STAGES OF MEDITATION (2)




Verse 6



“If you do no guard your disciplined conduct as you have promised and vowed, there will be no escape for yourself from the suffering of the lower realms. And you will have deceived all buddhas. Therefore, the higher training of disciplined conduct – which is virtuous in the beginning, middle, and end – should be guarded like your very own life and eyes”.


Here Jigten Sumgon is sharing for his student, the instructions he received from his gurus, and from his own experience, offering guidance for them, (each student is different and sometimes needs some ‘special instructions’). So ‘special instructions’ means, (not necessarily higher teachings), sometimes, a very basic one, (teaching instruction). Even, if very high level teaching is known, but the student is stuck with something basic, (simple things). So that is why Jigten Sumgon clarifies all the stages here, of what the student needs. Jigten Sumgon is sharing with his disciple, first think about impermanence meditation. Then second, most important practice is conduct. Conduct means, avoid nonvirtuous deeds, and cultivate virtuous deeds. The results of non-virtuous deeds is taking rebirth in the lower realms. If we take rebirth in the lower realms then, no opportunity, or ability to practice the Dharma. So that is why Jigten Sumgon is telling his disciple to be of good conduct. So, with conduct, most important is, not harming other beings. So cultivate peace, harmony for every single being. So that is the conduct, and this conduct, (as long as we have good conduct), then that helps (supports) our meditation practice. Habituation in the meditation practices, helps to arise, (generate), the wisdom. So they are all connected to each other. We cannot say, this is important, this is not important, (they are connected to each other).



THE STORY OF BUDDHA, THE JEALOUS KING & THE BRAHMIN (PHILOSOPHER)

(which shows how the three Higher Trainings are connected)


I will share with you one short story here. In the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, (after he was Enlightened), there was a king who did not have good intention. He wanted to disparage Buddha, (show that he was not a Realised (wisdom) teacher). The king thought he was losing his powers, because the people of his kingdom were paying their respects, (listening to, and following) Buddha. He was jealous, and wanted to make Buddha look really bad. So for that reason he invited Buddha, to a debate with one of the most learned and famous brahmins (philosophers) of the time. The king said to the brahmin (philosopher), that he would give him special powers, if he was the winner, and brought him to debate with Buddha. Buddha asked the brahmin (philosopher) questions. He asked what was important to the brahmin system, (to clarify his position on matters), is it your caste system, or quality, that is more important? The brahmin was truthful, and answered that quality is most important. (And the reason is, his brother, while his caste system was all perfect, but he didn’t have moral conduct and that is why no-one respected him). He told Buddha that, then Buddha said, morality is important. Then he said, second, what is important? The Brahmin said, that meditation was important. Again, the Buddha commended the brahmin’s answer. Then the Buddha asked him, how do you realise the immeasurable equanimity?, (which is the unification (achievement) of the stages of conduct, meditation and wisdom, together). The brahmin said that he didn’t know how to do that. His learning was in books, and he didn’t have that experience. He said, that he couldn’t explain that to Buddha. Then the brahmin said, he could not debate with Buddha, and bowed down to him, and asked him to please help him. In front of the king, the brahmin said, because of his ego, he thought he knew, (but he is ignorant). Facing the Buddha Shakyamuni, he recognised he did not ‘Know’. So then the Buddha shared with the assembly, without good conduct, meditation is not possible. Good conduct, gives good opportunity to practice meditation. And then the meditation, becomes the causes of wisdom. So meditate, and then wisdom arises. So that is what Buddha shared.

Here also, Jigten Sumgon, first says, what is important is meditating on the teachings on impermanence, so that we want liberation, (from samsaric mind states), we need renunciation from samsara, (so we have to arise that strongly in our hearts). Then at the same time, follow the good conduct. “Therefore, the higher training of disciplined conduct – which is virtuous in the beginning, middle, and end – should be guarded like your very own life and eyes”. So good conduct, is that which is virtuous in the beginning, middle, and end. “… should be guarded like your very own life and eyes”. So like we protect our eyes, we should safe guard, and take care of our life, (through the proper conduct and practice).






Verse 7



“Even though guarding disciplined conduct results in attaining the states of gods and humans, these are still within samsara, the ocean of suffering. If you do not recognise samsara as suffering, the wish to abandon it will never arise. So give up admiration for samsara and accomplish liberation”.



“Even though guarding disciplined conduct results in attaining the states of gods and humans,” so, if we have good conduct, through that, we attain the states of gods and humans, but still we can not attain liberation. So, good conduct helps us, not to take birth in the lower realms of cyclic existence, (hell realms, hungry ghosts, and animals realms), free from those states. Good conduct reaches to the god realms, human being realm. “… these are still within samsara, the ocean of suffering”. These are still within samsara. Then this, we also have to know, we have good conduct in previous life, so that is why, right now we take birth as human beings. We have this good opportunity to hear the Dharma teachings, engage in discussion, and practice. So now, the previous life helps us right now, we are a human being, a good life, like this. But then, also we have to think about future life. If we don’t take care of our conduct, then we are going to fall into the lower realms again. So that is why, we have to maintain good conduct. But the good conduct alone cannot liberate us from samsara. “… these are still within samsara, the ocean of suffering,” so still we are suffering, [when we have not liberated our mind in its true, dharmakaya nature].

If you do not recognise samsara as suffering, the wish to abandon it will never arise.” This means, if we do not recognise samsaric mind states as suffering, the thought of liberation [from these states], will not arise in our mind. So we really recognise that, (we see that clearly). So many human beings, how many people want liberation? Very few. Especially those who have a good life, [they are attached to that]. They are not thinking about liberation, [liberating their minds from attachment to mistaken view (of duality)]. Where there is difficulty, suffering, then those people, recognise samsara is suffering, and also want to liberate their minds from that. If you think about it, the places where Dharma has spread into, are places where there is more suffering. So these people, see samsara is suffering, and want to liberate their minds, [from the suffering]. So, for the human beings who have a good life, (that is called the gods realm). People in the gods realm have a good life. They don’t think about death, [and impermanence], or a future life. This is due to their temporary happiness, (they are attached to that), so not thinking about future life. So that is why ‘attachment,’ is obstacle to liberation.

So now, we have to recognise samsara is suffering. Then also, there are people in this world, people who have a good life, but actually they are suffering. But they don’t accept the suffering. They don’t want to hear that either. They don’t want to know, what is the truth, due to ‘ignorance’ and ‘attachment,’ [‘ignorance,’ (not realising the true, nondual, nature of reality), and ‘attachment,’ (to mistaken concept)]. Someone who is really, strongly attached to their own body, they don’t want to hear about impermanence. They don’t want to hear anything about aging, [passing through the stages of birth, old age, sickness and death]. So that, they don’t want to hear. We are seeing that, so that is why, we have to recognise, samsara is suffering, or “… the wish to abandon it will never arise”. So the goal is liberation. “So give up admiration for samsara and accomplish liberation”. Only thinking about liberation.




Verse 8



“Tasting the flavor of the peace of liberation and nirvana for yourself alone without thinking about others is the way of sravakas and pratekyabuddhas. So, I request you to abandon these attitudes of the lower vehicles. Generate supreme bodhicitta with thoughts of love and compassion for all sentient beings of the six realms, and sincerely endeavor to practice the trainings of aspiration and engagement bodhicitta. After having generated supreme bodhicitta, take up the practice of the six perfections”.



“Tasting the flavor of the peace of liberation and nirvana for yourself alone without thinking about others is the way of sravakas and pratekyabuddhas”. So, thinking only about our own liberation, (nirvana), and only seeking our own benefit, that is also incorrect. “… attitudes of the lower vehicles,” is the way of samsara. If we don’t think about others, cultivate love and compassion, then that also is incorrect. Jigten Sumgon is guiding his disciple, in giving these instructions. First, what is important, recognise death and impermanence. Then, follow the good conduct. And then, we really have to know samsara is suffering, [uncontrollable, repeated, rebirth in cyclic existence (delusion)], so realising that, we only want to liberate [our minds from that]. But then, liberation not only for ourselves, (not just thinking about our own benefit). If we are thinking, only about our own liberation (benefit), this is the same as sravakas, pratekyabuddhas, (lower vehicles). The lower vehicles, so some arhats, sravakas are only thinking about their own liberation, they don’t cultivate bodhicitta. So that is why, the main point Jigten Sumgon is sharing here, is we need to cultivate love and compassion. “So, I request you to abandon these attitudes of the lower vehicles”. So Jigten Sumgon asked his student, please cultivate love and compassion. Don’t only think about yourself, (your liberation). His student is in retreat, practicing by himself. So Jigten Sumgon said, don’t think only of your own liberation, cultivate love and compassion.

If you don’t cultivate love and compassion, then it is called the lower vehicles. Without love and compassion, you cannot benefit others. [The sravakas, pratekyabuddhas (lower vehicles)], they can liberate themselves, (which means they are free from suffering), but are not benefitting others. So that is why, we have to cultivate love and compassion, reflecting (developing the habituation in our mind), that every single being has been our mother, our loved one. So, we can not be seeking, only our own happiness. We have to cultivate wanting to help others, wanting to help all our mother sentient beings, [to liberate from samsara’s sufferings]. “Generate supreme bodhicitta with thoughts of love and compassion for all sentient beings of the six realms…” So here Jigten Sumgon says, generate supreme bodhicitta. Generating the supreme bodhicitta is, “I want to liberate [my mind], and be free from my own suffering, (that is important), and, I want to help others liberate [their mind from suffering]. So these two have to come together. So that is why it says in many of the prayers books, bringing about the two-fold benefit, two-fold fulfilment, achieving the two accomplishments. So what are the two accomplishments? The two accomplishments, means our own benefit is accomplished, (we liberate our mind), and in so doing, we bring benefit to others. These two we want to happen, that is called bodhicitta.



SUPREME BODHICITTA



So we have to know, what is this bodhicitta of love and compassion? Love and compassion, other religions have. And, Buddhists in the lower vehicles, have love and compassion. But without bodhicitta, we cannot generate the immeasurable love and compassion, (it is not possible), [that leads to the state of omniscient Buddhahood, and the ability to know the mind of all sentient beings, like Buddha Shakyamuni, who generated the benefit for all sentient beings to be free from suffering]. As in the life story of Buddha Shakyamuni, love is the cause, compassion is the result. Compassion is the cause, bodhicitta is the result. Love is, we are cultivating and meditating upon, ‘May every being have happiness, and the causes of happiness’. We are wishing they have happiness. Compassion is, we are seeing all sentient beings have been our mothers. We are recognising samsara (samsaric mind states) are suffering, and we recognise all our mothers are suffering. ‘May all beings, be free from suffering, and the causes of suffering’. Wishing them, free from suffering, is called compassion. So then, we are wishing every single being has happiness, every single being is free from suffering, so that [sincere] action, [generated from the mind], is called bodhicitta. So, I want to liberate my mind, otherwise I cannot help these beings, (my mothers, loved ones).

So I have to liberate my mind, and I want to help liberate all these sentient beings, so that is called bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is, I want to liberate my loved ones, (all sentient beings). So compassion, love, many religious traditions have. Bodhicitta, I want to liberate others, that is only Mahayana, so the bodhicitta is different in that respect to other religions, and even Buddhists in the Hinayana tradition. Then, as long as we cultivate bodhicitta, “with thoughts of love and compassion for all sentient beings of the six realms”. (So, cultivating love and compassion, with bodhicitta). “… and sincerely endeavor to practice the trainings of aspiration and engagement bodhicitta”. So this has to arise from the heart. We practice, meditate, on love and compassion, until we can really feel, that meditation on love, is helping us to arise love in our hearts. So that is actually more powerful than some [outer] engagement. So meditation [on love], is more powerful, (beneficial), than when some people say, ‘I want to help others, doing activities (actions), but they can be lost again. [The mind generation of love is the most important, using this, in all our activities of benefiting others]. So that is why the meditation on love, cultivating the true [unconditional] love, is so powerful. Sit down, and close your eyes, and follow through the *stages of meditation on love. As you cultivate that, the body and mind responds to that. The love arising in your heart, strongly permeates your body and mind senses, and feelings that way. When this meditation on love is cultivated deeply, within your mind and body, tears come from your eyes, and the body senses, feel the love and compassion strongly, that means the love is arising from our mind and heart. [This love arising from our minds, is melting the ice-blocks of our separation, the dualistic concepts (of self and other), and the wish to benefit others arises naturally within us]. So we have to create that, often and often.



CULTIVATING MEDITATION ON LOVE, COMPASSION, BODHICITTA



Every person has love, even the animals have love, (dangerous animals, like tigers, lions and so forth), they have love for their own families. But that love cannot be expanding, into immeasurable love, because there is still ‘attachment’ and love together. And that is why, when we meditate on love, and cultivate it, it is totally different to ‘attachment’ (ordinary, mundane) love, and our actions of that. When we meditate on love truly, it really transforms the mind. Our mind becomes a loving, kind mind, that is arising. So that is why, what is important is, to sit down and cultivate and meditate on love, [to generate this love in the mind. This is liberating our minds from the samsaric mind states, that cause our suffering]. This is followed by the love meditation, compassion meditation. Until you can really feel that, arising within yourself. (We create that ourselves). And then, we really want to help our mothers, loved ones, and others, [all sentient beings]. During this meditation you also feel your perception towards your ‘enemy’ is changed, because [a boundless, not limited] love arises, [within you]. So you meditate on love, and then think about that person you are not happy with, the feeling is different. (We have to create that). As long as you arise that, then we know the power, or benefit, of the experience of the meditation on love. Otherwise, we talk about love and compassion, you hear about that, more and more, but you don’t practice, then one day you don’t want to listen to this again, and again. [The reason is, the ice-block of our dualistic mind is not being melted, through the cultivation of the meditation on love, within us].

The reason is, if you don’t cultivate this meditation on love, if you don’t practice, [the dualism, of the self-cherishing, self-grasping mind, arises], and you don’t want to hear this again. Or, maybe you think, I know, I’ve heard this lots, I know this, everything. [With this attitude of mind], you hear these teachings again, you are bored, [this is because you have not been practicing the meditation on love]. Do you understand? That is why, if instead, you cultivate love, really meditate on love, then when you hear about love, a strong feeling connection, [happy, joyful], arises within you. And, even, only hearing the words releases many of our thoughts, emotions and negative feelings. [This means we have developed the love meditation, as a strong habituation in our mind]. And if you cultivate compassion, and someone says, ‘compassion,’ this has meaning. The words are really pleasant, and at the same time your mind is really, strongly connecting to that. At that moment your inner connections [are awakened], and the feelings arise in your body senses, then that means you are cultivating love. Then you hear, love, compassion, you are happy, feeling joyful. You are not getting bored. Do you understand? Otherwise, we say in Tibetan […], the person who always hears the Dharma teaching, but is not cultivating, meditating, [with that, in their mind], then Dharma cannot transform that person, [that person’s mind].



YAK SKIN & BUTTER EXAMPLE



[Tibetan saying given]. In Tibet these yogis are nomads. The nomads use for example, the yak or sheep skins and put butter inside the skin, (at that time, they don’t have plastic). The skin preserves the butter for days, weeks, months, years. So, then the skin becomes very tight. The butter cannot make it soft. So the butter can be with them for years and years, but the skin is always tight. In the same way, you can be hearing the Dharma again and again, but if you don’t cultivate that in your mind, meditate and practice with that, then the Dharma cannot transform the mind. Do you understand? So that is why, at one level, it is very important to read the books. We have to read the books, [foundations in our practice]. But at another level, read too many books, [without practice], also not that great either. So then you don’t really know what you are going to practice. So much information, right? And you read another book, they tell you another thing, you read another book, they tell you other things. So then, you don’t know how to practice, how to bring your practice together. And then you read again and again, just reading, [and not cultivating that, in the mind, meditating on that], then one day, this authentic teaching, when you read, or hear that, no feeling connection to that. So that is why in this teaching, Jigten Sumgon gives very short instructions, but he brings everything together in these short instructions, stages.

So these Realisers (Enlightened beings), yogis, they don’t read so many books, actually we [modern people], have received more teachings than Jigten Sumgon, (if we are comparing in one lifetime). Jigten Sumgon was only with his teacher for four months. I don’t know his previous life, [so just looking at this one life time here], then I have received more teaching than Jigten Sumgon. I have more teachers than Jigten Sumgon. Not only me, we all have that too. I am travelling more than him. Maybe I can say, I know more people than him. So, we have so many instructions, and things, but we don’t really use them. Do you understand? We do that, right? We don’t use. But if we really put effort into practice, so we are knowing impermanence and death, [reflecting on these, again and again], then the feeling is different. If you habituate, to cultivating this meditation on impermanence and death, in the morning, [it arises in the mind another level of awareness], then, [when that is kept in mind], the whole day, the samsaric things, [samsaric mind states], are not really distracting us, (worldly things are not really distracting us). But, because we have so much distraction, [both inside, and outside of ourselves, and grasp onto that, (self-grasping), not realising what is occuring], we attach to this worldly level, (worldly things), and that is why there is so much distraction.



TRUE REFUGE FOR MIND

(mindfulness, meditation practices, that cultivate the correct disciplines for the mind (Dharma))



[When the mind comes to understand this, [that it creates its own suffering], then it becomes receptive, to follow the way out of that suffering. The mind is introduced to this], so it naturally follows conduct, and naturally follows love, kindness and compassion. Then we arise the bodhicitta, because we want to liberate our minds, and help others, (to liberate their minds), from samsaric mind states. Because we want to liberate our minds, and help others, [we seek refuge in the Three Jewels, and practice. The awareness realisation arising in the mind], enables us to see clearly, that there is no real essence, on this worldly level, [it is like illusions, mirages of mind, which we attach to, (through karma), not knowing, mind’s luminous clear, true essence nature]. [The arising awareness], enables us to much more easily take care of things on the worldly level, (worldly activity). Why is it so complicated on this worldly level, (with worldly things)? Because, we are so strongly fixated, attached to them, that is why it is so complicated. Someone without this fixation to, (attachment on), this worldly level, then it is so easy for them, to take care of these worldly things. Someone who really knows, Impermanence and Death, they are not saying, ‘Don’t take a shower, or eat breakfast, etc., everything is impermanent’. We have to do whatever we have to take care of, (maintaining our life), but at the same time, not so suffering. Without suffering, you can be aware of these worldly activity things, [but not attaching to them as real, and, at the same time, maintaining the bodhicitta intention, of wanting to help others]. Suffering, is due to attachment. When the mind lets go, realising the nature of death and impermanence, we are free from suffering. So that is what we have to know here.

After having generated supreme bodhicitta, take up the practice of the six perfections”. So we arise the bodhicitta, and follow in the six perfections, (the six paramitas), which are: 1. Generosity · 2. Ethical Self-Discipline · 3. Patience · 4. Perseverance (Joyous Effort) · 5. Mental Stability (Concentration) · 6. Discriminating Awareness (Wisdom)). Generosity is very important. On the first level, for worldly people, especially. Generosity creates an accumulation of merit, and good conditions. We all want happiness, [and freedom from suffering]. These teaching instructions, (stages), here, that Jigten Sumgon gives to his disciple, the goal is Enlightenment. But, still we are attached in this samsara. We are seeking happiness, we have fear for suffering, right? Then, where does the happiness come from? Happiness is due to generosity, (that is the reason). And it is what the Buddha did, when he was still on the path, (not yet Enlightened), he practiced generosity, the first step is generosity. Without generosity, it is poverty, (it becomes poverty, the experience is poverty conditions). If there is so much poverty, then [the sentient being], is only looking for food and clothes to survive. No opportunity to practice the Dharma. Do you understand? And poverty is also the karma, due to stinginess [stingy actions, previously]. So due to stinginess, take birth, and really in poverty, and the whole life is spent trying to survive, and not thinking about the Dharma. So that is the reason generosity is important.



THE STORY OF BUDDHA & THE VERY POOR WOMAN



And that is why in Buddha’s story, after attaining Enlightenment, Buddha returned to his father’s palace, (seven years after he had left there). When he was almost in front of the palace, he knocked on a door, and asked a very poor woman for food, so she offered him one potato. So did Buddha really need that potato, do your think? He can go back to the palace, he is very close by, and he can have delicious, extravagant food, many different kinds, to eat. He doesn’t need that potato. But, why did Buddha ask the very poor woman for the potato? Because she is poor, and she needs an accumulation of merit. And that is why he asked her for the potato, (he begged for food from her). Then when his father, the king, heard about that, he felt deeply ashamed. The king told him, this whole kingdom belongs to you, why did you beg for food in front of me? There is so much food in the palace, that has been prepared for you, why did you ask that poor woman for food? So Buddha said, my eye no longer discriminates between rich and poor, (it is the act of giving). In that way, my mothers, creating vast amounts of food for him in the palace, and, (this one mother), giving of, the one potato to him, was the same for him. It is the same, no difference. Buddha said, ‘I want to help everyone’. So that was his answer, ‘I want to help everyone’. That is what we also have to think, generosity is very important. Generosity is dependent, you know, as much as we can give, always in mindful awareness. You go to church, temples, everywhere, simply from a good heart, put donations in, is good, it creates generosity, merit, very important. So that generosity helps, one day we are a Dharma practitioner, no poverty, so not any obstacle through the poverty suffering, free from that. [And so we can better help others].

So, then we already talked about morality. Morality, (good conduct) is second. Even if you have generosity, without good conduct, you go to the lower realms of rebirth. And the lower realm rebirth is called the nagas. Nagas have so many precious jewels, but each of the precious jewels is no benefit for them. Each precious jewel is a cause of suffering for them. So that is the example, someone has good generosity but no morality, they take rebirth to the lower realms. If we don’t take birth to the higher realms, there is no opportunity to practice the Dharma. And then third, is the practice of patience. Patience is always important, [we need patient dedication, in the practices of training the mind, to protect our love, generation of bodhicitta, and merit], without patience [in our practice], we can not Realise, (achieve the attainments)]. So we can not reach to the goal without patience. Buddha also mentioned two things that make it very hard to follow the path. The first one is, it is very hard to accept the path. [Because of the strong habituation of self-grasping to concept, (ego-self)]. So we have good condition, we accept dharma is truth, we follow the path, that means we are free from a big obstacle. So many beings, [have not come into contact with the Dharma, are not realising the truth of reality (nondual)], or accept the path, [path frees from attachment to samsaric mind states]. Second obstacle is no accomplishment, through losing patience. So that is why patience is important. [For this reason, we dedicate all our practices of Dharma, (of generating the bodhicitta mind), for the welfare of all sentient beings, to all sentient beings. Protecting our love, compassion, bodhicitta, merit].




Dedication (Skt. pariṇāma; Tib. བསྔོ་བ་, ngowaWyl. bsngo ba) — the dedication of one’s merit towards the temporary and ultimate happiness and wellbeing of all sentient beings. It is the third of the three noble principles, and last part of the seven or eight branches for the accumulation of merit.

Making a proper dedication is said in the teachings to seal the practice, ensure that none of its pure power can leak or seep away, and so ensure that the merit of our practice is never wasted, but goes on growing ever greater. In The Sutra Requested by Sagaramati, the Buddha said:

Just as a drop of water that falls into the ocean
Will never disappear until the ocean runs dry,
Merit totally dedicated to enlightenment
Will never disappear until enlightenment is reached.


(from rigpawiki.org)

Perfect dedication, recognises the emptiness of self, object and action. (The mind is ‘turned’ to recognising, realising the nondual nature of true reality).




Following patience, [in the practice of the six perfections, paramitas], is joyful effort. So, first we have, (1) generosity, (2) morality (good conduct), (3) patience, then (4) joyful effort naturally arises [and we cultivate that. Look after it], (5) meditation, [on awareness generated, in the mind], and, (6) wisdom [arises]. So that is called the six perfections.




Verse 9



“To attain perfect awakening by means of immeasurable hardships for three countless eons and so on is an extremely long and difficult path. Hence, buddhahood can be attained in this life through the Vajra Vehicle of Secret Mantra. This was taught by Vajradhara and this you should follow. In a secluded, delightful abode request the four empowerments, the precious path of ripening, from an authentic an sublime guru”.



So here, Jigten Sumgon is sharing three different levels [of practice]. So first we say, Hinayana, (without that we don’t want to go to the right path), and that is why we need to cultivate the teachings on death and impermanence in our mind, and recognise samsara is suffering, [to cut through attachment to self-grasping, so mind can realise the nondual nature state]. So these three, [(i) reflecting on death and impermanence, (ii) recognising samsara is suffering and (iii) good conduct], are Hinayana tradition practices. Then second step, Jigten Sumgon speaks of generating love, compassion, bodhicitta, [in the mind], and practice of the six paramitas (perfections), so that is Mahayana tradition practice. And the third step, Jigten Sumgon is sharing, is the Vajrayana teachings. Without Vajrayana practice, (only Mahayana), the path takes a very long time. “To attain perfect awakening by means of immeasurable hardships for three countless eons and so on is an extremely long and difficult path”. So to attain perfect awakening by means of immeasurable hardships for three countless eons and so on it an extremely long and difficult path. It is a very difficult path, not easy to achieve Enlightenment.

So Buddha Shakyamuni did this, he went through hardships, and created an accumulation of merit, [acting for the welfare of sentient beings], for countless aeons. So then he attained Enlightenment, (state of omniscient Buddhahood). Buddha Shakyamuni’s Enlightenment, (no other being had like that), the reason is, he underwent hardships and accumulated merit for so many aeons. And that is why, due to his accumulation of merit, he is the fourth Buddha, and he can benefit so many other beings. And after Buddha Shakyamuni, so many followers, are already Enlightened. But they take short cut, short cut Enlightenment, cannot be the same as Buddha Shakyamuni. Do you understand? We can achieve the same goal, Realisation accomplishment, but the accumulation of merit, (from, when still on the path, accumulating merit), the benefit of that, is not the same. And this shows very clearly, so right now, some spiritual teachers are very famous, benefit so many others, due to their accumulation of merit. They did accumulation of merit, that is why they have that power. Some Realisers, not benefitting others so much. They are free from suffering, they have very high Realisation, but they don’t create that much accumulation of merit. Due to their Realisation, they achieve Enlightenment, they take short cut. Do you understand? So that is why, also some teachers, are very high Realisers, but benefit is less than nonrealisers. So benefitting others, is due to accumulation of merit, on the path. On the path, you do so much practice of the six paramitas, and then you accomplish the six perfections, you have manifold resource, to benefit others. If someone is on the path, and they don’t create that much accumulation of the six perfections, (paramitas), but only focus on Mahamudra meditation, maybe they can achieve some strong connections, and a Realiser, but there is less benefit.



SHORT INSTRUCTIONS



[…] It is not easy to realise. Jigten Sumgon gives us very simple instructions, which we can follow. […] The first basic level, (the preliminaries), are: we need to cultivate, the meditations within our mind, on death and impermanence, recognise samsara is suffering, want to liberate, [our minds from samsaric mind states], and have good conduct. Then we have to follow the six paramitas, (mind generation is important). And then, go to the Vajrayana teaching (practice). “Hence, buddhahood can be attained in this life through the Vajra Vehicle of Secret Mantra”. Following the Vajrayana teaching, Enlightenment can be achieved in one lifetime. So this is ‘special method’. “This was taught by Vajradhara and this you should follow. In a secluded, delightful abode request the four empowerments, the precious path of ripening, from an authentic an sublime guru”. So the point is, in one lifetime, we can achieve Enlightenment. This teaching is shared by Buddha Vajradhara. Buddha Vajradhara is actually Buddha Shakyamuni. So Buddha Shakyamuni is the nirmanakaya form. He is also sambhogakaya form, and dharmakaya form, (in accordance with Realisation levels). In our ordinary perception, Buddha is nirmanakaya form, (Buddha Shakyamuni). And who has Realisation, (with love and compassion), Buddha is called sambhogakaya. Then, the sambhogakaya form bodies, (the bliss bodies), this is a very high level of Realisation, (that is, Realisation of the Yidam deities, Chenrezig, Manjushri, Vajrapani, and so forth. Within this level of Realisation, Buddha Shakyamuni is recognised as Buddha Vajradhara, [one-taste awareness, inseparable with the supreme Guru mind, dharmakaya nature]. For sambhogakaya form bodies, the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni are given through mind emanations. So there are the Buddha’s Realisations, then Chenrezig, Manjushri, Vajrapani, and so forth, (the Yidam Deities, sambhogakaya form bodies), they realise that, (are knowing that). So that is why Buddha Vajradhara, is actually Shakyamuni Buddha, (but not the ordinary being’s perception).

Buddha Vajradhara sharing the teachings, (is not by talking, (conceptually, worldly), it is direct mind to mind Realisation). So Buddha’s own experience (Realisations), and then these Bodhisattva Realisers, they receive that. As, given in another teaching, we practice Vajrapani every day, and Vajrapani is the secret lineage holder. (The secret lineage holder of Vajrayana teaching). So all this Vajrayana teaching comes from Buddha Vajradhara’s experience, and then Vajrapani Knows that. Vajrapani Knows, and then he shares to nirmanakaya forms, like Nagarjuna and Padmasambhava. They are nirmanakaya forms, that can receive the teachings from Vajrapani, (sambhogakaya form), [because of their accomplishment of the practices]. So that is why there are these three kayas, [that bring benefit to beings according to their Realisation level], dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. All are actually one]. The teaching first, comes from [the Realisation of the nondual nature], dharmakaya. It takes sambhogakaya form, (bringing benefit at that level of Realisation), then sambhogakaya, takes nirmanakaya form, (to benefit beings at those levels, of the teaching). Nirmanakaya’s are sharing for us. So Buddha Shakyamuni, when he shared this Mahamudra, Vajrayana teaching, (the Realisation, is not conceptual). He is dharmakaya, (Realised nature state, Vajradhara). And then Vajrapani received all that. Then, Vajrapani shared that to the Realisers, like Tilopa, (he can receive this teaching directly). Tilopa then shares to his disciples, to come through us. So that is where the teaching comes from.

“In a secluded, delightful abode request the four empowerments, the precious path of ripening, from an authentic an sublime guru”. So then Vajrayana teaching is followed by Empowerment. The difference between Vajrayana teaching, and the Mahayana teaching is, Vajrayana teaching has initiation, and is introducing, that this, right now, our ordinary body, speech and mind is Buddha, [we just don’t recognise that due to self-grasping, dualistic, conceptualization]. Mahayana teaching, they did not have that instruction. Mahayana is, generate love, compassion, bodhicitta. (In Mahayana, they don’t talk about, this ordinary body, speech and mind, is Buddha). In this instruction here, all is a journey of our body. Our body is mandala. And first we have to take care of our lower body. Lower body, means lower chakras. So that is why this Hinayana teaching is very important, for taking care of the lower chakras. Second, you are going to upper chakras, this Mahayana teaching is very important. Without Mahayana teaching, you cannot go to the upper chakras. So that is why, love, compassion, and bodhicitta are practiced. Without generating these in your mind, you do not have access to the upper chakras. And then Vajrayana teaching, is directly talking about the upper chakra, because upper chakra is Buddha. So then Buddha is within ourself, (not somewhere else). So that is the reason, Vajrayana teaching needs initiation. This means introducing this, our body is Buddha (Buddha’s palace, mandala). This body is not impure. So, sharing directly this body is pure, and Enlightened form. So Enlightened body, speech and mind. So that is the initiation Empowerment.




Four empowerments

  • the vase empowerment (Skt. kalaśābhiṣeka; Tib. བུམ་པའི་དབང་, bumpé wang, Wyl. …
  • the secret empowerment (Skt. guhyābhiṣeka; Tib. གསང་བའི་དབང་, sangwé wang, ‘Wyl. …
  • the knowledge-wisdom empowerment (Skt. prajñājñānābhiṣeka; Tib. …
  • the precious word empowerment.

The Function of the Four Empowerments

The Vase Empowerment

The Secret Empowerment

  • purifies all the negative karma accumulated through negative actions of the speech
  • grants the blessings of vajra speech
  • unblocks and re-balances the prana
  • authorizes the student as a receptive vessel for mantra recitation
  • sows the seed for the attainment of the state of a ‘vidyadhara with power over life
  • enables the student to attain the sambhogakaya level of realization.

The Transcendent Knowledge-Wisdom Empowerment

  • purifies all the negative karma accumulated through negative actions of the mind
  • grants the blessings of the vajra mind
  • purifies and enhances bindu
  • authorizes the student as a receptive vessel for the chandali practices of bliss and emptiness (i.e. tsa-lung and tummo)
  • sows the seed for the attainment of the state of a ‘mahamudra vidyadhara
  • enables the student to attain the dharmakaya level of realization.

The Precious Word Empowerment

(from rigpawiki.org)




“… the precious path of ripening, from an authentic an sublime guru”. So, then through Guru’s blessing (connection), and Guru giving the Empowerment instruction, that introduces directly, this ordinary body, speech and mind, as Enlightened, body, speech and mind.






Verse 10



“Having abandoned the faults and defects of your samayas, sit cross-legged on a comfortable seat
in a very remote and secluded place. Having performed all the preliminary branches to
meditative concentration, contemplate impermanence and samsara’s defects. Train your mind in
love, compassion, and bodhicitta and then practice the creation and completion stages. Although
the creation and completion stages with characteristics are the cause for the two form kayas, they
will not bring about ultimate dharmakaya”.



“Having abandoned the faults and defects of your samayas, sit cross-legged on a comfortable seat in a very remote and secluded place”. When we practice Vajrayana, we receive Empowerment instruction, then we have to practice ourselves. Practice needs a good place, “very remote and secluded place”. We find what we need, (the resources) for our practice, then there are no distractions. Vajrayana practice is secret practice, and this is important, what this means is, what we are receiving and practicing, is not public showing. [It is not conceptual based practice, and the sublimely sacred power of the practices, are protected this way]. So that is the reason, in the Vajrayana many of the secret rituals, and objects are not allowed to be public. (We have to use our own practice). Most people have no idea, what it is about, and they can be confused, and they can take wrong directions. And, that is why Vajrayana teaching, always requires bodhicitta first, (Mahayana practice). Otherwise the practice of Yidam Deity can be the wrong idea, for example, ‘I want to achieve this Deity, get great power, and I want to show others, I can create many disciples’. (They are seeking for the powers). So that is the reason bodhicitta is required. When bodhicitta is generated, and upheld, (basis of the practices), then the samsaric intention, does not arise. And that is why we have to stay in a remote area, [look after the practice, and the conditions for the practices].

Then in the text(s), when we practice the Yidam Deities, they speak of three important aspects. 1. First we need support of object, when we practice the Yidam Deity. Without support, we don’t know how to practice, and visualise, so that is why. So important, we need thangkas, statues, special object. Then, use that object and visualise very clearly. And visualization really helps remove all these mundane perceptions. You visualise Tara, Buddha, Chenrezig, Vajrapani, all these different [Yidam] Deities forms, you are no longer stuck with mundane perceptions, (ordinary perceptions are removed). 2. Then, second, what is important is, self-generation and divine pride. So for self-generation, and divine pride, we really have to Know Truth, [the nondual, true nature of reality]. Our mind is Buddha. So Buddha is not somewhere else, we really have to Know that. And then, you visualise that Buddha, and our mind are connecting, [are one]. We have to recognise visualisation of [Yidam] Deity, and our mind, are inseparable. And we must have that confidence in Knowing Truth. So cannot be, [the conceptual thinking], ‘I’m just a regular being, (ordinary being), where mind is with mundane perceptions, and then visualise, the [Yidam] Deity, that is incorrect. [The self-generation has to come from bodhicitta awareness, in Knowing Truth, nature of rigpa, Realisation].



PURIFICATION OF MIND USING SPECIAL METHOD



So, when we visualise ourselves as Buddha, that means, all the mundane thoughts are [released into their true nature, (Realised as such)], the dharmakaya nature, [ultimate truth body]. This means empty, thoughts are all empty. [All phenomena, self and other phenomena are emptiness, but not nothingness, vivid, and clear, luminosity]. And then you visualise yourself as Buddha, [which is Realisation of the ultimate nature of Reality, dharmakaya]. Your mind is pure, abiding in that nature state, (no thoughts (dualistic perception)), and then, we naturally arise which Buddha, Yidam Deity we are practicing, our mind is inseparable with that. So that is the second important aspect. 3. Then the third important aspect is, we have to know these different Yidam Deities, ‘Recollection of Purity’. So Recollection of Purity is, each Yidam Deity has different ornaments, (symbolised meanings). And we have to Know that Truth. [For example], why a Yidam Deity is wrathful. People think, ‘Oh Yidam Deity has anger’, that is incorrect. People say, ‘I thought Buddhists are peaceful, but this [Yidam] Deity is wrathful, (scary). So they misunderstand right there, and that is why you have to know, what is wrathful? It means, the wrathful aspect of compassion, [the opposite of that, is the peaceful aspect. Both are aspects of the compassion]. The wrathful compassion, is arising, in the form of the wrathful, [enlightening activities]. It is not, that anger is arising the wrathful (compassionate activities), [but it is strong bodhicitta compassion, that arises the wrathful activities]. It is important that we know that. And why the Yidam Deity is naked? This symbolizes, no thoughts, no emotions. Why is the Yidam Deity wearing bone ornaments? It represents, free from impure perceptions. Each Yidam Deity has symbolized meanings, (‘Recollection of Purity’). Each outer symbolised meaning, is showing the true, inner qualities of Buddha.

So, when we practice the Yidam Deities, these three aspects are important. Jigten Sumgon also says, we have to practice in the remote area, this means you are not showing for others. Because people don’t Know these three important aspects, and Knowing [yourself], you cannot share [that Knowing] with them, [the Realisation, arises in one’s mind, through the practices themselves]. Then, “… Having performed all the preliminary branches to meditative concentration, contemplate impermanence and samsara’s defects”. We have to use all the preliminary practices, (branches), that Jigten Sumgon has shared here, and we have to cultivate that first. So, to practice the Yidam Deity means, we are going into the Yidam Deity’s mandala, (palace). Think about it, if you have to go to the king’s palace, [the security there]. You have to pass through all the [various] gates, each part [section], [the practices], otherwise you will not get through, to the uppermost levels. We are going all the way to upper level practice, means we have to go through these first stages. These instructions, are not graduated, we have to apply to each practice, (each section). And, every single day, we have to go through these again, and again, [develop the habituation of them in our mind]. So for example, you are working in the palace. Every single day you have to go through security checks, (check points and you have to show your ID). Otherwise you cannot enter in the king’s palace, (they don’t let you in, to do the job there). So that is why, every practice we have to apply these stages. And then, when we enter in the palace, we have to become part of the king’s mandala. (We are part of the king’s mandala, because we are working there). So when we practice the Yidam Deity, that means we are part of the Yidam Deity’s mandala, we become one family.



PERFORMING THE PRELIMINARIES, TO THE PRACTICE OF THE YIDAM DEITY



So Jigten Sumgon gives the instructions for that, here, “… Having performed all the preliminary branches to meditative concentration, contemplate impermanence and samsara’s defects. Train your mind in love, compassion, and bodhicitta and then practice the creation and completion stages”. So, we all go through these stages, and then practice the Yidam Deity. Yidam Deity practice is called “the creation and completion stages”. Creation, means we are visualising, and we have that, [we do that], (but right now, we don’t know that). And that is why, we use a support, we visualize, and meditate, [we cultivate and arise the awareness in our mind]. Then we go to completion stages. “Although the creation and completion stages with characteristics are the cause for the two form kayas, they will not bring about ultimate dharmakaya”. So, the creation and completion stages, is the Yidam Deity practice. Yidam Deity practice is nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya, (it is form bodies practice). So in Yidam Deity practice, we are visualising our form as the Yidam Deity, and we visualise all the Yidam Deity’s palace, [mandala]. All the mundane perceptions are transformed by accomplishing this [special method] practice. “Although the creation and completion stages with characteristics are the cause for the two form kayas, they will not bring about ultimate dharmakaya”. [However], (so, still), these creation and completion stages, will not bring about the highest level, (dharmakaya). The Yidam Deity practice, in the Vajrayana, is the cause of the two form kayas, nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya (form bodies), but not the cause of dharmakaya. So, that is the reason we have to practice Mahamudra. The cause of dharmakaya, is Mahamudra practice, (Realisation of the nondual nature of dharmakaya). When we achieve Enlightenment, that means, must be the three kayas, [nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya and dharmakaya], not only one kaya. So then, the goal of the practice is Mahamudra, and now, Jigten Sumgon is going to share Mahamudra. […] So all these stages we have to go through first, before Mahamudra. Mahamudra teaching is tomorrow. So we finish the teaching there today, and we are going to do the dedication.





(Continued on: Stages of Meditation from Enlightenment Stupa (3) page, on this website…)



(Any errors are the transcriber’s/ editor’s own).