind of a fully enlightened being. So that is why so much importance is given to the dream state and sleep time experience.
(End of Tape 3 of 12)
Tape 4 of 12
We are talking about enlightenment. If you do a diligent practice, if the practice is successful, that is, you are practicing, meditating, in that state you fall off to sleep. It is total kind of black out. When that black out happens though, (black out means without any conceptual thought) that means merging with the ground luminosity. As soon as you wake up in that very instant if you can be back on track to your meditative absorption that you were doing prior to going off to sleep, then that is instant enlightenment, the state of dharmakaya. That is one we’ve dealt with. Second, you have been meditating, you fall off to sleep and then you wake up and all of a sudden one solid conceptual thought occurs, “Oh! Where am I? Oh yes! I was doing that meditation.” Then you go back on track. Because of that one single conceptual thought then you will not be able to reach the state of dharmakaya but you will reach samboghakaya state of Buddhahood if you have done a great deal in creation stage of your practice and have a profusion of devotion to your guru and when all the causes and conditions are present and right.
Page 25 the top of the page it says, “don’t sleep like an animal, do the practice which mixes sleep and reality.” If the last sentence is difficult to kind of listen to, Rinpoche says, the dream state, that state must be merged with the introduction to the true nature of mind. That experience must be merged together with the sleep experience.
I’ve asked Rinpoche this question, “on one hand we have the buddha nature, we’ve talked about the ground luminosity, we’ve talked about the self luminosity, we’ve talked about the reunion of mother and child, so I’ve asked Rinpoche, are these three synonymous with each other, is it the very same thing?” Rinpoche says, “yes” and reunion of mother and child is a figurative speech, otherwise there is no mother and there is no child.
If you are a good practitioner, then you have an opportunity to actualize the three kayas or the three bodies of the enlightened being in a step by step fashion. But if you do not have that practice then when you passed away from this life, you’ll have everything else except the physical body. You’ll have feelings. You’ll have consciousness. All these things will be intact. Along with these feelings, you’ll have needs and wants just the way you have these in this life. But none of those will be fulfilled. You’ll have all the emotions. Anger for example will result you to take rebirth in the realm of hell. Just think about it, the other kind or flip side would be bodhicitta, destination is Sukhavati. So this is the difference between one who practices and has experiential understanding versus those who do not have any kind of practice.
Now we will go on to the next Bardo, again it says, “Kye ma” or “alas”, “when the contemplating Bardo is dawning upon me, abandoning all kinds of wandering and deluded thoughts” etc. etc. Because we are going to otherwise face a lot of difficulties in life as well as after life, after death, we must embark on, we must travel the path of sublime dharma. Now in our case, the Tibetan form of Buddhism we have four major lineages and each has a kind of graduated path leading to enlightenment, a kind of body enlightenment path. Here we talk about the Bardo of contemplation. Bardo is a gap and interlude. Bardo of contemplation begins from the day you become a practitioner till you reach the full of that practice. That is the interlude. That is the gap. That is called the Bardo of contemplation. Another example would be the day you start your preliminary practice till you finish the actual practice. This is just an example. So what do we then practice? There is the delusion as the root text here says. The delusion is just like waves and waves after waves on the ocean surface, always pre-occupied with the kind of activities in order to lead a life-style. These activities are mainly driven either by attachment or aversion or ignorance. Everything we do associate with these three poisons we treat them as reality. That is called delusion, treating something as real when that something is not real. Where there is no form we attach form to something that we perceive. If you understand the nature of a form as not inherently existing, that is called the union of appearances and emptiness. When you hear a sound and if you understand that the very nature of that sound, that is called the union of sound and emptiness. If you do not have this kind of understanding then if someone utter a harsh word you’ll take exception to that and be very agitated or angry, all because of subject and object duality.
So we begin by saying “alas, when the contemplating Bardo is dawning upon me, abandoning all kinds of wandering and deluded thoughts”. Abandonment of wandering and deluded thoughts, does it mean that we have to cease to exist as ordinary being? Not at all!” Then how can apply that teaching in a practical sense? Well, we can discuss that in terms of past, present and future. In the context of past, whatever had happened in the past had already gone. There is no point in chasing the past. We often hear people talk about their childhood experience and how sad, how mentally scarred etc. etc. Some even contemplate on committing suicide because of some past experience. It had already happened. It had already been gone. So we should not be chasing what had already been gone and history. Then there are those who bring in something in the future that hasn’t come yet at all. Does it mean that we should cease to plan for the future? Not at all! We must plan because we have to live a normal life. Make short-term plan and long-term plan but understand that whether or not things are going to according to your plan will be determined by past karma and one’s own accumulation of virtues. By all means make plan but do not have this kind of grasping and clinging on to your plan and always understand that plans may not work out. When they do not work out that is it. Do not have any kind of delusion about this and don’t hang on to these plans. Right now at this present moment we have lot of delusions, attachment and aversion. Especially the attachment and aversion related conceptual thoughts we must abandon. When we have attachment and aversion, of all the emotions attachment and aversion are shelved most sharply but these are not absolute things…missing recording…as already been mentioned, it is the luminosities, the ground and self. Try your best not to follow your conceptual thoughts and be overwhelmed by your conceptual thoughts. Then you may ask, “in what kind of state of mind should I be stabilizing my meditation?” When you look inwardly you will detect the rising and disappearing of conceptual thoughts. It is that aspect of the mind which ceases and detects the rising of conceptual thoughts and the disappearing of conceptual thoughts. That you have to hold on and stabilize your meditation in that aspect of the mind. For the time being that is it.
At this juncture, try not to follow past, try not to bring in the future because it hasn’t come, and in this present moment try to remain without conceptual thoughts and when conceptual thoughts arise your alert mind will recognize. Then instead of following the conceptual thoughts try to be back in tune with the alert mind.
(End of Tape 4 of 12)
Tape 5 of 12
Yesterday we were in the middle of Page 25, we finish “nam yeng thrul pai…” etc. “abandoning all kinds of wandering and deluded thoughts”. Then we are going to pick up from the next line where “remain in the state which has no distraction of clinging, free from all limits”. The key words here are “yeng med” and “dzin med”. These are important, Rinpoche says, this line deals with the essence of the teaching of both mahamudra and dzogchen pertinent to the Buddhist’s view. Rinpoche says it will be useful to the practitioners so he is going to talk a little bit more about these two key words “yeng med” and “dzin med”.
When you are focussing on something and all of a sudden there is a distraction, “yeng” is not the distraction itself but it is the act of being distracted. It says here “remain in the state which has no distraction”. “Yeng med” isn’t any distraction but where there is a distraction not being distracted is the key thing. It is not having a distraction but not being distracted. It is “yeng med”. Rinpoche says, not being distracted and going into shamatha meditation or calm-abiding meditation, we have to start from there. Going to shamatha meditation or calm-abiding meditation and train the mind not to be distracted. Normally where a mind state that does not have attachment or aversion means that it is a truthful mind which means that the mind is abiding in calmness or calm-abiding meditation or shamatha. In 37 Bodhisattva Practices there is a verse which says, where there are neither enemies nor friends but where is equanimity then there is peace of mind or there is calm-abiding. When you are in shamatha meditation or calm-abiding meditation that meditation will be able to take care of or dissipate all these not so strong conceptual thoughts that arise. One by one when you are able to get rid of these not so strong conceptual thoughts and then there will be a time when your meditation will go one notch higher and gear into vipassana meditation or insight meditation. When you go into vipassana or insight meditation that state of mind would be like a bucket of pure water, all the sediments are right down at the bottom and the water is pure and unagitated. When you look at the nature of that mind, the watchful mind, the seer would see the state of your mind and that which sees, the subject and object both are same. There is no separate seer and there is no separate object that is to be seen. It is the clarity of that mind and we call that the union of clarity and emptiness. The fact that there is the very clarity of awareness that is the clarity part of the clarity and emptiness. Emptiness because that clarity does not have an inherent existence. Next key word “dzin med” is non-grasping or no clinging. When you have no clinging or grasping what it means is in that state of mind when conceptual thoughts arise, they just arise and because you do not grasp at them they just disappear. So nothing happens to the state in clarity of your state of mind. This is the Buddhist’s view and this is the absolute truth. It is very often emphasize and re-emphasize that one of the biggest faults or defects of meditation is grasping. Sakya Pandita had clearly said that where there is grasping that state of mind is not tuned in with the Buddhist’s view.
Next word is “non-grasping”. All kinds of faults arise from grasping. So it is important to understand that the negative things that can arise when you have attachment and grasping and what positive things that can be achieved when the mind stream does not have grasping. Guru Rinpoche teaches us to sever or cut the rope that is binding you with attachment and clinging. The duality of this idea of having a doer and a deed, this kind of subject and object duality, Guru Rinpoche teaches us to cut that away. We must investigate what happens when you have attachment and grasping. When you hear someone say something nice about you, all you are really hearing is sound and when you have that attachment and grasping to the sound then you will be tend to be very happy because someone says good thing about you. Conversely, we often think of the nasty things that were said about us a year ago and still feel bad about it. Why, because we have that attachment and grasping. Now when we do away with this grasping then if you hear someone saying something bad about yourself, just remind yourself that after all it is a sound and it does not have any essence. When you can train your mind to accept in this way then your mind is going to be let pure. When you have attachment and grasping, then this thing called obscuration clicks in. Obscuration is the result of attachment and grasping. That is because we have attachment on one side and aversion on the other side and attachment and aversion will arise from all the sense objects out there including form, etc. So the key thing is to trying to find out to yourself what attachment and grasping does and try to keep the mind pure.
Grasping or non-grasping, when you practice, especially when you practice relative bodhicitta, of course you have to have a certain amount of grasping. You have to hold on to or grasp on those things that are conducive to your practice of relative bodhicitta, for example lama, spiritual friends, parents and friends who are instrumental in achieving your goal of practicing relative bodhicitta. So whatever is beneficial you grasp or hold on to them and whatever isn’t you just abandon it. Because with the positive grasping it will help you to generate loving kindness and compassion which is bodhicitta but things cannot be said about bad company or the things that are detrimental to your practice.
Next one is “thar drel”, the translation here it says, “free from all limits”. The correct translation here should be “beyond extremes”, beyond all extremes. Rinpoche says “thar” is “extremes”, depending on which particular count you are talking about there are the eight extremes and there are the four extremes and there are the two extremes etc. etc. But Gyobpa Rinpoche, the founder of Drikung Kagyu lineage says, “let’s not yourself be contacted, tied down or tied to the three great ones”, the three great ones talking about the great mahamudra, the great maha-santi or dzogchen teaching or great madhyamika, the middle path. What Gyobpa Rinpoche meant was, Rinpoche says, let the mind, when you are in the absolute truth, let the mind stay in its own natural form, kind of untie to the three great ones. Rinpoche explains that sometimes when you think you are able to successfully meditate on mahamudra or dzogchen or whatever the case may be, then you have a feeling that you are succeeding in mahamudra meditation and immediately you are kind of tied to the great thing called mahamudra. That should be avoided. When you think, “oh! Yes, this experiential understanding that I am feeling is really the essence of dzogchen teachings”. Immediately a grasping is established and because of that what was actually the dzogchen experience is now turned into grasping. It should be, Rinpoche says, like a butter lamp or a candle, gracefully, naturally burning, the mind should be let to that free from all extremes. For that it is what meant by uncontacted or untied to the three great ones. If you have question in this regard because this seems to be a key thing pertinent to your practice you may ask question, says Rinpoche.
Question: When we do the mahamudra or dzogchen practice we should not have conceptual thought but in the tantric practice it also required that we have hundred percent of devotion to our Guru. How does that inter-relate with the practice of dzogchen or mahamudra?
Answer: Here we are talking about two things. One is relative truth and the other is absolute truth. At the relative level we need to generate love and compassion, love and devotion to lama etc. etc. When you have these devotion, love and compassion abundant, then you’ll have tears in your eyes, tears kind of rolling down your cheek because of compassion and devotion. But when you go into the absolute truth, the mahamudra or dzogchen when you are in the view meditation, there is no room for emotions at all. It is beyond emotions and there is no tear, no emotion. So this is talking about two different things.
Question: (Missing recording: When we are do meditation practice and if a thought arise thinking that the meditation is going on quite well, what should we do?)
Answer: Of course those thoughts will arise because the mind is so powerful but when such thoughts come just think that there is an aspect of mind which is detecting the rising of bliss, for example. Then immediately instead of dwelling in the bliss, focus on that aspect of the mind which does the recognizing of the rising of that bliss. So in other words the feeling of bliss is the quality of the natural mind. Not dwelling in that sensation but staying tune in the mind which does the recognizing is the way to go. Rinpoche says one aspect of the mind is the alert mind and there are so many different thoughts coming to the mind. But one aspect of the mind which does the recognizing is the alert mind. When a conceptual thought arises and you know it arose because of the alert mind. So think of right hand is the alert mind and left hand the bliss, instead of leaning towards the bliss, lean towards the alert mind which does the recognition.
The aspect of the mind which detects the rising of any kind of conceptual thought is the clarity of the true nature of mind. Therefore when a conceptual thought arises if you follow that conceptual thought, we begin with the generation of the bliss, if we went investigating and thought about that blissful feeling, what it does for you etc. etc., then you are completely derail from what you were doing in the first place. Whereas instead of following that blissful feeling and say to yourself so to speak,” yes, I understand that it is the clarity of my mind that is experiencing all these conceptual thoughts and let those blissful feeling or whatever conceptual thought they may, let them come and let them go. Keep nothing to do with it any further and stay in that original meditative absorption and the recognition of that blissful feeling will disappear. Now not so subtle this time, but if you have, while meditating, all of a sudden a very strong negative emotion arises, let say it is an anger. You know, you feel the rising of anger. It is made possible by the clarity of your mind. If you follow that anger and unleash it then it is total derailment of your meditation, but instead just stick with that clarity of mind rather than following that anger.
This would be the prelude to the next, the third Bardo teaching. We’ve just said undistracted, non-grasping, beyond all extremes. There are lot of things at relative level that aren’t pure so if you need to be able to remain in non-grasping, non-distracted and beyond all extremes, then you need to go through a purification process or transformation process. Whatever kind of things that are at relative level impure these need to be transformed into purity. Rinpoche says, “strictly speaking, it is not transformation but re-tuning the mind to its natural state”. By this Rinpoche is talking about the five elements, for example, five aggregates, five afflictive emotions. If you do not have an experiential understanding of their true nature, then all of these are impure and all of these are negative. If you understand and experience their true nature then that is called enlightenment. When you see them as impure then this is called samsara. These are clearly indicated in Samantabhada supplication. So what is seemingly impure is kind of turn around, we used the word transformation. To do that we have to go through the creation stage or generation stage of the practice. What it really means is, the creation stage of the practice is to give us a thorough understanding of at absolute level what the whole process of birth is all about. For that we kind of say the purification of the birth process. For that we have the creation stage of the practice.
There are four different ways of being born or four different births. One is the normal birth from mother’s womb. One is heat kind of born, born because of the heat and warmth. The third one is born out of egg. The fourth one is miraculous birth.
Because we have this idea of what is pure and what is not pure, then we go through the creation stage of the practice where the impure things are transformed into purity. Once the impure perceptions are transformed into purity then it becomes much easier to transform into emptiness. When you have an understanding of tantric teachings then you will understand the nature of the five skandas, five elements and five sense bases. You’ll understand that the true nature is the five wisdoms etc. So if you have this kind of background understanding and knowledge then at times when you are overcome with negative emotions or when some beings cause you to generate negative emotions, you will immediately understand that, “well, yes, these things are temporary which came about as a result of either of individual or collective karma but the real essence of myself and the other is complete purity.
Here Page 25 last line where it says, “obtain firmness in both generation and accomplishment”. The correct translation should be “achieve stability in both the creation and completion stages of the practice”. “Kyed dzog” is talking about both creation and completion stages. Creation stage means from the time when a baby is conceived till the baby is born. The creation stage is to do with that. Through this experience the creation stage is kind of purification of that process. Completion stage is the dying process when you go through the dying process, when all the elements kind of dissolve back into the nature. That is the completion stage.
The next word on this line is “ten pa thob par…” which is translated as “obtain firmness”. It should be to stabilize or to achieve stability. When you stabilize your generation or creation stage of the practice one obvious sign would be the clarity of the meditation. Mind is like a mirror whatever kind of object you show to this mind that image will be reflected. So when you do the generation or creation stage visualization you visualize yourself as the deity. The mind is so powerful that it is possible, everything is possible. Next one is “deity confidence”, stabilize your “deity confidence”, what it means is when you use the power of your mind and visualize yourself as the deity, and not only will you visualize yourself as deity but you’ll have that deity confidence thinking that you are the deity. When you do that in the generation or creation stage, Rinpoche says, you are not pretending to be something that you are not. You are reaffirming the fact that from beginningless time you are pure and you are the deity. Who said so? Gautama Buddha said so. He said all sentient beings have the Buddha nature but what you do not have is, to be a complete deity what you do not have is loving kindness and compassion. Emptiness you do have. So when you meditate on loving kindness and compassion you’ll become a complete deity. So as soon as you are able to generate relative bodhicitta then you know that you have now got the life-force of the deity. There is a thing called being mindful of the fact that everything about you the deity is pure. These purities are symbolized by the different ornaments, clothes, sashes etc. that the deity wears. For example some of the bone ornaments etc. etc. would symbolize things like six paramitas, ten bhumis, five paths etc. etc. So the clarity of aspect, stability of deity confidence and visualization in the purity of all aspects of you the deity, those three are the key words here.
The completion stage of the practice that you deal with, the dying process, in your visualization you would dissolve all the outer phenomena into the celestial mansion or mandala that you have visualized. The celestial mansion or mandala in turn will dissolve into you physical body. Yesterday we talked about dream state. In the dream state all your daytime experiences will be carried forward into your sleep time and then in your dream. Then dream is then transformed to luminosity. During the dissolution stage of the practice you as deity have at your heart the seed syllable of the deity that you are visualizing. Slowly you start to dissolve into the seed syllable. If it were Hung syllable, then from the “U” vowel sound, the hook like thing down below, it starts gradually dissolve upwards up to the circle of the top and on top of the circle there is a wiggle like small line that tapers up and it starts dissolve higher and higher. Finally there will be nothing, everything have dissolved into emptiness. We would practice, Rinpoche says, the completion stage during the sleep, we talk about a very kind of deep sleep during that. So during the completion stage when everything dissolves into nothingness that is the time when we would…
(End of Tape 5 of 12)
Tape 6 of 12
…and becomes nothing. Then that is the precise moment when your mind is merged with the true nature.
I’ve just have to ask a clarification because it tends to be very important. We are talking about the completion stage of the practice, we’ve talked about the dream state and we’ve said it is the purification of the dying process. What I’ve asked Rinpoche was, during the completion stage you are visualizing yourself as the deity in the celestial place or mandala. Then the completion stage, the mandala dissolves in you the deity, then deity dissolves in the seed syllable. Seed syllable starts to dissolve in the wiggle little thing and finally complete kind of emptiness in mahamudra. That is one section. I’ve asked Rinpoche, does that mean to say that when you are going through the actual dying process, do you have to meditate on this creation and completion stage or what is going to happen, what takes place? Rinpoche says, when you practice this creation and completion stage and when the completion stage meditation stabilizes, when you go through the dying process each of these completion stage practices will naturally and automatically come to you. As you start the elements dissolving back into the nature, when you start kind of faint away with your life signs and finally when you are completely dead, then that little wiggle thing emerging that will come to you and at that time it is not dying but it is kind of liberation.
The question was when Rinpoche did this, what was this hand gesture in connection with? The answer to that is, this is the hand gesture to say that everything will fall into place. It will be like when you have mastered the practice of the completion stage, at the time of death everything will fall into place in the light, you know, walking a path that you have walked many, many times before.
The question was, does this overlap Phowa practice? The answer to that is, the essence teaching is pretty much the same because even in Phowa if you go into the very detail teaching of Phowa, we’ll go through a very similar process of going through various stages of liberation.
Page 26, the very beginning where it says, “in this moment of one-pointed meditation, abandon all activities”. Now when you stabilize your meditation in the generation or creation stage and the completion stages, then it is time to abandon all activities and remain in single-pointed meditation. Does this mean that we have to abandon all physical activities? Not at all, we cannot cease to exist but the key thing is once you stabilize your meditation in the creation and completion stages, then it is time for you to cease to have those mental fabrications, cease to have those mental conceptual thoughts and be kind of controlled by them or overwhelmed by them.
The second line on Page 26, it says, “don’t be influenced by deluded emotions”, Tibetan words are, “nyon mong thrul pai wang du ma tang zhig”. Here when yon abandon attachment and clinging and then you will not succumb to this delusion. It talks about going into one-pointed meditation. What does this “one-pointed meditation” mean? One-pointed meditation, this one-pointedness is the one-pointedness of all Buddhas’ teaching can be summed up into the relative and absolute bodhicitta. Relative bodhicitta, when you treat all sentient beings without discrimination think of all of them are mother sentient beings then that kind of loving kindness and compassion and equanimity will immediately lead one to have the experiential understanding of what absolute bodhicitta is all about. Now in order to be able to generate relative bodhicitta Buddha had skillfully shown us hundreds of different methods, one of these skillful methods Buddha teaches us how to generate loving kindness and compassion where there is no loving kindness and compassion. Buddha teaches us how to make sure that whatever bodhicitta has generated does not decrease but increase ever more and more. So delusion means coming to this dualistic notion of “I” be separated from “you” which will give rise to attachment and clinging. For example if one mother has a son and that son has to be fostered and fended. Whatever kind of expenses or troubles one takes on behalf of that son if the mother from day one keeps on thinking that, “it is my son therefore it is my duty to raise my son etc.” When you attach to the words, “I”, “my”, then that become kind of self-centered, ego-clinging, attachment and clinging. On the other hand if you have some understanding of what bodhicitta is all about, fostering you must, fending you must but if you think that whatever kind of looking after, taking care of my son is being done by me, all sentient beings deserve the same kind of treatment because in essence my son is the same as all other sentient beings. This constitutes as the right way of looking after and taking care of. When you are able to use this skillful method then whatever kind of life you lead you can transform all of what is ordinarily mundane activities into super-mundane activities like you can incorporate the six paramitas in your daily activities. All activities that normally seem like samsaric activities can be turned into the performance of the six paramitas or six perfections. So whatever activities you do think that you are doing it to benefit sentient beings and it shall become so.
There are all together 84,000 different types of afflictive emotions. When you summed them up it is this I-clinging notion that there is an “I” existing in the center of everything else. If you further kind of investigate where this “I” comes, it is from ignorance. What is ignorance? Ignorance as not seeing the true nature of one’s own mind. We talk about Samantabhadra, Samantabhadra is referring to one’s true nature of mind. In Tibetan Samantabhadra is “Kun Tu Sang Po”, “kun tu” means completely and “sang po” is completely good. That is what Samantabhadra means. So something that is completely good is the true nature of one’s own mind. In the Dzogchen language we refer to this as “ga dag” or primordially pure. So when you understand and see the true nature of mind, all the afflictive emotions can be transformed into wisdoms. Then there is a word in the root text, “delusion” or “deluded”, deluded means having the wrong view. It is like seeing a piece of rope that has got colors of white and black and it is mistaken for a snake. This is deluded or delusion. Delusion means where there is no self we attach a “self” to ourselves and we believe that it has some kind of independent existence. Delusion means in the three realms of existence we have managed to separate all sentient beings into two categories, one as friends and the other as foes. So if you make a conscious effort not to succumb to delusion this means generating loving kindness and compassion or relative bodhicitta, when you do this, it also involves Buddhist’s view, Buddhist’s meditation and Buddhist’s conduct. In practicing relative bodhicitta how does Buddhist’s view involves in this. Buddhist’s view is involved because if we look at and see all sentient beings as one’s own parents. That is the Buddhist’s view. Buddhist’s meditation is involved because by generating loving kindness and compassion you are consciously meditating. Then how does the Buddhist’s conduct involves in this? Because you see all sentient beings as your parents, because you are meditating on loving kindness and compassion to benefit them, application of the relative bodhicitta is the performance of the practical things like the six perfections or six paramitas. When you do these three things then you are making a success in your practice.
Here it says, “don’t be influenced by deluded emotions”. In this regard whether you let yourself be overcome by delusion or not is entirely up to you. As soon as an afflictive emotion arises in your mind stream then cast your mind on all sentient beings as being your parents. When you generate a negative emotion, let say an anger towards any one particular person, immediately look at the nature of that, look at the destructive power of that negative emotion. If you do not unleash that negative emotion but say to yourself, “okay! For whatever reasons, I am just going to hold it at the back.” That wouldn’t do because then it will stow up and sooner or later it is going to come out. As soon as anger arises, see the destructive power of anger, understand that anger is one primary cause for one’s rebirth in the hell realm. Then immediately think of all sentient beings as your parents and think that you are generating this anger towards this particular individual because of past karma, it is because that there is an outstanding debt that had not been settled in former life. If you read the 37 Bodhisattva Practices, in that little book you will find plenty things about this. When you abandon negative emotions you are successful in abandoning negative emotions only if when anger arises because of the sight of that particular individual, when you re-think about all these things that have already been described, and completely get rid of that anger to the extent that next time when you come across the same individual there will not be even a trace of anger left over, then that is an indication that you have successfully eliminated that afflictive emotion. Otherwise you come across this person, anger arises and then you kind of reflect on the teachings that you have received and say to yourself, “oh! I am not going to unleash my anger because it will create a negative karma”. You kind of force to smile and walk away. Next time when you come across the same person, it will be the same thing and there will be negative emotion arising, there will be anger inside and then again you force yourself to walk away. This is not complete abandonment. It is a 50/50 thing, 50 percent positive and 50 percent negative, 50 percent negative in the sense that you still have that negative emotion kind of inside you.
We should try not to succumb to negative emotions. We should ensure that we do not succumb to delusions. But then what if we do generate negative emotions and unleash them? Here we should purify it three times in the day time and three times at the night times. How do we go about doing that? Before you go to bed just look back the course of the day and see if there have been any infringement, if there have been any violations of the teachings. Ask yourself if you have generated anger, jealousy, ego-centric pride etc. etc. If you find that you had, because you are the best judge of yourself, then strict away purify that, purify the negative karma or burn away the negative karma. If you say “om benzar sato hung” even that is going to be a very powerful tool to purify. But in order to be able to purify your negative karma one absolute essential ingredient is to feel remorse. Without feeling remorse, without being remorseful even if you keep on saying the hundred syllables mantra forever, it would not have 100 percent effect, this recitation will not purify negative karma because there has to be remorseful feeling. When you are remorseful and then when you go about purifying that negative karma you will be able to do so. So it is extremely important as Rinpoche says to purify our negative karma on a daily basis.
Then we go on to the next Bardo, it is on Page 26. Rinpoche says we have made a lot of emphasis on the need to purify the mind, needs to cleanse the mind rather. When you have imprints of negative emotions on your mind stream, when the time comes for you to pass away from this world you will carry that imprint forward. Conversely if you have bodhicitta imprinted on your mind stream then you will pass away with bodhicitta imprinted on your mind stream. So that is why it is important to cleanse the mind before one passes from this life.
Here it says, “when the Bardo of the moment of death is dawning upon me, abandoning attachment and clinging-desire to everything”. If you are not able to abandon desire and clinging, “chag sem zhen dzin” is desire and clinging or grasping, then there will be consequence for that. We practice for example, we visualize Amitabha Pureland, that is one of the many skillful methods to detach ourselves from attachment to this life and everything that comes together with this life. Because we tend to devote all our time and effort for this life, that is why we keep on saying, “do not have attachment, do not have grasping or clinging”. Now at the time of death even if you have certain amount of attachment to samsaric life or grasping, if you have a fair amount of accumulation of virtues it is possible to be reborn as a human being with all the wonderful qualities. But this is kind of difficult thing, it is very rare for average individual to have more virtues accumulated than non-virtues. So being reborn as a human being is not an easy thing. So if one does not have the required amount of virtues and if one unfortunately does have or had attachment to samsaric life, then the consequence would be one’s rebirth in any of the three lower realms of existence.
Abandonment of attachment and clinging, there are all kinds of teachings on how to do that. These teachings come as special instructions to suit different individuals, high intellectual capacity, intermediate and inferior or mediocre intellectual capacity. To suit these different capacities there are different instructions. If one is attached to worldly pleasures for example if one is attached to this world of ours, then to turn away from that attachment we are taught to think of the wonderful qualities of Amitabha’s Sukhavati or Dewachen and we are taught to reflect on all the difficulties and tribulations of the world and how everything is spontaneously arising in the way of fulfilling one’s needs at once in Amitabha’s Sukhavati. If one is attached to one’s nears and dears, let’s say to yourself that this attachment is futile, instead of benefiting it is causing them harm unless you have reached a certain level of attainment in your practice. Your attachment to your family members, for example, is going to cause them harm. When you have a lot of attachment to family members, this attachment will create the causes and conditions for you to be reborn as a ghost or a demon and then cause harm to your nears and dears. Instead you should think that if I can be born in Amitabha’s Sukhavati then I can benefit all my family members. It is said that if you are born in Amitabha’s Sukhavati you can actually go down to the Bardo stage, this time it will be after death and before rebirth and kind of redeem or lead your family members to Amitabha’s Sukhavati from the death Bardo.
There are three kinds of visualizations in order to be reborn in Amitabha’s Sukhavati. The first one is think of Amitabha as your protector like a parent, like mother, have complete faith, love and devotion. Then think that our central nerve channel as your path, this is taught in Phowa, your consciousness as guest walking that path and Amitabha’s Sukhavati as your final destination, as your homeland. Then read Amitabha’s supplication, aspirational prayers and offer very strong and profuse prayers for your rebirth in Amitabha’s Sukhavati.
If you do not have this kind of instructions on how to overcome the possibility of one’s rebirth in the lower realms or if you have these oral instructions and you do not follow that or if you succumb to attachment and clinging then whichever of the three poisons is predominant on your mind imprint then accordingly you will take rebirth in the three lower realms of existence. So instead of your consciousness shooting up through the center nerve channel, it will go downwards and exit either from your navel or the two lower apertures. That is because when you are kind of loaded with afflictive emotions that are negativities, it has the tendency of, because of the sheer weight, exiting downwards rather than shooting upwards.
(End of Tape 6 of 12)
Tape 7 of 12
Again going back to the previous text where it says, “do not let yourself be overwhelmed or overcome by delusions”. Delusion, the meaning just as being given before, succumbing to the idea that there is an inherent self-existing etc. etc. So training the mind not to be overcome by delusion that is important. We have to begin now so that when the time comes to depart from this world, we will be ready.
In proper context we will go back to the third Bardo, “when the Bardo of the moment of death is dawning upon me, abandoning attachment and clinging-desire to everything. Remaining in the sphere of the clear instructions.” We are talking about, as translated, clear instructions here. I’ll draw your attention one step back. In context, Rinpoche says, there are three different kinds of clear instructions. One we have already discussed, it is the clear instruction of how to transfer your consciousness to the realm of Buddha Amitabha through the center nerve channel etc. etc. That is the first oral instruction. We are now going onto the second oral instruction. We’ve talked about the stabilization of the creation and completion stages of the practice this morning. Rinpoche says if you are visualizing yourself as Chenrezig or Tara, it is wonderful if you can see everything in minute details including the color, the ornaments, sashes everything. But even that kind of clarity is not achieved as long as an imprint of the deity is made on your mind stream, in other words not separated from the deity, always thinking of the deity. Then one would have the opportunity to reach and actualize the samboghakaya state of Buddhahood in the Bardo stage, this time Bardo refers to after death and before rebirth. That is the second instruction. The third instruction is like we have already discussed if you are a practitioner of mahamudra or dzogchen and if you can do all those of manifestations and transformations in the very, very deep state of sleep into all kinds of wonderful things and transformation of different willful manifestations into luminosity, that is kind of instantaneous enlightenment. So these are the three instructions referred to in the text here.
Last line on Page 26, “transfer the unborn self-awareness into the openness of space”. Then the top of Page 27, “when we are about to leave this body composed of flesh and blood, realize that it is impermanent and illusory”. “Transfer the unborn self-awareness into the openness of space”, self-awareness or self-seeing and unborn, these are the qualities of the true nature. True nature here we say “space”, space really means we are really talking about the state of dharmakaya. When you reach enlightenment your mind merges with dharmakaya. Right now we have this physical body composed of flesh and blood and in this life when we have the opportunity to train the mind we must train the mind to think of the physical body as a mere guesthouse and one’s consciousness and oneself as a guest. This is indicated clearly in the 37 Bodhisattva Practices. Guru Rinpoche in one of the prayers, it says, “the time when the borrowed illusory body disintegrates in the Bardo stage”. So this physical body is illusory. It is borrowed. Training the mind to recognize that the physical body is impermanent, it is illusory. Training the mind in understanding that the physical body does not belong to me and it is not “I” who own it.
Next Bardo is on Page 27. Rinpoche says one Bardo stage leads to another when one is not able to liberate oneself or reach enlightenment. So when you are unable, when you pass away at that time there will be a complete kind of black out and then the next thing you experience will be a twilight kind of awakening. The senses that you feel is like twilight, something is dawning. This is a turning point if you are a practitioner then you would know what this particular appearance is all about. When you go into your own practice, then this is the turning point that you would reach enlightenment. But those who are not practitioners, when all of a sudden experience this twilight like experience, your immediate thought would be “where am I” and that is the first of your conceptual thought. What is actually happening is, that experience like a twilight it is the display of the nature of your mind. It is like a crystal ball and if the crystal ball is in a situation where there are right causes and conditions then you would see a whole spectrum of colors. Depending on where it is etc. etc. there will be variance in the display of multi-color spectrum. So when you start experiencing the twilight it is the self-radiance of the Buddha nature or tathagata garba.
This is the Bardo of dharmata. The root text here says, “abandoning all terror and fear”. Generally we say for an average being we have seven weeks or 49 days Bardo period during that time all the different things start happening, start seeing things, experience things. So what kind of experiences or what kind of things that oneself sees in the Bardo stage. The answer to that is it depends on from individuals to individuals, dependent on the levels of accumulations of negativities. If it is someone who had accumulated a great deal of non-virtues and created very, very heavy amount of negative karma, then all these things do happen, when the appearances of the peaceful and wrathful deities etc. etc. It will happen but it will happen so fast that one will simply not have any opportunity of registering anything. It will be something like you are really fast-forwarding, you will go in one shoal, everything will appear but the whole thing will disappear so fast that one wouldn’t have any opportunity. But the same cannot be said of people who are practitioners who have some stability in the creation stage of their practice. Because they have done their meditation and they have done their practice, then the first peaceful deity will start appearing. First day all these different deities’ names and who will come and in what combination etc. etc. are listed in the Tibetan Book of Liberation. It is called Tibetan Book of the Dead or Liberation by Hearing, liberation in the Bardo stage by hearing the names of the deities etc. Some examples of the peaceful deities would be the eight bodhisattvas and their counterparts, eight female bodhisattvas. The manner in which they will appear is like a multi-color rainbow as taught or introduced in the crossing over of dzogchen teachings. They will come in the form of rainbow with tremendous radiance and this radiance will come and dissolve in your heart center. When that happens depending on who you are either there will be absolute terror or there will be kind of warmth and there will be kind of feeling of incarnation towards those light rays. Along with the multi-color radiance of the peaceful deities there will also come the self-image of the six realms of existence in the form of lights. These will come together. To the non-practitioners the radiance of the six realms of existence will be much more appealing. The light is not harsh. It is not aggressive and easy to look at and therefore one will have a very strong leaning towards those agreeable light rays rather than the terrifying harsh light emanating from the peaceful deities. So now you are at the crossroad of a very important thing that is eminent to happen. For a practitioner as soon as these light rays start coming, as soon as the rainbow light of images of peaceful deities start appearing, it is kind of recognition, the meeting of something very, very familiar. One will immediately understand instead of looking outwardly and kind of recognizing some objects out there as peaceful deities, one would immediately recognize as the self-radiance of one’s own mind. If that is possible that is the best. If that is not possible then perhaps a lesser practitioner will be able to at least say to himself or herself, “oh, yes! The peaceful deities have appeared and they have come to usher me to the realm of the enlightened”, Vairocana for example, “yes, Vairocana is coming to receive me!” At that instance, your consciousness will dissolve in any one of the five dhyana Buddhas’ heart center and you are liberated. If you are kind of put off and scare and terrified of these lights and leaning towards the agreeable lights of the six realms of existence will mean that you will reborn in samsara.
(End of Tape 7 of 12)
Tape 8 of 12
…Anger creates what is known as hell. These were the teachings of highly realized Thobdup Chigmed Dorje and Khenpo Munsel. But there were times in my life when I almost let myself be overwhelmed by anger and aggression or I was on the verge, very, very close to being completely overwhelmed by anger and aggression. But thanks to these wonderful Gurus, teachers, masters that I manage to contain myself. Since some twenty years ago all those kind of aggressive dreams came to an end. Since about twenty years not once do I have these kinds of dreams or dreams of other being causing me harm. It is said that where there is no aggression and anger there is no hell. I’ve found this to be absolutely true and I came to the conclusion that if I can share this information with others and this information is going to be of tremendous benefit to others. It is because of this reason that I took special interest in the 37 Bodhisattva Practices. The words have very profound meaning. I have also discovered another thing, that is, bodhicitta can be passed on from person to person, from master to disciples. It is kind of contagious. Literally, Rinpoche says, it can be given by one to another and it can only be done if the giver has the required amount of experience to practice. So in order to benefit because of the practice of bodhicitta by my own masters, I have this experience of being on the receiving side from my masters. Knowing this I begin to practice myself because I want to be one who can actually give and benefit the recipient. The practitioner of bodhicitta is called in Tibetan “jang chub sem pa” or in Sanskrit “sattva”. It means “heroic”. “Jang chub sem pa” is heroic enlightened being. So there is nothing better and more powerful than the practice of bodhicitta. A practitioner is called heroic. If you are a hero you do not fear anything. This ties in with the root text where it talks about fear. So I am convinced that you too can be a heroic person who does not have to fear these kinds of fears the text talks about.
Both attachment and grasping and a mind set that is willing to benefit others, all these are conceptual thoughts. Yes, but you cannot just leave them aside and say these are conceptual thoughts. Although these conceptual thoughts do not have form and shape, these are referred to as minute particles of the mind and these particles can be shelved or experienced. Imagine from the very beginningless time, in countless number of life times we have been accumulating these tiny particles although formless, intangible, these weigh heavily on us in terms of causing us and others harm. When a mug full of water is placed on the table your immediate perception is, “yes, this is for me!” So there is the attachment, there is the grasping and it is not so obvious because it does not have form or shape but these do accumulate. So in order to do away with these things we accumulate merits, practice of “chod” and making your physical body as an offering in the chod practice through visualization. These are some of the methods of detaching yourself from attachment and grasping. These are antidotes to attachment and grasping. So is loving kindness and compassion, loving kindness and compassion means benefiting other beings. You have to be convinced that generating of loving kindness and compassion is not just something like mythological thing but actual. These are actual things that actually work. When you are completely convinced that bodhicitta is beneficial to yourself and to all others, then you would be motivated to practice the dharma and actually sit down and generate bodhicitta. Then you would feel like sitting down and meditating on bodhicitta. It is extremely easy to benefit others when there is bodhicitta in your heart. When you wake up for example from a long sleep, at that instance just think of all mother sentient beings and a round of “om ma ni ped med hung”. Because that action of reciting “om ma ni ped med hung” is driven by pure motivation, bodhicitta, it is going to reach out to all sentient beings. So when you have bodhicitta in your mind you become “heroic”, then there is no need to fear or rather you will be liberated from fear.
Now as you progress we begin this morning saying that the first week all these things will start, all the peaceful deities will start appearing. Rinpoche says, the five dhyani Buddhas with their consorts will start appearing. When you recognize them as such then instantaneously you will dissolve in the dhyani buddhas whichever is the most striking to you, in that dhyani buddha you will be dissolved. But if you fail to recognize then kind of your sleeping down, one step comes down and that much we have talked about the habituated tendency. It is that intangible, invisible negative imprint that you leave in your mind stream that is kind of again you see a thicker build-up because of failed recognition. If you keep on failing to recognize when the forty-two peaceful deities come one after the other, then the wrathful deities will start to appear. When the wrathful deities start to appear it would not be the same as before. Then it will be terrified. There will be sparks flying everywhere. There will be thunders, sound and everything will be really high-tensioned. Now it is comparatively much more difficult to be liberated, to reach liberation at this time because you fail to liberate yourself when the peaceful deities appear. As you keep on failing in your recognition the imprint on your mind stream, the negative imprint will be thicker and thicker and the chances of liberation become slimmer and slimmer. Always each time a new wrathful deity appears it will be by far more wrathful and fearsome. This we can understand on this planet if you are a law-abiding citizen, never infringe on any kind of law, rules and regulations, if you come across a policeman you will see that policeman as someone who is there to serve you, a friend. But if you have broken the law the sight of a policeman will induce fear in you. I have already told you the story that I used to have that experience myself. In my sleep all the people with whom I had interaction during the daytime appear as my enemies. So when you have a clinging mind stream, there is a saying in Tibetan, “wherever you go all the places will be like Amitabha Sukhavati or celestial mansion, with whomsoever you keep company will be seen as yidam deities”. So all these peaceful and wrathful deities should be understood as self-appearance of your own mind. If you recognizing as such that is the best kind of recognition. Then already as I’ve told you, you will instantaneously reach enlightenment. Well if you cannot reach enlightenment like that at least if you could recognize the peaceful and wrathful deities as the deities who have come to receive you, then the samboghakaya state of Buddhahood will be attained. If you are unable to reach enlightenment or liberation which really means enlightenment, when the last of the wrathful deities appears then that will be the kind of last chance that you can have the liberation in the Bardo stage. Now you’ll have to go on to the next Bardo stage, that is the Bardo of existence, take another life form. So in order not to have to take another life form there are all kinds of supplications. There are supplications for the recognition and enlightenment when the peaceful deities appear. Then when you fail, there is a supplication praying for the recognition of the wrathful deities and thereby reach enlightenment.
Six Bardo, the Bardo of rebirth, that is your consciousness is lingering in the Bardo state and it is just about to enter mother’s womb and take rebirth. Rinpoche says, that is because now you are driven, your consciousness is driven by karmic wind. It means that one does not have control over mind and wind. When you do not have control over mind and wind then your consciousness is driven every way by karmic wind. If we have control over our mind in this life then we shall have control over our destiny in the Bardo stage. But because we lost our control in this life we lose control in the Bardo stage. The Bardo of rebirth, Rinpoche says, Tibetan word “sid pa” means “desire” and many times it is translated as “becoming” but Rinpoche says in this case “sid pa” bardo of rebirth is to do with “desire”. Desire comes from ignorance. So in this particular predicament, Rinpoche says, hold on to the two bodhicitta, absolute bodhicitta and relative bodhicitta. Absolute bodhicitta is whatever kind of appearances one experiences one would realize that it is without substance, unreal. Relative bodhicitta means having loving kindness and compassion in one’s mind stream. If you have these two bodhicitta in your mind then when you take another life form through conception, then you will be born as a human being with opportunities like a spiritual friend or a spiritual master. So when you generate loving kindness and compassion etc., bodhicitta, it is not losing the continuity. So when you are leaving you generate loving kindness and compassion. Now not to lose that continuity when you are wandering in the bardo stage with a phantom body, Rinpoche says, it has to be absolutely careful here because it matters so much. It is going to make all the difference and in what situation you are going to be born. In this stage you block out all the impure doors. The question that I’ve asked Rinpoche was, “do you visualize and meditate on loving kindness and compassion while you are lingering in the bardo state before you enter the mother’s womb?” Rinpoche says, bodhicitta is something that you practice at all times and not only in the bardo state but at all times. I went back to Rinpoche and said, “well, we seem to be talking about the bardo of rebirth, so in context isn’t it reasonable to suggest that if we are to generate bodhicitta isn’t that at the time?” Rinpoche said, yes, at the time also.
We are talking about the sixth bardo, here it says, “alas, when the bardo of rebirth is dawning upon me, holding one-pointedly to that single great wish, connect firmly with our former good karma, closing the womb-door, remember to turn away.” What it says is, now you are about to take rebirth, at that time, here it says “holding one-pointedly”, with one-single-pointed aspiration you should have in your mind and with that aspiration reconnect or have that continuity with your past virtuous deeds. Here “le” does not necessary means karma, well karma in this case must be understood as activities, so reconnect with your virtuous deeds like Rinpoche were saying whether generation of loving kindness or whatever. Then with that single-pointed aspiration of being reborn in a better situation try to block out the door to the mother’s womb, refuse to enter it until you are absolutely ready kind of thing. That’s why Rinpoche was saying reconnect with your past virtuous deeds if that is generation of loving kindness and compassion, have that continuity and kind of get back on track. Visualize and generate loving kindness and compassion etc. and then block out all impure doors. In context it is to say no to the mother’s womb which is very tempting at that point but prepare yourself before you actually get yourself conceived. Next, going back to Rinpoche’s teaching, there are many signs as kind of foretelling you to where you are going to be born. These will help you to kind of gear your mind generation, prepare yourself. There are outer signs and there are inner signs of where you are going to be born. The outer signs, if you are going to be born in the hell realm then you are going to see a huge tree trunk kind of half burnt out or you are going to see vast empty cave. In your mind the inner sign would be, if you are going to be born in any of the three lower realms of existence, you will see yourself walking with your head down on the ground and your two feet up right. If you are going to be reborn in realm of demi-gods then you are kind of walking with your phantom body like a fish in a kind of horizontal way. If you are going to be born as human or samsaric god, then you see yourself walking upright. When you see these kinds of premonitions or signs, then get back on track, have devotion to your lama, yidam deity and get yourself reconnected with your practice, generate loving kindness and compassion. There will be other signs, very kind of urgent wailing calls, calling your names by those who are very close to your heart, say “come here, come there!” Do not respond to that and do not be distracted.
So imagine that you are driven everywhere by karmic wind facing harsh reality, going through all kinds of very harsh conditions, rain, slit, hail, karmic wind and having a phantom body that is completely naked and exposed to the environment. Running away with no place to hide and no place to stay, then if there appears to you of a cave to enter and hide, sometimes like a house, sometimes you would see the mother’s womb and other times you might see the male and female in union. So at that time with a stable mind you can do two things. One, refuse to enter mother’s womb, here it says, “remember to turn away”, turn away or refuse to enter the womb in that desperate fashion. By refusing and you go back on your meditation, think of Amitabha Pureland, Buddha Amitabha. Whatever kind of aspirational prayers or supplication you know say those, meditate and when you do these then there is a chance. The other thing is, instead of just finding a shelter, finding a womb to be conceived, when you see a male and female in union, visualize that male and female as male and female deity, meditate and reconnect yourself with your generation or creation stage of the practice. Visualize the “Hung” syllable, that is your consciousness as the Hung syllable and think that you wish to enter the mother’s womb in other to benefit mother sentient beings. By choice when you think of mother sentient beings and wanting to benefit them, at that time generate loving kindness and compassion, go through the creation stage of the practice. If you did those then you’ll take a rebirth as a human being most likely a spiritual master who is going to benefit sentient beings. So those are the two choices you have.
Rinpoche says, read the rest of text, which is the closing of the womb door and remember to turn away. It is the very time when courage and pure perception are needed. Avoid jealousy and visualize our parents as father and mother gurus. Never thinking death will come and make long-term plan, busy doing useless worldly task. If we return empty-handed our wishes will be wasted…
(End of Tape 8 of 12)
Tape 9 of 12
Rinpoche says you are given teaching on the bardo prayer text. On page 1, it is the “liberation by wearing”, it is the circular imprint of an image when you wear this then you’ll be liberated from the three lower realms of existence.
Now we’ll go to the beginning of the text, which is Page 2 starting with the supplication, “om ah hung, I supplicate the entire succession of gurus without exception; those of the thought, sign, and heard lineages of oral and treasure teachings”. Rinpoche says when we talk about sublime dharma, we are talking about loving kindness and compassion. Here it talks about the “thought, sign and heard lineages of oral and treasure teachings”. Tibetan key word in the text is “gong” and this refers to mind-to-mind transmission of the enlightened beings. Next Tibetan key word is “da”, “da” is sign, transmission of teachings through signs by the knowledge holders. Third key word is “nyen”, transmission of the teaching from person to person through “ears”, “nyen” is ears. Next, “gyud” is of course lineage. Then two more words, “ka”, “ka” is pronouncement or the traditional, historical kind of Buddha Sakyamuni’s teachings contained in the sutras, verbal teaching of the Buddha. “Ter” is hidden treasure hidden by Guru Rinpoche discovered by the discoverers of hidden treasure. In addition to these, there is another set of teaching, “pure vision” when one become one with the true nature then one can without effort spontaneously receive the teachings directly from Samantabhadra. One becomes the mouth-piece of Samantabhadra and starts teaching. So when we say the teaching lineage, we are talking about here nothing different from the relative and absolute truth. When we receive the mind-to-mind transmission of the enlightened beings, we are talking about absolute truth.
Mind-to-mind transmission, one example would be “Heart Sutra”. “Heart Sutra” is the teaching of the Buddha. The one who taught was Avalokiteshvara. At that time Buddha was in deep meditation, Sariputa put the question and the answer was given by Buddha through Avalokiteshvara because Avalokiteshvara receives the mind-to-mind teaching. We have a lineage of these teachings. What it means is when you have a complete understanding of all that master had ever taught and then there has to have someone to pass those teachings down. The lineage holder of Marpa’s teachings was Milarepa and Milarepa’s teaching was Gampopa and Gampopa’s teaching was held by Phagmo Drupa. Gampopa had five hundred principle disciples and the most outstanding one was Phagmo Drupa. Phagmo Drupa’s teaching was passed down to others by Gyobpa Jigten Sumgon, the founder of Drikung Kagyu Lineage. When you have a complete understanding of the teachings of your master, then you preserve and promote those teachings and you pass the teachings down and then it becomes the lineage. It is like the mala beads held together or strung together on a string and the string is the lineage. When we say lineage we are really talking about the union of emptiness and compassion or the two bodhicitta. Sometimes we talk about breakage of samaya what we are saying is that there is a gap, we are creating a gap, discontinuation of generation of loving kindness and compassion. When that happens then it is like where two wires are necessary in an electric cable to bring power to the bulb. One wire is missing. Loving kindness and compassion, the two bodhicitta like two wires that something that we preserve, promote and pass down. That’s what the Buddhas of the three times, Buddhas of past, present and future had done. These are mentioned in a prayer called “the calling of the names of the victorious ones” in which it says, “all the enlightened beings of the past, present and future what they hold on to is the two bodhicitta, what they preserve is the two bodhicitta, what they promote is the two bodhicitta”.
So the translation of the entire verse would be, “I supplicate the entire succession of gurus without exception; those of the thought, sign, and heard lineages of oral and treasure teachings, and of the profound dharma of the peaceful and wrathful ones, the “Self-Liberated Mind”. I pray that you grant blessing.” The second Tibetan sentence beginning with “zab cho”, “zab cho” is profound dharma, in this case refers to the profundity of tantric teaching. “Zhi tro” view, the peaceful and wrathful deities, the view is the appearances and existence all must be view as pure. It calls for pure vision. That means, as it was explained in previous days, all the outer phenomena, like the cosmos, the entire outer shell must be viewed as celestial mansion and all inner nutrients or inner sentient beings must be viewed as dakas and dakinis. “Zhi tro gong pa rang drol gyi”, peaceful and wrathful deities view which is “rang drol” or self-liberated. Self-liberating or self-liberation is possible only when you can cut away the bandage of dualistic clinging. Then it goes on to say the lineage of the lama and the rest is kind of straightforward and easy to understand.
One phase on last line of Page 2 is “jyin gyi lab” and the other is “sol wa deb”. “Sol wa deb” is to supplicate to the lama and ask for “jyin gyi lab”. Rinpoche says it is very difficult to understand the meaning. So Lama passes the “jyin lab” to disciples. We normally translate “jyin lab” as blessing in English. So when you receive “jyin lab” or blessing what is happening is, Lama has loving kindness and compassion and if you have loving kindness and compassion then indeed you are a spiritual master or you are a spiritual friend, “ge she”. That means if you do have loving kindness and compassion then you become a spiritual master or “ge she”. When the Lama has loving kindness and compassion, then the loving kindness and compassion can be passed down on to the disciple in the form of blessing. The way to receive the blessing from Lama is when yourself have loving kindness and compassion in your mind and frequently remember the important teachings given by that Lama whom too has loving kindness and compassion. Then the blessing of the Lama is transferred to your continuum. It is like pouring water in the root of a tree. The result is it is going to enhance the growth of the branches, leaves and flowers etc. Although Lama has loving kindness and compassion, if you have doubt, then that passage through which the blessing flows is blocked. If you have lots of devotion to the Lama, if you do not have any doubt then when the loving kindness and compassion in the form of blessing will come to you, it will be something like pouring water into water. Just think of two glasses of water, one cold and one warm. Lama’s warmth is transferred into your cold glass and turns it into warm. Guru Rinpoche said you have to have unfaltering faith and then supplicate. Otherwise if you do not have that kind of faith, belief, loving kindness and compassion, although Lama wants to bless you it is not possible. It will be something like mother desiring to feed the infant and bringing her tit close to the infant’s face but the infant does not have a mouth to suckle it. It will be like that.
I want to make one clarification. Rinpoche use the word “ten se”, “ten se” is kind of experiential thing. It is almost ah hoc name for two mental events. One is mindfulness and the other is watchfulness and put these two Tibetan words into one and make it into “ten se”, so whatever it means, it is mindful, watchful mind. I just like to make this correction.
One example to illustrate what is meant by purification of dualistic grasping and the non-dual primordial wisdom. When we say dualistic clinging or grasping, we are talking about all phenomena. When we say non-dual primordial wisdom, we are referring to that singular ground which mixes everything possible. An example, Rinpoche says, would be, at night gazing out from the window and looking at the metropolis and seeing the countless number of lights shining out there. That is “rab jam” or infinitely countless number of lights shining out there. But when you go to switch off the main switch all the infinitely countless number of lights out there will just go out, there will be nothing but complete pitch darkness. So the main switch is that ground which enables everything. It is the non-dual primordial wisdom. Everything arising in both samsara and nirvana are the makings of one’s own mind. So when you look out to the lights shining out there, these are not reality as not having independent existence. So when you also come and look at that switch that you just turn off, that switch is also something that does not exist inherently or independently. When you understand this then you have the understanding of non-dual primordial wisdom, or “nyi med ye she”. So when you have this understanding of non-dual primordial wisdom then you are one with enlightenment or “jang chub” which in essence is enlightenment. Enlightenment means having an experiential understanding of the empty nature of all phenomena. Enlightenment means understanding that everything that you experienced comes from the non-dual primordial wisdom.
Page 3, “kun zang zhi troi go phang thob jai chir, mon jug jang chub chog tu sem kyed do”, “kun zang” is Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri. “Zhi troi” is wrathful and peaceful deities. “Go phang thob jai chir” is “in order to attain state of Samantabhadra and the peaceful and wrathful ones”. “Go phang thob” means to attain the state or it is like a sanction to the throne of a kingdom and become the king. The reason why we have not become the king or Samantabhadra is because of our own attachment and grasping. Attachment and grasping brings us in samsara with this physical body. So in order to become the king, in order to become the state attained by Samantabhadra and the peaceful and wrathful deities, we need to generate bodhicitta. “I give rise to the attitude of supreme enlightenment in both aspiration and application”, meaning that “mon” is the short form for aspirational bodhicitta and “jug” is short for applied bodhicitta. In order to attain the state of Samantabhadra and the peaceful and wrathful deities I am going to generate both the aspirational and applied bodhicitta.
Applied bodhicitta or action bodhicitta refers to putting into practice your aspirational bodhicitta which means the carrying out of the six perfections or six paramitas. In order to reach enlightenment we have two things to do, one is to accumulate merits and the other is to burn away negative karma or purify obscurations. One of the ways of doing those is the practice of the seven limb practice as indicated in the seven limb prayer which is going to follow. Seven limb prayer means against ego-centric pride we offer prostrations, with body, speech and mind, reference with body, speech and mind we offer prostrations. Against desire or attachment we make offerings. Against hatred, anger and aggression we do confession. Against jealousy we rejoice in the happiness of others. Against ignorance we request for the turning of the wheel of dharma. Against attachment we dedicate the merits. Against wrong view we request for the turning of the wheel of dharma. Against doubt we request not to pass into pari-nirvana. Accumulation of merits or purification of obscurations really means practicing the two bodhicittas, aspirational and applied. What we need to do is get rid of the afflictive emotions.
(End of Tape 9 of 12)
Tape 10 of 12
Page 4, the small prints here, “I pay homage to the self-arisen peaceful and wrathful deities…” When we say self-arisen everything arises from one’s true nature of mind which is Samantabhadra. It is the self-radiance of the true nature of mind.
Starting from the beginning of Page 4 up to the third line, in those three lines are included the seven limb prayers all together.
Page 4 last line, “Om ah hung” are three syllables representing the dharmakaya which is the “ground”, samboghakaya an unceasing manifestation of dharmakaya and then nirmanakaya, from samboghakaya then nirmanakaya manifest and carry out the enlightened activities to benefit sentient beings. “In the unborn realm of dharmadhatu”, it says, dharmadhatu is unborn and unceasing, unceasing in the sense that it is like a rainbow. When you understand the basic ground of all phenomena then you’ll understand the union of appearance and emptiness. All phenomena will manifest as the five wisdoms, primordial wisdom and their nature would be appearance and emptiness like the rainbow. It appears but the nature is empty or devoid of independent existence. When you see the rainbow, when you see the deity like the rainbow then you understand that it is the self-radiance of the “ground” which is the true nature. All the deities appear like rainbow but the appearance is empty of independent existence. Then here is a mention of “in the center of the pure, clear, bindu of unimpededness”, “unimpeded” or “unobstructed” is the nature of samboghakaya state of Buddhahood which can manifest as rainbow in a bindu or sphere like vision.
The translation on Page 4 last line is, “in the unborn realm of dharmadhatu” then Page 5 top line continuation “in the center of the pure, clear, bindu of unimpededness”. The unimpededness qualification here, it qualifies the bindu but that is not what it is. It is talking about not the bindu but somewhere down where it says “the uncontrived empty radiance of my mind”. Unimpededness is referring to the radiance of your mind and not the qualification of the bindu.
Next line talks about “on a precious throne, lotus and moon”, lotus, moon and precious, three words. It is precious because we are referring to loving kindness and compassion. When we say precious throne, it is something like a throne made out of gold, that does not change color, that does not contain impurity, it is malleable. We are talking about relative bodhicitta which have all these wonderful qualities. The mention of lotus seat and lotus flower is non-attachment, non-attachment to self-related things. Bodhicitta is non-attachment. It is always to benefit others. It is faultless just as lotus flower although grown in muddy water but unsoiled by mud. Moon disc is relative bodhicitta and on top of that is absolute bodhicitta which is untainted by subject and object duality, one’s own nature of mind transforming into Vajrasattva. That Vajrasattva is the self-seeing, self-arisen, one’s true nature of mind which is unimpeded.
Page 5 second last Tibetan sentence where is says, “he is white and clear, with one face two arms. He holds a vajra and bell, appearance and emptiness.” This is easy to understand, says Rinpoche. White symbolizes the fact that one’s true nature in this case Vajrasattva manifested is free of all faults. Then it talks about “nang tong” which is appearance and emptiness. To indicate the nature of Vajrasattva or the nature of one’s true mind is the union of appearance and emptiness. Vajrasattva is holding a bell and a vajra. When you are doing the creation stage of the practice, when you visualize the deity, the deity will be imprinted on your mind stream because mind is like a mirror and mind is emptiness. Vajrasattva in this case is also emptiness. It is not tangible. It is not real. All phenomena is appearance and emptiness. The bell and vajra sometimes we say the union of appearance and emptiness and other times we say the union of emptiness and compassion.
When we know and understand what appearance and emptiness is, then when you look in a crowd and see lots of people just like what we see here, there is appearance. It is not blocked out. But understanding the unreal nature of all of us in the sense of not existing inherently. That is important.
The top of Page 6 where it says, “he wears the crown of the five families and the complete precious adornments of the Samboghakaya”. The crown of the five dhyani buddhas, Rinpoche says, is the transformation of the five poisons into five wisdoms. The ornaments or adornments of the samboghakaya state of Buddhahood, these are symbolic of the inner qualities of the samboghakaya Buddhas. For example during the creation practice you will come across things like 13 ornaments of the peaceful deities. These 13 ornaments are the symbols of the attainment of the 13th bhumis of Vajradhara. The inner qualities of the deities like the practice of six perfections etc. will be symbolized with other set of ornaments etc.
Next line is, “he is seated with legs half-crossed”. Half-crossing of legs symbolize non-attachment and non-aversion, non-attachment to peace or enlightened state and non-aversion towards samsara.
At the heart center the moon disc is relative bodhicitta, the “hung” syllable is absolute bodhicitta. Always remains focus on the “hung” syllable and that is very important in the creation stage of the practice.
Rinpoche says the commentary and teachings on the peaceful and wrathful deities is important. Ayang Rinpoche had given you teachings on Vajrasattva visualization and practice. So I am not going to talk anymore on Vajrasattva. On the heart center of Vajrasattva there is the seed syllable and around the seed syllable are the 100 syllables mantra which rotate around just like serpent or snake coil.
Here on Page 6 the translation here is, “surrounded by the hundred syllables. They radiate light which makes offerings to all the Jinas, and purifies the obscurations of all beings who become, in form, Vajrasattva”. “Jina” is a Sanskrit word for victor referring to the Buddha. So when you spin, the light rays generated as offerings to the bodhisattvas and the Jinas or the victors referring to Buddhas. The light rays also purify obscurations for sentient beings. That is because of the power of the recitation of mantra. When we say power of recitation of mantra, really the power behind this rotating mantra is loving kindness and compassion. When you have loving kindness and compassion, loving kindness and compassion would please the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, loving kindness and compassion will also benefit sentient beings. Now how much light rays you would generate? It depends on the size of your bodhicitta. If you are reciting “om ma ni ped med hung” with the puriest of mind and if you have lots of loving kindness and compassion to back it up, proportionately the light rays would be greater. When you generate light rays and go to the pure field upwards i.e. to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and light rays go down to reach out to all mother sentient beings purifying their negativities.
Top of Page 7 where it says, “then oneself is Vajrasattva”. When you see the true nature of your own mind which is the union of clarity and emptiness which is like this crystal pointing at the tip of Rinpoche’s prayer wheel. If you recognize the true nature of your own mind then that recognized state of mind is Vajrasattva. Vajrasattva is composed of different words. “Dor je” is vajra refers to the emptiness from the beginningless beginning to this day it has remained the same, unchangeable, adamantine, cannot be seen because it is empty. “Sem pa” is “sattva”, heroic heart. When you see the true nature of mind then you are in contact with the primordial awareness. If you see that primordial awareness then that is the vajra and that is heroic. If you do not see the primordial awareness then you are a sentient being. That is the distinction. Next one it talks about “tsit ta”. “Tsit ta” is a Sanskrit word for heart. “Heart is a precious, luminous, primordial palace”, think of having a kind of celestial mansion and at the center of it is the “tsit ta” or heart. This mind is the union of Samantabhadra, the male and Samantabhadri, the female which is the union of clarity and emptiness. When you have conceptual thoughts as we described during the empowerment, when you recognize these conceptual thoughts as conceptual thoughts and that is then the Vajrasattva state or the state of union of Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri. If you do not recognize the conceptual thoughts that is delusion. So it is an introduction to the state of mind, pure as well as impure.
Next the translation of the text on Page 7, “in a bindu of the five wisdom-lights, (seated) on a lion, an elephant, the supreme horse, a peacock, and a shang-shang, on a sun and moon, are Samantabhadra, the father and mother jinas of the five families”. I think you have to understand that it is talking about the throne rather than sitting on different animals. On top of all these five animals there is Samantabhadra and bindus of the five primordial wisdoms. When we say “Samantabhadra, the father and mother jinas of the five families” we are referring to the five dhyani Buddhas seated on five animals/birds. By that you should understand the basic ground is Samantabhadra. If you do not see the true nature then even the five Buddhas are five poisons but if you see the true nature then they become the five wisdoms. The primordial basis or the ground is purity. When you do not see it then it too becomes afflictive emotion and all the deities are included in these, the five dhyani Buddhas. The flip side of the five dhyani Buddhas are the five poisons. Each poison has also the five poisons in it. For example if it is anger it has the desire, hatred, ignorance, jealousy etc. When you reach enlightenment then all these afflictive emotions transformed into the five dhyani Buddhas or the peaceful and wrathful deities. When you are practicing you have to have the watchful mind activated. When the watchful mind is activated all the conceptual thoughts that arise will disappear. They are self-arisen and self-disappearing. There are countless number of deities but all are included in the five dhyani Buddhas. So here the lion, the elephant, the excellent horse, the peacock, and shang-shang, the mythological bird with the upper portion human and lower portion bird with two wings look like two arms, all supporting the throne etc. These are referring to a throne supporting by these animals.
Page 8 where it says, “and the sixteen father and mother bodhisattvas, and at the four gates are the eight father and mother gatekeepers…” etc. At the heart center the peaceful deities reside (nirmanakaya), at the throat center the vidyadharas or the knowledge holders reside (samboghakaya), in the brain reside the blood-drinking herukas (dharmakaya). It is like a hotel with three storeys. All the peaceful and wrathful deities live there. If you have an understanding of the nature of afflictive emotions then that understanding transforms the afflictive emotions into the peaceful deities. When that understanding coupled with, when that understanding becomes experiential, then that experiential or awareness transforms the afflictive emotions into wrathful deities. The blood-drinking wrathful deities are same as the dharmakaya state and they reside in the brain. There are many, many deities like sixteen bodhisattvas, eight male bodhisattvas and eight counterparts of female bodhisattvas. When we talk in terms of male and female bodhisattvas, when you are doing the practice reading through the text just have an awareness or understanding of what the text is talking about, ear for example through the ears we can hear the sound, the eyes will see the forms. But all these seeing, hearing and touching, all the five senses are just one, it is the mind. The machinery that is behind all these five senses is the mind. Take the example of a flower. When we talk in terms of male and female bodhisattvas, in the puriest form flower is female bodhisattva. I who does the perceiving am a male bodhisattva. That is the co-relation, the subject and object. Same thing applies with form, all the senses, hearing, seeing, touching, feeling, tasting, everything. When you go through the practice just remember this is what male and female bodhisattvas means.
(End of Tape 10 of 12)
Tapes 11 and 12 of 12
Skipping few pages, then on Page 11 line 3, “further, in the nadis and dhatus of my body are assemblies of deities of the three roots…” etc. Rinpoche says, when you do this practice, stabilize the mind and thinks that one’s physical body is full of deities, but all the deities are without going into the details by name or anything. Think that when your mind is stabilized, when all the conceptual thoughts arise and when you do not chase them, because they are self-arisen they are self-disappearing. When they disappear then that is the state of stabilized meditation that you are looking for. In that stabilized state of meditation then one understands that one’s physical body becomes the mandala of all the deities. That becomes like a huge hotel. When you are in that kind of meditation it will generate bliss in your mind and that will inspire you to go on doing more practice. So that is the kind of understanding you should have of all these teachings contained in these pages.
Bottom of Page 11, “abiding in great primordial spontaneity. In that way, the peaceful and wrathful deities have abided from the beginning in co emergence, inseparable from me.” Rinpoche says these are the qualities of the mind and these are spontaneously arisen in the mind. All the peaceful and wrathful deities are the self-manifestation of the true nature of mind. It is not different from the true nature of mind. It is not something that we are inventing. We are simply reiterating the fact that existed from primordial times. If you just go through the text then it would be easy to understand.
Bottom of Page 12 “their own uncontrived radiance”, Rinpoche says when the mind abides in its natural state kind of unfabricated, that is all you need. All the peaceful and wrathful deities or whatever comes from there that is the state of all the deities. Then next page it goes on to say, “om ah hung…”, “om ah hung” are three kayas, three bodies of the enlightened beings. Then “bo dhi tsit ta…” etc., it is talking about loving kindness and compassion. “Bo dhi tsit ta” is bodhicitta. “Ma ha su ka” is great bliss. “Ja na” is wisdom. “Dha tu” is expanse(in Sanskrit term would be dharmadhatu, expanse associated with emptiness which is the container of the dharma or reality, dhatu is holding or containing something, that emptiness is containing all phenomena). This nature is called self-seeing and self-illuminating. One should rest in this state of mind. If one does so, then that is going to generate a great deal of bliss or mahasukha. All phenomena are like that, everything is included in this state of mind. Because this awareness is primordial awareness, it is not necessary to name, to recognize and to remember every single deity. So if you just abide in the true nature state of mind that is all that required and it is much easier.
Page 15, “in the hearts of the deities, on moons and suns, are their clear individual seeds surrounded, in the peaceful ones, by the bodhi mantra, and in the wrathful ones, by the Rulu mantra. Each proclaims as speech the sound of the mantra.” We have two different mantras here, one is “bo dhi tsit ta ma ha su ka ja na dha tu ah” and the other is “ru lu ru lu hung jo hung”. When you put these together then of course the whole thing becomes the mantra of the peaceful and wrathful deities. When you separate them, the first one is the mantra of the peaceful deities and the second one is the mantra of the wrathful deities. So all the peaceful and wrathful deities we have mentioned are kind of self-arisen from the nature of our own mind. Then seated on the sun and moon, we have to visualize the sound of the mantra being recited. When we do this not only are we going to recite the mantra but visualize that the entire phenomena, the outer shell, the cosmos and the inner sentient beings all recite the mantra together. When you do that of course we are talking about nature of mind manifesting that everything. Then, “are their clear individual seeds surrounded in the peaceful ones by the bodhi mantra” by that it is understood to be the mantra of the peaceful deities i.e. “om ah hung bo dhi tsit ta…”etc. When it said Rulu manta it is talking about “ru lu ru lu hung jo hung” of the wrathful deities.
Page 15, “internally, the contents become gods and goddesses. Sound and speech are of the mantra’s nature. Memory and thought are the play of Dharmata. I remain uncontrived, effortless, and undistracted in the state of self-clarity.” In that state, Rinpoche says, all appearances turn into deities and all sound turn into mantras. When we say all appearances turn into deities, think of in this room and think of having a whole bunch of crystal balls, then dimmed down the light, the reflections of Buddha Amitabha for example will be in each and every of the crystal ball. It is just like that. All appearances become deities. When you have an experiential understanding of the Buddha nature then appearance turn into deities. When you do not have attachment and clinging it is possible. Like form, sound etc. etc. like Guru Rinpoche said, union of emptiness and appearance, that is talking about deities and union of sound and emptiness is talking about the transformation into mantras. When you leave your mind in its natural state then appearances turn into deities, sound turn into mantras.
Now go on to Page 18, this deals with the completion stage, “all the dhyanis appear as mantras of the peaceful and wrathful deities. These deities dissolve as rainbow in the sky”. Rinpoche says all form turn into peaceful and wrathful deities and all sound turn into the sound of mantras of the peaceful and wrathful deities. Just like here people under this roof, if each meditate on the form of Amitabha. In the final analysis all will merge in one kind of Amitabha state of being. It is not like each will attain the state of Amitabha separately from the others. This is what is meant by dissolution in the same mandala. This is what we have to understand. All will reach enlightenment in the mandala of the Buddha in this case the peaceful and wrathful deities. These are possible if you do not have attachment to form and sound etc. in which case when you do not have attachment it will be like flame of a burning candle merging into the flame of another burning candle. It will be like the water in one cup pouring into the water of another cup, water merging into water.
We go on to Page 20, “ta shi” here it says, “expression of auspiciousness”. We invoke the auspiciousness of dharmakaya, samboghakaya and nirmanakaya by reciting “om ah hung” corresponding to these three kayas. Dharmakaya is the true nature of mind which is emptiness, samboghakaya is the clarity and nirmanakaya is the all-pervading divine grace, untargeted compassion coupled with emptiness. It is the kind of compassion and love with a tinge of sadness hidden. So we invoke the auspiciousness of the qualities of the Buddha of dharmakaya, samboghakaya and nirmanakaya.
Page 21 continuation of invoking auspiciousness, “as ground auspiciousness may one’s own mind be tamed. As path auspiciousness may the mind of others be trained. As fruition auspiciousness may the basis be brought to maturity.” So here the ground auspiciousness is when one thoroughly tames, conquers one’s own coarse mind and refines it, and path is then one will be able to help liberate others and the fruition is the attainment of the kind of full-bloomed Buddha state. These are the actualization of dharmakaya, samboghakaya and nirmanakaya and at the height of this attainment you will attain the fourth kaya which is svabhavikakaya or essence kaya.
(Missing Recording… Last line on Page 21…)…So “this virtue of three-fold complete purity, may all beings without exception in the three realms of samsara quickly attained the fruit which is the three kayas. May this be the glory of all sentient beings.” Here in the Tibetan text, “na mo” is obviously prostration, “khor sum” it says here as “three-fold” but sometimes translated as “three spheres” (it is subject, object and action). Now you are dedication merits to sentient beings, so on one hand you have the sentient beings and sentient beings by nature being the nature of the Buddha, it is completely pure. Now the merit that you dedicate is in this case absolute bodhicitta, not relative bodhicitta, because in your single-pointed meditation in the true nature of mind whatever goes out that thing that you dedicate is your meditation in the true nature, so that is completely pure. The one who actually does the meditation and dedicating which is you, in your meditative absorption when you are one with the dharmakaya state of Buddhahood or the true nature of mind that is purity. So it is both you and sentient beings to whom you dedicate and the thing that you dedicate to sentient beings, all are absolutely pure. So in doing one meditation when you can think of mother sentient beings and remain in the true nature of mind and then do dedicate the merits, you will have tremendous benefits. It is said in the “Liberation Sutra” that if one could meditate just one instant like that and dedicate merits the benefit will be equal to saving the lives of all samsaric beings.
The three fruits of attaining the three kayas, some would know and others would not know. It is emptiness. It is “be blessed with the kingdom of dharmakaya”, that is reaching dharmakaya. When you reach dharmakaya state of Buddhahood your state of being is precisely the same as all other enlightened beings. Dharmakaya is said to be like the space. Samboghakaya is without having to make any effort. It is the self-arising of untargeted compassion towards all sentient beings. Those who do not have so much obscurations would be able to see or experience samboghakaya state of Buddhahood. Then we have the nirmanakaya state of Buddhahood with forms and these are visions out of the samboghakaya state of Buddhahood, self-arisen, self-originated. Samboghakaya state of Buddhahood and nirmanakaya are just like the sun and its radiance, self-arisen. The sun being dharmakaya of course.
So those of you who have received the Phowa teaching from Ayang Rinpoche so you would know but one thing that must be present in your practice is your focus in your visualization. Think of Amitabha as your dear mother and you being the infant who needs protection of Amitabha and you must have a longingness to go to Amitabha Pureland. Your destination of Amitabha Pureland is like your homeland and you have this yearning desire to leave samsara behind and go to Amitabha Pureland. As I’ve already said the short visualization of Phowa would be to think of Amitabha Pureland as your destiny, your home country and Buddha Amitabha is one who gives you protection and the path leading to Amitabha Pureland is the center nerve channel and this physical body is just like an empty guesthouse and your consciousness is the traveler who wishes to reach the destination of Amitabha Pureland. That is important to visualize.
Whether one would be able be receive the protection and help of Buddha Amitabha or not is dependent on one’s devotion. When you have devotion to your Lama including Buddha Amitabha then accordingly Amitabha is going to come to your help. When you have conceptual thoughts and when you have doubts, then Amitabha will not come to you because you have rejected. We have one elderly person back home in Gar Monastery telling the story, my predecessor Garchen Rinpoche, at that time I was only a little kid, it was said that wherever people had lots of devotion to Garchen Rinpoche Amitabha will come to them through Garchen Rinpoche. That is all because of their devotion and their faith. So if you have really genuine faith and belief in your lama it doesn’t matter which lama or who. Nowadays there are many lamas, if you have unbiased genuine devotion and faith, through that lama definitely Amitabha will come. This particular teaching was given by Khenpo Tendzin Sangpo as a kind of peak instruction.
Successfully transferring the consciousness to the realm of Amitabha is possible with three powers. One power is the power of one’s own nadis or central channel. It is the power of center nerve channel shooting the consciousness upward to the realm of Amitabha. It is possible through the center nerve channel. If one does not have a clear visualization then the tendency is, it causes the consciousness to go downward and exit from the three lower openings including the navel. Second is the power of Buddha Amitabha. Amitabha is very, very powerful because of the very powerful aspirational prayers made by Buddha Amitabha. So if you supplicate Buddha Amitabha whole-heartedly without doubt then Amitabha has the power. Then third power is your devotion and faith in Amitabha. So with the help of these three powers one can transfer the consciousness to Amitabha Pureland.
(End of Tapes 11 and 12 of 12)