teaching given prior to the Marpa
Initiation at Menlo Park, California,
a great, enlightened being, established
our Kagyupa teachings. He was the guru to
Milarepa, the most famous Yogi of Tibet.
The initiation given today is the Guru
Yoga initiation of Marpa. The benefit of
this initiation is mainly to ripen the
seed of enlightenment that is within you.
After you have received this initiation,
you will be successful in all your
practices. Your obstacles will be
weakened. This is due to the blessings
that come from Marpas own wishes.
Blessings come to us when the wishes made
by enlightened Bodhisattvas come true.
is within you. Buddha cannot give you
Enlightenment by his hands. Because the
illusion is within you, then samsara and
all the problems of the mind are within
you. If the illusion, negative emotions,
and samsara are from your mind, then
enlightenment is also from your mind.
When these problems are gone,
enlightenment is there. So enlightenment
is within your mind.
means methods - methods that you practise
to get enlightened. When you have
accomplished the practice, the result is
Buddhahood. Before you begin the Dharma
practice you must know how important the
Dharma is. The length of our lives is
determined by how long our physical
bodies exist, not how long our minds
exist. Mind will continue. The good or
the bad things that happen to you in your
life is the result of your past karma.
Collectively, we human beings along with
all other living beings in our universe
share the same collective karma, the same
realm, the same type of nature, the same
type of form. We can communicate with one
another. This is the result of collective
the individual karma is not equal, or the
same, among living beings. Some people
are luckier than are others depending on
the individual karma. Actually, the whole
universe and you are an illusion of your
own mind. They are the result of your
karma. Karma is also mind. But once the
illusion has manifested due to the
ripening of karma, it is solidly there
until its underlying cause is exhausted.
When this happens, the effect is like a
dream disappearing. You will then change
from this illusion to another one
corresponding to another cause. This is
cause and result. No one knows ones
own karma - what are the causes and
results that are next to ripen. You do
not know the karma that has brought about
your present life. Neither do you know
what cause is coming up next for
yourself, nor its result. Nobody can know
or find out about it.
is accumulated. It is built up by your
own negative emotions. It is invisible.
It is not of any substance or form. Just
like the negative emotions are invisible,
so is karma. But the result of karma,
however, is visible because it manifests
as an illusion. Because your negative
emotions are part of your mind and karma
is also part of your mind, the resulting
illusion is also part of your mind. Of
these three aspects, only one is visible
but it is also too late to change it.
Whatever karma you have accumulated is
limitless because your negative emotions
from the past are limitless. You cannot
make excuses now and claim that you have
not done anything wrong.
accumulated karma, the strongest karma
will ripen next. It will yield the
corresponding result. The future is never
certain. When you begin the Dharma
practice with this understanding of
karma, you will have a very strong
commitment. You will persist with your
practice. You have found the Dharma and
have some understanding of the Buddha.
You have what is called a precious
human life. Why is it precious? It is
because you have found a solution to the
mind. Fortunately your life is now
meaningful. But your life is impermanent.
You are aging in every moment. Without a
solution like enlightenment, life has no
meaning. Living a comfortable life seems
like a good idea and everyone wants that.
But whether or not it will really turn
out the way you want it is entirely
moment is meaningful if you live your
lives applying the methods that can lead
you out of samsara's trap. With this
understanding, you should have a very
strong intention. But intention is only
the first step. You need to learn the
Dharma. Very likely, people will not
understand the Dharma immediately. But by
knowing the example of the Buddha, they
will develop the intention. They will
then want to learn the Dharma. This is
the second step. It is very important to
learn from someone who knows the Dharma.
Then you can receive the teachings in
detail. Teachings are like the road
directions to get somewhere. It is like
when you want to go to San Francisco, you
need directions so you study the map. An
experienced person can show you how to
get there. He may say, "taking this
highway is longer," or "this
way is shorter," or "here is
the way to get there." It is the
same with the Dharma. A qualified
instructor is someone who can teach you
and show you the directions. He knows the
Dharma or the way. You should obtain the
directions from him, study the
directions, and then you must go to your
destination. Otherwise, why did you learn
important that the Dharma practise be
done properly. For example, you may have
very important business in Los Angeles.
You have to be there at a certain time.
From the moment you leave your house to
go to Los Angeles, every minute is
meaningful. You know the directions well.
Along the way, you are focused. You will
reach your destination, and you will
accomplish what you have set out to do.
Dharma practice should be like that.
Dharma practice you apply what we call
the paramitas. Paramita means to cross
over, like crossing the ocean to reach
the other side. Let us take for example,
the drive to Los Angeles. In this
context, the application of the Paramita
of proper ethics means that you do not
consume alcohol while you drive.
Otherwise you may get drunk and have an
accident. You do not fall asleep while
driving is another caution. In other
words, you avoid the things that will
prevent you from reaching your goal. This
kind of discipline is required to make
your journey successful. When you go
through the practice, you apply the
Paramitas to put all your effort into
making your journey to enlightenment a
is beyond our imagination. Dharma
practice is limitless but our mind has
the capacity to do the practice. To be
precise, Dharma practice can be broken
down into three aspects: the main
practice and two side practices. The main
practice is meditation. Meditation is a
common word but in the Buddha Dharma,
meditation is about removing all our
problems of the mind. Samadhi is the
realization of the nature of mind.
Samadhi is meditation where the main
focus is on the nature of mind. It is
easy to say "nature of mind",
but it is very difficult to realize it.
The main meditation is on the view of the
nature of mind to eliminate all mental
problems. Mental problems do not mean the
abnormal problems. Mental problems here
refer to the negative emotions, and
ignorance. Ignorance is the main cause of
all negative emotions. The meditation has
its focus on each of the negative
emotions to eliminate them. In this way,
you will be liberated. Of the two side
practices contained in the Ngondro or
Foundation practices, one purifies
your karma. The other develops the merit
that supports and strengthens the
practice to make it successful. The two
side practices are the methods and
meditation is the main practice. In this
way you will be enlightened. This is
you do the Dharma practice in this life,
you are sure to achieve something. You
can become fully enlightened in this
life. In the least, even if you are a
very slow mover, you will still achieve
something. It is certain that you will
produce a positive cause for the future
and it will keep growing. Even if you do
not reach the goal in this life, you will
get there in one of your future lives.
Otherwise, once this opportunity is lost
and another karma ripens, you might lose
the chance forever. Your past karma is
probably not very good, otherwise you
would not be in samsara now. Look at how
much negative emotions that you have now.
It means that you have accumulated that
much negative habit in your mind from the
past. Nothing good can come out of it.
This is one way of looking at it
logically to convince yourself that the
majority of your karma is not good if
your negative emotions are still strong.
Once you lose this opportunity you will
lose it forever. This is why this human
life is precious and it must not be
common problem of people is to think like
this, "I must achieve the results
quickly. I cannot wait more than five, or
six years. Otherwise, I don't like
it." But look at six years of an
ordinary life without practice. What can
you achieve that is lasting? You end up
with nothing. You cannot achieve the
results of the Dharma practice within six
years. You simply cannot. But you are
nevertheless engaged in something
meaningful. After six years of practice,
if you still want to pursue another goal,
you can drop the Dharma and still do so.
But is there another goal? For sentient
beings, life holds no other goals beside
enlightenment. I am not trying to
discourage you but there really is no
other objective in life. You can try to
get rich, but then what? Suppose you can
be a successful politician, or become a
president of a country, but then what?
The problem is still the same, isnt
it? Dharma is the best. This is why even
if you are progressing very slowly, the
Dharma is still more meaningful than
anything else in life.