PARTING FROM THE FOUR ATTACHMENTS … part 2/6 (zhen pa bzhi bral) by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
The term “shenpa” in Tibetan, I guess it is translated as attachment. It‟s something to ponder with. The Tibetan word “shenpa” has this connotation of, among other things, some kind of sticky, stickiness. Not only stickiness, first of all. Probably the stickiness, itself, is all right, but stickiness as an effect – totally baseless. Earlier we were, I was giving an example of scarecrow. It‟s only because of a cause and condition, that a person see a scarecrow as a human. Other than that…you cannot hear? Can you hear? It‟s better? I‟ve never have a good karmic connection with producers of mike. I was talking about the Tibetan word “shenpa”. “Shenpa” connotations – there is an element of stickiness. And worse than stickiness, is something, eh; it is a totally misunderstood mental factor.
The example I was bringing this morning, looking at a scarecrow and due to cause and condition, you see this scarecrow as a human. But that‟s not even one single element within the scarecrow that can be remotely, that can be remotely misunderstood as a human. But when the cause and conditions are gathered, this kind of perception can appear, but not only the perception, as time goes by, we develop attachment. And we really develop this kind of strong attachment.
And attachment, attachment or “shenpa”, therefore is always being misled. In other words, it‟s never seeing the truth. It‟s always looking at something totally false and thinking it is something other than the false. So it is bound to give us disappointment. This morning we talk about “,༈ “, that if you have attachment to this life, you are not a practitioner. You are not a spiritual practitioner. I like to add a little bit more on that one. From the worldly point of view, so-called spiritual methods, spiritual path is totally useless. You understand? So in fact the question, “What is the purpose of life?” – is a very, very confusing question, to be asked to a Buddhist, especially a Mahayana.
This longing to be useful, and to be useful, is very dangerous from the Mahayana‟s point of view. It’s anything that is worldly. Okay, from the point of the worldly, – everything that is spiritual has to be useless. If it is at most useless, then this means that it is quite close to spiritual. For instance, the spiritual – I want to tell you this because the rise, the rise of spiritual materialism, emerged by trying to make the spiritual path as a useful product or a useful thing. Ah, my fellow Tibetans might not like me to say this, but when I went to Sri Lanka, there is something that they do which is very inspiring to me. I went to Sri Lanka as a tourist – incognito. So there‟s something wonderful.
First thing, they lead the visitor, is a, when you go to a Buddhist temple, the first thing they lead you to a holy object is a bodhi tree. A bodhi tree. And it makes sense because bodhi tree is to represent or to symbolize, or at least to remind us what has happened two thousand five hundred years ago, so-called enlightenment. That is very beautiful. Now if you don’t have enough of sightseeing, then they take you to, the next thing they take you to is a stupa. From the worldly point of view, stupa is very useless. That’s no toilet inside. There’s no bedroom. This is just a mound of, you know, like stones, yet it represents the mind of the Buddha, so on and so forth. Now if you really want more, then they take you to a temple, with all the paraphernalia, you know, the sitting room, you know, the best place to sit, shade – to protect you from the sun, the rain – all that usefulness. This is actually much highlighted by the Kadampa people also.
They long, they pray to be out-casted from the human society. They long and they pray to be found by the stray dog. Such kind of sayings exists in the Kadampa tradition. (Tibetan phrase) So abandoning the attachment to this life has a lot to do with how much we are prepared to be useless. From the worldly point of view, eh – from the worldly point of view, if our great masters such as Naropa and Tilopa, if they come today, most probably we will not open the door for them, because they don‟t look that useful. They‟re a little smelly, probably a lot. They don‟t abide by social norms. They, you know, they‟re not what we, conventional people, think, ah – respectable.
Now, the next stanza or the next line – “If you have attachment to samsara, you do not have renunciation” – this is covering a very big subject. It‟s actually covering up to, these two lines actually cover the whole Shravakayana path. So, in a way, this whole line, one shloka, actually covers the whole Shravakayana, Pratyekayana and the Mahayana – so the three vehicles, especially the second one. (Tibetan phrase). Many lamas of the past have said, “No one wants to suffer, nobody wants to have suffering, but very few people don’t want samsara. There‟s a difference, you know, here. Not wanting the suffering and not wanting the samsara, is different. Most of the people who don‟t want to suffer – they cling on to samsara with the strongest grip. In fact many of so-called philosophers say, it is a bit like this.
The samsara that we think we don‟t want, we as dharma practitioner, okay, dharma practitioner – the samsara that we think we don‟t want is only an idea of samsara. For example fake samsara, the samsara that you read in the books like, you know, the “Jewel Ornament of Gampopa” or “Words of My Perfect Teacher” – hell, burning, mincing, roasting, you know, all that kind of samsara. So the samsara that we don‟t want is a “idea” samsara. Similarly the nirvana that we are all thinking of wanting is also a fake, and example of “idea” nirvana. Actually, the real nirvana, no one wants. Very few want, as I was telling you this morning.
Real nirvana – I don’t think anybody wants these days. Real nirvana, if you really, even get close to the real nirvana, it is very scary. Your life will be so boring there, from the worldly point of view, from the worldly point of view. Yah, from the worldly point of view it would be so boring. If you attain Nirvana, all notion of family, relatives. foe, time, space, dualistic distinctions, have all disappeared. If there is no more dualistic distinctions – imagine, from the worldly point of view, from the samsaric point of view, from the dualistic point of view, how can we even have fun? How can we expect? How can we eagerly wait for the next application – to be downloaded? How can we eagerly wait for this exciting new film, about coming this spring in the theatre near you.
None of this exists because none of this, you know – the whole dualistic distinctions have dissolved. You cannot also think about the past, like those good old days. When we were young, when we were roaming round the streets of Seattle, in Pike Street, you know, like eh – drinking and making merry, or I don‟t know. Eh, all of that doesn‟t exist. Past is gone. You cannot make future plans. Part of the big fun that we have is making future plans, isn‟t it? All of this doesn‟t exist. So how much do we really want? This is why there is actually two sets of samsara and two sets of nirvana – the fake nirvana and the fake samsara, and the real samsara and the real nirvana.
So the real samsara, of course, we never want to get rid of; we really love to have it. The fake samsara is what we are trying to get rid of. Fake nirvana – we are kind of boasting to other people for wanting a fake nirvana. Real Nirvana – we are not even thinking, you know, of getting close to it. To stick, you know, sticking with the actual stanzas, (Tibetan phrase), you might want ask this question:” Why distinguish between this life and samsara?” You know, there is four, right? If you have attachment to this life, you are not a dharma practitioner. If you have attachment to samsara, you have no renunciation mind. Isn‟t our so-called this life also samsara? Yes, but here we are talking about the gradual path. So it is possible that some of us may be so tired with this life. It is possible that some of us completely be revolted with so-called this life, this glory, this fame, – all this, all this samsaric existence. It is possible.
But some of this people may still be longing for higher rebirth, such as being reborn in heaven; and this is what need to be clarified here. Just because you don‟t have attachment to this life, does not mean you have no attachment to samsara. You could still be longing for higher rebirth such as god realm. And as I was saying, this is really, this is covering a lot. Let me give you some practical advice. Maybe, not advice – example. I can‟t give you advice. Example. Probably that‟s something I can do. Mm…This is a phenomenon that has happening for many centuries and it is still happening.
The second line portrays something that is happening these days quite a lot. By which I mean this trend, this fashion of many people wanting to meditate. This kind of, you know, I should be encouraging that – you know it‟s good. Contemplation is a very, very, you know, important wealth. I think that it could help the world if there is more contemplation. But this time we are talking strictly from the Buddhist point of view.
So, from the Buddhist point of view, from the Mahayana point of view. all that yoga and all these stress-free related meditation are absolutely not good. Because why? They are all wanting – this is nothing to do with not wanting to be in samsara. In fact the five-star resort meditation class are purely so that they can be in samsara much more. The Buddhist corporate, I mean, the corporate business-people CEOs – they go for retreat for five days. And then, of course, when you sit and sit and meditate, you get some kind of relaxation. You get free from stress – all so that they can be stressful and work and be mean, and be selfish and be destructive to the world. So this is the kind of thing we are talking here. Even the meditation that we do is not necessarily aimed at destroying attachment to samsara.
Actually I tell you, you know, maybe I’m wrong here, but some of the vipassana course that is going on, that I‟ve been hearing, that I‟ve been sort of interrogating, There are lots, there are very; it‟s too much concentrated on working with the stress. I’m worried about this. Just because, you know, my Buddhist patriotism is coming out. I’m worried because Buddhism get so narrowed down to… Buddhism, yes, something to do with vegetarian, used to be; it‟s like that; something to do with smiling and peaceful guy walking up and down; and then a little bit of non-violence. This is all good, this is all good, this is… I cannot dispute that. That’s why it is dangerous. I cannot dispute that because they are all real. Such good thing that‟s happening, But now, the most dangerous thing is all of this contemplation and vipassana, and all this sitting, and all this is hijacking Buddhist wisdom. And this is very dangerous.
Buddha does not even care how much you can sit. You can put your butts on that cushion until it rots, but if the root of the samsara is not destroyed, it‟s absolutely useless. If you can dance in some real party for whole night, but with that, if you could really still your emotions and really make your evil really unsettling, that is much, much better than nine days of vipassana. Because that is the whole point. So I want to make a point – to be stress-free is not the aim. First of all, I should tell you, I think it was a few years ago, there was this saying that I heard that Buddhist are the happiest people, Buddhist are something like that. Very dangerous this thing, very dangerous; unless the happiness is another term for, you know, dualistic- free kind of happiness. Just this happiness is not what Buddhism is aiming for. Chandrakirti said this again and again and again. In Madhyamakāvatāra he said: “Idiots, idiots – now this is all my bad translation, so please – that idiots do all kinds of bad things and go to hell. Idiots do all kinds of good things and go to heaven. Both are idiot. Only the wise one will try to go beyond bad and good. And some sense of samsara and nirvana, heaven and hell. Very important. This really encompasses a lot of subjects here. Morality and other issue; ethics and morality. Ethics and morality is not – is only a secondary point in Buddhism. It is very important that you know.
(Tibetan phrase) This was what Shantideva said: “All these methods, such as ethics, morality, generosity, patience, diligence – all of these are taught by the Buddha, only in conjunction with the wisdom. If there is no wisdom, none of this is a necessity. In fact, all of these are cause of pain. Morality is a pain. Ethics is a pain. They cleared pain, eventually, probably not for a few days. And they actually cleared pride. This is very important that you know because otherwise you have so much paranoia, that even to the extent of where the cigar went, if you recall.
How can you judge ability of a person, whether he could be a president or not just from a simple innocent-looking cigar – where it went on not? All this is because morality and ethics, that has no wisdom, has caused so much, you know, paranoia and kind of …eh. Yes, there is a lot of Buddhist phrases like that, those which have no wisdom. This is very important. I am still talking about the second line, by the way. I haven‟t got, I haven‟t, I didn‟t go astray. If you can recall the example that I gave this morning – how to talk to somebody who has never tasted salt. How to introduce, explain how the salt tastes like? And the only way do this is to by giving thing that is not salt. That’s what happening here.
If you have attachment to this life, you are not a dharma practitioner. You‟re basically a worldly, materialistic person. If you are – if you have attachment to samsara, like morally perfect, generous person, patient – very, very patient. He or she‟s very patient. He or she‟s very, very diligent. But all this generosity, patience, and discipline – all done without, I mean, with attachment to fame, gain, comfort, attention, fear of criticism – you have not, you don’t have renunciation mind. There‟s so many examples like this but – somehow this afternoon all the examples I’m thinking, like all kind of personal; that kind, that could be embarrassing.
I know I should not feel embarrassed because even feeling embarrassed, that means that I have something to lose. And, come to think of it, the something that I am afraid of losing is something very worldly. But you know, this is so typical. We have this Mahayana excuse. All for the sake of all sentient beings, I can wear a Rolex watch. For the sake of beings, other people I can drive – I don’t know – Humvee? Especially, Rinpoches like myself. You should be thanking yourself for not being responsible for Rinpoche because you are, you really – eh, you are not attracting karmic debts.
You don‟t have to – you know, hypocrisy, that we have, I should not be saying we – I am going through; you don‟t have to have. And that hypocrisy and the genuineness – genuine concern for other people – they are, they‟re so close. So, so, so close. Am I really driving the Humvee for the sake of all sentient beings? I could. Actually, one of my root teachers, spent many of his years here in Seattle – Dezhung Rinpoche. Khabje Dezhung Rinpoche. I studied a lot from him. I received almost all the Mahakala teachings, Vajrayogini teachings and also many Sakya teachings I received from him. And he used to actually – he is a great scholar, he is one of those very rare accomplished beings who actually taught, I heard, Tibetan alphabet in George – the Washington University? Such is the merit of sentient beings.
I don’t how to put it. Anyway, he used to tell me, because I told him once, you know, what does he think I should do. Should I just go into retreat? Actually, I told him, because that time Khabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dezhung Rinpoche were together, some kind of picnic, in Nepal, in a park called Godawari, it‟s a park, and there they were sitting quite leisurely. Because both of them are students of Chemchok Kunga Lodro,- they have so much to catch up, so to speak. Because, Dezhung Rinpoche, after many years in Seattle, he came to India. So in between, I asked both of them – what should I, you know, I really want to, you know, maybe do like three-year retreat, or…I don‟t know why I asked that. I’m sure I didn‟t mean it. Anyway I talked about doing a long term retreat. After their compassion, I am sure they know what I‟m really thinking, but you know, they are so compassionate and skilful, they sort of, you know – their skilful answer was so great.
Both of them, almost like, as if they were speaking together, said that: “No, no, you know, you should wear the brightest – you know, I was talking more about, you know, I don‟t want to, you know, I don’t like crowd, I can’t handle crowd, I feel nervous, I don‟t know how to handle crowd, I don‟t like people. You know, like I would rather, you know, hide somewhere in a corner, in a quiet place. And they were jokingly telling me that I should wear the brightest, I should make lots of loud noise. And then Dezhung Rinpoche said that when he was here in Seattle, every morning he goes to, he goes to University and he takes bus. And there he would chant “OM MANI PEME HUNG” loudly. And he told Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche that – just so that he cleared the karmic connection with whoever hears him.
You see, easily I could think why not? Let‟s get a Humvee, paint solid gold, have a glaring, what you call it, boom-box and then drive through the town. But these are very dangerous. If you really, really do that, if I really do that, I should not enjoy the ride of Humvee even for one moment. Every moment personally I should not feel the comfort. Then might there is a chance that it‟s benefiting others. If I begin to feel kind of pompous, what do you call it, kind of very big, kind of very, like, eh – if it is kind of helping my importance, then, then, then, it‟s back to the second one. Then it‟s not really, it‟s really nothing do with, eh, no attaching to samsara. Then it is back to, again, actually the third one in this case. But so what I’m saying is – it‟s difficult not to be attached to this life. Even more difficult to be attached – it‟s difficult not to be attached to samsara.
The next one – (Tibetan phrase). We‟ll explain further. But before that I want to visit the next, I mean, the last stanza again, because that is the core – that is the key to all the other paths. If we lose that, then we have no path. Right view. Okay, for those who are studying Buddhism, more academically it might help a little bit. So let me come this through more intellectual angle. In between, we could also try to reflect towards the practice that we do every day – that meditation. Because the view, should we all revisit – in fact a mundane simple act of burning an incense, ideally should be accompanied with the right view.
And then I say right view, I’m not talking about with the right motivation of burning this incense for the sake of all sentient beings, may whoever smell of this incense, may all achieve enlightenment – not just that, not only on the aspiration level. But even on the absolute level, as you burn the incense, at least in the beginning, a practitioner must have this, must have this, eh, at least kind some kind of acknowledgement that incense, the person who is burning, the act of burning the incense, the object of offering such as buddhas and bodhisattvas – they are all equally illusion. Equally as illusion as; illusory as rainbow. Even the object of offering, the buddhas and bodhisattvas, even they are illusory.
But of course, the word “illusory” may be deceiving you, some of you; those who are already used to it, maybe you are quite comfortable with it. But illusory does not necessarily mean – it is not a negation, negation word. Just because it is an illusion, it isn‟t, we are not despising it basically. Illusion is all we have. And illusion is what is driving us. So this is why the right view is important. But anyway as I said earlier, let‟s come to the angle of more like academic, more intellectual side. It is believed, I think actually this sutra is the Dasabhumi Sutra. Yes, Dasabhumika Sutra.
In there, there is a mention of how Buddha taught. And the way Buddha taught is infinite, because actually, only the Buddha is the perfect teacher. Now this is not a theistic praise. I‟ll give you the example. Someone like me today, if I am teaching you – by the way, right now what I’m doing is not really considered teaching. Just parroting, and just like, you know plagiarising from here and there, you know, putting things up together and throwing up, throwing it, that‟s all. But meaning, guiding people, leading people, until you are Buddha, we can only generalise. Someone like me, I am definitely generalising. As you reach, as you become better and better, I mean in a sense of, as you become accomplished – the first bhumi, second bhumi, third bhumi – all the bodhisattva stages, then of course you generalise less and less and less. So what do you mean, what do I mean by generalisation? For instance, if I’m the Buddha and if you come here for guidance and you are sitting here and you ask me for guidance – it doesn‟t matter what.
Because I’m the knower of the three times, or I don’t have the dualistic distinction of time, I will know exactly what kind of mood you are in, what kind of constitute, constituency? – constitution you are in, what kind of, what food you just ate, what kind of argument you had, what kind of excitement you’re waiting for the next, you know, after this – all these I will know. So based on that I will know what to teach, or not teach. It doesn‟t matter, you know. This is how precise. So this is why only and only an omniscient being is the best teacher. Other than that, more or less, all the bodhisattvas – they generalise, and us, of course, we generalise.
So the example of generalisation is all these yanas – you know, Mahayana Shravakayana. This is actually a big chunk of generalisation, actually. It is a bit like – Oh, I have a guest and he’s Chinese. Oh well, let‟s get a noodle, as if all the Chinese like noodles. I have a French, oh, red wine, why not or something like that. American, hamburger – anything that will open their mouths as wide as possible. Even chewing gum, you know, will, will suffice. Like that. If you, so that – it works. It‟s a wild guess, but it‟s a very educated and also now you will know why the lineage is important. Lineage and the tradition. Because the “guess job” are very well preserved by the lineage holders. We know as we are not an omniscient being, we can‟t deal precisely. If you can deal each and every being precisely, lineage is absolutely no need. Since we need kind of guess job, this guess job has to be really well tested, preserved and well, sort of, what do you call it, eh, well preserved and tested; eh, tried, you know, that is important. So this is why the lineage becomes important. Okay, this is, I just want to tell you this first.
But anyway in the Dasabhumika Sutra, it is said the Buddha taught many, many, many, many ways; so many ways. In another sutra it is said that even when the Buddha cough, four people heard his coughing and four people heard different things. A doctor heard something. I am sure he heard something like Buddha is sick or something like that. Eh, an old lady heard something and she got the benefit – of, you know, seeing the truth and all of this. There‟re many, many examples like this. Buddha taught many different ways. Out of this, in one occasion, Buddha taught (Tibetan phrase), which is twenty different kinds of way of enlightenment. He taught that – twenty different. Okay. And this twenty different is things like skye ba med pa, (Tibetan terms) – you know, all that. There is a list.
You can find it in the sutras. Anyway, the twenty, twenty different categories – out of this twenty different categories, one, actually the first one, skye ba med pa – how do you translate that – non-arising, non-arising? Non-arising is one word, non-arising is what is being taught by Nagajuna and the gang. This is what all this sunyata business, emptiness and all of that. So now imagine how the Buddha‟s teaching can really go so fast, so, so, so fast. And I like to, since there‟s some Sakyapa people here, I want to tease them a little bit. In certain sutras, in one Sutra, Buddha said this to a monk, “So what do think, holy monk, – (now I am going just) – if someone thinks all compound things are impermanent, all emotions are pain, all, what is it, everything has no inherently existing nature, nirvana is peace or extreme-less, – do you think he‟s doing the right thing?” This is what Buddha asked. And I think the monk‟s reply was “I don’t know”. “What do you think?” asked the Buddha, “I don‟t know. Can you please answer me this?” Buddha said “Imagine this – you gather all the garbage in the city, pile up in one position, and then you think this is all precious jewels – do you think you are doing the right thing?”
The monk said, “Of course not. He is hallucinating, he is making belief, you know, he is completely wrong”. Buddha said, “Exactly. That’s, that‟s exactly same as this. If somebody thinks all compound things are impermanent, all emotions are pain, all, everything have no inherently existence nature, nirvana is extreme-less – this kind of monk who thinks this way – they are as idiot as someone who thinks all garbage is jewels”.
I just want to present you this because Buddha has, his view, and his vision and his teaching is not fixed in one. It‟s just like, at the same time, it‟s not like, whoever come, you know it is not like entertainer – whoever wants to hear something, he says that‟s not. Longchepa said (Tibetan phrase) all his teachings are actually connected, It looks contradictory, but actually not. It‟s all paradoxical. Anyway the whole purpose of the Buddha‟s teaching is pulling the rug out of your feet, just as you are beginning to settle down on the rug.
Okay, Buddha with the begging bowl, bare feet, thirteen Golden, you know, all of that, just as you about to settle down with that kind of notion of the Buddha, he pulls the rug out of your feet; with earring, consorts, blue colour, all this Sambhogakaya business, which we don‟t want to talk about. I don’t know why we end, we end up, end up always going there. Anyway, the non-arising, that one word, has all this Madhyamika sutras and the shastras. I just want to tell that what we are going round and round is one fraction, the smallest fraction of the Buddha‟s teaching. Non-arising. And this, ( ) is very well connected to that teaching of non-arising. Why not, why non-arising? What is the special interest in non-arising? How about non-abiding, and non – (what is it?) – non-cessation, and non – all of that, other nineteen other subjects? Why, why don‟t we choose some, you know, more positive thinking? Why, why, why, a negation? Non-arising. There‟s a reason for that.
This is more for the intellectual academics, those who wish to sort of. There is a good reason for you to know that, because – I really want you to know, especially the younger generation, young Buddhist – that Buddhism is really a, totally its own civilization, is really, really – it‟s not just a survival kit designed for a certain location in Asia. It’s not that. It‟s really, really, you know, all pervasive. This is why in Buddhism you will not find like “how to get married” Sutra. You know, there‟s none. Imagine how would you do that? As a Buddhist you have to be truthful.
Here is a man and woman, and you said, “Oh well, you are about to get married but you know what, everything is impermanent. You might get divorced, you know, stuff like that. And you know, if you are loving each other, you know what that is? That is actually pain. Should we say that? So actually Buddhism is not culturally-bound survival kit, by which I am saying a lot. Survival kit – many, many religions I think is a survival kit – how to protect their women, how to protect their faith from the dust, so and so forth. I am not going to speak more on this. I will be politically incorrect here, if I speak more. But this happens a lot so it‟s not like this. Okay, why non-arising?
Okay. We are talking about attachment, remember attachment. Four attachment. To get rid of four attachment – “zhen pa”. When we talk about attachment, obviously, we are talking about an object to which you are attached to. Isn’t it? The first one is this life. Second one is the samsara. Third one is yourself. Fourth one – much more sophisticated attachment. Attached to what? So generally a thing – anything. It could be God. It could be anything I think. Anything, you know any kind of thing.
A thing is analysed in Buddhism …a thing is analysed in Buddhism with the analytical tool of all kinds. But let‟s begin with a thing must have three stages. (Tibetan phrase), Birth, Genesis; (Tibetan phrase) Abiding; or (Tibetan phrase) Exhaustion. And exhaustion. If a thing does not have these three things, then it is not a thing. You understand. Then it is like it‟s not a thing then. It has to have the manufacturing situation, you know, abiding and expiry kind of thing. You understand – a thing. Everything is like this. You and I, birthdays, the birth, the death and now.
All compounded phenomena have these three qualities, these three attributes. Out of this three we choose to talk about the first one. And the reason is, out of this three, human beings are traditionally more interested in, “Where did we all come from?” This is why all this, you know, in the beginning so and so came and he did this and he did that. The original, manufacturing date, manufacturing place, its authenticity – all of those happen to become an important issue. So this is why where it came from is so important. And here actually I, I thought about this.
I think you already know the answer. Have you ever managed to answer this question? Which one came first? Chicken or the egg? Did you? Exactly. This is what Buddha’s teaching. Not only chicken and egg. Everything is like chicken and egg. We don‟t know which one comes first, so therefore you cannot pinpoint a first ever Genesis.
There is no such thing. There is no such thing as a first ever arising because all cause and conditions are like chicken and egg. Which one comes first we don’t know. Of course this present egg comes from this present chicken, this much we know. But we are talking about Genesis. We are talking about the original cause. So this is why Buddhists are never interested in the original cause or the original end or stuff like that. Because they are all dependent arising. Nothing is solidly, independently existing in the beginning or now or later.
So this is why grasping that something exists independent from any other thing is wrong. That is the theory that is established through the analysis. Okay, if the practitioners, the yogis here are getting bored with this – all the academic and intellectual stuff – how do we do this in the practice? The method is simple. It‟s actually too simple that you will not be able to do it. You know what is that, the quintessence of the Buddhist method? It is to do nothing. Do you know that? Really, this I am not making it up. This is written in every text. In fact some of the Nyingmapas – the titles of their books are like “Ma bsgoms par sangs rgya ba”. “Ma bsgoms” means non-meditation, right, non-meditation, right? Buddhahood without meditation. Some might think that it is kind of like going out a bit too much kind of that, you know, title.
But is not, it is not. Nothing – doing nothing. Of course, doing nothing like. Okay, but what is the really doing mean? What do you mean by doing nothing? Nothing like not eat, not drink, not prostrations, no reading, no mantras. Are we talking about? Actually not. Those are not even considered doing. Those are, even though they are doing that kind of, they are a shadow of doing. They don‟t really harm you so much, anyway What is the real doing? Grasping. That is the real doer and the doing. Grasping. Like the honey, like the glue, we grasp. Sticky, you know, sticky? Wherever we go we leave our traces – just kind of embarrassing. Like we – the grasping. And when I say grasping, here on the fourth line, I’m not only talking about the grasping “Wow, what a beauty”, you know, that kind of grasping. That’s already a shadow of the shadow of the shadow. That‟s already cause That‟s already a cause.
Basically any form of distraction, the moment you are distracted, you are grasped, you are already doing the grasping. The moment you are distracted, including – “Would I be distracted? Oh, oh, I’m getting distracted”. You were already distracted to the fear of distraction. This is what Jigme Lingpa said (Tibetan phrase) – “It is important not to get distracted but I have seen more people who are ebbing their life away with the fear of getting distracted”. So we are talking, really, sort of very high level kind of technique here. So okay then, then, okay, then, next question, okay. I’m not supposed to distract.
Wow, that‟s difficult. I can see why distraction is so delusional. Distraction leads you to delusion. This I can see. But how can I just, how can I even begin doing that? And even if I begin to do that, how can I maintain that? Ah, for this, Shantideva said, (Tibetan phrase), loosely if I translate (Tibetan phrase) – “Which, the base of shamatha, having a good base of shamatha, vipassana alone will destroy the root of the emotion. Therefore, first, the meditator must establish a stable shamatha.
To do that, that (Tibetan phrase) but in order to establish this strong stable shamatha, first you have to tone down at least your attachment to this life, samsara, all of that. That’s why all this renunciation, ALL this, all this, all this is a necessity. Yes the actuality is very simple, doing nothing, not grasping, it makes kind of intellectual sense but your habits is always going to invade and bog you down. So basically all this paraphernalia of Buddhist practices to really wrestling with the habit. You have to work with this habit. This is why all this happens to be necessary.
This is I think enough for the academic, for the Madhyamika point of view of the last stanza, I mean the last line. If you have any questions, maybe this is a lttle intellectual. If you have questions, you can ask me now, if not, I‟ll just go through. Any questions? You have question? Okay. Question: Thank you very much Rinpoche. Your teachings have been very helpful and we‟re so happy to have you here. Eh, I was thinking of making a request that you come to us already since I have a chance. On last night Rinpoche‟s teaching, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the chicken and egg process regarding shamatha and its relationship to freedom from attachment.
You were just discussing the way in which if you can cultivate some freedom from attachment, then you can begin to, eh, relax your mind and, eh, what we might call practice of shamatha meditation. But often I think a lot of American Buddhists find that they only begin to understand when they do a little bit of shamatha meditation first. And eh, I don‟t know whether there is a particular aspect that I would like you to clarify, but I was just wondering if you could talk a little more about how that interplay works between… Rinpoche: Actually it may be possible. I would not oppose that. Mm, I think letting someone settle down, their emotions, their thoughts with shamatha might be helpful; and then instead of telling our students to sort of settle with that – “I think that is the final goal”.
I think the teacher – it‟s important for the teacher to actually then stir this calm abiding shamatha with vipassana. You see the thing is this. Eh, shamatha and vipassana, I don‟t know whether you realize this, Shamatha and vipassana is a dicho – dichotomy? What do you call it? (“Dichotomy”, from audience) Yes it is a dichotomy. As much as we need shamatha for vipassana, do you realize that they are actually, “enemy” maybe too strong a word, but they, they are designed to, eh, cancel each other.
So after a fair amount of shamatha and relaxation, it is important for the teacher to have this bravery, this courage to bring the vipassana information. And vipassana is not necessarily, you know, sitting like this. Vipassana could be what we have been doing all day. It could be hearing and contemplation. Of course – meditation. But vipassana is what‟s happening. This is also vipassana.
If you consider, if you have the right motivation in the beginning, answering questions – really, you know, like basically unsettling the emotion, and the ego, and its hideout, is already vipassana. Student: Thank you, Rinpoche. Rinpoche: Okay. Any other question?
Question: Thank you, Rinpoche. How to apply the notion of going beyond good and bad in daily life? Especially that you mentioned morals and ethics are secondary?
Rinpoche: Oh, at the moment, better not.
Rinpoche: If you are a beginner, if you are a beginner, meaning – there is a way to test this. Skipping the lunch is one way. The other way is you know like – put a plate of shit and a plate of good food and see whether you have any preferences.
Rinpoche: But having said this, I don’t you to think that is a faraway thing. Never it‟s far away. It could happen this evening. It could happen, you know, I mean, you know, your friend will come back home and then they find you with a plate of shit and food. This could be happening today.
Right now, as a beginner bodhisattva, our aim is to aspire for that. To long for that. Long for being able to eat the shit and the food without any preference. That’s what we should be longing for. This is important – the longing. The longing for un-longing the long-able. Student: Thank you, Rinpoche. Rinpoche: Because, what it does – this longing – do you know – this is good. I want to extend this a little bit. This longing – longing for un-long able. The purpose of this longing is it cancels, it really works with all these unnecessary samsaric longing. You understand? It is a trick. Basically, partly, it is a trick. It is. So it‟s not like, you know, it‟s not like “Hey, you know, you shouldn‟t want this, because I will give you this”. It‟s not like that. Buddha is not – what Buddha is saying is, “Actually you should not want this because I have nothing to give you actually”. It‟s not like you should not, you know, but the thing is we know, you and I know, by longing this it‟s going to give you pain.
But what are you longing for? Remember, I said it boils down to wanting to be happy. And for us it‟s the liberation – liberation from dualistic distinctions. And it‟s not like the lure is some kind of dualistic birthday cake or something like that. It‟s not like that. There is no; of course, there are, out of the skilful means of the past lamas and the bodhisattvas, there are concepts like Sukhavati, pure realm. Even in a school, a school in Japan, I think Pure Land Sect or the School – wonderful. It is important. This is a bit like a carrot for the donkeys. It‟s important. This is like enlightenment, nirvana, Sukhavati, pure realm, eh, pure land – all this is like a carrot. Okay. And by the time you get close you know, you become, you will not normally be a donkey. So carrot is useless. Anything else?
To be Continued
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