NGONDRO RETREAT (1)



PRELIMINARY PRACTICES (NGONDRO) OF
THE PROFOUND FIVE-FOLD PATH OF MAHAMUDRA 
WITH KHENPO SAMDUP RINPOCHE





Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche gave the transmission and instructions for the Preliminary Practices (Ngondro) of the Five-fold Mahamudra. Engaging in this series of practices purifies the mind of negativity and gathers the accumulations of merit and wisdom. This purification process creates receptivity to the more subtle methods of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.






Ngondro Retreat Jan 20, 2024 with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche

Ngondro Retreat Jan 21, 2024 with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche



*Please always treat any Dharma text with respect. This is good practice. Thank you.




Introduction


Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening Everyone. [International Sangha]

So today I’m sharing what is called, The Excellent Path to Enlightenment (Practice of the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra). So this Ngondro teaching is, the Preliminaries, followed by the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra.

His Holiness [Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche] shared The Five-fold Path of Mahamudra, in more detail last week. So, if you have that teaching, and [then following on from that], today you are going to receive this Ngondro. It is a preliminary practice, (the practices are explained clearly). So then last week his Holiness shared the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra. This teaching [today] is focused more on the first part, of the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra. (The Five-fold Path of Mahamudra has five parts, 1. Refuge and Bodhicitta, 2. Deity Yoga, 3. Guru Yoga, 4. Mahamudra Meditation, and 5. Dedication of Merit).

At the beginning of the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra, the first part of the preliminaries is the reflection on the four outer (or common preliminaries). The Preliminary Practices have three different levels, [there are three kinds of Preliminaries]. There are the 1. Four Outer, (or Common Preliminaries). Then there are the 2. Inner (or Uncommon) Preliminaries, and then there are the 3. Special Preliminaries, (and there are three of those). This teaching has the three of them [the three different levels] together.

Of course when we share the teaching we have to do it step by step. So first, move through the basic (or outer, common) preliminary practices. Then into the uncommon, (or inner) preliminary practices, and then third step, is to go to the special preliminary practices. But when we practice, the three of these are brought together inseparably, (so cannot be separate). (So of course, when we practice the Five-fold Path Mahamudra we have to bring these practices together (oneness). When we share the teaching, when you study, (relative level), these five are step by step, separate. But in the practice – in the nature of rigpa state (ultimate nature), these practices are one.



PRELIMINARY PRACTICES WITH MAHAMUDRA


Today we are sharing this sadhana which has been composed by Garchen Rinpoche. There are many different preliminary practices sadhanas. So in this one [sadhana], Garchen Rinpoche’s focus is more for Mahamudra. (The preliminary practices are joined together with Mahamudra). And he put many of his own practices (experience) in here. So we go through these one by one. Look to the contents page (page 1). Here is says, ‘Refuge and Bodhicitta’, ‘The Four Immeasurables’, ‘Dorje Chang Wang’, the ‘Seven-Limb Prayer’. So these are all beginning, opening prayers. [We set up and maintain connection (communication) with Enlightened energy of Realised beings, through the practices and so forth, (transformational practices of our body and speech and mind]. Then, ‘Sanskrit Alphabet Mantra And The Mantra of Interdependent Origination’, so this is speech blessing. (This helps to bring blessing to our speech). Before going to preliminary practices, we have to create speech blessing, and purify speech obscuration, that is the reason for the Vajrasattva ‘100 Syllable Mantra‘. Then ‘Increasing Mantras and Mala Blessing Mantra’.

So the Preliminary Practices, we have to chant many mantras, (many content prayers). So that is the reason we need to chant this Increasing Mantra and also blessing our mala. When we practice this preliminary practice we have to use the mala. Then ‘Supplication to Guru’, (receive the blessing), ‘Arousing Bodhicitta (change mind intentions). First ‘The Four Common Outer Preliminaries (Preliminary Practice), so that is: 1. Cultivate [reflection on] The Difficulty of Finding a Precious Human Body, 2. Cultivate [reflection on] Death and Impermanence, 3. Cultivate [reflection on] Karma – Cause and Effect, 4. Cultivate [reflection on] Defects of Samsara. (So those four are called the First, Four Common Outer Preliminaries Practice).



UNCOMMON PRELIMINARY PRACTICES


Then, ‘The First Uncommon Preliminary [practice] – Taking Refuge’. Uncommon [Preliminary] is followed by the Vajrayana tradition. So that has:
1. ‘Taking Refuge’, this prayer is chanted 100,000 times. [Prostrations 100,000]
2. Second, ‘The Method to Purify Negativities and Obscurations Is The Practice of Vajrasattva’. So the second practice is Vajrasattva, Vajrasattva is confession, purification. [100,000 times]. So we purify our negative karma.
3. Third is ‘The Mandala Offerings – The Method For Gathering The Accumulations’. So, create an Accumulation of Merit, then ‘Visualising the Field of Accumulation’. [100,000 times]
4. The Fourth, The Practice of Guru Yoga to Instill Blessings In The Mind. [100,000 times]
5. ‘The Special Preliminaries [practice] Of Cultivating Love, Compassion, And Bodhicitta’. (The three of them together are called Special Preliminary Practices).
So then, that is three:
i. Outer level (Common Preliminaries) practices (x4),
ii. Uncommon Vajrayana Preliminary Practices (x4), and,
iii. Special Preliminary Practices (x3).
Then, ‘Sanskrit Alphabet Mantra And The Mantra of Interdependent Origination,’
‘100 Mantra,’
‘Prayer to be Reborn in Sukhavati’ […]
‘Dedication’, and
‘Long Life Prayers’.




[Inserted section].

TWO ANALOGIES TO DESCRIBE NGONDRO

The first analogy: Ngondro is like a building’s foundation. We can only build 100 stories of a building if the foundation underneath the ground was prepared for such a height. Similarly, if we want to practice Buddhist Tantras to liberate us within one life, Ngondro serves as this ‘unseen’ foundation hidden under the ground.

The second analogy: We, Samsaric beings, are like very wet firewood. The sun is the Buddha’s compassion. The magnifying glass is the teacher and the higher Buddhist teachings.

The sun’s rays, the Buddha’s compassion, reaches every point of the earth. However, we, the very wet firewood, cannot be warmed by the sun’s rays. Why? The wetness symbolizes the mind that is too immersed in the attachments towards Samsara.

Ngondro is like drying this firewood. The drier the firewood, the more the sun’s rays, or the Buddha’s compassion, can burn the wood. When the firewood catches fire, this is to be enveloped in the Buddha’s wisdom.

Ngondro is the condensed theory and practice of the entire Buddhism.

Ngondro is already a complete path on its own. It has Taking Refuge, Bodhicitta, and receiving the Buddha’s lineage and blessing. Ngondro, we can say, is the condensed theory and practice of the entire Buddhism.


Ref: The Preliminary Practice: Ngondro (advanced) – Tibetan Buddhism Manila (palyulph.org)






So now go to page 3. So page 3 we do every single day (chanting).


1. Refuge and Bodhicitta (p 3)

Taking Refuge to Buddha (Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), and then we create mind generation, (change our intention), so that is page 3.

2. The Four Immeasurables (p.4-5)

And then go to page 4. Page 4 is called ‘The Four Immeasurables’. So we create Immeasurable love [loving-kindness], compassion, equanimity and joy, – so this is called The Four Immeasurable Practices. [Buddhism emphasizes the cultivation of four “sublime” or “noble” attitudes toward all beings: loving-kindness (friendliness), compassion (willing to cease suffering), appreciative joy (feeling happy for others), and equanimity (calm based on wisdom). These are known as the “four immeasurables”].

3. Dorje Chang Wang (p. 6)

Then go to the next, p.6. Page 6 is Supplication to the Lineage Gurus, (supplicating to Gurus). [It is a very short supplication]. Sometimes we use this supplication as Offering for Food [Food Offering Prayer]. Sometimes before the teaching this is shared, the teachers have to chant these prayers.

Dorje Chang Wang

DOR JE CHANG WANG TI LE NA RO DANG/ MAR ME DAG PO
PAG DRU JIG TEN GON/ KA DRIN SUM DEN TSA WÜ LAME
SHAB/ TSA GYUR LA MA YI DAM CHO SUNG LA/
SOL WA DEB SO DAG JU JEN GYI LOB/
I beseech the great Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa,
Phagmodrupa, Lord Jigten Sumgon, at the feet of the Root Guru, who
possesses the three ways of kindness and all the Root Gurus and spiritual
masters of the lineage, the Yidams and Dharma protectors:
May your marvelous blessings permeate my mind

So we ask for blessing (for permission), from the Gurus to go into this practice. Practice has different levels. It is going into different levels of mandalas, (so this is asking for permission to go into the practices).

Then we have ‘Seven Limb Prayer’ (short one). I have chanted that already, it is the opening prayers.

4. Seven – Limb Prayer (p. 7)

CHAG-TSAL WA-DANG CHO-CHING SHAG PA DANG/
JE-SU YI-RANG KUL-ZHING SO-WA YI
GE-WA CHUNG-ZAY DAG-GYE CHI-SAG PA/
THAM-CHAD DZOG PAY CHANG CHUB CHIR-NGO-WO

Whatever merit I have gathered through prostrations, offerings,
confessing, rejoicing, requesting and praying, for the sake of the
enlightenment of all sentient beings, all this I dedicate.

5. Sanskrit Alphabet Mantra And The Mantra of Interdependent Origination (p. 8-9)

Sanskrit Alphabet Mantra

OM A AH AI AIH AU AUH RI RIH LI LIH AE AEH O OH ANG AH/
KA KHA GA GHA NGA/ TSA TSHA DZA DZHA NYA/
TA THA DA DHA NA/ TA THA DA DHA NA/ PA PHA BA BHA MA/
YA RA LA WA/ SHA KHA SA HA KHYA SVA HA/
(repeat 3 times)

So this is the Sanskrit Alphabet. It is blessing to our speech, because we are going to practice this Preliminary Practice, we need so much accumulation of chanting the prayers, (that is the reason we obtain the speech blessing). And then…

The Mantra Of Interdependent Origination

OM YEDHARMA HETU PRABHAWA HETUNTEKHAN
TATHAGATO HYAWADATA/ TEKHANTSA YO NIRODHA
EWAMWADI MAHASHRAMANAYE SVAHA/
(repeat 3 times)

6. 100 Syllable Mantra (Vajrasattva) [p. 10]

100 Syllable Mantra

OM BAZRA SATTWA SAMAMYA/ MANU PALAYA/ BAZRA
SATTWA TENOPA TISHTHA/ DRIDO ME BHAWA/ SUTO
KHYOME BHAWA/ SUPO KHYOME BHAWA/ ANU RAKTO ME
BHAWA/ SARWA SIDDHIM-ME PRA-YATSHA/ SARWA KARMA
SUTSA-ME TSIT-TAN SHRIYA KURU HUNG/ HAHA HAHA HO/
BHAGAWAN SARWA TATHAGATA BAZRA-MAME MUNTSA/
BAZRI BHAWA/ MAHA SAMAYA SATTWA AH/

(repeat 3 times)


7. Increasing Mantras and Mala Blessing Mantra [p. 11-12]

Increasing Mantras

OM SAMBHARA SAMBHARA BIMANASARA
MAHAZAMBHA HUNG
(repeat 7 times)
OM SMARA SMARA BIMARA SKARA MAHADZABA
HUNG PHAT
(repeat 7 times)
OM SAMBHARA SAMBHARA MAHAZABHU HUNG PHAT
(repeat 7 times)

Mala Blessing Mantra

OM RUTSIRAMANI PRAWARTAYA HUNG PHAT
(repeat 7 times)
OM HRI PADMA NIRTI SHVARI HUNG
(repeat 7 times and then say OM AH HUNG for one round of the Mala)

So this is Blessing the Speech and Mala. So this mantra we have to chant 7 times each one. So then now, go to page 13.


8. Supplication to Guru [p.13-14]

Supplicating to all the Gurus, and Yidam Deities.


LA MA KHYEN NO
Guru, please think of me! (repeat 3 times)

DÜ SUM SANG GYE KYI NGO WO / LUNG TOG DAM CHÖ KYI
JUNG NE / PHAG TSOG GEN DÜN GYI NGA DAG / TSA WEY LA
MA KYE KHYEN NO / JIN LAB THUG JE YI TER CHEN /
NGÖ DRUB NAM NYI KYI JUNG NE / TRIN LEY CHI DÖ KÜN
TSÖL DZE / TSA WEY LA MA KYE KHYEN NO
Essence of the buddhas of the three times, source of the holy dharma of
scripture and experience, master of the sangha — the noble assembly — root
guru, please think of me. Great treasure of blessings and compassion, source
of the two attainments, bestower of whatever enlightened activity
is desired, root guru, please think of me.

DRIN CHEN TSA WEY LA MA KHYEN NO / CHI TSUG DE
CHEN NE NE ZIG SHIG / RANG RIG CHÖ KÜ RANG ZHAL
JAL NE / TSE CHIG SANG GYE DRUB PAR DZÖ CHIG
Kind root guru, please think of me! Look upon me from above my
crown, the abode of great bliss. Let me see my own awareness, the true
face of dharmakaya, and attain awakening in one life.

KYE MA / DAG DRI SEM CHEN LE NGEN DIG TO CHEN / …
If you wish you may also recite Calling the Guru From Afar by Kongtrul Rinpoche at this point.


We use this ‘Calling to the Guru’, ‘Supplicating to the Guru’. And then p. 14 is another supplication to all the different kinds of lineage Gurus. So this is a very long prayer, (if you want a longer one, the reference to the sadhana is here). We don’t have to do the long one, sometimes practitioners like to be calling many different Guru’s blessings, then they are going to use this on p.14. So here is says, ‘If you wish you may also recite ‘Calling the Guru From Afar’ by Kongtrul Rinpoche’. Kongtrul Rinpoche is the master’s name, he composed a very beautiful, Long Supplication to the Guru, so that can also be chanted here.


9. Arousing Bodhicitta [15-16]

So now, in this Ngondro Sadhana (prayer book), many important prayers are compiled here. So, that is why there are many different prayers, (levels), and also [for the meditator practitioner], they can be used in a very short way too. So, starting directly from here, [the ‘Arousing Bodhicitta’ section]. You can skip over the other parts, and start on p.14, that is also possible. So someone has time, (then you can go from p. 1 all the way to p.14 and continue). Someone who doesn’t have much time, and wants to go directly to practice, so you can start from here [p.14] too.

So this one [prayer below], we chant in opening prayers – arousing bodhicitta. This prayer is composed by Jigten Sumgon, holder of these Bodhicitta Vows through a very special lineage. Last week His Holiness [Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang] shared a little bit about this. This lineage has come from Atisha. Atisha travelled to Indonesia to receive this transmission of the mind from Serlingpa, and then returned to Tibet, sharing the Bodhicitta Vows there. When the transmission came to Jigten Sumgon, he created an elaborated text called the ‘Drikung Kagyu Great Bodhicitta Receiving Vow’. It takes two days to receive these bodhicitta vows, which are the longest bodhicitta vows. So then, of that [great] prayer, [‘Drikung Kagyu Great Bodhicitta Receiving Vow’], the most important one, is this one, [below].


DAG LA DANG WAR JE PEY DRA / NÖ PAR JE PEY GEG / THAR PA
DANG THAM CHE KHYEN PAR BAR DU CHÖ PAR JE PA THAM
CHE KYI TSOR JE PEY / MA NAM KHA DANG NYAM PEY SEM
CHEN THAM CHE DE WA DANG DEN DUG NGEL DANG DREL /
NYUR DU LA NA ME PA YANG DAG PAR DZOG PEY JANG CHUB
RIN PO CHE THOB PAR JA

All mother sentient beings, limitless as space, especially those enemies who
hate me, obstructers who harm me, and those who create obstacles on my
path to liberation and all-knowingness, may they experience happiness,
be free from suffering, and swiftly I will establish them in the state of
unsurpassed, perfect, complete, and precious enlightenment.


ALL MOTHER SENTIENT BEINGS, LIMITLESS AS SPACE


‘All mother sentient beings, limitless as space,’ so, so many, we can not count, that is why it is called limitless as space. There are so many – countless [numbers]. So that is the reason we create stupas, liberation object[s] for example, connecting benefit to all these beings, [revolving helplessly in the six realms of cyclic existence (suffering)]. Because these many different objects can connect to many other beings, [the consecrated Buddha/ Yidam Deity statues and so forth]. So we have to create many seeing liberations. And we have to create many hearing liberations. We have to create many touching liberations. So this object can go through, and reach many other beings (as limitless as space). Many other beings we can not see, (we don’t know how to connect with them), so that is the reason for example, one stupa – is wind blowing, the sun shining [for these beings]. Also many beings are seeing that object, and through that [bringing] benefit to many other beings, so that is why it is called ‘liberation object’.

Then in this prayer [we chant] ‘especially those enemies…’. So the first purity is, I want to liberate my enemies, (it is not speaking of my mothers first), it is not talking about my loved ones first. So here is says, ‘…especially those enemies… ‘we have to think about my enemies first. I am going to liberate these people, who are our enemies. So that means, when we are going to practice, sit down, meditate a little bit, and cultivate that. Someone who doesn’t like it, (unpleasant person), then bring that into your mind. I’m going to do this practice, wishing benefit to that person. So that, we have to create. So bodhicitta means, [help] to bring every single being’s equanimity. So we cannot do, ‘Oh I am going to help this person, but not this one’. (This is biased), then that practice is not that powerful, (that practice is not going to the Immeasurables practice). Immeasurable means, we have to bring everyone together. So, ‘especially those enemies,’ is hardest, (it is not that easy [to do]). When we chant prayers, everyone accepts that very easily, but then really go into the practice, very few people can accept this. Not easy to accept. As long as you can accept this one, you are already really deep into the practice. Then your practice is going to the right direction. [The above verse is again recited].



THE ‘ENEMY’ IS OBJECT OF LIBERATION


So this prayer [above] we have to chant, and cultivate again [and again]. When you do a practice, even if you are thinking about enemies, [it is] ‘I want to help that person [people],’ so that intention is very powerful. It is very hard to make that kind of intention, connection, so then, our practice is really going in the right direction. The enemy is object of liberation. Our enemy, is truly object of liberating us. So without enemies, how are you going to create compassion practice? How are you going to create bodhicitta? See,… think about it, how are you going to practice patience? The Buddha means embodiment of patience, embodiment of love and compassion. So, we want to become Buddha, we need enemies, [to recognise our enemies, this shows us what is to be purified in our mind]. So, without enemies you can not reach into that level. Do you understand? We need the big waves in the ocean, then you can become really good at surfing. Without big waves, you cannot be good at surfing. So, we have ocean here, [in Tulum, Mexico] but no big waves. Nobody is surfing here, the reason is there are no waves. In the same way, without waves you cannot reach to Enlightenment. So that is why Buddha Siddhartha’s history shows us, you must be with enemies together. The Buddha’s half brother created [many] obstacles, competition for him. Buddha used that energy, (or that practice), going beyond the obstacles. (Enemies could not create obstacles for him). He used that [energy] and reached Enlightenment.

So that shows us, by example. […] For beginner practitioners (in the beginning, first level), enemies are our biggest obstacles. Practice has different levels. The outer level, basic practice is, you have to avoid your enemies, (the causes of anger, the causes of attachment, the causes of jealousy, the causes of pride). You have to avoid those objects, (so that is the basic level). For a good practitioner, you [we] need to be dealing with this situation. You cannot run away from this. Good is, negotiate, right?… compromising. […] You have to do that. So then, you use that, (so you are not creating suffering for each other). You have the ability to do that, that means you have the courage to do that. Then, that is the Uncommon Preliminary Practice. Special Preliminary practice is, use that energy, we have to take it into the path. So enemy, we have to receive as our own guru. Enemy is special object. So enemy is really, truly helping us, (liberating us [our mind]). So that is why, [Way of Bodhisattvas] says, ‘Enemy is treasure’. The [Bodhisattvas] cannot find enemies easily. As long as they can find enemies, and obstacles beings, they are so happy, so joyful to use that, taking to the path. [Liberating mind practices]. So that is called the Bodhisattvas. So this stupa, this pillar represents Bodhicitta, and we are here in front of this pillar, and make Aspiration Prayers. We are doing the aspiration, (we have the ability to do that), to take enemies into the path, we are using that, it becomes the object, of our bodhicitta increasing. So that is the reason for the stupa, (the essence, the objective here).



OVERCOMING OBSTACLES ON THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT, (LIBERATING THE MIND FROM DUALISTIC ATTACHMENT)


Then, “… and those who create obstacles on my path to liberation”. Who is that person, (those people)? “Those who create obstacles on my path” … I think this is actually loved ones, because loved ones really create obstacles, when we go to the Dharma path. [Unenlightened beings, strong self-grasping attachment to loved ones]. So loved ones come, [and because of our dualistic attachment], you are away from Dharma, right there. For example… [name?] is here, he wanted to listen to teaching, (his loved ones come [arrive]), he has to go. See, so that is like, someone wants to go to the Dharma, (then loved ones, right in that moment there, create obstacles). So people don’t accept that, it is hard to accept that. It is true. So that is why for beginners, (basic level), we have to avoid attachment object. We have to avoid these conditions. So that is the reason, (when you have loved ones in there), you cannot practice Dharma, [because of strong self-grasping attachment], you have to go far away from your home. And then you can pay attention to the teaching, you can cultivate the Dharma. You are together with your loved ones, they make obstacles for you. You know, the kids are like, “Ah papa, mama… (cry, right), or something’s going on. So then you pay attention to that, (not the Dharma), [you are distracted by that]. So that’s why, “… those who create obstacles on my path… are the loved ones.

So, then… to [our] loved ones, we say, ‘Okay, you create obstacles for me, I don’t want to help you’. No, [we don’t do that], so we take them [onto the path] also. ‘I want to take [them] to Enlightenment’. So this brings equanimity. (We want to bring both the, enemies who are making obstacles on my path of Dharma, and also my loved ones (who create obstacles to my path), [to Enlightenment]). We are going to take both [into] the path of liberation, “liberation and all knowingness”. “… may they experience happiness,” so we are wishing that, may they experience happiness. “… be free from suffering, and swiftly I will establish them in the state of unsurpassed, perfect, complete, and precious enlightenment”. So that is called bodhicitta. Then we go to the next one. The next one is commitments.


EY CHE DU SANG MA GYE KYI BAR DU LÜ NGAG YI SUM
GE WA LA KÖL / MA SHI BAR DU LÜ NGAG YI SUM GE WA
LA KÖL / DÜ DE RING NE ZUNG TE NYI MA SANG DA TSAM
GYI BAR DU LÜ NGAG YI SUM GE WA LA KÖL
Thus, until I achieve enlightenment, I will perform virtuous deeds with
body, speech, and mind. Until death, I will perform virtuous deeds with
body, speech, and mind. From now until this time tomorrow, I will
perform virtuous deeds with body, speech, and mind.


This one has different levels of commitment. Until Enlightenment, I am going to follow the spiritual path, the long-term commitment. (It is called the bodhicitta commitment). ‘I will perform virtuous deeds with body, speech, and mind, from now until this time tomorrow,’ [the short-term commitment]. So then,
i. Until Enlightenment, I am going to follow the path. [Long-term commitment, for all lifetimes].
ii. Until I die, I am going to follow the path. [Life-time commitment].
iii. Until sunrise tomorrow, I am going to follow the path. [Daily commitment].

So it is different levels of commitment, due to, (in accordance with) the individual’s level. So, basic one is until tomorrow morning. And then uncommon [commitment], goes to, until I die. Special [commitment] goes to, until Enlightenment. So that is all part of the preparation section.


[*Why take vows (commitments)? It helps to train the mind correctly, (it is facing in the right direction, turning to Dharma, liberating mind from suffering, and helping other sentient beings). When we take vows we accumulate merit, (which we otherwise do not accumulate, if we haven’t taken the vows (commitments)].

Then now, here [in this prayer book], it is going into the main practice.

10. First, The Common, Outer Preliminaries Practice [17-20]

The following is written in the prayer book…

[*Unless a true wish for liberation arises within you, your Dharma practice will not be authentic. It will only become authentic if you generate a sincere mind of renouncing cyclic existence. Therefore, reflect upon the precious human existence of freedom and connection, that is so difficult to obtain, in order to overcome the attachment to this life].

In the chanting of prayers, (you cannot skip this section, [see below]). Reflect upon it and cultivate it [within the mind].

DAG GI DAM JOR TEN ZANG DI / CHI NE YANG YANG
NYE KA WE / DA RE LA ME JANG CHUB KYI /
GO PHANG DRUB TE ZHEN DÖN JA

Now that I have found a precious human body with freedom and
connection, which will be difficult to find again, I must practice to attain
the state of unsurpassed enlightenment for the benefit of others.



HOW THIS HUMAN LIFE IS PRECIOUS


So we have to think, how this human life is precious, how we have this connection to the spiritual path. In this one [here], think – throughout all these lives, I have [now] taken birth as a human being. I have an open mind. I can [be open to] accept [the spiritual level of life], all this spiritual [practice], and I have a connection to the spiritual path. How I am lucky. So you have to create, cultivate that. And think, many people do not have an open mind, even though the spiritual [plane, dimension, life] is there, they have no connections. Many people have no conditions for connections, too much samsara, (desire-attachment, dualistic self-grasping), all the time cyclic existence, every day the same. When you wake up in the morning, until the evening, every single day, every week, every month, every year, the same. You cannot change, you are stuck, your life is in cyclic existence. (It is all there, in cyclic existence), you cannot break that. You are stuck there. So many people, (like 95% of human beings) are stuck in that samsara. So we have to recognise [that]. ‘Oh I recognise that. [Here, now], I have these spiritual connections, path. I have an open mind’. So that we have to cultivate.

And then today, who are on Zoom, [here with us]. You have to recognise, okay, I have connection to this spiritual path. It is so precious, this day is precious. This moment is precious, you have to recognise [that]. And who are in the stupa here, right now, you have to recognise [that], (because this condition is not easy to arise (to come)). Right… and okay, I have really good timing here, and create all the mantras [blessings], in front of stupa, and listening to teachings, an being here. So this condition – when did you have, from the time you were born until now? It is only today maybe, only this week. [Khenpo addresses group in stupa, in Tulum and International Sangha together]. So that kind of… [appreciation, you have to have, (cultivate it)], you have to recognise [this]. It is important, this precious time. We have precious time, we have to think that, and recognise [that]. And then, “… which will be difficult to find again [the precious human body]”. It is very hard to find this kind of connection again. “I must practice”. I want to practice, go and listen to teachings, focus [and cultivate the practices]. “To attain the state of unsurpassed enlightenment for the benefit of others”. So, that is, I use this body, so this life becomes meaningful. Maybe in a previous life, it was not used so meaningfully. So now in this life, we want it to become useful, to become enlightened, [practice for the two-fold benefit of self and others]. So that commitment we make to ourselves. Then second section…



DEATH & IMPERMANENCE


The way to overcome apathy and laziness is to reflect upon the impermanence of life:


DAN DEY RIN CHEN LÜ DI YANG /
CHI DAG DÜ KYI DRA DANG WE / NAM CHI NGE PA MI DA YI /
DAG ZHEN MI TAG TSÜL DI TA

On seeing that the hostile Lord of Death may strike my precious life at any
time, I shall consider the impermanence of others and myself.

檔爹領千呂迪仰/ 企達堆幾貶檔偉/
朗企恩巴米達宜/打咸米大促迪大
如今珍宝此身躯,亦受死神魔敌嗔,
是故死亡无定期,观此自他无常理。


So these prayers come from different teachings, (section and parts of texts, such a the Way of the Bodhisattva), and masters including, Shantideva and Nagarjuna. Here we have to recognise impermanence. We have to think, “… hostile Lord of Lord of Death”, (we call ‘Death Mara,’ (Mara of Death)), is coming soon. We don’t know, when Death Mara comes for us, ok. And when Death Mara comes, it strikes my precious life. This Death Mara takes our life (this precious life). In the same way, as our life and death is like, [we see] these candles here, flickering as the wind is blowing. The Death Mara can take our life at any time. We don’t know when we are going to die, (no-one has certainty). We don’t know if we are going to die today or tomorrow, next month or year, or we are going to stay decades. No-one knows. Life is impermanent. So that is why, “I shall consider the impermanence of others and myself”.

So we have to cultivate [this realisation] of impermanence [in our minds. It acts as an antidote to our delusion and spurs us to practice whilst we have the opportunity]. So we think about others as impermanent, and myself as impermanent. This impermanence is moments, and moments. So, [just as] we are gathering in this place, (right now here), and then after we separate. Right now in the Zoom, we have almost 400 people, and we are here [in this place], we are all gathering together, but after the teaching is finished, we all disperse. So this is called impermanence. We come together, and then we separate again. (Nothing is permanent, everything is impermanent). We have to know that impermanence, [as a living reality, truth in our minds]. You cultivate impermanence, then it reduces the attachment, [antidote to self-clinging attachment], fixations. Less attachment, fixations, less suffering. Something, that you have a very strong fixation (attachment to), then that creates big suffering. [Strong dualistic self-grasping, results in lack of freedom in the mind], suffering.

Less suffering comes from impermanence meditation practice, because it reduces attachment. So then you are going to enjoy moment to moment. What we have right now, we enjoy. [When there is] attachment [in the mind, it is like ice-blocks, blocking,] and you can not enjoy right now, what you have. So due to attachment, fixation, ‘I want this. I need this,’ like thinking about tomorrow, next year [and so forth]. People (human beings) desire is like we are going to stay [live] for a million years. We act like we are never going to die, see, crazy right? Human beings are crazy. Even, if we knew we were going to die tomorrow, still today there is such strong fixation (desire, attachment). […] It is like, we are trying to ‘get’ everything today, (so that is human beings, desire, attachment). We have to cultivate impermanence. Impermanence really helps your mind to become open and relaxed, (so release the strong negative energy in your mind). [Whatever you are holding on to]. You can release that, using impermanent meditation. It becomes that you feel very peaceful, happy. So that is why we cultivate impermanence. Next is…



DEFECT OF SAMSARA



The way to overcome the idea that true well-being may be found within samsaric existence is to reflect upon the suffering of samsara.

khor wey ne dir gar kye kyang / de wey go kab ma chi pe / si pey de la mi ta war / nya ngen de pey lam du jug

Wherever in samsara one is born, true well-being cannot be found.
I shall therefore turn away from worldly pleasures and enter the path of nirvana.


So, cultivate The Defect of Samsara. We have to know, wherever we take birth within samsara, no-one has true happiness, (everything is temporary). So no-one is free from suffering, (that we have to know). Then where is true happiness? True happiness is liberation. So we want to liberate [our mind from suffering], then we have to arise, (generate) that intention within our mindstream. That is always our goal. You can enjoy the happiness in samsara, but samsara’s happiness is not the goal. The goal is, I want to liberate my mind from suffering [and help all other sentient beings]. So, we need temporary conditions, when we are in samsara, and we use those, [relative truth], […] but it is not the Absolute Truth goal, (result). So that is cultivating, (recognising) The Defect of Samsara. And then go to the next one.



KARMA, CAUSE & EFFECT



To make meaningful use of this body of freedom and connection, reflect upon karma, cause and effect.


DAM JOR LÜ DI DÖN DEN CHIR / NYÖN MONG
DUG SUM MI GE PANG / GE WEY LE LA BE PA KYE /
GO SUM DAM TSIG DOM PA SUNG


To make this life of freedom and connection meaningful, I shall abstain
from all misdeeds resulting from a mind afflicted by the three poisons. I
shall diligently strive in cultivating virtue and shall protect my vows and
my samayas of the three doors


This is called ‘Cause and Effect’. So now [cultivate], I am going to make this life good. I want to abstain from misdeeds. I am going to stop creating negative karma, (resulting from a mind afflicted by the three poisons). So, I want to release my three poisons. (The three poisons are anger, ignorance, and attachment). So these three, I want to release within my mind. And that is what we mean when we say, free from this negativity, (these poisons). So, I shall diligently strive in cultivating virtue. As long as you strive in making effort, to let go of (and overcome), this anger, desire-attachment, ignorance, that is virtue. So, we are naturally cultivating virtue, when our mind is giving up the three poisons. (Mindfulness practice)]. “… and shall protect my vows and samayas of the three doors”. So, protecting my vows and samayas means, (if you avoid doing something that becomes causes of suffering), you create causes of happiness, (that is called protecting the vows and samayas). And just as, if you speed whilst driving a car, and the police catch you, you get a ticket. In the same way, protecting the vows means, (the Buddha has taught that, if you do that, you are going to create negative karma. As long as you create negative karma, you get the result of that). But then we don’t listen to Buddha’s kind words, and due to our ignorance, we break the rules, and then we get suffering. So the purpose of the vows is to remind us of these truths. Actually no-one forces the rules upon you, these rules are called [observance] of the natural laws of phenomena. So that you have to understand.

[Siddhartha Gautama Shakyamuni attained the supreme state of omniscient Buddhahood, where he saw all beings cause and effect relationships. In order to help guide beings on the path of liberation (and help to prevent them from creating further causes of suffering for themselves and others), Buddha shared vows, for observance of the natural laws of phenomena]. What does it mean, [observance of] the natural laws of phenomena? Buddha doesn’t make us do that, [but if you observe those natural laws], you create causes of happiness, (that is vows). So Buddha says, ‘Ok don’t touch the fire. If you touch the fire, you get burnt’, (you burn your hand). So [observing that], is called protecting the vows, [when we refrain from doing that]. So someone says, ‘Ok whatever he says, I am not going to listen to him. I am going to touch the fire’. So you touch the fire, and you get burnt. It is extremely painful and you get suffering. So, the meaning of the vows, (the purpose of the vows), [is following the Law of Karma]. The Buddha said, if you do that you get consequences, you get the suffering, and that is called the Law of Karma. I will give another example here, ‘Don’t eat poison,’ (so that is the vow). Someone eats poison, they get sick, and can die. So Buddha said, don’t eat poison. As long as you eat poison, then you break your vows, (break your samaya). So samaya means that, if you break your samaya, (it is more strong). Break vows, you get pain, you get suffering. Break the samayas, you can die. (You can lose this life). So that is the difference [between vows and samayas], samayas are stronger than vows. So vows are basic rules. Samayas are inner level vows. Breaking rules on the outer level, is called breakage of vows. Inner level breaking the vows, is called breakage of samayas. Do you understand. Now, then go to page 22.






(Continued on ‘Ngondro Retreat with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche (2)’ on this website… )

Any errors are the transcriber’s own.
Immeasurable thanks for these precious teachings.