The Dying Process
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I’m gonna go into brief about the mental process of death, in brief. We can learn it in more detail in the future. This will relate to how we keep our mind, okay? Good life and at the time of death, okay? And why should we focus on this? Because that’s our destiny. So if we grab our destiny and do something with it, we won’t be afraid. And being free from fear is not the name of the game; continuing afterwards is the name of the game. So if we always focus on money and health and family and cars and you know, material objects and relationships, if we only focus on that and only that, that is living life the wrong way. Why? Because it doesn’t prepare us for the inevitable. It’s not wrong in a god theory or punishment theory. It is wrong because we haven’t prepared. Example, if we’re gonna go for the Olympics this year, and we’re supposed to train and we don’t train, that’s living life the wrong way. It’s not…nobody punishes you, and it’s not like, “Oh, you’re bad!” No. It’s very logical.
So, the first process is this – the four elements of earth, water, fire ceases in us. Earth is the flesh. Air is wind or breath, and breath is very important. All doctors, Western, Eastern, listen for the breath, the shallowness of it and the strength of it to check detection of life, or how strong. Even you check wind by doing pulse. The Tibetan doctors check pulse and check the signs of life by wind, meaning they check the pulse, how strong the wind is. Ten…that is air. Then, water is the blood, okay. Earth. Air. Water. Fire. Fire is the heat generated from this, that keeps us alive, warm and functioning. Without heat the organs cannot exist. So the death process has four elements. Four elements. As they start to dissolve, our gross minds dissolve into our subtle minds. Then our subtle minds dissolve into a very subtle mind and then we’ll leave our bodies. How we leave our bodies will determine what rebirth we will take. What aperture we leave our bodies – from here up, from here to here, or from here down – from what part we leave is very, very important. Very, very important.
So therefore, in meditation, when we find a qualified teacher, and he teaches us meditation, these are called the higher meditations. He will teach us according to either the Vajrayogini tantra, the Heruka tantra, or the Tara tantras, whatever. He will teach us, according to tantra, how to manipulate and control those four elements within our body. So why? The death process, I’m explaining to you now, is something you practise in meditation daily so when it actually happens, you’re practised, learned and prepared. So therefore to reach that level, we have to do preliminary practices and studies, so that the upper will be very strong. Example, one very strong tantric practice is Vajrayogini. When you do Vajrayogini’s practice very strong and very well, you will be able to control the death process. You will be able to control your death.
Not dying is not the name of the game, because you have to die, because your body is not ethereal. It’s from the earth. It has to be given back. But you’ll be able to control the death processes. These are very secret teachings by…in Tibet that has been contained for thousands of years. Why is it secret? Because when people do it wrong, when people do it wrong, it can make the lineage finish. When people exploit it for the wrong reasons, the lineage can finish. That is the danger.
So therefore, the first element to dissolve, the first element is the earth element. When the earth element dissolves, the power of the body become…we become thinner. The limbs become loose and we have a physical sensation, a mental sensation, we’re sinking under the earth. So the first feeling that we know we’re dying is we’ll feel a sinking sensation as if we’re falling into the ground. That will happen. This is not an accidental death. Accidental you don’t have that process, it’s very quick. Accidental…sorry, accidental you have that process but it’s very quick (finger snapping) so you can’t sense it, you can’t be prepared. I’m talking about a normal death, alright?
Then, the body starts to become weak and powerless. It diminishes in its strength. And then, inside, our eyes cannot open and close anymore. Then, the internal sign – meaning like I’ve mention earlier, you see in your dream, dreams without your eyes – what you will see without your eyes is a mirage. The internal sign is the appearance of mirages. It’s like things become like in a desert when it’s very hot, things are like this. You will see like everything is like a mirage. That is the first sign that death is coming. So when you receive those signs, wherever you are, if you’ve been practising, you’ll be able to immediately apply, for example, Vajrayogini’s practice. Instead of just looking at those signs, you’ll dissolve your winds. You say, “Oh, I’m dying, dissolve my winds.”
The second one, the second element to dissolve after earth is water. Your water element will dissolve. That is your saliva, urine, sweat and blood. And the aggregates can no longer experience consciousness and you start to lose, like you don’t know where you are. The basic feeling of pain, pleasure and neutral feelings – you like people, you don’t like people, you want your money, you don’t want your money, you like your car, you don’t like your car – will lose. You’ll start losing that feeling. And your ears will stop working. Also, internal ear power will go, it means you won’t even hear the blood flow anymore in your ears. And the appearance you see inside, even your eyes are closed, is smoke, like when a candle’s burning and you snuff it out and there’s a little smoke, you’ll see that. That’s the second sign. That’s the sign that the water element has dissolved.
Third sign is the fire element dissolves. The power to digest food or drink will be gone. You will not recognize people who are close and far to you anymore. Hence, that is why they say in Buddhism we should have equanimity. If we’re attached to people who are close, we create suffering for them and us at their death and our death. If we’re attached to people who are hateful or vengeful, it also creates difficulties for us. So therefore, the discrimination to know people who are close and far to us will be gone. So even our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters, our wife and husband, we won’t know anymore. That will be at that point where the fire element dissolves.
Then, inhalation becomes weak and power of smell goes. Internal sign is you’ll see sparks. What is that? It’s actually your own body closing down. You’ll see that inside of you. This is a normal death.
The next one is air element will dissolve. The winds will stop moving. The winds will stop flowing. In Chinese medicine, we believe in 84,000 wind channels or chi. Chi cannot be recognized or found medically but it exists, same thing in tantra. In Tibetan Buddhism, chi is definitely recognized but it’s used for meditation. Then, you cannot experience smoothness or roughness. So if you have a very nice cloth next to you, or you’re laying on a very soft bed, dying, you’re an empress or you’re a beggar on the street sitting on the hard, cold cement, you won’t be able to feel anymore. There’s no difference at that point. You lose all that kind of feeling, and the tongue becomes thick and short, and the root of the tongue will start to turn blue. Internal signs is spluttering lights going out.
The next one is very quick. The fifth to eighth signs of dissolution is very, very subtle, very, very subtle. All your gross mind has dissolved. Now it’s internal mind alone. The internal minds will go from seeing a clear, vacuous white light at the fifth stage. Many people around the world say, “Oh! I saw a white light. Oh, I saw a light that’s very, very, very warm and inviting, and I feel like I’m in a womb, I feel safe,” and they came back. Actually no, they only went through part of the death stage. They didn’t go all the way. So people who die and they come back, they will usually report to you a white, vacuous light. They say that’s God or Buddha or their grandmother or whatever. And they feel very safe. And so they, not knowing, not having studied and understand, they’ll feel that that’s it. It is not it. It is not it. What is that? That’s our own mind we are seeing. After we finish that, we will see a clear, vacuous red light. Then we’ll see finally a dark light, a very thick darkness as if we’re in…everything’s turned off.
Last but not least, when all the winds have dissolved into our central channel, when it is dissolved, if we have predominantly anger, or attachments, or fear, then the wind will go down and leave our body through the lower apertures. If it’s a neutral state, it will leave through the middling part of the body. If it’s higher thoughts such as compassion, or remembering one’s meditational deity – in this case Avalokiteshvara – or remembering good deeds one has done, or one has the wish to continue doing good deeds, that future lives will be used to benefit others solely, then it will leave through the upper aperture. When it leaves to the upper aperture, one will take rebirth in the higher realms, such as a higher human form, or a higher existence in human, where when you’re born, you have very good thoughts, immediately. You continue doing your work.
If you practise the higher Buddhist teachings, when you’re qualified and your teacher passes to you, when you practise, you will gain control over that process. What I’ve told you is in much more detail. What I’ve told you, it has much more detail. I’m just giving you a nutshell. You will gain control. When you gain control of that, you have lived a good life. You have loved life the right way. Why? You have lived life well and you have prepared for your death. And by the way, you’re also being compassionate to the people around you. Why is that? Because you also have prepared them. You don’t create any fear in them that “Hey, what‘s happened to them? What’s happened to my loved one that has passed away?” You don’t create any fear. So therefore, if you have lived life the right way, you don’t simply just do things that you’re good at and you’re successful at.
That’s good for this life. But how much can we wear? How much can we eat? How many positions can we get? How much can we enjoy? We have to prepare for the time when we actually pass away and that one, no one can do anything for us. You can have the Dalai Lama near you, or the Pope near you praying and chanting, but if your whole life is not prepared or ready, you will not take a good rebirth. If you can, that will contradict the law of cause and effect and…and the law of the universe.
So, therefore, at the time of death, for the person dying, if they don’t know this procedure, it’s very important we keep calm. We don’t cry. We don’t show any sorrow. You’re thinking, “That’s monumental.” Yes it is but out of love for them, if we keep still, it will disturb their minds less. If their mind gets disturbed when they see us disturbed, and they feel they cannot leave us behind, you will disrupt their mind. When you disrupt their mind, they will leave in a wrong way. So similarly, if in our lifetime we have been practising, we have found our teacher, we have been practising daily, and we have been preparing along with living, then there will be no fear. So at the time of death, for one who has not fully practised doing it, someone will say to you, “Oh, do you remember Avalokiteshvara? Do you remember the charity you did? Or do you remember the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful meditations you did, so and so?” You go, “Oh!” Immediately it will trigger. What will it trigger? Listen very carefully. The karma where you’re going to take rebirth next. Because at the time of death, you’re looking for a new white and red cell to join. You’re looking. Before you join that white and red cell, which type of white and red cell you will enter, will be determined by your pre-ordained karma.
So if you’ve lived the life of killing or arrogance, or hatred then you’ll be predestined to take a rebirth between a white and red cell that will help you to act out those impulses, such as an animal. But to you, you won’t see them as an animal. You will just see your birth mother, your birth father, and you will enter. You will not say, “Oh that’s an animal, that’s a human, I won’t go, I made a wrong turn.” No, you won’t see it like that. You will not see it.
So therefore…therefore, if we take time away daily for business, for family, for activities and every time we take time away from it and we do it, we can become better. We become better family people. We become better businessmen. We become better husbands. We become better wives, if we take our time away to examine and to change ourselves. That is investing in yourself and the people around you. If you really love the people around you, you will never hurt them. You will never embarrass them. You will never ever bring tears to their eyes, if you love them. If you don’t love them, but you say you love them, then you will do things that brings tears to their eyes. But you have to remember, that will come back to you. It will definitely come back to you.
So therefore, when will it come back to you? Either in this life, or when the karma opens at the time of death. So therefore, when you die…when you die, if you’re controlled…you don’t have to be a Rinpoche or a monk to be controlled, no, definitely not. I know a wonderful lady doctor that I met, that died a controlled death. If I have time I’ll tell you about her; if not, another time. I’ve met and I have seen. You don’t have to be. Buddha’s teachings is available for everyone.
Now, if at the time of death we can, by meditation, leave our body and enter the bardo, and enter the next life with control, rab [15.37] we say in Tibetan, the best. If we cannot, if we have a qualified person near us to guide us; if not that, at least have good thoughts. So how to prepare for death, short and long term, starts right now. How to prepare for the actual death and living a ‘good’ life, starts right now. What is that? If you take time away for business and family and you get good at it, if you take some time away and invest in your death, you’ll have a good death. If you invest no time in your death…how do you invest in death? By spiritual practice, spiritual knowledge, making your time available for it. We have to think, “Don’t I have enough money? Don’t I have enough kids? Sorry. Don’t I have enough people? Don’t I have enough friends? Don’t I have enough travel? Don’t I have enough of all that?” And enough doesn’t mean you stop, it means “I have plenty, now I need to really invest in myself, the bigger picture, the bigger way”. So if we don’t take time away to receive or learn or study spiritual practices, then we don’t…we’re not enjoying the life. We’re not enjoying life the right way. That is not by sin, that is not by merit. I am talking about just practical. It’s not judgment time.
So therefore, if we take time away from everything, from this to do this, from this to do this, from this to do this, from this to do that, if we take time away and hence we’re good at certain things we are doing, it means we have invested time in it. Similarly, we can have an excellent death, an excellent rebirth, if we take time away from it and we invest in it. So therefore, how? If we take time away for our spiritual practice, combined with everything else we do, you will see results. How? When you see your mind starts to transform. I didn’t say “your lifestyle change”, do not get me wrong. When you see your mind start to transform and let go of many things that has been bothering you, and vice versa, or many things that you like and you’re attached to, or you’re grasping at…when you see your mind start to let go, then you know you’re preparing, your death preparation is very good. Because that’s what you‘re gonna have to do at death. Everything that you do during your daily practice, spiritual practice is what you need to do at the time of death.
So if you think you can let go and do everything at the time of death, yes, you have to let go by the power of death! You have to let go of everything at the time of death, but willingly or not willingly, knowingly or not knowingly, happily or not happily, or peacefully or not peacefully, is the key. It’s definitely the key. So therefore, we have enough food. We have enough cars. We have enough house. We have enough business. Why don’t we be really good to ourselves now and take time out and invest in our spiritual practice? Let’s do more than just giving some money away to the poor. Let’s do more than just having a statue and putting butter lamps or candles in it. We don’t even know what we are praying to! I’ve come across people, many times, that they came across a monk, or somebody or a friend that gave them a picture or a statue, and they’ve been praying to that statue or picture for 10, 15, 20, 30, 100 years! You ask them what it is, they say, “I don’t know.” It could be a stylized picture of my mother, my grandmother, you’ve been praying. “What’s that? Going to help you?” You don’t know. It could be my grandfather in Tibetan clothes and they paint it in a thangka form, and you’re praying to my grandfather. That’s not gonna help you!
So there’s a lot of people who, they give that, and they put on their altar and they say, “Oh I’m praying! But I’m praying. I’m offering incense, you know. I’m giving him milk, and…and…and I’m bowing. I’m kowtowing. I’m praying.” That’s not praying. That is ignorance. Not to know what you are praying to, or not to know the result of your prayer, is not spiritual practice. Spiritual practice is not having an altar, and a nice picture and a nice statue and have a butter lamp in front. I know that’s what many people here are led to believe and I am not blaming. When you don’t have enough teachers to explain more, that’s all you know how to do. That’s not bad, but also, it could be done more, much more.
Datuk May: That’s my point.
Rinpoche: What’s your point?
Datuk May: Never can find teachers
Rinpoche: You found one!
Datuk May: That’s true.
Rinpoche: You found one! And I speak your language! Imagine if you have to go through a translator! You go to one of those – no offence – you go to one of those Tibetan lamas – they’re great – with a translator! Yes ma’am.
[audience] “I have one last question and I apologize…”
Rinpoche: Don’t apologize.
[audience] “If, if it’s a cycle that continues and we can help improve, um, what is the point of all this?”
Rinpoche: To liberate and benefit others. To bring others out of their suffering because it isn’t just us. I know. And also, the amount of beings that are suffering, the amount of beings who have to go through this cycle are endless.
[audience] “How many times am I going to reincarnate?”
Rinpoche: That is up to you.
[audience] “Why am I going like this? And especially every time I forget what I did before and I have to learn all over again and…”
Rinpoche: No, no. You forgot –
[audience] “And in my next lifetime I don’t meet you?”
Rinpoche: You forgot, not everybody forgot. You forgot, not everybody forgot. Don’t be presumptuous. Not everybody forgot what they did. What you ate and what you dressed and where you swam is not important to remember, therefore our mind doesn’t remember. The qualities we developed from our previous lives that are very beneficial to ourselves and others, we never forget, never. Hence, some people are born immediately doing charity. Hence some people are born, immediately become a monk or nun. Hence some people born, immediately they start helping other people. So, the small things that you have forgotten in your previous life, you may have forgotten, but not everybody has forgotten. Why have you forgotten it? Because – let me explain – everything that you have experienced, touching, taste, feeling, cold and heat is associated with your gross mind. The gross mind only exists on the basis of your body as I’ve explained before. So when it exists on the basis of your body, when the body dissolves, the gross mind dissolves back into the subtle mind.
So, the subtle mind will remember things associated with the attainments of the subtle mind, such as compassion, such as incredible memory, such as very sharp, clear wisdom. Those things can be developed. If we develop eating and sleeping and making money and having kids and making clothes and making houses, if we develop that, that will be forgotten. Why? Those are actions associated with only the aggregates that dissolve at the time of death. Example, you may not have rem…if you are a carpenter, and you build a house 50 years ago, you may not remember the exact hammer, the size, the color and all the tools you used. Why? That’s not important, but you’ll remember how to build a house but the tools you will not. Therefore, these experiences that you have that you claim you have forgotten are things actually not forgotten. By meditation, you will remember.
Example, today is what day? Friday. Last Wednesday for lunch, what did you have? Tell me now.
[audience] “No idea.”
Rinpoche: But, you did have lunch, correct?
[audience] “Yes I did.”
Rinpoche: Of course you did.
[audience] “Knowing me I did.”
Rinpoche: “Knowing me”?! I’m gonna be your good friend! When I finish my macrobiotic diet, we’ll go out some place and pig out. Now, you can come along too, May, since you like to live life well. Now…but, if we calm down and we retrack, and we ask your husband, can’t you remember? Yes, of course you can, eventually. He’d say, “Oh yeah, I was at home and I probably made a sandwich or I went out with friends. Oh yeah, I went out to that restaurant…oh, I had my favorite food.” You see, if I go like this to you, you know like that and I throw things at you, of course you’ll be like, “I can’t remember.” But if we calm down and we breathe, and we recall, you’ll remember. If you can remember last Wednesday, you can remember 10 years ago. If you can remember 10 years ago, you can remember 50 years ago. If you can remember 50 years ago, you can remember your previous life. It’s a matter of practice.
Hence, past life regression in Western therapy work. It’s accepted. Why? All memories are embedded. All memories are stored. It’s whether we have developed the tools to remember or to be able to remember. So if we have not used our lives to develop that mental tool, we will not remember. We’ll definitely not remember, but that does not mean that everybody doesn’t remember, or everybody has short-term or long-term memory spells that they can’t remember things. Definitely not. There are people with very sharp memory because they exercise that part of their mind.
[audience] “So that means spiritually I’m obviously a total beginner which is true, I am.”
Rinpoche: A total what?
[audience] “A beginner, because obviously I –”
Rinpoche: Let’s hold hands and walk together. No problem. You are a beginner, and maybe, maybe your daughter has blessed you to go further.
[audience] “She did, actually.”
[audience] “Because actually, when she was diagnosed with cancer she was the one who ask my husband and I to believe in God and to have faith.”
Rinpoche: There you go.
[audience] “She was the one who said that we have to –”
Rinpoche: She was giving you strength. What does that tell you about her previous life? It’s not about God. It’s not about Buddha. It is about the mental state, strength of a person. Although they are suffering, but they can take care of you. It’s very important, my lady, it’s very important. You should…when you leave this room, you should absolve yourself of all guilt or pain, or you didn’t do your job, because those are illogical thoughts.
[audience] “I don’t have those thoughts.”
[audience] “Because I know that I’ve been, we have been…”
Rinpoche: But when you entered you told me you felt that you should have protected her, there’s some lingering thoughts.
[audience] “I said that my role as a mother is to protect my child, so therefore I feel now that since I don’t know where she is, I feel that I am not doing my…my role, but I…I do know that as a mum or as a dad, we’ve been –”
Rinpoche: Good. You’ve been good parents.
[audience] “We have been the best that we can –”
Rinpoche: Well, you wait. When I die and I wanna reincarnate in you, you take care of me, but make sure I don’t get fat again. And the minute…the minute I come out, I’m gonna say, “Mama! Mama!” Just kidding.
What I am saying is this, is that it shows you the state of her mind. She’s definitely practised and let me tell you something. When they’re young, their memory of their previous life, of what they did is stronger. Just like, if I tell you last Wednesday, it will be easier now than if you wait one year. If I say, “March blah blah blah 2008”, but I ask you in 2009, you’re gonna go, “Wait a minute, this is getting farther.” So as we go away from birth, the transition is farther and farther. It becomes harder. Even for highly realized beings, different types of Rinpoches I’ve met in the monastery, when they are very young, they can recall things very quickly, very fast. So as they get older, they start to forget. But it doesn’t mean they cannot recall again if they practise. Practise what? That memory recall. But you see, we don’t practise memory recall for the sake of remembering. We practise other meditations that create awareness and awareness helps memory. It’s a side benefit.
[audience] “I just wish that we could remember so that we don’t waste time, so that we keep on…the next time you come back, you straight away go further.”
Rinpoche: I agree, and hence, we start our spiritual practice. I agree with you. I agree. Yes sir?
[audience] “Maybe this is not an appropriate question but do you know where our daughter is?”
Rinpoche: She has taken rebirth. She has already taken rebirth. That’s confirmed. Where? I will tell you another time. Not today. And I’m not trying to be mysterious. You learn more, you understand more and you dedicate the merits to her. It will be more beneficial at this time. But she has definitely taken rebirth. She’s not a spirit. She is not wandering around. She is not hanging around your house giving you signals. If you dream about her, it’s because of your strong karmic connection with her and your love. She’s taken rebirth.
May, the one with so many questions, what happened? It’s your chance. You made monumental effort to be here.
Datuk May: No I didn’t.
Rinpoche: Of course you did.
Datuk May: No I didn’t.
Rinpoche: Of course you did.
Datuk May: I actually want to thank you –
Rinpoche: He told me! No, I’m just kidding!
Datuk May: I want to really thank you for giving us the talk.
Rinpoche: It’s my pleasure. It’s my pleasure.
Datuk May: I think it is important for me now to dedicate more time to spirituality which I have been seeking for a long time. Briefly I would know what it is, but to practise it, I would have a lot of questions.
Datuk May: Because sometimes, if you’re really spiritual, people think you’re stupid.
Rinpoche: You know what? You have done a lot of things, you have done a lot of things in your life that people thought you were stupid, you still did it.
Datuk May: Really?
Datuk May: Really? You thought I was stupid? Did you?
Rinpoche: Many people. Many people. You see, but once we do it and we gain success, then they all say, “Wow.” They say, “Wow.” Look at you. Let me give you an example. You got a big mouth. You’re outspoken. You do what you want. You travel alone. You don’t care what your husband says. You just do what you want. You do business, and if you don’t like it you say it. If you like it you say it. You’re totally atypical of a “Proper Chinese Wife.” So a hundred years ago, you would have been flogged! But you’re doing it and you’re doing a wonderful job of it and you’re showing a lot of people, “No, that’s not what a typical Chinese wife should be, a subservient. She is a person, and I will show you”. But in other cultures in society, if you do what you do here, business, independence and all that, they say, “What kind of woman is that?” They say, “That’s a very bad woman! A witch!” but you’re not. You’re being yourself.
So that’s what I mean, there is always a first time to start. So, my point to you is that, who cares what they think? You never cared. Who cares what their opinion of you is? You do what you feel is right inside of your heart. You didn’t become successful in life because you were stupid, because you were slow. You did it even when some people told you you couldn’t. So therefore, why don’t you just continue your reputation? No! Doing what you want and people tell you you’re stupid…and later when we paint you on a thangka and pray to you, you say, “See? I’m a Buddha now.” Yes, we all can be Buddhas. So later we will paint you in a thangka. And we’ll make offerings to you, and joss sticks and meditate on you. And then when no one’s looking, you can tell your detractors, you can go (sticks tongue out) isn’t that very you? Yes, sir?
[audience] “I have a fundamental question”
Rinpoche: Of course, of course. I am very happy
“In the great religions of the world and in certain parts of the world [inaudible] and the Middle East [inaudible] What do you think of everything that’s happening there, from the west and from where you come from [inaudible]…”
Rinpoche: What do I think of all the things?
[audience] “Yes, Middle Eastern religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam…”
Rinpoche: What do I think of them?
[audience] “Yeah, what is your view of them? Where is god in all these things because they are all in the mind, again they create the body which the actual state is. You said we do good. And why do we do good and reward, and why is physicality important [inaudible] other than the form?”
Rinpoche: It is not a reward. It is the natural process of the result of an action. It is not a reward. The label is wrong. I say you have a very, very stylized or one set of way of using words. When you say, “When I do that, I would be rewarded for this,” you’re already on the wrong track. It’s not a reward, it’s a natural process. So if you’re patient, and you gain a lot of friends, that’s not a reward, that’s a natural process of patience. If you’re patient, that leads directly to gaining a good rebirth to continue. It’s not a reward. That’s why I said earlier that reward is a connotation it is given. It is not. And my opinion of the other religions of the world is like this: most important is the settling of the mind and the attitude of the mind. Why? Because from mind, everything arises, all actions, all conflict, all good, all bad. All arises from the mind so it’s very important we cannot deceive the mind. We cannot deceive our mind, if we don’t change our mind and hope that other peace or outer happiness happens. If we don’t create inner peace, outer peace is not possible. So therefore, Buddhism focuses on the mind. That’s why in the history of Buddhism, there’s never been a war in the name of Buddha for 2500 years, ever, ever. Never in the name of Buddha, war against another country or nation in the name of Buddha. Or, “They’re wrong, and we’re gonna get them and we need to convert them to Buddhism,” never in the history of Buddhism for 2500 years. That’s one.
That is a very good reputation to go on. That’s why Buddhists focus on the mind therefore you see Buddhist countries or Buddhist people, or Buddhist practitioners in general, on a whole, not individually, are more peaceful, are more quiet, are more accepting, are more giving. Why? Because they focus on the mind.
So, therefore, any religion that teaches you to accept responsibility, to look in, and to not bring harm to others for your problems, and it benefits you, and it helps you change your mind, that religion is acceptable. So hence, if we find solace in Islam, or Christianity, or Judaism, or Hinduism or Shintoism or Sikhism, and it helps us to change our mind, then that is fine. You see, there is not really a big problem with the world religions. It’s the misinterpretation and using it for secular purposes. That creates the problem. Why? Because we have nasty Buddhists. I’ve met very nasty Buddhists. “Oh I’m a Buddhist and I pray and I offer incense to Kuan Yin,” but they’re very nasty, very sneaky, very undercutting, I’ve met them. So? That’s not Buddhism, that’s them. That’s them not studying Buddhism and applying it. So I’ve met very wonderful Muslims. I’ve met…when I was in India, I have met very wonderful Muslims from Iraq, who stayed there, who married Indian ladies and they’re my good friends. And all the prohibitions that you hear here, they don’t have any prohibition. They’re very nice. We don’t have any issues. And I have also met some Muslims who have a lot of issues. They can’t even eat with me, they can’t even go here with me. So that one, I don’t understand but it seems to me it creates separation.
So it’s not which religion is right, or which religion is good. It’s which religion suits us. How do we know if a religion suits us? That when we have adopted that religion and we see a fundamental change in our attitude, then we know that one suits us. So if we were to say this religion is the best and that one is not good, that is wrong. We can debate. Who’s greater? Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama? There is no debate. But they’re from different religions. Why do they both have very kind hearts and kind minds and peaceful attitudes and never bring harm to others, or inflict or incite harm to others? Why? Because they have practised their religion correctly. So when you get Mother Teresa and you get, er, what’s his name, Dalai Lama in one room, you’re awed. So that’s why I said, the debate here is what religion is very good, or which one is correct, but the debate here is which one you find the theory and philosophy matching to you and your lifestyle, so that it can create the fundamental change because at the time of death, no matter what, it’s the same. The process is all the same. Whether you believe or you don’t believe, it’s the same.
In some countries they believe that stealing is very good. In majority of countries they believe that stealing is not good but the fundamental fact is that when you take things away that doesn’t belong to you, you create pain. That pain is not good. It’s very logical, very simple. So if you were to go to areas that believe in stealing, and then say, “What’s wrong?” you can get killed for it, for upsetting them, but that doesn’t mean they’re right or wrong.
So my point is what, is that when you ask me from those religions that I have come from, from those countries I’ve examined, not thoroughly, but I’ve examined, I have listened. Sunday morning, all the time, 6-7am, (knocking) “Have you heard about God?” And I open my door wide and let them see my altar, “Yes I have. Thank you.” And they keep talking. Yes. Because my door is directly to where my altar is, my Buddha is. I open they look at it then they go, “Oh, we need to talk to you more.” I said, “Yeah, we can talk.”
And sometimes I debate with them to the point that they’re…they can’t talk anymore. Not argue but debate, because those type of people that run around forcing their religion down your throats are people who are insecure. Why? They need a cover for the things that is not going right, to justify. That’s not religion. These people running around, converting, forcing, telling you that everything is wrong except for their faith and what they are doing? No. That’s insecurity. Why is that insecurity? They are not successful in something or they’re not good in something, or they’re doing something wrong, they want to cover, they want to justify it. That’s not religion.
So in every religion – and I’m not being generous – in every religion you have nasty people, you have very good people. So what does that tell us logically? If we think about it, that we need to pick a religion that fits us. Hence Buddhism doesn’t have missionaries but Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the world. It has no missionaries. It’s the fastest in America. It has zero missionaries, doesn’t open up schools, doesn’t do anything to get adherence. Why? As the world becomes more tumultuous, and technology grows, inner peace and inner unhappiness is the same. Inner unhappiness is still there. So people look for something deeper.
So therefore my opinion on world religion is just that – you pick the one that suits you, and don’t criticize others. Why? If you criticize, that means from that religion they have never produced anyone that benefits others. That’s not true. That is not true. We cannot make sweeping statements about other people. And if we do say that and it’s not true, we hurt many people and hence wars, factions, fighting, sectarianism…we have to contribute in not doing that.
So I can’t save the world, but maybe I can help the world by expressing what I’ve just shared with all of you, and then you guys express it, and you guys think it, and it spreads that way. Questions?
[audience] “What if none of the accepted religions offer solace?”
Rinpoche: Then we use it for solace. We use it for that because it can be used the wrong way, you’re right. And it can’t…some of the, some of the people in it, propagating it, maybe originally didn’t mean it for that. I agree with you. But we use it for solace. Why? It’s better than having nothing. Nothing for solace. So you say, “Is it better to have something than nothing, that is why we accept?” Yes. In this case, yes.
[audience] “You mentioned earlier that it is important to know what we are praying to and what we are praying for.”
Rinpoche: Yes, yes.
[audience] “Can you elaborate a little bit on there?”
Rinpoche: Sure. The usual ways we heard and we are taught is “Give me a great wife. Give me a great husband. Give me a great life. Give me a great business. Let me not be sick, and let me have happiness.” That is what we usually pray for. And when we pray for that and any of that doesn’t come true, or any of that is disrupted, we get angry at the god, or angry at the deity, or angry at the church or whatever. That’s not what we are meant to pray for. That’s not meant.
Just think of Mother Mary in the Catholic Church, or think of Kuan Yin in the beautiful Chinese temples, and they’re standing there, and listen to all the things they listen to, the thousands of people that come to them, “Give me a car. Give me a house, give me…give me health. Give me this. Give me that. Give me, give me give me.” The purpose of religion is not to give me. See, you don’t need religion to help you to become more greedy. You don’t need religion. You don’t. So people go to church, people go to church and temples and they pray for greedy things – “Save me, help me, help my family, help my things, do this for me, do that for me…” I am sorry, it’s become a little bit distorted. We don’t need God and Kuan Yin and Buddha to give us what we want. We can get it ourselves. We’ve been doing it pretty well since time memorial, immemorial. So actually when we go to a temple or a church, we are not praying for more material things for ourselves or accomplishments or something we want. We’re going there to develop the opposite.
All of us have positive potentials in all of us, not just negative, all of us. When we meet a holy item, a holy image, when we do some holy mantras, when we do some holy meditations and prayer, it triggers that energy to open up so we become the opposite. So actually when we go to Kuan Yin or we go to Buddha or we go to church or whatever to pray, what we’re trying to pray for is help and assistance on our spiritual path. So if we have an altar at home and we have a deity there, for example, and we’re offering lamps and incense, what we should pray for is not, “Give me good business.” What we should pray for is this…we should be there…there’s stylized prayers and stylized ways to do prayer and mantras. Why? Let me interject that with established religion. People say, “I’m very scared of established or institutionalized religions.” Yes! Institutionalized religions have done harm, but also has done good. So my point is what, is that if we ourselves, with what we can do, go out and do it ourselves, it’s very difficult. But if we’re combined with a like-minded group of people and we focus and we create an institution, and we do that, then the benefits are bigger. Example? If we have a huge tract of land, and we’re the only farmer to take care of it, I doubt we can farm it well. But if we have a coalition of farmers, maybe we have the villagers, we get together and say, “Okay, today is mine, next day is yours, next day is yours,” we can get everything done. So institutionalized religion, originally the purpose I feel, is that all of us have talents, and all of us have gifts, and all of us can do certain things. If we combine our energies, we can be much more effective to benefit others and ourselves. And also the sharing that we get, the closeness and the support we get is very, very important.
Hence again, in Eastern religions, sponsoring temples, helping temples – sponsoring doesn’t mean just give money, it means also physical labour, to help – is considered very meritorious. Why? Because you’re putting the combined energy of everybody who has talent and the same likewise, like-minded thought to benefit others. So therefore, when you pray, you’re actually going in front of a being who has accomplished what you are setting out to accomplish, who has control of death, who is free of anger, who is free of the unknown, who is free of desire and jealousies and selfishness.
And so when we come across this type of person then we tap into their energy. One is by mantras. Mantras have a dual effect. One is tapping into the energy of these enlightened beings. The second one is that the reverberations of that mantra opens up our mind – I’m sorry – opens up our body and the winds to flow better. When we flow better, we get healthier and our minds become more focused. So there are two-fold benefits to mantras, this is for Datin. One is when you recite the mantra, the sound of that mantra reverberates through your body and whatever it is meant for…there are mantras for increasing memory, intelligence, grasping, understanding. There are mantras for overcoming anger. There are mantras for letting go. There are mantras for developing patience in conjunction with that particular meditation.
So when you do that mantra, let’s say it’s for healing. Let’s say you do the mantra for healing and in this case it’s Tara, when you do her prayer, when you do her mantra, you’re tapping into Tara’s energy. When you tap into Tara’s energy, two-fold: one is the mantra reverberates through your body, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA, OM TARA TUTTARE TURE SOHA, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA, the energy reverberates through your body to help the body to start to heal or to avert something that might be coming in the future. So maybe two to three years later, we’re supposed to get this, if we do this mantra now, the mantra is not a miracle formula. The mantra activates the healing energies in our body, where it prevents this disease from opening or becoming serious. You understand? It’s like if you’re starting to put on weight and you got…you have a chance of high blood pressure, if you lose weight, the blood pressure will go down, won’t it?
Similarly, that’s why I said earlier Buddhism is preventative. It isn’t chanting a mantra, “OM TARE TUTTARE TURE give me a car, give me a car, give me a car, give me a house, give me good business, give me a car, give me a good life, give me more good life, give me life, give me good life”, it’s not about chanting mantras for that. It’s not about praying for that. People who go to the church and temple and keep praying for selfish wishes, they are making religion degenerate. Why? Those things will come on its own accord and naturally if you apply the right principles. Naturally like working hard, persevering, being honest, being kind to people, remembering people’s kindness who have helped you along the way…if you enact those qualities, all those things you want to achieve will be achieved! If you are…if you don’t want to apply any effort and you’re a lazy bum, you just sit around, you just want to eat and you want to have a good time, then if you do this mantra and you pray, it won’t have any effect, because why? You’re not doing what you are supposed to activate, meaning the mantra activates that energy.
So therefore in the case of healing, in the case of healing, when I offer you a certain mantra to do, you don’t have to pay me anything. You don’t have to give me anything. You don’t have to have any links with me. We have some reason to connect. We have some reason to meet, from your prayers or whatever, or something good that you have done, so it has come back to you. So when you do these particular prayers and mantras, and you do it daily and well, it will help tremendously. So therefore when we pray for these selfish items, when we pray for these items…why is it selfish? Because it is just for oneself. So therefore, people who go to temples and they go, “Give me this, give me that,” and if they get it, they go back and donate more, if they don’t they say bye bye – that’s not the purpose of religion. So when you come across a holy item, something that represents a holy being that has developed those qualities, when you pray to them, prayer means to open your mind-stream to that type of energy and thought. Prayer is not asking, “Give me, give me, give me, give me.” Prayer is opening one’s consciousness to higher thoughts embodied by the object you are praying to.
So therefore, Buddhism does not practise idolatry because Buddhism does not pray to the pictures and statues. They’re praying to the object that that statue or picture represents…represents, that embodies the energy that we are trying to tap into. Hence, people in other religions don’t pray to statues but they pray to buildings. They pray to stones. They pray to the configuration of that stone. They’re not praying to the stone. They are praying to what that stone is symbolizing to them. So what’s the difference? Stone has earth, air, water and fire, the four elements. We just rearrange the elements, it’s a statue. We rearrange it again, it’s a building. We rearrange it again, it’s a prayer mat. We rearrange it again, it’s an altar. It’s just the four elements being rearranged, if you look at it deeply. Buddhists don’t pray to statues but statues help people on our level who are not able to visualize accomplished beings or accomplished energies.
So therefore, when we pray, real prayer is opening our mind to the object we are praying to and what they, she or he has accomplished and to tap into that energy. And to tap into that energy to open up the predispositions we have in our own mind, already pre-planted. And then when we pray daily and we do our practice, you will see your mind improve. Example, young girls and boys will put posters of their hero. They’ll try to dress like them and look like them, act like them, find out about them, try to be just like them, to become like them! That’s who they’re connected, that’s who they’re praying to! See, prayer is not this (folds hands), prayer is who we open up our minds to, to connect with that being.
So what’s the difference if they grow up to be Madonna or you grow up to be Buddha? That’s prayer. So don’t get prayer wrong. In Chinese culture, I heard many…thousands of times. I’ve met people, thousands, “I pray, why got bad luck ah?” Thousands of times, thousands. “I pray, I got bad luck, why ah? Why ah?” because they don’t understand. So how do you explain that to them? You can’t. Those who are not open. Yes.
[audience] “Sorry I…I…I, Sorry to interrupt, um, how do you explain that bad people tend to succeed more than good people then?”
Rinpoche: Bad people do not succeed more than good people, they’re digging their graves deeper.
[audience] “But they seem to, I mean, sorry to come back to us but we’ve never…”
Rinpoche: It’s okay, you’re not selfish.
[audience] “Just a little bit…we…we…”
Rinpoche: She’s sweet. We can joke with her.
[audience] “I have to, no choice. Um we’re not extremely charitable people, we’re not spiritual actually…”
Rinpoche: Hahahahaha you fooled May!
[audience] “So, but we’re not also bad people, we’ve never been really good or done something really bad, we don’t have –”
Rinpoche: You didn’t rape anybody.
[audience] “Well, no, no…”
Rinpoche: Okay, good.
[audience] “Not yet.”
Rinpoche: Not yet? I keep my bedroom doors locked!
[audience] “So why is it we could ask ourselves, actually we do ask ourselves why such a tragedy comes to us when we know terrible people who have 10 children and nothing happens to them, and they have a good life or so-called a good life…I suppose you’re gonna tell me that’s not right but…”
Rinpoche: Fundamentally, fundamentally, people who don’t know anything deeper or more, feel they live good lives or they’re good people, fundamentally. Avoiding from the gross actions and gross extremes doesn’t make us only a good person. There are subtle thoughts, there are subtle minds. That’s one.
Example, to kill one person – and I’m not advocating killing – to kill one person, or to visualize and wish and plan to kill 1000, although the 1000 has not materialized, the karma for that would be heavier. So gross actions that are done or not done doesn’t determine whether you are a good person or not. That’s one.
Number two, actions that you have done now doesn’t immediately ripen upon you now. Two.
Number three, having 10 children that live and you having one child that passed away doesn’t mean that a tragedy has happened to you and good things are happening to them. Children do grow up to be monsters. Children do grow up to be nasty and very, very, very harmful to their parents. So what you label a tragedy is a point of view. What you label them a good life is a point of view only. Point of view supported by lack of knowledge, lack of understanding of what is really good and not good on a higher realm. What’s a higher realm? A higher thought. So therefore, they being nasty…I’ve seen people who are nasty, and they come back to me, and their kids grow up to be super nasty and they wait for their father to die. I’ve seen it! Even now, around me! So you say their kids grow up, and some of them even said, “I wish I never had those kids.”
So what I am saying to you is, what you perceive as nastiness and non-nastiness, or punishment, or you’re good and why do you get this and they’re bad they get this – that’s only perceived. You understand that my lady? That’s perceived. No offence to your tragedy again. Is that okay May? You’re absorbing a lot. You look very – I don’t know what’s the word – you’re not going (raises hand frantically). I’m very happy to see that because you’re highly intelligent and you can go far in your spiritual practice, very far.
JP: Rinpoche, would you like to take a five-minute break?
Rinpoche: No actually, it’s already 11. I think we better let them go home and rest. What do you think? But if you found this all very beneficial, we can get together again and we can discuss, you guys can make a time. I don’t think we should make it too late. But before we take a five-minute break, which will be your five minutes or my rest-of-the-evening break, I would like to share with something that has been written by His Holiness the First Dalai Lama who is said to have visions of Tara.
So the First Dalai Lama wrote this in the Hermitage of Great Awakening called Tegchen Podrang. Tegchen Podrang. And what we should do with this is, Datin is, I’ll have one of my assistants to pass you a picture of White Tara and then you go home and do it for a little while, and then we’ll meet again and I’ll explain more and more to you. Too much also you’re…you can’t be a monk overnight. Slowly we’ll make you a monk. Slowly. Next life. This life, if you go to the monastery, it will be problems for the monks.
So what happens is, what you should visualize in this meditation is the Buddha White Tara in front of you. One arm span away…yeah, one arm span away, the size of your hand, not mine, eye-level looking at you, alive and brilliant, and white in color. This (left) hand represents having the powers of the Buddhas of the past, present and future embodied in her. This (right) hand represents, this hand represents she is giving. She is giving life, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and basically opening up your chakras, opening up your healing energies, like this. And she is slightly tilted to the right, why? That shows compassion and love, that’s like a mother looking at a child or a teacher looking at a student, like very warmly and very lovingly. She is 16 years old, in the prime of her youth. Her color is that of 1000 moons combined, the color of 1000 cool moons combined, white in color.
She’s smiling. She has seven symbolic eyes, one, two, on her two feet, three, four, five, six, seven. The seven symbolic eyes represent that she is always looking into the six different realms of existence to be of benefit to others. That is the attitude we need to develop. The seventh eye represents she has complete perception of past, present and future as she is an enlightened Being. Her hair is slightly tied up – I’m sorry – her hair is partially tied up into three knots and part of it is falling free representing again, that although she is completely out of existence, out of suffering, she still reincarnates, or re-emanates or appears to people to be of benefit to them. She wears the silk, the silk of a princess. She sits in meditation posture, and she’s smiling and very youthful, and very, very happy and she’s giggling like a young girl, but she is a Buddha. She’s giggling and she’s very happy. She’s very, very, very loving so you visualize that in front of you sitting on a moon disc and a lotus. The moon disc represents ultimate view of reality, which is emptiness. The lotus represents compassion.
So she sits on that and then you visualize your mother on your left. Your father on your right and in these visualizations, it’s irrelevant whether your parents are alive or dead. Why? You want to bring them benefit. Your mother on the left. Your father on your right. Very important. And those that have benefitted you, and have done something for you or helped you in any way, shape or form, you visualize them sitting behind you, facing Tara. And then in front of you, the people that have cheated you, said nasty things about you, told you you’re fat, or pointed out your white hairs, you visualize them in front of you. Alright?
So, all of them in human form. So why do we do that in Buddhism? To develop the mind that forgives. Usually people that bug, us we put them way in a corner at the back, maybe we don’t let them inside your room. But you see, if we’re gonna do spiritual practice, the whole point of it is to become spiritual. That’s the whole point. Hence the peace that’s developed in the Buddhist religion, not harming others in 2500 years. So therefore you visualize that. Then you visualize all beings, and those are beyond numbers, zillions, quadrillions, trillions, beyond numbers – we say ‘Semchen Tameyba’ which means without end – is all around you, in human form, happy, dressed well and nice, facing Tara. Whatever prayers you do to Tara, you ask not only for yourself but for them. Then you recite this prayer to Tara – it’s very, very beautiful – you recite this prayer to Tara and after you finish reciting the prayer to Tara, then you recite her mantra. Her mantra is very simple, um okay. You repeat after me please? OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA. OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA. Very good. OM TARE TUTTARE…you have to say OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.
(Rinpoche does some prayers)
I received the mantra from my Guru Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, so when we give teachings or give explanations or transmissions, we have to tell people where we received it from in order not to deceive or we’ve made it up, that is very important in Buddhism, alright? So I received that from His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche about 25 years ago. So it is OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.
Then, you recite that with a mala, which I have already offered to you. Right or left hand doesn’t matter, whatever you are comfortable with. Holding it at your heart level and pulling it towards you, and the visualization is bringing the blessings of Tara to you and then when you go around, when you get here, you just go right over. This one you don’t need to put it on your head and wear it all over the place. Don’t need to wrap it around. You don’t need to pray to it. It’s just an instrument to help you count. You can take it anywhere. You can bring it here, bring it there, other people can touch it, no problem. Okay, so people always ask, “Can other people…” You know, I’ve had people come back to me, hundreds, “Rinpoche can you bless it? My enemy touched it.” I said, “Okay.” I said, “Okay,” because I just look at them, they’re from a small village and I don’t want to get in a philosophical explanation that you know, “Guess what? Your enemies are not more powerful than an enlightened Being or Buddha. Don’t worry, cannot take the blessing…never mind okay give me the mala.” Then I go, “McDonalds, McDonalds, here”. Then they’re very happy, very, very happy.
Look, you have just as much blessing power as I have. Just as much. Alright? So don’t worry about that. And if you drop it sometimes, “I’m sorry!!” Just pick it up and wipe off the dust and continue! So what I’m trying to say is, don’t get superstitious and scared. Alright? And then, can I offer you a statue? I’m not gonna give you a picture, I’m gonna be very generous today. So you don’t have to go to the outlets and buy a statue worth 56,000 dollars. I’ll give you one, and you keep this, it’s a gift from me because I really want you to have a long, healthy life. Okay? I’ll give that to you because well, I’ll tell you why. Your mind is very open and accepting. I don’t feel I’m infringing on your privacy, I wouldn’t want to do that. Is that okay with you?
[audience] “Yes definitely.”
Rinpoche: Are you sure? You’re absolutely sure?
Rinpoche: How sure are you? Hahahaha! Okay. Then you recite the mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA. You can do it in your room and when you put the statue there – listen to me carefully – you can set up a little shrine and offer beautiful items on it, JP can help you or one of my assistants can help you. Or if you are not comfortable with that, you don’t have to, you just keep it somewhere in your bedroom or your house and you just look at it. The Buddha will never be offended. Never.
[audience] “Facing…facing me?”
Rinpoche: Facing anywhere you want.
Rinpoche: Anywhere. Just put it anywhere but the toilet. Anywhere. Yes. You can face it anywhere you want, you can put it any level you like. You can put it together with anything.
[audience] “Dear Rinpoche, there is something that I am quite curious. I mean what do you see like a enemy like that you, I have to pray so hard, is it something very bad?”
Rinpoche: Oh, you don’t have to pray.
[audience] “Is it something very bad? You know if I just want to…”
Rinpoche: I’m not going to tell you, am I?
[audience] “Oh, please!”
Rinpoche: Let’s put it this way. How about I just give you the remedy?
Rinpoche: That will be good enough because if I tell you, that means I’ll have to tell everybody. And if I have to tell everybody, I have to make up stories, that wouldn’t be very good of me. I’ll be a bad monk, I’ll be a bad boy.
So, I want to give you this, but I want you to also pray and do meditation for your husband, for your family, for your loved ones, for everyone. I want you to be a very strong devotee of Tara. And then I want you to take some time out from your busy schedule and read a little bit of what I’m going to give you. I know reading is really not your favorite especially deep, thick books with small words, I can tell.
[audience] “Put on a CD.”
Rinpoche: I can tell.
[audience] “I’d rather listen to CD…”
Rinpoche: But, I’ll give you some small thin ones with big words.
Rinpoche: Slowly. Let your husband do the reading, explain to you, that’s better.
[audience] “You said it actually, I have to do everything for her.”
Rinpoche: Um, I have good powers of observation. Did you hear that May? I have never met them before. Hahahaha! I like to tease her because she is quite fun. Very fun. I like you because you are open, maybe a little too open to some people but I like it.
So, then when you…then how many times you want to do is up to you, but I recommend doing minimum one time a day. Sometimes if you –
[audience] “I’ve been doing it for the past week –”
Rinpoche: Oh good, good, good.
[audience] “Every night before I sleep, for my husband and children, but not for myself.”
Rinpoche: You’re selfless. You’re selfless. We’re gonna call you Mother Teresa. You’re selfless. You look selfless. You look like Mother Teresa. You’re selfless!
[audience] “There are four parts I don’t know how do better, the first part it says about my husband’s health and everything –”
Rinpoche: No, no, you just say like this, you say like this: “Tara, everybody on the list”, then you start. Make it simple; I don’t want to confuse you. Alright, just say, “Tara, everybody on the list.”
[audience] “I thought it’s one session for –”
Rinpoche: Oh, no, no, no, no. Definitely not, definitely not.
[audience] “Oh okay.”
Rinpoche: And after you’ve finished, this is what I want you to do. However many you want to do, after you’ve finished I want you to dissolve her into you. And when she dissolves into you, think that she multiplies and dissolves into everyone and think that your body, when she dissolves into you, it’s like…if you have a hot skillet, and you put butter on it, what happens? That is what happens. So she dissolves into you, she goes into your central channel and from your heart she goes all over your body, and encases you in white light and you’re protected, and you’re blessed, and good energy comes. You think like that. You think…you don’t have to visualize every person because you will be up for the next 20 nights. You just visualize yourself and think it’s happening to everybody, okay? They will let you know more, they won’t forget. And then, you think, “Good, very good, I’m protected by Tara” and go to sleep. Simple as that and you try that for a while, and the next time we meet, you have questions, you can ask. Okay? Where are those items? Su Ming, go offer these people.
Jamie: She has a nickname.
Rinpoche: What’s her nickname?
Jamie: We call her Dragon Lady.
Rinpoche: Oh. What’s your…what’s your previous, do you remember anything from your previous life like Chuchi? Or Lau Fo Ye, anything like that? Nothing ah? I just want to make sure.
Datuk May: I don’t even remember yesterday.
Rinpoche: You know what? Join me. I’m the same. I don’t even remember this morning. What happened? I know, I know. I talk well about meditation but I do very little, but I’ll get better. I’ll get better.
Datuk May: I want to do meditation.
Rinpoche: Yes we can, we can. You know, let me tell you, with deepest respect to your privacy, you have everything that you want, I suspect, when I look at you, your confidence. Go one step further. Take time away to invest in yourself, the ultimate way. You don’t lose any freedom. You in fact gain freedom. Our whole life we haven’t had freedom. We’re caught up in work. We’re commanded by our partners for our business or appointments. We’re commanded by you know, our stomach being hungry, about being sick or being tired. Actually we’ve had no control our whole life. It’s only deception that we have control. Now it’s in control.
Datuk May: Because I believe that the only thing that gives you freedom is the truth.
Rinpoche: Yes, but we have to practise, realize and achieve it and live it.
Datuk May: Yeah because we live our deception as truth.
Rinpoche: You said it!
Datuk May: Yeah! I do!
Rinpoche: Good for you, you’re very honest. Your friend’s eyebrows went up very high.
Datuk May: But that’s true! We deceive ourselves and that is the most important question in our lives –
Rinpoche: You gotta stop talking, they’re looking at you and not me now.
Datuk May: It’s true! We deceive ourselves so much that we only –
Rinpoche: You’re right, you’re right.
Datuk May: You know, if only we just look at the mirror and say, “Oh my god, what did you do to yourself?”
Rinpoche: If May, we receive more Dharma teachings and learn more, we’ll correct that.
Datuk May: Yeah.
Rinpoche: That’s all. That’s investing time into it. That’s for everybody, not just you. Investing time. You’re not the only busy person in the world, but unlike many busy people, unlike them, you have controlled your busy-ness to a very great extent, my feeling.
Datuk May: Yeah, it’s just that I’m away on your huge Dharma talks.
Rinpoche: No, no, no. Like I said – no one told me this – my feeling is this – you have more control over your ways and others’ ways more and more, if you want to change it around.
Datuk May: Yeah, I’ve been in control of most things all the time including my husband.
Rinpoche: Well there you go! There you go! So you can’t say you’re away for those big things. But we can have these small things, how’s that? You like it?
Datuk May: Yeah, that’s good.
Rinpoche: You like it? You feel good? Have you learnt something?
Datuk May: Quite a lot.
Rinpoche: Ah, I’m so happy to hear.
Datuk May: I have learnt today, that I have to start my spiritual journey.
Rinpoche: All these years, all these years, you’ve been admiring, looking, knowing, understanding. How wonderful and how healthy that apple is; now you can eat it. You see, it’s not that you didn’t know. It’s not that you’ve been looking. You know what you need to do but you were a little bit caught up with all the other things that you find exciting and exhilarating. But you realize because you have wisdom, that all those things will end, so you want to have a continuation.
So you’re caught up in all those things that have been exhilarating, and you have been very successful but you know, with respect to your privacy, they will end. And that’s the point that will drive you to do more, and you’re lucky your body is basically fit, and your mind is alert, and you’re able, and your five senses are intact, that you can still do it because if we…some people, when they get very old, they cannot. Some people, when they get very distracted, cannot. But you’re lucky you have whatever you need to eat, you have. However you want to control your schedule, you can. There are many, many great people before who are just as successful as you, who have taken away their time from it because it’s enough. Not give up, not throw away, not donate away, no. That they spend less time on that, because they’ve done it. They’ve achieved it. They have enough. But they know that that doesn’t last, and they put into something deeper. You’re not the first, you will not be the last and you’re not the only one.
So you realize that, deep down inside, being the intelligent person that you are, deep down, all that you know will be taken away, or will end. It’s not that you’re afraid or not afraid. You’re asking yourself, “Is that it?” and that’s not the question, “Is that it?” So you know in your heart that’s not it, so you need to go to the next step.
So therefore, what you need to do is, what you have been doing your whole life for everyone – you need to take time and energy away to put it towards this to develop it. If you don’t, if you don’t, those things we’ve already developed will be gone.
Buddhism never said you can’t be wealthy or do business. It just says that when you got enough, when you have enough, put your energy into something else. It didn’t tell you to abandon or give up, no. No. To put into something else, especially someone like you who have tasted success in your life, due to your hard work and your energy and you pushing yourself, you will have the same tools to engage in spiritual practice consistently. There will be times you will feel down, there will be times you feel depressed, there will be times that you’ll say, “Oh, what’s the point?” there’ll be times where, “I’m confused” – you’ll overcome all of that. Because those are not new feelings to you, those are things you felt for many years in all of the other things you have done. You’ve overcome it, you’ve overcome it. So you apply the same tenacity – everybody here – apply the same tenacity and the same perseverance towards your spiritual goal. And you give up or not, depends on how much you value it. So the more you study, the more you listen, the more you have value towards, you understand it.
So how much we give up or don’t give up is a matter how much we value it. Isn’t that correct? So like that, with a lady of your wisdom, you will know that you will not give up your spiritual practice if you realize there’s value. How will you know? You need to know the nature of it by listening, understanding, making time for it. So when you understand it better, there is value. You will never give up on it. Does that make sense? Nothing mystical. [Let me] have those things.
This is for Datin, you don’t have to read it. You just turn it on and watch it and if you don’t understand English, got Chinese. If you don’t understand Chinese, got English. If you don’t understand both, sorry! Look at the pictures! Ha ha ha! This is my monastery, I’m gonna give you a little bit and then we’re done. I’m gonna pass to you, this is just basically the same. This is my monastery called Gaden, and Gaden monastery was established 600 years ago by Tsongkhapa. And this institution has produced thousands and thousands of great masters. My Gurus is from that place. Currently Gaden monastery has 3000 monks. It’s been relocated to South India. So I’ve been raising funds and going on donation drives for them for many, many years. Mrs Lim has donated quite a lot to them, she is very generous and very kind to them. Um, now, I’m going to build something here, a mini Gaden. We’ve gotten 30 acres of land, and we need to get the approvals and the licenses – setting up anything there now is not allowed, we have to get the approvals and the licenses.
So I’m going to produce a monastery here, I’m going to leave a lasting legacy here, and I want to contribute back to the Malaysian society and the people who live in Malaysia, you too, me too, we’re both expats. I’m going to contribute back to the beautiful Malaysian society, which I have received so much from. I’m going to build a monastery here. I’m going to build a cultural center. I’m going to have an animal shelter, old age home; I’m going to have a place where they actually study philosophy, all in one place, and it is going to be up in the hills, and we’ve already gotten 30 acres, and I’m going plan on that. My Guru has given me his blessings and he also has given me his prophecy that it will arise, and we will build the largest indoor Buddha statue in the world. We’re gonna put Malaysia on the map and it’s going to be a tourist center. You say, “How can a Buddhist institution be a tourist center?” Look at all those temples in China like Yong He Gong. Thousands of people go there every day to take a look at the statues. They generate thousands of revenue, so it will benefit the people here, spiritually, materially, so I’m going to build something here.
So my group of people are very, very helpful. I have 17 liaisons – two to be sworn in tomorrow – I have 17 liaisons. Those are dedicated businesspeople, some very big businesspeople, some are Datuks, some are housewives, that have already dedicated themselves to doing this work. So I have 17 people, they are called liaisons. You can see them on my website who are doing, some are liaison of business, some are liaison of the temple, some are liaison of teaching, some are liaison of the Ladrang, some are liaison of managing the outlets, all to create awareness. Why? I’m not going to do this and build something else in India or Tibet. I’m going to build it here because Malaysia is accessible. It’s clean. It’s modern. It’s stable. The weather is very stable, pretty much stable, more than the places I’ve been before and there is a lot of people here who are very interested and if it’s accessible it would be better. If you tell people, “Hey! Come to Malaysia there’s this place and come and learn and study or do weekend retreats or monthly retreats,” they’ll be very happy to come. If you say. “India,” they go, “Oooh.” No offence intended. I love India but a lot of people find it difficult, cultural shock. So if it is in this wonderful country, in this wonderful region, in this beautiful climate, why not.
So I wish to build a retreat center called Tsem Kacho Ling. ‘Tsem’ is derived from my name. ‘Kacho’ means a spiritual heaven of the Buddha Vajrayogini. ‘Ling’ means place or garden or abode. So Tsem Kacho Ling, place of spiritual abode, and what we need to do is we need to build a very beautiful temple up there, that houses the largest Buddha statue that will be a good attraction point, and that’s where we do the pujas, the teachings, and official events. And we plan to have yearly events, huge yearly events up there to gather a lot of people there, come up for one day, two day to bring attention.
And so, where is that book huh? Where is that book I gave you earlier, those two books that I looked through? And also I wish to build a Tara forest walk. At the end of the forest because it’s in a forest area – you walk through the cool forest at the end there will be a very beautiful outdoor Tara statue where we can offer candles for our loved ones – and then walk back, also for exercise. And then we will have a Tibetan village, and the Tibetan village will have Tibetan cultural arts such as painting thangkas…such as painting thangkas, rolling mantras, painting traditional statues, sewing traditional clothes, sewing traditional items, we’ll have that. We already have a little place in SS2 called Saraswati, Kechara Saraswati Arts department; we’re already doing that. We’re the first Tibetan arts studio in Southeast Asia and we plan to transfer that to the new place.
Also we wish to have retreat houses and huts where people can use the place for a weekend or a week…one week or a monthly basis where you can go up there and do retreats. And we will have teachings, we’ll have events, it’ll be cooling and very, very nice. It’s 45 minutes from here. Location and all that right now we don’t reveal because we need to go through the paperwork. So I’m planning with my group of people, Kechara House 1 and 2, to build such an institution in the future so it houses the Dharma. Why? What I’m teaching to you helps you but after you and I are gone, it’s gone. So therefore if we build an institution where it continues, it will benefit future generations. If the future generation of children and kids can receive Dharma knowledge and understanding what I have explained, they’ll grow up to be human beings that suffer less, start off early and have a different view of life. It’s very, very important. So therefore we want to do that.
I took 63 of my friends and students and assistants to my main monastery, Gaden Monastery – doesn’t belong to me, I belong to it – it’s called Gaden monastery. Gaden, ‘Ga’ means happy, ‘Den’ means place. It means ‘happy place’. It was originally built by Tsongkhapa. It was destroyed by the Communists. It was destroyed, and all the monks had to cross over the mountains and rebuild it in South India. Given to them. So this is a whole spiritual journey, we went back there and we offered one set of robes to all 3000 monks. We also made 3000 Manjushri statues. We offer to each monk to put in their shrines so that they can do their meditations. So this is a video on our spiritual journey there, and it is completely endorsed by the abbot of the monastery. So the head of the abbot is chosen by the Dalai Lama, to lead the monks there, the senior monk, and he has endorsed this video and endorsed our work with his letters, completely. He’s very, very happy with what we are doing. And recently, we have received his endorsement for our retreat center, for our Buddha statue, and for the project that I wish to do here. And what does it mean to receive their endorsement? That I am genuine, that they authorize me, that I’m not someone that just showed up and dropped out of the sky and said, “Guess what?” So I have his complete endorsements to do all these. This is from the highest lama of my institution giving his approval.
So this video shows us going there, making offerings. You can see a little bit of how the monks abide, how they pray, what they do. It’s very, very interesting video to watch, alright, so this is Journey to Gaden and all the people in there are people from here, international from seven different countries, and that will be very nice for you, all right? This is a nice little sticker, if you choose, you can put it on your car, it is consecrated to protect you. But if you’re drunk and driving, sorry.
[audience] “I don’t drink.”
Just kidding. I don’t either. May’s like, “You better not! And if you do, join me!” Okay, so these are some wonderful videos for you to watch, alright, some teachings, you don’t have to read, you just watch it. And these are some nice, thin books – thin – with very big words, big words with big pictures, isn’t that great? I’m glad you finished school, there you go. These are very, very big words, if you get a magnifying glass, it is very big. This is for you, alright?
[Rinpoche does some prayers]
This is the recent…most recent book we came out with. These are all from the teachings I gave by SMS, I sent my students…because we sent out…I send out about 21,000 SMSes a month. So these are some of the SMS teachings I’ve given people, they compiled it. And our department is Kechara Media and Publications, our department is right next door, and I have a group of young people – about 10 of them – who produce, who take the teachings, get it into books, clean up the videos, put it onto YouTube, produce it into videos. All these are produced in-house by the way. All this is all in-house. Everything is in here. All these is in-house. So they produce this and these are all over the major bookstores. There will be a very big launch very soon. I think JP can let you know when the launch is for this. It’s gonna be a big launch. So these are talks that I have given in the past, that they’ve put with pictures that can identify with it, alright?
So this is produced in-house, Kechara Media and Publications, that will be very, very good. Let me see…good. This will be offered to all of you afterwards, and I think that will be it for today. That will be it, and it’s been – JP, can you cover this for me? – it’s been a great pleasure to meet all of you. It’s been an extreme joy to explain and talk, and answer your questions. I’ll make my prayers for your daughter. I’ll make offerings of candles to the Buddhas for your daughter. I’ll do it tonight and,\ if you found this beneficial, then I don’t mind to gather again and have a talk for those who are interested, and to have question–answer sessions and that might help you along your journey. Until next time, a great pleasure to meet all of you, very great pleasure. Datin, very happy to meet you, Datuk, very happy to meet you.
JANG-JUB SEM-CHOK RINPOCHE
MA-KYE PA-NAM KYE-GYUR CHIK
KYE-PA NYAM-PA ME-PA YANG
GONG-NA GONG-DU PEL-WAR SHUG
TONG-NI TONG-WA RINPOCHE
MA-KYE PA-NAM KYE-GYUR CHIK
KYE-PA NYAM-PA ME-PA YANG
GONG-NA GONG-DU PEL-WAR SHUG
DAG-SOG JIN-NYEH SAG-PA GE-WA DEE
TAN-DANG DRO-WA KUN-LA GANG-PHAN DANG
CHE-PAR JE-TSUN LO-ZANG DRAG-PA YI
TAN-PI NYING-PO RING-DU SAL-SHEH SHUG
GE-WA DI-YI NYUR-DU DAK
LA-MA SANG-GYE DRUP-GYUR NA
DRO-WA CHIK-KYANG MA-LU PA
DE-YI SA-LA GO-PAR SHUG
CHO KHI GYAL PO TSONG KHA PA
CHO TSUL NAM PAR PHEL WA LA
GEK KI TSHAN MA ZHI WA DANG
THUN KYIN MA LU TSHANG WAR SHOK
DA DANG SHEN GI DU SUM DANG
DRIL WA TSOK NYI LA TEN NAY
GYA WA LO ZANG DRAG PA YI
TAN PAR YUN RING VAR GYUR CHIG
GANG RI RAWE KORWAI SHING KHAM DIR
PEN DANG DEWA MALU GYUNG WAI NE
CHENREZIG WANG TENZIN GYATSO YI
SHA PEI SITHAI BARDU DEN GYUR CHIG
Transcribed by Khong Jean Ai
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