Padmamāla (पद्ममाल) is the name of a Buddha under whom Śākyamuni (or Gautama, ‘the historical Buddha’) acquired merit along with the first through nine bhūmis, according to the Mahāvastu. There are in total ten bhūmis representing the ten stages of the Bodhisattva’s path towards enlightenment.
Padmamāla is but one among the 500 Buddhas enumerated in the Mahāvastu during a conversation between Mahākātyāyana and Mahākāśyapa, both principle disciples of Gautama Buddha. The Mahāvastu is an important text of the Lokottaravāda school of Buddhism, dating from the 2nd century BCE.
A hundred scholars and a thousand yogis can say all they want to say about the nature of mind. But all can be summed up by this teaching of Jigme Lingpa. The mind should never be separated from loving kindness and compassion. Loving kindness and compassion should never be separated from emptiness. And mindful awareness should never be separated from emptiness. These are the key teachings.
About beginners’ mind: You will find that black thoughts invade and suffuse the mind and inevitably and unavoidably create a serious distraction. Such negat-ive thought-trains will proliferate, leading you into unmindfulness where you will remain until a lucid recollection returns you to the light with the remorseful thought, “I have been wandering!” When this happens, don’t interrupt such thoughts and don’t feel guilty and so on, but just sustain the flow begun by the vivid regained recollection of the nature of mind.
“Do not reject your thoughts – see them as the dharmakaya.” This oft-quoted admonition is all very well, but until your capacity for heightened penetrating insight is realized, so long as you remain in a state of blank tranquillity, merely thinking, “this is the dharmakaya” leads to an uninspired equanimity in which there is no awareness of how things are in themselves, as such. So at the beginning simply stare non-discursively at thoughts as they arise, identifying with the knower (the recognizer) of the thoughts, like an old man watching children at play, looking without seeing, seeing without judging. Settled into this fixed gaze you will fall into a dead stream of thoughtlessness that will be suddenly destroyed and in that instant, a mind transcending nondual awareness will arise in all its naked clarity.
In the course of time, inevitably you will experience some bliss, clarity, and thoughtlessness and if you remain free of all self-satisfaction, conceited attachment, hopes, and fears, you will not go astray.
The General Preliminary Practice for Each Session, Which Makes One a Fit Vessel ~ Ex.1
Generally speaking, whichever stage of the practice one is engaged in, it is most important to begin by making use of a pleasant, isolated place where nothing will happen to adversely affect one’s concentration, such as people moving about or disturbances from noise. As the Six Prerequisites for Concentration points out,
Like bangles on a young maid’s wrist,
With many there are constant fights;
With even two there will be rivalry:
So I must remain alone.
There, not only should you give up all negative and neutral activities of body, speech, and mind, but also, until you achieve a little stability, you must even for the time being abandon positive actions if they adversely affect your concentration. Once you have stemmed the continuous flow of exhausting tasks, idle chatter, and thoughts and can rely on being free from these three faults (physical, verbal, and mental) related to concentration, make a firm resolve to devote yourself completely to the practice. For this, it is important to have in mind the eight types of mental application that act as antidotes in eliminating the five faults, since they are indispensable accessories to put the instructions into practice.
The five faults, as listed in Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes, are as follows:
Laziness, forgetting the essential instructions,
Wildness or dullness, Nonapplication, and overapplication—
These are said to be the five faults.
In other words, these faults are:
being lazy and uneager to practice;
forgetting the words and their meaning with regard to what one is meditating on; being overpowered by wildness or dullness;
not using the antidote when either of these two occur;
and applying the antidote too strongly once one has overcome wildness and dullness.
The General Preliminary Practice for Each Session, Which Makes One a Fit Vessel ~ Ex.2
The eight types of mental application that dispel these are described in the same text:
Interest, effort, And their respective cause and result,
Not forgetting the object of concentration,
Considering whether one is distracted or dull,
Actually applying the antidote that eliminates those, And, when they are pacified, letting things be. There are four antidotes to laziness:
wanting to meditate—interest;
maintaining interest by diligence in exerting oneself;
faith, which is the cause that gives rise to interest;
and a perfectly trained and flexible, fit body, speech, and mind,
which is the result of diligence.
The antidote to forgetting the object of concentration is unforgetting mindfulness of the words and their meanings. Then there is vigilance, checking whether or not wildness and dullness are occurring; actual application of the antidote to eliminate these when they do occur; and nonapplication—leaving things be—as the remedy to applying the antidote too strongly, making eight in all.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khadro la on Lhabab Duchen, offering five-colored khata to the holy stupa of Swambyunath. Rinpoche reminds us in the Verses to Inspire Offerings: While there is the Guru who is like a wish-granting jewel and the unimaginable wish-fulfilling tree, And the ever-undeceiving Rare Sublime Ones who effortlessly fulfill all wishes, Still to be dissatisfied and spend your body and wealth on what is non-virtuous and without meaning is so very foolish. Dear Friends, Once you have understood that wealth is like dew on the tip of a blade of grass And that your friends, body, and life are like a bubble, Then you must engage in virtues such as making offerings to the Rare Sublime Ones while looking at them as the Guru And extract the essence from your essenceless body and wealth. Due to this merit may I and all others Be able to make offerings to the Guru and the Three Jewels since they are our crown ornament. By keeping my prayers and commitments, And by means of listening, reflection and contemplation, With Guru devotion and supreme bodhicitta, May my life become fortunate, something meaningful and worthy of rejoicing, And in this way, may I fulfill all the wishes of sentient beings. Just as flies gather around dirty things, Due to seeing samsara as pleasure, So far I have accomplished only meaningless suffering, Lacking any freedom to practice Dharma. Now, with my body, speech, and mind I will engage in great meaningful actions for the welfare of others. May the Guru please bless me to be able to do this.
If you’re not tested, you take teaching after teaching and think you’re OK, but when you’re confronted with a difficult situation it’s possible that you’ll find you’re not OK at all. So that’s why true Dharma practitioners welcome trouble. It gives them a chance to see if what they’ve been studying works or not, a chance to transform suffering into happiness. Otherwise, you just go blithely along, completely out of touch with reality, thinking you’re OK when you’re not because you haven’t actually been practicing Dharma at all.
To put this another way, painful situations are a source of wisdom. How so? First of all, painful situations arise as a result of nonvirtuous karma. When we experience pain we should ask, “Why is this happening to me? How has this come about?” That sort of inquiry leads us to understand that it’s the ripening of negative karma we created in the past. That basic understanding can grow into wisdom; the painful experience helps us develop a deeper understanding that is beyond the merely intellectual.
Of course, if you’re completely ignorant, it doesn’t matter how much suffering you experience, there’s no way for that to lead to happiness. All you do is go from misery to more misery. If, on the other hand, you have at least a modicum of Dharma wisdom, when you’re in difficulty you know how to use that experience to lead yourself into happiness.
One lama said, “When things go well, you’re a great Dharma practitioner; when things go badly, your Dharma disappears. When your stomach is full and sunshine is pouring into your room, it’s easy to look religious; but when difficulties arise, you come up empty.”
~ Lama Thubten Yeshe
Somebody once told me that she practices forgiveness. I said, “Don’t try to practice forgiveness.” “What! Why not?” she exclaimed. What we are learning to do is to forget. When you forgive, the problem is your train of thought, which goes, “I forgive you for what you’ve done.” You are reminding yourself that somebody did something to you. I am not telling you to suppress, I’m saying that clinging to a narrative of forgiveness always reminds us of a “wrong.” When we are reminded, we hold on. The best place to get to is “Oh really? I already forgot about the whole thing!” Then there is no need for forgiveness because you have already released the wrong. You don’t carry a stone in your heart.
If you can do this, then it means you are not holding on to the past. It means you are not attached to the dualistic narrative of harm. It means you do not go back in time. You do not internalize the sense of being a victim. On the other hand, by clinging to forgiveness, you keep the source of your pain, the source of your attachment, while trying to cover it up through the idea that “I,” as a solid unconditioned entity, am forgiving “you,” another permanent substantial being. How can we find a release if we do this?
We approach confession in a similar way in Buddhist practice. Ordinarily, when confessing, we hold on to the very action for which we feel remorse. We should confess in the same way that we quickly and firmly slam a hand down upon a table.
“I confess.” Bam!
We confess, and then we decisively let go. We gain certainty in the purifying power of confession by gaining confidence in the presence and love of the buddhas. This comes through the continuous receiving of blessings. We receive blessings with the same decisiveness with which we confess.
“I have received the blessings.” Bam! Let go!
~ Phakchok Rinpoche
Magic and the Mysterious ~ Ex.1
Our ego’s self-protecting paranoia creates suspicion, and this suspicion is the source of samsara’s mysteriousness, which is the cause of more suspicion. We are always suspicious that outer objects will harm us, and so we create separation and division. But we are never suspect that these same objects are the Buddha, our own mysterious mind, never separate from us, and the source of nirvana’s mysteriousness.
If people can believe in samsara’s mystery, then they should also be able to believe in nirvana’s mystery. We can say that sentient beings are mysterious because, through lack of wisdom confidence, they are fooled by their own unreliable phenomena, and the unreliable is always mysterious. We can also say that the Buddha is mysterious because his sublime qualities are hidden from us because of our obscured minds.
Samsara’s mysteriousness created by the dualistic mind always causes us to be fooled. We cannot abandon samsara’s mysteriousness unless we believe in nirvana’s mysteriousness. If we reject nirvana’s mysteriousness, it causes ignorance, while if we believe in it, we cannot be fooled by the objects of dualistic phenomena.
~ Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
There is what we call the complete maturation of a karmic tendency. Virtuous actions, those that contribute to the happiness of others, benefit the person who performs them, either in this or in some future lifetime. Such actions contribute to rebirth in higher states of existence. Conversely, harmful acts that bring about pain and suffering result in rebirth in lower realms.
There are also the karmic consequences known as behavior in harmony with the initial action. Consider a predatory animal, a hunter, or a soldier—a being who kills others. The complete maturation of this tendency to kill is rebirth in a hell realm. Once the karma has been exhausted, that being, owing to other virtuous karma, may attain a human rebirth and yet still have a habit of killing. Taking many lives results in a predisposition or compulsion to kill. As this pattern is reinforced, it leads to more negative karma and negative habits, like a snowball that grows larger as it rolls down a hill.
On the other hand, some young children demonstrate love and caring toward small animals or insects. Such qualities have been developed in previous lifetimes through training in love and compassion and will continue to grow if the child receives further training.
Then there is an experience that accords directly with the initial action. Someone may kill many beings and as a result, be born in a hell realm. Much later, he may attain a human rebirth, but his life will be short or even terminated violently.
A single act has a multitude of potential consequences. It’s not that we commit one act, then go on to another realm and pay the consequences, and then come back again to the human realm.
The point is that whether we committed a harmful action in a previous lifetime or in this one, we unavoidably created negative karma. We can’t escape that fact, even though perhaps there are aspects of it we are not aware of right now.
~Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
padmamalla The Significance of the Practice ~ Ex.4
In the same way, the true nature of mind is realized when we discipline our mind and investigate it thoroughly, and finally become free from ordinary clinging through the pacification of deluded thoughts.
We may offer all that is perfect in this universe—flowers, perfumes, and every beautiful object—to the Three Jewels for a thousand years; but all these merits are nothing compared with the merit accrued through the understanding that all phenomena are compounded, and that conditioned phenomena are pervaded with suffering, impermanent, and devoid of self. Simply to have these thoughts in your mind for the time it takes to snap your fingers generates merits that are immeasurably greater than vast material offerings offered continually over a thousand years.
In summary, the Four Seals of the Mahayana teaching are these: all conditioned phenomena are impermanent; whatever is tainted by obscuring emotion is pervaded with suffering; nirvana transcends suffering; and phenomena are devoid of self. All eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings are contained in these four tenets. By understanding these tenets, we will easily and swiftly master the great treasure of wisdom, realizing the profound and vast aspect of the teaching. This will allow us to meditate in the proper way on the essential points of the whole of the Buddha’s teaching. To meditate on the Four Seals is to meditate on the meaning of thousands of sutras.
～Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
padmamalla The Three Understandings ~ Part 1
The three understandings (three wisdoms) are those that arise from learning (studying or hearing), reflecting (thinking, contemplating), and meditating. They come into play with respect to all Dharma topics and are especially important when we seek to realize emptiness. These three are the mental factor of wisdom (prajñā) and are developed progressively, beginning with the understanding arising from learning, progressing to the understanding arising from reflection, and finally, the understanding arising from meditation. When advancing to the next one, however, we do not abandon the previous understandings but continue to develop them. The example of cultivating the understanding of emptiness clarifies how this works.
The understanding arising from learning comes through hearing and/or studying teachings, for example on emptiness. In the case of someone who is newly cultivating the understanding of emptiness, the understanding arising from hearing is essential to developing the later wisdom; we must first learn about emptiness before we can think or meditate on it. Here we hear the reasonings that prove that all phenomena lack inherent existence. We learn the three criteria of a syllogism—the property of the subject, pervasion, and counter-pervasion—and begin to counteract doubts by gaining a general understanding of them. After some time, we will gain a correct assumption of the meaning of emptiness. For example, we hear the syllogism “Consider the I, it is empty of inherent existence because it is a dependent arising.” The property of the subject is that the I is a dependent arising; the pervasion is that whatever is a dependent arising is necessarily empty of inherent existence; the counter-pervasion is that whatever is not empty is necessarily not dependent arising.
~The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
Altruism and the Six Perfections ~ Part 3
It is so important to be able to posit and have conviction in cause and effect that it is said that between giving up belief in the cause and effect of actions and giving up belief in emptiness, it is better to give up the doctrine of emptiness. Also, due to the importance of having belief in cause and effect, various explanations of emptiness are given in the Middle Way and Mind-Only Schools. In some systems of tenets, it is even accepted that phenomena inherently exist because without analytically findable existence many persons cannot posit cause and effect for the time being.
Knowledge of the final mode of subsistence of phenomena must be within the context of not losing the cause and effect of actions conventionally; if in an attempt to understand the final mode of subsistence one lost the presentation of conventionally existent cause and effect, the purpose would be defeated. Just as children must go to primary, secondary, and high school before going to college or university—proceeding to the higher levels based on the lower—so, it is independence on having gained ascertainment with respect to the cause and effect of actions that later the profound view of the emptiness of inherent existence is ascertained without losing the earlier conviction in cause and effect and its consequent practices.
If someone thought that because phenomena are empty there could not be any good or bad, even if that person repeated the word “emptiness” a thousand times, he or she would be moving farther and farther away from the meaning of emptiness. Hence, a person who has a great interest in emptiness should pay great heed to the cause and effect of actions.
~The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
Altruism and the Six Perfections ~ Part 2
When phenomena are seen this way, the conceptions that superimpose a sense of goodness or badness on phenomena beyond what is actually there serve as a basis for generating desire and hatred lessen; they are based on the misconception that phenomena are established in their own right. On the other hand, those consciousnesses that have a valid foundation increase in strength. The reason for this is that the meaning of emptiness is the meaning of dependent-arising. Since phenomena are dependent-arisings, they are capable of increase and decrease in dependence upon conditions.
In this way, cause and effect are feasible, positable, and once cause and effect are validly positable, it can be posited that bad effects such as suffering can be avoided by abandoning bad causes and that good effects such as happiness can be achieved by training in good causes. If, on the other hand, phenomena did exist in their own right, they would not depend on others, and if they did not depend on others, cause and effect would be impossible. Thus, once dependence is feasible, cause and effect can be posited, and if dependence were not feasible, cause and effect could not exist.
The final reason that things are empty of inherent existence is this dependence on causes and conditions. When people do not understand this doctrine well, they mistakenly think that there is no good and bad because phenomena are empty, with no cause and effect. This is a complete misunderstanding.
~The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
Altruism and the Six Perfections ~ Part 1
Since emptiness, from between positive and negative phenomena, is a negative phenomenon and, from between affirming negatives and non-affirming negatives, is a non-affirming negative, when it appears to the mind, nothing will appear except an absence of such inherent existence—a mere elimination of the object of negation. Thus, for the mind of a person realizing emptiness there is no sense of, “I am ascertaining emptiness,” and there is no thought, “This is emptiness.” If you had such a sense, emptiness would become distant. Nevertheless, the emptiness of inherent existence is ascertained and realized.
After such realization, even though whatever phenomena appear to exist in their own right, you understand that they do not exist that way. You have a sense that they are like a magician’s illusions in that there is a combination of their appearing one way but actually existing another way. Though they appear to exist inherently, you understand that they are empty of inherent existence.
~The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
The five poisons are ignorance, attachment, aversion, jealousy, and pride.
Ignorance means not knowing. For example, when negative emotions arise, such as anger, but we don’t realize we are angry, this is ignorance. One level of ignorance is not knowing or not being aware of negative emotions. Another level of ignorance is when we’re aware of these negative emotions but don’t recognize the fact that they are negative. There are many levels of ignorance, too numerous to mention here.
Attachment is desire. For example, when we see something pleasant and think, “It is mine. My child. My thing.” Whenever we perceive something as pleasant, attachment arises immediately and we think, “If only I could get that…;” and then when we get it we start thinking, “Oh no, maybe I’ll lose it.” This is attachment; this is grasping.
Aversion arises when we think someone or something may harm or hurt us, or when we experience something unpleasant.
Pride is thinking, “I am important. I am superior. I am great.” When we have pride, we see everyone as lower; we think we are the best and that our path is the only true path.
Jealousy arises toward those we regard as equal or a little bit better than us. We think, “If only he was worse off than me, I could become better than him.”
Sometimes we talk about six afflictions, adding stinginess. Stinginess is strong grasping, being unable to let go or give. It is miserliness.
Practice the Dharma of the ten virtuous actions and have confidence in what should be avoided and what should be undertaken concerning the “black and white” types of the effects of these actions. By doing so your actions will hold great strength.
Since the power of truth is great, give up all nonvirtue and misdeeds, apply the remedy that works against your disturbing emotions, and put great effort into meritorious actions.
One who has not gathered merit will not engender a noble attitude. One who accumulates merit will have a noble frame of mind. Once you hold the noble attitude in your being, you will put effort into virtue and refrain from misdeeds. It is therefore essential to arouse diligence in the different types of means for gathering merit through your body, speech, and mind.
~ Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche (Dakini Teachings)
You Tie Yourself to Samsara
Lama Zopa Rinpoche continues his video teachings on thought transformation from Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Here is a summary of the most recent teaching:
Lama Zopa Rinpoche continues his explanation of Buddhist refuge.* This teaching begins with Rinpoche explaining that taking refuge is not something simple. It’s not something that you simply hear and chant. One has to understand the four noble truths extensively and also understand the qualities of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, which can take one’s whole life to do this. This is why monks study their whole lives in monasteries.
Rinpoche reminds us of the proper motivation for listening to the teachings. It is not enough to achieve liberation from samsara and then achieve nirvana and everlasting happiness for oneself alone. Instead think, “I must achieve the state of omniscience, the total cessation of obscurations and the completion of realizations. I must achieve this to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment by myself alone! Therefore, I am going to listen to the teachings.”
Rinpoche shares a verse from Lama Tsongkhapa’s Hymn of Experience:
If you don’t attempt to think of the shortcomings of true sufferings,
Seeking liberation won’t arise exactly.
If you don’t reflect on the causes, the evolution of samsara,
You won’t know how to cut the root of samsara.
Therefore, rely on an upset mind renouncing samsara
And cherish the understanding of what ties you to samsara.
Rinpoche explains that an “upset mind renouncing samsara” is so worthwhile even though to worldly people who don’t understand Dharma, it looks totally crazy and meaningless. The “upset mind” understands how karma and delusion lead to all suffering, and how one is trapped in the endless cycle of samsara. Due to being upset by this understanding of the suffering of samsara, one is motivated to go into isolation to actualize renunciation,
padmamalla Karma ~ Ex. 1
Karma is like a seed that, under the proper conditions, will yield a plant. If you sow a barley seed, you can be certain you’ll get a barley shoot. The seed won’t produce rice.
The mind is like a fertile field—all sorts of things can grow there. When we plant a seed—an action, a statement, or a thought—it will eventually produce fruit, which will ripen, fall to the ground, and generate more of the same. Every moment, we plant potent seeds of causality with our body, speech, and mind. When the right conditions come together and our karma ripens, we will have to deal with the consequences of what we have planted.
Although we are responsible for what we sow, we forget what we’ve planted and either give credit to or blame people or things outside of us when they ripen. We’re like a bird perched on a rock who can see its shadow but, when it flies away, forgets that the shadow exists. Each time it lands, the bird thinks it has found a completely different shadow. At the moment, we have a thought, we speak or act. But we lose sight of the fact that each thought, word, and action will produce a result. When the fruit finally ripens, we think, “Why did this happen to me? I’ve done nothing to deserve this.”
Once we have committed a negative action, unless it is purified, we will experience its consequences. We can’t deny our responsibility or try to make karma disappear by justifying what we’ve done. It doesn’t work that way. Whoever commits an act will infallibly experience its results, whether positive or negative.
~Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
padmamalla Karma ~ Ex. 2
Every movement of our thoughts, words, and deeds is like a thread in the fabric of our unfolding reality. Latent in our present experience is oceans of karma from countless past lifetimes, which under the proper conditions will come to fruition.
In order to find liberation from samsara, we must work at the causal level rather than the level of results—the pleasure and pain that are the consequences of our behavior. To do so, we need to purify our earlier mistakes and the mental poisons that perpetuate karma and change the mind that plants the seeds of suffering. This process is called “closing the door of nonvirtue,” averting karmic consequences by taking preventive measures, no longer committing actions tainted by the faults of the mind.
We speak of positive, negative, and neutral karma. Acts that generate positive karma lead to personal happiness and happiness for others. Negative karma brings about suffering for ourselves and others. When our intention is to benefit others, our thoughts, words, and actions are virtuous and create positive karma. When we are motivated by the mind’s poisons, our thoughts, words, and actions are nonvirtuous and create negative karma. Innocuous actions, those motivated neither by the desire to harm nor by the intention to help, create neutral karma. Because such karma doesn’t have a positive effect, it is often considered nonvirtuous, which is why karma is sometimes referred to only as positive or negative.
~Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
How pleasant and happy it is to practice the Dharma.
But when I see other people involved in non-dharmic activities, I feel that because this is occurring, it is creating an error in the ways of people.
So I make sure that I am practicing the Dharma.
Then, once again, I feel very happy.
Presently you are very happy practicing the Dharma.
Should you begin to lose interest in the Dharma and become lost in worldly activities, You will later feel regret thinking, “I haven’t been practicing the Dharma.”
“So I must be careful to avoid that happening again!”
I have seen many Dharma practitioners but I can also see that many have not entered onto the correct path. I, myself, received teachings from very special teachers and was able to follow a correct path and so I am very happy.
You must be very careful that your Dharma practice is correct and that your Dharma is not just talk. The Dharma has to be practiced if it is going to be the true path. I saw a great number of meditators who did not have good meditation teachers. When I saw that and knew that I had such great meditation teachers as Milarepa, I felt very happy and very fortunate.
It is important to develop devotion. But for this devotion to increasing you should be careful that it isn’t temporary or it will decline. There are many teachers who make many false claims such as “Through this practice, you will achieve Buddhahood.” When you investigate, you find it is a false claim because there isn’t any significant practice of the Dharma involved. But when I think of myself I do not make false claims or fall into false external pretexts. This makes me feel very happy.
In the future, you should avoid making exaggerated claims or presenting false teachings.
~ Rechungpa #Rechungpa
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
padmamalla Joining Profundity and Vastness ~ Ex.3
According to Mahayana, egolessness can happen only if you have a sympathetic, compassionate attitude to your own ego. Only then does it dissolve? That is the boundary between profundity and vastness, between the experience of egolessness, or shunyata, and the practice of compassion. It is impossible to understand the profundity of the destruction of the twofold ego without understanding the vast discipline of compassionate bodhisattva activity. So vastness and profundity work together.
Overcoming twofold ego can only be done by means of sympathy and softness. It requires a compassionate and even emotional attitude. With such sympathy, you are willing to be cut by the prajna sword. You are willing to take the bodhisattva vow, which says, “I don’t believe in myself, and I don’t believe in others. Nevertheless, I would like to save all sentient beings before I attain my own enlightenment.” The moment you take the bodhisattva vow, you are deciding to commit yourself to practice bodhisattva activities, and at the same time, you are committing yourself to realize and experiencing the nonexistence of ego. So the traditions of vastness and profundity work together simultaneously.
Joining Profundity and Vastness ~ Ex.4
Profundity and vastness are the ground of both Mahayana’s vision and action. If you develop depth, you are developing benevolence at the same time. Because of that warmth, you don’t have to defend yourself anymore. When you realize that you don’t have to defend yourself, you realize there is no defender either, so a big dissolving process takes place. That seems to be the basic idea of compassion. So compassion is not just being loving and emotionally kind; it is actually compassion that cuts through. Your attitude toward your own existence is based on aggression, so when you have a loving attitude toward yourself, your aggression dissolves. Therefore, you don’t exist.
Your attitude toward others is also an expression of aggression, so when you have a loving attitude toward others, they don’t exist either. Based on compassion, a mutual dissolving or opening-up process takes place. And when you open up, you don’t have to have an opener. From the Buddhist perspective, dwelling on any experience could be regarded as the activity of aggression. This applies even if you are trying to maintain the quality of peace or Shanti. When you do not have to maintain anything at all because everything is okay, there is no confusion. That is the epitome of twofold egolessness: there is both the profundity of twofold egolessness and the vastness of compassionate bodhisattva activity.
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
To explain the way in which the self or the inherent existence does not exist. When we perceive from with our senses and when we perceive anything with our mind, or when we have any experience, that which is perceived and experienced appears to have the nature of inherent and independent existence, and also as if it were existing solely from its own side. Because of this except for the wisdom which directly perceives shunyata, all perceptions are mistaken. Now if we are asked whether existence by a mistaken perception is sufficient for existence then would it not be possible that there is nothing which is non-existent (that anything can exist)? To this we can answer that our perception, being mistaken because the object of it appears truly existent, and our perception being valid it is undeceived in the principle of the objective, is non-contradictory. For example, when the eye consciousness holds form the form appears as being truly existent. Therefore this perception is mistaken. However it validly perceives form just as form and not being truly existent. Therefore the eye consciousness holding form is valid in both the appearance of the form as just form, as well as in the appearance of form having true existence. This is because consciousness having the characteristic of being ‘clear and knowing’, by being directed towards an object, arises endowed with the appearance of that object. Therefore it has been taught that all consciousness with dual perspectives are direct valid perceptions in respect to their own appearances and factually correct in their own appearances.
~The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
In meditation like space,
Clouds and haze are its pleasures:
Remain in its vastness without center or limit.
In meditation like the sun and moon,
Stars and planets are its jewelry:
Remain in their space, bright and clear.
In meditation like a mountain,
Plants and flowers are its finery;
Remain in their sphere unmoving, undisturbed.
In meditation like an ocean,
Waves and backwash are its movements:
Remain in their sphere deep and unfathomable.
In meditation on the unborn,
Thoughts and images are its manifestations:
Remain in their immensity, vast and lucid.
padmamalla Buddha Offspring ~ Ex. 2
As a sentient being, buddha-nature becomes overtaken by hope and fear. The state of mind is distracted, contrived, disturbed. In the state of Buddhahood, the unmade, unfabricated nature is self-existing, but in this case, the wakefulness is undistracted. Sentient beings have fallen into distraction and are overtaken by conceptual thought. We have gotten used to this ‘negative meditation’ of distraction, not knowing that we are distracted or that we are fabricating. We have done this in life afterlife. You can know what these words mean once you have been introduced to the basic nature by a master — once you have recognized the uncontrived naturalness of your mind.
Uncontrived naturalness is not something that one does, even though it sounds like you do remain in naturalness, and you avoid fabricating. When we hear these words, our own habits and obscurations make it sound like keeping the natural state is something we should do — but actually, it is the opposite of doing. One does not do anything.
By repeatedly letting be in the state of uncontrived naturalness, it becomes automatic. Don’t think that there is a long moment between two thoughts that you need to somehow nail down and own. That would not be automatic; it would be fabricated. Rather than improving upon the recognition of buddha-nature, simply remain completely at ease. It is a matter of self-existing wakefulness getting used to itself. Do not try to keep the state of naturalness. The state will be self-kept as the natural outcome of your growing familiarity with it. Do not fall into distraction. Short moments, repeated many times.
~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
These two states are as different from each other as are the experiences of having one’s eyes open or closed. This can be understood from one’s own inner experience. The latter state—that of primordial wisdom—relies on awareness, the immaculate and exalted ground of self-arisen primordial wisdom. If one grows used to this state, all-discerning wisdom (the expression of awareness), which distinguishes phenomena in terms of the specifically and the generally characterized, is able to cause all the qualities that are the signs of the path to arise effortlessly. This is why the two states just mentioned must be distinguished. Except for those who have trained in the practice of vipaśyanā in previous lives and gained experience of it, this is something that ordinary beings have difficulty in realizing, and consequently, they make many mistakes. If in their meditation sessions, beginners in the practice analyze too much and worry about whether their mental state is the ordinary mind or awareness, consciousness or primal wisdom, the universal ground or the dharmakāya, they will be distracted and perturbed. These are no more than states of intellectual inquiry and are of no help in the realization of the fundamental nature of the mind. It is therefore good to bear in mind that a natural, uncontrived state of mind is the very essence of meditation.
Lady Tsogyal asked the master: Is mind the basis for faults?
The master replied:
Lack of realization is the basis for faults.
Realize the nature of mind to be empty in essence.
Within this vast and empty dharmakaya,
No defilement of faults can live.
Thus, the buddhas of the three times
Awaken by realizing the nature of mind.
Firmly resolve that faults have no inherent basis.
~ Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche (Treasures from Juniper Ridge)
Whenever there is pain, work with that. It’s not a question of cracking jokes, making things light, or making things funny. Instead, a general perspective of choiceless humor always comes along with that pain. Usually, we are so involved with general principles, ideas, and achievements that we do not pay attention to the details of what is happening in our life. We want to eat our apple, but we don’t regard the core. We don’t ask how the core feels about the whole thing; we just eat the apple and throw the core in the garbage. But that could be a very humorous situation. We do a lot of things without consideration. We drink our cup of tea, not considering the cup and the plate and what’s left behind—the tea leaves and everything.
Things are done in such a blind way all the time, and the sense of humor doesn’t work—but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are incapable of humor. If you pay more attention, there is more humor. So when you walk out onto the street, if you pay more attention to the passersby, your own steps, and your state of mind at the time, you find there is a lot of room for everything. Everything you find is so dharmic, every gesture—including large scale, small scale, medium-small scale, and small-small scale domestic details. You find there is lots of room, immense room for everything—and once you begin to see that, you also begin to be able to appreciate puns.
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Training in emptiness means relaxing and letting go. We experience emptiness directly by letting go of grasping and fixating on appearances as solid. These include outer appearances and inner appearances such as thoughts, emotions, and dreams. Letting go brings awareness of space. Then we can see the ornaments of space for what they are: expressions of emptiness.
Emptiness is our greatest protection from fear. We don’t need to be afraid of being challenged, because there is nothing solid to challenge. We have no need to armor ourselves against destruction or cling to anything for security. Like sky accommodating clouds, we accommodate whatever life brings —free from fear and bias. This is the ultimate mind training.
Sickness, old age, and death will come into all of our lives. But what can they actually destroy? They may destroy our physical well-being, but they can’t destroy anything that is really “me.” This “me” is the experience of space itself: It is open, unobstructed, and free from fear. The incredible suffering of the human realm—the pain of birth, old age, sickness, and death—can not destroy us. When we make ourselves comfortable with emptiness, we free ourselves from fear.
By habituating ourselves to our natural state, we no longer put stock in things that, by their very nature, don’t hold up.
Without this understanding, life is difficult. The fears we had as toddlers stay with us throughout our adult lives. This is unnatural, but nowadays it’s common. Traditionally, people had much more understanding and acceptance of life. Without this understanding and acceptance, adults are burdened with toddlers’ fears. There is always something that makes our hearts clench with fear of losing our well-being.
Without knowing how to dance with fears and habits—to take our place, stand properly, make our moves—we’re unable to work with them. And we have to be able to work with them because fears and habits always come back.
~Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
What we normally call the mind is the deluded mind, a turbulent vortex of thoughts whipped up by attachment, anger, and ignorance. This mind, unlike enlightened awareness, is always being carried away by one delusion after another. Thoughts of hatred or attachment suddenly arise without warning, triggered by such circumstances as an unexpected meeting with an enemy or a friend, and unless they are immediately overpowered with the proper antidote, they quickly take root and proliferate, reinforcing the habitual predominance of hatred or attachment in the mind and adding more and more karmic patterns. Yet, however strong these thoughts may seem, they are just thoughts and will eventually dissolve back into emptiness.
Once you recognize the intrinsic nature of the mind, these thoughts that seem to appear and disappear all the time can no longer fool you. Just as clouds form, last for a while, and then dissolve back into the empty sky, so deluded thoughts arise, remain for a while, and then vanish in the voidness of mind; in reality, nothing at all has happened. When sunlight falls on a crystal, lights of all colors of the rainbow appear; yet they have no substance that you can grasp. Likewise, all thoughts in their infinite variety—devotion, compassion, harmfulness, desire—are utterly without substance. There is no thought that is something other than voidness; if you recognize the void nature of thoughts at the very moment they arise, they will dissolve. Attachment and hatred will never be able to disturb the mind. Deluded emotions will collapse by themselves. No negative actions will be accumulated, so no suffering will follow.
～Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The Buddha knows that all sentient beings are deluded, and though he does not have any fixed concept of taking on this suffering of beings—conceptual sadness would be an example of this—his compassion naturally manifests wherever the violent karma and defilements of sentient beings are erupting. This happens without any specific focusing on his part. It happens naturally, just as all rivers flow into the ocean and not somewhere else. When these qualities of knowledge, compassion, and power develop, bodhisattva activity will be spontaneously complete.
What is bodhisattva activity? Accomplishing the benefit of beings in an unsurpassed way without the slightest concept of benefit for oneself. When one has actually realized the view of the intrinsic nature, there is absolutely no holding on to the distinction of self and other. Any sense of possessiveness related to oneself falls away. Through great compassion toward others, oneself and others become equal. There is absolutely no difference.
As an analogy, think of the mountains, rocks, trees, forests, and so on—all the things that take form on the earth: the earth does not foster good things and reject bad things. It treats them all equally. In the same way, bodhisattva activity pervades everywhere, and it is impossible for this pervasive quality to be in vain. It is like during the monsoon rains, when plants even grow from cracks in rocks, and inevitably trees and forests will fill the rocks and mountains and naturally break through them. The natural effect of bodhisattva activity can be compared to this.
～Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Milarepa Padmakara Mantra 密勒日巴口頭禪 ミラレパマントラ
Kenneth F. Thornton II YouTube Channel
Milarepa (1052 – 1135) is one of the most widely known Tibetan Saints. In a superhuman effort, he rose above the miseries of his younger life and with the help of his Guru, Marpa the Translator, took to a solitary life of meditation until he had achieved the pinnacle of the enlightened state, never to be born again into the Samsara (whirlpool of life and death) of worldly existence. Out of compassion for humanity, he undertook the most rigid asceticism to reach the Buddhic state of enlightenment and to pass his accomplishments on to the rest of humanity. His spiritual lineage was passed along to his chief disciples, Gambopa and Rechung. It was Rechung who recorded in detail the incidents of Milarepa’s life for posterity. The narrative of his life has thus been passed down through almost a millennium of time and has become an integral part of Tibetan culture. In addition to Rechung’s narrative of his life, Milarepa extemporaneously composed innumerable songs throughout his life relevant to the dramatic turns of events of himself and his disciples in accordance with an art form that was in practice at the time. These songs have been widely sung and studied in Tibet ever since and have been recorded as the Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. His faithful devotion, boundless religious zeal, monumental forbearance, superhuman perseverance, and ultimate final attainment are a great inspiration today for all. His auspicious life illumined the Buddhist faith and brought the light of wisdom to sentient beings everywhere. Milarepa was born into the family of Mila-Dorje-Senge in the year 1052. His father was a trader in wool and had become wealthy by the standards of the time when his wife bore a son. The son was named Thopaga which means delightful to hear, and Thopaga, later known as Mila-repa (Mila, the cotton clad), lived up to his name as he had a beautiful voice and charmed his companions with his singing. Music/Mantra by Chöying Drolma and Steve Tibbetts