The teachings given by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
His Holiness Karmapa's Public Talk
Gyuto Ramoche Monastery, Sidhbari, Dharamsala. India.
Recorded by Ani Jampa
Firstly due to His great compassion he gave the oral transmission of the Chenrezig mantra and sadhana.
It is very important to understand the reason and objective for receiving and giving the transmission of the practice of Chenrezig. It is evident that all human beings are gifted with aptitude in comparison to other beings and that this human life form is very precious. We all have the potential to work for the happiness for ourself and also for others but for the later, we must have all the favourable conditions as well. In general, we are always very busy running after everything. However, it is not possible for an individual to set objectives for another person’s life. Each individual has their own responsibility and duty. The meaning of our life is to look for happiness. This is relevant to all of life. How we come to this conclusion, that the meaning of life is to find happiness, is evident from our attitude, the way we think and the way we aspire. Irrespective of the different natures of individuals, every human being has one common attitude and aspiration, and that is to find happiness and overcome suffering. The wish to find happiness and to overcome suffering is common to all beings but human beings have a special potential to overcome suffering and to meet with happiness. They also have a long-standing determination for meeting with happiness compared to other beings. If we understand that the essence of our life is to find happiness, then we are in a better position to know if our life is meaningful or not. Life may become meaningful through the guidance of your teachers, parents or through your own individual thinking.
Primarily, it is important to understand that the inner aspiration of our life is to find happiness. If your attitudes are opposed to finding happiness then life will be meaningless. On the other hand, to make life meaningful, it is important to engage in activities that will produce happiness. In order to find happiness, we must look for positive causes like non-violence or causes that are peaceful and appealing to one’s mind. If instead we engage in impure causes then this will empty our aspiration to find happiness and make life meaningful. In our life, the positive qualities we are talking about are loving kindness, compassion and non-violence. In order to cultivate love and compassion within ourselves, it is important to understand that the opposite to love and compassion are the emotional defilements. These prevent us from developing love and compassion. The opposites to the emotions of love and compassion are desire, hatred and ignorance. Here, related to hatred, I have a few things to share with you. I feel that it might be of some help if I try to highlight the talk through a story. This might bring the point across more clearly.
Once there was a great Indian poet named Valmiki who composed the world famous Ramayana in Sanskrit. This classic is considered to be the bible of Hindus. It contains the total idea ology of Hindu culture, society etc. However, it is to be understood that this world famous poet did not have much of a personality. In his early life, he was a bandit who robbed from pilgrims and travellers. Sometimes he even murdered these people.
One time, for a whole week, he could not find any victims but then along came a yogi. Valmiki was very hopeful of getting some money or food but this yogi had nothing on him. He became totally enraged and said to the yogi, ’I’m not letting you go off. In this forest there is a blood thirsty demon, if I offer him your blood to him then he will grant me the blessing to become rich.’ The yogi saw that he was about to die but was not disturbed and having no fear he answered, ‘Okay, if my death makes you happy then my life is meaningful but the acts that you are engaging in are incorrect and sinful. Do you realize that you have sinned all your life?’
Valmiki answered, ‘Yes, I know the fruits of these deeds are suffering to come.’
Then the yogi asked, ‘When you know these deeds are sinful and the fruit is suffering, why do you still engage in these acts?’
He replied, ‘I am engaged in these acts in order to feed my family.’
They had a long discussion and then the yogi said, ‘If you are so attached to your family then why not engage in some other acts rather than robbing and killing?’
Valmiki then said, ‘I am not hard working and can’t do anything else. I only know how to rob and kill. I know this job is very dangerous but sometimes I get rich as a result.’
Then the yogi asked another question, ‘Does your family know what kind of livelihood you are engaged in?’
He said, ‘Yes and they are happy about my work.’
‘In that case then,’ said the yogi, ‘all the members of your family share in these sinful deeds.’
He retorted, ‘What do you mean?’
The yogi then elaborated, ‘You know that your deeds are not correct and sinful and since your family members also know but do they know that they share in your sinful deeds? Have you asked your family about this?’
Valmiki answered by saying ‘no’ and so the yogi asked him to go home and ask his family if they want to share in these sinful deeds. He thought that the yogi was just trying to be smart and get away. So the yogi told him he was wrong and that if he was in doubt then he should tie him up on a tree, go home and ask the question to his family then come back with the answer.
Valmiki did this. He went home and asked his mother first. She answered by saying, ‘I gave birth to you and brought you up. This was my responsibility. Now your responsibility is to look after your family. If you engage in sinful deeds then that is your responsibility but I want no share in this.’
Then he asked his father and his brother but he got the same reply. When he went to his wife he said, ‘You are my wife, do you want to be a part of the deeds I engage in and the consequences of these sins that I have committed?’
His wife answered by saying, ‘I have stayed with you through ups and downs, happiness and suffering, but in committing sinful deeds, I want no part in it. That is your responsibility.’
He then looked to his children but they were too small to answer, so he went back to the yogi. This was the turning point of his life and he became a student of the great yogi.
The point here is that hatred is generally believed to be something that is ignited from external objects or beings. However, it must be understood and realised that we also play a part in causing a hateful situation. If we are in a position to internalise this fact then we won’t place all the blame on others and we can develop a forgiving attitude. This is a substantial step towards cutting through hatred. If you look in a mirror with a green face, for example, then you will see that same green face reflected back at you but if you have a pleasant face then there will be a similar pleasing reflection.
The point here is to realize your own fault and develop forgiveness for the faults of others. This will bring a positive attitude and emotions in your life and it will also have a positive impact on others, even if the other person is at fault. If you develop space to forgive then this quality will help you overcome suffering and develop a loving attitude to all.
At first His holiness gave the oral transmission of the practice of Chenrezig.
Holding an attitude of non-violence and wishing to benefit others whilst bearing affection in one’s heart for all beings who have been our mothers and are our extended family, are practices that we need to make very powerful because they will help us to overcome many of the obstacles in our lives.
Currently, our world has many environmental and other obstacles. These are causing the negative afflictions to arise frequently within our beings. These negative afflictions inhibit our intention to help others. Greed and jealousy are especially most destructive. Jealousy, for example, plants the seeds of discord from person to person so that you can’t enjoy the happiness of others. You always wish for others that they be lower than you and dependent on you and not your equal. This is the fruit from the seeds of jealousy.
These days, it is very common for people to challenge and compete with one another and to hold these attitudes in their minds.
As regarding freedom, there are two types, one is inborn and the other depends on life’s situations. Inborn freedom may be practiced extensively but when it comes to environmental restrictions then inborn freedom needs to be curbed to meet them so that you remain balanced within your self and society. For example, in the case of a monk, his birth-right is freedom but a monk must remain within the boundaries of his vows, otherwise he becomes an object of criticism.
In this world and as humans, we are all searching for happiness. We are all making our best efforts to use our freedom to pursue happiness. It’s the same for everyone else too. If we try to impede the efforts of others then it is not good. It’s the same for us too, we should not do that to others either. It is improper. Therefore it is imperative to develop right values. It’s the same for everyone. We need to develop ourselves and value the feelings of others
Another way of viewing finding happiness for ourself is to ask if we are actually dependent on others with whom we are living? We do actually depend on others to achieve happiness? Our own efforts are limited and we depend on the mutual co-operation of others.
The main point here is that because of jealousy and competition, we need to stop using our eyes and mind for finding fault in others and wanting to be better than them. If you see others as being better than yourself then you’ll just get jealous. So take a good look at yourself!
Here’s a little story:
In the past in Vesali, there was a very rich man who often made offerings to Lord Buddha and his Sangha. In those days many of the monks used to fall ill and so the other monks had to go on greater alms round than usual.
This rich man had an old maid servant who looked after most of the needs of his household. She started to foster the thought that the monks were obtaining food through some kind of magic that encouraged people to give more and more and that the monks didn’t know when to say enough. She thought along these lines.
She didn’t realize that this was due to her own greed and miserliness that she was finding faults in the monks. She complained bitterly about them and prayed to be reborn somewhere where there were no monks!
Due to her this evil thought started spreading through the whole town of Vesali and even reached the ears of the queen.
The queen was acquainted with the rich man’s wife and went to visit her. She asked, ‘I understand there’s an old maid in your service who is making a lot of trouble for the Sangha. What are you going to do about it?’
The wife answered by saying, ‘Lord Buddha has been to many places and is always doing a lot of good deeds infusing loving kindness and peace in every one’s hearts – even to Angulimala! So I wouldn’t pay too much attention to this old lady.’
The queen said, ‘Tomorrow the Sangha are coming to the palace. Please invite the old maid to come too.’
As the old maid entered the royal palace, she thought she saw the Buddha coming towards her. Feeling uneasy, she tried to avoid him but all the doors were closed and she couldn’t run away. She ended up in the teaching hall listening to the Buddha give a sermon to all the Sangha.
He was teaching that Bodhisattva’s have forsaken their body, speech and mind because they seek liberation so that others may walk the path and find true happiness. They forsake everything for the benefit of others.
The reason for me and my Sangha to go begging in all directions is to make a positive connection with everyone we meet. My objective is to benefit everyone.
Then she began to realize that it is not just a matter of feeding them. The monks bring many benefits to others and she was able to overcome her greed and miserliness.
We must all develop a spacious heart – as spacious as the sky – filled with the attitude of benefiting others. Then, even if we have obstacles, they’ll be overcome. If we have the limited view of only benefiting ourselves then it will bring us trouble in the future.
Firstly His Holiness gave the Chenrezig oral tranmission. The Chenrezig practice is related to love and compassion for the welfare of others.
The practice of love and compassion is primarily related to the mental attitude that comes from one’s heart. To do things that have no benefit for others is not the practice of love and compassion.
For beginners, ordinary people like us, it is difficult to understand the true practice of love and compassion. Also, it is compulsory that we depend on others in order to practice love and compassion.
Therefore, if we recite words that are charged with love and compassion then we gain the power of love and compassion derived from these words.
From one’s own experience, we know that words have a power and an impact on us. For example, critical and offensive words have an impact on us. They create mental disturbance and negative emotions. Thus, words have power. If we recite positive words of power while thinking of their meaning this can empower us in a very special way and give us a good experience.
In this world there are many religions. Some have a physical image of their god but in the totality of all religious teachings they all have some kind of shape or form.
There are three methods for studying Buddhism – listening, contemplating and meditating on the teachings. We could devote all our time to learn all that there is to learn about Buddhism but it might be more practical to pick what’s important and let this clarify one’s life. This is very important.
In general, every individual is unique with unique needs, which are different for everyone. These days the world needs to create a society that is positive, peaceful, non-violent and that benefits others. We need to rely on many methods to achieve this.
From the Buddhist point of view, we need to develop a mind which wishes to benefit others and there are many methods to do this. Among these instructions and methods is the blessing of the great compassion practice of Chenrezig – like the one you received today.
What I’ve said is not new, as those who regularly come know, but for those who have come for the first, it is good to develop the special thoughts of love and compassion.
In order to develop Bodhichitta for the benefit of others then we must progress through seven steps. The first of these is to recognize the quality of our mother’s great kindness. In my own life, I understand having this proper attitude towards my own mother. When the relationship between the mother and child is troublesome then these people may not understand what I mean.
What is the correct concept of knowing all as being one’s mother? It is when all sentient beings have the feeling of compassion which is like that of a mothers. Every sentient being has been our mother at some time or another. They also must have been our fathers too and so everyone has affected you and everyone else too. To know and accept this belief one needs to believe in having had lives which have preceded this present life. We have gained entry into this and each and every other life, via the vehicle of having had a mother and a father. Yet even identical twins who look exactly alike have different intellectual make-ups.
There are instances of people who recognize their past lives like a photocopy or remember being in their mother’s womb. So we shouldn’t doubt about the existence of former lives.
In general, it is difficult to remember our former lives or to recall each one because they are beginningless. Think about each individual being taking their turns in being the mother to one another!
If you look at your present day situation then it’s obvious that not every sentient beings is our present day mother and father. We only have two, but there are various ways to classify parents. For example, there are our parents who gave us our bodies, then there are the parents who provide for us and then there are the parents who guide us – such as our teachers.
Therefore, due to interdependence, all beings in this world have been and are our parents. We depend on everyone in totality and need the cooperation of all. This view is very big and inter- connected.
Since we derive a lot of benefit from so many known and unknown individuals in this world, we should be aware of their benefit and kindness. This includes our own parents but this is not enough. We must also be grateful for their efforts in bringing us up. This doesn’t mean just recognizing the fact that we are here because of them. These days children don’t recognize this enough.
There are different ways of highlighting the gratitude we should have towards our parents. For example, we should take care of our precious body which is the priceless gift for our parents. It is pledged to us out of their love. They want you to be happy. Our parents, thus, are our first and best friends. Sometimes parents have too many children and find it difficult to meet this responsibility. These days many parents use the short cut of family planning. Having been brought into this world, if they just left us on our own then we might not survive. Our parents have died for us over and over again. So we should love our parents.
Just changing the subject slightly, if we are really talking about benefiting others then how is it that we often receive harmful and disturbing causes from others? Should we hate those who harm us? If we all depend on others for our benefit, just as they depend on us- if we receive harm from them, should we wish to harm them in return? Which attitude benefits most anger or loving-kindness? If we love others, then the consequence is that we will be happy. So it is better to develop love and compassion for others.
We are talking about the collective kindness of all our parents and consciously creating this thought. Sometimes however, parents are not very kind to their children nor children very kind to their parents. This causes all kinds of trouble for the parents and/or the children. Subsequently, the parents find it difficult to love their children . If this continues from generation to generation then it may come that love is almost extinct in coming generations. Love needs to be reciprocal.
In all the various spiritual traditions of the world there exists some belief in some form of divinity to whom we express our adoration. This divinity may be in a tangible physical form or a more abstract energy form. It also seems that in most spiritual traditions there is a particular set of texts or scriptures which are honoured and offered prayer. In Tibetan Buddhism there are a large number of scriptural texts that have come down through various spiritual beings who have left them for us to study and supplicate.
Given that we are all equal in our spiritual inclination, we should bear in mind that our spiritual practices should have impacted on us in a positive and good way. Often though, it seems that we are just spiritual in our outer appearance and the amount of energy that we actually put into our spiritual practices. Further, over the years it still seems to be in outer appearance rather than having really made some impact on our minds. We shouldn’t be deceived by these outer expressions that are in fact devoid of true intellectual development.
Sometimes its true that our external practices are real. Often due to exceptional outer circumstances or external conditions that we are more spiritually inclines than at other times. However, if we are always waiting for favourable circumstances to trigger our spiritual behaviour then how can we ever expect to become truly spiritual? If its just a couple of hours a day and due to external conditions, how can the spiritual values become deeply embedded?
When we talk about engaging in spiritual practices, it should mean that is serves spiritual and beneficial practices in all areas of our lives. Our whole being becomes spiritual everyday and our mind’s outlook becomes naturally wholesome continuously on a daily basis.
It is important to bear in mind that simply waiting for spiritual circumstances to arise and then, under it’s spell, doing certain spiritual activities, is likened to indulging in substances such as alcohol etc. When things get rough one drinks, then, under the sway of alcohol the cares and troubles cease but when the effect wares off then once again the daily reality reveals itself. This is like waiting for special circumstances to arise. It would be better to maintain your spiritual practices continuously so that there will be constant progress in the mind of awakening and in taming the mind. Spiritual practice shouldn’t just be once in a while. Your spiritual practice should be accountable and reliable so that the mind becomes stable in the qualities of love, compassion and tranquility.
In order for one’s life to become completely spiritual you need to make a constant habit of spiritual practice, maintaining it daily and especially in the face of the numerous obstacles and hinderances that arise.
The main hinderance on our path is the reliance we place in the illusion of the importance of the activities of this life. We are so locked into this way of thinking that we find it almost impossible to see any other alternatives. Any other view cannot even make a strike!
In the past all the great masters in one voice used to say that until we’ve given up the illusion of the reality of the futility of this life totally then we can’t really turn our minds to the reality of the Dharma. The Dharma until then is completely oblivious to such people.
Initially though, we need to become very realistic and enter the path as best we can. We start by slowly and systematically compromising the activities of this life with more and more spiritual practicies.
In the same line, given our habitual pattern of clinging to the illusion of this life, if we try to renounce everything all together and at once then it probably won’t work out well for our future. We need therefore, to strike a compromise and give up a little at a time thereby integrating truly spiritual elements slowly, gradually and consistently into our day-to-day lives.
In paving the way for true spiritual practice to take place in our lives, we need to be very clear right now that no matter what or in the name of any worldly activity, it can never bring any long lasting or substantial happiness. This is the striking reality and meaning behind embarking on spiritual practice. This, so called genuine practice, is not just going along with the flock but generates utter joy because one knows whats impelling one into undertaking genuine spiritual practice. The basis then, is breaking through the fixation on the illusion of this life……so break through!
As you may know Chenrezig is an embodiment of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. His Sanscrit name is Avalokiteshvara and his practice is love and compassion. All religions and all beings irrespective of faith or tradition are free to undertake this practice as it is a practice for everyone.
Among those here today, there are some who are interested in Buddhism whilst others are not. However, what we all have in common is the wish to make this life meaningful and to be filled with happiness.
The source of all spiritual practices is the wish to make life meaningful and happy. The practice of love and compassion accomplishes this wish.
In general, it must be understood that all the different religions have come into existence as a means to try to help people to overcome their suffering. They are a means to produce happiness and to make our lives more meaningful. Making our lives meaningful and filled with happiness is of fundamental importance to us. Whatever our actions, whether they are spiritual or mundane, if they don’t achieve happiness then all these activities are just useless. Since we make every decision based upon this objective of making our lives wholesome and meaningful, any incorrect decisions will have serious adverse consequences for us.
Each individual has a different approach or mental outlook on how to live their life and make it meaningful. For some individuals happiness relates to their independence and prosperity with not much concern for the welfare of others. Other people think of not only their own welfare but also the welfare of others.
So is it better to pursue a self-orientated life or to take the path that turns life to become meaningful for others? There is a striking difference between the two.
Some traditions believe that god is permanent but if we take such a self orientated path where we forget or ignore that we are actually interdependent and prefer to rely on such total solitude then we’ll miss realizing the fact that actually depend on others to find true happiness and make our lives meaningful.
If we ask ourselves if we have any effect on the welfare of others then the answer would have to be ‘yes’. Think of our family life, for example. If one member is unhappy then everyone suffers. We all have a responsibility to up lift him or her. Therefore, each and every being has the potential to be of great benefit for us. When someone is faced with difficulties, it is our responsibility to help them.
By making one’s life meaningful, it is possible to make oneself and others happy at the same time. Think about some of the disturbing things that are happening in our world these days. Can you continue on without being disturbed by them too? You need a great positive attitude to make life meaningful and happiness is the fundamental ingredient in making life rich and meaningful.
Chenrezig is the embodiment of love and compassion. We already have within us the seeds of love and compassion both for ourself and for others. This Chenrezig transmission enhances these seeds.
The opposite to these seeds of love and compassion are the worst seeds of hatred. If we could distinguish them then we’d say that hatred is destructive whilst loving-kindness is beneficial.
Sometimes we receive hatred from others but if we introspect then we will see that there must have been a cause. Here’s a little story:
In Tibet there was a great yogi called Milarepa who is respected by all schools in Tibetan Buddhism. His story is similar to the great poet Valmiki, who in his early life was a bandit who stole from pilgrims and travellers. He was full of anger. One day he met a yogi (siddha) who had no valuables and tried to kill him. However, meeting this yogi ended up being the turning point of his life.
Milarepa in his youth had also done a lot of negative deeds. He was born in a remote area into a very rich family. His forefathers had migrated there and became very wealthy. The locals, thus, disliked their success and were very jealous.
Milarepa had one sister and his father had died due to a serious illness when he was very young. All the father’s wealth had fallen into his father’s brothers’s hands and as supposed to be released to Milarepa when he became old enough to be the custodian.
There are different versions of the story and one says that when Milarepa’s mother was 27, the uncle wanted her to re-marry to his son but she didn’t want to. He then started to treat her very badly because of her refusal. As a result they had very little food or clothing and underwent a lot of mistreatment from the uncle and his family. They were starved and forced to do hard work.
When Milarepa became old enough to look after his father’s wealth, the uncle didn’t give it. Unfortunately Milarepa’s mother had a natural tendency to be ill at heart and couldn’t forgive the uncle. She wanted revenge and sent Milarepa away to learn black magic. After a lot of hardship and difficulties he became very accomplished and killed 25 people. The people in the village became very upset and turned against him because of that.
His Holiness said that he could understand both sides and see why they both had malicious spite towards each other but there was one major difference between the uncle and Milarepa. The uncle continued to bear his spite but Milarepa out his great regret for killing so many people had forsaken his spite against his uncle. He took the path of Dharma and undertook the practice of receiving and developing loving kindness to all beings so that his tendency to spite was completely over come.
His mother was already dead and his sister who was also afflicted by poverty had no reason to bear malice. Since Milarepa had overcome his tendency towards malice, the uncle’s atitude also declined.
As time passed by they too understood why Milarepa had done what he had done. With great remorse he purified his misdeeds and underwent the difficulties of practising the Dharma.
One day, his aunt came to beg for forgiveness. On the day that she came Milarepa was giving a teaching. She could be seen coming from a distance and so a discussion ensued as to whether she should be let in or not.
Milarepa’s sister said that because she had caused so much torture, she’d leave if the aunt was allowed to come in.
Again, there are many versions to this tale but one says that Milarepa responded to his sister’s kindness by saying if she had any reservations that he’d agree with her and not let the aunt come in. Then on second thoughts and from the point of view of the dharma, he chose not to abandon his aunt or any sentient being, whether a close relative or an enemy but to look upon all beings, including his aunt, equally.
So he let her in but he didn’t see her face to face. He spoke to her indirectly through a screen. At first, he spoke very harshly reminding her of when he and his sister had no food that she never came and offered any food nor claim to be their aunt.
When Milarepa said these words she felt intense remorse and repented and due to the power of her deep regret she later became one of Milarepa’s most outstanding disciples.
The recorded teaching that I heard upon entering the gompa:“benefit self as well as others...by benefiting others you benefit yourself too...”
His holiness gave two oral transmissions today. One was the Chenrezig practice of OM MANI PADME HUNG and the other was OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG, the for mare was requested by some students (and today is the Tibetan tenth-‘tsechu’).
The reason for doing this practice is that we are always connected with Chenrezig and this practice has been found to be very beneficial.
Along with this oral transmission it is taught to practice loving kindness and compassion for sentient beings because love and compassion has a great influence for all. It is good not to fix your practice of love and compassion one just one person in particular but for everyone. To practice like this is very important and also very practical.
Regarding the practice of love and compassion, it doesn’t distinguish between religions, castes or race because no matter who, no one wants suffering. The practice of loving kindness and compassion is very practical and easy to accomplish.
His holiness the Karmapa is a Buddhist and practices Buddhism. He lives in this world and feels that he has a great connection with everyone where ever he lives. Everyone has a different way of thinking and regardless of this he still feels that it is his responsibility to help everyone. He tries to help everyone regardless of other people’s different ideas. He tries to help not only each individual but also society at large.
His Holiness always feels that since we are human beings we have a great potential to be able to help even insignificant beings. If we turn to a broader mind then we can help even insects!
His Holiness feels that human beings are able to have the wholesome feelings of loving kindness and compassion for others whilst animals are not able to have this type of feeling in the same way. Through the practice of the quality of loving kindness and non-violence we can help others. From the time of our birth everyone has been wanting happiness and doing what ever we can to free themselves from suffering but only humans have this quality of being able to free themselves from suffering. For example, we can laugh when we are happy. Animals can’t laugh. Therefore due to our better qualities we can help others.
For that reason and through the qualities of loving kindness, compassion and non-violence towards others, we can really help. It is our duty to help others through the practice of loving kindness and compassion. If we practice these good qualities of love, compassion and non-violence then this life becomes more and more useful to one self and others and therefore becomes very meaningful.
It is not enough just to say we have these qualities, we must express these qualities in all our actions too, other wise it is useless and meaningless. Sometimes though, the practice of love and compassion is not easy to accomplish.
Since we sometimes have a problem or difficulty expressing true love and compassion, we should ask ourselves what is true love and compassion? True love and compassion is wanting, expecting all other beings to be happy and to want to remove their suffering. This practice however, is very difficult. It’s easy to feel love for our parents and close relatives but really what we need to do is extend these feelings and build upon them so they extend to help all beings.
The hindrances to obtaining these good qualities are the defilements such as hatred and so on. We need to watch out for the presence of these defilements and not let them interrupt our practice. Speaking about these different afflictions, such as impatience, hatred, desire and so on, if we take the example of hatred then we see that some people are so angry all the time and full of hatred. This type of thinking will only bring back a negative result in the future. People will always keep violent people at a distance – even their family members. Take the example of a baby snake which is born due to past karma of having much hatred in former lives – even a baby snake is something that people don’t even want to see or touch. People are naturally afraid of them. This is the negative result of hatred. You should try to get rid of these negativities that will bring bad results in the future and try to build more positive qualities so the future will be better. Always try to avoid the bad qualities such as hatred, anger, desire and so forth.
It is important to know that the defiled unwholesome states of mind can only bring negative effects in the future. By knowing this it will help us to abstain from and avoid doing negative things. Through this reasoning, if you do only positive things then it will bring a better result in the long run.If you see someone who is very angry all the time then try seeing them as a sick person who is doing these negative things like an illness and develop compassion for them because you know heir future will be full of suffering.
Through these brief words we have been given the oral transmission for practice of Avalokiteshvara, who is the embodiment of the compassion within all sentient beings. This particular practice came from Aryadeva. These days Avalokitsehvara is practiced in many countries but initially it took root in Tibet. Through this practice many people have received great siddhis. It is a very precious practice and a good way to make a dharma connection because it improves he compassion quality with our hearts. This quality of compassion has existed since time immemorial between all people. It makes our mind more inclined towards non-violent actions and helps all aspects of our being.
We would like all the auspicious things to happen to us. In order to achieve this we need to think of benefiting others. In Buddhism we talk about the concept of life after life – yet few people can tell all their past lives – even me! I am a Buddhist but it is still difficult for me to know every past life and every future life. If you look into history there have been many great siddhas who didn’t trust the idea of reincarnation , but after they studies and practiced they came to believe in past and future lives.
For most of us though, it might be better to concentrate on this life. Make it pure and virtuous Now then it will improve the quality of this life and also your future lives. It is our duty to make life wholesome and useful for ourselves and others.
It is very important for us take proper and timely care of our present situation. If we are able to take care of now then we automatically take care of our future.
Here’s a little story:- Once there was a father and a son who owned a couple of donkeys. During a trip through the mountains the father said that he thought it would be good if they had a mule to ride. The boy thought he’d like to ride the small donkey now but the father hit him saying that the donkey was too small to ride.
Sometimes we miss what’s happening now because we are too busy thinking about the future. We must plan for the extra-ordinary happiness of an extra-ordinary human being, so make the most of our present situation.
We must make our life meaningful through finding the secret path, by utilizing skillful means and wisdom. We need a healthy body and mind. We need to balance the four elements because if any of are imbalanced it will cause us trouble. If the water, wind, earth or fire elements are out of balance then it will cause us trouble and create difficulties. To have balanced healthy conditions, we need a proper path and be able to practice it over a long period of time, then it will benefit all of one’s life with lasting benefits. We must practice the path all our life, constantly remembering it all the time. In this way then every action will be proper, suitable and conducive to the path we are practicing. Make an effort not to be separated from this path. You can develop mental strength through employing skillful means and wisdom as these will make a meaningful future.
Adopt all good qualities and refrain from impure actions so that at the conclusion of our life we will have collected all the good qualities.
It is important to collect all the good and positive qualities and to get rid of all impurities. Method and wisdom are inseparable requirements so be sincere your self and for others. It is our responsibility to gather all good qualities and to abandon impurities. Method and wisdom must be together. We can’t do something for others if we lack sincerity. There are many intellectuals around with a lot of knowledge but they lack sincerity in themselves and for others. In the case of some scientists, they have created the atom bomb through finding that atoms can be useful but have also brought the world a lot of problems.
We need TAB and SHERAB (method and wisdom) to develop a sharp, alert mind. By remembering method and wisdom we will practice the path.
We must endeavor to take the correct and middle path. In my last teachings I said its good to see the interests of individual students but in a big group like this, it is not possible to know each individual. If we practice and admire the beautiful path then we can obtain peace, happiness and well-being for ourselves , society and the world.
Thank you very much.
(9) Date Unsure
To every individual practitioner, or those who have interest in the Dharma, it is very important right from the beginning to check and watch one’s own mind. This is the first and foremost step in the progressive stages of Dharma practice, like learning the basic course of any language. We start with the alphabet, whether it’s English or Hindi or whatever. That too should then follow a systematic course of discipline. It’s the same for every form of study right from the beginning. Thereafter one moves on progressively to higher and further practices and studies. After having completed the basic courses one then proceeds on to more and broader learning and practices.
Then again, one should always keep the mind and body in a relaxed and peaceful way. The pacification of mind is important because we all live in a busy and crowded society. We all tend to have somewhat distracted minds full of various conceptual thoughts and perceptions. This makes it difficult for us to recognize the inherent true nature of the mind and so we become unable to differentiate the conceptual thoughts and the true nature of the mind. Thus we can not control our conceptual thinking nor lessen the passions and our negative thoughts.
Once we have subdued wrong conceptual thinking by pacifying the mind then we will recognize the nature of the mind. Every practice then becomes right.
As was said before, we should always judge ourselves more than we should judge other. The true improvement of one’s practice and conduct will be through checking for one’s own defects, faults and short comings.
It is very usual that most individuals have the habit of judging others rather than judging one’s own mind and actions. This is actually wrong and won’t help us to progress. So, in brief always judge yourself and your mind as this will improve your practice and you will also be able to recognize the true nature of your mind as well as be of help to others
So after subduing the mind and making the mind stable then this is called Shiney or Calm Abiding (Samatha) and with this practice of Shiney you should do the practice of counting the inhalation and exhalation of the breath..
(10) Date Unsure
Firstly His Holiness gave the oral transmission of the Chenrezig practice.
Now that you have received this transmission you should recite the mantra (OM MANI PADME HUM) whist practicing the visualization of the white four-armed form of Chenrezig but more importantly you should practice compassion whenever possible.
You should also understand that with the recitation of the mantra it is more powerful and meaningful than just merely reciting the words and it is especially more powerful if recited whilst building devotion.
We really need to understand the meaning of compassion and why we should practice it. It is all very well and good to study the Dharma with a teacher but it is even better if we can find out what the meaning of compassion is within our own experience. Once we know what compassion is then it makes incredibly good sense to us personally. Of course, it is good to study the Dharma with a teacher because they will introduce our minds to all the enlightening concepts.
In the beginning we cannot say exactly what the fruits of our study and practice will be but once we learn that everything is totally inter-dependent and inter-connected we will take more care of all our actions.
If we really want to help every single sentient being then we can’t just use or two methods. We will need to learn many methods and apply what is necessary according to the vast number of individual requirements.
Also, it might be helpful to know that in the beginning of our study and practice having the mere intention of helping all sentient beings will be of some benefit. Later, when we will really know how to put this great intention into practice in all our actions then we will truly be able to benefit all sentient beings.
In the beginning His Holiness gave the oral transmission of Chenrezig practice and mantra.
Many people know about the practice of Chenrezig but they should try to know the real meaning of Chenrezig. It is not just related to an individual being. To understand Chenrezig in this way is fine but we should not limit our understanding because the true meaning of Chenrezig is an enlightened being who sees all other sentient beings with the eye of compassion all the time. He is not just one individual – every individual who has the quality of being able to look upon all sentient beings with love and compassion is Chenrezig. The practice of compassion is not just a Buddhist practice like those found in the Buddhist sadhanas, it is found in other religions. In other religions there are beings of great love and compassion and these are also related to and one with Chenrezig and not separate individuals.
I always try to spend my time with various groups and individuals to share with them the Chenrezig practice of compassion not only with Buddhists but with anyone who has the qualities of love and compassion. I don’t try to convert people to Buddhism but rather to encourage them to practice love and compassion.
Everyone likes the subject of love and compassion very much but when it comes to the practice of love and compassion it is very difficult and also much misunderstood. For example, most people think that compassion means that when someone does something bad to you then you have to have compassion for them. When we apply compassion in that way then there is not much profit for ourselves. It’s not very practical. When some people practice compassion there is a misunderstanding. They think that when someone is suffering they can take their suffering upon themselves but this only brings more suffering. True compassion is not like that.
This type of practice of compassion, as explained before, where they have to somehow experience the suffering of others, just brings us more suffering and they get lost themselves. What they need to do is see the suffering of others then apply healthy compassion. They need to be more confident to relieve the suffering of self and others. This then becomes true compassion and is very powerful. When we see the suffering of others and the duality of compassion then we need to work for other’s so that it doesn’t bring more pain to us. Compassion then becomes the antidote to suffering.
When we practice plain compassion it might not be very helpful because when we see someone else suffering then we suffer too! Even if we ourselves have compassion we can’t control the suffering of others. Compassion should be healthy, strong and confident then we can see their suffering and then bring more happiness to others.
Here’s an example, take the case of a handicapped father who sees his son drowning in the water. He can’t do anything and suffers greatly as he watches on helplessly but in the case of a father who is full of strength, if he sees his son suffering then he can swiftly jump in and rescue the drowning child. Similarly, if our compassion is strong and healthy with full power then we can quickly and effectively help others. If our compassion is not fully mature then who can we effectively help anyone?
We have just now started by receiving the oral transmission of the practice of Arya Avalokiteshvara and the six seed syllable, OM MANI PEDME HUNG.
Firstly, it is very important for all of us to introspect into our own minds. All phenomena are external but involve the mind. You should check your mind and if there is any change. The mind has an inherent capacity to check and see it what's happening in the mind is proper or not.
There are many individuals here and we all depend upon one another. Everyone is like a teacher for us, helping us to change on minds. One individual's effect can help us to change our attitude.
Generally, when we encounter differences and problems, different kinds of emotions and feelings arise, such as aggression. Aggression gives us a great deal of suffering for our own mind. Sometimes it is hard to find an antidote immediately and we become incapable of finding power over our own mind. If you are not practitioner then it's even more difficult to transform the negative emotions.
You should set some time aside if you don't have the power to overcome your negative emotions. These days there are many ways to overcome them. There are many different religions and masters who teach various ways to overcome the negative emotions. You can utilize these different methods, the teachings of other scriptures and your friends. If anger arises then use these different methods to reduce effect of the negativity. Some people can instantly overcome their negativities but most of us have work within our own capacity.
I suggest you study, recite the scriptures, pray, chant and utilize whatever self-help techniques you know in order to reduce yours and others negativities.