Lama Gendün Rinpoche at the summer courses in 1995 at Dhagpo Kagyü Ling gave teachings on the Way of the Bodhisattva. In order to make these teachings available to all, these teachings have been translated from German into English by LodröSangpo.
The Meaning of our Life
All beings, that exist around us or that we can imagine, were once, in an earlier life, our parents. We therefore owe them great gratitude and goodness for all that they have done for us. Since they all will experience great suffering in the cycle of life, our only concern should be to free them from these sufferings. In order to be able to do that we must receive the teachings of the Dharma, reflect upon them, and practice them.
As the very first we develop in our deepest heart the wish to free them from all suffering, and finally we turn this wish into action studying the teachings, contemplating upon them, and practicing them with body, speech, and mind. For we can only help other beings when we ourselves have attained complete enlightenment.
Complete enlightenment means the all veils of the mind have melted away and all its qualities have unfolded. Enlightenment enables us to free other beings. This should be our only motivation for the practice and nothing else. With this sole purpose should we begin our spiritual road, act, and study the Dharma, reflect upon it and meditate on it. This is the meaning of our life: to free all beings from suffering by practicing the Dharma.
We apply all our energies of body, speech and mind for this goal and put our life in the service of all beings and of the three jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. At the same time we give our life to the Lama, who embodies the unity of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
This wish, to free all beings from all suffering and to apply our energy for this goal, should really be coming from the depths of our heart and should not be just a lip-service, that we utter along with the rest. It should be a deep-seated wish, a real determination that one doesn't throw aside again. We decide to work for the liberation of all beings with the means, which are at our disposal, until the realization of enlightenment of the heart.
This determination frees us from all personal and selfish interests; we do not possess our own life anymore, for all our energy does not any longer serve our personal goals. It is given to the beings and their liberation. In this way arises a universal, perfect altruistic vision.
Our main problem: I-attachment
The main problem on the way is our attachment to an "I", the idea of a self that we think we should protect and satisfy. Because this attachment is the source of our suffering as well as the source of the suffering of all beings, we will work against it with all our means.
The first antidote is generosity, which means offering body, speech, and mind to the Lama and to the three Jewels, whereby they serve the liberation of all beings. In this way the attachment to an I is dissolved and a complete altruistic attitude of the mind can arise.
The wish to liberate all beings from suffering becomes the inspiring force behind all our actions. So that when difficulties arise, they are no longer perceived as personal troubles, but are seen as obstacles to the bringing about good for all beings. Perceived in this way the obstacles will no longer discourage us but help us to find even more energy to work for the liberation of all beings.
Our attention should primarily be directed towards others. When we don't follow any I-linked intentions, other people become more important and we develop a genuine interest in them. We care about all beings without exception with a completely equal attitude, which means free from all likes and dislikes. The well-being of beings becomes our sole motivation in all that we do.
To want to help others means to work with one-self.
Before we can do anything for others, we must first liberate ourselves, for we need inner free space in order to apply ourselves for others at all. Therefore it is necessary first of all to recognize and realize our own difficulties and limitations. When we begin to dissolve our I-attachment, our difficulties reveal themselves as qualities. We will no longer perceive our difficulties as obstacles but rather as a help in being able to understand the troubles of others. The more difficulties we have experienced ourselves, the more effectively we will be able to help others. It is therefore an advantage to have problems.
As long as our sight is clouded by emotions, it is impossible to help others, for one cannot show others the way if one doesn't know it oneself. In order to lead others on the way one must have first gone the way oneself. In this way working with one's own problems is the beginning of every altruistic activity. One realizes how one suffers oneself and then works at that first of all. The altruistic attitude then appears by itself, for the only thing that impedes it is our I-attachment. When this melts away our mind directs itself quite naturally at others and we are able to work with all our might for the benefit of all beings.
The motivation is the most important.
The quality of an action depends on the motivation. In this way, depending on the motivation, similar actions may have completely different effects. For an example we could take two people who plant a fruit-tree:
The first one plants this tree in his own garden, for he wants to reap the fruits later, in order to have something to eat and drink when he himself becomes hungry or thirsty. His intention by the planting is to become happy himself.
The second one also plants such a tree, but by the side of a road or in a public field. He wishes that people passing by, who are hungry or thirsty, would come to this tree to enjoy its fruits. His motivation is the well-being of others.
Their work seems the same on the surface: Both men dig a hole, plant a tree and nurture it. But the outcome of their work will not be the same, for the intention was different.
The first one, who planted the tree in his own garden, will try to protect the tree out of fear that somebody will take away the fruits. He will build a fence and do everything to prevent others from eating his fruits. The more they grow the more fear he will develop based on his I-related interest. His mind will be obscured through this and he may even become aggressive, if he gets the feeling that somebody may want to take the fruits away from him.
The second one will also be concerned about the growth and development of his tree, but since he has no personal interests, his mind will be significantly easier and freer. If the tree carries fruits, he will then rejoice, if any people come and partake of them.
Although these two actions seem so similar, their results are completely different, because they were done from completely different states of mind. The first one develops anxiety and fear, and nobody gets anything from his tree and its fruits, whereas the other one experiences great joy. Therefore we should be very attentive concerning our motivation in all actions.
I and the well-being of others.
Many of us have reached a point where the wish arises to be able to ease the suffering of all beings and to lead them all to enlightenment. But sometimes we might think: " That's all very well, thinking about the well-being of all beings, but who thinks of me? When will I have the time to do something good for myself?" As long as we think this way, we will never be able to really apply ourselves for others, because we worry about not getting enough ourselves. This particular worry or reservation prevents us from really applying ourselves to the common good, for we are constantly impeded by a certain fear, and that is an obstacle on the way.
If we continue on the Way, we will develop two qualities: Wisdom and the altruistic attitude, which we call Love or Compassion. These two qualities are simultaneously available and are doubly beneficial, for us and for others. When we speak of the common good, we mean the benefit for all beings without exception, and this encompasses our own benefit. So we need not worry whether we too may benefit through altruistic actions, for they benefit all beings, ourselves inclusive.
The Highest Truth.
As we progress on the way we reach a deep understanding of the nature of all things, the living as well as the non-living world. This understanding is the realization of the final, ultimate truth, the highest level of reality, which in Sanskrit is called Dharmakaya (Body of Truth). The realization of this truth completely melts away all suffering and is the highest of the benefits to be gained from the Dharma-practice. Only those who walk the path of Love and Compassion, without pursuing some personal interest, can realize the Dharmakaya. Therefore it is necessary that we think of the good of all beings, completely forgetting ourselves and working only for them.
This highest truth or reality is not something tangible. It is wisdom, not something material. But this wisdom has a certain warmth; it has qualities and aspects. If we possess the necessary positive force or energy for the way (merit) and the right motivation, then these qualities inherent in the mind appear by themselves as soon as we let go of I-connected interests. The dynamics of Love and Compassion express themselves in manifestations for the good of all beings, without differentiating between a giving subject or a receiving object. This way of being is called in Sanskrit Sambhogakaya (Body of Joy). It is the spontaneous expression of the qualities of enlightenment, the manifestation of enlightened activity, which, exactly as needed, accomplishes the good for all beings. This is true altruism. With the dissolution of the I-related veil all the qualities appear with which these beings may be assisted. This way the good of all beings as well as our own is accomplished.
Buddha is within us.
If we think about how incomprehensible Enlightenment is, we will perhaps feel a little discouraged and Buddhahood may seem far away. We feel lost and are unable to take even one step in this direction. We believe Buddhahood to be unattainable. But that is a great mistake, for enlightenment is by no means separate from us. It is the natural state of our own mind. Our usual mind is in reality the mind of a Buddha. All qualities are present therein, even the capacity for altruistic acting. But we do not know this and can find no access to these qualities. Therefore Buddhahood seems so far away. We do not know how to remove this spiritual veil, and thus our usual mind cannot find its way to its enlightened nature.
What are veils?
The veils, which shroud our minds, are the result of all the careless actions, which we have done motivated by I-attachment with our body, speech, and mind. Since before the beginning of time we have done these actions again and again, and they were all motivated by selfish interests. This has led to the veils, which now prevent the mind from realizing its true nature. The veils consist of habit-formed tendencies, reflex-like attitude, and false conception of reality based on ignorance, the source of all veils. Through this we are separated from the potential of the wisdom-qualities, which lie in our mind. Enlightenment appears as being very big, far away, and separate from our usual mind. To reach it, though, we only need little by little to free ourselves from our veils - this is the work that lies ahead. Further it is important that we keep a correct ethical attitude so as not to collect new harmful actions. Enlightenment doesn't need to be cultivated or procured from somewhere. We only need to free the mind of its veils.
Working with body, speech, and mind.
But the work in the direction of enlightenment takes place not only in the mind, but also with body and speech. Body and speech are the expressions or the playful manifestations of the mind. Although the mind may be the root of everything, our work also consists in cleaning out the body and speech in order to bring forth the hidden qualities within. If we think of our body as being a usual thing or regard it as just flesh and blood, then we do not realize that within this bodily form lies enlightened wisdom. Normally we only give expression to the veils of our mind with our speech and do not realize, that speech also has a wisdom-aspect. It is therefore necessary to clean out body and speech with the methods of the Dharma. In this way we will experience and develop the enlightenment of body, speech, and mind, the way of being of the Buddha.
Cleaning out Pride - methods for body, speech, and mind.
With body, speech, and mind we have carried out negative actions and should cultivate ethical conduct, to counter these habitual tendencies. Here Pride is our main problem. The Tibetan word for Pride (nga-rgyal) means "Crowning of the I" or the "Kingdom of the Ego". We have committed many negative acts in order to appease this Ego-King. In this manner we have hurt beings in many ways and forms, through actions which we made with the body, and often also in the way we express ourselves in words which wounded others and hurt them - all this because we were so convinced of our own, much greater, importance.
The counter measure for Pride is the development of respect and modesty concerning what is right and true, as it concerns the enlightenment. In order to clean the body we may do prostrations. We throw ourselves down in humility and in that moment let go of ourselves and our pride. We realize how great the enlightenment is. As support for the prostrations, we may for example place a Buddha-statue to remind us of the qualities of the enlightenment. We can also do prostrations before mandalas, which are artistic impressions of the enlightened universe. These are options for counteracting our pride, and through that we realize the qualities of the enlightenment, which lie within our own mind. Out of pride we have often said words which hurt others. We have spoken ill of them in order to justify ourselves or we have insisted on opinions, because we held our standpoint to be the only true one. Thus we have often caused great suffering for others as well as through hurtful words or lies. In order to progress along the way to the benefit of others and to dissolve the I-attachment, we can utilize certain methods to clean up our speech. We can for example recite texts from realized masters who are expressions of pure speech or we can say mantras and prayers, which are expressions of the truth of enlightenment. This may reinstate in our speech the dimension of wisdom, which we have lost.
Alertness and a little effort.
All emotions begin in the mind. Everything begins there. As the first appears Pride and from that springs the mind-poisons of the various emotions, such as attachment, jealousy, or anger. Our mind is completely swept along by these emotions, which in the end leads to negative action, and negative speech. Our most pressing object is therefore to develop awareness. This we can practice through meditation. When during meditation we observe the flowing of our mind, we will become aware of all its movements, thoughts, and emotions, which cover final truth. Then we should ask ourselves: Where do all these thoughts come from? ... and we will realize that they originate in the mind. We could also ask: Where are these thoughts?... they are in the mind. Where are they going?...they will dissolve in the mind again. In this way we will realize that all thoughts and emotions free themselves in the mind. This is the experience of the Mahamudra, the great cleaning out on the plane of the mind. Through the Mahamudra-practice we realize that ordinary bodies, ordinary speech, and ordinary mind can be transformed into enlightened bodies, enlightened speech, and enlightened minds. That which we call Enlightenment has always been the nature of our own mind, but we must make a certain effort in order to realize this. Without effort it is as if we were to sit in front of a glass of milk and expect it to turn into butter all on its own. The milk will only go sour and, but we won't get any butter. In order to obtain butter, the cream must be churned. They who know this will churn the milk and make an effort to make butter out of it. In the same way we must make an effort to bring forth the enlightened body, enlightened speech, and enlightened mind.
Pure viewpoint of body, speech, and mind.
Cleaning out at the highest level.
With a pure viewpoint, such as we develop it in Vajrayana, we can realize the true nature of body, speech, and mind.
At the body-plane this is obtainable through visualizing our body as the meditation-deity. Such a deity symbolizes our true, enlightened qualities. Visualizing ourselves as perfectly pure we clean our limited conceptions of our own body. This form of practice helps us to manifest the Nirmanakaya or "illusory body". Kaya, in Sanskrit, means "body", "manifestation", or "way of being", and Nirmana means "illusory". A Nirmanakaya manifests itself and is still illusory and empty, a play of illusion, like a rainbow. Through this kind of meditation we can realize the clear, but still illusory appearance of bodily forms, whose essence is the original consciousness. Through that we can purify all attachment to the body and all false conceptions about the body and realize the illusory body, called Nirmanakaya.
Also at the plane of speech such a change is possible. Ordinary speech consists simply of sounds, which we utilize for our personal interests. Through recitation of texts and especially mantras we can purify our speech. We then utilize our speech for pure purposes whereby our speech then rediscovers the wisdom-dimension. This verbal level is not only the voice, but is communication, and it may thus be realized as the natural expression of the Sambhogakaya, the "Body of Joy". Kaya again means "body" and Sambhoga can be translated as "Richness", "Joy" or "Fulfillment". The enlightened qualities of the Sambhogakaya allow us in a natural, spontaneous way to bring about the good of all beings. The richness and the Joy (Radiance) of the mind are then at our disposal. In this way our usual speech is transformed into pure, authentic speech, whereby this dimension is realized directly.
The plane of the mind, which we give our foremost attention, we can also purify. Usually we are only partly aware of our mind: limited to our own person. We speak of "my" mind and fill out this concept with the things that we want, or the things, which we don't want, or fear. Therefore it is very limited. Through the meditation we realize the open nature of our original consciousness, its spaciousness or expanse - an openness which shows itself in the relinquishing of I-related attachment. We then no longer experience the mind as our possession, for this idea of an ownership is also only a thought, and thoughts are only the playings of the mind.
Through the Mahamudra meditation we will understand the nature of the mind, for in the relinquishing of all attachment the original consciousness is experienced as it is - free from all concepts. Letting go of attachment also means letting go of duality: subject and object. The viewer, the viewed, and the viewing are only present in the mind. The witness as well as the witnessed and the space between the two are only mind things. This realization creates a deep relaxation.
To sum it all up once again: The richness of communicative possibilities manifests at the enlightened level of the Sambhogakaya. The appearance of bodily form, which is manifested as illusory dance, is the Nirmanakaya. Both work for the good of all beings. To realize this in Mahamudra is the Dharmakaya. All three are expressions of the free mind, free from egotism and possessive thinking.
Getting a clear view of the way.
In order to go along this way, we must first understand what the way is, what its basis is, in which direction it goes and with what purpose we travel it. Otherwise we might go very much astray. If our mind is not really straightened out, the means, which were given us in Dharma and which as such are authentic and true, will not be utilized in the right way. Therefore tit is necessary first of all to study the Dharma-teachings and to think about their meaning.
Dharma is the way from our present state, where we are right now, and to enlightenment. Enlightenment means complete transformation (purification) of the usual state of body, speech, and mind in their pure, true state, the wisdom aspects of the three levels. Enlightenment describes the complete transformation of these three levels into the three bodies or Kayas. A Buddha is an enlightened being who has completely realized all these three bodies. He possesses all the qualities that appear on the way to purification and realization.
Dharma is practiced in order to attain this realization and to free all beings. If on the other hand we invest our energy in the Dharma for personal gain, it will bring no good fruits. Perhaps we may think: "I am really not all that bad (and do not really need all this), but I will go to the instructions to see if I might extract something which I can utilize, so that I might fare even better. It might even be useful for me." If we think like this we apply the means of the Dharma in a completely wrong way and are totally under the influence of egocentric attachment. Our toil on the way will then only benefit the ego. We will become even more proud and intolerant, develop even more I-attachment and worry even more about how we may satisfy it (the ego).
So it is important to understand, through reflection and meditation, what the way consists of, why one practices, and where one wants to go in the first place. Only then will our work bear fruit and bring us the benefit it is supposed to, namely the benefit for all beings. Otherwise only one's own ego is nourished.
What is the purpose of the Dharma?
Dharma is simply the expression of Love and Compassion.
It is the carefulness, which one gives all beings.
All beings want constant and lasting happiness, but because of their ignorance they are like the blind. They search for happiness, but are getting further away from it all the time. The Buddha as an enlightened being saw full of wisdom and compassion which direction must be followed, and he taught the beings the way and the true means by which to attain true happiness. Wisdom and compassion were the sources of his teachings. These were then passed on orally from master to pupil and also written down.
Enlightened consciousness knows no limits. Also our mind can experience this. No matter in which of the three great realms of existence the beings might be, whether in the realm of desire, in the realm of form, or in the realm of formlessness - all three areas are permeated by mind. The enlightened consciousness is aware of all particulars of these three worlds, every movement and purpose as well as the potential, i.e. the positive or negative Karma of the beings living there. This consciousness is everywhere simultaneously. When someone realizes the enlightened dimension of the mind, he will naturally, through his compassion, find the proper means in order to help other beings - quite spontaneously - so that all beings may accomplish the transformation of their consciousness. That is all that Dharma is.
Dharma is the expression of Wisdom.
Dharma is the methods, which were given in order to attain enlightenment.
This enlightenment is by no means far away from us. When we develop the right viewpoint of body, speech, and mind, we will experience this condition ourselves. We only need to develop the right motivation and must apply our energy towards developing trust and using the right means. Then this pure realization (wisdom), inherent in our mind, which sees all and knows all will manifest spontaneously. This is a work that can be done. Enlightenment is by no means impossible or very far away.
It all depends only on how we apply ourselves, what motives we have and what consciousness we develop. This consciousness appears through study and reflection, whereby we realize, what we must do, and what we must leave be.
What is meditation?
In order to be able to meditate, it is necessary to understand that the world and all beings are only playings of the mind. Everything, i.e. the complete world of phenomena, arises in the form of thoughts in our mind, lingers (for a moment) and dissolves in the mind again. Meditation consists of becoming aware of the movement taking place in the mind: to see that thoughts appear and then to "release" them, which means letting them return to whence they came. The way, then, is to observe the inner mind as well as the outer world, to observe the universe and all beings and to let this playings happen without attachment or without wanting to interfere. That is meditation.
We will now meditate together, for that is the essence of the whole thing. Rinpoche says that he has forgotten all the other stuff anyway.
Instruction to meditation (by Gendün Rinpoche)
We are not trying to create an artificial stability by for instance drawing our chin in and trying not to let any one thought escape us. Our position should be dignified and upright, but at the same time open and movable.
Our task is to work with the openness and spontaneity of the mind. Thereby we open ourselves to the realization that all manifestations, i.e. everything that appears, are without reality. This leads to relaxation of the mind and through that also to a natural relaxation of the body, which at the same time keeps its dignity.
We have the compulsion to hold body, speech, and mind captive. Our thoughts and intentions fetter them. Stress maintains this bondage, and as a reaction stupidity or wildness arise in the mind.
By the meditation, like we will do it now, we release this narrowing of body, speech, and mind. We allow them to open up in a natural way. Thereby our usual mind will rediscover its range and finally also its wisdom dimension. Ordinary mind will realize itself as enlightened mind.
When we are without tension,
then there is no suffering.
No suffering means Joy,
which means, that the mind is enlightened!
It is really not hard at all.
Actually it is much harder,
to always cling and strain.
Opening and letting go is not difficult.
It is really the simplest thing there is.
One must simply do nothing (at all).
Enlightenment spirit – The wish to free all beings.
They who want to hear the Dharma, contemplate upon it, and bring it into practice must first develop the right motivation. This right motivation we call the enlightened spiritual attitude, in Sanskrit "Boddhicitta". At the relative level is first the wish to finally free all people from suffering. It is important that this enlightenment spirit really expands in our minds - otherwise we will not be able to liberate the beings. The enlightenment spirit has two aspects: the wish and the application.
1) Before we engage in something on the Way it is absolutely necessary that we develop the deep wish to liberate the beings that are as numerous as space is wide. Everywhere where there is space there are living entities, and all these entities were once our father or our mother. We can liberate them from the suffering in which they find themselves now by leading them to complete enlightenment
This intention will carry all our actions. Without this wish or with unstable motivation without real power our activities for others will be limited and weak. Therefore it is necessary that this wish of freeing all beings, not be uttered with the lips only, but really originates from the bottom of our heart. Therefore we dedicate ourselves to the three phases of the Dharma-practice: Study, Contemplation, and Meditation. Only with the strong wish that all beings may experience Enlightenment, can our actions become deep universal actions, which really accomplish the well being of all these entities. Because of our own way to enlightenment we will be capable of freeing all others from suffering.
2) After we have developed the wish for Enlightenment, the striving Enlightenment-mind, the thing to do is to live according to this wish. This corresponds to the phase of application of the Enlightenment-mind.
Taking Refuge means to commit oneself completely
As an expression of the applied Enlightenment-mind we should as the very first take Refuge, which means to completely devote oneself to Enlightenment. Doing that we let our pride and our egocentric attachment go completely and turn to something which is higher than ourselves: The Enlightenment in the form of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. At the same time we turn to the spiritual master, the Lama, who embodies these three aspects and who is the source of Refuge for us, embodying all these aspects in him.
By receiving the Refuge we devote the energies of our body, speech and mind without limitations to [attaining] Enlightenment. We relinquish all personal or egotistic interests for they would pollute our spiritual work of receiving teachings, of contemplating, and of meditating. By giving up all concessions on body, speech, and mind and giving their energy to the Three Jewels and through them to all beings, we may really act for the benefit of all beings and there will be no more obstacles. So let us direct all our energies of body, speech, and mind towards the highest altruistic goal, the Enlightenment of all beings.
Taking Refuge transforms impediments into expedients for the Way
This generosity, to offer one's own energy to the three jewels and to all beings, helps us to progress on the spiritual way without difficulties or risks. If we set out on the spiritual way with the right point of view, the way will be traveled correctly and there will be no danger. Should obstacles, temptations or mistakes occur, we may always be able to find our way back to this basic attitude which we developed by our taking refuge. We can remember this:
"My body, my speech, and my mind belong to me no longer,
for by taking Refuge, I have dedicated them to the Liberation of all beings."
Then obstacles can not deter us, for we no longer feel personally attacked by difficulties, since we are not working for our own, but for the benefit of all beings. We continue with this work even in the face of adversity. Such an attitude helps to overcome difficulties for we only see that which is for the benefit of all. Thereby our perception of difficulties is changed. There may even be great joy, when we see that our work is effective and something is happening, for difficulties are then a sign that something has been set in motion, that our way is fruitful. Difficult circumstances may even nourish and help us to develop even greater spiritual power, since they stimulate us into going further in this offering of body, speech, and mind and to work even harder for the liberation of all beings.
If one has only a shallow motivation, everything will break down on the first appearance of difficulties. That is why it is so important to develop this wish in the depths of our heart and bones. Only thus may we advance on the way and attain the Enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
Deep Prayer - The Four Immeasurables
There is a kind of contemplative prayer, which is called "the Four Immeasurables". In this one contemplates first the limitless love - the wish that all beings may experience happiness and the causes of happiness. One can just recite such a prayer by rote, or one can really connect with this wish in the depths of one's heart and transform it into action accordingly. This would mean, that one strives in all circumstances to do everything so that these beings may experience happiness, and even more importantly get to an understanding of the sources of this joy.
This wish has two aspects. First you wish the happiness of beings at a relative level, simply that all beings be happy. On top of that though you also wish that they may all experience the source of happiness, i.e., that it will always be possible for all beings to receive teachings and through them understand how they may themselves bring about happiness. The teachings, the understanding, coming from those teachings, and the actions resulting from that, will become a cause of happiness for them. To dedicate oneself to the source of happiness for all beings is a grand work, which must be carried out each and every moment.
The second of these four Immeasurables is the limitless compassion - the wish that all beings may be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. This wish also has two aspects: First one struggles to keep beings free from suffering and to avoid that they suffer. The long-term aspect of this work is the wish that the beings understand what the causes of sufferings are.
Causes of suffering are all the negative actions, which we have done with body, speech, and mind. This we did because of ignorance and with the goal of protecting our own beloved ego. To really understand what the causes of suffering are, it is necessary to study, contemplate, and meditate. Only thus can we learn to really distinguish what is right from what is not, and what brings suffering from what brings happiness. First we learn it ourselves and then we may pass on to all beings what must be done and what must be given up. Through teachings, contemplation, and meditation grows clarity which lets us understand exactly which attitude is right and which is not. When we what to develop this clarity, we must begin by examining our own mind stream and by looking more inward.
Admitting one's own negativity and developing trust
Usually we always look outward and judge other people, but from our teachings we understand that we must direct our view inward and analyze our own mind flow. Only then will we be able to see, what is actually present in our own minds.
When we only look at the surface, we think: "With me everything is all right. I may have this or that small difficulty, but it is nothing serious." If we really look closely at which inclinations we have developed from our childhood, what drives us to act as we have done up till now, what actions caused by emotions we have done, and what sufferings we have caused others because of them - then we realize what an unlimited great, negative potential we carry within us. It becomes clear to us that there is a great negativity inside our minds, which causes others and us suffering now, and which will also cause suffering in the future. An awakening of consciousness takes place - and we develop the true wish to change ourselves.
By taking refuge we have already stated on the way, and now finally we start to really turn to Enlightenment - the Enlightenment, which is free from all veils, from all emotions and negative actions. The way to Enlightenment assumes that one lay open all negativity and admits to one's own negative potential. Therefore we pray fervently for the blessing and help of the Enlightenment, so that we may free ourselves from the suffering, which arises through the negativity.
We begin to develop real trust in the ability of the Enlightenment, and to dissolve the obstacles and their fruits, the suffering. Our minds begin to open up to the Buddha and the Sangha. Thereby the waves of the blessings of the three Jewels, which are an expression of the compassion, find an entrance into our hearts and help us to complete the transformation. The darkness is illuminated and Clearness shines forth.
First one must become self-aware and then one begins to develop trust and openness. With the help of these two the transformation may take place and all negativity can be cleaned out.
Taking Refuge first of all is a declaration of intent at the mind level. But that alone is not sufficient - there must follow some working with body and speech. Therefore the Refuge is always accompanied by prostrations. To bow down or to prostrate one's body expresses our trust. It symbolizes the trusting offering of body, speech, and mind. At the same time, on the plane of speech, we say the Refuge prayer. Taking Refuge, then, is a complete practice, in which we express our respect through body, speech, and mind.
To make a prostration we place both hands together in front of the forehead. This expresses our respect for the Enlightenment, which is symbolized through a Buddha-statue, a picture of the Lama, or a picture of the Refuge-tree. But we may also simply imagine the presence of the Refuge. The forehead symbolizes the body. By touching it we bring our respect for the enlightened body and at the same time we pray for its blessing. We show our respect and at the same time we receive the blessing. This cleans all the veils which we have gathered with the body since time immortal, and we understand that our own usual body and the enlightened body are inseparable.
As the next thing we put our hands together in front of our throat, as a symbol of speech. It is a sign of respect by the ordinary speech for the enlightened speech. So we pray for its blessing and receive it, whereby we understand, that one's own, ordinary speech and the enlightened speech are inseparable.
Finally we put our hands together in front of our heart, specifically the breastbone, as an expression of our respect for the mind or the heart of Enlightenment and then we pray for the blessing of the enlightened mind. Thereby we receive this blessing, whereby we realize that our own ordinary mind and the enlightened mind are inseparable.
After in this way having called upon body, speech, and mind for blessings, we bow down and with our hands on the floor slide forwards until our body has full contact with the floor. Thereby our knees, hands, and forehead are all touching the floor. The touching of the floor by these five body-points symbolizes our request for cleansing of the five main emotions: Ignorance, Desire, Hate, Pride, and Jealousy. We pray for and imagine that these emotions leave the body, speech, and mind and flow into the ground. In this way we can cleanse ourselves from these Mind poisons and thereby also from all the thoughts and actions derived therefrom, which in the future might have caused suffering.
Such a prostration is then an extensive work of cleaning out. We express our respect, get the blessing, and free ourselves from the mind poisons of emotional obscuration. It is, however, very important that we have complete trust in this method. If we have no trust or if we are motivated by some other intention, then prostrations are only child's play, or gymnastics, without any usefulness whatsoever.
Including our enemies and all beings.
During the prostrations we imagine that our father is to the right and our mother to the left of us and behind us are all the beings of the six worlds of existence. In front of us are all enemies and beings, with whom we have had difficulties or who annoy us specially. This counteracts our tendency to forget these people, to somehow avoid them, or to do even worse things to them. The presence of these for us difficult beings is very important, for if we only gather our parents and friends around us, it might seem to us as if we were at a Sunday family rally, with all our loved ones present, and where one just feels comfortable.
If, however, we also imagine the enemies together with all beings, we realize that we are connected with them all. All are depending on each other - we cannot simply stay apart from the others, the six kinds of beings, and just go after the Enlightenment, for we owe them a great debt. We owe them Love. Through this visualization it can be seen whether we really have developed the will, through study, contemplation, and practice, to work for the good of all people without exception. We will also thus avoid the error of regarding the practice as just a personal thing, and of thinking, that we can just go our own, personal way and so forget about all other beings. Therefore it is so very necessary, when doing prostrations, to have this idea. Our enemies are actually those with whom we need to work the most, since they bring us the much further along the way. Through them we develop patience and tolerance - they are very useful to our way and should therefore get their appropriate place in our spiritual practice.
Especially when we imagine our father and mother during the prostrations, that will remind us that we owe really all beings great love. We imagine then that we, together with all these beings, turn towards the Refuge tree, i.e. the Buddha, and make our prostrations. Also our parents, our friends, and our enemies prostrate themselves. This is another indication that it really is a universal practice and not some exclusively personal work.
We should also regard ourselves not as a singular, quite ordinary person, but instead in our minds we multiply our own body and imagine that we appear in limitless number. All these 'emanations' of us prostrate themselves - and so the room is filled with all these beings that are making prostrations.
Handling of bodily difficulties when doing prostrations.
Prostrations are bodily actions, and of course bodily difficulties may appear, like headaches, knee-aches and the like. Then, of course, one thinks how great these pains are, one notices only them, and perhaps one thinks that one must stop with the prostrations. One begins to moan and complain.
Here we should apply the previously mentioned right viewpoint for the Refuge. We remember that we have offered the energies of body, speech, and mind to all beings. When this is actually the case, we no longer have the feeling of possessing this body ourselves, and then we are able to regard these bodily difficulties quite differently: not as personal weaknesses, but rather as a necessary effort to bring all beings to Enlightenment. We are then no longer trying to find all kinds of excuses for stopping the prostrations as soon as possible.
The three jewels further the growth of the karmic seeds.
Through the prostrations we see what is going on within us. We notice for instance, that there is not enough trust in our minds and that we feel discouraged, that our speech will become tired after all the Refuge prayer reciting, and because various bodily discomforts appear. When we look inside ourselves, we will realize, that the karmic seeds, which are present in our minds, grow and ripen very fast when we perform the prostrations. This happens through the prostrations and through trusting. Actually it is the effect of the blessings of the Three Jewels, that we discover these difficulties now. Through the blessing of the Three Jewels the ripening of the karmic seeds is accelerated, so that the potential for great suffering, which lies dormant in the karmic seeds, is dissolved.
Not to start this work immediately can be likened to not ripping a small tree up, but instead waiting. Then the tree grows, and when first it is big, it can only be gotten rid of through great labors. This corresponds to the tree of suffering. The karmic seeds of suffering is considerably easier to uproot now, and we should be doing it as quickly as possible - and not wait till later on, when the seeds have grown to fruition by themselves.
This acceleration of the ripening of karmic seeds is a blessing from the three Jewels. Now we have conditions which lets us deal with difficulties considerably easier than later on, when we have other living-conditions, without any support from the Dharma. These instructions, which prepare us for the handling of difficult situations, are also a blessing of the three Jewels. They make it clear to us, that all obstacles and problems, which appear during our practice, are really necessary tasks in order to help others. We learn to bid them welcome, because we realize that the appearance of difficulties is a sign of the accelerated ripening of karmic seeds. We realize that we now have excellent conditions, where we can find support, and where the suffering appears in a still tolerable form and is considerably easier to endure, than it would be later on under living conditions without the Dharma.
Because of this understanding, great happiness arises. We stop complaining and have no more fear, but rather realize that what it's about is a deep cleansing and that qualities are released thereby, which will benefit other beings. Happiness gives energy, and with this energy we can overcome even more problems and go much further, than we thought, while we were still limited by our Ego. All this is possible because of our trust in the three Jewels and through a correct understanding of what is released by prostrations.
The Lama as Dorje Chang
During the prostrations we imagine that the Refuge tree stands in front of us a little above our heads. In the center of the Refuge tree is the Root-Lama, for the Lama is the source of all blessings and all welfare. Through the blessing of the Root-Lama we reach enlightenment. We do not visualize the Lama in his usual form, as we know him, but rather in his symbolic form as the Buddha Dorje Chang, who represents the Dharmakaya, the highest State of Being or complete Realization
We imagine him as the embodiment of body speech, and mind of the Enlightened Ones and in this way we avoid projecting our own idea onto the Master and avoid tailoring the Enlightenment to our own wishes. When we imagine the Master as being young or old and what else we can think of, we falsify the enlightened manifestation through our own dualistic perception, through our attachment. So that this doesn't happen, we apply a correcting filter, namely the visualization of the Lama in the form of Dorje Chang as a handy tool in order to develop the pure view of the Enlightenment. In this way we may overcome our ordinary way of viewing things and are beyond our own imperfections. When we then practice with trust and an open heart, we will tear off the veils. We can open up to the blessings of the Enlightenment and will receive this blessing in any case.
Often there is a doubt about one's own ability to be able to turn towards the Enlightenment in this way. One thinks, "How can I turn to the Enlightenment? Am I capable of doing prostrations? How may I turn to my Lama or to Dorje Chang? I can't see how this might happen. I am not at all worthy, and I don't know how to address him."
We should certainly rid ourselves of this. We must understand that our relationship with the Lama is a relationship from mind to mind. When our own mind, full of dedication and trust, ask the Lama for a blessing, it can be done in very simple language, with our own words. When we have trust and dedication, our heart, because of our sincere wish, opens up for the blessing. Through this opening of our heart and mind a natural meeting of the enlightened mind and our own mind takes place. All words are then superfluous.
The relationship of Master and student is something quite simple. It needs no massive explanations and no expression of passionate love, where the student comes and says, "I am your student", or something similar. It is something quite natural. Trust is built piece by piece, and the relationship comes along little by little. It is a relationship between minds. We only have to sit down and open our minds to the blessing of the Master, to the blessing of him, who inspires us the most.
Often when students give lengthy declarations, they often hide the fact that they are not open at all. But the other way round too, one must be very careful with the Masters, who come along and say, "you are my chosen pupil". Those are teachers, who go out fishing for students, because they like to have as many people as possible around them and because they are working for their own interests.
Our problem: Strong I-attachment
Dharmapractice is easily summed up: Our body, our speech, and our mind are "dirty". In order to clean them up we must wash them, with the Dharma practice. The detergent is Boddhicitta, the Enlightenment-mind.
For the moment our body, speech, and mind are totally possessed by I-attachment. There is no doubt about that, because for the time being there is in our actions no trace to be found of a pure mental attitude. Such a pure mental attitude would be an unselfish goodwill, a selfless commitment to others, the Enlightenment-mind. There is nothing remarkable in that, for we are deeply egotistic and have bad will against all beings, solely interested in our own personal welfare.
The task, we have to accomplish, is obvious: First of all we have to surmount our negative attitude and fight against the egotistic tendencies in our mind. Then it is necessary to develop the pure mental attitude, the good-willed Enlightenment-mind, first as a wish and then in action. Only in this way can we attain Enlightenment and finally work for the benefit of all beings. Right now this is not yet possible for us, for we are completely selfish and have no pure attitude. We are constantly busy just with ourselves: "I", "me", "mine". Our only concern is: "How can I be happier? How may I avoid problems? How can I get more recognition? Who will love me?" That is the only thing that interests us. So our minds are completely obsessed with personal interest. And there is simply no more room for a pure thought or for the Enlightenment mind. We act from the single reflex, to somehow always derive some use for ourselves.
When we hear that we must work for the good of all beings, we take the mouth full and claim that: " That's exactly what I am doing now. I am now helping all beings." When we then later on really do something for others, we will ascribe all the benefits of this initially pure action to ourselves. Our egotistic mind will again seize everything, which initially might have been a pure attitude. So ultimately they are all just hollow words.
The mind is the boss and the body, speech, and mind are its slaves or servants. The way we are now, we constantly send our body, speech, and mind in all directions only to free our egotistic mind. All actions, all turmoil, all excitement has only one aim: to pacify the ego as well as possible. In addition we make a lot of fuss to make all and sundry take notice of how great and wonderful we are. That is the problem, and the medicine is the exact opposite.
Attacking the problem: Exchanging oneself and others.
To attack the problem would mean that we now begin to notice our intentions and actions at every moment and to change, so that the necessary, deep transformation can take place. When we then notice, that we again, under the influence of strong I-attachment, want to grasp everything for ourselves, we try to turn this around, and instead we give everything to others. Everything, which we usually would rather dump on others, we begin to take onto us.
This work requires vigilance as well as full acceptance of this work from moment to moment. So we must accept regarding our mind such as it is and be ready to transform it. As soon as we notice that we again want everything good, all happiness for ourselves, we must utilize the antidote and try immediately to change our motivation with its consequent actions and words. Instead of clinging to happiness, justification, or advantages, we take disadvantages and defeat upon us and offer all happiness, all joy, and all qualities to all beings. This means vigilance at every moment.
We begin to observe all our thoughts, words, and actions, and ask ourselves continuously this question: "Have my thoughts, words, or actions really a pure motivation, now? Or is it once more egotism?"
The measure for everything is pure motivation - whatever one is doing, thinking, or saying at any time.
Only in this way is it possible to transform negativity and egotism into altruistic activity. In the end we will really master this exercise of the mind and bring about the change. This doesn't happen right away, though, and never happens by itself without our decision. One day we must really come to the decision to work in this way from now on - to really commit ourselves. If you don't really commit and involve yourself, then the mind will not change.
If we do change our mental attitude clarity will appear increasingly, the transformation will take place quite naturally, and we will spontaneously act altruistically. But this spontaneity is the fruit of steady work. Therefore quite some time of preparation is needed in which we truly apply ourselves and struggle to set the change in motion.
He who practices in this way will have more space and tolerance. Because of I-attachment we often let ourselves be overwhelmed by the negativity which meets us, because we relate it all to ourselves and we fear that they might harm us. When, however, this egotism stops and real goodwill rules our mind, then there is no room at all for intolerance or anger. Then only limitless compassion arises, for we see primarily the suffering, which the beings experience. We no longer think of our own suffering, which might come to us based on certain circumstance, we are only concerned with the suffering others experience.
Emotions and obstacles even become a source of tolerance and compassion. They spur us on to always want to better understand the mechanism of the mind and the emotions, and infinite compassion ensues. Thereby we have considerably more energy at our disposal, which again we can apply to the work of transformation. The relations with others become more natural and spontaneous. They are marked by goodwill, because we are conscious of the sufferings of others and have only the wish to ease their suffering.
The more one practices, the more one understands the mind and, in the same way you have the wish to practice even more Dharma, to understand even more, in order to even faster get the methods to free others from their suffering. In this way anger and irritation will appear less and less. You have only one wish: "May I as quickly as possible get the means to help all beings. May I have the means to study the Dharma, reflect upon it, and to practice it, so that I may later liberate all beings." If one doesn't have this pure motivation to help other beings, there is the danger that you start to study the Dharma and to practice it, and then you start to feel that you are better than other people are. You develop great pride and think that your are now someone special, because you practice the Dharma. And you might think: " Oh the poor creatures, how lost they are in this world." Then perhaps you have no more anger, but you have developed an infinite pride, and that is in no way better. Therefore it is so very important to have a pure motivation.
Happiness we give away and Unhappiness we take upon us.
All troubles are welcome, and all pleasant, light and beautiful is offered to others
In relationships we take suffering and defeat upon us and give victory, joy, and happiness to the others.
When we are able to work in this manner, we follow the way of the Boddhisattvas, who practice the enlightenment mind, and will then be able to help all beings.
If somebody strikes us we should take this as a gift. It is a teaching, which shows us how much we are lacking in patience and how quickly we react to an attack with a counterattack, violence pitted against violence, aggression repaid with aggression. The attack we should regard as a teaching and the attacker as our master, who gives us a teaching.
If we can react like this even outwardly - wonderful, but if that is not yet possible, we should at least do it inwardly by thanking the attacker for this chance to develop our qualities and to get rid of our karmic burdens. If we can not do that either, then we should at least bid him a friendly "Hello".
Meditation is not the absence of thoughts
Now we will again turn to the meditation, which enables us to do this work on ourselves. But what is meditation? Often we have the notion that meditation is the absence of thoughts - what a big mistake! If there were no thoughts, why then should we meditate at all? We meditate, precisely because there are thoughts. This table doesn't think, therefore it doesn't need to meditate.
Our mind constantly produces movements, which are called thoughts. Having thoughts is quite natural. Our problem is not the absence of thoughts, it is that we hold on to them and judge them as being either pleasant or unpleasant - we separate them into those that we want and those that we don't. (This creates tension in our mind and sets a whole chain of suffering-creating reactions in motion.)
Meditation means to not cling to the movements of the mind, to not grasp at thoughts, and to not carry on any inner debates. If a thought pops up, we do not pursue it with another, which then analyses the previous one, saying, 'This thought was good and that one not so good' etc. We should simply let the playings of the mind happen. We let the thoughts come and go without grasping at them or rejecting them and without grasping at the happenings in the mind.
Meditation does not mean to create emptiness.
Meditation is often connected with an erroneous idea of emptiness. Those who meditate then think for instance: Oh, yes, everything is empty - and project into the space in front of them an infinitely great emptiness about which they think, that it fills everything. Then they sit there admiring this emptiness, which they have created. This artificial emptiness is a mere concept, but the meditator uses a lot of energy in maintaining this putative emptiness and in trying to make it keep working in his field of experience. It began first with thoughts about the emptiness, then that produced an incredible effort to perceive and maintain this emptiness. That is not meditation, but confused, diverted mind.
Wrong postures by meditation - the interplay of body and mind.
If we do not know the tendencies of the mind, it may happen that we approach the meditation in the wrong way. Here our mind-tendencies are often visible in our body-posture, for the body reflects what is happening in the mind.
If for instance someone draws his shoulders back, lowers the head slightly, and draws the chin in, it looks, as if he is trying to create a frame in which to keep hold of his mind and not let any thoughts come up, which is a great effort for him. This comes from desire for meditative stability, which is confused with the absence of thoughts. The meditator is here yearning for a mind free from thoughts.
There is yet another extremely tense posture: With all your energy you attempt to create that, which you imagine during meditation, by stretching the body convulsively upwards. It looks as if all energies are drawn upwards and collect under the top of the skull. Also the eyes are directed upwards, and it becomes very painful. The whole thing looks just like somebody who is absolutely looking for the ideal state of meditation.
Mediation is not working with different points or different colors - blue, red, yellow, green, checkered, striped or anything like that. Meditation means letting the mind rest in its natural state, without duress or interference, free from rejection and attraction, without accepting certain thoughts or rejecting others. When we reach this state of affairs for the mind, not clinging to nor rejecting anything, then our minds become naturally open and spontaneous.
Our mind is connected to the body through energy channels on which the energies ride so to speak. When the mind is tense then the channels of the body tense up too. This also functions the other way round: When you place yourself in the proper posture, then this helps to free and loosen the energies and the channels. Therefore it is very important on the one hand to keep an open flexible attitude in the mind - not to hold on to anything, or reject anything or force anything - and on the other hand to assume the proper position, which reflects and facilitates such a mind attitude. Then the energy-channels could open up like flowers, and the energies can circulate freely in the body, which again frees the mind.
When however we tense and force our body, the channels are unfavorably affected: the energies do not circulate freely anymore, and our mind becomes problems. We may be annoyed, and then stupidity or wildness and all kinds of problems of the body and mind may appear. Our meditation is then no longer natural - our mind cannot find its natural state.
Loosening the chains
The mind makes its own prison through the compulsions it lays on itself and through the choices that it makes. Our clinging to perceptions works like chains, which captures and constricts the free and natural state of the mind. These compulsions, which the mind makes for itself, create tensions, and tensions lead to suffering. Where there is no tension there is no suffering; there is no Samsara. The cycle of being has been liberated and Enlightenment attained.
This compulsion or this tension, which the mind creates, cannot be dissolved from outside. The mind must free itself from inside, which is only possible through inner opening and inner letting go. Thereby space is created. We become able to further rid ourselves of the tensions and to find the true nature of the mind.
This inner work makes is possible to cut trough the attachment to the world of appearances. Till now we are attracted or repulsed by these apparently outside phenomena. They exert a certain fascination on us and we react with either attraction or rejection. If we do the meditative work as prescribed and let ourselves be opened and let go, we will recognize all outer phenomena as objects of the mind. Our attachment will diminish. We no longer need to have this or that. Then everything that we perceive is really a phenomenon in our own mind, and we are aware of this play of the mind. We realize that everything is called forth by the mind, and so we can relax and rediscover the natural state of the mind.
Is there, without fascination, a mental object to which one could attach?
Is there, without objects of attachment or rejection, suffering or turmoil?
I see that you are all already quite naturally in a state of meditation!
... and Rinpoche further speaks to the meditating audience in the summery warm tent and gives these Vajra-song-like teachings about True Mind Peace:
Meditation is only a process of letting go:
Seeing, what stirs in the mind,
and letting it go in the same moment -
clinging to nothing, and rejecting nothing.
Like if we would free us from our clothes,
which restrain the body
and prevent it from moving freely,
we rid ourselves of all the layers
which limit the freedom of the mind
and makes it a prisoner.
We are aware of things, see them,
and let them loose in the same moment.
Then there is no more turmoil in the mind.
The objects of fascination, which we grasped at earlier,
are then recognized as mere stirrings of the mind.
The mind no longer pursues them
and finally really relaxes.
This is firstly the relaxation of the mind
followed by the the mind's resting in clarity:
When in all phenomena we always recognize the mind
and see, that all that happens,
is simply the mind - not material, not tangible,
Then, finally, the mind sees itself.
It sees itself in its true natural state,
in its original essence,
whereupon great relief ensues.
The mind relaxes
and no longer searches for something or other,
but reposes in mindful peace.
Then the mind recognizes itself,
sees itself through itself,
resting naturally in its own nature.
Mind realizes itself like it is:
creative and shining, the source of all manifestations,
and at the same time empty, not material.
This vision leads to the natural peace of the mind,
deep and all embracing.
This is true peace of mind,
the natural stability of a mind,
which rests in its own nature.
These instructions take us a step further than the usual practice of mental peace, where you meditate on the breath etc., which only superficially pacifies the stirred mind. When the mind perceives itself in its own essence, then that is the real, true peace of mind.
Criteria for real peace of mind
When meditating on peace of mind it is also important that clarity is present at the same time, liveliness, and strong consciousness - something extremely clear and precise. The mind is aware of itself with all the motions, which take place inside it and without any veils or obscurations.
Sometimes one has an experience of inner peace, which seems to be really deep, but is a little
misty or sluggish - perhaps even with a tendency to fall asleep. That is no clearness and no real inner peace, but is a fogged up, sleepy state of mind. With a real experience of peace of mind there must be this liveliness in the mind, an experience of clearness and precise consciousness linked with an experience of openness or wide spaces. All limitations of the mind, which one has created in the past, seem to fall away; we have an experience as if the mind would enliven all space around us. In this the body, speech, and mind relax completely.
This is not an experience of something empty or completely cold, but in this emptiness, in this open space there is an inner warmth present, a good-will, as well as joy and clearness. Warmth and openness are present at the same time. In this openness of the mind we can have different experiences:
For one thing there is an awareness of the emptiness in one's own mind. Further one experience that the thoughts come and go, without attachment or rejection arising. This is called absence of mind motion, the freedom from inner discussions or inner chatting.
On the level of the body one experiences well being. You feel completely at peace and well and finally have a feeling as if the body were no longer present. There is only an open mind present, experiencing happiness and warmth. The body is no longer perceived as something solid and tangible. Mostly one has the feeling of being able to rest for a very long time in this state.
These three experiences - the openness with well-being, the clearness of the mind, and the absence of mind motion - are the experiences of the deep mental peace, which we call Samadhi, in Tibetan "Ting-nge-dsin". 'Ting-nge' means deep, and 'dsin' means sustaining: The mind experiences its own nature and is completely able to sustain this state of deep peace. Then there is no unrest in the mind whatsoever, and there is great joy to be had. That is the goal of the practice of peace of mind.
Rinpoche says that there isn't really much more to say. He has already explained that the Mind is completely open, and that the things that appear also disappear again right away. Therefore he will just follow the spontaneous flow of his mind in to-day's lecture.
In Dharma it is really about freeing oneself from the usual tendencies of the mind that have governed us since time immortal. We tend to behave in a certain way under the influence of our habitual patterns of behavior, which is our only point of reference. It is important to free oneself from these habits and find a new way of acting and thinking.
Freeing oneself from fascination...
Usually we are completely fascinated by the objects and phenomena of this world. We consider them to be wonderful and we expect great joy and happiness from them. This fascination motivates our actions. Because of it we are constantly in motion, which prevents us from realizing the true nature of our mind. Therefore it first of all necessary to regard the world as it is, without being fascinated by it. When we regard the world as it is, we realize how unreal it is. It is like a dream, completely void of any essence. All things, all appearances are transitory, they are no more than a movement of the mind. Nothing of what we find in this world can give us real lasting happiness. So the first step, then, is to get a direct, more accurate perception of the world, just like it is, so that the fascination, which we normally feel, dissolves
...and becoming aware of the true qualities
Secondly it is necessary to be aware of the benefits of Enlightenment, i.e. to realize that it means lasting happiness to be enlightened, stable happiness - not just for us, but for all beings. We should be more deeply aware of the qualities of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and turn completely towards enlightenment by opening up completely, without selfishness or fascination, and without letting ourselves be influenced by the habitual tendencies of our mind. We must become aware how great the blessing of the Three Jewels is. If we practice like that, then we have a Dharma-practice without any risk.
It is not easy to free oneself from these tendencies. Since the dawn of time we function in a certain way and have a certain view of the world. It is embedded very deeply in us, so it is not easy to free oneself from it. Therefore it is important to study really thoroughly, to contemplate and to meditate, so that we understand what it is really all about.
Dharma cannot be realized with one's will
In the normal world we use our will to establish ourselves, to regulate our lives, to reach a position and the like. This 'will-energy' is selfishly motivated, and we might think that Dharma could be approached in the same way.
Dharmapractice means to open up completely,
To give oneself up and to let go,
To turn totally to the Enlightenment and the blessing of the Three Jewels.
This opening we find in meditation.
If we follow the way to enlightenment with the right attitude, we have no difficulties. We will advance quite naturally and not meet any obstacles - that is the ideal. Most people, however, meet with difficulties on the way.
The two major difficulties on the way are:
Stubborn clinging to the world and lack of trust.
Where do these difficulties come from? A major reason for our difficulties is our inability to let go of the fascination, which the world exerts on us. One the one hand we have the wish to go towards the enlightenment, but we still find the world attractive. We would like to keep the small things of life and cling onto this or that. Our Ego makes decisions and says, 'This might be useful on the way', or even, 'This must certainly be good for the enlightenment' etc. Because of our ignorance we maintain this connection with the world and convince ourselves with all kinds of reasons, why this should be sensible, and that creates even more attachment to the world.
Our problem is, that we do not see clearly enough, how the world really is. Therefore we find this or that thing, that we still find good and which we simply must keep. This is a subtle kind of attachment or grasping for things. Even when one has a good motivation, this tendency can be very strong. This attachment, which we constantly nourish, encloses us completely and holds us captive. That is what impedes us from advancing rapidly on the way.
We are like a balloon, which cannot get off the ground because it is too heavily loaded. We must work on that. It is very important that we really let go of these small attachments, which we constantly have. Actually there is nothing particular one has to do in this respect. The only thing one must do is to let go. That is the way.
Our second main impediment on the way is lack of trust. We have no complete trust in the qualities of the Enlightenment and the Three Jewels.
So we have two disturbing factors: on the one hand the small connections which we still uphold with the world, and perhaps even find more interesting than the Enlightenment, and on the other hand our lack of trust. We should free ourselves from them both, otherwise we will constantly be torn back and forth between the two forces, and we will experience this as strong opposing forces in us.
On the one side there is a strong force which drives us towards Enlightenment. It is an expression of a strong wish for Enlightenment. On the other side there is this rather conservative, fear based force, which lets us maintain our attachment to the world - and with which we of course constantly maintain the illusion of this world (i.e. our imprisonment in this world which we perceive as real, but which really is a dream-like world).
The reactionary force of our habits lets us take one step backwards again and again, thus constantly pulling us back and forth between two urges, almost as if our mind was being torn apart. We should really endeavor to rid ourselves of the still existing attachment to the world and to let the force of trust, which moves us towards the Enlightenment, come forth. Then the way becomes completely natural. That is the way. Letting go and trusting are the essence of the way!
Prostrations: Dissolving Pride.
When we meet the Dharma for the first time, we may be surprised that the practitioners do so many prostrations. They do hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of prostrations for the Three Jewels. Then we may ask ourselves, whether the Buddha perhaps finds it good, if he sits on his throne in the altar and looks at us and is happy that we show him so much respect? However, we do not do prostrations to assure him nor us how much devotion we have. Buddhas do not develop pride through that either. The purpose of prostrations is to create new habits in our mind. Perhaps we think: "But why must it be repeated over and over? Once should be sufficient."
But as we since time immortal have been nourishing the tendency to be proud and egocentric, the egocentric habits are deeply implanted in our mind - as if at each and every moment, where we have followed these tendencies, we had been making prostrations in the direction of the Ego. This is not completely cleaned out with just one prostration, but instead it needs many prostrations to resolve these deep habits of egocentricity.
The goal of prostrations then is, on the one hand to free oneself from this pride, which occupies the mind. And on the other hand the goal is to dissolve the veils which, under the influence of this pride, have been created through the negative actions of the body. These are all the actions that we did in order to defend and preserve this supposed Ego. These veils weigh heavily on our mind and prevent it from realizing its true nature and finding enlightenment.
Prostrations are something really central to the work against our own egocentricity, and as this work needs a certain amount of time, it is necessary to keep making the prostrations, countless times, again and again. Only thus can we dissolve our egocentric tendencies and develop dedication to others - as a new altruistic tendency, which cares about the liberation of all beings.
Offerings: Dissolving Greed
At first we are also surprised at how many offerings are made in the Dharmacenters: the great amounts of foods, incense, and flowers there are at celebrations, the many small water bowls, the enormous financial means that are given towards the building of for instance stupas and meditation rooms, all those precious things. Then again we might ask ourselves if so much is offered to appease the Buddha?
But the Buddha doesn't need any money, he has no savings account. He doesn't need to eat or drink. He is not poor and has no problem with providing for himself. With offerings, as with prostrations, the goal is the dissolution of the egocentric tendencies of our mind. Since we tend to relate everything to ourselves and to keep the good for ourselves, we practice the act of giving through offerings. In our great attachment we constantly want to satisfy or to protect the ego. Whatever is pleasant or nice, or whatever could make one happy, we want to keep for ourselves. This has really been our sole objective all along, and it has led to where we are experiencing suffering now, along with all other beings.
If we want to free ourselves from this tendency, we should practice generosity as an antidote. Through our sharing with others we work against greed, envy, and avarice etc. For the delivering of our offerings an altar is a very good help, or a stupa, too. Such places help us to let the inner transformation take place and to give up egocentric tendencies. We create such places in order to practice generosity. This generosity is again an expression of trust, for at the moment where we create something, we realize that the enlightenment is something great and wonderful - we trust in it. So generosity can free us from our egocentricity. It depends on the motivation, with which we act - done in the right way, giving is very useful for our inner transformation.
Making offerings is not just an action, says Rinpoche, but rather a way of living - just as egotism and greed is a kind of living. All actions are inspired by this attitude. Whoever has much greed inside will want to have more all the time and will perform corresponding actions. In addition he is always afraid of losing something. Whoever lives in the spirit of offering will always want to give something. This becomes a way of living, which encompasses all aspects of our existence, for offerings are not limited to the traditional offering-gifts. We can regard everything as an offering and keep offering. That is a completely new viewpoint.
There are not only material offerings, but also spiritual ones. By spiritual offerings we can offer everything - whether it belongs to us or to someone else or to no one. We are then completely free and can be limitlessly creative, for in the mind we can offer anything regardless of whom it belongs to.
Bringing the Buddha a flower: Offering up a universe.
When we offer a flower to the Buddha, perhaps at an altar, then perhaps we think, "Well, I have now given him a flower. But that's not much, is it?" But the important thing here is not the material gift at all, but the spirit, which accompanies this offering. With our mind we can make infinite offerings. They are in no way limited, just as our mind is unlimited. We may multiply this flower in our mind and fill the entire universe with hundreds, thousands, and yes hundreds of thousands and even millions of flowers. The universe has no limits and we can fill it with flowers, which we sacrifice towards the Enlightenment. Then this action of generosity becomes truly gigantic, it becomes infinitely big.
If we make generosity our life, we will no longer know any greed. We need not withhold anything any more, we have complete freedom. Material offerings, then, are simply a support for the limitless spiritual offerings, which we constantly make. Thus we can offer all the beautiful and pleasant things we see: beautiful houses, cars, and the like. We can use these external things as support for our spiritual offerings.
Till now we have wanted to keep the things we saw absolutely to ourselves - they were objects of our attachment, envy, and greed, but now they become objects of our generosity that we give to the enlightenment. We may also give things, which belong to no one, like the mountains and the air, the elements, and the stars, the Sun, or the Moon. All this we may offer up, the whole wide universe can become a grand sacrifice. This helps us to give up our egocentricity, and to develop altruism and to strive for Enlightenment.
Using an altar as support for the development of positive force (merit)
We can arrange an altar to further the striving for Enlightenment. An altar is a support for our wishes and for collecting positive actions, it is a place, where we can develop our generosity and express our altruistic wishes. It will help us to develop the positive energy, which leads to Enlightenment. This positive force is called spiritual merit. Spiritual merit comes from positive actions, which dissolve our egotism and further altruism.
It is very beneficial if we begin our day with actions of generosity and in this way already in the morning make our mind ready for generosity, for the sharing with others. An altar helps us to direct our mind toward the enlightenment. On the altar we can place representations of the body, the speech, and the mind of enlightenment. e.g. statues or photos. Then we can arrange the traditional sacrifices, water and incense, perfumed water etc. There are specific instructions for this. Then you imagine that you sacrifice all this to the enlightenment.
Additionally we can recite a short prayer from the text of initial exercises, the mandala offering. This prayer is relatively brief and is accompanied by a symbolic gesture (mudra), which signifies that we not only offer some sacrificial bowls, flowers or the like, but the whole universe. While doing this we imagine that we offer all the riches of the world to the Enlightenment. This way we begin the day with generosity, and that helps us keep the right attitude during the day, as long as we are alert. When the day is begun like this, then the rest of the actions of the day are accompanied by the same motivation.
After these offerings we can recite the Refuge prayer, call out the enlightenment-mind and say our wish-prayers - for it knows no limitations. They are the means of awakening an altruistic attitude in our mind. They help us to develop the necessary positive energy, which is the driving force on our way to Enlightenment. If we practice in this manner, the inherent wisdom will appear.
What can we do for the deceased?
In Europe there are many Dharmacenters where they practice a lot - and everywhere there is also Death. We have all experienced people close to us dying, and perhaps we have all already at least once felt very lost because of it. What can we then do to help the dead and their relations?
If we want to do something worthwhile, we can gather in one of these Dharmacenters or at home and with a unified mind help a deceased person. It may be a person from our family or one of our acquaintances, or even a member of the Sangha. It is important in this respect to gather regularly in order to perform a quite essential and basic practice: the Chenresig-practice - where also offerings may be brought forth, like candles or flowers. We do this with the thought of helping the deceased and thereby all other deceased persons.
The Chenrezig practice is very easy and even completely universal. We should not only do it once in a while when someone has just died, by shortly getting together and reciting some quick mantras, before we go and have coffee. We should practice it regularly, for the wishes contained in it should be repeated many times, for instance the prayer for Rebirth in Dewachen (the god-world?) or the wishes for altruistic activity of Chenrezig. All the prayers from this practice we should do frequently and develop perseverance in this essential practice.
Perhaps we think that this practice is too simple and as a consequence that something isn't quite right, that it can't be THAT good because it's so simple. We might think that it isn't so important or it is just a small practice for children and beginners. This is not true in any way, for this practice is so widespread and known everywhere, precisely because it goes so deep.
This practice encompasses the compassion of all Buddhas. We pray for the blessing of the compassion from all the enlightened beings and connect ourselves to this compassion which radiates to all beings. Therefore this is really a universal practice, which is significantly more deeply thorough, than we might first think, if we only see the simplicity of the practice. Luckily it doesn't take hours to learn the ritual - the Mantra too is very simple: Om Mani Peme Hung. It is so short, that one is not likely to forget it. It is a gift to have this practice, which is so easy to learn and yet nonetheless is so useful, thorough, and universally applicable. Especially when someone has died, we should get together and perform this practice.
What happens, when we die?
When someone has died, he leaves this world and leaves everything behind, which the world has held for him: his body, everything that he has made and done, his entire personal world. He does however bring with him all the negative energies, which are in his mind, all the emotions, and habitual tendencies. These make a heavy burden in his mind and lead to painful experiences.
At the physical level we cannot do anything for the deceased. We can no longer hold his hand and say,"There, there, it's not so bad, I am here with you". The only effective help is of a spiritual nature, and we can give this help by developing compassion and doing altruistic actions with our body, speech, and mind. In this way we may assist him spiritually and do something positive, which is good for us as well as for the deceased. We can dedicate this positive activity to the deceased, by for instance doing the Chenrezig-practice, reciting the Chenrezig-mantra, or by doing offerings.
In the course of our lives we have, through ignorance and carelessness, made our own prison. Even when we are not aware of this, every moment of selfishness and ignorance has left negative reactions behind in body, speech, and mind. All the moments of egotism even if only egotistic thoughts count as negative 'actions' and become a source of suffering. They make a heavy cargo in our mind that we don't notice now, though. Only when we die will we realize the extent of this burden - but unfortunately it is too late then. At the moment we go through life like sleepwalkers or through a fog - we do not notice the state we are really in. Not until we die and lose everything will we wake up from our illusion. In death we lose all possessions, our family and everything that we loved. What is left is only our mind, and it is filled up with all the tendencies we have collected. Through ignorance and carelessness we have done very many negative actions, whose traces and effects form our mind. This load of negativity will invariably lead to painful experiences. We do not have any choice at all; we can not choose our future.
To prepare for death.
Now, however, we have the choice and freedom to choose what we want to do with our life. We have the opportunity, to do positive things, and should begin right away to build a positive environment and to go the spiritual way. For spiritual riches are the only things which can help us after our death. A true spiritual way lets us go forth and develop more and more freedom and wisdom, which eventually will lead to enlightenment.
If we now, constantly and fully aware, work on the transformation of these tendencies which motivate our body, speech, and mind, then we will not feel any regrets at the time of death. It is of the utmost importance that we prepare for dying; otherwise we will be totally surprised and overwhelmed, when it does come. We should already now be thinking of the fact that this life will come to an end, and that something then happens, which is usually called death. It is not possible for us to really avoid death, but when we attempt to do so, we call infinite suffering upon ourselves.
He who tries to repress or ignore death and wants to get as much out of life as possible will constantly be doing actions, which strengthen the egocentricity and harm others. In this way we collect an infinite number of negative tendencies born from our selfishness, which in the future will bring us much suffering. With such an attitude you don't realize, until Death comes, that you must die. When the fact of death can no longer be lied off, then this repressed reality will hit our consciousness with its full weight, and you will experience immense suffering.
If, on the other hand, we already during our life cultivate the consciousness of death and remind ourselves that only spiritual riches will be of any use at the moment of death, then we will not be surprised when death comes, and we will not have any fear. We will not experience the suffering, which comes from denying death. We then understand that death is simply a natural process and a part of life.
If we have been working on ourselves in the right way, there is nothing to fear and we need not have any worries. We have developed trust in the Three Jewels, trust in the qualities of enlightenment, and have cleaned out the negative tendencies of our mind as well as possible. This is a good start position for looking death straight in the eye. Then death is not the terrible end to a life full of joyful experiences, but holds the prospects of more experiences, which bring one closer to enlightenment - the liberation, which enables one to free other beings as well. Dying is not then a cause for panic, but perhaps rather for real happiness.
Whether we experience death as something terrible or as something beautiful, depends on us, on our actions and our awareness. If we do not consciously work at ourselves, we will be as fish thrown onto the beach and suddenly finds itself in a terrible and hostile environment. What stays with us at death is what has influenced our mind for a long time. It is not difficult to die with dignity, when one has prepared well for it through a life of practice.
In death everything becomes very simple. One can no longer hide or pretend to be something, which one is not. The situation is extremely simple. We may have developed a lot of pride through our practices. Perhaps we have been very diligent and have studied Mahamudra or Dzogchen. But will that really help us at the moment of our death? Real realization and accomplishment in Mahamudra or Dzogchen will help us, but is our perceived realization perhaps not just a development of concepts - far removed from the reality of death, and useless, when it comes?
Trust in Chenrezig
When all our concepts collapse, the only thing that remains for us is Chenrezig. The trust that we have developed in Chenrezig, and all the Mani-mantras which w3e have recited, will help us. Perhaps in dying we first attempt the highest consciousness, but as death draws nearer and we get somewhat scared, only true trust will help us. The trust in Chenrezig that we will have developed during our life will then spontaneously appear in our mind. We call upon him for help, and with this cry for help we take the Refuge. However, this is only when we have been working at this trust already. Then it will be quite natural to call upon the compassion and the blessings of all Buddhas. This is, when it is cultivated beforehand, a very simple thing.
Because of our trust the cry for Chenrezig won't come from the4 intellect, but from the depths of our heart, and Chenrezig will then quite naturally be present at the moment of death. Our body will be inseparable from his because of his presence. Our speech will be his speech, since we recite his Mantra. Our mind will be filled with the openness and the compassion of Chenrezig, and we will notice that our mind has become inseparable from Chenrezig. This is the realization of the Meditation-deity.
A meditation-deity, in Tibetan a Jidam, is that to which the mind attaches itself in order to experience its real nature. Thus we will, at the moment of death, realize that our body, speech, and mind are the same as the enlightened body, the enlightened speech, and the enlightened mind of Chenrezig. So we can without fear, full of security and trust, draw and exhale our last breath. But as has been stressed, first one must practice.
If we get used to the Chenrezig-practice now and practice letting the mind rest in its nature, it will become a habit, which will help us in the moment of our death. Furthermore it is important to practice compassion, for compassion is the essence of the Chenrezig-practice.
If problems appear in our life we try to accept them and develop the wish thereby to free all beings from such pain and troubles. This means that whenever we meet troubles we connect with the Chenrezig-practice, whereby our own body, speech, and mind become those of Chenrezig's. We can simply just imagine this inside or we can also support it outwardly by reciting the mantra (of Chenrezig). In this way we immediately and voluntarily take all troubles upon ourselves with the wish that all beings may be freed from them. We imagine that all troubles melt in the flow of our mind and dissolve therein, and that all others are immediately freed from these troubles. If we notice that our altruistic activity is still limited, we can make wishes, that in the future we will be able to be and act in similar situations in a way so that it benefits all beings and leads to their liberation.
If we practice like this we will feel joy at the moment of death, for by dying we take the suffering of all beings upon us with the great wish to free them all from this pain and suffering.
For the future, meaning the time immediately after death and for coming lives, we can prepare ourselves with this wish: "May I quite naturally and without any effort always be able to do good for all beings".
Generosity as preparation for the death and the Transition after Dewachen
Generosity is the mind attitude of all Boddhisattvas, those who dedicate all their actions completely to the enlightenment of all beings. We should as much as possible develop generosity, and when we die, we should be able to give to all beings all our happiness, our joy, everything good that we possess, and at the same time take all their pain, all their suffering, and all difficulties upon ourselves. Without this generous mind attitude we will in death still try to cling to all that we have experienced in this world. This will prevent us from letting go and from really liberating ourselves.
It is beneficial to set oneself for a rebirth in Dewachen, the "Land of Joy". This land of joy is the pure realm of the Buddhas Amitabha and Chenrezig. Chenrezig is like a guide who leads us from our previous existence into the pure land off Dewachen. If we have prepared for it and have expressed our wish, again and again, for this rebirth in Dewachen, then it really will happen at the moment of death. There will then be nothing left to hold us back in this world of suffering. We will happily leave it behind with the deep wish that we will be able to develop even more compassion at a new level, in order to help all beings.
We should already, in good time, loosen our ties to this world, which only means suffering. Then, at the moment of death, we can offer every attachment that we still may have, everything that still binds us to this world, to Amitabha. When we do it we can imagine that Amitabha is in front of us, or above our head, or in our heart - where exactly doesn't really matter. Everything that still belongs to us and to which we might still cling, all things that we leave behind, we offer to Amitabha without any reservations or calculations - without thinking of getting this or that in return, if we give him so and so much. We simply offer up all that which we must leave behind anyway. In this manner we can free ourselves from the last attachments one might still have to this world. We open ourselves up to the pure realm of Dewachen and through the blessing and the compassion of Chenrezig we are brought there, to the Buddha Amitabha. By making offerings to Amitabha our mind will be completely open at the moment of death and already completely filled with the Dewachen dimension. When the mind leaves the vessel of the body, the transition will take place quite naturally in a single moment. We will simply leave our previous level of living behind us and receive a spiritual rebirth in a pure lotus in the pure land of joy.
At rebirth in Dewachen there is no longer any polarity of male and female. Our body will be that of an enlightened being and be like Amitabha's body, with all its qualities, characteristics, and signs of an enlightened body. We no longer have our former usual appearance, which allows our mind to develop further and bring forth more wisdom and compassion, with which we can then help all other beings.
But merely by thinking, " Well, I could try out Dewachen, it doesn't sound too bad", we will not be reborn there, not by a long shot. Such a rebirth is only attained through a life filled with lifelong practice, aimed specifically at this goal. It is the fruit of many wishing prayers. Only then will there be enough trust in Amitabha, Chenrezig, and Dewachen, and only then can we get there spontaneously and without obstructions.
We cling to everything a lot that we possess and that surrounds us in this world, and of course it is difficult to free oneself from it. Although we may have heard many teachings in our life and in dying actually know that we should release ourselves from everything that binds us to this world, it can very well be difficult, for the habits are strong, very strong. Somehow you always think that maybe someway you could perhaps after all take something with you and keep it. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that you practice generosity, now in this life.
When we die we also leave behind worldly possessions, which our family or friends will inherit. If in time we adjust ourselves to the fact that others will get our possessions, it will be easier for us to let go at the time of our death. We practice, well in advance, really letting go of everything and making us totally free in our minds. We can practice this in our life by practicing generosity in every form, for instance by bringing many offerings, be they material offerings, which we place on our altars, or spiritual offerings. In this way we prepare for the moment when we must leave all the things in this universe behind. It is very helpful in any practice if we bring offerings all the time. From the depths of our heart we can offer up anything that we want. Thereby we diminish our attachment, and no longer cling to things. Then, when the moment of death has arrived, we are so used to giving that it is completely natural to us. We can free ourselves completely and will experience the moment of dying as a moment of liberation and not as a moment of incarceration, fear, or shock.
Freeing oneself from one's problems.
So death becomes a moment of liberation, of spiritual transformation. We must however through our whole existence work at this, by removing ourselves from all the daily petty conflicts and problems, from all that darkens, stresses, or disturbs our mind. Often we think that something should be this or that way, but it is in no way like we would want it - or we have an opinion that someone should behave in this or that way and he doesn't behave as we would have wished. Such conflicts occupy us every day. Perhaps we have given somebody a task to do, but he doesn't do it, or somebody should have kept something to himself, but he speaks about it anyway - all this makes us unhappy, we get upset over this or that, or we are disappointed, because we don't get some thing. In this way, because of ignorance and I-attachment, we are constantly occupied with unimportant stuff, only because we want to defend ourselves and satisfy our Ego all the time. Therefore we can find no peace - and then actually all these problems are of only minimal significance. They are simply the fruits of our Karma and our Ignorance. Only because of our I-attachment are we still upset by problems, which actually are nothing. But if we cannot deal with these minor annoyances, what will we do when Death comes knocking?
The mechanism of our projections and looking inward
Our real, big problem is that our view always is directed outwards. We don't look inside, into our own mind, but always follow its outward directed projections. This is a wrong direction to look and therefore we have so many problems. All the failures that we really have in our own mind, we criticize in the outside world. Practicing the Dharma means looking within to try to see what happens in our own mind. When we then take an honest look inside and examine ourselves we are rather surprised. We see that we are unable to perform an action, which is not motivated by emotions and I-attachment and that our mind is full of envy, attachment, and anger. We are not usually conscious of these emotions - we don't notice them unless we look inside.
Without this clear view we only see the consequences of these emotions in the outside world. When for instance we are envious, we see everything through the filter of envy. And what do we see? We see a world of envy and think, "People are all totally envious at me, how awful." We constantly meet people who envy us something, and from that even pride may arise. We come to the conclusion that, "People can only be so envious, because I am so fantastic - therefore I am wonderful." I am better than the others, and that is really the reason that they are jealous at me."
We never question ourselves and never realize that the problem only is to be so governed by egotism, and that the other people are not to be blamed. We project that which is not even conscious to ourselves onto the others and never look inside. Then, because of these emotions, strong anger arises, which darkens our mind. The real anger is in our mind, but we see it in others because we haven't learned to look inside. This leads to us being even more furious, because we are convinced that it is the others who are aggressive. Relations with other people then become extremely difficult. We have conflicts constantly.
The only way to break this evil cycle is to look inside and look for one's own shortcomings, otherwise we will not discover reality and never free ourselves from the emotions and the suffering stemming from them. So far we are doing the exact opposite: we think that we are right about everything. We simply assume that all that we think or do is totally right, that we as the only one have excellent taste, the right attitude etc. - others have nothing to say and are always wrong anyway. We take this hypothesis of our own perfection to be reality and build all our relationships and all our actions on this false assumption. Therefore we have conflicts and the emotions become stronger all the time. The outward projections of our emotions are in this way the basis for all our actions, because we are not able to look into ourselves.
In our pride we always assume that we are good and right. Because of our pride we quarrel with others about opinions, completely convinced that our viewpoint is the only one that can be totally right, and from this wars erupt, and conflicts, jealousy etc. Our eyes are very clever. When we look to the outside, we discover faults in others everywhere and think to ourselves, "Exactly, I knew it, I was right." But we are not aware that our eyesight is completely veiled. Through our emotional filter we can not see what is really real.
The proposal of the Dharma would be to look again, "Is it really such a certainty that I am right? Am I really as good as I think?" When we begin to see the situation, such as it really is, and become aware that we have been fooling ourselves, we suddenly feel a bit unwell - we are not so sure anymore, as we realize that in fact everything, which we see as faults in others, is only our own emotions. Although this is unpleasant, it is important to keep looking, and not to cease, but instead search bravely inside one's own mind, and to bring out all emotions, which might be hidden there. That is the only way in which to free oneself from the Cycle of Being and thus from suffering.
When we become fully aware of our inner situation and notice that all emotions are inside ourselves, then the building of our Pride collapses by itself. We had built everything on the assumption that we were right and without fault, and out of this pride we have acted. The lock to the castle of our pride breaks down like a house of cards, and all emotions will dissolve, because we see that the faults lie with us and the qualities lie with the others. Then the projections stop, we see more of reality, and peace settles in the mind. This peace is what is called 'Schi-wa' and 'Nä-pa' in Tibetan, the peace and stability of the mind: Schi-nä. To get that you only have to look within.
Why are we always so sure that we are right, that we are better than all the others are? Simply because we always only look to the outside and never inside. We do not question ourselves a single time. When we finally do that, we see at once that we are not right as often as we thought. The more we look inside and examine ourselves, the more we see the emotions in our own mind and realize that they are the source of all our problems. It becomes clear that we must change something internally and not externally. More and more we notice the subtle play of the emotions, how unconscious, how subversively the are working and how they keep us captive. When we stop looking at the outside world and judging it, we notice that there is an enormous task to be done inside us.
To constantly be thinking of how full of faults one is, and how incredible much there is to be transformed, is a good indicator that one is on the right track. But to have the impression that one is basically all right, and that one has certain qualities, is a sure sign of the fundamental error of not looking inside and not seeing what is really going on.
The world is the mirror of our furious grimaces as well as of our smiles. If our world is filled with aggression, it means that we are aggressive ourselves. If the world is full of smiles it means that we are smiling ourselves. If the world bids us a friendly 'Hello', then it means that we also have said a friendly 'Hello' ourselves. Do all you can to look deep inside! If we don't examine our own mind, we will be constantly worrying about the outside world. When we see people we will be thinking, "Ah, he is now thinking this or that. His attitude shows that he must have thought that - I am sure that he thinks this or that about me." What we are doing, though, is just to project our own thoughts into someone else. The other person is nothing but mirrors of our own thoughts.
Our mind-stream has been polluted by our emotions. First when we have cleaned it up will we be able to really help others and be their friend. We will then no longer project our attachments and emotions onto the world. When we meet the world with love and compassion, where would there then be suffering or aggression? If our mind is completely pure then all relations are pure. What remains is the fruit of the transformation: helping others with love and compassion.
Understanding Karma facilitates deep release
Our body and all experiences of body, speech, and mind are the result of our actions, words, and thoughts in this life or in other existences - in innumerable existences. Our present existence is conditioned by the collected force of habits and tendencies, which determine our reactions. When we now, because of karmic conditions, experience certain situations, then we react based on these habits, without any thought at all. Through such habitual reactions we create new karma - strengthen the karmic powers and tendencies, which determine our future life.
We are the result of that which we have done earlier, and all that we shall experience in the future depends on what we are doing now.
With this understanding it is possible to simply let all experiences of our life come and go without grasping at them. When our karma brings difficult situations or emotions, we see this an expression of our mind, as the fruit of our own tendencies. We recognize them as stirrings of our mind, which we simply let come, we observe them, and then let them disappear again. And we do not become the slightest attached and do not intervene, for these emotions arise exactly because of attachments in our own mind. We should simply let it all happen, let the process run undisturbed, for otherwise we shall remain slaves of our emotions and not reach liberation. When we see things as they really are, we will not remain slaves of our own emotions, because we do not react as before and thus collect no new karmic seeds. When we simply let all thoughts and emotions come and go, they will liberate themselves. Then we can recognize everything as movements of the mind and let it go by. Cleansing is completed as we experience one karmic seed after another and let it free itself, without adding to it.
Meditation: Resting in the Nature of the Mind
Since some people of the audience seem to have become tired and are in danger of falling asleep, we will now meditate a bit:
We assume a relaxed but still upright and dignified position and attempt to let the mind rest in its natural state, without any force, without forbidding any thoughts and without following any of them. WE do not block out the mind by thinking, 'Meditation should be this or that way. We let our mind be as open as possible, resting in its own nature, relaxed, and free.
If dullness appears in the mind, we regard this as simply another movement of the mind, as an expression of the enlightened mind, and we do not let ourselves be carried away. We try to look beyond the dullness and to see the light behind it, the wide space of openness, which is covered by this dullness. We can use everything, which appears in the mind as a means of seeing the mind. With the aid of carefulness we can get behind it and understand the playing of the mind.
When we think we are having a 'good' meditation, we think, "Wonderful, I am completely open, full of joy, I am experiencing a wide space. Now I've finally done it. This is what I have been searching for all along. I am a good practitioner."
If we think that we are having a 'bad' meditation we become restless, experience constant noise around us, the neighbor touches us, and we do not find our way in the meditation, nothing works. Then we think, "I shall never make it."
When either of these two attitudes appear, we should not be looking at the thoughts, but at the person who is thinking them. Who is this person, who is claiming that he is having a good or a bad meditation? Who is the observer? .... and we have already forgotten the thought and are looking for the person who is claiming this. What we find is simply mind. And so we find our way back to the simplicity of the mind, until the next distraction comes along.
As long as we have any doubt about the nature of the mind, or about the nature of the observer, who is also mind, there will be no real experiencing the nature of the mind. And as long as this realization is not yet stable, we must do all we can to get down and meditate some more. Until Mind realizes itself. The dynamic aspect of the mind realizes that the observer is simply a part of the game. This experience brings complete certainty about the nature of the mind. One ceases to search for something. One has no questions anymore, for all questions have solved themselves.
As long as we think that we might have understood something or ask ourselves, "Is it really right, what I am doing?", then there is no certainty, and this view fails. Then all that is left to do is to sit down again and meditate some more.
Meditation-instructions by Gebdü Rinpoche:
In the flow of meditation in time
there will be no difference between consciousness and the one who is conscious.
The thinker and the thoughts are equally the playing of the mind.
The division into observer and the observed falls away.
Actor and action are no longer different –
everything takes place in the realm of consciousness.
Mind is aware of itself
and rests in its natural state
without observer and something which is observed.
This is called Non-observing: natural consciousness.
The mind is aware, but simultaneously there is no subject anymore.
That is true consciousness - complete, lasting certainty.
Of course this process entails first of all, that we study and reflect on the teachings, in order to intellectually understand the true nature, the natural state of the mind. We first make an analysis of subject and object, which is taking place on a relative level, that is a conscious, one could almost say, 'artificial' work.
Then, still, meditation leads us into a state, which is no longer the usual, and where there is no division into object and subject left, but where the mind realizes itself. From this ensues a certainty beyond all analysis, a quite spontaneous certainty.
The intellectual considerations of subject or object, which one uses at first in order to find a spontaneous, natural meditation, one must let go of again later on. If one keeps them active, there will be no real meditation, and all our endeavors will be without avail. Only the completely natural meditation will finally lead us to the realization of the nature of the mind, to liberation.
The Heart of the Dharma: Unlimited love and limitless compassion.
The heart of all spiritual practice is the wish to develop unlimited love and limitless compassion.
Unlimited love is the deep wish that all beings may realize happiness and the nature of happiness. This wish motivates all our actions, words, and thoughts.
Unlimited love is born out of the deep realization that all beings suffer. It is the deep wish that all beings may be free from suffering, and that they may understand, what causes suffering, so that they can free themselves from it. On this wish all our actions, words, and thoughts, are based.
If we carry these two wishes in our mind, we will do everything, which is at all possible for us, to free all beings from suffering - all beings without any exception, without any differentiation. Even when troubles appear" will we keep dedicating our energies of body, speech, and mind to the benefit of the beings, so that they will experience the final liberation.
Being aware of the suffering and pain of others, together with the wish to help them, should determine all our actions. But when we now attempt to call forth compassion in our minds we must be careful not to distort this. In our selfishness we often completely distort the Dharma-teachings, and we can do the same to love and compassion, as well as with the trust in the Master.
We might be thinking that we are so very compassionate, but when we limit our love and compassion to the ones closest to us or those we like, then that is not real love or real compassion, but only a form of attachment. It may well be that there is some measure of authenticity in our love and compassion in the way that an authentic Boddhisattva would live these qualities. But as soon as we, out of egocentricity, limit these qualities to a select few and make distinctions, we become completely ordinary and biased. It is extremely important that we don't make partial love, but universal love.
It is exactly the same with the trust and devotion to our master. Our egocentricity transforms this devotion into desire and creates a strong attachment to the master's person. There is a Tibetan pun about this; it says, "one should not mistake Depa for Döpa". Depa means Devotion and Döpa means desire.
How does one live love and compassion?
This wish for love and compassion must be turned into action. We should grasp this wish "with both hands" and if possible turn it into action. "May all beings experience happiness and the causes of happiness." With this wish we naturally begin to assume a disciplined way of life, which doesn't harm anyone anymore, either through bodily actions, or words, or thoughts. We try to live in accordance with the Dharma-teachings, so that no one might suffer because of us. We try to do that which is beneficial and to avoid doing that which is harmful, and through this we realize what we must further develop and where we must discipline our mind.
What motivates us to it all is the wish that the beings may not only experience happiness, but that they may also experience the source of happiness, "May they realize what really leads to happiness: acting in the right way." Through the example of our own life we can inspire others to positive actions and so help them to come to understand the causes of happiness. In order to assist them we can share experiences from our practice with them.
When we realize that suffering is the result of ignorance, the wish, that we as well as others also might be freed from that cause, appear quite naturally. The causes of all suffering are harmful, selfish actions, living one's life the wrong way. So we will try to develop a benevolent attitude, an ethical way of life, which is unbiased and aimed at the good of others.
Expanding love and compassion.
As long as we keep thinking, "I like this one better than that one", and limit our wishes to our relatives, friends, and people we like, then our love and compassion have limits, are limited. We should try to dissolve the limits, which our ego keeps setting, and develop an altruistic activity encompassing all people without exception.
We begin with those that we do like, and then we try to extend our love to those to whom we up until now have been indifferent and with whom we have no problems. We try to feel for their suffering and to develop sensitivity towards them. Then the indifference towards them disappears.
And then we can expand our love and compassion to include those whom we consider enemies or whom we think are difficult or unpleasant. Then it becomes clear to us that they are the ones, who need love and compassion the most, for they suffer severely. Included are also the beings in the hell-worlds, as well as ghosts and animals, that are living under conditions of extreme suffering. Not only will we not exclude anyone from our compassionate activity, but we will also actually prefer those whom we find disagreeable. In this way love and compassion may permeate everything, always unbiased and with complete equanimity.
Why do our love and our compassion often remain just a game?
They remain a game of children, because we do not really open up to the sufferings of others. We perceive everything from our own viewpoint and make snap judgments based on this value, also about the suffering of others. When doing this, we assume that our perception is right, and because of our limited perception our love and compassion with all the actions coming from them likewise remain limited. We keep on thinking that we are able to judge what is right and what is not.
An insect for instance is often only a nuisance to us, when it crawls around on the table or buzzes around our head, when we are eating. Many are of the opinion that insects are nothing and can feel nothing. And still we do not know what an ant is experiencing. How does it suffer? What does an insect dream about? What does an insect wish for? We don't know anything about it, but only judge it from our own viewpoint and claim that: It doesn't suffer.
If we could change places with others and for instance crawl inside an ant's hide "which admittedly can be quite difficult", then we could perceive life from the viewpoint of an ant and see what a different perspective it is: The world would look very menacing to us. Everywhere there are huge mountains moving about and we must walk in constant fear of being squashed, "a world of great suffering". We would have to be constantly on guard against other insects, who would attack us or the like. If we could experience that, we would feel a deep and honest compassion and have a real interest in working for the good of others. For altruistic action we need this deep awareness of the sufferings of others. Then love is no longer a mere game and not just a thought.
With the compassion for others it is much the same: We think we would like to be compassionate. When we see someone in the family or a friend suffering, we become quite unhappy ourselves and suffer with them. We then think that, "Now I am really on the way of the Boddhisattvas, now I am exactly as it is explained in the texts." This is not real compassion, however, but simple attachment. We make distinctions and are biased, for we suffer with them, because they are our friends. If we look honestly at the whole situation, we will see that we are suffering, because we see the other as an extension of us. We are not seeing his suffering from his viewpoint, but from our own, and we project our own suffering onto him. We identify with the other being. At the same time we regard him as our property and feel attacked, when the other being suffers. That is attachment more than compassion, and in no way is it the compassion of a Boddhisattva.
We actually only help those who are beloved and dear to us, and with whom we can identify. In this way we ultimately help ourselves in the other person, and that is attachment. When somebody does not thank us for our help and perhaps even reacts negatively towards us, we are totally disappointed and even angered. That is an obvious sign that we were just being selfish and hoping to get something back for our help. It was really just Pseudo-love and -compassion then.
Equanimity accompanies true love.
When we develop uninhibited love and compassion, all beings in the universe become our brothers and sisters. We make no distinction between close relatives or strangers, friends, or foes. Great goodness and great goodwill towards all beings appear and that is a hallmark of the Enlightenment-mind. Whether others help us or attack us is no longer of importance, for we no longer regard the situation from our own standpoint, but we assume the viewpoint of the others and thus see what they need.
Without this Egocentricity we regard all beings alike, and our actions still have the same depth, regardless of whom they concern. This kind of equanimity or neutrality is what we should try to develop.
Therefore we must discover inside us, where our attachment is, and where real love appears. For if we don't discover that, we will be taking the mouth full of big words about love and compassion, but our actions will prove the opposite. Our mouth then says, "I am helping all beings", but our hands are taking away all benefit from these beings, in order to make us happy.
Is the Way really so difficult?
Perhaps you are now feeling a bit discouraged, because the depth of our attachment to the Ego seems to be almost insurmountable. But precisely because the attachment is so strong, it is necessary to keep studying the Teachings, reflecting upon them, and practicing them, and that we cultivate an ethical attitude, which helps us to change our attitude and to work positively with body, speech, and mind.
The progress on our way depends on our attitude, as does the speed of our progression. We must simply be prepared to work on our transformation, to transmute our Egotism into Altruism, and to examine ourselves and ask, "What are our tendencies, and what must we change? If we are ready to work steadily with our minds, and to be alert in all situations, then the way will be quite simple. Whether it is difficult or simple depends on us. When we hesitate to do these spiritual exercises, when we are not completely convinced and hold back, then our road will be much more difficult. So it depends on the state of mind of each person how fast he progresses on the way, and how easy it will be.
The six worlds (states of being).
Because of the variety of positive and negative actions, which everyone has done, there is such a multitude of personal experiences. Still this variety of experience can be made coarsely divided; we speak of six large families or forms of being, in which the respective beings have almost similar experiences.
Three if these six worlds of being are characteristic by the fact that very much suffering is experienced in them, and they are the three lower states of being. In the other three, the higher states of being, there is room for happiness and similar experiences. But all six worlds are conditioned by karma.
The beings in the three lower worlds are considerably more numerous than they of the three higher worlds. In their mind streams, because of ignorance, negative tendencies prevail, all the suffering-creating tendencies, to defend the territory of the I. There are considerably fewer beings with whom positive tendencies prevail and who therefore live under happier conditions. Their slight numbers lets us sense how much effort is needed for the task of transforming selfish tendencies. Mostly egotism prevails, with all the ensuing harmful actions, which lead to rebirth in one of the three lower worlds with much suffering.
It is said that the number of beings in the three lower worlds almost equals the number of grains of dust on the Earth and the planets, and that the number of beings in the three higher worlds is the same as the number of grains of dust on a finger-nail.
There are many more beings then, which are motivated by egotism, than there are those who are inspired by love and compassion and wisdom and who do corresponding acts. It requires great effort to be able to avoid in the future the painful experiences caused by egotism.
The God World
The highest world is the world of the gods, a state of being where there is no outside suffering and life possesses many good qualities. You experience this state because of ethical conduct and generosity in earlier lives. But this generosity and the positive actions were always accompanied by the differentiation between subject and object, by the feeling that, "I am doing something, I am giving somebody something." There were always traces of egotism present. Additionally these generous actions were not motivated by a higher motivation, the wish for enlightenment and true non-dualistic happiness. Since the actions have been relative, their fruits were also relative. Such actions do not release one from our imprisonment in the karmatically conditioned cycle of life, but they do have the effect of giving a relatively happy existence, a very comfortable life without disease and with all possible enjoyment. All that they want is there at once.
The other side of the coin, however, the problem in this world, is pride. When the 'gods' see the lesser worlds they feel superior and become proud. They too are not aware that their godly living is transitory. They are living in ignorance about the real nature of their situation. At some time their comfortable life will be over, and from there on it can only go downhill. When the gods notice that their condition is impermanent and that death is drawing nearer they experience terrible suffering; they are horrified and experience sorrow and fear, for they can already see now where they are going to be reborn. After all their happiness it is very hard for them to have to accept a lesser rebirth. The suffering in that world, then, comes mainly from the becoming conscious of the threatening descent and of the impermanence of their condition, and that is a very great pain.
How does one avoid the godly trap? Develop trust and dedication.
Trust is the antidote for the god-world tendencies in our own minds, and trust in the teachings of the Buddha, for the problem of the god-beings is that they appear superior and knowledgeable, and therefore the teachings of the Buddha cannot reach their minds. They do not open themselves to it and will not hear of impermanence. To counter that it helps to develop trust in the teachings through studying and reflection, and develop confidence in the goal of enlightenment as well as in the effectiveness of the means, which we use on our way there. Thereby we can transform our ethical attitude and our till now relative generosity, which have been tied to ideas about subject and object, into a generosity free from these ideas.
The transformation of positive actions into a force leading to enlightenment comes about by dedicating these actions to the enlightenment of all beings. Then they are no longer our possessions and they are no longer a source of fruits which are transitory, because they were relative. We dedicate all merit, the positive force of our actions, to the enlightenment of all beings and thereby we transform these actions into something higher. We seal it with a higher attitude of mind, free from I-attachment. After the dedication we remain in the openness of mind, keeping still in the understanding that the three concepts, subject, object, and action, only exist in the mind and that they cannot be divided. Through this openness, where we let everything go, this positive force can spread infinitely into all space. In this way we avoid the so called 'godly trap' of doing positive actions which are not dedicated, and from these getting temporary benefits, which in their effect still remain relative, limited, and impermanent.
Another benefit of the dedication is that our actions are no longer our property when we mark them with the stamp of 'resting in emptiness' (non-identification). Everything positive that we have done can thereby escape our ego and transfer into the energy, which serves the enlightenment of all beings. In this way we protect the positiveness from harm, for if we still consider our positive actions our property, they can be completely annihilated through one moment of strong emotion in our mind. It is said that an immense cosmic era of developing positive energy can be destroyed in one moment of deep hate. All the positive energy, which has been accumulated over an infinite long time, can be destroyed incredibly fast. Therefore it is good if we dedicate these positive actions as a defense against our own negativity.
Additionally we can dedicate all the positive energy, which has been accumulated by all the beings; we join the positive energy that we have collected ourselves with the positive energy, which has been and will be accumulated by all beings, all Buddhas, and all Boddhisattvas through all time. We connect it with the powerful stream of the actions of all beings, which have already been enlightened or who is on the way to enlightenment. In this way we may multiply the power of our action, which might have been quite small in itself. By offering them up into the big stream great joy arises in our minds. This joy is a great help against the jealousy, envy or comparing-oneself-with-others mind poisons, which might even be present in positive actions, like for instance the thought that others could do this act much better than we could. Dedication means to express the wish that our positive action will be added to all the positive actions done by others, no matter who. We let joy arise and we dedicate all this joy together with the all rest to the enlightenment of all beings.
(SEE NOTE below)
The most important thing about dedication is the affixing of our actions with this stamp of resting in the final, highest reality or emptiness. It is also called the Seal of the Reality of Illusion.
By dedicating all sources of healing (all positive actions) to enlightenment we direct our force to a clearly defined goal, a goal which is beyond subject and objects. By giving up distinguishing between a subject and an object, and through the realization that everything is played out in the empty dimension of the mind, our actions, at first just relative and limited actions, become true and pure actions.
Therefore when finishing an action, like for instance generosity, we rest in the trust or in the singleness of mind where no dualism is present any more. The dedication connects our actions with the spontaneous dimension where limitless merits arise and where all qualities expand limitlessly and thus become the source of happiness for all beings. If we at this moment realize that everything is played out in the empty dimension of the mind, then we no longer have any of the hopes or other disturbances, which used to be able to arise in our usual mind.
In this way, by dedication, we direct the power of the actions towards the highest goal, and at the same time we protect it from our negativity, which could destroy all the positive merit again.
So, first we express the dedication. Then we rest in this awareness of the emptiness of subject, object, and action. And then we imagine that all the positive energy fills up all space and grows. And finally we can apply this positive energy, even just by wishing it, in a particular direction.
Wishing Prayers for Enlightenment and Fearlessness.
By wishing the force of the positive actions is directed towards the good of all beings. For instance you might wish that, "May all the natural altruistic activity be fulfilled. May the Enlightenment mind arise, where it has not yet arisen. May all the positive energy increase in all beings and not be diminished. May all beings reach enlightenment." There are many kinds of wishes, which so to speak make ways for the positive activity to work for the benefit of all beings.
In the traditional texts we find many such wishing prayers. This is what we say in the Chenrezig text when we take the Refuge, "May I reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings". This directs the pure energy of the practice quite clearly at one goal. In other wishes it is more about the altruistic activity,
"May the precious Enlightenment Mind
be born in those beings where it is not yet present,
and may it where it already is present,
not diminish but always keep growing".
Another important quality, which one could wish for, is fearlessness. For it is very important on the way to enlightenment not to become afraid, so that one can work really well for the collective good, beyond any personal interests. When one has no more personal interests, one becomes fearless, for there is nothing more to defend. One becomes fearless in altruistic activity, which is motivated by the enlightenment mind.
Advice about Meditation.
We have all kinds of ideas about what meditation is, and especially about emptiness. May people are thinking, "It is all empty. There is nothing there at all. If only I could keep this idea in my mind! Then I should really meditate to experience emptiness". But such an emptiness is only an idea of the mind that one projects. Actually it is mere diversion; one is constantly occupied with this idea. One clings to an opinion about the nature of one's mind instead of experiencing the mind itself. The mind is attached to any kind of idea. Such an idea could be to think that this is a good meditation, or that it's a bad one; they are all artificial concepts, which the mind creates about itself without even seeing how it really is. Concepts are only distraction and diversion.
Real meditation has nothing to do with holding on to ideas, or with trying to judge whether or not one's own meditation is good or bad. Meditation is a state of being in which the mind is resting in itself, without any constraints, without any evaluation of thoughts, like for instance, 'this is a good thought and that is a bad one'.
When the mind begins to differentiate between thoughts and to evaluate, it divides itself from itself, and soon the simplicity has vanished. The mind is caught up by itself in dualistic projections, instead of simply experiencing the movement, which it feels, as being the playing of the mind. In meditation the spontaneous, self-recognizing consciousness of the mind should become effective. With increasing practice the ability to sustain this consciousness becomes increasingly stronger, and, consequently, so does also the ability to stay in the non-dualistic awareness. Then the mind will see itself such as it really is.
Through the force of meditative habituation our mind no longer follows the impulses of thoughts and feelings. It finds its way back to simplicity. Thereby great clarity and stability arises in which the mind can rest in self-realization. This lets trust arise, the experiences become more profound, and finally realization arises with absolute certainty that it is exactly so. No doubts of any kind are present anymore, only the stability of the deep calm of the mind.
Instructions for meditation:
All this clinging and rejecting,
the attachment, the worry, and the dullness,
restrains and constrains the mind like clothes too small.
These constraints dissolve in meditation.
When resting in quiet contemplation thoughts and emotions arise,
then do not reject them and do not hang on to them.
Recognize them as being merely the movements of the mind and let them go.
So that the mind can cast of its narrow clothes,
which rob it of its freedom,
we should not interfere during the meditation,
but instead let the movements of the mind simply happen,
letting them go without differentiating.
When the constrains of the mind finally have dissolved,
The real freedom of the mind will appear.
The mind then becomes open and self-aware.
It recognizes its own nature.