07 Apr 2016
We begin by exploring the third in the sequence of “Four Greats”, which is Great Joy or Maha Mudita. For Great Joy, as for the other great qualities we’ve analyzed so far (Great Compassion and Great Loving Kindness), we start with one question, “Why couldn’t all sentient beings never be parted from sublime happiness, free of suffering? Alan explores the underlying assumption in this line of the liturgy, which is that it is only because we all already have a Buddha nature, that the question even makes sense. And if that is the case, then we continue with the aspiration: “May we never be parted from that sublime happiness”, generate the corresponding intention, and finally do the supplication, that allows us to carry through with our intention.
All four questions are explored in the meditation, which is on Great Joy.
After the meditation, we return to the the Mahamudra root text “Lamp So Bright”, and Alan continues the oral transmission and commentary for the Preparation section (stanzas 3-5), which elaborates on this theme from the perspective of great beings like Sakya Pandita, Dampa Sangyé, Shantideva, Atisha and Milarepa.
Alan finishes the session making the reference that, due to time restrictions, we won’t analyze Chapter’s 2 and 3 of Naked Awareness. These chapters deal, respectively, with narratives around karma (Chapter 2), and also an exploration of the laws and intricacies of karma (Chapter 3). He ends the session with the reference that, for such complex topics, there’s a distinction between the most common perspective of practitioners like ourselves, that understand this topic only through knowledge-based inferences, and that of the great adepts, for whom some of these very subtle realities of karma are seen through direct perception.
The meditation starts at 14:04.
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Olaso. So right on schedule this afternoon we turn to the third of the Four Greats: Maha Mudita and I would call it empathetic joy except it’s not. Mudita as I mentioned earlier does simply mean joy, delight, in the context of the four immeasurables, it clearly has an empathetic quality to it, so it’s often called sympathetic joy, empathetic I think is a bit closer but they’re both fine. But now as we know in this series and I’m starting from great compassion, then great maha mitre, great loving kindness and then great joy and we’ll culminate of course tomorrow with the great equanimity. Each of these starts out with a question, which is then really for reflection. It’s not a self answering question it’s actually, each one is a very deep question and then it moves from there to an aspiration and from the aspiration to an intention and then culminating then in a supplication that one can carry through with the intention, right. So the format is the same for each of the four. But the contents [are] differents and it’s again it’s like different facets of a single diamond. But the liturgy here, the phrasing I think for this one is quite exceptionally rich and precise. The earlier ones may all beings find happiness and the cause of happiness, pretty straight forward. This one is subtle. And so in Tibetan [?00:01:36 tibetan phrase] it’s longer. And the translation for that which again I sent to Sangay and Claudio yesterday so it should be up soon for all four of these so you can see it in English. But the English translation here is: Why couldn’t all sentient beings never be parted from sublime happiness, free of suffering? So put in that was a short phrase, but a lot was put in there. So the ‘why couldn’t’, that’s the kind of the question that we’ve encountered before, but never be parted from [?00:02:16 tibetan] means never be parted, never separated from. It’s an interesting phrase. Not why couldn’t they achieve it or realize it or one day you know might, why not. But may why couldn’t they never be parted from and then what type of dewa? Dewa is sukha so well being or happiness. But it’s [?02:39 danba dewa, that is satsuka Tibetan] and the danba has the quality of sacred.
[00:02:42] So sacred well being or sublime is also very good. In some contexts it means ultimate, ultimate. [?02:52 tibetan] So sublime is very nice, sacred is also true, it’s also ultimate. So why couldn’t all sentient beings never be parted from let’s say sublime, satsukha, sublime happiness. And then [?03:09 tibetan] means devoid of, empty of, not without any, without any suffering. But the phrasing is interesting isn’t it? Never be parted from. We generally can be parted from something we’ve actually been with at some point, right? I don’t think of never being parted from Bolivia. I have never been there. Once I have been there I might wish, ‘Oh, may I never be parted’ if I really felt at home there and might never want to live, might never want to leave. But never be parted from, suggests already some familiarity, right?
[00:03:48] And so how might we understand that? Some sublime dimension of wellbeing, that is devoid of happiness and then of course we can envision what this means is you know may each one you know realise ultimate reality and never be parted from the bliss, let’s say of direct realisation of emptiness. There’s, when you have a direct realisation of emptiness as in the case of an arya bodhisattva or let’s say a vidyadhara. A vidyadhara with direct unmediated realisation of pristine awareness, Rigpa. Now, that’s immutable bliss. That’s the real thing okay. This is way beyond the bliss of the meer substrate consciousness, which is conditioned within time, and so forth. No, the bliss of Rigpa is immutable bliss, or for the people with Gelugpa background, the bliss of the innate mind of [?00:04:52 Tibetan]. So innate mind, but what’s it called in English? [a student responds] Clear light, clear light. Yeah, innate mind of clear light, thank you, I just forget the English, I can’t find it. So the innate mind of clear light. Yeah and so the innate mind of clear light is imbued with immutable bliss, another dimension of bliss which is then is timeless. Because when it stands immutable it does not mean that it has just stopped moving it just means it’s, it’s just beyond the whole domain of change.
[00:05:05] Well, I think you can probably see where I’m going and that is in our presence, for each of us, anyone of us here right now, there are these multiple dimensions of our existence and the surface is what we see. Just that, oh that’s what Claudio looks like, that’s what Gache looks like, that’s the surface, surface. That could be a painting, it could be a holographic image it’s so superficial, right. But of course then there is the interiority of each person, and that’s where their mind is, their experiences is, as they are having right now. And then if we go deeper than that probing into the depths of mind, because I am passionately committed to understanding mind, then of course we come to the substrate consciousness, and that’s already there. That’s not something you achieve one day, that is already there. That’s kind of like underground water but it’s there. And you can reveal it or not reveal it but it’s there either way. It’s obscured by five obscurations. But then if you cut through that, then of course what is also already there is Rigpa. And so that’s where you are right now. Rigpa is there, substrate consciousness is there, your mind is there, body is there, but they are all there, at all times, right. So you never can be parted from your substrate consciousness. You can never be parted from Rigpa. The thing you most can’t be parted from, is Rigpa. You will be parted from the body that is for sure and frankly you will be parted from your mind, because your mind is arising independence upon the body; lose the body, bye bye mind, right.
[00:06:18] And the substrate consciousness, well when you achieve enlightenment you don’t have one anymore. So you can be parted from your substrate consciousness, it’s conditioned. It’s conditioned samsaric mind. So the only part of you from which you can never ever ever ever be parted is Rigpa, but, and Rigpa is of the very nature of knowing. So Rigpa can’t be ma-rigpa, Rigpa can’t be unknowing because then it would be ma-rigpa and not rigpa, it would be avidya, and not vidya. So there is a dimension of you right now that is knowing. And it is the knowing on that dimension, because if it were not knowing, then it would be avidya and then it wouldn’t be pristine consciousness it would be pristine unawareness, which doesn’t make any sense.
[00:07:18] So the issue then, then is this conscious awareness, you remember that, she-rig, she-rig and that is conscious awareness that is not only aware, but from our perspective from where you live, from where each of us lives, we are consciously aware of our rigpa. We have identified rigpa. We are viewing reality from rigpa and in that there is a dimension of well-being or happiness that is utterly devoid of suffering. In fact there has never been suffering there. It’s never been afflicted, it’s never been contaminated, it’s never, it always is, it’s timeless and that’s already there. So the point of never being parted from is, the rigpa is already there, immutable bliss is there some place, but what is not manifest is our conscious awareness of that Rigpa, and therefore the conscious awareness of this immutable dimension of bliss.
[00:08:20] And so the question is, since every single sentient being is imbued with Rigpa, imbued with Buddha-nature and that’s the deepest ground of each one and it’s of the very nature of bliss, sublime, sacred one could say divine ultimate bliss, that is by nature devoid of suffering. Since that is already there, then why couldn’t, since it is already there, it’s kind of like an inheritance you already have, it’s not something, purchase you make later on, it’s something you are born with it right. Since it’s there then why couldn’t, since every sentient being is imbued with this, why couldn’t each one never be parted from the conscious experience of this sublime well-being, devoid of suffering, [emptiness] that is rooted in their own being and not something to be achieved later on? And if it is achieved later on, it may be lost later on. So that’s the question. Now when we just take a brief step back.
[00:09:19] I do not want to linger here long, we have some interesting texts to get to. But when we just take one step back to the loving kindness practice and why couldn’t all sentient beings find happiness and the causes of happiness or be endowed with. In that context as in the immeasurable loving kindness, I think it’s very important to include the hedonic; why couldn’t all sentient beings find the hedonic well being they need to support them in their practice, having enough to eat, the clothing, the shelter and so forth, why couldn’t? So I think loving kindness really must include, we mustn’t be snooty, like pompous, or like looking down on hedonia, oh that is for non-dharma practitioners or you know that’s for lower people. No. Buddha also ate on a regular basis. The greatest beings ate, you know, they did ordinary things, they had clothing, they had shelter. And so in my sense, in my interpretation but I don’t think it is very wild interpretation is the loving kindness really must include where we live, the hedonia, enough. And then of course it goes beyond that to the eudaimonia, genuine well-being, right.
[00:10:25] But here it comes to this, this joy, this third one and he’s just focusing in on the deepest, ‘never be parted from sublime happiness’ that is devoid by its very nature, devoid of, transcending, suffering. And why couldn’t we never be parted from that? So there’s the question. And then moving right on ‘may we never be parted’. So, may we never be parted from that ahh, which of course, this has to be piggybacking on loving kindness practice, right, because if the loving kindness practice is aspiring for and resolving to enact all sentient beings finding both hedonia and eudaimonia, that means they’ve tapped into it. If you know this aspiration is coming to fruition. The hedonia is there and on top of that is the eudaimonia and then the next one, this Mudita is saying - you know that top level, may we never be separated; may we not just dip into it, so not have just a glimpse of Rigpa, a glimpse of satori, a glimpse of Dharmadhatu or dharmakaya. Good to get a glimpse, but then may we never be parted from, that’s really this underlying foundation. If you ask ‘why couldn’t we never be separated?’ Well we could if we had Shamatha and Vipassana supporting it, sustaining it with Bodhichitta, then it could be sustained, there would be no need to ever part from it.
[00:11:40] So I really look upon this as kind of the bliss of rigpa. Looking at that level, just my interpretation, but the looking at the level of a vidyādhara who has gained direct un-mediated realisation, dwells in rigpa, as a current, a flow, and that’s the vidyādhara’s job, just the job is no job it’s non-meditation. Now don’t activate your samsaric mind to try to achieve something, just remain flowing in that ongoing continuum of resting in rigpa and observing how all phenomena, every phenomena, the whole bandwidth of samsara and nirvana and the pure realms, all of these are arising from moment-to-moment as pure, evenly pure, dak yam, evenly pure displays, effulgences, creative expressions of rigpa, and you are absolutely in the centre of your mandala and your mandala stretches out through all of space, all of time.
[00:12:44] Your mandala is the whole universe and you’re seeing you are now just viewing reality. This is where you have open presence in Rigpa. This is where there’s just being open. You are a vidyādhara right, and then you just slip along the stream you know, to perfect awakening. But my interpretation for what it is worth, is that this mudita is really focusing on that level. On that level, vidyādhara, and having become vidyādharas may we never be parted from that bliss which is free of suffering; never be parted from, and just slip right down the stream to the fourth of the greats which is then some very big equanimity coming, [soft giggling] not the ordinary kind, supercharged!
[00:13:36] Olaso. So let’s hop right to it. Please find a comfortable position. [Sounds of retreatants moving to a comfortable position]
[00:14:08] Meditation bell rings three times.
[00:14:51] This time I invite you to joyfully release your mind, slip into the continuum of this meditation, with the delight of letting your awareness come to rest in its own place, holding its own ground. It is there that you will find this sublime bliss, sublime happiness, free of suffering. We know where to look, we know where to rest and we can do it today. So with this sense of satisfaction, the joyful sense of meaning, the value of such practice, settle your body, speech and mind in their natural states.
[00:16:45] In the stage of generation practices, realising the emptiness of inherent nature of all that we experience as well as the one who experiences, we dissolve this constructed reality into emptiness and out of emptiness, out of this non-duality of dharmakaya and dharmadhatu, this unity of primordial consciousness and the absolute space of phenomena, out of this ultimate domain, by the power of imagination we bring forth, we evoke, an imagined reality of the mandala, the deities, ourselves as the deity, knowing full well that we are generating this with the mind, to imagine something that is already true but temporarily veiled from sight due to the obscurations of our own minds. So in a similar fashion right now, I invite you then to use your imagination to venture into this realm of possibility which from another perspective is already actual, but envision, envision your own sublime well-being, sublime bliss, ultimate bliss, sacred bliss, primordially free of suffering. And imagine it, your best approximation. You’re a child of all the Buddhas and this is your inheritance, this is your Buddha nature, manifest, unveiled. Envision such well-being.
[00:19:21] Let’s arouse then the first question and that is - Why couldn’t all sentient beings, each one being imbued with, or finding at their very core, this dimension of awareness, and this dimension of bliss, why couldn’t all sentient beings never be parted from this sublime bliss, free of suffering?
[00:20:10] As you attend to all those around you, the world of sentient beings around you with so many struggles, so much restlessness, ill at ease, suffering and conflict, so much confusion and delusion, craving and hostility, yet each one imbued with Buddha nature. Why couldn’t each one never be parted from such sublime well-being devoid of suffering?
[00:21:06] And the answer may come that given the appropriate causes and conditions, the environment, the teacher, the practices, there’s no reason why each one, given enough time, couldn’t consciously experience such well being and then dwell in that well being without ever being parted from it. There’s no reason. They just need to meet the teacher, the teachings, the conducive circumstances inward and outward, they could.
[00:21:56] And if they could then this leads to the aspiration; [?22:00 Tibetan] may we never be parted from, may we never be separated from, such sublime well-being. As you arouse this aspiration then from your own Buddha nature, symbolised as an orb of light at your heart, breathe out, breathe out and with every breath breathe out this aspiration, breathe out this light for every sentient being, for each one - may you never be parted from such sublime bliss free of suffering. Recall what all sentient beings means; all those who come to mind.
[00:23:28] As you breathe out imagine these rays of light striking each sentient being and imagine each one finding, realising, consciously experiencing such well being. Becoming a vidyādhara, dwelling in rigpa.
[00:24:10] And out of aspiration comes intention. I shall make it so, I shall enable this to happen, that each one, everyone may never be [freed], never be parted from such well-being. And as in taking the Bodhisattva precept, as you attend to this world of sentient beings with this resolve, you are making a promise to each one, every being in your mandala in which you are present in its centre. You are the shepherd, you are the helmsman, you are the king, the queen, and you will guide each one to safety.
[00:25:54] And in the fourth and final line of the liturgy it reads again: ‘May the Guru and the deity grant their blessings to enable me to do so.’ In this context the deity, the term is ‘La’ or deity deva-ta. A very obvious interpretation of this is your own personal deity, that face of the Buddha, that embodiment of the Buddha, who’s like your root guru. That facet, whether it is Tara, Manjushri, Padmasambhava, Buddha Shakyamuni, whoever it may be, the one with which you have the most heartfelt connection, this is your personal deity.
[00:26:38] So you call upon your guru, your personal deity, your yidam, or istha devata it’s called in Sanskrit, the two being non-dual, your own guru, your root guru and your personal deity - of the same nature, and you call upon them for their blessings, to empower you, to enable you, to carry through with this resolve to its culmination. And on that note as we have done before with each in breath imagine drawing in or simply receiving, the blessings from all the gurus and all the manifestations of the enlightened ones, drawing in from all sides, above and below converging in upon your own being, filling to the point of supersaturation. With each out breath, breathe out this light of joy and imagine every sentient being finding and never being parted from this sublime bliss free of suffering. Breathe in Breathe Out.
[00:37:16] As we come to the close, release all imaginings, aspirations, objects, all effort and simply rest in your own awareness.
[00:38:15] Meditation bell rings three times.
[00:39:10] So, for you good scholars here like Lynn, Mary Kay probably knows this, among the four blisses on the stage of completion, the fourth one is called, any of you remember? Gache don’t remember? [?39:28 Tibetan] Is it the [?] the innate inborn, or connate? I kind of think it is. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. Connate, [?Tibetan] means you’re born with it, you’re born with it, that’s what connate means, you know, you’re born with it. So I think it’s referring to that one. Dewa gowa gi, the four pritis, the four blisses and this is gowa, this is gowa so it’s the same word. So probably that dimension. The one that is, you’re born with it, means already there, right. Not like an inheritance and you don’t know where the treasure chest is, it belongs to you, but you don’t know quite where it is.
[00:40:05] Olaso. So let’s return to the text now. And I did pick up and start looking at the Tibetan and so I have actually quite a few changes to suggest. So we’re on page three here, in the all capital letters, italics for in the root text. So also since seeing the real nature of the mind. So I checked that out, real nature is a term I don’t use, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I don’t use it. And I checked out the Tibetan and it’s dharmata. It’s chos nyid, it’s the dharmata. Dharmata is the synonym for emptiness. It’s ultimate reality, and so real nature is fine but I would call it ultimate, my own translation is: Since seeing the ultimate reality of mind, the ultimate reality of mind. Well, that can be interpreted as emptiness but really in Mahamudra, Dzogchen that’s referring to rigpa, right. So ‘Since seeing the ultimate reality of mind, depends on collecting merit and purifying obstacles’ or obscurations actually is closer. [?04:15 tibetan] the term [?tibetan] means an obstacle or something like a boulder on the road. This is not that. This is dipa, dipa means something that obscures, that veils, that conceals. So I would prefer obscurations, purifying obscurations, afflictive obscurations, cognitive obscurations. ‘Since seeing the ultimate reality of the mind depends on collecting merit and purifying obscurations, you should prepare as much as possible through reciting the hundred syllable mantra, 100,000 times and confessing your moral lapses.’ Like if something was left out in the English translation, and so I would revise it slightly. You should recite, you should recite the hundred syllable mantra 100,000 times and confess moral lapses, this is actually downfalls. [?41:59 tibetan] means disclose downfalls like breaking of vows, breaking of samaya’s, breaking of the precepts, Mahayana precepts. You’re disclosing or confessing those hundreds of times and what was left out was - and offer as many prostrations as you can.
[00:42:13] That one didn’t come through, it’s in the Tibetan though. So you can have that. So and that’s four. This is just the root text we’ll get on. ‘Then make heartfelt pleas again and again to your root guru who is inseparable from all the Buddhas of the three times.’ Okay now we go into the commentary. So the great master Shantipa, [there’s one] and then the guru Serlingpa, [he lived it seems out in Indonesia, a great Mahayana guru whom Atisha went on an eleven month voyage to seek him out and receive pith instructions on bodhichitta, it’s quite something.] So the great, so the guru Serlingpa, and at that time Indonesia was clearly there was Mahayana Buddhism there flourishing. This would be the what is it the twelfth century something like that. And then the great and divine jo Atisha. So he’s citing three and many others scholars, adepts, pundits, siddhas of the Arya Land. Arya Land is simply a reference to India. So these, and just taking a sampling Shantipa, Serlingpa, Atisha and then many other pundits and siddhas have distinguished or drawn a demarcation between Buddhists and non Buddhists on the basis of going for refuge purely. And so that’s very straight forward, nothing sectarian about it. Those who take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha which means this very deeps sense of trust. It does not mean a catechism, that you do not get all your beliefs right. How many do I have to accept? It’s a matter of trust. If the trust is there you really entrust yourself for your liberation, for your awakening for and for future rebirth for that matter. If you do in the Buddha and the Buddha’s dharma and the Buddha’s sangha, then you’re a Buddhist. And if you don’t, whatever you call yourself, you’re not a Buddhist. No reason to claim that title, it doesn’t fit. If there’s no trust in the Buddha, if there’s no trust in the records we have like the Pali Canon, the Mahayana and so forth, if there’s no trust that they are, they could be relied upon, then you’re not taking refuge in dharma, that’s the only dharma we have. And it’s the sangha who’s brought this to us over the generations and generations, brought to us the Pali Canon, the commentaries, the Mahayana canon, and so forth.
[00:44:26] And so if you don’t really believe what the Buddha said about himself and you really don’t believe that the accounts of him can be trusted, that means you also don’t trust the sangha. So that’s fine, no problem. But to call yourself a Buddhist that would be misleading. So in accord with them, in accord with this, this is a very broad consensus here there’s nothing sectarian about it. In accord with them, the exalted Sakpan, this is Sakya Pandita, it’s a contraction of Sakya Pandita, one of the great patriarchs, actually the fourth of the five great patriarchs original patriarchs of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The exalted Sakpan, Sakya Pandita, says: ‘If one does not go for refuge one is not a dharma practitioner.’ Okay that needs to be interpreted just a little bit. When we in the Buddhist context we say, I take refuge in the Dharma, well of course that means you’re taking refuge in the Buddhadharma, not some other dharma like Islam or something like that. It’s just this one, and so that’s what he’s saying here. If you don’t take refuge, if one does not go for refuge in the buddha, the buddha dharma and the buddha sangha then you’re not a Buddhist dharma practitioner. You may be a marvelous practitioner of Christianity, practising Christian dharma or etc, etc, but this is the demarcation, this is a very broad consensus there so kind of not debated. ‘It is necessary to make going for refuge part of one’s mindstream.’
[00:45:50] Because as Padampa Sangye, Padampa Sangye, again very early in Tibetan Buddhism one of the great ones. He says as he wrote, and this one it’s a very, I’m going to have to retranslate it. So I’m not going to read what’s there, you can read what’s there. He says three things, ‘Dedicate [?46:13 Tibetan] [Lo] can be translated as intellect, your mind. Dedicate your mind, dedicate your heart. And Tong can mean chest but that doesn’t make any sense here. The other meaning of it when I looked into the great, great big definitive Tibetan Tibetan dictionary, it means your home. So your home, home, home and hearth. Which is representative of your possessions for many many people. Your home is your primary possession, but it’s symbolic of your possessions, this is my home, this is my home, this is where I live. And so you’re dedicating your intellect, your dedicating your heart, you’re dedicating your home. So dedicating this to the triple gem, the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. ‘Dedicate your intellect, heart, and home to the three jewels. And blessings will arise’ - it’s not by from their own power. The phrase actually it’s [?47:06 tibetan], but it means on their own, by themselves. By dedicating, I mean all that you have, all that you are, your intelligence, your body, your heart, your possessions, your home, everything. By dedicating that to the dharma just by the power, by doing so, then by themselves blessings will arise. Blessings will arise by themselves “O! People” of [?47:27] this is the region of Tibet [where] he wrote this for them. So you don’t have to look elsewhere for them, blessings will just come. Reality will rise up to meet you. Okay.
[00:47:37] And accordingly, the guardian or the protector Shantideva, it’s called the guardian or protector [?47:45 Tibetan] which means like protector because he’s protecting us from falling into misery, perpetuating the causes of misery, so therefore called protector, it’s used a lot, gumpo. So ‘Accordingly the guardian or protector, Shantideva the great 8th century Indian Buddhist bodhisattva, writes in his classic, ever so frequently quoted, in his classic The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, When they’ve aroused bodhichitta even for an instant, those tormented by bondage in the prison of samsara, will be called children of the sugatas and will be,’ I’m going to say revered, ‘they will be revered by worldly gods and humans.’ So by devas and humans. [?48:30 Tibetan] sounds like too military to me. Buddhas coming, stand up. At ease. I mean it’s not bad but it means revered or offered their prostrations. But we ran through that you’ll recall perhaps the same verse was cited in Karma Chagme Rinpoche’s text. And there we translated , ‘Even a wretch, even someone who’s [?48:54 tibetan], means kind of like a really pathetic person who is down and out in samsara, but as soon as that person generates bodhichitta then that person suddenly is on the throne and is revered, the devas and human beings are offering prostrations.
[00:49:09] So, and as the great lord Atisha, Atisha says, and this would be in his Lamp For The Path To Enlightenment [?49:17 Tibetan], ‘Those desiring to enter the door of the Mahayana dharma should earnestly arouse,’ okay, I’ve got to try, this also there was something really missed, it’s not ‘fortunate’, it’s not the fortunate waking mind, bodhichitta is not fortunate, it is what it is, it’s actually [?49:32 tibetan] and so what he’s saying, I haven’t retranslated it but it was again something was missing, got it wrong. And that is ‘Even if it takes you as long as an eon, to cultivate bodhichitta, it’s worth doing. [?49:47Tibetan] means for as long as an eon, however long it takes you is one of those things - if it’s meaningful, then no matter how long it takes, even if it’s a whole eon, go for it, it’s worthwhile. That’s what he’s actually saying. So I haven’t taken the time yet to retranslate the verse, but should. ‘Earnestly arouse bodhichitta even for as long as an eon.’ He said [?50:12 tibetan], it’s suitable, it’s appropriate, it’s worth it, to arouse bodhichitta even for an eon. This bodhichitta which like the sun and moon illumines, illuminates, illuminates darkness and purifies torment. Okay so something was missed there. And then we go right on, but we have that whole chapter so we know he’s kind of, he’s done doing something much more quintessential, than the more elaborate explanation given by Karma Chagme.
[00:50:42] So we continue. ‘Not only is bodhichitta the gateway of the Mahayana’, that is just that, that it’s with the cultivation of bodhichitta, it’s spontaneous arising that you enter the Mahayana path. But as stated in the Abhisambodhi Tantra ‘Oh Lord of Secrets’, this is referring to Vajrapani, the emanation, the embodiment of the power of the buddha mind. ‘Oh Lord of Secrets, the gnosis of the omniscient ones arises from a cause that is bodhichitta.’ Ok the gnosis, this is what I’ve translated as primordial consciousness, gnosis as I’ve said before is a good translation. So the gnosis or primordial consciousness of the buddhas arises from a cause namely bodhichitta, it arises from a root that is compassion, and that has to be great compassion, so we can gloss that. And it is the completion method I would, the Tibetan term is [?51:43] which means culmination, and method is often translated as skillful means, it’s upaya. So skillful means covers, we have wisdom and skillful means. Prajna and Upaya, right. And so the culmination of upaya, the culmination of wisdom is the perfection of wisdom, that’s easy. But now the culmination of upaya, of skillful means, well that’s the gnosis of the omniscient ones. It arises, it as Shantideva said all the first five perfections culminate in wisdom, all the skillful means of the first five perfections culminate in the primordial consciousness, the gnosis of the omniscient ones. So what I would say it that it’s the culmination of the culmination of skillful means. ‘Bodhichitta is the essence of the Mahayana’, generally all the supreme sources of the individual doctrines, doctrinal systems, doctrinal systems of the land of snows, so all the different schools, Gelug, Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma all of the supreme sources, their most authoritative sources of the individual doctrinal systems or traditions of the land of snows, Tibet, designated four teachings, all of these are unanimous, they all speak in harmony here, in agreement. They designated four teachings as preparation for either explaining or meditating on the profound teaching. Okay and in this context the profound teaching is referring to Mahamudra, of course. But this is generally for vajrayana practice, these four. Vajrasattva meditation is a vajrayana practice so it’s not really a preliminary practice for sutrayana practice, it is a very important preliminary practice for vajrayana practice.
[00:53:32] So going for refuge and arousing bodhichitta, there’s the first one. Mandala offering second. Vajrasattva purificatory meditation. And guru yoga. On this there is no disagreement among the practiced traditions, they all concur. And in particular the supreme disciple of unexalted, unexcelled mantra, this is mantrayana, this is vajrayana, so it’s the anuttarayoga tantra, the highest yoga tantra. So the supreme disciple, the greatest disciple the foremost disciple of vajrayana, unexcelled vajrayana practice, the lord of yoga, Milarepa, the great yogi. And he meditated and taught, again I have to change this translation a lot. Milarepa meditated on and then taught, first of all, contemplate loving kindness, translated here as love, which is fine, but it’s maitri He meditated on this, this was his practice and this is what he related to others - first of all contemplate or cultivate loving kindness, compassion and bodhichitta. So you start there. And then renunciation and reflect upon karma and its results, actions and their consequences. And death and impermanence, death more specifically, the impermanence of your own life, the life of every living being and impermanence more generally. That everything that is created vanishes. And that’s it, he didn’t say you should exert yourself to act, he just meditated and taught. First of all, and in that sequence. So there was his, so here’s, if you’re looking for someone who has succeeded magnificently, then we want to listen to those people. We want to listen to those people, Milarepa, it doesn’t get any better than Milarepa. And then in his own words he says I say, well in his own words, because this was a summary of Milarepa’s approach, how his own practice and what he taught to others.
[00:55:42] And then it says [?55:44 Tibetan] and it’s as he said and this is then a direct quote, and I’ve had to change this a lot, sorry. ‘Fearing’ I don’t, I just don’t think is right, I destroyed fear, it’s [?55:59 Tibetan] means uncontinuity of fearing, fearing [?tibetan] rather than, I won’t go into details of it. But fearing the eight states devoid of leisure. When I read this eight unfortunate states I was just going, what is it are there three lower realms, there are eighteen hell realms, there’s three realms of samsara, I couldn’t, I couldn’t get it, I didn’t know what he’s referring to. The eight unfortunate states, because it’s not what it says [?56:30 Tibetan] is, anybody familiar with lam rim the eight leisures and the ten endowments, right. The eight freedoms and the ten endowments, the ten opportunities, he’s referring to the eight freedoms, but the absence of the eight freedoms - that’s what he’s referring to, okay. That completely flummoxed me so I had to see the Tibetan. And then for those of you who have not been meditating on lam rim or not aware of it, this is classic buddhism, you find it all over Indian Buddhism and so on. But ‘fearing’ these eight, they are unfortunate, but that’s not what the word means, these states, these states, situations, contexts that in which there’s no leisure, [?57:09 Tibetan] means no leisure. There’s no time. And what are they? There’s eight of them. So first, if you’re born in any of the the three lower realms, the hell realm, preta, animal, you don’t have any time, you don’t have the leisure to practice dharma. You’re too busy suffering or being craving or you just don’t understand. So there’s three of them out of the eight. And then there are these devas in the formless realm and they’re just kind of like totally zoned out and they can stay in that state for like eons, I mean incredibly long time which means they are just inconceivably treading water, going nowhere, but they can’t practice dharma. Because their minds have been profoundly deactivated and they’re just dwelling in these very very abstract states of samapatti or meditative absorption. So I mean it’s kind of, I guess, kind of a nice place to hang out but it’s really quite useless to stay there.
[00:58:02] So that’s the fourth one. And then the fifth one, is in Tibetan kla klo, or being born in an outlying country. It’s translated as a barbarian, but a barbarian, a kla klo is simply somebody who has no dharma, no dharma. So people with no dharma whatsoever. And it’s not just buddhadharma there’s all kind of dharma. But people with no dharma they’re called kla klo, barbarians. And so when the Chinese communists invaded Tibet, in the 1950’s and then the cultural revolution, the genocide and all of that, the Tibetans would commonly refer to them as the kla klo, the barbarians. The barbarians are coming and they were. They just were. I mean they’re coming and they are burning books and they’re tearing down, tearing down temples. They’re destroying a civilization, they’re lining monks up by the thousands and they’re just blowing them away with machine guns. I think the word barbarian is very very appropriate. And I don’t care what level of science and technology they have, this a barbaric deed. And of course my native Californian’s barbarian, when they were hunting down Native Americans you know, like shooting rabbits. That’s barbaric. To call them Christians in the same breath, that is obscene. So barbarians are everywhere. They’re in my home state, look around you know. And so that’s what he’s referring to. People who have no dharma whatsoever. No dharma, no ethics. No ethics, you feel whatever you are doing is justified. That’s barbarian. So that’s the fifth one.
[00:59:34] And then holding wrong views, holding views that are out of accord with reality. It’s debilitating, and I would say the most prominent one nowadays is materialism. It’s debilitating, it’s dehumanizing, demoralizing, and disempowering, and it gives you really no entry into authentic dharma. It’s tragic. So holding inauthentic views, unrealistic views and then living in a time when there are no buddhas. No even historical records of buddhas. Not, then you can’t practice buddha dharma if you don’t even have any indirect access to the buddhas and then finally it’s lkug pa, literally means - mute. Mute, but then I knew a mute when I was in India, he was a sikh, he is perfectly intelligent, just couldn’t talk. And so he and I wrote notes back and forth. And he was also a siddha, [laughs] he had abilities which he demonstrated to me quite remarkable. I saw them but he couldn’t talk. I don’t quite know why but he couldn’t talk so he was mute. I don’t think they’re referring to that, I think this mute is a person who is really mentally, severely retarded and just doesn’t have the ability to understand or to talk. Okay brain damage it could be congenital and so forth. So that’s what they’re referring to. You’re a human being but the defining characteristic or distinctive characteristic of human species is, that defines us that separates us from other primates for example is in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is in Tibetan [?1:01:05 phrase] we are able to speak and we are able to understand. Meaning speech, whether it’s written or it’s speech and so forth. In other words we’re able to carry as we are in this text is a perfect example of this, he’s citing from the 12th century, he’s citing from the 13th century, he’s citing from century after century, he’s drawing from the wisdom of generations where back to the time of the Buddha himself. Well that’s because he has the ability to speak and understand meaning. And then civilizations, he carried the wisdom of generations, of millenia. Chimpanzees don’t do that, dolphins don’t do that, animals don’t do that.
[01:01:46] They can communicate, they have language some of them, but this is really this is very distinctively human. And so if you are mentally or so retarded that you don’t have that ability we’re human but you don’t really get the advantage of being a human and I have known some people like that. Of course it’s just very tragic. If you even taught them dharma they can’t even understand it. So there it is, those, those eight situations are ones in which you don’t have the leisure, don’t have the freedom to practice dharma, because of your context, right. And so fearing that, he is looking, he has good reason to fear, right. He has killed 35 people and he is looking ahead, he could die at any instant, anybody can, and he said ok there, I’ve got that, if that karma matures of killing 35 people, if that matures, that’s going to turn out really badly. But then that karma will of course be exhausted and then I’ll go someplace else and I’ll go someplace else but I as I’m going from one place to another, one embodiment to another to another to another, if I’m just roaming around in these eight modes of no leisure. He said, well I fear that.
[01:02:54] [?Tibetan] I’m fearing, I’m fearing, that’s what he saying here. ‘So fearing this, I contemplated the disadvantages of impermanence and samsara.’ I don’t think it’s ‘impermanent samsara’, it’s impermanence and samsara. I contemplate this. I strove in the dharma, I applied myself to the dharma of karmic cause and effect, really sought to understand it. It’s said on a relative level the most important teachings the Buddha ever gave was on actions and their consequences. So that at least while we’re in samsara we can find some happiness. I mean it really is possible to find some happiness. It’s fleeting but nevertheless better than misery or agony, but for that we need to know what kind of actions give rise to what kind of effect within samsara. That’s the most important knowledge we can have in the near-term, and on an ultimate level the most importance dharma he taught was the teaching on emptiness, shunyata.
[01:03:58] ‘So I strove in the dharma of karmic cause and effect and committed my, committed my inmost mind to the three jewels of refuge.’ But it’s from existentially I dedicated myself to the three jewels. So he’s, this is narrative, this is the first person autobiographical, this is how he went from a mass murderer to an enlightened being, kind of important. ‘And when my mindstream was trained,’ the word trained can also be purified, I think purified might be a little bit better but trained is not wrong. ‘When my mindstream was trained or purified in the method of bodhichitta, I cut the continuum of’, rather than obstacles, I would say obscurations, the afflictive and cognitive. I cut the continuum of obstructions that veiled the very nature of Buddha mind or of awakening, and the propensities there to.’ That is there’s the obscurations and there are also the propensities for. Anger is a mental affliction, an afflictive obscuration, anger is, hatred, let’s say hatred. So if you’re experiencing hatred in that moment well that’s an obscuration, but even when you’re saying when everybody’s nice around you everything is swell, say right now I have no hatred, I’m just not feeling hatred at all, but then if circumstances change could I suddenly be manifesting hatred? Yeah that’s because I have a propensity for hatred. So the propensities, you don’t see it but all you have to do is, there’s the seed, all you have to do is germinate it and wham - you have a great big poisonous plant of hatred, craving, arrogance and so on.
[01:05:32] So he’s saying I cut the continuum of obscurations and the, and the propensities of obscurations, realized all appear, all arising appearances as it’s it’s Illusions, it’s sgyu ma. Sgyu ma means illusion not deceptive, rdzu ba means deceptive but sgyu ma means flat out it’s, sgyu ma is an illusionist like a David Copperfield or you know, it’s an illusion. And I don’t know why to translate it any other way. I realize all appearances all arising appearances as illusions. That is they appear in a manner that is contrary to the way they in fact exist. That’s what’s meant by illusion. And so in that regard they are deceptive, but the word means illusion. And had no fear of the three lower realms. So that’s a big thing, that’s something really big. When you have a direct realization of emptiness you will never ever possibly be born in the lower realms again. So he’s claiming, yeah, he did that. So he continues, Milarepa also says, and here when he’s quoting him and he does it repeatedly, you can see there is a real rationale for saying that what the Panchen Rinpoche wrote here in the root text and the commentary with so many citations we’re going to also see from Gampopa another great Kagyupa. That he is really weaving together you know the Gelugpa and then the Kaygu oral transmissions or lineages. So either translation is good but there’s good grounds for saying, agreeing with His Holiness, which might be a kind of safe thing to do. That this is in fact the union of the Gelug and Kagyu tradition on Mahamudra.
[01:07:11] Here’s another one from Milarepa who says; ‘If you do not think purely on the causes and effects of virtuous and non virtuous actions, you will not be able to bear the sufferings of the lower realms. So attend with care to the very subtle fruition of deeds and seek to retain this,” again there’s this translation is not correct, so seek to attend with care to the very subtle fruitions of deeds and seek to retain this with conscientiousness and mindfulness. It’s [?1:07:48Tibetan] is conscientiousness and mindfulness as you know perfectly well. So he’s really saying with conscientiousness, with conscientiousness and mindfulness attend with care to the, yeah, attend with care to the very subtle fruition of deeds. That is look in detail, really examine closely, the nature of actions and their consequences. The actions of seeds and then the fully ripening consequences as the karma matures. And so right there I think I will make a suggestion, and that is if you do go back to Naked Awareness you will find that in this addendum, because he’s covered the path already just bear that in mind. He’s covered all the essentials already there and the core of it was translated in the Spacious Path To Freedom and now he’s adding these very significant addenda kind of enriching what he already taught. And the next two chapters are first narratives on actions and their consequences and karma, and then there’s more of the critical analysis a detailed analysis of the laws, the patterns, the regularities, of actions and their cause and their effects. And so I’m not going to go through that, that would probably take a week right there and we have only eight and now we have seven.
[01:09:06] And so what I would encourage though if you’d like to really flesh this out you know, bring more substance to this, more detail especially for those who have not studied this before. What I would suggest you know starting today, tomorrow then read through those chapters, read through them, reflect upon them. Qualms if you were new to this, qualms, uncertainties are bound to arise and Glen is very knowledgeable so I would imagine every question you have very likely Glen can answer them. He’s studied this at length. But also there’s this point, just very briefly and that is when you go to this level, the intricacies of karma, the details of karmic actions, somebody did this in a lifetime and then later this happened. And these are the patterns, these are the regularities, the laws of karma. When we go into the details of them this is around that in Buddhist epistemology it’s called very concealed, very concealed. And that is so just briefly here, but it’s relevant to contextualize this. And that is there are different dimensions of reality corresponding, always tied in with epistemology, the way of knowing and there’s a whole realm of reality that is evident. When I look over at Mary Kay’s shirt, I can see the color. I don’t infer it, I don’t have to believe it, I see it. And so they’re things that are evident to pratyaksha, direct perception. I can, I can know with mental perception right now whether my mind is afflictive, afflicted, whether it’s kind of caught up in anger or resentment or what-have-you I can tell, I can watch, it’s there, I can see it. I don’t have to infer it from my behavior. I don’t need to know anything about the brain at all, I can watch, you know. And so we can know, we can know thoughts, we can know whether the mind is lax, or whether it’s agitated. This perception, look, look, develop the ability to look and see. And so it’s mental which is often overlooked in academic psychology. When I took a whole course on it with a five hundred page textbook, they never even mentioned the word, mental perception, or the fact that we can do it. I just found that astonishing.
[01:11:12] But moving on, we have six modes of perception, so that which can be directly perceived, that’s evident. Now of course if you developed, you know, some special modes of knowing by way of shamatha, then the scope of what is directly perceivable, expands. So you may directly perceive memories from past lives. He’s not inferring it, he’s just, I can remember being fifteen in this year in this lifetime and now I remember, I remember exactly who I was and who my companions were and what I did and how I died and so forth. You’re perceiving that right. And so perception can start to expand, that’s really the nature of the practice. So there’s that dimension. And then there’s a dimension of reality that can only be inferred. So frankly for the Bose, the Higgs Boson, a big deal you remember from the large hadron super collider. It had been predicted way back in 1860, 1968 something like that by Higgs and a brilliant, you know, brilliant theorizing but they didn’t have any empirical evidence and now with this incredible technology for which I only have admiration, they came up with data. Now did they see the Higgs Boson? Say - oh look there it is? No, it never happens. Nobody’s seen exoplanets, planets around other stars, nobody’s seeing them, they’re way too tiny, even with the biggest telescope you can’t see them. They infer them. And it’s really sharp inference, so I take them seriously, this is brilliant science. The existence of exoplanets around stars elsewhere in our galaxy. They can’t see them but with the very great sophistication of their measurements, their mathematics and so forth, they’re making strong inferences. Yes there’s a planet and they can describe it to some extent. By some of the planets around other stars and likewise for the whole array of elementary particles, you never see them. Nobody ever sees them, but based upon really really good science they infer them. So that those elementary particles and exoplanets for example. Black holes, another example. You never see them they suck in all the light, but you can infer them.
[01:13:13] And so there’s a whole dimension in science where that’s a dimension of reality but for the time being at least we can only, we can know them. They’re not just guessing, this is really good science, but you can know them only by way of inference, okay. There are many truths in mathematics, many many discoveries in mathematics, it’s inference, you’re not seeing it right. Well likewise in Buddhism. There are many aspects of reality which if you’re an ordinary sentient being you can know them, but only by means of cogent inference. Such as, such as, does consciousness emerge from the brain? Well you can investigate that. And if you investigate it deeply enough, you can come out with a very strong inference. No way. No way, not possible. The minds that we have are emerging from a subtler continuum of consciousness. It makes eminently more sense, the empirical evidence is extremely strong. So even if you haven’t seen your own past lives you may, based on very rigorous empirical evidence, I’d say just as rigorous as elementary particle physics and astronomy. I do believe that. Then if one has investigated sufficiently then you may draw strong inference. Now for myself, so now I’ll take myself, I’m not an astronomer, I’ve studied physics, but not even in that category. I read of people at M I, you know astronomers at MIT, and you know, other great universities. And I read that in their peer review journals they have claimed that they have seen such and such exoplanets or I read in the news as many people did, oh in Switzerland they’ve discovered, in fact there is very strong compelling evidence to support the hypothesis of the Higgs Boson. So I’ve studied physics, I do have some higher education, so I’m not just you know, completely ignorant, and I have some idea what goes on in peer review journals. I mean it’s a tough thing to do, to get your article published in one of these top notch scientific journals. I know something about that, I’ve actually published in some of them, right. So I know it. So I would say I think it’s probably true, that if you asked me; Alan do you know whether scientists have found any exoplanets or not? If somebody just asked me, bumped into in the street. Alan, do you know whether scientists have discovered exoplanets? I’d say yeah, I do know. Yeah I do. How do you know? Well I read it in the major media and they’re citing peer review journals, you know journal articles, and it’s from MIT, it’s from Cambridge, it’s from CalTech, those words mean a lot to me. And therefore this is not blind faith. It’s not simply belief, I would say yeah, I know, they’ve discovered it and there’s very very strong grounds for that assertion, the Higgs Boson and so forth. I know, but I know based on authority. It’s more than merely believing. It’s harder than mere believing, you have to study something, you have to know something. You have to know that MIT is not a silly place where people just go around, you know dropping acid. They may do that too, but it’s not the primary thing they do. [laughter]. You need to know, you need to know why these people have credibility. And if you do, then you can say in this fairly lightweight way, yes I know scientists have discovered exoplanets.
[01:16:34] And yes , I know they’ve discovered a whole range of elementary particles. Yes, I know they’ve discovered the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, but I haven’t seen it and I don’t have the inference. But I would say yeah do I know the speed of light, yeah 186,000 miles per second, yeah I know. I knew that a long time ago, but I know it because I’ve studied physics but I don’t have the cogent inference. So I’m drawing a strong parallel here. To my mind it’s a strong parallel. There are Khenpos and Geshes who have studied for 20 years, 30 years and I’ve had both sides of the fence. I’ve had that type of training and I have a PhD from Stanford so I know something and I know a lot of scientists and I know the kind of training they went through, rigger, rigger I mean they’re both extremely demanding, neither one is simply indoctrination, it is demanding. Geshe Rabten’s training, I was the first one who wrote about what it means to become a geshe. I asked him for his life story, he gave it to me, I was blown away. I thought my goodness I’ve never had an education like that. That is awesome, amazing, wow and so I developed respect and then I got some of that training myself, from him, and so what I’m getting at here, maybe too long winded, is that when it comes to karma it’s often treated, I hear it all the time, mumbo jumbo. Mumbo jumbo, people who are advocating secular Buddhism or we’ve found the essence of all Buddhist practice it’s just being basically mindful. Be here now, that’s the essence of it without all that mumbo jumbo, you know like karma. The casualness with which they scoff at a whole civilization, I find quite remarkable. In the Buddhist tradition they say this is one of his most important insights. On the night of his enlightenment he claimed it. It’s been verified many many times.
[01:18:23] So the point here is now that I’m now really articulating, making a strong [point], now believe it, believe it, believe it. I’m saying that if one studies enough, sufficiently like a Geshe Rabten, like a Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, when it comes to these subtleties for most people it’s simply a matter of belief. But for these great adepts it may be knowledge by authority, for the greater adepts it may be knowledge by inference, by the highly realized adepts it’s direct perception. So when you read it qualms arise, don’t worry about that, don’t think oh I’m having uncertainty, relax have uncertainty nobody’s asking you to believe, you believe, you don’t believe, but if you’d like to get clarity, what is it that you may or may not believe? Then ask Glen. [laughter] Get some clarity about what’s actually being said because there’s a lot, there’s a lot of mumbo jumbo about karma. In India there’s a lot of mumbo jumbo about karma that it’s destiny. What can I do it’s my karma? You know, that’s mumbo jumbo. And so there are a lot of idiotic ideas about karma. And then there are ideas, theories, insights that are anything but, but then you have to study carefully. So here’s two chapters that will give you some, some, some impression of why Milarepa this incredible Yogi is really emphasizing this, okay.
[01:19:52] So let’s read just a little bit more. Again Milarepa, and again I have to retranslate this verse. If you do not see the [?1:20:09 Tibetan] that’s a contraction of [?1:20:20 Tibetan] and that’s a contraction of [?Tibetan] and so it’s the attractions or the allures or the desirable things of the desire realm. That’s what he’s referring to. It’s not just in things we desire. I desire to achieve enlightenment, that’s not this at all, not even remotely. I desire to experience great compassion, it’s not this even remotely. This is a misleading translation, so it needs to be repaired, that’s what I’m here for. So, If we do not see the attractions of the desire realm as faulty, defective, misleading, problematic, unsatisfying, don’t count on them, don’t bet your life on them, it’s not going to turn out well. Hedonia, if you do not see hedonia as being really defective. If you do not reverse clinging from within, you will not be free from samsara’s prison. Full stop. So seek to rely on what count, so, so try to resort to the antidotes to its source, with a mind that knows all things as illusions. So try to resort to the antidotes, it’s [?01:21:35 Tibetan] is the second noble truth, the source, the root of samsara. And nyenpo is the antidote, the root of samsara is karma and klesha, what’s the antidote? Well, the three higher trainings, ethics, samadhi, and wisdom, that would be a good start, okay. So resort to the antidotes, to its source, the source of samsara, the source of suffering, the second Noble Truth. Resort to the antidotes, that’s the fourth Noble Truth, the fourth noble truth the antidotes the second Noble Truth, which gives rise to the third noble truth and so resort, or try to resort to the antidotes, that which overcomes the origin, the source of suffering, with a mind that knows all things as Illusions. That ceases reifying all phenomena as being inherently existent.
[01:22:25] And he also says, if you do not repay the kindness shown you by parents and sentient beings of the 6 realms, all of whom have been our parents in a past life. If you do not repay the kindness, if you do not bear in mind as you’re applying yourself to dharma practice. If you do not have it in mind that by my devoting myself to dharma, proceeding along the path to enlightenment, in so doing by progressing along the path eventually coming to the culmination of the path, by so doing may I repay the kindness of all sentient beings who cared for me in past lives throughout the six realms. If you don’t have that mindset, of joyfully wishing to repay the kindness of others, then you incur the fault of straying into the Hinayana, then you fall back into practicings and say just for your own well-being. Shantideva just makes it so practical, I can’t remember which chapter it is but it’s the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, and he says when you’re just walking along here it is that means right here, when you’re just walking along and you see people in their cars driving this way or somebody just walking along and there’s somebody, there’s somebody. He says when people just come into your field of vision, then let your first thought be in dependence, in dependence upon individuals like this I’m able to practice dharma. So then immediately a sense of, I am already indebted to you. As far as I know none of you are growing your own vegetables here. Or your wheat, you’re not grinding your wheat, you’re not baking the bread. You’re doing nothing at all, you’re just hanging out and eating [laughter] a bunch of mouths [chomping sounds] a lot of poop and pee you know that’s what we’re doing here. So the fact that we can be so useless for eight weeks [laughter continues] is only because of the kindness, number one, of the people who are directly hosting us here. If they just went on strike, how do you think that’s going to work out? Julia, Julia where are you, where’s my lunch? Because she just brings it to me I don’t even have to walk out there to the castle. So the fact that we can practice dharma, how many of you walked from home to here? Maybe Anna, but not many of you could walk, it’s a long swim from California. How do you even get here? Somebody else made an airplane. I bet it wasn’t you. And you didn’t get pilot training, you didn’t fly it. And so forth, you just start you know, opening it up and you say oh my goodness, how many thousands of beings, how many thousands of human beings were needed for me to be able to be here for these eight weeks? I’m not naked, happily for you, you know, I’m clothed, I didn’t make my clothes you know, I didn’t even wash my clothes somebody else washed my clothes otherwise I would be kind of be stinky by now. But also the shower, I didn’t make that and I would definitely be stinky without the shower and so forth there’s many ways this could turn out badly. [laughing] That’s what I’m saying.
[01:25:18] But happily somebody got a shower and even have hot water, that’s not always been true in my life. Hot water you just turn that thing. Hot water comes out, it’s so cool. I don’t know how that hot water got hot but I’m really glad it is. Because I didn’t make the heater. So you know, you just kind of kind of watch the dominoes fall. And it’s actually not unrealistic to think as you just see people, if it’s not you, it’s your cousin, it’s your brother it’s somebody you know that without you I couldn’t be here. So it’s that sense of happy indebtedness, it’s not a burden of indebtedness, it’s a happy sense of wishing to repay the kindness of others. So if you don’t have that then you’ll just fall back into kind of default mode of practicing because you want to be happy, you want to have less stress, you want to be, blah blah blah. Therefore you just seek, therefore you should with great benevolence, seek training in bodhichitta. In this and other statements Milarepa speaks according to the stages of the path’s system. So this is a great Gelugpa, a great Gelugpa scholar and adept, the Panchen Rinpoche, writing this and he’s writing this I think he’s really writing this primarily for Gelugpas because the Kagyupas have their own tradition they don’t really need some Gelugpa horning in and telling you know how I’ll tell you how to merge our tradition with yours. He’s saying - thanks we’re set, I’m good, [laughter] I’m okay, you know, if you, why don’t you kind of, go back to your flock. I think so really, I don’t know any Kagyupa that’ll read this, unless there’s some here now. [laughter] Could be. And so he’s doing something that has never been done before as far as we know. Roger Jackson has done some very good scholarly, historical research here. This is the first time a Gelugpa ever wrote down anything about Mahamudra, you know. And the really stiff, rigid closed minded Gelugpas saying - oh that’s you know, those are those fluffy headed Kagyupas, they don’t study, very logical, they just sit watching their minds. They don’t know much. [laughter] So a lot of them wouldn’t touch it. They say you know the rigid ones and there are rigid people everywhere, if Tsongkhapa didn’t teach it, it can’t’ be very important. You know, it’s very common.
[01:27:32] Christians if it’s not in the bible - who cares and so forth. If it’s not in science, it doesn’t exist. If a scientist can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist. It’s the same mentality exactly. Closed minded, my way is the only way. And so he’s reassuring his fellow Gelugpas, who are open minded enough to read him, but you don’t have to be that open minded to read him because he’s a monument. He’s one of the great ones, that’s just not questioned in the Gelugpa tradition, this man’s great. And so okay well we can read him, he’s okay, we know he’s okay. And so he’s speaking I think to his fellow Gelugpas and saying - look your core practice is lam rim, we know that, for good reason, Tsongkhapa wrote multiple lam rims. And His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches it all the time. The lam rim is a sequence of discursive meditations - develop renunciation, bodhichitta, shamatha, realization of emptiness, classic, classic. And so he’s simply saying kind of reassuring I think his fellow Gelugpas that in these verses Milarepa just sings spontaneously from his own realization. They’re called yom ghur, the songs of experience. He’s just singing this spontaneously coming from his own Buddha nature. Well, what he’s singing here accords exactly with the stages of the lam rim which is a classic Gelugpa practice but which is also embraced, you find a very similar in the lamday system of the Sakya, the words of the Jeweled Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa it’s in the Kagyu tradition. He’s simply saying you know, relax, you know Gelugpas relax. I was citing Milarepa but he’s kosher, definitely kosher. His teachings are in accordance exactly with what you already believe and are embracing, so relax. So there it is. So this is something of a union, it is indeed something of a union of the Kagyu and the Gelugpa traditions.
[01:29:15] Most important though for us though who are not living in the Tibetan culture to my mind it’s just really good dharma. And it is going right in the direction of what would for at least one person here and I’m sure many others. People who really want to understand the nature of the mind and not just about the brain, that’s another area of interest. And it’s definitely related to the mind, but you can be a brilliant brain scientist and really not know much about the mind at all. And you can be a brilliant behaviorist and not know much about the mind either. You may but, no guarantee. But if you really want to know the nature of the mind then treat it like a brain scientist treats the brain. Look at it real carefully and if what you’re really interested in is behavior, look at behavior really carefully, if what you’re really interested in is mind, come on it’s common sense here, look at the mind really carefully. This is a strategy for looking at the mind really carefully, making discoveries that are rigorous, sophisticated and replicable. Give rise to a consensual body of knowledge by people who are sufficiently trained. And so this is the preparation for that. You’ll see that ethics is built in, benevolence, kindness, compassion, bodhichitta is built in. These are not optional, they are not little like adornments to the path. But actually crucial. So there we are. So we’ll continue, continue tomorrow. Good, enjoy your evening.
Transcribed by KrissKringle Sprinkle
Revised by Cheri Langston
Final edition Rafael Carlos Giusti
Special Thanks to Jon Mitchell for contribution of partial transcripts.