DJKR Teachings

August 24, 2017 | Author: Carlos A. Cubillos Velásquez | Category: Karma, Contentment, Happiness & Self-Help, Gautama Buddha, Tibetan Buddhism
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DJKR Teachings – Dudjom Tersar Lung – Bartsham Transcription of Review by Lama Sonam Phuntsok (lightly edited)

Teaching #1 – Wednesday 1st October 2008 – Guru Yoga I received this Dudjom Tersar, the series of empowerments from Dudjom Lingpa, twice from HH Dudjom Rinpoche, in Kathmandu and in Bhutan. However, I didn’t receive the Ka Gyé (8 herukas) or the trekchö instructions (which are included within the Sera Khadro). I consulted with his father and decided not to give these, and I recommend that you receive these from other masters, e.g. Gyatral Rinpoche. Guru Yoga is the last part of the ngöndro, but since we have been accumulating the 7 Line Prayer, I’ll teach it first. We have outer/inner/secret guru: • • •

Outer = the guru who you see, who you can relate to Inner = clarity aspect of your mind Secret = emptiness aspect of your mind

So the inner and secret are buddha nature. In Madhyamika, “guru” is named “emptiness free from elaborations.” In Uttaratantra and Prajñaparamita, “guru” is named transcendental wisdom, tathagatagarbha or “buddha nature.” In Vajrayana, “guru” is named Guru Rinpoche, Vajrasattva, and Samantabhadra etc. All these are referring to the same thing, the nature of mind. When you practice the 7 Line Prayer, at times you should dissolve the guru into you and remain in that state for a while, and look at that state. When we say “look”, some people expect to see miracles and light. Other people say they see “clarity”, but this isn’t from experience – they’re just reciting what they read in a book. This is of no value. “Gomchen” means “great meditator” – you have to meditate. There is no need to speak elegantly of your experience. For example, one of HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s students, a gomchen, was asked to visualise Guru Rinpoche on a lotus. But he had never seen a lotus, and there were small yellow flowers outside the cave where he was meditating, so he visualised that. But Guru Rinpoche’s weight was too great, so he fell backwards and exposed his private parts. When he told HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche about his experience, he was very happy, as this was a real experience, not something memorised from a book. Longchenpa said when you meditate, beginners should do it short and many times, else you will get bored and discouraged if you try to do it for too long at the beginning. If you do it short and often, then you’ll get used to it, and you can gradually extend the length until you are meditating for a long time. If you were to drink 15 bottles of alcohol all at once, you’d get sick and never want to look at alcohol again. But if you drink little by little, then eventually you and the alcohol will become inseparable – you’ll become an alcoholic! Why do we visualise Guru Rinpoche and not the Buddha? One of the most important aspects of the view is interdependence, and because of this we have the notion of “karmic link”. Guru Rinpoche is linked to Bhutan and Tibet, the main domains of his activity. Shakyamuni didn’t visit Bhutan, but Guru Rinpoche did. And one of Guru Rinpoche’s 5 main consorts was from

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Bumthang, so even on an outer level there’s a link. Guru Rinpoche acts as a mirror for us to look into the nature of our minds. Why is Guru Yoga the most important practice? When you die, you can only take 3 things with you: guru, view and yidam. What does it mean to bring the view? At the end of the dissolution of the elements, you reach the Chönyi bardo (the bardo of dharmata), and if you have practiced (the view), you’ll recognise Dharmakaya and become liberated. But this is very hard, as we’re confused and frightened then. It’s easier to remember and visualise the yidam if you have practiced, but this is still hard. Easiest of all is to remember the guru, as you have been with your teacher a lot and you have got used to him. If someone recites the guru’s name into your ear as you die, you’ll easily remember him. Supreme & ordinary siddhis: When you recite the 7 Line Prayer, you receive siddhis/blessings. The main kind of blessing that you should ask for (the supreme siddhi) is enlightenment. Your main and only aim as a practitioner is to be liberated from karma and emotions and to attain enlightenment, and to attain enlightenment you need to remove the 2 obscurations. And to remove the 2 obscurations, you need to recognise the nature of mind. So when you ask for blessings when reciting the 7 Line Prayer, you should ask for Guru Rinpoche’s blessings to recognise the nature of mind. There are also ordinary siddhis/blessings, of 4 kinds: pacifying, increasing, magnetising and subjugating/wrathful. When ask to receive these ordinary siddhis, what should we ask for? •

Pacifying: we should ask to pacify karma and emotions, not sickness etc (because once you pacify karma and emotions, then sickness etc are automatically pacified)

Increasing: we should ask to increase merit and wisdom, nothing else. You need merit so your practice is good and there are no obstacles to your practice, and you need wisdom to realise the nature of mind. Who cares if your wealth increases or your lifespan increases?

Magnetising: magnetise means being under control (in this case). We need to bring under control our inner wind and our mind (Lung Sem – this will be explained later when we discuss developing and completion meditation). There’s no need to bring under control worldly sponsors, beautiful girls or anything like that!

Wrathful: we should ask to subjugate our dualistic perceptions, as that is the root of emotions (and emotions are the root of samsara). It’s not so that your enemies have an accident!

The above instructions are for sangha – those who study and meditate. For laypeople, it’s good to visualise Guru Rinpoche in the sky in front, and with yearning devotion and confidence to recite the 7 Line Prayer or the Vajra Guru mantra. Teaching #2 – Saturday 4th October 2008 – Dharma vs. Tradition / View, Meditation and Action Today I’m going to give an introduction to the Buddhist view. It’s very important to know the view in order to know why we are doing all these practices. If we know the view, we will strive

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


to realise that view. For example, when we know that gold, silver, jewels, diamonds are precious, we try our best and work really hard to obtain these things. If we have these precious things, then we can use them for many purposes. Likewise, we should know the preciousness of the Buddhist teachings. To know the preciousness of the buddhist teachings, we should know the benefit of practicing renunciation, doing the “cutting through” (chöd) practice, making offerings, doing prostrations, and so on. If we don’t know the benefit of these things, then we won’t know the preciousness of the teachings. So we need to understand the Buddhist view. The difference between dharma and tradition or culture In order to introduce the Buddhist view, we should first know what is dharma. There is a difference between dharma and the different traditions of the Buddhist teachings. When we take refuge in dharma, we don’t take refuge in the Buddhist tradition. So we need to know how to differentiate between dharma and the Buddhist traditions. Buddhism has flourished not only in Bhutan but also many other countries, like Korean, Japan, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and so on. But there is a big fault in the way those countries follow the buddhadharma, as they mistake the Buddhist tradition with dharma. And over the course of time, they begin to place more importance on the traditions rather than the authentic buddhadharma. This confusion between the teachings and the tradition isn’t only seen with buddhists, but also other teachings such as Christianity. For example, Christians celebrate 25th December as Christmas Day, and it has become a day of buying gifts and presents, making a tree and decorating it with beautiful things. They give so much importance to these things and not really to the teachings of Jesus Christ. And something similar is happening in Bhutan. I’m not just warning you that this might happen in the future – it has already happened. We give so much importance to festivals, do masked dances, and make everything beautiful just to show to the tourists. But people forget the authentic dharma, and instead they give so much importance and emphasis to the traditions. Actually, traditions are not that bad. But unlike the dharma, traditions and culture change with time and place. For example, many aspects of Bhutanese tradition, such as how the Bhutanese dress and how they behave, have changed from the early days. But the teachings, what the Buddha taught, will never change. Buddha said that whether the Buddha appears in this world or not, the true nature of things will not change. The teachings of the 4 noble truths, 4 seals and so on will never change with time and place. For example, Buddha taught that all compounded things are impermanent. All compounded things were impermanent before the Buddha, and even after 2500 years after Buddha came to this earth, nothing has become permanent – everything is still impermanent. So the teachings of the Buddha, the dharma, don’t change with time and place. Only the traditions change. We don’t become extraordinary as Buddhists just by following Buddha Shakyamuni. What is extraordinary is that by following the teachings of the Buddha, we can realise the true nature of mind and phenomena. By realising the true nature of phenomena, we become extraordinary. We become unique. And we don’t become extraordinary just by thinking about doing whatever Buddha taught. You won’t be different from the followers of other faiths by just following the Buddha’s teachings. You have to practice and realise the view. Buddha Shakyamuni is the one who taught the true nature of phenomena. However he is not the creator of the true nature – he did not create emptiness. Buddha Shakyamuni is the one who taught reality, or the true nature, and how by realising the true nature you become extraordinary. How he taught is that, for example, if you are dreaming that you’re about to fall down from a high building, you become scared. If somebody comes out of nowhere and says “no need to worry, don’t be scared, it’s a dream, it’s not real” – then you won’t feel scared, you know it’s a dream, you realise it’s a dream.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


That person who teaches you, who shows you it’s a dream, is just like Buddha Shakyamuni, who has taught that what you experience now, all this confusion is like a dream. It’s not real. So Buddha teaches you reality, the true nature. And if you realise the true nature then you won’t be afraid of samsara. The person who has taught reality or the true nature is Buddha Shakyamuni. The point here is that he’s not a creator. He didn’t create reality – he has taught us about the nature of reality. In the relative sense, Buddha Shakyamuni was born in Lumbini, and then he renounced the world and he practised penance for six years, and at the end he meditated under the bodhi tree, and then he attained enlightenment. All these things he did for the sake of happiness. The sole thing, the only thing that all human beings crave is happiness – and the single thing that humans don’t want, every being doesn’t want, is suffering. Buddha Shakyamuni also renounced the palace and became a renunciant because he wanted happiness. What is dharma? Dharma is something that establishes the truth, the reality. We need to practice dharma in order to have peace and happiness. We do all sorts of things for the sake of happiness. For example, it is not just Buddhists that have so many means to find peace and happiness, but also in Egypt and Greece there were many philosophers who wrote books on how to find happiness. Even scientists do all sorts of experiments and then reach all kinds of conclusions, for example that the earth is round, and they can also go to the moon, just for peace and happiness. And when Buddhists examine these things, they conclude that none of these things is a perfect means to gain happiness. Science, technology, politics, business, everything – all these things – are not the ultimate means to find happiness. Buddhists also find that none of these things are better than what Buddha said. We need not just wonder about these things. We should examine and investigate for ourselves. If we closely examine what Buddha said, he said all compounded things are impermanent, all emotions are pain, and so on – and if we fully examine this, we’ll find it’s true. We’ll find that nothing has become permanent, and that no emotions have become happiness or bliss. Buddha said that if we don’t destroy attachment to self, our self-clinging, then there’s no way that we can attain happiness. And Buddha said that all compounded things are impermanent: all that is impermanent has the potential to fall down (sak chey), or fall apart. And that which has the potential to fall apart or exhaust, is suffering. [Meaning: all impermanent things are manipulated by emotions, and anything manipulated by emotions is intrinsically suffering]. So by clinging to impermanent things, it’s the cause of all suffering – this is what Buddha explained. But nowhere in the teachings did Buddha say that we have to just accept his teachings just because he said so. We need to examine his teachings. Peace and happiness: Happiness cannot be attained through outer material wealth. The more material wealth you have, the more suffering it will bring. Today the world has developed so dramatically in terms of material wealth, but suffering hasn’t decreased. Instead all this development has increased, enhanced and speeded up suffering. For example, we now have mobile phones, so if something happens here in Bartsham, in no time you’ll hear about it in Trashigang, and people there will suffer. Now I’ll talk about Buddhist view, meditation and action. 1. View Knowing the view is the most important thing. Only by knowing the view can we differentiate ourselves from followers of other faiths. None of the teachings encourages telling lies or harming

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


others – in all teachings they say don’t harm, don’t tell lies, and don’t steal. Even meditation does not make you unique as a Buddhist practitioner; in Jainism and Hinduism, they also talk about doing meditation. And practicing the teachings also cannot make you different from the followers of other faiths. For example, when Hindus go to their holy places, they carry water from river Ganges in a pot and they walk barefoot. But we Buddhists, if we want to go on pilgrimages to Bodh Gaya, we don’t walk – we drive or we fly. So they are more serious practitioners than us Buddhists! So the view is what distinguishes us from followers of other faiths. And what is view? View is the way of thinking, how we think. For example, in Bhutan in the old days, people used to consider those who were fat and shiny to be very beautiful. Now because of the influence of modern television, people consider slim to be beautiful. That kind of thinking is view. The primary Buddhist view is the view of interdependence or dependent origination. Everything exists depending on each other thing. For example, “big” depends on “small” for its existence, etc. Nothing exists independently as something omnipotent. It’s very difficult to understand this. People study all the philosophy texts for many years at shedras, debating and examining the teachings. All this is done for the sake of knowing the view of interdependent origination. The text that establishes the view of interdependence is called Madhyamika. In order to realise the view, the right view, we need to dispel the wrong views. To do that, we need to refute wrong views logically, and for that we have Pramana – logic. There are so many obstacles to realising the view, so in order to recognise or realise the obstacles, like emotions and different kinds of obscurations we have Abhidharma teachings. And in order to practice the teachings, in order to realise the view, we need to have some kind of discipline – if we have no discipline, we can’t practice. And to foster discipline, we have the Vinaya. For instance, when you make tea you need to have a certain discipline – you can’t dump salt, sugar, everything together – if you don’t have discipline, if you add everything into the tea, you can’t have any tea. Likewise, to practice the teachings you need discipline. That’s why there is Vinaya. People study these texts in order to understand the view of interdependence. Interdependence means that things depend on each other for their existence. Nothing exists independently. And when we know that, we know the view. 2. Meditation After receiving an introduction to the view, we need to practice in order to realise the view. If we don’t practice or meditate on the view, then we can’t realise it. You can’t reach Trashigang by just knowing that it is there – you need to actually go there! Only then will you arrive at Trashigang. Just by knowing the view theoretically, you can’t realise it. You need to practice. So what kind of meditation should we do? The main meditation is meditating on compassion, loving kindness, and the aspiration of bodhicitta. And the teachings on compassion, loving kindness and bodhicitta are dharma. They are not just Buddhist tradition. Buddha Shakyamuni was born in India and he was an Indian, but he never said that we should embrace or practice the Indian customs and traditions. For example, monks’ robes are part of the buddhist tradition, and the colour of these robes changes with time and place. Buddha said that monks could wear yellow, red and even blue robes. But in Tibet, King Trisong Detsen and Tri Ralpachen felt that if monks wore blue colours, then it wouldn’t be possible to differentiate lay

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


people and monks, so they said monks should only wear yellow and red robes. So in Bhutan and Tibet, monks usually wear red and yellow robes. But in Japan and other places, it’s different – they wear maroon robes and also blue colours. So the tradition, the culture, changes with time and place. In fact Buddha taught that monks should wear abandoned clothes, clothes you find in the filth, in garbage. So that’s why Buddha said even the Vinaya should go according to the time and place. So Bhutanese monks should not think that monks in other countries that wear different colours are contradicting the teachings of the Buddha. As I said before, meditation here is meditating on loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta. What is loving-kindness? It’s the wish for all beings to have happiness. And that is also not unique to just Buddhism. Other faiths like Christianity and Hinduism also talk about lovingkindness and giving happiness to other beings. But there’s no way we can give happiness to each and every being, because the happiness of one being might be the suffering of another being. For example, we might throw a big party, and eat all kinds of meat and fish – and we might enjoy the party and have happiness, but the cows and fish will suffer! There is no way we can give happiness to all beings. But what is unique to Buddhism is giving the root of happiness, the cause of happiness. The cause of happiness is teaching them to practice virtue. We have to give that – the cause of happiness. What is compassion? It is to wish that each and every being does not have suffering. Again, there’s no way to alleviate the suffering of all beings. So compassion is to give the root of freeing beings from suffering, the cause of cutting suffering. What is bodhicitta? Bodhicitta is unique to Buddhism, to Buddha’s teachings. Other faiths talk about having happiness, and giving happiness to others. But they don’t talk about giving enlightenment to others. Bodhicitta is wishing enlightenment for other beings. There’s one thing I need to mention – we Bhutanese and Tibetans think meditation is something to be done by westerners. We think they should carry a mala, recite, do circumambulations, make offerings – and I have heard from one influential person who heard a westerner was teaching meditation. She listened to the teachings and said it was really nice, and said she wished we could also have those kinds of teachings. This shows that we don’t even know that these things originally came from what we have. We don’t even know that meditation instructions exist in Tibetan Buddhism. If we don’t practice and get accustomed to the view and meditation, we’ll become like dogs and monkeys. After a few generations, dogs and monkeys don’t even recognise who is the father, son, or daughter. If you don’t practice and get used to that, you’ll become like that. So we have to meditate. And moreover, if we don’t practice we won’t have any realisation. These days we have root and lineage gurus like Guru Rinpoche, Longchen Rabjam, Jigme Lingpa, Dudjom Rinpoche and all that – but after 40-50 years, we’ll have root and lineage gurus like Alex and Wyatt. I have one very good example. I was in Japan, and they go to the temple on special occasions, and seven boys with shaved heads were standing, elegant, respectful, and traditional – I was so impressed, but later I found that on that day they used to ordain monks, but they don’t do this any more, so they hired those boys instead. If we don’t practice, we’ll lose everything – just like that. 3. Action

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Third is action. The action unique to Buddhism is engaging in the 6 or 10 paramitas. But they can be abbreviated into not harming others. By not harming others, we mean not harming others with body, speech or mind. So even if we can’t benefit or help others, we should not harm others. For example, we claim that we don’t kill or harm others, for example we don’t engage in warfare, but we are so attached to meat. For the purpose of getting meat, people take the lives of animals. And so we indirectly harm them. Even if we don’t harm others directly, we harm them indirectly. We should abandon harming others, both directly and indirectly. Buddhist meditation and action should be accompanied by the view or based on the view. The Buddhist view is interdependence or dependent origination. Interdependence means having all the causes and conditions. For example to grow a crop we need to have a seed, and all the necessary good conditions, like fertilizer, light, water and so son. And there should not be any interruptions or obstacles else you won’t have fruit. So if you have all the requisite causes and conditions, you can’t avoid having fruit. That is interdependence. So when we say we should not harm and kill others, we should know that if we harm others, we create certain causes and conditions, and if these are not interrupted, then we’ll have the fruit of our actions. We’ll reap the fruit of harming others. If it is not based on the view, all the practices of Buddhist meditation and action will just become tradition or culture. So we need to understand the view. And our meditation and action should be based on understanding that view.

Teaching #3 – Sunday 5th October 2008 – Renunciation I intend to talk to you gradually about ngöndro, the preliminary practice, and also the development (kyerim) and completion stages (dzogrim) of meditation. Not only that, I also intend to teach you how to do shamatha meditation and then meditate upon the nature of mind. Older practitioners (who have received teachings from HH Dudjom Rinpoche or HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche or other teachers) don’t need to hear these teachings. They will know everything already. My teaching is meant for the younger monks, nuns and lay practitioners. Receiving empowerment and lung (reading transmission) is very special. But if we don’t receive instructions and listen to the instructions, then we won’t know how to accept what is good and abandon what is bad. We won’t know the essential points of what to abandon and what to adopt, accept and practice. If you read the elaborate instruction texts, everything is explained in there: How to do visualisation, how to do completion meditation, how to meditate on the nature of mind, etc – everything is written in those instruction texts. There are not only the instruction texts written by HH Dudjom Rinpoche, but also those of the Longchen Nyingtik and the writings of omniscient Longchenpa, such as the Seven Treasuries. If you read those texts, all the instructions are given in detail. However, we don’t have much time, and it is also very difficult to understand the meaning of the words in those great instruction texts. So it will be easier for you to understand the instructions if I talk about these things instead. RENUNCIATION In our practice, we start with renunciation, or revulsion to samsara. Renunciation is one of the most essential and important practices. There are different ways of understanding the meaning of the word “renunciation,” depending on the different elements, different sense faculties and different intelligence of students. In Bhutan and Tibet we find monks and nuns who have given

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


up the householder’s life. They wear red and saffron robes, and shave their heads. Tibetans and Bhutanese identify those people as renunciants. Among Buddha’s disciples, the 4 kinds of disciples, the majority were monks. Monks give up worldly possessions, wear saffron robes, and also wear abandoned and discarded clothes. For those who have greater faculties, the meaning of renunciation may be different. For example, there was a Buddhist nun in India called Salwa Tsultrim, “pure discipline.” There was a gender disparity in India at that time. Females were not considered equal to men, so she thought that being a woman, she couldn’t benefit the dharma very much. So she gave up her vows, and then stayed with a nobleman, and afterwards she gave birth to Arya Asanga, who brought the five dharmas of Buddha Maitreya. Because of him, we have the text on the study of Buddha nature. The nun wasn’t satisfied with that, however. She wanted to do more for the teachings, so she then stayed with a Brahmin. And from their union, Vasubandhu was born. He wrote the Abhidharmakosha and many extensive texts on abhidharma, and revived the teachings of abhidharma. I’m sure that nun must have been criticised bitterly by other people during her time, because she gave up her nun’s vows, broke the precepts and so on. But if you think about it deeply, you can see that what she did is also renunciation. If you read the biographies of the Buddha and the early masters, you’ll find that they renounced everything, and they went into monasteries and became monks and nuns – that is generally considered renunciation. But people like King Ashoka and King Trisong Detsen didn’t give up their possessions, yet they greatly benefited, helped and supported the teachings. If it hadn’t been for King Ashoka, we wouldn’t know about Bodh Gaya or Varanasi. He built the Bodh Gaya stupa and the Varanasi stupa, and we now have these sacred places. King Trisong Detsen brought the teachings to Tibet, and that is also renunciation. So the word “renunciation” can be understood in different ways. Many laypeople think that practising dharma is the job of monks, nuns and the sangha – the mantrikas or tantrikas. That is a wrong concept, because throughout history we have had many lay masters and bodhisattvas. For example Mañjushri and Avalokiteshvara were not monks. They were lay practitioners, lay bodhisattvas wearing dhoti – Indian dress. And they requested so many teachings – the sutras – and many of the sutras are answers to their questions. And King Trisong Detsen and other great practitioners were also lay practitioners. Here in Bhutan, lay people practise dharma. I’m very pleased with that. But all the monks and nuns who are supposed to be renunciants are all engaged and attached to building monasteries, dormitories, and residences – including me! And in this way, we are wealthier than the laypeople! Monks are always carrying a calculator and calculating how much has been spent. In actuality we haven’t renounced the world at all. So what is renunciation? In a nutshell, for example – after taking a shit, we don’t care about that – we leave it, we don’t look back – we are not attached to that! So we should not be attached to worldly affairs, just as we are not attached to the faecal matter. If you don’t care at all, that is renunciation. Great Kings like Ashoka, Trisong Detsen, Tri Ralpachen were very wealthy, and had many queens, sons and daughters, but they were ready to give them up at any time. Monks, nuns and lay tantric practitioners should also practice this – not only them, but even ordinary working people should practice this. We should all care less about worldly affairs. If we are not attached to worldly things, that is called renunciation. For example, when Atisha was in Tibet, one of his disciples was doing mandala practice, and Atisha came in and said “son, practice dharma.” And the disciple thought practising dharma

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


meant doing prostrations, circumambulations, recitations – and again Atisha came and said, “it’s good you’re doing these things, but practice dharma!” The student then thought perhaps practising dharma meant doing meditation, so he meditated. Again Atisha said, “meditation is good, but practice dharma.” The student thought he had done everything, and there was nothing left for him to do, so he asked Atisha – “I’ve done everything, and still you ask me to practice dharma. What kind of dharma should I practice?” And Atisha said “son, renounce this life”. Renunciation means not being attached to this life. Therefore, monks, nuns, tantric practitioners and ordinary working laypeople all have to give up attachment to this life. When I say this, some people might think they should destroy their house or push their house off a cliff, and go into a small hut. But they might still have all sorts of desire and attachments to worldly things while staying inside their hut. That is not renunciation. However, you can own a car and a house, but without having any attachment – and this is renunciation. In order to develop renunciation mind, we must know the value of the teachings, the dharma. And we should also know that there is no essence in worldly things and samsaric activities. We should know that all things are dependent on each other. When we look at things, we don’t see things as interdependent. We see things as permanent, self-existing, independently existing phenomena. For example, when we look at our hand, we see it as a truly existing, permanently existing and independently existing phenomenon. In fact it is not permanent, it does not truly exist and it does not independently exist. This hand ages, and that’s why it’s impermanent. Today’s hand is not tomorrow’s hand – it has become older. And it is also not independent – it depends on other causes and conditions. We think that our body is independent, but it is not – at any time, a big boulder could crush our body. Nothing is independent. If we don’t know that nothing is independent, then we won’t understand interdependence. If we don’t understand interdependence, then we will have distorted thoughts (Tib: tsul zhin mayinpé yid jé), i.e. we will see impermanent as permanent, impure as pure, suffering as happiness, and we will think that we have a truly existing “self.” These kinds of thoughts come when you don’t have the view of interdependence. The root cause of not having renunciation mind is when we don’t know the value of the dharma. For example, you know that a Land Cruiser (the most expensive car in Bhutan) is valuable, and that you could drive one here and there and show off. And in order to get one, you might do all sorts of things like stealing, telling lies, and so on. Likewise if you know the value of the teachings, then you’ll have this renunciation mind. We have to give up attachment to worldly dharmas. We wish to be praised, and in order to get praise we perform all sorts of rituals to avoid criticism and being put down. One good example is how when practitioners, monks, nuns and nagpas like us see a sponsor coming from a distance – we straighten our back and raise your eyebrows, pretending to be visualising and meditating. We are not really practicing dharma – we’re just pretending in order to look good and have praise. So that’s why it’s very difficult to have renunciation mind. There are so many methods to generate renunciation mind. One of the best ones is praying to the guru. Recite the Seven Line Prayer, pray to Guru Rinpoche and ask him to bless you so you can have renunciation mind. Methods like this are for those who are not educated. For those who are educated, they can study texts like mind training, for example the Bodhicharyavatara. Study and hearing the teachings is also very important. Lord Maitreya said that hearing the teachings liberates one’s mind from confusion. And hearing the teachings is the gateway to enlightenment. So it’s very important to study and listen to the teachings. There are so many methods to generate renunciation mind, like the Four Contemplations (the Four Thoughts) to turn one’s mind

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


from samsara to the dharma. There are so many enumerations like the Four Thoughts, but the main thing is to understand the meaning. Gampopa said in his prayer: May my mind enter the dharma May the dharma be the path May the path dawn as wisdom So the main thing is that our mind should enter the dharma. Similarly, the first Sakyapa Master, Kunga Nyingpo said, “If you are attached to this life, you are not a dharma practitioner.” So we have to renounce attachment to this life. FREEDOM AND WEALTH (PRECIOUS HUMAN BIRTH) We also talk about freedom and wealth (Tib: dal gyor). By “freedom,” we mean having a chance or opportunity. And in order to have this freedom, we need to have all the necessary causes and conditions present. For example, we can look at the six realms, such as the hungry ghosts. Even when there is a pile of food in front of them, hungry ghosts don’t know that the food is there, so they go hungry all the time – they don’t have the chance, the opportunity, and the conditions they need to eat the food. When we do water and torma offerings (Tib: chu tor), in the scriptures it is mentioned you’re not supposed to snap your fingers twice. The hungry ghosts understand the first snap as “take this, have it.” But they understand the second snap as “you’re not allowed to eat this,” so you should snap only once. If you don’t have the necessary conditions, then even if the guru gives you teachings, you won’t have the chance or opportunity to understand anything. At worst, you won’t even hear the teachings. Or if you hear them, you’ll hear them wrongly. There are countless beings that don’t have the opportunity to hear and listen to the teachings. Most people in this world have not even heard of the Four Seals or the Four Noble Truths. Once when HH the Dalai Lama was teaching, there were Muslims in the teachings, and he was teaching about the 12 deeds of the Buddha. When he talked about how Buddha renounced the palace, their interpretation was that the Buddha was good for nothing, as he couldn’t succeed and so he left and became an unworthy person. So if you don’t have the right conditions, you won’t have any chance to hear the teachings. But we have the right conditions to hear the teachings. At the very least, we have a little bit of devotion, trust and confidence in the teachings and the teacher. And right now, being able to withstand the sufferings and pains for the sake of the teachings is freedom and wealth. We should consider this opportunity as very special. Even if we are only able to think about the rarity and preciousness of our freedom and wealth once a year, we should be very satisfied with the opportunity we have. However, we have a habit of procrastinating and postponing, thinking “today I might only remember the rarity of freedom and wealth once in a year, but in the future I’ll practice all the time” – so we postpone our practice, and we keep postponing, until we eventually forget everything and end up doing nothing. We must begin, even if it’s only with the least or the worst practice, and accumulate that. If we do that, gradually we’ll improve and begin to remember the rarity of our freedom and wealth. Patrul Rinpoche said that when we practice dharma, we must practice dharma as a hungry yak eats grass. The hungry yak doesn’t look for something better – if it finds one clump of grass, it eats that. And then it eats the next clump it sees. When we practice dharma, even if we’re not able to remember the preciousness and rarity of the freedom and wealth more than once in a year, we have to practice that and acknowledge it. If we don’t start with small things, there’s no way we can do big things. We should take the opportunity to engage in every single virtuous practice or virtuous action. We shouldn’t look down on that.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


We have the power to practice more. And if we are not diligent, the practice of dharma won’t come easily. So we have to meditate on impermanence. We know that we are going to die one day. But it doesn’t work – just knowing that we’ll die one day doesn’t seem to affect us. We know we’ll die, but we don’t know when. Death can come at any moment, to anybody. Death is impartial. Impermanence is unbiased. It comes to kings, queens, lamas, monks, nuns, ordinary beings and animals – all. It comes without warning. If you meditate on impermanence, then you won’t make long-term plans. I may be even worse than most of you, because I already have plans for the next 3 or 4 years! As Milarepa said, we need to meditate, thinking that we don’t know which will come first – tomorrow or the next life. We need to think about this. When you see a friend, you need to think “today might be the last day I see my friend – I may not see him tomorrow.” You have to practice and meditate by imagining and reflecting on these things. You shouldn’t just do what the lama says. If you reflect and meditate, then you will be more compassionate, and you’ll behave more gently to your friends and to other people. You won’t harm them. And other people will see you differently. And that will also cause some kind of inspiration. If we don’t have long term plans, we can achieve the Bhutanese concept of Gross National Happiness. To achieve happiness, we need to have less attachment and find satisfaction and contentment with whatever we have. We do not even need to practice all the teachings, such as the Four Seals, but only one of them: All compounded phenomena are impermanent. That alone can bring you peace, wealth, Gross National Happiness – everything! Because if you know that everything is impermanent, then you will have satisfaction and less attachment. For those who want to become wealthy, I have one secret – and that is to find contentment. If you have contentment, you are rich. I have a friend who is very rich, and her house has 250 rooms. Every time I go to her house, I have to ask her for a map. But her husband was killed, and she was mentally unwell. I feel that she doesn’t have contentment. But if you have contentment, you’ll be satisfied with whatever you have. You can become rich. The Four Thoughts also include the disadvantages of samsara and karma. (Note: Rinpoche taught these in more detail tomorrow.) The disadvantage of samsara is that everyone who is born in samsara suffers, irrespective of how high, low, big or small they are. Some people might think that kings and ministers are happy and don’t suffer. But they have more suffering than common people, as they have to worry about their subjects and their country. And they have jealousy of each other, not getting promotions and so on. Karma is bad and good action, which can bring bad and good results. If you know that, you will know the concept of karma. If you meditate and contemplate on that, renunciation mind can take birth in your mind. You won’t have any long-term plans. Teaching #4 – Monday 6th October 2008 – Refuge Yesterday I talked about renunciation. Whatever teachings you practice – the Theravada or Mahayana teachings – it’s very important to train our mind. Mind training is very important. Why should we train our mind? Because our mind is stubborn, and we need to make it workable and user-friendly. And the principal mind training is training in renunciation. The instruction texts say “motivated with renunciation mind, do your practice”. So whatever teachings you practice, the first thing we need to practice is renunciation mind. All Buddhist practices should

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


be preceded by renunciation mind. To practice dharma, we must have the intention or motivation to get enlightened. We must know the value or preciousness of the dharma, the teachings, and also the essencelessness of samsaric activities. For example, in order to go to Thimpu, first you must have the motivation, the interest, and the intention to go to Thimpu. Otherwise you will end up going somewhere else, not Thimpu. Likewise, in order to practice the dharma, we must have the intention to get enlightened and know the value of the teachings. If we wish to follow a spiritual teacher or spiritual friend, that also has to be motivated by renunciation mind. If we follow a spiritual friend, a teacher, with another motivation and not renunciation mind, then we’ll have all sorts of wrong views towards the teacher. For example if you follow the teacher for the sake of food and wealth and so on, you’re not following the teacher with renunciation mind. We need to follow the teacher with the intention to get enlightened or liberated. If we don’t have renunciation mind and revulsion towards samsara, then we’ll have wrong view, wrong perception towards the teacher. It’s like if you want to go to Thimpu, first you need to have the intention to go Thimpu. Likewise, to practice the dharma, you first need the motivation, which is renunciation mind. That’s the end of the teachings on the rarity of finding freedom and wealth, and the impermanence of life. THE 4 THOUGHTS: KARMA & SAMSARA Next I will talk about the disadvantage of samsara, and karma (cause and effect). It’s very difficult to understand the concept of karma, cause and effect. For example, it is not impossibly difficult to understand Madhyamika, pramana, and other philosophy texts. If you study, memorise and debate, you can understand them to a certain extent. But the concept of karma is difficult. In the beginning, it seems like you understand it, but as you go on hearing and examining the teachings on cause and effect, they become increasingly profound, fine and more detailed. It is difficult to understand karma completely. Only the Buddha understands the minutest details of karma, cause and effect. The concept of karma is one of the main components of the Buddhist view. It is not that non-virtuous actions and virtuous actions happen to be so just because Buddha said or taught that. For example, if somebody harms you or beats you, then you’ll experience pain and suffering. Likewise, if you beat or harm other beings, then they will experience suffering in the same way. You know that. And harming others brings harm to both yourself and the other person. And it’s the same with virtuous actions – if we help others, then they experience happiness just as you experience happiness when others help you. This is how we can prove the concept of karma by reason. Because of the concept of karma or cause and effect, then we have the Vinaya disciplines for monks. The bodhisattvas also have discipline, and tantric practitioners and nagpas, also have discipline. Some nagpas think they don’t have discipline like monks, but they actually have even more precepts than monks. If you practice the Vinaya, bodhisattva or tantric discipline (Vajrayana precepts), then you can accumulate virtue. Discipline means not killing others, not taking their lives; not stealing; not indulging in sexual misconduct, and so on. For us practitioners, even if outwardly it seems we are not committing non-virtuous actions, in fact we are directly or indirectly committing non-virtuous actions like continuous rain. And everyone is governed by karma, irrespective of whether they are high or low, superior or inferior – even the Buddha. For example, when Buddha was alive, a thorn pierced his foot. And when Ananda asked him why this happened, he said that in the past he killed the “black man” Minak Dungdung who was about to kill 500 merchants who were bodhisattvas (when Buddha was Depen Nyingjé Chenpo, the great compassionate sea-captain). So if even the Buddha is not completely free from karma, nothing needs to be said about us! So we have to be very careful.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Stealing literally means, “taking what has not been given.” We have to be very careful about that. But stealing is not just taking away other people’s belongings, and especially monks and nuns should be very careful. For example, if you travel, and you don’t pay the car or bus fare, you break your vow and then become a layperson after that. That is also stealing. These days, people steal electricity without the knowledge of the council authorities. For example, people draw electricity from the poles and lines – that’s also stealing. We think stealing means entering a person’s house at midnight and removing their things without their knowledge – but it’s not just that. It could be not paying a bus fare or stealing electricity – all these are taking what has not been given. Monks and nuns, if you steal a thing worth 10 rupees, you break your vow. You commit a downfall. And if the government pays for your travel and everything, then if you spend unnecessarily, that’s also stealing. And the Bhutanese and Tibetans consider that monks and nuns break vows if they stay together with members of the opposite sex – that’s the general belief. There are other causes for breaking vows, such as extraordinary lies – lies beyond what is common in the human society (e.g. “I had a vision of Guru Rinpoche last night”, with the intention of getting money or offerings from others). For example, people go to Taiwan and other countries and they do divinations, and they come up with all sorts of things. They say they have visions, see ghosts harming your family etc, and claim they have special, unusual dreams – and then they collect money! These are extraordinary lies – and telling lies like this can also break your vows, for example if you are deceiving others in order to get wealth. If there is a thief with you, then you are not going to be peaceful – you’re always worried that the thief will take away your things. If there’s a thief with you, you always have to hold your bag close. You can’t sleep at night because of worries. And since there is every chance that you will perform non-virtuous actions, like continuous raining falling, every day – and remembering that, you need to exert and generate renunciation mind. For practitioners, monks, nuns and nagpas, you also have to be careful not to misuse offerings (khor). If people make offerings for you to do prayers, you have to do them properly and completely. If you don’t do it properly, you might create a karmic residue, lhen chak, and that might follow you later. These days we talk about many different kinds of obstacles, like sickness, not being able to fulfil your own wishes and so on – these are all because of lhen chak, the karmic residue of things like the misuse of offerings. Until you have purified that karmic residue, you have to repay that. Why? Because karma is undeceiving – until you have repaid it all, you will be affected by it. When the lhen chak follows you, you have sickness, illness and other such things – all sorts of obstacles. What is khor? For example, if a child of a person is sick, and if he goes to the hospital to buy medicine, then if he doesn’t get that medicine, he knows and he sees that he couldn’t get that medicine – and if he offers one rupee to you, the practitioners, to do prayers for that sick boy, if you don’t do the prayers properly and completely he won’t see that, as there’s no sign. But the lhen chak, the karmic residue is there, even if he doesn’t see it. HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, HH Dudjom Rinpoche, Gyatral Rinpoche and Lama Sonam Zangpo used to repeatedly instruct us to do prayers for others (e.g. for long life of sponsors, removing obstacles etc) completely and properly, so that we would not be affected by khor. Even lamas and tulkus, if they misuse offerings, then because of khor they have short life, obstacles to their activities and so on. The best prayers and practices for us who don’t have the confidence of realisation are Tara puja, burnt offering (sur), smoke offerings (sang), and chutor (water and torma offerings). If we can do that, they have so much potential to benefit. To do these things, you don’t have to be highly realised. You just have to dedicate your merit for the sake of others.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


If you’re a good practitioner, if you can do Thröma tsok offerings, then you should visualise yourself as Thröma and make offerings. That is the best if you can do that. But for those who don’t know how to do that, the best things are Tara puja, sur, sang and chutor. So the main point here is we should know the value of the teachings, their preciousness, and contemplate on that again and again. We need to practice with haste, not postpone. REFUGE Next is taking refuge, the inner ngöndro. In the texts, it has been taught extensively. For example Milarepa taught about refuge extensively. And in the Thröma instructions, there’s an elaborate explanation and refuge. There are also elaborate explanations in the Kunzang Lama’i Shelung (Words of My Perfect Teacher) and Gampopa’s Dagpo Thargyan (Ornament of Realisation), so you can read those texts. Now what does it mean to take refuge? For example, when it rains, you go under an umbrella. That is taking refuge. In order to not be affected by the rain, you take refuge in the umbrella. Likewise, out of fear of samsara, you take refuge in someone powerful who can free you from the fears of samsara. We take refuge for two main reasons: one is fear of samsara, and the second is having compassion towards other suffering beings. And there are various objects of refuge: • • • •

The general outer object of refuge is the Three Jewels. The extraordinary inner objects of refuge are the three roots (guru, deva and dakini). The secret object of refuge is nadi, prana, and bindu (channel, wind and essence). The innermost secret unsurpassable object of refuge is ngowo rangzhin tukjé sum (essence, nature and compassion): Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya (luminosity), and Nirmanakaya (the inseparability of emptiness and luminosity).

Outwardly we take refuge in the three jewels out of fear of samsara. For example, farmers go to temples, make butterlamp offerings, and do prostrations and supplication prayers so they will have timely rainfall, no storms, and so have good harvests. And some kinds of businesspeople – here Rinpoche mentioned the substance of the musk deer – make offerings so the police won’t catch them. These are not the kinds of refuge we’re supposed to do. These are very narrowminded forms of refuge. In Buddhist refuge, you first take refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha – the objects of refuge – out of fear of samsara. That is the general refuge for all Buddhists. And the bodhisattvas don’t take refuge just for themselves, out of fear of samsara, but also out of fear of nirvana – they don’t want to fall into extremes. Out of fear of falling into the extremes of samsara and nirvana, they take refuge in the Three Jewels. They take refuge for the sake of enlightening all other sentient beings. They don’t care whether they get enlightened themselves or not. These are the relative ways of taking refuge. The innermost secret unsurpassable refuge is the ultimate refuge. That is recognising that the emptiness aspect of the mind is Dharmakaya, the luminous aspect of the mind is Sambhogakaya and the unceasing inseparability of emptiness and luminosity is Nirmanakaya. That is the unsurpassable secret refuge. It is the ultimate refuge. In order to recognise the innermost secret refuge, then we take refuge in the three roots, three jewels, prana, nadi and bindu. When you take refuge in the outer objects of refuge, we take refuge in Buddha as the teacher, the guide who shows you the path. We take refuge in the dharma as the actual path, and the sangha as the friends and companions on the path. Not only Buddhists take refuge, even followers of other religions also take refuge in superior beings. The difference is that when non-buddhists take

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


refuge, they don’t take refuge in order for themselves to attain enlightenment. They just wish to be reborn in the realm where the superior beings are. But in Buddhism, you take refuge in order to become enlightened yourself. That is the main difference. Also when you take refuge in the guru, yidam (deity) and dakini – you take refuge in guru as teacher, deity as path and dakini as the companion/friend. The ultimate object of refuge is the ultimate nature of our mind. Since we don’t recognise that, in order to recognise the ultimate nature of our mind, which is the ultimate object of refuge, we take refuge in (for example) Guru Rinpoche, Thröma, and Vajravarahi. When we take refuge, even if we can’t see the object of refuge – like Guru Rinpoche or Vajravarahi – we must have confidence that they are there in the sky in front. And then we must think, “I and my parents – including all beings that have been, are going to be and who are my parents – take refuge.” And particularly for Thröma practitioners, if you do Thröma ngöndro, you’re supposed to visualise all obstacle makes and all negative spirits, demons and all, surrounding you and taking refuge in Vajravarahi, Thröma. In the Thröma texts, it’s said that just benefiting one of the obstacle makers surpasses benefiting hundreds of thousands of human beings. The Thröma practice is meant to benefit obstacle makers, like demons – it’s designed for that. And visualising that, we need to recite the refuge verses. For Tibetans and Bhutanese, there’s a tradition of doing ngöndro practice – 100,000 prostrations, 100,000 taking refuge, etc. This was designed by Buddha and early masters to inspire beings to practice. If there’s no system, then we tend to not practice properly. So having that required number encourages practice. But we shouldn’t get stuck in the tradition and culture. For example, when you take refuge, I always emphasise remembering the object of refuge, not just reciting – but also remembering. When you remember Buddha once, you count that. When you remember Buddha taking birth in Lumbini, you count one. And when you remember Buddha leaving the palace to become a renunciant, you count one. And when you remember him sitting under the bodhi tree, getting enlightened – count one. Teaching in Varanasi, count one. Entering parinirvana in Kushinagar, count one. Remembering the object of refuge is more important than accumulating the recitation of the verses. You should remember the object of refuge all the time. Remembering the object of refuge need not be in the proper sequence, from top to bottom. For example, you can remember any aspect of Buddha’s life in any moment, not necessarily Buddha being born in Lumbini first. We have to try our best to remember the guru, deity, dakini, Buddha, dharma, sangha and the view – the essence, nature and compassion. If you can do that, you’ll get enlightened. There’s no need to practice other things like bodhicitta or guru yoga – you can attain enlightenment just by practicing refuge. And there’s one important thing when you’re accumulating refuge – when you’re about to finish the session, you need to dissolve the objects of refuge into yourself. You dissolve all other beings around you into yourself, and yourself into object of refuge, and then remain in that as long as you can. That is the ultimate refuge. Teaching #5 – Tuesday 7th October 2008 – Refuge (contd.) & Bodhicitta & Vajrasattva REFUGE (contd.) To continue with what I taught yesterday. In the instruction texts, it’s mentioned that the foundation of all dharma practices is refuge. Even in the sayings of the ordinary people, it’s said that the factor that distinguishes Buddhists from non-buddhists is refuge. When we say, “I take refuge in the Three Jewels,” it’s not just making supplication, or asking for protection. It’s

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


making a commitment, a promise. All of you who are gathered here have received the refuge vow. Because without taking refuge and generating bodhicitta, there is no way that you can receive Vajrayana empowerments. To receive empowerments you have to first take refuge and build a foundation, then generate bodhicitta, accumulate merit, and receive the Vajrayana vow, and then you receive the empowerments. For those people who are new to the Buddhist path and haven’t received a Vajrayana empowerment, there’s a tradition of giving refuge vows. When you take refuge in the dharma, we must take refuge by making a commitment. How do we take refuge in the dharma by making a commitment? For example, if you want to go to Dewathang, you have to make a clear-cut decision, with confidence, to go to Dewathang through Trashigang, and not to Mongar – which is the other way that leads to Bumthang. Likewise, in order to attain complete enlightenment, omniscience, we enter the path by recognising the teachings (like all compounded things are impermanent, and so on) are authentic and correct teachings. Then you make a commitment to enter the path, to practice the path – the dharma. When you have confidence in the teachings, i.e. that they are undeceiving, then you practice the 6 paramitas, the 4 Noble Truths, and then the teachings on selflessness. And then you will have the confidence that if you practice the 6 paramitas, the 4 noble truths and selflessness, then it will take you the state of Buddhahood. With that confidence, you commit to practicing the path. That is taking refuge in the dharma. When you take refuge, you must take refuge in an object that is undeceiving, something that will not deceive you. If you take refuge in someone who has not perfected himself, it will ruin both yourself and the object of refuge. What does “undeceiving” mean? For example, Buddha taught that all compounded things are impermanent, and all that is born is bound to die – that is the reality. It is the nature. It is not otherwise. Buddha taught that all compounded things are impermanent, and if something becomes permanent, then Buddha would be deceiving – so you could ignore him right from that moment. But nothing has become permanent, so what the Buddha said is undeceiving. That’s how we should take refuge in the dharma. Buddha: To take refuge in the Buddha, the reason why Buddha is special, extraordinary, is not because he has all these miraculous powers like being able to fly into the sky or go into the earth. There’s nothing special in that, as birds can also fly, and insects can go into the earth. That’s not the reason why Buddha is special. Buddha is special because he has realised or seen the truth of phenomena. That is the sole reason why Buddha is special. And he is the only one who has seen the truth. Realising the truth is the extraordinary quality of the Buddha. Knowing that, we need to take refuge in Buddha. Sangha: to go to Dewathang, you need a companion who is also going to Dewathang. A person going to Mongar cannot be your companion if you want to go to Dewathang. Likewise, you need companions to practice the dharma and attain enlightenment, so you should take support and companionship of people who are on the path to enlightenment. The main purpose of taking refuge is to avoid entering the wrong path, and instead entering the right and undeceiving path. The benefit of taking refuge is explained elaborately in sutras like the Sutra of the Light Rays of The Essence of Sun and so on. By taking refuge, even if you have committed the worst possible non-virtuous actions like killing your parents, harming the buddha, destroying statues, or killing arhats, those non-virtuous actions can be purified and although I can’t say that you’ll get enlightened in this very lifetime, but gradually you’ll become enlightened over the course of time. There are so many benefits from taking refuge, and this is one of them.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


BODHICITTA There are so many different kinds of path: greater paths, lesser paths, wider paths, and narrower paths. If we follow a greater or wider path, we will benefit more. There won’t be much pain or suffering, or many difficulties. So in order to tread the path without much difficulty, and receive more benefit, we need to practice bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is the innermost essence of buddhadharma. It’s like the essence of butter, the most refined part of butter. Just like refuge, bodhicitta is also making a commitment. And bodhicitta is also a precept or vow. A precept or vow is making a commitment or pledge. Why do we need a precept or vow? If we have a precept, whatever virtue we accumulate, it will increase. For example, let’s take an ordinary person who is not a practitioner, who doesn’t have any vows or precepts. Even if he doesn’t kill or steal, although he will not commit any non-virtuous actions, he will not accumulate any merit. An ordinary person in his dream doesn’t commit any non-virtuous actions, but he doesn’t accumulate merit. But if you have taken precepts or vows, at any time, irrespective of whether you’re asleep or distracted, you will be accumulating merit. Even while gambling or playing cards, you will accumulate merit. The difference between a person who has taken precepts and one who has not is explained by Sakya Pandita in an example: there are two people who both have a piece of land. One grows crops, and the other doesn’t grow crops. The one who grows crops reaps the fruit, and the other one who doesn’t grow any crops doesn’t reap the fruit. Someone who has taken the precept or vow accumulates merit if he doesn’t indulge in nonvirtuous actions. But someone who hasn’t taken the precepts will not accumulate any merit even if he doesn’t commit non-virtuous actions. So if you have taken the precepts, your merit will increase. Generally, wishing or intending to do prostrations, do practice, recite mantra, and practice the creation and completion stages of meditation with the wish to enlighten other sentient beings is bodhicitta. Ultimate bodhicitta: There are two kinds of bodhicitta: ultimate bodhicitta and relative bodhicitta. It’s very difficult to generate or have ultimate bodhicitta. Ultimate bodhicitta is meditating on emptiness and realising that. Receiving the introduction to the nature of our mind and meditating on that is also ultimate bodhicitta. And when you practice Thröma, Vajravarahi, at the end of the practice you go through the process of dissolution of the deity – you dissolve the gross body of the deity to bindu, nadi, then it finally disappears – that’s also ultimate bodhicitta. Relative bodhicitta: In order for the ultimate bodhicitta to take birth in our mind, we practice relative bodhicitta. There are also two kinds of relative bodhicitta: aspiration bodhicitta, and application bodhicitta. What is the difference between them? For example, the wish or the intention to go to Trashigang is like aspiration bodhicitta. And if you have the intention to go to Trashigang, when you actually go to Trashigang that’s like application bodhicitta. Aspiration bodhicitta is the wish to get enlightened in order to enlighten other sentient beings. And practicing the 6 paramitas and so on with the wish to get enlightened for the sake of other sentient beings is application bodhicitta. Of the 2 kinds of relative bodhicitta, application bodhicitta is very difficult to practice or take birth in our mind. We might be able to give food, clothes and other belongings for a day to poor people, but it’s really difficult to give your head, your limbs, and inner things. We are not supposed to give our head and limbs without pure mind. In some of the scriptures, it is said that before attaining the first bhumi bodhisattva level, we’re not supposed to give our head and limbs. Because we don’t have enough courage to give that,

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Omniscient Longchenpa said that for young bodhisattvas, beginner bodhisattvas, the best thing is to practice aspiration bodhicitta: to make aspirations. If you make aspirations from your depths, with pure intention, then you’ll gradually be able to practice application bodhicitta. Buddhas and bodhisattvas benefit other beings after they get enlightened because of the aspirations that they make when they’re on the path. For example, Avalokiteshvara made aspirations “when I get enlightened, may my name benefit and remove the suffering of all beings.” Because of that, people pray to Avalokiteshvara in India and China, and even more in Tibet they consider Avalokiteshvara the karmic deity. In Tibetan it’s called ha kar (?), their “share” of deity. And when Buddha Amitabha was on the path, he aspired “may all beings have the wish to be reborn in the pure realm” (Amitabha’s pure realm), which is why so many beings wish to go to Amitabha’s pure realm. This is called purifying the realm (shin jang), the outer world. That’s why aspiration is very powerful. It’s not difficult to practice aspiration. It doesn’t involve any physical effort and it’s not expensive. If you can, you should go to Bodh Gaya and just sit under the bodhi tree and make aspirations. As a Mahayana practitioner, you’re not supposed to make small aspirations, like “may I get food”, “may I become famous” or things like that. We must aspire that all sentient beings attain enlightenment, and in order to attain enlightenment, may they meet the right path, the Mahayana path. And on top of that, you can practice things like the Four Immeasurables, tonglen practice (giving and taking), exchanging virtue and non-virtue. How do you practice tonglen giving and taking? When you breathe out, think that you give all your merit, happiness, bliss, and all good things to other beings. When you breathe in, think that you take all their sufferings and unhappiness upon yourself. And you also need to practice the equality of oneself and others, followed by the exchange of oneself and others. Thinking about the equality of oneself and others is very simple. You just need to think, “In the same way that I wish for happiness and don’t wish for suffering, other beings also wish for happiness and don’t wish for suffering. In this way, we are the same.” And exchanging oneself and others is practicing giving happiness to others, and taking the suffering of others onto oneself. We practice the equality and exchange of oneself and others in order to remove to destroy attachment to self, which is the main obstacle to bodhicitta. The practice of Thröma is also mainly to destroy attachment to self. The practice is the instruction passed on to Machig Labdrön by Sarahapa. These days, we practitioners, monks, nuns and nagpas practice village rituals – rituals for others. We do exorcisms. We make horrifying tormas and cut them with the driguk to liberate enemies. But if we don’t have the confidence of realisation, it not only doesn’t benefit the sponsor and patron, but also harms the one who performs the practice. It ruins both the practitioner and the patron. When you perform exorcism, you recite the wrathful mantras, and even if you don’t have power yourself, these mantras are the speech of the buddhas and they’re powerful because of that, and they frighten non-human spirits. So without the confidence of realisation, if you perform exorcism you not only don’t benefit the sponsor or patron, you harm other beings. But if you perform any kind of practice with the genuine wish to enlighten other beings, then no matter what kind of torma you make, it will definitely benefit other beings – and it will benefit the sponsor, other beings and yourself. When you generate bodhicitta or take the bodhisattva vow, you visualise the refuge tree or field of merit as your witness for taking the bodhicitta. Having the object of refuge, the refuge tree, as witness, you then make the commitment to get enlightened in order to enlighten others. Not only that, you make a commitment to practice the 6 paramitas. That is relative bodhicitta. And on top of that, you should know that there’s no such thing as the object to be benefited, the one who

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


benefits, and the action of benefiting – they’re like the reflection of the moon in water, a dream and a rainbow in the sky. Then remain in that state. It’s not the actual ultimate bodhicitta, but it’s jé tün (Tib.), something close to it, something in accordance with it. PURIFICATION: VAJRASATTVA Next comes the purification of negative actions and obscurations based on the practice of Vajrasattva. Ngöndro, or the preliminary practice, is making preparations or arrangements – you’re preparing something. And in the writings of early masters, it is said that we must give more importance to the ngöndro or preliminary practice than to the main or actual practice. The ngöndro practice is like making preparations for a party or celebration. You make preparations for days or months ahead, and then have the party or celebration for a day or two. So you have to practice ngöndro for a long time, and if you can purify the obscurations, then within a short time you can attain realisation or omniscience. When you make preparations for a party or celebration you do two things: (1) clean the place, and (2) then make the place magnificent or splendid. In dharma practice, you purify the obscurations and negative actions through the practice of Vajrasattva and accumulate merit through the practice of mandala offerings. Vajrasattva practice, the purification practice based on Vajrasattva, is to clean your self. It is to clean your mind. And the accumulation of merit through the mandala practice is to make your mind splendid or magnificent. Refuge and bodhicitta are the practices common to all the Mahayana. And starting from the Vajrasattva practice onwards, it’s Vajrayana practice. The Vajrayana teachings are considered very rare and precious. They are considered more precious and rare than the appearance of the Buddha. In the Fortunate Aeon, it is said that 1000 Buddhas will appear in the world, but the Vajrayana teachings will appear only four times. That’s why the Vajrayana teachings are more rare than the Buddha. Why is Vajrayana so precious and special? Because Vajrayana teachings have many different kinds of methods, and the Vajrayana path is less painful. For example, in the general Mahayana and the Shravakayana, the practitioner has to practice and accumulate merit for three countless aeons in order to get fully enlightened. In the Mahayana and Shravakayana, the path and the practices are more difficult, for example it involves giving away your head and limbs. But the Vajrayana path is not like that. We don’t need to find other examples. Vajrasattva practice itself is a good example. You just have to visualise and then do the purification, without much pain. And then if you practice in the right manner, you can either get enlightened in one lifetime, three lifetimes, or seven lifetimes, and even the least intelligent being will get enlightened in sixteen lifetimes. Visualisation and practice instructions: When you visualise Vajrasattva, you visualise your root guru, your teacher, appearing as Vajrasattva. And the appearance of Vajrasattva is different in different texts. The colours vary; some of the Vajrasattvas are peaceful, and others are wrathful. And in some of the sadhanas, the Vajrasattva has both father and consort, whereas in other sadhanas, there is only the father, without consort. In the Chetsün Nyingtik of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Vajrasattva is red, and you don’t visualise Vajrasattva above the crown of your head as in the Longchen Nyingtik, but in your navel. And when you do the purification of negative actions and obscurations, in the Longchen Nyingtik, the stream of amrita flows down from his body and purifies you, but in Chetsün Nyingtik, the Vajrasattva emanates light, a fire that burns all the obscurations and negative actions. So you can do the visualisation according to the instructions in individual texts.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


What about the origin of Vajrasattva – who is his father, mother, from which family lineage is he? Vajrasattva is the embodiment of all the Buddha families. That’s why he belongs to the sixth family. In fact, Vajrasattva is the embodiment of the mind of all the buddhas. “Vajra” means the thing that cannot be separated or destroyed, so it refers to the tathagatagarbha, the emptiness. This tathagatagarbha, this emptiness cannot be destroyed by conceptual thinking. As a symbol of that indestructible, inseparable nature of mind, the tathagatagarbha, we have Vajrasattva in white, red, or other different colours. And when you practice Vajrasattva (according to Longchen Nyingtik), when you do the purification practice, you visualise the letter HUM at the centre of Vajrasattva’s heart, surrounded by the 100-syllable mantra. And as you recite, the mantra rotates around the HUM, and because of that amrita is created. It fills the body of the Vajrasattva, overflows, and then fills the body of the consort. And the amrita overflows from the bodies of both Vajrasattva and consort, and through their point of union it flows out and enters your central channel through the crown of your head, and flows through your central channel, purifying and washing everything. All kinds of sickness come out as pus and blood. All negative spirits, the obstacle makers, come out as small creatures like scorpions. And the obscuration of negative actions comes out as black liquid, like liquid charcoal. As you visualise that, then recite the Vajrasattva mantra. At the end of the session, dissolve Vajrasattva into yourself, and think that you and Vajrasattva are inseparable, and remain in that state. Remaining in that inseparability is the ultimate confession. Practice advice: And I have one piece of advice for practice. Because of the balance and imbalance of elements in our bodies, our practice won’t always be the same. Sometimes it will be very good, and other times it will be terrible. However, no matter whether the practice is good or bad, we need to practice with diligence and do the visualisations. In the writings of the early masters, it is said that if the visualisation is clear, then don’t prolong it for too long – just cut the stream of that clear visualisation. Likewise, when the visualisation is not clear, try to practice to the extent you’re supposed to practice, and then cut it. The main thing here is to be consistent. So don’t practice for a long time when your practice is good, and don’t leave your practice when it is not good. If you’re supposed to practice for 2 hours, you should practice for 2 hours. The purpose of Vajrasattva practice is to purify and clean yourself, your mind. Why should we purify the obscuration of negative actions and emotions? In general, the main purpose of practicing dharma is to attain higher birth and liberation. Higher birth is having a long life and happiness, and being wealthy. But we don’t practice dharma just to have these higher rebirths. We practice dharma to obtain liberation and enlightenment. If we accumulate the obscurations of negative actions, they will obstruct us from seeing the nature of things – the nature of our mind and phenomena. We will not be able to see their nature because our mind is obscured. For those who wish for nirvana and enlightenment, or Buddhahood, the obscuration of negative actions will obstruct them from seeing the true nature. That’s why we practice Vajrasattva: to purify that obscuration. Teaching #6 – Wednesday 8th October 2008 – Vajrasattva (contd.) & Mandala Offering As part of the Vajrasattva practice, there are 4 strengths to confess negative actions and purify obscurations.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


1) The first strength is remorse or regret. This is sadness and regret over the negative actions one has committed. 2) The second strength is the support. The support here is the object to which you confess. The object of confession has to be someone sublime, someone who has no obscurations themselves. If you confess your negative actions to an individual ordinary being, you won’t be able to purify your negative actions completely, because if your object of confession isn’t sublime, you won’t be completely open. You’ll hide something, thinking that the object has no clairvoyance. That’s why we need to confess in front of the 3 jewels or your teacher. For example, we do all sorts of things thinking that our teacher won’t know about them. Likewise, if you confess your negative actions to an ordinary person, you won’t confess completely. But if you confess to Vajrasattva, he knows everything and you can’t hide anything. When you know that, you won’t hide anything, so will confess everything completely and never hide anything. So we need to have the confidence that Vajrasattva is right there, and he is omniscient and knows everything. In the Words of My Perfect Teacher, there’s the story of Gonpo Ben. He went to Lhasa and saw the statue of Shakyamuni, and then he even ate the butter from the butterlamp that was offered. And then he asked the statue to take care of his shoes. And he even invited him to come to Gonpo. Why did he do that? Because he had the confidence that the statue was actually Shakyamuni Buddha himself, not just made of stone. You need to have the same kind of confidence that Vajrasattva is there. Thinking that, without hiding anything, then you need to confess your each and every negative action. If you can do the purification practice with all these visualisations, it can purify all the transgressions of the vows. And the 100-syllable mantra is the mantra of the 100 peaceful and wrathful deities. If you do the Vajrasattva purification practice sincerely, even reciting the Vajrasattva mantra 21 times can purify the transgressions of the Vajrayana vows. MANDALA OFFERING The second preparation is making the place splendid or magnificent, which is the mandala offering. We make mandala offerings in order to accumulate merit, because we need merit for everything. Whatever we do, we need merit. And merit has many different names. Luck, power, and fame – all these things are in essence merit. These days, people study so many things like science, and they don’t accept the concept of merit. That’s being very ignorant. For example, if one person wears some clothes, they look very beautiful and elegant, but if someone else wears them, they won’t look as beautiful or elegant. They’ll look ugly. That’s because of having or not having merit. If a person has merit, whatever he does will look elegant and beautiful, and whatever he eats will taste nice. For someone with no merit, it’ll be completely the opposite. There’s another example from the scriptures. When Buddha Shakyamuni was alive, Buddha Shakyamuni and the monks used to go begging for alms. One day, they couldn’t find a rich sponsor to feed them – there was nobody to feed them and offer them lunch. So finally the Buddha found some food given to a horse. The Buddha distributed that food, shared it with all the monks. But the monks had difficulty eating that, as it was tasteless and dirty. But the monks saw Buddha eating and enjoying the food as if it was so delicious. Ananda went to Buddha and tasted the food that he was eating, and found the food extremely tasty and delicious. That was because of the immense merit the Buddha had accumulated for aeons.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


There’s another example. These days we send our children to school and we spend so much money educating them. They study, do Masters, PhD, but then finally they don’t get jobs, and nothing works for them. That is because of not having merit. And there are some contractors these days that can’t even write the alphabet. Yet they have become so rich. Whatever they do, they accomplish. So we can actually experience merit. And so those people like scientists who say there’s no such thing as merit are laughable. Since all phenomena are dependent on each other, that’s why there is merit. The word ‘merit’ can be interpreted in many different ways. For example, Jigme Lingpa had a wealthy sponsor. He said to this wealthy sponsor, “since you did not have merit, you have been born wealthy in this life.” For dharma practitioners, the merit of wealth is an obstacle, because if you have wealth, you get lost in that wealth and can’t practice dharma at all. But it is not completely certain that wealth is an obstacle. For example, King Ashoka and King Trisong Detsen spent their wealth and built many stupas and supported the teachings of the Buddha. Because of his wealth, King Trisong Detsen invited Guru Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita, and Vimalamitra, who translated the texts and established the teachings in Tibet. King Trisong Detsen built Samyé temple, and likewise the dharma King Denpa Tsering of Derge made the print blocks for the kangyur. He paid the craftsmen who carved the print blocks with powdered gold. Whoever did the best work he paid more, and because of that, the print blocks were excellent, extremely well done. If wealth is spent in this way, that’s considered having merit. What kind of merit does a dharma practitioner need? A dharma practitioner needs the merit of the freedom and wealth to practice dharma. It’s more difficult to hear teachings than to find the means and the harmonious support to practice the dharma. So we need merit to hear the dharma, to receive the teachings. After hearing the teachings, we need merit to understand the teachings. When we talking about understanding the dharma, it doesn’t mean that you need to enter a shedra, study philosophy and debate, and understand the teachings. There are so many scholars who haven’t understood the dharma. They become intellectual and learned, but their devotion to the teacher and the teachings becomes less and less. I have studied in s shedra. When I talked about how I memorised the root verses and commentaries of philosophical texts to HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and HH Dudjom Rinpoche and my father, instead of praising me, they would just nod and say, “Yes, yes.” And my father would even scold me. But after I did retreat, and made aspirations under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, when I read the Bodhicharyavatara, its meaning became deeper and deeper. So, if you don’t have merit you won’t understand the dharma easily. If you have merit, you’ll understand the dharma through your experience, not just through memorisation. For practitioners of dzogchen or mahasandhi, they don’t become learned scholars by studying and debating. They realise the true nature of the mind by accumulating merit, and then their realisation bursts out. And because the teachings simply burst out, they can write. For example, Jigme Lingpa never studied apart from the second chapter of a text of poetry. He did not study other philosophy texts. If you read his writings, you would feel that there couldn’t be anyone better than Jigme Lingpa and Longchenpa. You can understand philosophy if you study, but you can’t understand the great perfection or dzogchen by studying or debating. You have to understand and know it through merit. In one of the dohas of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, he says that dzogchen cannot be understood by studying but only by praying to the guru. When you study, you are making or creating. Dzogchen is not about creating or fabricating. That’s why you can’t understand dzogchen, the great perfection, by debating and studying, because that is fabrication and creating. You need merit to understand dzogchen, the great perfection. And for those who have merit, even if they hear teachings on turning the mind from samsara, they will hear them as dzogchen teachings.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


There are so many different methods of accumulating method. In the ngöndro, the method of accumulating merit is mandala offering. And when you make mandala offerings, you offer everything: Mount Sumeru, the 4 continents, offering gods and goddesses and the riches of the gods and humans. We don’t know what the Eastern continent is like, as we haven’t been there. But we can offer the precious things which we can see, things that are special and precious to humans, like gold, silver, diamonds and so on. This is the outer mandala offering. The inner mandala offering is offering one’s children, one’s partner or spouse. The secret mandala offering is offering one’s realisation. Through mandala offerings, you can accumulate great merit. Je Tsong Khapa, the Illuminator of the Gelug Tradition, made lots of mandala offerings. He made offerings to the extent that there was a hole in his stone mandala plate. Because of that merit, the Gelug School is the most widespread school of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. When you offer, you basically need to offer everything wholeheartedly. When you are about to end the session, you dissolve the refuge tree – the object of offering –into yourself and remain in that state. That is the ultimate accumulation of merit. And if you are practicing Longchen Nyingtik, on top of that there is the kusuli. Kusuli is the method by which someone who is poor, who doesn’t have anything, can accumulate merit – by offering his or her body. When you say PHAT, you visualise that your consciousness is ejected from your body and instantly transforms into Vajrayogini. Then you cut the kapala, the skull, and you place it on a tripod. The kapala is not the usual small one – here it fills the three worlds. Then cut the flesh of the body into pieces and put it into the kapala, and it transforms into the wisdom amrita, then offer it to the 3 jewels, the buddha and bodhisattvas, and the teacher, to accumulate merit. And to purify karmic debt, then offer to hungry ghosts, animals, and sentient beings in the infernal realms.

Teaching #7 – Thursday 9th October 2008 (Guru Rinpoche Day) – Meditation MEDITATION I need to explain the virtue of sadhana practice to you, because if you don’t understand the sadhana, there’s almost no point in practicing the sadhana. So I intend to teach you about the creation stage of meditation based on sadhana practice. The guru yoga I’ve already taught you, and I’m going to talk more about that. Now let’s talk about meditation. I’m not introducing you to the nature of your mind. It would be more beneficial for you if you receive the introduction to the nature of your mind according to one’s own interest, elements, sense faculties and so on. Buddha gave many teachings, like the 84,000 teachings, and meditation is just one of them. In fact, it is not necessary for everybody to do meditation. There are 84,000 different kinds of teachings that are all different techniques to attain enlightenment. But meditation is considered the best technique to realise the nature of mind and get enlightened. So it’s very important and necessary to do meditation. Acharya Vasubandhu said in the Abhidharma Kosha that after hearing and contemplating on the teachings, we should apply them through practice, and meditate on that. And when we say meditation, meditation has to be done by mind, not by body and speech. Among body, speech and mind, mind is the main thing. If there’s no mind, body and speech are useless. So in order to make our mind workable, compatible, we need to do meditation. At the moment, we’re not able

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


to make our mind into our servant. We’re not able to make our mind work for us. Our mind has become wayward (Tib: lang shor) (like an undisciplined child). It has become out of control. Our mind has been spoiled. And not just for one or two days or years, but for countless lifetimes. What is the fault or disadvantage of this spoilt mind? Because the mind has been spoiled, then the emotions, the delusions, like desire, anger, and ignorance arise. Because of these emotions, these delusions, we commit all kinds of negative actions like harming others, telling lies, stealing and all sorts of things. And the very root of these non-virtuous actions is letting the mind get spoiled. Because of the emotions, we create karma / action. And because of action, the cause, then we take rebirth endlessly, which is called samsara. And how can we make our mind workable or compatible? There are so many different methods, and one of the best, as Shantideva said: “Through penetrative insight combined with the calm abiding (or resting) meditation, one can destroy emotions completely. And knowing that, one must first exert oneself in developing concentration, or calm abiding. And then that concentration or calm abiding comes from not being attached to worldly dharmas” First we need to generate renunciation mind. For those who cannot renounce the worldly dharmas, there’s no chance for them to develop one-pointed concentration. They can’t even meditate at all. And not having attachment to the 8 worldly dharmas is renunciation. The method to make our mind workable is calm abiding meditation (Tib: shiné) or concentration. Then we do penetrative insight meditation (Tib: lhak tong), and through that, then we realise or recognise the selflessness. And when we realise selflessness, then we are liberated from samsara. To make our mind workable, first we need to bring our mind under our control. In the sutras and shastras, there are so many examples of the untamed mind. One of them is the example of the monkey. If one is to tame a monkey, then one has to catch the monkey and bring the monkey under control. Even after being caught, the monkey will try to escape. And again you need to catch and bring back. Likewise we need to bring the mind under our control, but the mind will wander and go out. But we need to be vigilant and then bring back the mind, and then slowly and gradually we’ll be able to bring the mind under control. This calm abiding meditation, developing concentration (shamatha) and the vipashyana meditation, are practiced in countries like Burma, Sri Lanka and other Buddhist countries. In Bhutan and Tibet, this has degenerated. People spend their time performing drubchens, playing archery and so on. And then they don’t meditate. They think that meditation is something to be done by foreigners. In the Drukpa Kagyupa tradition, when they do guru yoga, mahamudra, and the Six Yogas of Naropa, there’s a tradition. The instruction text says that the student is instructed to sit in Vairochana posture, with straight back, and the student is asked to just sit upright in the proper posture not doing anything. There’s nothing to meditate on. They are not asked to meditate. When it comes to meditation, the Drukpa Kagyupa practitioners are so experienced and extremely good at that. And there are so many instruction texts on meditation written by Je Wa Yamgönpa, Lama Shang and the omniscience Padma Karpo. Meditation Instructions – Posture: First, you straighten your body. Sit upright, with crossed legs. And keep your two hands in the posture of equanimity, like Buddha Amitabha. Or keep your two hands resting on your knees, in the posture of resting in the nature of mind, like Longchenpa. And later on, if you want to do tögal meditation, it’s best to practice now without closing your eyes – leave your eyes open. And keep the body straight and upright. Out of the four remembrances, this is remembering the body. Then just sit without doing anything. Don’t

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


meditate. Nothing. And then first you start with that, sitting for 5 minutes, and then extend the duration – then 10 minutes, then gradually to 20 minutes. And this sitting practice is none of the higher types of meditation like mahamudra, dzogchen or even vipashyana. It’s none of that. It’s the first step of shamatha meditation, calling sitting. And it has so much benefit. For example, if you don’t practice that, if you have not practiced the discipline of proper sitting, then when you have an itch, you’ll scratch it. But when you do sitting practice, you maintain discipline and you don’t scratch. And when you discipline your body and train in that – not doing anything – you gain some kind of control over your mind. That’s the benefit. Teaching #8 – Friday 10th October 2008 – Meditation (contd.) In the last volume, ah, of the treasure teachings by Dudjom Lingpa, there’s instruction on the meditation on purifying the perception, but I can’t give you the transmission for that because I don’t have the lineage myself. I haven’t received it. Lama Ninkula told me that someone has the lineage, and so I urge you to receive it from him – or I’ll go and receive from him, and after I have received the lineage transmission, I’ll give it to you myself. The reason I’m not giving you is that these days there are so many people who give transmissions without lineage. Today I’m going to give you the trid lung, which is not really an explanation, but a slow reading so that people can understand – for the volume tsa. This volume is the root tantra of Né luk rangjung, “The Self-Arising Way of Abiding.” Monks and nuns must also practice meditation. Acharya Vasubandhu said after receiving the teachings and contemplating on them, one must meditate and put them into practice. And for gomchens, there’s nothing to talk about regarding meditation, because that’s their main practice – if they don’t meditate, they’re not gomchens. If gomchens don’t meditate, it would be like a male or female without sex organs. CONFUSED APPEARANCE Of the three doors – body, speech and mind – mind is the main one. Body and speech perform activities through the motivation of mind. Because of the mind, we have illusion and confused appearance (Tib: trul nang: confused appearance). The main purpose of practicing dharma is to destroy the confused appearance and attain liberation and complete enlightenment. And liberation and enlightenment is the state of the absence of confused appearance. So what is trul nang or confused appearance? Here are some examples for trul nang, or confused appearances: (1) Reflection of moon in water: For example, if there is clear, undisturbed water, the water is not murky, there is no wind, and there are no clouds in the sky, then the reflection of the moon will appear in the water. This is a confused appearance (i.e. even the seemingly “perfect” reflection of the moon is a confused appearance, as in reality there is no moon in the water. If there are all the causes and conditions, and no obstacles, then the confused appearance arises). The reflection appears because of causes and conditions. (2) Reflection in a mirror. If the mirror is clean and clear, and if there are no obscurations, then the reflection will appear in the mirror through the power of causes and conditions.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


(3) Dream: In a dream, you might dream of cows and elephants entering your house and destroying everything, but in actuality no elephant has entered your house and destroyed it. And in the dream, you might dream of winning a lottery and you might get very excited, but in reality you haven’t won anything – it’s just confused appearance, which has arisen through the power of conditions. If you drink alcohol, it will affect your brain, and then you’ll have all sorts of confused appearances and experiences. And likewise, when we say “samsara,” this is also confused experience. Because of different conditions gathered throughout countless lifetimes, then things appear differently to different beings. For example, you and I see the red flower in front of me as a beautiful, attractive flower. But animals like goats and cows see the flower as something to eat, something edible. Another example is in your mind, you have the conditioning that I am the son of Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and the reincarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. You see me as a teacher who is teaching. You have a picture of a teacher or lama in your mind. And in addition, I sit on a throne, play damaru and bell, and give teachings. And because of that, you perceive me as a lama. On the other hand, the Indian workers working around here might see things differently. They might wonder what’s happening here, with a man sitting on a throne and talking to people. Because of their different conditions, things appear differently to them. And to animals like dogs, they don’t see me as a lama. Perhaps they might even be afraid of me, thinking that I might beat or kick them. We also perceive our own body, our form, as something truly existing because of the power of imprints or propensities (Tib: bag chags). Because of these propensities, we perceive our body as something truly existing. For example, in the scriptures there’s the story about some monkeys. They saw the reflection of the moon in the lake, and they thought that the moon had fallen into the water, and they wanted to take it out. So they made a chain, one holding onto the next, and because of their weight, they all fell into the water. Seeing the reflection of the moon in the water as real is also because of that propensity (bag chags). And when we die, even after 3 days after our death, we’ll still have appearances (Tib: nangwa), and we’ll still think and see everything as if we’re alive. All the appearances will be as if you were still alive. But when you meet people, they won’t talk to you. And when you step on mud, footprints won’t appear – and then just by thinking of going to a particular place, you get there instantly. And then you realise that you’re dead. And then gradually the bardo of becoming comes to an end, is completed. During the first half of the 49 days, for 24½ days, everything is turbulent because of the force of karma. And then you’ll mostly have the appearance of this (previous) life, and then during the second half, you forget your name, and when other people call you, then you won’t hear and so on. Then you forget language and everything, and then you begin to head towards your next life. And if you are going to be reborn as a chicken, you’ll start seeing insects as food. And you won’t feel comfortable wearing socks, as they’re meant for humans not chickens. And you’ll have more attachment to animals, if you’re heading towards rebirth as an animal. The main point here is that all these are confused appearances. But we should not consider confused appearances as unimportant. We shouldn’t underestimate them, because these appearances are what have caused us to get confused. To take a Bhutanese example: you go to someone else’s house to see a girl at night (called “night-hunting” in Bhutan) because you see the girl as beautiful. And you are willing to go through all sorts of dangers and difficulties. Even if the girl’s parents beat you or throw stones at you, you don’t care – because you find the girl beautiful! She appears beautiful to you, but in reality she’s not beautiful – it’s

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


just confused appearance. Everything is the creation of the mind – the mind makes things more precious, beautiful and special. Since confused appearance is mind (not the object), we have to meditate to remove that confusion. And in the great perfection meditation, dzogchen, as mentioned in the prayer of Calling The Guru by HH Dudjom Rinpoche, it says we must also differentiate between the present moment mind and rigpa (awareness). In one of the dohas, the realisation songs of HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, it’s mentioned that if you’re holding a piece of ice, the ice will ultimately melt. And if you recognise that the ice will melt, you will not be attached to that. If you know that the ice will melt, then you see the Buddha. This is an example. But if you don’t know that the ice will melt, you’ll cling to that, and then you’ll get confused, and all the stream of sufferings of samsara will start – the emotions come and the chain of interdependent origination starts. If you don’t recognise, you get confused and the six realms will appear. It’s very difficult to recognise the present moment mind. Why? Because it’s extremely simple. You need merit to recognise something so simple. For example, you can’t see your own eyelashes. Likewise, you can’t recognise the present moment mind easily, because it’s extremely simple. Milarepa said: Between the two thoughts (of conceptual, dualistic mind – the past and future mind), the non-conceptual wisdom abides clearly. If you’re not fortunate and you don’t have merit, even if you receive the mahamudra and dzogchen instructions, you will receive no benefit from them. Instead, your mind will become unworkable, more stubborn. If you meet with an authentic qualified master, you might get liberated. Otherwise, it might ruin you. The four mindfulnesses: This meditation we are doing is the meditation on the four remembrances or the four mindfulnesses (Tib: dren pa nyer zhag – “remaining (close) in the remembering”, i.e. mindfulness). These are mindfulness of the body, sensation, mind and phenomena. Mindfulness of the body: The meditation practice we did yesterday was the preliminary for the meditation of mindfulness of the body. In the Drukpa Kagyupa tradition, you’re asked to just sit in the proper posture of Vairochana (the 7-point posture of Vairochana Buddha), and sit like that for 6 or 8 months. (E.g. 5 minutes just sit, finish the session, then next session 10 minutes just sit – like this). It’s very special. And remain just sitting in the proper posture is remembering, being mindful of your body. If you can sit properly and be mindful of the body, then you won’t fall prey to distractions. It’s like keeping a cow tied to a post. If you practice in this way, just sitting and doing nothing, then all kinds of thoughts will appear in your mind, and then you can recognise the thoughts. That’s the virtue of doing sitting practice. Abiding in equanimity: Then you’ll have all kinds of experiences or nyam. Saraha and Shawaripa (one of the 84 mahasiddhas) say the first kind of nyam (experience) is the arising of very strong thoughts, like a waterfall falling from a steep cliff. Recognising the thoughts is not bad; it’s good. Meditation is remaining or abiding in equanimity (Tib: nyampar shag). Abiding in equanimity means not having dualistic thoughts such as big and small, good and bad, long and short, nirvana and samsara. The word “remain” or “abide” has an extremely deep and profound meaning. It means leaving it (your awareness) as it is, without disturbing it. Leaving it without making distinctions like clean

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


or dirty, good or bad, samsara or nirvana and so on. And it means leaving it without being fabricated by thoughts. In HH Dudjom Rinpoche’s prayer of Calling the Guru, it says: If you leave the unfabricated awareness as it is, and let it happen (let the thoughts arise etc), then you will become like a mad person. You won’t have distinctions about whether you’re dressed or naked, or whatever. The proper posture, sitting upright, is the method for leaving the mind in equanimity. It’s like the yeast used for brewing alcohol. Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche said that method is like a key. It’s nothing beautiful. It’s not big, elegant or precious – it’s a small thing, but very important. One of the main reasons why Vajrayana is precious and special is because of the method. And some of the methods are different. In some of the methods, you take the causes as the method, and transform them. For example, if water enters your ear, then to drain out the water you have to pour in more water and then drain it. Likewise, in the Vajrayana you use the emotions as the method. In the causal vehicle, the Mahayana and Shravakayana, the method is to abandon and then practice the antidote. As a method to recognise and control the different kinds of thoughts, we practice sitting. We train our body, and if we can control our body, this mind will automatically abide, and then we can control our mind. If we can’t keep our body straight and in proper posture, concentration will never take birth in our mind. So sitting cross-legged and in the proper posture is done for the sake of developing concentration. The proper posture of the body is one of the methods for developing concentration, and omniscient Longchenpa said “If you meditate near the flowing river, you can generate renunciation mind more swiftly. If you meditate where the wind blows, you will remember impermanence better” So there are different methods of developing concentration. Today’s meditation was good; it went very well. As soon as you started to sit still, without doing anything, a baby laughed and because of habit, most of you laughed at that. And then you recognised that and then tried to come back to the meditation. And when you continued with the meditation, the baby couldn’t find anything to do, and then the baby ceased laughing. Likewise, thought patterns are also like that. When you meditate then thoughts immediately come, and then you recognise the thoughts and then with mindfulness you bring the mind back, and then try to meditate and remain still without being disturbed. And then as you go on doing that, thoughts will dissolve themselves. Shamatha meditation: The first step to stabilise the mind is shamatha meditation, sitting. And when you do shamatha meditation you use an object to focus the mind. You can use a flower, a stick, or breathing in and out. You should focus the mind on the object and try to remain in that state. When the mind wanders, when it gets distracted, you should not get disappointed. Or when your mind remains focussed on the object, you should not get excited. Try to keep the mind focussed all the time. We are supposed to focus the mind on the object and remain on that, and when the mind remains still and doesn’t wander, if you think that the mind is focussed on the object – if you have this thought – then it’s not meditation, that’s distraction. The moment you think, “my mind is still and focussed on the object,” then you are distracted. Different traditions use different objects on which you focus your mind. In the Drukpa Kagyu tradition they use a stone or stick. In the Nyingtik tradition of the Nyingma School, they focus the mind on the syllable AH. And those

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


who follow the Theravadin tradition in Burma, Sri Lanka and other countries, they focus the mind on the tip of the nose, and try to abide and remain there. Everybody should meditate: monks, nuns, nagpas, and ordinary laypeople should all practice meditation. But it is not necessary for ordinary laypeople to give up their ordinary dress and ordinary behaviours to become monks. But otherwise everyone has to meditate. As long as a person has the characteristics or attributes of a human being, they should practice meditation, and develop the perfect support for meditation. Among Tibetans and Bhutanese, the tradition of practicing meditation has degenerated. The main practice of the followers of Shakyamuni Buddha is to tame the mind. And in order to tame the mind, we have to practice meditation. When I say, “meditate,” I’m not saying that you should meditate for hours and hours one day and then not meditate for months and years. You can meditate for 5 or 10 minutes – it doesn’t matter – but you have to be consistent. Meditating for 5 or 10 minutes consistently every day is far better than meditating 6 or 7 hours one day, then not meditating for many days. If you meditate, you’re certain to achieve concentration, and recognise the nature of mind. Shantideva said if you meditate and practice, there’s nothing that cannot be done or performed. So if you meditate for a few months, like 6, 7 or 8 months, I’m sure that your mind will become workable. Your mind will become different. And you will become different. When I say you’ll become different, I’m not saying that you’ll have lots of visions and receive prophecies and all sorts of things. By “different,” I mean that you’ll be able to recognise conceptual thoughts – your wandering thoughts. When you meditate, there’s no need to destroy appearances. It is not the appearance that binds you; it’s the attachment to the appearance that binds you. As Tilopa said to Naropa, “Son, appearance doesn’t bind you, but attachment to appearance binds you.” So when you do meditation, you don’t have to destroy the outer objective phenomena. In the Dudjom Tersar, there are two main instruction texts on meditation: (1) Nang jang: One is the mediation instruction on nang jang, purifying appearances. And “purifying appearances” (nang jang) has many different levels of meaning. One is to destroy or eliminate emotions like desire, anger and ignorance. And a second one is to transform the emotions into wisdom. (2) Né luk rangjung: The second text is the Né luk rangjung, “The Self-Arising Way of Abiding.” Né luk means the “way of abiding” or “true nature,” and here it’s tong pa nyi, the great emptiness. And rangjung, self-arising, means that the emptiness is self-arising or self-established – it has not been brought from anywhere else. You don’t have to search for the true nature outside. When you meditate, you will have all sorts of temporary experiences. When all sorts of thoughts arise in your mind, this is not necessarily bad. When you meditate, and you know that all kinds of thoughts arise in your mind, that means you have recognised the thoughts. When you meditate, at first the thoughts will arise like a waterfall, and then gradually thoughts will become less and less, and at the end your mind will be like a lake. If you attain stability in shamatha meditation or concentration, your mind will become completely workable. That’s called shinjang in Tibetan, which means “fully trained.” For example, if you

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


learn to drive, at first you will have difficulty. But after some time, you’ll get used to it and then you eventually become perfect. Then you will effortlessly know everything related to driving. Likewise, after attaining stability in shamatha meditation or concentration, when your mind becomes completely workable, you don’t even have to eat or sleep. That is the outer shinjang. The inner shinjang is that you can stop the emotions instantly. And the secret shinjang is that you’ll have clairvoyance – you can read the minds of others. However we have to be very careful when we achieve that shinjang, the effortlessness of concentration, because when you have all these accomplishments then there’s a big chance of clinging to them, and becoming attached to and mistaking those accomplishments as enlightenment or liberation. You can’t attain liberation through shamatha practice. Through shamatha practice, you can attain the highest point of samsara, the peak of samsara, but you can’t attain liberation or enlightenment. To attain liberation, you need to practice vipashyana, lhaktong, on top of shamatha. If you practice vipashyana then you will realise or recognise selflessness, and if you recognise selflessness then you will attain liberation. So we talked about interdependence. Interdependence is that if all the causes and conditions are there, and if there are no obstacles, then you can’t avoid the result. Likewise, if you practice meditation, I’m sure you can gain mastery over your mind. Not only us, but also drug addicts and alcoholics must also practice meditation. Meditation can really help them discard drugs and alcohol. Teaching #9 – Saturday 11th October 2008 – Kyerim I have taught you how to meditate, and the meditation I taught you is mainly the shamatha meditation. I have taught you how to practice shamatha. And the main reason why we must practice meditation, as Buddha said to Shariputra: “Meditating for an instant surpasses all other practices of speech and body for many years” To attain enlightenment, we need to accumulate merit, and one of the best methods of accumulating merit is meditation. And it’s less painful and less difficult. Buddha has taught the paramitas, which are the methods for accumulating merit. And shamatha meditation is sam ten, the 5th of the 6 paramitas. Now I’m going to talk about kyerim, the creation stage of meditation. KYERIM (Creation Stage) The creation stage or development stage of meditation (kyerim) is a special practice of Vajrayana. In the causal yana, the Shravakayana and the Mahayana, many different types of method for accumulating method have been taught, but the creation stage of meditation, or visualising oneself as the deity, has not been taught. And especially in the Shravakayana or Theravada tradition, it’s never taught, and they don’t accept it. They don’t believe it. They think the Vajrayana is a Hindu practice, as the Vajrayana talks about offering alcohol and meat, and some Theravadins even refute the Vajrayana practice. In Tibet and Bhutan, people practice the Vajrayana as their main practice. In fact, we practice all the three yanas, Vajrayana, Mahayana and the Shravakayana. A Vajrayana practitioner is someone who has the three precepts: the individual vow, the Mahayana vow and the Vajrayana vow.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Since the Vajrayana is very vast, there is no way that I can teach all of it to you, but I will teach you a fraction of the vast Vajrayana teachings. When Buddha Shakyamuni told King Indrabhuti that he should know the suffering, abandon the cause of suffering, attain cessation and practice the path and renounce the worldly things, Indrabhuti replied “Since I am a king, I have subjects, queens, wealth, and I cannot discard and abandon them easily. So please could you give me teachings that could lead me to enlightenment without having to abandon worldly things.” When Indrabhuti said that, the Buddha was very pleased, and taught the tantras such as the glorious Sri Guhyasamaja Tantra. It was taught to beings of the highest faculties, the highest intelligence. Generally, Buddha had five disciples, but extraordinarily, Buddha had other disciples as well, like the bodhisattvas, dakas, dakinis, and vidyadharas. And when Buddha taught and said, “you must abandon emotions,” the five disciples understood it as it is: to abandon the emotions. And the bodhisattvas understood it as “practice the antidote to remove and destroy emotions.” And the awareness-holders understood it as “transform the emotions to wisdom.” For example, suppose there are two people who both have jaundice. And they see the white conch shell as yellow because of their sickness. And the doctor says to the first patients, “the conch shell is not yellow. It is white. You are not seeing things correctly because of your sickness, so take this medicine,” and then gradually the patient takes the medicine, and then gradually he recovers from the sickness and he sees the conch shell as less and less yellow, and finally as white. The second patient is more intelligent, receptive and courageous, so the doctor can say to him, “the conch shell is white.” Because of the difference in the intelligence of the two patients, they will work differently in relation to the conch shell. Likewise in the causal vehicle, Buddha taught that all beings have Buddha nature (tathagatagarbha) and in order to recognise it, beings need to accumulate merit and purify the obscurations and defilements. In the Vajrayana, Buddha nature is introduced directly. In the Vajrayana, they just say, “you are a deity”. They don’t say that you need to purify obscurations and accumulate merit to recognise yourself as a deity. So in Vajrayana practice, you visualise yourself as a deity. In the Thröma sadhana, there’s a verse: “The sovereign lord, the primordial, the ground and the ultimate sovereign Samantabhadri” It says that when you visualise yourself as a deity, you are primordially, by nature, the deity. You are not making it up. If you were visualising someone that you are not, then you would be lying. You would be cheating. But if you visualise yourself as a deity, it’s in accordance with your nature. The method for recognising oneself as intrinsically a deity is the kyerim or creation stage of meditation practice. This is the method for knowing oneself as a deity. I’m going to teach the kyerim or creation stage of mediation in conjunction with the sadhana practice. I’m sure everyone knows about refuge and bodhicitta. I’m going to begin with the white torma (kartor) and the torma to the obstacle makers (gektor). If you don’t have an in-depth understanding of the sadhana, even if you can perform one sadhana very well, you won’t know how to apply your understanding to other sadhana practices. In any sadhana practice, there is refuge and bodhicitta in the beginning and dedication at the end. Every sadhana has to have this. White torma offering (kartor)

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


If you are doing sadhana practice at a new place, then you need to do the kartor, the white torma offering. Why do we need to offer the white torma? It’s because we are the followers of Shakyamuni Buddha, so we’re not supposed to take what has not been granted. We’re not supposed to steal. So we perform the white torma offerings to request the place. We request permission to create the mandala to do the sadhana practice at that particular new place. And by giving the white torma, you request permission from the landowners, the local spirits, to do the practice for a certain length of time, like 10 days or one month. The white offering, which is a small torma with butter decorations, is not even edible. It symbolises all the sensual delights, all the wealth of humans and gods. When you offer the torma, you have to think that the torma is all the sensual delights, all the offerings of gods and humans, and give it to the landowner spirits. That’s one reason. The second reason why we perform white torma offering is that the tenma, the goddess of the earth, was a disciple of Buddha, and she made a pledge to help and support all practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings. And so we make torma offerings to her. Torma offering to the obstacle-makers (gektor) With the gektor, we are making torma offerings to remove obstacles. The real obstacle is clinging or attachment to self. This attachment to self manifests as outer obstacles, such as enemies and elemental spirits. And to them we offer the torma. When we do the torma offering to the obstacle makers, we need to generate the pride of oneself as a deity, like Vajrakilaya or Hayagriva, when you visualise yourself as a deity, you recognise yourself, who you really are. You need to sprinkle the torma with water from the vase to cleanse and purify the torma. In reality, you are purifying dualistic thinking, the dirt of dualistic thoughts. The gektor is very small, about 4 inches, and there are countless numbers of obstacle makers, so it cannot suffice for all obstacle makers. If you think like that, then you are creating the dirt of dualistic thinking. When you sprinkle water and as you recite the mantra, the 4-inch gektor becomes something beyond big and small, good and bad, and all sorts of dualistic distinctions. It is no longer bounded. It becomes boundless, and it appears as all different sorts of things that are suitable to all sorts of different individual obstacle makers. The torma appears as whatever each obstacle maker wishes for. Then you bless it with the sky treasury mantra and concentration, to bless it as boundless. The sky treasury is endless; it has no end. Then you make a command. You say “I am the deity, now all obstacle makers and enemies who have not received the empowerment and transmission for this sadhana practice should leave.” But you shouldn’t chase out the obstacle makers who have received the empowerment. They can stay, and they can have the remainder. They have the authority to have the remainder. And when you say, “leave into the great pure equanimity,” that means the dharmadhatu. (I.e. you’re not asking obstacle makers to disappear, you’re asking dualistic thinking to disappear into the dharmadhatu, and the obstacle makers will automatically disappear). And then there is the protection chakra or vajra tent, which is symbolically the circle of fire, but in meaning it means knowing that obstacle-makers or obstacle don’t exist in the true sense. That is the real vajra tent. That is creating the actual boundary. Teaching #10 – Monday 13th October 2008 – Explanation of Empowerment Today we will have an explanation about empowerment (Tib: wang shed)

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


We talked about introduction to the nature of mind (Tib: sem tri), which in Tibetan literally means, “leading the mind.” It’s like leading a person to another place. There are many methods of introducing the nature of mind. Not all the methods are the same. Different teachers have different methods to introduce the disciple to the nature of his or her mind. For example, Tilopa introduced the nature of mind to Naropa by hitting Naropa with his shoe on his forehead, and he instantly recognised the nature of his mind and realised the view of mahamudra. Likewise, Patrul Rinpoche (Orgyen Jigme Chöki Wangpo), who was one of the two main disciples of Jigme Gyalwé Nyugu (who was one of the 3 main disciples of Jigme Lingpa), used to sign his name “old dog” in his texts like Tsik Sum Ne Dek. That was his name given to him by one of his teachers, Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, who introduced Dza Patrul Rinpoche to the nature of his mind. He did it in a funny way – he beat Dza Patrul Rinpoche, dragged him around, pushed him to the ground, and called him “old dog.” And because of that, he realised dzogpachenpo. And afterwards Dza Patrul Rinpoche considered that name “old dog” very special, because Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje introduced him to the view of dzogpachenpo, the great perfection, using that name “old dog” (Tib: chi gen). So there are so many different methods of introducing the nature of mind. In the innermost heart essence great perfection, dzogpachenpo, there is a simple way of introducing the disciple to the view without any elaboration. In mahayoga and anuyoga, the nature of mind is introduced through making elaborations, through the method of “empowerment.” Empowerment is introducing the disciple to his or her innate wisdom through elaborations. Today I’m going to talk about the empowerment while bestowing the Avalokiteshvara empowerment. And this Avalokiteshvara empowerment is to introduce you to your primordially present wisdom, which is the ultimate Avalokiteshvara. The ultimate Avalokiteshvara is not something that the teacher brings the deity from outside and then pours it into you. Empowerment has nothing to do with that kind of thing. So in order to empower the disciple to the innate or primordial Avalokiteshvara, we make the white torma offering, the kartor, to request the place, and then gektor, the torma offering to obstacle makers, to drive or cast away obstacles. As I said before, the actual obstacle maker is attachment to the self. And as a symbol for driving away the inner obstacles, we have outer ceremonies like fumigating the place with gugul, tossing mustard seeds and so on. Cleansing water: Buddhism originated from India, and in the Indian tradition, whenever the Indians do special things, for example before they begin ceremonies, they wash their feet and hands. And here before we begin with the empowerment, which is a special ceremony, we clean our body, speech and mind by drinking the blessed water. Vajra fence: After driving away the obstacle makers, we then set up the protection chakra, the vajra fence. The vajras comprising the vajra fence are interlocked so tightly that not even air can pass through. Refuge, bodhicitta & mandala offering: When we receive empowerments, we are supposed to receive them by doing meditation and visualising. First we need to generate renunciation mind, and then bodhicitta. Since an empowerment is very special, we need to accumulate merit in order to receive it. And in order to accumulate merit, we make mandala offerings, where we symbolically offer all the outer and inner offerings, our body, wealth and all sorts of things, to the guru who is none other than Avalokiteshvara himself.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Samaya water (conch shell): Then we supplicate the guru to bestow the empowerment. After that, the guru gives his consent to bestow the empowerments if the disciples are willing to keep the samaya. As a symbol of that, and as a symbol of asking them to make a pledge or vow to keep the samaya, he gives the samaya water (Tib: damchu) from the conch shell. Refuge (in the deity) & bodhicitta: Then we need to make preparations to receive the empowerment, and the supreme method is taking refuge in Buddha, dharma and sangha, the 3 roots and 3 kayas. In this case, we take refuge in Avalokiteshvara, who is the guru himself. We take refuge in guru Avalokiteshvara surrounded by his retinue. Then we make the bodhicitta aspiration. In order to attain enlightenment for the sake of enlightening other beings, we generate bodhicitta and pledge to receive this empowerment and practice accordingly. Then after making the commitment or pledge, we need to practice that. And the method for practicing what we have committed to is to maintain and guard or keep the samaya. So we make a commitment or pledge (Tib: rig ngai damtsik) to keep to samayas of the 5 Buddha families. For example, we pledge that we will not harm other beings, and this corresponds to one of the Buddha families, and making offerings and being generous to beings corresponds to another of the Buddha family. We also make commitments to keep the vows, the precepts. Red ribbon & making offerings: As a symbol that we have not yet entered the mandala and seen the mandala deities, we wear a red ribbon covering our eyes. Then to accumulate merit we hold a flower as a symbol of making offerings to the guru who is bestowing the empowerments. For example, when we go to see the guru, we don’t go empty handed; we take something to offer him. Likewise, when we request empowerment we don’t go empty handed, so as a symbol of making offerings we hold a flower. Opening the door: Then after that is opening the door of the mandala. The structure of how the empowerment is bestowed varies in different sadhanas, and in some sadhanas there’s no opening the gate of the mandala. Then we enter the mandala. And after entering the mandala we make three prostrations from each of the four sides/directions. Self-visualisation: transforming oneself into the deity: Once we have made prostrations, and entered the mandala and accumulated merit, then we transform ourselves into Avalokiteshvara. Here “transform” means recognising the innate Avalokiteshvara. We realise that we are innately or primordially Avalokiteshvara – that is transforming ourselves into Avalokiteshvara. To transform ourselves, we do the self-visualisation. When the guru says the purification mantra “Om svabhava …,” we visualise that our gross body of the five aggregates disappears into the dharmadhatu and becomes empty. After that, instantly, the seed syllable appears – it’s like doing sadhana practice – and from the seed syllable appears the deity, which in this case is a 4-armed Avalokiteshvara, sitting on a lotus, sun, and moon etc. We instantly become Avalokiteshvara. Jñanasattva (wisdom being): Then after visualising ourselves as Avalokiteshvara, we invoke the jñanasattva, the wisdom being. Again here when we visualise ourselves as Avalokiteshvara and invoke the jñanasattva which dissolves into ourselves, that’s actualising what we are – the primordial Avalokiteshvara. We’re reaffirming this, and symbolically/relatively, we invoke Avalokiteshvara, and Buddhas and bodhisattvas from all the four directions. And the jñanasattvas do not just come from the sky, but they enter us from the 10 directions – not just our head, but from the bottom, sides, etc.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


After that, we make aspirations to stabilise the jñanasattva. Then we throw a flower into the mandala with the aspiration that the flower will fall on the part of mandala with which we have the karmic link or connection. So as a symbol, we throw a flower into the mandala. Removing the red ribbon: Before we were ignorant and as a symbol of that we were wearing the red ribbon. By entering the mandala of Avalokiteshvara, our ignorance and obscurations have been cleared, and as a symbol of having removed the obscurations, we take off the red ribbon. When we talk of “receiving empowerment,” the actual empowerment is visualising oneself as deity and invoking the jñanasattva, the wisdom being. In order to stabilise the deity that we have visualised and the jñanasattva we have invoked, then the guru bestows the symbolic empowerments such as the vase empowerment, secret empowerment, prajña-jñana empowerment, and the word empowerment. And he uses many objects and substances to do this. These are the methods for stabilising the actual empowerment, which is visualising oneself as the deity and invoking the jñanasattva. Now you have visualised yourself as the deity, so you have become the empowerment deity – when you receive the empowerment, you have to think that the recipient, yourself, is the deity Avalokiteshvara. The bestower of the empowerment is the deity Avalokiteshvara, and the substances are various forms of Avalokiteshvara. Everything is Avalokiteshvara. So since all this is Avalokiteshvara, in order to stabilise that, the guru makes offerings – outer, inner and secret offerings – and then we offer praise. Before granting the empowerments, the teacher has to practice himself and consecrate all the substances. Mahasiddhas, realised beings, such as Dudjom Lingpa, HH Dudjom Rinpoche (Jigdral Yeshe Dorje), and my father Thinley Norbu Rinpoche don’t have to do the practice before giving empowerments, because they’re already realised – they have supreme realisation and there’s no need. They are always in the state of meditation. Teachers like us don’t have realisation, so we have to do consecration before giving empowerment to the disciples. The Four Empowerments (1) The vase empowerments: first is the vase empowerment, which is bestowed to transform the aggregate or skandha of consciousness into the wisdom form of the Buddha, Dorje Michöpa. There are five empowerments corresponding to the five skandhas. Next is the crown empowerment, which is bestowed to transform the skandha of feeling into Ratnasambhava. Then there is the vajra empowerment, which is bestowed to transform the skandha of mental formation (Tib: dujé), into Amitabha. Here Amitabha is the source of discriminating wisdom (Tib: togpa yeshe). Each Buddha family has its associated wisdom. Then there is the bell empowerment, which is bestowed to transform the skandha of perception (Tib: du shé), into Amoghasiddhi. Next is the empowerment of the vajra and bell joined together, which is bestowed to transform the form skandha into Vairochana. So the empowerments of the five Buddha families are to purify the five skandhas and transform them into the five wisdoms, which appear as the Buddhas of the five Buddha families. Then after the empowerment of the five Buddha families, there’s the dorje lopon, the Vajra Acharya empowerment, to empower the recipient as the Dharmaraja of the three realms. He becomes a vajra master after that. After the vase empowerment, there’s the supplementary empowerment that follows the vase empowerment. This is the empowerment of body speech and mind, and with that the vase

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


empowerment is finished. The vase empowerment is mainly bestowed on the body. And it purifies the obscuration of the nadi. You receive the vase empowerment. (2) The secret empowerment: And the secret empowerment – I can’t explain to you all the stuff about the secret empowerment. So we can’t talk about that in public. To summarise or simplify that, from the union of Avalokiteshvara and his consort, Kachö Wangmo, the Sky Wanderer Queen (who moves freely in the sky of dharmadhatu) flows the amrita. And by drinking that amrita, the obscuration of prana is purified. And again there is a supplementary empowerment for the secret empowerment. This is the mantra empowerment, which is to empower the recipient to recite the mantra, and also to empower the mala. (3) The wisdom (prajña-jñana) empowerment: After that is the prajña-jñana, the wisdom empowerment. The four empowerments also have a hierarchy. The vase empowerment is known as the empowerment for initiating the “child,” i.e. the initiates or beginners, into the mandala. That is the most elaborate empowerment, and there are many substances. The prajña-jñana empowerment has two parts: the symbolic empowerment (Tib: tsön jé pa’i yeshe), and the actual empowerment – the meaning empowerment. In the prajña-jñana empowerment, the vajra master holds the rig tsa, the naked female, which is symbolic empowerment that symbolises wisdom. In order to introduce the disciple to nature of his or her mind, which is inner or primordial wisdom, these substances are used. Actually the guru is in union with the consort, and wisdom is like that. That’s the symbolic empowerment to show the real empowerment. That’s prajña-jñana. The example here is: to a person who hasn’t been to Bodh Gaya, then you need to show them a picture of Bodh Gaya and say “it’s like that”, but it’s not like that that – it’s just a picture. Likewise, the guru shows the rig tsa to say, “Wisdom is like that.” In the causal vehicle, the method of introducing the disciple to the nature of mind or the view is through logic and analysis. In the Vajrayana, it’s by uniting with the consort and experiencing bliss. And the branch empowerment for the prajña-jñana is giving the pill (Tib: rilbu). And then there are implements and so on. (4) The word empowerment: And the king, the supreme, the highest of all the four empowerments is the word empowerment (Tib: tsik wang), which is introducing the innate wisdom. Actually for this empowerment there are no substances involved. There is no elaboration – that’s why there are no substances. But in the terma tradition of the Nyingma school, since this tradition has vast methods to introduce the nature of mind, they use the crystal stone, or show a mirror. When the crystal is shown, a rainbow is produced by light refracting through the crystal, and the mirror reflects it. If you put a crystal in a box for 100 years, it will still produce a rainbow when you take it out. Likewise the nature of mind is unchangeable. It cannot be conditioned. That’s why a crystal is shown as a symbol, because the crystal (and its ability to produce a reflection) doesn’t change. Then we have the branch empowerment and the five bindus, the five substance empowerments Then the last one is the torma empowerment. This is done to stabilise the four previous empowerments. After receiving the empowerments, in ordinary language one might say that one becomes promoted to the rank of Avalokiteshvara. So when you enthrone or empower someone as kind, you make big offerings. So for that we have the empowerment of the 8 auspicious signs, the 7 objects of the universal monarch, and the 8 auspicious substances. This is a celebration (Tib: gatön) – after receiving the empowerments you celebrate with joy. After achieving something you celebrate, likewise you are now empowered as Avalokiteshvara so you celebrate.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


After receiving the empowerment, the main thing is to keep the samaya, the vows, and the precepts. Then the main samaya is to visualise oneself as a deity all the time and recite the mantra and do the sadhana practice. And with that in mind, you make the commitment saying, “Whatever the guru says, I will do.” Then after that you make a thanksgiving mandala offering, and then you offer everything to the teacher, and say, “you can use me in whatever way you like.” Teaching #11 – Tuesday 14th October 2008 – Empowerment (contd.) & The 3 Samadhis The main purpose of practicing the dharma is to attain Buddhahood or complete enlightenment, not merely or mainly to have a long life, prosperity, power, etc. And when we say “enlightenment,” it’s not that we are seeking some kind of heaven as is taught in other religions. It’s directly recognising the Buddha within oneself – recognising oneself as a Buddha – and not just intellectually, not through study and contemplation, but experiencing the innate Buddha directly. Buddha taught 84,000 types of teaching as a method to recognise the innate Buddha, and I could never say that some of these teachings are more or less important than others – they are all methods to attain enlightenment. When we practice dharma, we need to practice like a hungry yak eating grass, without making distinctions. We should try to practice even a single virtuous action. If ordinary laypeople take a vow not to kill, tell lies or steal, it is called an “individual vow.” And if you then don’t kill, steal or tell lies while also having the wish to benefit others, it becomes Mahayana practice – that is bodhicitta. After generating bodhicitta, we should practice the 6 paramitas and so on. And on top of that, if we can, if our mind is broad enough and strong enough, we can receive the Vajrayana empowerments to ripen the mind. And after receiving the empowerments, then the teacher encourages the student practice visualising himself or herself as the deity. Empowerment is the gateway to enter into the Vajrayana. And after entering through that door, we need to practice the Vajrayana path. If the disciple has extraordinary devotion and confidence in the teacher and the teachings, and if the teacher has extraordinary blessings, power and realisation, then even while receiving the empowerments, the disciple can recognise the wisdom that is the meaning of the empowerment. And then the student can be liberated at the very moment that the empowerment is bestowed upon him or her. During the time of Buddha, there were extraordinary disciples and this kind of liberation happened, but these days, it’s very difficult. Even during the time of Milarepa, it was very rare to find the kind of disciple who could be liberated while receiving the empowerment. For example, Jetsün Milarepa went to a dzogchen teacher who told him that dzogchen is a very special teaching, which can bring enlightenment swiftly. He said if you practice dzogchen during the daytime, you can get enlightened during the daytime, and if you practice at night you can get enlightened at night. So Milarepa thought he just needed to sleep, and he did not practice but he slept instead, and so the teachings didn’t work. Then Milarepa went back to that dzogchen master, who knew with his clairvoyance that Milarepa had a karmic connection with Marpa lotsawa the translator. And as soon as Milarepa heard Marpa’s name, he had so much devotion that his hairs stood on end, he became tearful, and there was great joy in his mind. He went to Marpa and with much difficulty he received the empowerments and instructions, and then he practiced, and then finally he attained the realisation of mahamudra. We need to have that kind of devotion to be able to attain enlightenment just by receiving the empowerment. These days Milarepa is respected and revered in all the different schools – Nyingma, Sakya, Gelug and Kagyu. Even though there’s so much sectarianism these

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


days, and so much attachment to the individual traditions, Milarepa is revered and respected by all. It’s very difficult to have Milarepa’s kind of devotion, but we need to have that kind of devotion to realise the meaning of the empowerment, i.e. to recognise the wisdom that is the meaning of the empowerment. Devotion: The reason why we’re unable to be liberated or ripened instantly by empowerment is that we don’t have genuine devotion. To have genuine devotion is very difficult, extremely difficult. We need to have the devotion of perceiving the teacher as the Buddha, not an ordinary being. Our devotion is very biased. If the lama is influential, popular, and well off, then we might have some kind of devotion. But if the lama is poor and a wanderer, then we don’t have any devotion – so it’s difficult for us to have genuine devotion. We have biased devotion, and that’s very dangerous, because we create the idea that a lama should be a certain way, he should do this and not that. So we create a lama and only then have devotion. We should have the kind of devotion that whatever the lama does, we see him as a manifestation of the activities of the Buddha. We need that kind of devotion but we don’t have it. For example, I have some tulku friends, and one day I told them their teacher was gay, and they said, “that cannot be, it’s impossible, our lama wouldn’t do that.” That’s wrong – if they have genuine devotion, then whatever the lama does, they should see it as pure action. Keeping Samaya: After receiving the empowerment, we need to keep/guard the samaya. In order to do that, we practice the two stages of meditation, creation stage (kyerim) and completion stage (dzogrim). And as a method to remember oneself as a deity all the time, or at least once or twice a day, then we do recitations, daily prayers, and the ritual sadhana practices, including drubchen (great accomplishment) practices – all are methods for remembering oneself as the deity. The only difference between individual and group practice is, as Guru Rinpoche said, “you may not be able to lift a big boulder yourself, but if there are many people then you can lift it easily.” Likewise, if you do group practice then you can purify karmic defilements more swiftly and easily, and receive blessings more swiftly and easily than you can on your own. Offerings: In order to accumulate merit, we make offerings. We should try to make our offerings as clean, beautiful and grand as possible. If you’re poor and can’t afford to make big or grand offerings, then even if you make small offerings, it can bring immense merit. For example, in his former life King Ashoka was very poor, and he wanted to make offerings to Buddha Kashyapa (the third Buddha), but he didn’t have anything to offer. So he scattered a handful of sand to Buddha Kashyapa, and because of that he was born as King Ashoka, someone very rich and powerful. That’s how merit works, if you make offerings with pure intention. For those who are rich, then making 100 butterlamp offerings is not very much, as they can afford to offer much more. And we should make offerings carefully. We shouldn’t think we are dzogchen practitioners and that there is therefore no need for us to elaborate. Even if the teacher has attained dzogchen, we practitioners haven’t yet realised dzogchen. The practitioner and the teachings are still separate – they haven’t yet become one. When we make offerings, we claim that we are dzogchen practitioners, and then we tend to simplify everything (i.e. because there is no elaboration in dzogchen). But when it is time for us to eat ourselves, we want to have all the best and most delicious food – the most elaborate food. We shouldn’t do this kind of thing. You might claim yourself to be a dzogchen practitioner, but if someone beats you, then you feel pain, so you clearly haven’t realised dzogchen yet. So we should make our offerings carefully and elaborately.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Opening the door: Then after the offerings is opening the door or the gate of the mandala. Opening the door to the mandala is not like opening the door of a house, but instead it means recognising or realising oneself as primordially a deity. That is opening the door. Invoking blessings: And the invocation of the blessing is also the same. Symbolically we perform invocation, and invite all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and bless ourselves, the substances, the place and everything. Blessing the offerings: Then after the invocation of the blessings comes blessing the offering substances. Why do we bless the offerings? Our offerings, like the seven offering bowls, a few butterlamps or whatever, cannot suffice for the thousands and millions of Buddhas and bodhisattvas that we have invited. So by blessing the offerings, we increase them. And then the offering isn’t limited to one or two things, or certain kinds of offerings, but whatever is wished for. And we also bless the offerings to purify the dirt, the contamination – which is the contamination of dualistic clinging. In the Vajrayana, especially in the anuttarayoga tantra, there’s nothing that can’t be an offering. First, we make offerings of necessities, the things we need in our daily life – like food, water, etc. And since the Buddha’s teaching originated in India, these offerings are also based on the Indian way of making offerings. We offer foot-washing water (padyam), drinking water (argham) etc – even though for example Bhutanese and Tibetans don’t wash the feet of their guests when they welcome them to their homes. So we offer all necessities, then outer, inner and secret offerings like our realisation etc. But here we mainly bless the outer offerings. Self-visualisation: Then comes self-visualisation – visualising oneself as the deity. The most important thing in the self-visualisation is having the 3 samadhis, the 3 concentrations. If you don’t have the 3 samadhis, then you’re constructing a deity. And that is not the real deity – you’re just indulging in make-believe. The 3 samadhis (Tib: ting dzin nam sum) are unique to the Nyingma tradition. In the Sakya and Gelugpa traditions it’s different, they have 5 stages of becoming enlightened when you do the visualisations. The 3 samadhis are: • • •

(1) Samadhi of suchness (Tib: tong chen de zhin nyid kyi ting nge dzin) (2) Samadhi of compassion (Tib: kuntu nangwai ting nge dzin) (3) Cause samadhi (Tib: gyüi ting nge dzin).

1. Samadhi of suchness: What is the samadhi of suchness? It’s very difficult to explain this to a big crowd like this, so I won’t do that. If you have received meditation instructions or an introduction to the nature of mind, and received the teachings on the great instruction texts on meditation – you can do that meditation, and that meditation is the samadhi of suchness. If you haven’t received anything like that and have no idea whatsoever of dzogchen meditation or any kind of meditation, here’s what you should do. The verses for the visualisation start with HUM, BAM or some other syllable, and when you say that “HUM” (for example), then try to remain in that state without fabrication, constructing or making anything. Then thoughts will arise. A Bhutanese example might be pork or chilli – when the chilli appears in your mind, don’t try to remove or block the chilli – just let it be there and look at it, and it will go. It’s impermanent. It won’t stay long. If you can maintain it forever, you’ll get enlightened – but you’re not so good to be able to keep the chilli forever! So remain in that for a few seconds or minutes – that is the samadhi of suchness. The appearance of chilli or pork is better than a vision of Guru Rinpoche or lights appearing, or hearing the sounds of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, because when we experience those kinds of

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


thoughts, we tend to cling to them and become attached to them. So they’re more dangerous than chilli as we don’t make a big deal about the chilli! So no matter whether a chilli or Guru Rinpoche appears, you stay in that state, and you have to be unbiased. That is the samadhi of suchness. It is remaining in the unfabricated state, not making or fabricating anything. It is very simple. It is called the unfabricated samadhi. 2. Samadhi of compassion: With the second samadhi, then fabrication and construction starts. This is the samadhi of compassion. If you can then remain in the state of the samadhi of suchness and you have compassion towards other beings that can’t remain in that sate or who haven’t recognised that state, then you have compassion. This is something fabricated, as now there are thoughts. That is the all-pervasive samadhi of compassion. 3. Cause samadhi: Third is the cause samadhi. From the inseparable unity of the samadhi of suchness and the samadhi of compassion appears the seed syllable, the cause – e.g. HUM, HRIH, or BAM. The seed syllable is the root cause of the deity. That is the cause samadhi. From that letter emanates a huge amount of light, then that light carries millions and billions of infinite offerings to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the 10 directions, and because of this you accumulate merit. Again the light emanates, and it pervades the 6 realms of samsara, where it purifies all the defilements, obscurations, and karma. It pacifies the suffering and pains of sentient beings. And then the lights gather back and dissolve into the HUM. We will talk about what happens after the seed syllable tomorrow. Teaching #12 – Wednesday 15th October 2008 – Visualisation The Vajrayana is very vast. In the shedras or scriptural colleges, people mostly study the sutra texts. However, the tantras are vaster than the sutras. There are 4 or 5 times more tantras than sutras, but these days many of the tantras have degenerated, because there are very few people who study and practice the tantras. For example, many people practice the Namchag Budri Vajrakilaya teachings, but for the Phurba Bom Nak (the Sakya Phurba, the black 100,000 Vajrakilayas), even the teaching lineage has become extremely rare and is almost extinct now. Since many Bhutanese people practice Vajrayana, I have taught the 3 samadhis and I have given the teachings related to the Anuttarayoga tantra. The 3 samadhis and the visualisation of oneself as the deity are only found in the Anuttarayoga tantra tradition – the kriya, upa and yoga tantras don’t have the 3 samadhis or visualising oneself as the deity. The kriya tantra is called gya gyu in Tibetan, but in Bhutan, people name it after vegetarian food. In fact, it is the kriya tantra of the 4 classes of tantra. Naming kriya tantra as vegetarian food happened because the dharma has been mixed with cultural traditions, because Bhutan has been visited, blessed and ruled by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, who established the rules and regulations and ethics. Because of that, people call lunch “solwa” (which is the honorific form of the word “food”) and dinner is “tsok.” In fact in the Vinaya tradition, strictly, monks are not allowed to eat after midday. But since the Bhutanese and Tibetan monks are Vajrayana practitioners, when they offer tsok they have to eat the tsok, even if it is after midday, otherwise they will break their Vajrayana samaya. And so in Bhutanese culture, the evening food has come to be called “tsok,” which is derived from the feast offering. In almost all of the kriya tantra (Tib: gya gyu) sadhanas, the deities don’t have consorts. And even if there are consorts, the consort is not in union with the main deity. Also one doesn’t

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


visualise oneself as the deity – one visualises the deity sitting in the sky in front of oneself. However in the Anuttarayoga tantra, we visualise ourselves as the deity, which is the magical display of our own wisdom. VISUALISATION The immeasurable palace: after the 3 samadhis, we visualise the immeasurable palace. It is called “immeasurable,” i.e. something that is not limited, and which cannot be measured – it’s not something with 4 walls and a roof. We usually have the fault of thinking that “immeasurable” means something extremely large or big – but it’s not – it’s beyond the concept of big or small or high or low. It is beyond all dualistic concepts. It cannot be conceived of by the ordinary mind. The seed syllable: In the centre of the immeasurable mansion or palace, we visualise a lotus, then a sun and moon disc, and then on the seat of the lotus, sun and moon discs, the practitioner transforms into the letter or seed syllable, which is none other than the practitioner himself or herself. Instantly the seed syllable transforms into a deity. After receiving the empowerments, we should try to remember ourselves as the deity. We should remember that we are primordially the deity. And when you practice the sadhana practice or do a retreat, then you are supposed to try and concentrate on the refuge for a month, and when we say, “concentrate on refuge,” this has nothing to do with accumulating the verses. It means thinking about the deity and thinking about the 3 jewels. Next, you should think about and concentrate on bodhicitta for a month. Then you should practice the first samadhi for a month, the samadhi of suchness. Then you should practice the samadhi of all-illuminating compassion. And then you should practice the causal samadhi, the seed syllable, for example the syllables HUM, HRIH or BAM. And we need to visualise and practice each part individually until we attain clarity in visualising that particular part. The form of the deity: Then you visualise the body/form of the deity, and you should also do that in parts. Sometimes you visualise the right hand holding a curved knife, sometimes a leg, or the head, nose or eyes. And sometimes you visualise the deity as a whole. When you try to visualise and focus on the deity, it is the best form of shamatha meditation. And it can also serve as a way of remembering the 3 jewels. When you do shamatha meditation using stones and sticks as the focal point to focus the mind, it is not particularly special. It is not as special as the deity. So focussing on the deity serves many purposes. When my own teachers gave instructions on the creation and completion stages of meditation, they used to advise students not to use the images from thangkas when visualising deities. Because when we use the pictures on the thangkas, we tend to think the deity is exactly like on the thangka – not moving, not speaking, and not changing at all – and it we shouldn’t visualise the deity like that. We have to think of the deity as changing, moving etc. The deity shouldn’t be sitting all the time, unmoving and unblinking. It may be helpful to look at pictures on thangkas as a reference for our visualisation, but we shouldn’t think that the deity is exactly like the images on thangkas. We should visualise the deity as having manifold expressions, manifestations and displays – an inconceivable number of expressions. These things are not exactly said in the instruction texts, but I’m speaking from my own experience and according to the words of Jigme Lingpa. We need to enhance our ability or potential (tsal jang – tsal is ability, and jang is to train/increase it – so tsal jang means “enhancing ability”) to visualise the deity. In order to do that, we have to visualise the deity in

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


different forms – sometimes as small as a mustard seed, sometimes as big as Mount Meru – and it is not that it takes a long time for the deity to become very big – it instantly becomes as big as Mount Meru, and then instantly it becomes as small as mustard seed. The most important thing in visualising oneself as the deity is to visualise the deity as the inseparable union of emptiness and luminosity, appearing like an illusion, dream, rainbow, and so on. That’s the very essence of the development stage. If you don’t have this view, even if you visualise Vajrakilaya having six arms, very wrathful, complete with all his retinues, there’s not even the slightest difference between visualising a wisdom deity and visualising a demon. When we visualise ourselves as a deity, we need two things – bodhicitta and the view of the inseparable union of luminosity and emptiness. In the oral instruction texts of Patrul Rinpoche and other masters, it is said that when we visualise the deity, such as Vajrakilaya or Vajravarahi, we should know that the deity is not other than the tathagatagarbha, Buddha nature, which is the nature of the mind. Pride of the deity: And when we do the development stage of meditation, or the visualisation practice, we need to have the pride of oneself as the deity. That doesn’t mean the ordinary pride of thinking that one is superior to other people. When you have the pride of being the deity, it means that you would know that you are primordially the deity. Not only that, you also know that others around you are also primordially deities. This pride will only bring benefit. It won’t bring any harm at all, whereas ordinary pride brings harm. If we elaborate the visualisation of oneself as a deity, then we can visualise the jñanasattva and the samadhisattva. We can do that according to the sadhana and the instruction texts. The retinue deities around the main deity: One important thing about visualisation is visualising the retinue deities. For example, if you are practicing Namchag Budri Vajrakilaya, then surrounding the main deity there are 4 kinds of kilayas, 10 wrathful kings, 21 supreme sons and so on. There are countless deities. And there’s no way that we can visualise all of them, because when we visualise one, then we forget all the others. But this is nothing to worry about. You shouldn’t feel bad about not being able to visualise each and every deity. For example, if you invite a king to your house, he won’t come alone – he’ll come with his ministers and retinue. And if you invite a lama, he will come with his attendants and retinue. Likewise, when you visualise the main deity, you are automatically visualising all the deities there with the main deity. And we should also know that the consort, the supreme sons, the 4 kilayas and the male and female figures beneath the feet of Vajrakilaya are not other than oneself, which is in essence tathagatagarbha – so nothing exists outside of oneself. Then after visualisation we do the invocation of jñanasattvas. We don’t recognise ourselves as the deity because of our obscurations. Because of the thick layers of obscurations we have, we don’t realise we’re primordially deities. So as a method or means to remember that, we invoke the jñanasattvas. For example with Vajrakilaya, we invoke the jñanasattvas from the charnel grounds and wrathful Buddha fields and dissolve them into ourselves. When we say, “dissolve,” we become completely inseparable with the deities. It’s not like keeping something in a container, but instead like pouring water into water. Prostrations & Offerings: And then when we say “ATIPU PRATTICHA HO,” we are making prostrations to the deity. Again, we are making prostrations to ourselves, because we have become deities. And we make offerings, again to ourselves. Why do we make offerings to ourselves? The reason is that the main aim or purpose of practicing the dharma is to recognise

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


one’s own Buddha nature, one’s own mind as the Buddha. And in order to remember or recognise that, we invoke the jñanasattvas and make offerings to help us remember the true nature of our mind, which is the Buddha. Menchö – the inner/amrita offering: Offerings themselves have the complete all the methods of recognising one’s own true nature of mind. The outer offerings are the offerings that I spoke about yesterday, including the necessities like water and food. The inner offerings are all the unwanted dirty things that have been collected together as the inner offerings. This includes the 5 meats – horse, elephant, cow, dog, and human flesh. And also we offer the 5 amritas – shit, urine, blood, marrow and semen. Why are these done? The Vajrayana practice is a method to dismantle or destroy dualistic clinging. Buddhism originated from India, where there is a caste system, and the highest-caste Brahmins claimed to be pure, and they emphasised having everything clean. The Brahmins also had pride that they were superior to other people, and a lot of attachment to themselves, and they also had many distinctions about good, bad, pure and impure. As an antidote to such kinds of dualistic distinctions and clinging, we gather and collect all the dirty things and use them as offerings. That’s the menchö – the amrita offering. Rakta & torma offerings: Then we have the rakta offering. Rakta is literally “blood.” And when we say blood, it doesn’t mean that we have to kill an animal and offer blood. The thing that binds us in samsara is attachment and desire. And as a symbol of that attachment/desire, we make the rakta offering, the blood offering. Then we have the torma – which symbolises food and all the other necessities. Then we have the peaceful and wrathful offerings. Peaceful offerings might be things like sweet music, beautiful girls and boys, flowers etc. Wrathful offerings are things like dissonant and disturbing music, even banging on a table – that kind of sound is a wrathful offering. Other wrathful offerings include things like ugly boys and girls and ugly flowers. These are the offering of form. Then there is the offering of smell: peaceful offerings are sweet smells like incense, and wrathful offerings are things like the smell of burnt meat and fat and leather or skin and so on. There is something important here. Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoche said if one offers a meal to millions and billions of Buddhas, one would accumulate inconceivable, limitless merit. But if one practices in the Vajrayana visualising oneself as a deity and having a sip of tea, the amount of merit accumulated surpasses the amount made by offering a meal to billions of Buddhas. It is said that if we practice Vajrayana, we can attain Buddhahood in one lifetime. That is because the Vajrayana has so many different kinds of methods. Praise: Then there is praise: we praise ourselves, extolling the extraordinary qualities of body, speech, mind and so on. Recitation: Then after the praise is the recitation. In some sadhanas, it’s mentioned that you can do the recitations if you would like to. When we do recitations, it has an effect on our nadis and prana. All the mantras are Sanskrit syllables, and I think that these Sanskrit syllables have great potential. When we recite the mantras, then the mantras go into different channels (nadis). It helps the body, health and mind – it helps us to have concentration and samadhi, and it helps to accumulate merit and purify obscurations. Vajra Guru mantra: In the recitation instructions it is said that we must think that the mantras are offerings as well as the deity. For example, Guru Rinpoche said to Yeshe Sogyal that the Vajra Guru mantra is not just the essence of Guru Rinpoche himself, but also the essence of the deities of the four and six classes of tantras. The literal explanation of the Vajra Guru mantra is:

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


• • • • • •

OM AH HUM is the essence of body, speech and mind. And they represent the 3 kayas. VAJRA represents the indestructible vajra, which means the innate nature of our mind, the tathagatagarbha GURU is master, teacher and that’s also tathagatagarbha, the Buddha nature PADMA the lotus is also born out of the mud, but it is not stained or tainted by mud. Likewise, tathagatagarbha is never stained or tainted by obscurations, emotions and defilements. SIDDHI is requesting Guru Rinpoche to grant supreme and ordinary siddhis, accomplishments. HUM is asking, requesting Guru Rinpoche to grant the supreme and extraordinary siddhis

Then recitation (Tib: nyempa), is calling the deity. This is one version of explaining the Vajra Guru mantra. There are other ways of explaining it. Within the mantra recitation, there are 3 things, which we shall discuss tomorrow: • • •

The approach practice The accomplishment practice The application of activity practice

Teaching #13 – Thursday 16th October 2008 – Kyerim and Dzogrim When we receive teachings, we should have the motivation to get enlightened swiftly for the sake of all sentient beings. We should think, “to accomplish that aim, I am going to practice the teachings I have receive.” With that intention we need to receive teachings, and if we receive them with that intention, then will we have this excellence of bodhicitta aspiration in the beginning (Tib: gyorwa sem kye kyi dampa), as Patrul Rinpoche said in the Words of My Perfect Teacher. When you do the recitations, you should know that the mantra is the deity, and there is no deity other than the mantra. (1) The Approach Practice Visualising the deity: Before recitation, visualise the deity. When we say, “visualise the deity,” it’s not that we are creating a new deity, something new. For example, when you sleep in the room, you have a bed, pillows, a quilt, blankets everything. And when you wake in the morning, you see what has been there since you went to bed the previous evening. Likewise when we say, “visualise the deity,” we are awakening to the already existing deity. And if you’re practicing Vajrakilaya: • • •

At the centre of Vajrakilaya’s heart you should visualise the jñanasattva Vajrasattva the size of your thumb. At the centre of the heart of Vajrasattva, you visualise the seed syllable HUM (in the Nyingtik Phurba; in other sadhanas it might be AH) the size of a grain of wheat. And the mantra garland of Vajrakilaya surrounds the seed syllable. And we should visualise as though we’re reading the mantras with our mind, which means we need to

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


visualise them very clearly. There are many different ways of visualise the deity and the mantras. You should do it according to individual instruction texts. 5 Types of Visualisation during Mantra Recitation (a) Offering gods & goddesses: Then in addition to that, from the seed syllable and the mantra garland at the centre of the jñanasattva, then infinite light rays emanate, and from each ray of light emanate millions and billions of offering gods and goddesses. Then these offering gods and goddesses make infinite offerings to the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas and shravakas. You should recite the mantra concentrating on this visualisation. (b) Gathering back the light rays & receiving blessings: If you feel tired and bored doing the same thing all the time, then you can visualise gathering back the light rays and dissolving them into the deity. By that, you receive all the blessings. When we say “blessings,” the blessings make our mind turn towards the dharma; to understand and know the scriptures; to not get distracted; to remember impermanence; etc – these are the blessings that beginners should ask for. For those who have a broader mind, more courageous and more open minded, you should ask for blessings so that you will have the wisdom of realising selflessness. (c) Purifying the obscurations of the six realms: Again if you feel tired after practicing this, then visualise that the light rays pervade all the six samsaric realms and purify the negative karma and obscurations of all beings of the six realms. And those beings generate the wisdom of realising selflessness. When you do the recitation, think that all the forms are the manifestations of the great glorious Vajrakilaya, all sounds are the sounds of mantra, and all the conceptual thoughts are the nonconceptual wisdom of Vajrakilaya. For example, when you see a pillar, then you might try to visualise it as Vajrakilaya with 3 faces, 6 arms and 2 legs – but you don’t need to do that. As Mipham Rinpoche said: It is sufficient to just think that all appearances, whatever you see, are the manifestation of Vajrakilaya himself. (d) Leaving the mind undistracted, without fabricating: Again if you are tired of practicing that, then do the recitation by leaving the mind in the undistracted state. And that means, as I said yesterday, whatever thoughts arise, don’t fabricate. Without fabricating, just look into that and recognise the thoughts. That’s it. (e) Praying to the guru: Then if even that practice tires you, then pray to the guru and recite the mantra. (2) The Accomplishment Practice Visualisation of the mantra garland: Then there is the visualisation of the mantra garland (Tib: do le nig pa). From the heart centre of Vajrakilaya appears HUM, and from HUM appears the mantra garland. And then it circles around his heart, then moves down and enters the lotus of his consort through the vajra of the deity and moves up into her heart centre. Then it circles around her heart centre, then moves up and out of her mouth, and then enters Vajrakilaya through his

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


mouth. And then it continues like this, and it’s so fast that it looks like a fire wheel. This visualisation is for the accomplishment practice. (3) The Activity Practice We talked about approach, accomplishment and activity practice – and now we come to activity. There are many kinds of activity, e.g. long life. For long life, the mantra garland emanates so many long life goddesses, and they go into the 10 directions and gather all the essence of life and wealth, and repair the broken the life force taken by others, and then dissolve into the deity (which is oneself). And they gather back all the lost and broken life force, and forcefully taken life force, and gather back into the deity (yourself). This was an example. Generally, there are 4 kinds of activities: • • • •

Pacifying Increasing Magnetising Subjugating

After the recitations, there is the recitation of vowels and consonants, the mantra of interdependent origination, the Vajrasattva mantra, and offering and praise. The creation and completion stages of meditation are the main methods to recognise our innate awareness, which is Samantabhadra. For those who like elaborations, the creation stage has been taught. For those who like things simple, without elaborations, dzogrim has been taught – the completion stage. For those who are more inclined towards the luminous aspect of our mind, the creation stage of meditation has been taught. For those who are inclined towards the emptiness aspect of mind, the completion stage of meditation has been taught. However, the stages have to be inseparable. They have to go together. When HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and HH Dudjom Rinpoche taught kyerim and dzogrim to western students, some of the western students told them that the nature of mind is very simple, and no elaborations are required. But there are all these kyerim practices, the visualisations, and it is not easy for them to visualise all this. And you are supposed to visualise the deity, but it’s painted in a Tibetan style and westerners aren’t used to that, so it’s difficult for them to visualise them. And they have to drink water for the vase, the foot-washing water, and the rest of the seven offerings. As the students have said, the nature of mind is very simple, extremely simple. And because of that, it’s difficult to recognise and understand it. For example, Nyoshul Longtok was the greatest disciple of Dza Patrul Rinpoche. One night, they were doing the yoga of looking at the sky (Tib: nam ka sum truk) and Patrul Rinpoche asked Nyoshul Longtok, “Can you see the stars in the sky? Can you hear the dogs barking at Dzogchen monastery?” Nyoshul Longtok said yes, and Patrul Rinpoche said “My dear son, that is the nature of mind – the great perfection.” So there’s nothing special and complicated in that – it’s very simple. But we need merit to realise the simple nature of the mind. Nyoshul Longtok understood what Patrul Rinpoche said, and he realised the nature of his mind because he had merit. Because the nature of mind is extremely simple, we don’t trust it. And trusting and not trusting are both based on reasons. So they are equal, they have equal weight. The one who trusts based on his own

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


reasons, and the other one who doesn’t trust based on his own reasons are both equal in being ignorant and foolish. Since dzogpachenpo is extremely simple, it’s difficult to recognise if you don’t have merit. It’s very difficult for us to have confidence in the simple nature of mind. Nyoshul Longtok had trust and confidence in what Patrul Rinpoche said because he had merit. Patrul Rinpoche didn’t say anything particularly special – he didn’t teach any philosophy or anything. He just said, “Can you see the stars in the sky? Can you hear the dogs in dzogchen monastery?” And with that Nyoshul Longtok recognised the nature of mind. So there are different ways of introducing the nature of mind. There’s another example from a story of Nyoshul Longtok’s travel to Lhasa. When he went to Lhasa, one disciple accompanied him, and on the way some bandits attacked them. They took all their belongings and neither of them did anything, thinking that it’s fine for the bandits to take their things. But then the bandits started beating Nyoshul Longtok, and his disciple became furious. He was very strong and courageous, and he fought with the bandits and beat some of them, but then suddenly Nyoshul Longtok started to beat him. The disciple was so furious that he didn’t even know that he was fighting with his teacher. And the bandits were very surprised seeing that student and teacher were fighting with each other. And then Nyoshul Longtok told his disciple, “If you don’t practice awareness at this point, when will you practice?” And at this point, his disciple almost lost consciousness, and when he came to, then he recognised his rigpa. He became completely free from the concepts of the 8 worldly dharmas. It happened because of the disciple’s merit. The main means to accumulate merit and purify obscurations and defilements is guru yoga. And I have already taught you this and I will teach you this more in future. The other most special method for accumulating merit and purifying obscurations is the creation and completion stages of meditation, kyerim and dzogrim. If you make tsok offerings, you will be able to mend the broken vows, and fulfil the wishes of the dakinis. The tsok or feast offering surpasses other offerings. When we make tsok offerings, we invite Buddhas, bodhisattvas, dakas and dakinis, and offer all sorts of things to them. There is no such thing as something that can or cannot be offered in a tsok offering, and we should not have this dualistic clinging. A tsok offering is like throwing a big party. In a party, you do all sorts of things that you don’t usually do, like eating, drinking and dancing. And in the tsok offering it’s the same – you make offerings and celebrate, inviting the guru, deities, dakinis and dharmapalas. Minling Terchen had a vision, and in his vision he went to Zandokpalri, the Copper-Coloured Mountain (the buddha field), and when he entered one place there, he saw many practitioners, male and female, practicing tsok together. And their leader was his teacher (his 3 main teachers were the 5th Dalai lama, Dodruk Pema Trinley, and his own father). He saw a door leading to another room, and he wanted to go, but two strong men stopped him, saying that he was not allowed to enter. But he insisted, and upon insisting they let him in, and when he entered, again there was a big feast, this time being performed by great vidyadharas like Garab Dorje, Shri Singha, Mañjushrimitra, etc. And their leader was Guru Rinpoche himself. Again he heard a voice from behind a wall, and he wanted to go there. And someone told him that if he wanted to go in, he had to enter thorough his miraculous powers. So he prayed to his gurus, made aspirations, and because of that he was able to go in. And inside, was another feast gathering. Here the leader of the feast was Vajravarahi herself, completely naked, and all the retinues and other tsok practitioners were also naked. And the tsok substances were the 5 kinds of meat and

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


the 5 kinds of amrita and so on. And he was asked to abandon dualistic attachment/clinging, such as ideas of what can or cannot be offered and so on. There are 4 kinds of tsok offering: • • • •

Select portion Confession Liberation Remainder

When you enjoy the tsok, we should know that there are countless female deities and dakinis in our channels (our 2100 (?) channels), and our 4 or 5 chakras, and we make offerings to those dakinis. And by making offerings, we confess our transgressions of nadi, prana and bindu. Confession & Liberation: after offerings, there is confession. And after confession is liberation. The Buddhist teachings in general, and in particular the Vajrayana teachings were taught in accordance with how ordinary beings function and do things. For example, in the ordinary sense, people kill their enemies and enjoy their flesh. Likewise, we liberate the enemies and obstacle makers, and enjoy their remainder – their bodies – as feast. When we say “enemies,” these are none other than our own dualistic clinging. Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö was known for his spiritual powers, and when he performed subjugation, he could manifest signs of actually subduing and destroying the obstacle makers. And there was one holy lama and he said that he would be more fortunate if he were the enemy in the triangular dungeon in front of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö rather than being a lama, because then he would be liberated. Liberation means liberating from the chains of karma and emotions, and placing into the state of enlightenment or nirvana. Killing enemies without liberating them into nirvana is just the same as non-buddhists (tirthikas) do. So when you liberate the enemies and obstacle-makers, you have to do it with compassion. If you don’t, then you will become the enemy instead of the enemies! And when you do the liberation, you pierce the sharp point of the kila into the representation of the enemies and obstacle makers three times: • • •

For the first piercing, you take all the long life, wealth, good luck and prosperity and dissolve it into yourself – you’re the deity here, Vajrakilaya. For the second piercing, you visualise that a stream of amrita flows from the white syllable AH at the lower tip of the kila, and it purifies all the karma and emotions of the obstacle makers. For the third piercing, you transform the consciousness or mind of the obstacle maker into the white syllable AH and dissolve it into the heart of the main deity (e.g. Vajrakilaya, Vajrayogini, Samantabhadra, etc)

And then you offer the remainder, the body, as tsok. Then after that, comes the remainder offering. After the tsok is the thanksgiving offering and praise. One of the major things here is the completion stage, dzogrim. It’s very important, extremely important. The creation or development stage (kyerim) is the method, and dzogrim or the completion stage is the prajña or the wisdom. Actually we should practice kadak trekchö, the

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


primordially pure “dismantling the knot” (the literal translation of “cutting through”: trek means “completely knotted”, and chö means “to cut”). You need to meditate on kadak trekchö. If you are unable to do that, then you should do the dissolution practice. You dissolve the immeasurable mansion, the palace, into the retinues. The retinues in turn dissolve into the consort. The consort dissolves into the main deity. The main deity dissolves into the jñanasattva, the jñanasattva also dissolves gradually into the mantra garland, and the mantra garland dissolves into the seed syllable, and the seed syllable dissolves first into the bindu, then the nadi, and then disappears. The actual dzogrim or completion practice is to remain in that state. The dzogrim removes (clinging to) eternalism. And in order to remove nihilism, the mandala reappears – the deities, the immeasurable palace, and the retinues all reappear. “Reappear” here means awakening. “Awakening” means the deity has always been there primordially, and when you do the practice you just awaken to the already existing deity. Aspiration: After that, you should do the aspiration. It’s very important to do the aspiration prayers, because if the merit is not sealed with aspiration, just one acute moment of anger or strong desire can completely uproot the merit that has been accumulated. So we should seal the merit in order to avoid it being uprooted by emotions. That’s a short explanation on kyerim and dzogrim. Retreat: what is retreat? The word “tsam” in Tibetan means “between two things.” In the 7-Line prayer we have the line “Orgyen yul gyi nup chang tsam,” which means “in the North-west border of the land of Oddiyana.” In other words, Oddiyana is in the border between North and West. Here in retreat, the state of mind is between the past and the future thoughts. That means to abide in the present moment, or in the present mind. Those who don’t have this ability to remain in the present state of mind must do outer retreat in order to train their mind. When you do retreat, you shouldn’t hope for signs of accomplishment, as the seemingly good signs of accomplishment are actually obstacles in their nature. Many masters have said this, including the omniscient Rongzompa, the omniscient Longchenpa, Gyalwa Yamgönpa, Kunkhyen Pema Karpo, Tsangpa Gyari, and other masters. Beginners should practice “time retreat” and “number retreat.” If you are doing a short retreat, it’s good to do it strictly. And if you are doing a long retreat, like 6 months or 3 years, it’s better not to be too strict, because there’s a danger of going crazy. The main thing is to consider one’s teacher as most special and precious, as it is said in the drema mepa, “The Immaculate Sutra.” So you should practice guru yoga diligently. Götsangpa said: “Visualising the guru, supplicating to him, and having confidence and trust in him surpasses all kinds of kyerim and dzogrim practices” Likewise it has been said in so many sutras, tantras and shastras that the guru is most special. We must offer him all the phenomena that exist, confess all the negative actions that one has committed knowingly or unknowingly, and do the 7-branch service/offering. And we should pray to the guru to grant blessings to remember the rarity of the freedom and wealth of this precious human birth with all the required conditions, remember the impermanence of life, have confidence in the causes, conditions and effect (i.e. karma), and have revulsion towards samsara. It is not necessary to recite the supplication in Tibetan – you can recite the supplication in your

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


own language or dialect. There’s no point reading the supplication in Tibetan without understanding the meaning. Teaching #14 – Friday 17th October 2008 – I have completed the empowerments and transmissions with yesterday’s empowerment of Yamanta Nagaraksha, Ka Gyé, and Amritakundali, and the oral transmission for the Né Luk Rangjung. I have left the tsokpé (entrusting the life force) for the dharmapalas, the haughty wrathful ones, for the time being because the main thing we wish for is nirvana and enlightenment. The paths to attain nirvana and enlightenment are complete in the empowerments, reading transmissions and the instructions that I have given to you. Dharmapalas (tsokpé): The tsokpé is also included in those teachings and transmissions. Tsokpé is the empowerment or initiation for the haughty ones, who are the attendants or servants of the wisdom deities, like the mahakalas. There is no need to receive the tsokpé separately. For instance, if you make friends with a king, it’s not necessary to make friends with his attendants. Likewise, if you receive the empowerments for the wisdom deities, it’s not necessary to receive the empowerments for the dharmapalas, tsokpé. Only great masters who will need to disseminate the teachings and those people who are required to draw and write the tsokhor “the life force chakra” (i.e. you draw a wheel and then write mantras and prayers to put inside a statue) need the initiations for the dharmapalas (tsokpé). You can even do the dharmapala practice after you have received the empowerments for the three roots – guru, yidam and dakini. However, if you don’t know how to do the practice for those dharmapalas precisely, there’s a danger of being harmed by those dharmapalas. We mainly need the 3 roots, and that I have already bestowed upon you. Renunciation: Empowerment is the gateway to Vajrayana practice, and you have symbolically received those empowerments. So it’s essential to persevere in practicing them. These days, when even the symbols of the dharma have degenerated, those who have a little wish to practice the dharma must try their very best. In order to practice the dharma authentically, one needs to have renunciation mind. Even 3-year retreatants, if they are not motivated by renunciation mind, then their retreat can just be a symbol. It’s not enough to have a temporary or flickering renunciation mind. We should have the unfailing, unwavering, unchanging renunciation mind. Even to have worldly peace and happiness, if people have renunciation mind, I’m sure they will have peace and happiness. Why? Because if they have renunciation mind, they will have contentment and satisfaction. There is no limit or end to the growth of outer material wealth. One will never be satisfied with what one has and one will always want to have more. I can’t stop people from wanting to have more and more. If Buddha Shakyamuni couldn’t stop that, how can I do that? But individually, people can stop wanting to have more, and they can experience happiness if they practice renunciation. Because of dissatisfaction and lack of contentment, we use outer things beyond limit, and destroy the environment and the earth’s atmosphere. Because of that, we have landslides, floods, famine, drought, and all sorts of environmental catastrophes. Even if you don’t think about dharma practice, and just want to have temporary worldly happiness, you must practice contentment and satisfaction. These days, parents work so hard and send their children to school, and there’s no guarantee that their children will be good to them. There are very few children who repay their parents’ kindness in the right manner. If your children cause you to suffer, it’s like taking so much pain and trouble over something, and then somebody else enjoying the fruits of the pains you have

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


taken. There are many Bhutanese these days that leave their villages, sell their land, house and belongings, and migrate to the urban areas. If you look at the West – these days there’s nothing that you don’t have to pay for, even a drop of water. So if you leave your village and sell what you have to migrate to urban areas, there will be a time you will have to pay for everything. In order not to fall into that, don’t migrate to urban areas. So in general, everybody should have renunciation mind, and in particular, all dharma practitioners must have renunciation mind. You can’t afford not to have renunciation mind. These days, I won’t speak about ordinary laypeople, but even monks and nuns, and even khenpos, lamas, tulkus and Rinpoches lack this renunciation mind. In New York, there are many khenpos who are working in restaurants making hamburgers or cutting sushi, and there was a tulku who came to see me, and when I asked him what he was doing, he said he said was washing windows. In the United States, life is extremely busy and there’s no time to devote to your practice. And all these people don’t seem satisfied with what they have. They still want to make more and have more. Even if you don’t know how to meditate or do sadhana practices, in Bhutan we have a good culture and tradition of offering butterlamps. It’s very important to make butterlamp offerings, because butterlamps are the symbol of mind. If there is no mind, then we can’t recognise the nature of mind. For example, if there’s no lamp, the darkness cannot be dispelled. Likewise, if the mind is not luminous, you can’t recognise its nature. So make as many butterlamp offerings as you can. Then do refuge, bodhicitta aspiration, and pray to Guru Rinpoche and recite the Vajra Guru mantra. Guru Rinpoche is the deity with whom the Bhutanese and Tibetans have a karmic connection (Tib: metok gangla pokpé lhakal – the deity on which your flower lands in the mandala when receiving empowerments). Then every year, you should try to perform the Tara sadhana (Tib: drolchok), sang (smoke offerings), and sur (burnt offerings) as much as you can. And for those who know how to do meditation, they should practice meditation. These days there are so many people in Bhutan who practice Thröma. They should learn the kyerim and dzogrim from the general kyerim and dzogrim instructions I have given. The main thing we need to know is that chöd is directly cutting through whatever arises. So even if adverse circumstances arise, you work with them. You don’t try to abandon them – you try to use them. The chöd has been transmitted from Machig Labdrön, and it’s very special, because all the other buddhist teachings originated from India, and were then brought to Tibet. But the chöd teachings originated in Tibet. When you do Thröma, there is bringing under control and subjugating, wangdü zilnön (i.e. wangdü, which means magnetising, bringing under control, and zilnön, which means subjugating). It is not about bringing under control and subjugating the demons and negative spirits, but rather bringing under control and subjugating our own attachment and craving. That is the outer subjugation. The inner subjugation is to bring disease and döns under control, and also to bring conceptual thoughts under control. The secret subjugation is to subjugate dualistic thoughts, such as ideas of this and that, good and bad, and so on.

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


Chöd is to cut the demons, and demons are the ones who obstruct you from attaining nirvana and enlightenment. When you subjugate demons, you are subjugating those demons. For example, those demons are power, wealth, fame and the 8 worldly dharmas – these are the demons. And sickness, evil spirits … (Incomplete – approx ½ hour of teaching untranslated by Lama Sonam Phuntsok)

DJKR teachings during Dudjom Tersar wang & lung – Bartsham – Sep/Oct 2008


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