The Mind and Lama Tsongkhapa
I gave a Dharma talk to a few of my students in my residence a while ago and I thought I’d share this on my blog for everyone to listen. In this video, I talked a little about the vastness of our mind, how our mind shapes our present condition and how it’s interlinked with our spiritual practice.
I hope that this short teaching will help you understand more about the true nature of our minds and how we can transform our minds to be more stable and understand the Dharma clearer through Lama Tsongkhapa’s practice. I received these teachings from my gurus, and I hope it will benefit you as it did me.
Do watch this short video and let me know your feelings. Thank you.
Transcribed by: Gift Team
Checked by: Pastor Khong Jean Ai
So let’s get another girlfriend again, let’s get another boy, let’s move to another country. Let’s get a new car, and then we do the same thing over a third time, a fourth time, a fifth time until we say, “You know, I think I want to kill myself. I think I’ll just get a job that keeps me very busy so I don’t have to think about all this anymore.” Alright? That’s what happens, my dear.
In Buddhism, we call the consciousness or mind, sempa. And what happens is this, is our mind is connected to our body, but it’s not a part of it. And it can separate, it is separate, but it temporarily abides in it. Now, our mind, there are two types. There is the gross mind and there is the subtle mind. G-R-O-S-S. The gross mind is an extension of the subtle mind. The subtle mind is the ultimate mind that is you. Now, this mind that is the subtle mind is what travels from one life to another. It is you but you are not defined by it. But it creates who you are. So the meaning of that is, that it, when clouded by ignorance, is where we are right now. When it is clouded by ignorance, creates actions that further the ignorance, creates the body, the speech, the functions, the environment, the friends, the people to increase the ignorance. So therefore this mind – that’s the subtle mind – appears three times. It appears to you when you are in the deepest part of sleep. It appears to you when you are having an orgasm, but it’s very quick at that time and usually when people are having orgasm, it is something that’s very quick and they don’t focus on that, they focus on the physical pleasure. The third time is at the time of death. This is when this mind appears.
Now, during orgasm this mind appears, is at the height of orgasm, you’ll see some darkness or some redness. You blank out, it’s… and people say, “Oh, because it blew my mind it’s so good,” actually it’s not that. It’s you actually. Your physical constituents are forcing you to go back to your real mind through orgasm. So that’s why ancient, ancient tantric practitioners of Hinduism, Tantrism, Tantra and Buddhism, they don’t use sex as a measure or a vehicle for pleasure. It’s a vehicle to get to the mind. Real Tantra. But corrupted tantra, there is always about beautiful women, it is about sex, it’s about having as much fun as you can, and “I am a monk but I can have that because I am doing Tantric practice”. No. No. There are many, many strict rules to follow before you can engage in that type of practice. But it’s available. So that is out of our hands.
When you are dreaming, you can see, you can hear, you can feel, you can taste, touch, and it’s so real. But what are you using? You are not using your eyes but you can still see, smell, and very real. Some people get premonitions in their dreams, dreams of the future. You can hear, what are you hearing? You can taste, what are you tasting? So this ability to taste, touch, see and feel without your physical aggregates, your body, proves to you your mind is separate from your body. Think about that for a moment, just for a second.
It proves to you and this was written by the great Indian pandits of the past in the Buddhist monasteries of India, this is not from Tibet. These are all spoken and taught by the Indian great masters. Because they don’t sit there and say, “Just pray!” They teach you. Now, what the great Indian pandits had told us, the great Indian masters, incredible, Dharmakirti, Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Shantideva, Aryadeva, Arya Asangha, these Indian masters, just fully enlightened. In any case, the Tibetan people went there to sit at their feet to learn and bring the Dharma back to Tibet from India.
Now, they said that this subtle mind works on a secondary basis, meaning very fast. If you have a moment, you have a prior moment and you have a following moment. You have a pre- and post-moment. Without the following moment, you can’t have the next moment. Without creating the post-[moment], you cannot have this one, so it’s continuous. So it’s like a film reel. Now, right now, let’s say you are 25 years old, and you are who you are. The fact that you are existing right now, 25 years old, means you existed at 24. Do you need to prove to me you existed at 24 by pictures and dates?
I look at you and I know you existed. And if I say, “No, prove it to me”, forget it just go home. This guy is ridiculous right? So do you need to prove to me you existed at 12?
Correct. But did you look, do you look like you at 12? No. You’re completely different.
Correct, but if I say to you, “Prove to me that’s you,” it’s silly. It’s you. Now, if you existed at 25, you existed at 12. If you existed at 12, you must exist at birth. If you existed at birth, you must have existed 9 months in your mother’s stomach.
If you existed the 9 months of your mother’s stomach, you must have existed at conception. If you existed at conception, you must have existed 1 minute prior to conception. If you existed 1 minute prior to conception, you must have existed 1 hour prior to conception, 1 month, 1 day, 1 year, 10 year, 100, 1000 years. Because if you didn’t exist 100 years prior to conception, you cannot exist at conception, you cannot exist now and you will not exist tomorrow. Therefore it’s a continuation. On that basis you can subjectively say reincarnation exists.
Well, you have done two things, okay now? One is you’ve identified the mind is separate from the body; second is you’ve identified that the mind exist before, after and current. So you’ve identified the mind existing in two ways, so you can indirectly perceive that reincarnation can exist because if your mind does not exist separate from your body and then where is your mind? Where is your mind? That’s what the great Indian masters told us and we meditate on. This comes from India, the birth place of two great religions in the world. This comes from the great Indian masters of Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Odivisha and uh… khasi warey… oh, those monasteries, where they studied Buddhist teachings for thousands of years. That’s why I say when I am sharing Buddhism with you, it’s not about “pray. You don’t accept, you go to hell”. No, I am explaining to you how it works and the way I explain to you, the way, is “if you don’t accept you are wrong”? No! This is the explanation, you take it. That’s why Buddhism never condemns. Never. So, either that or you believe in the God theory.
And the God theory is this – God created you in His image. Which race? God controls your life, in what way? But you have freedom of thought. God is merciful and therefore, everything comes from him, everything is pre-destined and everything is pre-packaged for you. So why is it that you have to suffer and the other doesn’t? And if you suffer, what does God get, what does anybody get? “Oh but that wasn’t God’s plan.” God’s plan was for you to suffer? “But he is compassionate.” So if you take the God theory, your spectrum of faith has to be very great without too much logic behind it. You can’t think too much, you can’t question, you just have to believe. So for a lot of people today – because Buddhism is the fastest-growing religion in America now – for a lot of people in America today where the education is very kinda high, we can’t accept that anymore. It’s it… they can’t accept.
So they say, “Look, if you believe in the God theory, there are all these loopholes that you’re going to have to just, say, take on faith. But the reincarnation there are too – loop holes – but it will be less.” Now, if your mind is separate than your body and your mind continues from life after life, if that is the case, what determines where you take rebirth? How you take rebirth? The circumstances and your experiences? Well, that comes completely from one’s own action, that’s how karma plays. Karma is not black or white, there are many types. There is throwing karma, environmental karma, group karma, individual karma, there is relational karma. There are many types that Buddha explained. Now, in a nutshell, actions that are created from contamination, meaning actions that the motivation is totally for the self, creates further samsara, creates the causes for you to take rebirth. If you think about it carefully, and you put away all this new age stuff… if you think about it carefully, from the time you are born to the time of your death, it’s pure suffering. For others, for yourself, no matter how beautiful you put it. “Oh my god I had the husband, I had the kids” – you know what? The husband is pure suffering and the kids are pure suffering. You love the kids, no disrespect, they are pure suffering. They were suffering for your body, they were suffering when you gave birth, they were suffering to raise them, they were suffering for you to teach them and when they grow up, will they be good people? And that’s another suffering.
Alright, so actually kids are pure suffering. Having kids, bearing kids is pure suffering. Having a husband is pure suffering. You lose your freedom, you lose your identity. You got to do it this way, you got to do what they want, what they don’t want; they might turn out to be a good person, a bad person. You know, they might become deluded, they might be compassionate, you don’t know. And… and if they turn out to be great and you stay with them, in the end you have to… you have to fear that they’re gonna die and you’re gonna be alone and still they are suffering, alright. And then you say, “Okay, if I get a job then I am happy. I don’t get married and I don’t have kids.” No, you look for wealth, you got to pay bills, you got to deal with the heat, you got to deal with the sickness, you got to get old. You know, you got to deal with nasty people, you got to deal with talk. From the beginning of your birth till the end it is nothing but suffering and that is not meant to be taught to you to make you depressed but to make you see the truth so that you can rise above it and say, “Okay, what is the solution?”
When you believe in reincarnation, the ball is in your court. You take control and you have no right to be depressed or hurt people or push responsibilities onto others. When you believe in a theory of a creator, you push all the responsibilities away. You expect that person or that being or that god to do it, you don’t have to do anything because you prayed what. So in fact you lose control. This is not about control, this is about taking responsibility.
Accountability, responsibility. You see, accountability is being tolerant of what you have gone through because you have created the causes to experience it and responsibility is not to further them. So that means if she slaps me, I’m accountable because I must have slapped her before. Alright, and so when I take responsibility, I don’t slap her back. Okay, that karma is finished. You got me, I got her; it’s done. So accountability and responsibility arises when you accept reincarnation. Does that make sense? Okay, now you relax and think for a moment. If reincarnation is the case, the immediate reaction anyone has is, you take responsibility and you stop blaming others.
So does it make sense to make wars on others? Does it make sense to blow them up if they don’t believe in your religion? Does it make sense to condemn others? Or does it make sense to be tolerant because you know that’s their karma? Hence when Buddhism believes in reincarnation, it creates a race of people, a group of people that are peaceful, that take responsibility, that don’t blame it on others. Okay, so that means our luck in life is no one’s fault, the world owes us nothing. What’s better? To think that the world owes you everything or to think that you create the causes?
Audience: Much better, or easier.
Well, I think I think it’s not easier or better but I think it makes less trouble for everybody who’s here. So then you say, “Well, it could be a formula for total depression because I created all this ugliness, I created all this karma.” The good thing about karma is it’s malleable. It’s changeable. It’s purify-able. It is not permanent and not stagnant and you are creating karma every minute you exist. So karma doesn’t make you stuck. Karma gives you hope. And to meditate and contemplate and reflect on your life in suffering, contrary to making you depressed, it gives you hope to say, “I want better.” Now, when we believe in karma, when we accept karma and reincarnation, first thing that comes to our mind again is you take responsibility, you don’t blame others. We stop blaming our mothers for being horrible to us, if they were. We stop blaming the world, we stop blaming everybody. You say, “But what could this innocent child have possibly done to deserve this? Ah, their previous life.” What could this innocent child have done? He’s only been alive for a few years and he’s just a… well, it must be there’s a cause. That’s why in Buddhism, it says the cause resembles the result. The result resembles the cause. Doesn’t that make a lot more sense for the moment? So when we accept that, that our life, we will reincarnate, we will come back…
Now, Buddha described six specific realms in which we can reincarnate and three planes of existence. The three planes of existence are form, formless and desire. Within the desire realm, we have six categories: human, gods, demi-gods and uh, animals and uh, spirit and hell realms. But the hell realm is not in the monotheistic sense that once you go there, it’s forever. It is a temporary place that once the karma has finished, you come out. Where does the hell come from? Our own karma. Where does everything around us come from? Karma. Perhaps the very reason we are meeting is a prayer you made in a previous life, that’s fruitioning now. Meaning what? Maybe in a previous life, you have meditated, you have prayed and said, “In the future, when the times are degenerate, may I come across a situation where I am trained to promote something that is beneficial, peaceful and helpful to bring some relief to others. And may that situation come.”
So meeting me is not your savior in disguise… savior in disguise. Meeting me is a fulfillment of your prayer perhaps. Not meeting me is your fulfillment but what we are going to do is a result of your prayer. Not me, I’m not the God here. You get what I mean?
So, perhaps that’s why when you heard this job, you were instantly attracted. It’s not so much me, it’s perhaps your own wishes. What is prayer? Prayer is generally your wish and when you make a prayer, you plant the seeds for that wish and the seeds are planted and it will open in the future. It’s called a karmic seed. Seeds never go away till they open up. They are planted in a vault.
So when we practice Dharma… Dharma is the correct conduct, what Buddha taught. Correct conduct, ethical conduct. When we practice correct Dharma, the Dharma is meant to give you knowledge into what I explained to you, more in depth. It also teaches you how to re-habituate your habits because our mindset is what created us to be in our situation. So to have the same mindset to leave would be impossible. We have to have a different mindset to leave what we created. To have that different mindset, you need knowledge. You need understanding, you need contemplation, you need belief, you need trust. How will that come? That’s where you seek a Dharma teacher, a Dharma book, a Dharma community. A community that can give you this knowledge. So when you get this knowledge, you absorb it, you do the meditations, you think about… What’s meditation? To familiarize you with your self and to stop and to look at it from different angles, to find loopholes and to be confident about it. That’s what meditation is about.
Meditation is not about ‘you have to accept and if you don’t you are wrong’. No. Meditation is to be a proponent and an opponent. Either way. So therefore, what I… what I have shared with you just now, you go back with it. You don’t say, “Eh wow, that was great, I love it, it’s fantastic, I believe in it.” You can’t say that. You say, “No, I’m going to check it out more.” Why? The more you check it out, the stronger your faith. Faith in what? In something that is operating in the universe that you were not aware of. Reincarnation wasn’t created by the god heads of Hinduism or Buddha. Buddha recognized its operation and taught it to us and said, “It’s like that.” It’s like scientists who say, “Hey there are atoms and molecules.” They didn’t create it but we call them the father of blah blah blah blah blah… right, atom bomb or whatever. But they didn’t create the atom. They recognized it. So Buddha is incredible because Buddha doesn’t tell you, “I created the karma. I created the rules. I created the six realms. I created reincarnation and if you don’t follow, if you don’t go along, you’ll be punished.” Buddha says, “No, I didn’t create any of that. That was existent. But I am the Buddha who has seen that with my awakened mind to come back and let you know it is like that so you can transcend.”
So the difference between Buddha and a God, or a savior or prophet is this: it is that Buddhas don’t claim the creation of what is. Buddhas recognize and share. So why is it you need a Buddha to recognize? Obviously you need to be awakened to recognize something that is so universal, so powerful, so broad and so technical. A teacher. Now, the good thing about Buddha is he doesn’t sit on the throne and say, “Well, you sit on the floor, and you are to worship me for recognizing the truth and I tell you the truth and this is the way the universe operates so you are indebted to me.” Buddha says, “Yes, you should respect me. Yes, I am alright for you to worship. Yes, you may offer flowers and garlands and all that to me, and you will collect merit, you will collect good luck. Yes, but that’s only temporary because the goal is for you to be a Buddha. For you to become enlightened, for you to sit here, with me.” That is the goal of the Buddha. And Buddha recognized the gods; the gods are in another realm where beings exists for thousands of years. The Buddha recognized the hells. The Buddha recognized the ghosts, recognized the spirits. Definitely he recognizes there are different states of existence. He even recognizes other dimensions. He also recognizes, in the text, UFOs and all these beings because why? They’re just other beings. To us, it’s like, “Wah, UFO, little green men.” No. To the Buddha, it’s like, “Yeah, they’re little green men but they’re also places where we can reincarnate.” They’re considered humans, by the way. So therefore, the Buddha tells us these are the places where we can reincarnate, these are the places where we can experience what we have experienced and that all came from us.
So if you run around, stealing and stealing and stealing and stealing and stealing, and next life you come back very, very poverty stricken, and how hard you work, how much effort you put it, how much time you put in, you still can’t make the money… don’t start taking a machine gun and shooting people on campus. Okay? Don’t start blaming your parents – your father is a gambler – don’t start… well, you created the karma to be born in a gambler’s family, to have the environment to grow up to be a loser. You know that was created by you initially. So then you say, “Well, it’s created by me, I’m stuck.” No. You’re in this situation now but you can change it. Create different karma. So hence, we have different mantras. We have different meditations, we have different deities. We have different practices. We have different Buddhas. The Buddhas and the various forms of Buddhas are representations of the path to enlightenment. For example… Lama Tsongkhapa.
The Buddha Lama Tsongkhapa sits in this posture with his legs crossed, wearing monk robes and smiling, white in colour, pink body, holding two lotuses. The iconography is that of a gentle smiling Buddha with a yellow hat, blessing you with lights coming from heaven. But the meaning behind it is very profound. Why? When you meditate on the form of Lama Tsongkhapa, everything on his body – the symbology, the colour, the iconography – represents a facet of the enlightened mind which when you meditate on, opens up that potential within you. So what you’re doing is when you pray to a Buddha, you are opening up that facet within you, opening the Buddha in you. So it’s worship but not in the sense of ‘give me everything’ worship. It’s more of a worship, of a respect of an end product of which you are engaging to accomplish. You are worshipping an end product of what you will engage in accomplishing. So you are worshipping your result.
Why do we need to worship at all? Well, there are enlightened beings that, if we associate with, there are big blessings. So when we meditate on Lama Tsongkhapa and we focus on Lama Tsongkhapa and we recite his mantra and we do the meditation, the immediate benefit is the counter of depression. Now, when we do Lama Tsongkhapa’s practice, the immediate effect – meaning over a period of time, there are higher attainments and normal attainments – is we relieve our depressions, we relieve our mind of the feeling of senselessness, loneliness and the feeling of purposelessness. And when we meditate on Lama Tsongkhapa and recite the mantra further, we gain wisdom, seven types of memories. We gain clarity, we gain sharpness of the mind and as we age, we don’t become dumb, retarded and forgetful. You know why? Because when you recite Lama Tsongkhapa’s mantra, you move the energies in the body to increase the flow of wisdom, prana, chakras, chi – different languages for the same thing. So you move the chi of your body, so that you become alert. Haven’t you seen very old Chinese people, 90 or 100 years old, they are very alert? Haven’t you seen old Hindu people in India, 110 year old man doing yoga? They are very alert, very healthy because they are using their energies to keep up their mind. Definitely. These two ancient cultures are very powerful.
Now when you do Lama Tsongkhapa’s mantra, meditation and practice, you also purify the actions you’ve done in your previous lives that creates further sufferings in this life. Very powerful. Now, Lama Tsongkhapa’s hands is like this. Lama Tsongkhapa’s hands is like this; this represents turning the wheel of Dharma. The outer meaning is, “I will convey the Dharma to you so that you may gain wisdom”, that’s what I am doing with you right now. The inner meaning is to absorb the Dharma and to learn it, to apply it and get the result. Result is what? Happy mind, a mind of hope, a mind that has wisdom, a mind that can share wisdom with others. So this is the mudra. ‘Mudra’ is Sanskrit for ‘hand position’. Okay? Now Lama Tsongkhapa also holds a stem of a lotus that goes up here and another stem of lotus that goes up here. Two stems of lotuses opens up, on one side is a sword. A sword represents penetrative wisdom. Meaning? A sword is meant to what? Cut. This is meant to cut your selfishness. How do you cut it? By wisdom. What is wisdom? Knowledge. You get that from your teacher. The right side is a Dharma text. The Dharma text is actually knowledge. So the mediums and the methods that you actually learn. So what does that mean when Lama Tsongkhapa holds this? When he holds this and you worship him, you are getting the blessings of penetrative insight and knowledge.
Then he wears the three robes of a monk. He wears the robes of a monk representing what? It represents ethics, morality and holding onto commitments, integrity. So when we see the robes of Lama Tsongkhapa, when we meditate and think about it, it reminds us have integrity, hold your vows well, keep your promises, don’t disappoint people from laziness and selfishness, and simply being flippant. It reminds you. Then Lama Tsongkhapa’s legs is crossed. It is crossed because that is the leg posture of meditation. So what does it mean? To achieve what I have just described, one has to practice; there is no God who can hand you enlightenment on a plate. You have to achieve it on your own. So therefore, the legs in meditative posture means by your daily persistent, consistent, determined practice, you will gain the same qualities of Buddha Tsongkhapa, which is compassion, wisdom, skillfulness.
Now his flesh is white in colour with a tinge of red, representing what? White is the colour representing compassion, red is the colour representing wisdom. So by meditating on Lama Tsongkhapa’s Buddha body, you are going to gain wisdom and compassion. And white is the colour of the father’s creative juice, red is the colour of the mother’s creative juice. So, when the father and mother’s two juices combine, you have a child. Well, in this case, you are born into… in a Buddha, you are born as a Buddha. So when you meditate on Lama Tsongkhapa, he is your father and your mother and you will come back as a Buddha. You will not be that lost soul anymore. Alright. And he wears a yellow hat. The yellow hat originated in India which was red. Red represents subjugation because there were a lot of people that came to debate with the great Buddhist masters and Buddhism cannot use violence or pain to overcome. We can’t kill them and say, “Oh, if you don’t convert, we are going to kill you.” But they debate with them. And they teach them. And when they lose the debate, they become Buddhist. So last time, they wear red. The pandits of India, all the great Indian masters that were great masters, they wore red hats during special ceremonies, to represent the power to debate, the power of knowledge and the power of talk, speech. In Tibet, everybody was already into Dharma so there was no changing people into Dharma, it was more increasing Dharma. So the hat turned to yellow. The point on the hat represents the highest point that we can achieve which is Buddhahood. The two flaps that come on the side is like two wings of a bird, compassion and wisdom, will bring us to enlightenment.
So when Lama Tsongkhapa wears the hat, it represents He has all the qualities of the Buddha. If you worship, if you believe, if you trust, and if you pray to Lama Tsongkhapa, you will be just like Him. So you are not praying to Lama Tsongkhapa to take you to heaven. You are not praying to Lama Tsongkhapa to give you a son – not that we want one – and we are not praying to Lama Tsongkhapa for mercy, for purification, for Him to give you paradise. You are praying to Lama Tsongkhapa to purify your negative karma and to develop great compassion, so that you can be of the utmost benefit to others because by benefiting others you will be a Buddha. That’s what you’re worshipping Lama Tsongkhapa for.
So every day you can do a puja, you can do a short beautiful puja. Puja is what? ‘Puja’ literally means ‘clear obstacles’. We can do a short puja to Lama Tsongkhapa, do a short chanting, short prayer. That is wonderful, that can be 15 minutes a day, but what’s more important is not so much the puja, the mantras and the worship. It is the study of the mind. It is the learning of the Dharma. It is the comprehension of the Dharma; it is understanding, comprehending, applying and getting the results. Because when you get the results, the results arise in your mind, and it’s your mind that travels, not your body.
Hence, if we spend all our lives acquiring, accumulating for our body, we have wasted our time because we can’t take them. So therefore in Buddhism, they tell you to acquire by the mind. Work, pay your bills, take care of your responsibilities, yes don’t be a bum, but don’t put all your energies into that and say, “That will bring me happiness” because if you put all your energies into work, passion, money, fun, entertainment, love, partners, girlfriend, boyfriend, sex, clothes – if you put all your attention into that, you will become depressed. You will become lost, you will become disenchanted because you realised you’re unhappy. So you go get another girl, you get another boy and maybe another marriage, a new job, maybe you go back to school. So why would doing the same thing the second time around bring you the first time’s mischievous non-existent unhappiness? So let’s get another girlfriend again, let’s get another boy, let’s move to another country, let’s get a new car. And then we do the same thing over a third time, a fourth time, a fifth time, until we say, “You know, I think I want to kill myself. I think I’ll just get a job that keeps me very busy so I don’t have to think about all this anymore.”
Alright. That’s what happens, my dear.
So Buddhism is a way of life, but it’s not just “a way of life”. It is a way to revolutionize your thinking so you eliminate all the qualities of depression, unhappiness, lack of self-worth, emptiness, purposelessness permanently for your life. Because when you die, your eye consciousness, your ear consciousness, your nose consciousness, your taste consciousness – all your consciousness – touch consciousness will dissolve into your mind, and your mind will leave the body. And as you’re leaving your body, you will see the perennial light at the end of the tunnel. But that’s not the light at the end of the tunnel, that’s your consciousness leaving your body. Alright? Then once you leave your body, not karma takes over, karma continues to function.
So whatever was predominantly your last actions in life, will take you to the next birth. Let’s say your last actions in life was just totally bourgeois, women, wine, song and fun. You will probably take rebirth as an animal. Why? You have the karma to take rebirth as anything, but that karma predominantly opened up. But if you spend your life predominantly helping others, being of benefit to others, then you will probably take another human body near a spiritual master. And from a very young age, you hear this thought, you hear this teaching and so you don’t waste your whole life into that again, and you start spiritual practice younger now. Why? Because your previous life was predominantly doing that. So if your previous life was predominantly doing spiritual work for others, beneficial work for others, compassion, helping, animals, equal, vegetarianism, all of that, then you have developed these qualities as part of your mind. Along with the mind, by doing those activities, you created good karma. So the karma supports this mind to go further, as opposed to go backwards. So when you take rebirth as the next human being, instead of waiting 40 years to meet your guru, 40 years to meet the truth, the Dharma or to hear these words, you maybe hear it when you’re 10. What’s the benefit? You don’t waste 40 years. Does that make sense? That’s right, my dear.
I tell this to all the people who I feel have potential within this lifespan. You created the karma. I’m not the God, I’m not the savior, and my words are truthful and hits you very hard, because you heard this before. So when I tell you, it rings through your mind but you need to go through what you went through in this life, so you don’t have to go through it for the rest of your life and your next life.
What else are you going to do? Everything ends up the same place. You’re smart enough to figure all that out. You know all this ends up in the same place; emptiness, loneliness, senselessness, what’s the purpose? Whatever job you did – and you told me earlier and I believe you – whatever job you would have done, you would have had paid your bills, owned a house, had a nice car, you would’ve travelled, eaten, met the best people, you would have done that anyway. Cause money is just money to you and you would have done any job to make that money, because you’re good at what you do, because you’re determined. That’s not the issue. The issue is that whatever you have done, whatever you could have done or will do or have done, will end up in the same state you are now, with respect, no use. Even in your apartment, you feel lonely. Emptiness. What have you achieved, you keep telling yourself. Yeah you can tell the Tom Dick and Harry, “Oh I did this, blah blah blah” and they go, “Wow!” You’re not impressed with them being impressed at you. And if they’re impressed, you are not impressed anymore. Am I not right? You like me because I’m not impressed. Mmmhmmm… I know. Because I’m not. Now, and I’m not impressed not because I’m arrogant, you know that. I’m not impressed because you know I know more and you know more. I know how you observe people up and down. I know how you size them up because if you didn’t, a lot of people would have been in trouble. Yeah, you have to size them up. You are not being a judge but you have to profile them so you know what to do. Otherwise your boss will be in trouble. That’s your job.
Now, since karma is behind everything, it behooves us to learn as much Dharma as we can so we know how to transform our body, our speech, our mind, our thinking, our motivation, our actions, so that all the karma that we create becomes a source of happiness, not a source of pain. That’s where you need Dharma. So, when we take refuge in the Buddha, it’s saying, “I am a Buddhist.” “I am a Buddhist” is not something to run around and proclaim to the world that you found the right way and did something with it. “I am a Buddhist” has nothing to do with that. When you take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and Sangha what you’re saying is, “I take refuge in the outer Buddha”, which means He has eliminated all sufferings from his mind and the causes that He can never suffer again. And “I also take refuge in the Buddha potential inside of me.” And that’s the important part, that you can become Buddha. See in Buddhism, is not about worshipping an all-knowing God for the rest of your life. It is about becoming an enlightened being. You never liked the guy in the sky controlling you, because you never thought he was really there. You just went along with it because why ruffle feathers? But deep down inside your incredibly quick mind, you said, “No. Cause if I believe that, a lot of things won’t make sense.” To you. But there are people it makes sense to and it’s fine. If that’s what makes you do good things, fine. In the end, you still create good karma. Let’s say this person says, “I do it because I am afraid of God, so I don’t kill people, I don’t hurt animals, I’m good to children, I take care of my parents, have respect, and I do charities, and I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t philander, I go home to my wife, and I take care of my kids, I did that because of fear of God.” That’s beautiful. Do you know why? Because the karma is the same, no matter what the motivation is. That’s why Buddhists don’t argue with them. So then, she does the same thing for fear of karma and then retribution of karma. In the end when you get these two people in the room, the Christian and the Buddhist who have the different fears but they end up to be beautiful, responsible citizens. So why argue? So this person wants to be a Catholic and say that is what makes them a good person, that’s beautiful. That’s why Buddhists don’t argue. You see the logic behind it? It isn’t just respect based on respect, it is respect based on some logic behind it.
Now, but that’s a little too simplistic for you. It is. It is a little too simplistic for you. You need something that answers more questions, not some questions. So therefore, why do we seek a teacher? A teacher is supposedly someone who has the seeds of enlightenment in her mind, in his mind. And therefore, from a very young age they have already dedicated their lives to pursue spirituality. So their determination is itself already a good, a good sign. Along with that they have studied, along with that they have practiced, they have held the vows, and they hold their morality, ethics, and they have become a person that is kind, that is generous, that does take care of others but based on this philosophy. It isn’t just kindness, it’s based on this philosophy and they practice it. So, when you come across that type of person and also has the knowledge to develop you to become that type of person, we consider that our Guru. Okay, Guru is just like the Malay word, ‘guru’ means teacher. Okay, a guru is not God, okay? A guru is someone that knows more about this than you so you respect because in life, knowledge is what frees us. So the person that gives us knowledge we show him respect. And the very simple reason we give him that is not because he is a god; it is because he gave us the knowledge to become a Buddha. Literally salvation. Then once we find such a person, then we show the proper devotions. We show the proper respect, and we show the proper loyalty, and we stick with the person, we’re very loyal. And if we follow the person’s instructions, that’s after we check the person out. And then when we follow instructions and we talk to this person, and this person has benefited us in this way, we wish to bring this person to others. And that’s when we do Dharma work. That’s what they think they’re doing. Dharma work. And that’s how it works in our organisation. That’s on a deeper level. Alright, but we don’t need to explain that to CNN.
Now, for someone like you, it is very wonderful. You have everything except happiness. You have everything that should make you happy. Everybody says you’re happy, you tell yourself you’re happy, and you think you’re happy, but somehow you are not, and it is not because you are a bad person, but there’s something itching, and dying, and gnawing inside of you, telling you that, “I’m not really happy and I have no reasons for it so I can’t tell you. Because they ask me why, I don’t want to say I don’t know, it sounds ridiculous. Just say I’m happy.” And that’s why you repeat it for the last four hours. “I have a car, I have this, I have that, and this, and I love my job…” but when I look at her, I say, “Oh, she is very unhappy.” Not in a discouraging or negative or put-down way. You have all the classic symptoms of everybody else that needs spirituality. And you have reached the point in your life, without spirituality you will start declining. How? Not your abilities, not your work. Inside, you will start dying. Do you know why? You’ve looked everywhere and it is all the same, and it’s all the same all the time. And for someone so intellectual and you don’t (unintelligible 43:48). You’re not the person that says “I have to be able to tell (unintelligible 43:51)” For someone as intellectual and quick as you, you will start dying inside. Why? When the answers are not there and it remains mindlessly, it is not you and that’s what you’ve been feeling. Not earlier in your life. Earlier, you were all, you know, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, you know, you can be (unintelligible 44:15). As you became mature and you became older, it became more prominent. Whatever I am telling you, hits you very deeply, it goes deep. Do you know why? Because a lot of it has touched upon what you already thought about. You just didn’t have the answers yet. And I noticed how when you talk, you protect yourself all the time. Why do you protect yourself? It is not against me and I don’t take offense. Everything has been disappointing you. Everything.
So therefore, reincarnation does exist. It explains things much better. That’s why one parent, one set of parents can have four kids. This one can be a loser, a winner, mediocre, nothing. But it’s the same genes, same parents, same everything. How come they’re different? Their mind is different. Since their mind is different, they come from another life. So how did they come to this? They came to this, they created the karma to have this environment. It makes much more sense. And it helps you forgive people better too, or when you get hurt, cheated, lied to. “Why did God allow it?” God didn’t allow anything, it was your karma that created it. “When did I create this negative karma?” You’ve had thousands of lives, thousands and thousands of unlimited lives. Why? If you existed now, you must have existed a thousand years ago. Likewise, you will exist a thousand years later. Unless you are enlightened. And how you exist is up to your behavior now. And how you behave, to know it’s good or bad will be dependent on how much Dharma you know. So how much Dharma you know is how much you study. How much you study is how much you apply. How much you apply is how much you transform. How much you transform is how you will affect your karma, you’re the creator of it. So it behooves you not to say, “Oh yeah, that sounds great Rinpoche, and I’m… from now on, I’m just going to watch my karma.” No, you have to study Dharma. You have to get the books and study, you have to ask your teacher questions, you have to investigate, you have to learn more, more, more, more. So that this change in you is not philosophical, intellectual or just a fad. It becomes your fibre. When it becomes your fibre, you affect your karma. When you affect your karma, you affect your future. Because you see, no god can give you what you want. If a god could, it would’ve already. If it didn’t, what kind of God is that? It is a cruel God that teases us. So either he exists and he doesn’t, or he doesn’t exist, or he exists and he is cruel. All three is kind of difficult for me. Not wrong; difficult.
For more interesting information:
- The Tsongkhapa category on my blog
- Download FREE high resolution Buddha images
- Tsongkapa’s daily practice (video commentary)
- Exciting information on Tsongkapa!
- 15 Thangkas of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Life Story
- Facebook question: What are on the Lotuses that Lama Tsongkhapa is Holding?
- Condensed Tsongkapa practice for Happiness & clear mind
- TRANSCRIPT: TSONGKHAPA explained
- TRANSCRIPT – Lama Tsongkhapa (24th July 2008)
- TRANSCRIPT – Guru Yoga Teaching
- TRANSCRIPT: How Lama Tsongkhapa transforms to Vajrayogini
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