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Course 18: Great Ideas of Buddhism #3

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MISSING CLASS 7—presented by student??

Asian Classics Institute


Course XVIII: Great Ideas of Buddhism

Class One


Geshe Michael Roach
Transcribed by Angie Overy
Class 1 – very poor sound quality; mostly unclear and therefore transcriptions incomplete.

[short mandala]

[refuge]

[cut]


Thank you for coming. Let me see. We’re all still spaced out. We got back last night, very late. We didn’t get any sleep [unclear]

[cut]


[student: unclear]

[retreat / godstow notices]

We’re covering in this series of classes the last five courses of the ACI curriculum. [unclear], eleven and twelve were the second two thirds of the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. And thirteen was [unclear] Madhyamika, Logic. [laughter] [laughs]

And fourteen was Lojong.

And fifteen was very difficult on the Mind Only School.

So you’re gonna get in this final course, this is the last of the eighteen courses. It’s been seven years, okay. And you’ll be getting notes from a review of those courses.

I believe you have three people qualified [unclear] to do a baby Geshe at the end.

Sera Mey monastery has offered to give them a Geshe degree. I said , I don’t know [unclear] offered me some kind of degree status, but I [unclear] have to talk about it, after [unclear], okay.

It’s traditional that even after you’ve finished all the work at the last minute everyone ets to take a shot at you. So I see the day we take a final, final final sometime around the end of the year. And then maybe February, early February- March, on Tibetan New Year eve, it’s very auspicious to have a final examination of them publicly. [unclear] if you don’t know it your friends tell you about it. [laughter] And it’s a lot of fun. Just after midnight on New Year’s [unclear] you get, you know, your hat [unclear] and then the next morning [unclear]

Okay. [unclear] And there’s lots of people around the world who want teachers to come, okay.

We’ve had invitations from Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Holland, England, another one from Ireland. Mongolia wants five or six of you. And all over the world, maybe Hawaii [unclear] many people talk about them.

So my dream is that, you know, we send out [unclear]

We’re gonna be studying{chunjuk} [cut]

Say {chun juk}[repeat]; {chun} part means activity, the way of life of a bodhisattva, okay, a person who has dedicated their whole life to the service of other people. And {juk} [unclear], to get into

We’ll be studying the commentary by Gyaltseb Je [unclear] [cut] . {gyal} means, victor or victorious one and it refers to an enlightened being [unclear]This is,I think, the greatest commentary to Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life [unclear]

We’re gonna be covering in the first two classes [unclear]. We covered patience, effort and meditation [unclear]

We taught in California a thing called {tob shi}. {tob shi} means four ways of restoring your old bad karma. Like, if you did something really stupid when you were young, knowing that you don’t do those things anymore, you can get rid of the karma, okay.

That’s a special teaching, a very special [unclear] help focus your mind on how to remove that karma.

And the principle that you can remove old karma is often derived from the section in the ‘Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ where it says you can wipe out your old good karma, okay, alright [laughs]. If you’ve worked very hard over the years to collect a lot of good karma, you can very effectively destroy it before giving the proper results, through anger, okay.

So anger is the ultimate method. Actually, there’s two methods, but anger’s the easiest one, okay. If you want to wipe out your old good karma, alright. And it’s on that basis that they give you teachings on wiping out old bad karma also, okay.

We’d rather wipe out the old bad karma, okay.

The main danger in anger is the object. If you get angry at a bodhisattva, okay, a person who has reached a very high level where they don’t do anything in their whole life that’s not directed at getting people to enlightenment, okay.

They are constantly, ever since the day that they got bodhichitta, getting bodhichitta is this big difficult step, but once you get there, everything you do after that, every moment of your life, and you know it from the moment you get bodhichitta, that you will only be dedicating all your efforts to helping other people [unclear[, helping them get enlightened and things like that, okay.

So, who around us is a bodhisattva, you know? What do you look like when you reach bodhichitta? When you have that experience of direct, when you have that direct experience that you will be spending the rest of your life helping other people all the time, constantly, all day, all night, okay. When you get that thing, does your face change or do you get an aura or unclear] or something like that?

No. You don’t, okay.

And so, really, you don’t know who around you is a bodhisattva.

That was one of the first questions I ever asked Rinpoche when I went to study with him. I’m twenty, twenty-one years old. We’re sitting in the kitchen which at that time was all the space he had and I asked him, how do you know who’s a bodhisattva?

He said, you don’t, you know. And, so it’s dangerous. The point is that it’s dangerous. It’s better not be angry at anybody, okay, ‘cos you don’t know who’s a bodhisattva.

If you get angry at a bodhisattva it destroys thousands of good karmas, okay.

The next question on your homework is the [cut] is a very famous quotation from Bodhisatvvacharayavatara. I had to sit there and cut down these famous quotations to, like, fourteen questions on the homework instead of fifty. Ora wouldn’t let me do the [unclear], okay. [laughter] She kept saying [unclear[ cut it, cut it, you know. And I can’t cut Master Shantideva. Anyway this is {…}. You should memorise it, okay. I think a lot of students have.

This is the idea that when you’re studying the perfection of patience, which I prefer to call ‘the art of not getting angry when the time comes to get angry’ because [unclear]

There’s a certain sequence of events which happen, okay. And if you know it you have a little bit more time to stop it, okay.

Anger is always proceeded by being upset, okay. So the state that comes just before anger is called being upset, alright.

And there’s a state just before being upset called getting off balance or losing your joy, okay. So it goes like this. Somebody says something like maybe they praise somebody you don’t like. And then you get slightly bit off balance. Your mind goes a little bit off keels, right. Like, you’re on a steady keel for about an hour and then somebody says something to you and it takes your mind, I don’t know, maybe it takes your mind four, five seconds to evaluate what they said and [unclear] what they said. And they’re saying something nice about someone you don’t like and it gets kind of, tilts you one way. It’s, like, rocks the boat a little bit. That’s called getting off balance, okay. Then comes {..} meaning getting upset, okay. It means you have about, I don’t know, must be about four or five seconds to reflect on how off balance you’re getting and to start not like what the person said, see what I mean. So you go from being off balance to getting upset. And then directly from getting upset you get angry. You see what I mean.

If you’re lucky you can have {..} after that. {..} means, holding that anger for minutes or hours or weeks, okay. That doesn’t even come in [unclear]

So you got four steps here. You’ve got, actually, it’s five. Somebody says something; it throws you off balance; you get enough off balance, you get upset; and then you get angry.

The point is, to intercept anger when you get upset, okay.

As you start to get upset to realise that you’re upset. This gives you about five second head start on anger. And I’m not kidding, okay.

The other perfection takes years of effort, weeks of contemplation, meditation, application. The perfection of patience you either succeed or you fail within five seconds of [unclear] about all the time you have, you know.

And this perfection is practised throughout the day on [unclear] occasions and you only have about ten seconds maximum before you either do it or don’t do it, okay.

And then you’re practising it in retrospect, oh, I shouldn’t have said that, you know what I mean, okay.

So these verses, the first two lines say, and His Holiness loves this opening verse. It says, if there’s something you can do about [unclear] then why get upset? Just do it.

Okay, if there’s something you can do about something you don’t like, why get upset. Just do it, fix it, okay. [unclear] Okay.

If there’s nothing you can do about it, why should you get upset? You know, just chill out, okay.

And Master Shantideva says, be like a bump on a log. Just freeze, you know, try and chill out, okay.

If you can do something, do it. There’s no reason to get upset.

If you can’t do anything, you won’t be able to do it, so why worry about it, okay.

Very famous quotation.

If you can avoid getting upset you won’t get to anger, okay. It’s the concentric theory of morality, right, you know it.

Somebody in [unclear] came and asked me how. She said, we can’t see the overhead projector on the tape and you keep talking about ‘concentric circle’ theory of morality, right. [unclear]

It’s like this. Here’s the anger which you want to avoid at all costs because you might lose [unclear] years of good deeds, okay, in ten seconds it’s ruined.

And then over here is getting upset. And then out here is getting off balance. [cut] And the truth is, oh, and I wanted to show you one more. This is losing your joy.

And the concentric circle theory of morality, which I was taught two months after I started studying Buddhism in Dharamsala by [unclear].

He said that, you know, if you never lose your joy, if you never break this one you’ll never get off balance. If you’re never off balance, you’re never upset.

If you never get upset, you’ll never get angry.

So, try not to lose your joy. You know, all throughout the day try to remain in a state of, like, pretty happy about what’s going on, okay, like that.

And then you’ll never get off balance and get upset. The [unclear] of the mind from here to here takes about ten seconds. You only have about ten seconds to react.

If you’re aware of these two steps here, or these three steps, you give yourself a little more time. You have a little more time.

And if this sounds like [unclear] it is, okay. They are trying to steal your good karma from your mind stream. It’s a frontal assault on your good karma and they can break through in ten seconds, okay. And there is no enemy like anger.

The scriptures all say that, you know. AIDS, atomic bombs, the Russians or the Chinese; they’re nothing compared to what anger can do to your mind and the karma.

The evil that happens physically can’t hurt your karma. Anger can wipe out your happiness for weeks or months, okay, and you’ll never know it. You’ll just be miserable for the rest of your life, okay.

So you have about ten seconds to do something. And if you know that, if you know the danger signs [unclear]

Yeah. [cut]

[unclear] It doesn’t seem reasonable that, you know, five minutes of anger can wipe [unclear] And there’s a debate about it in the scriptures. But the point is the object, okay. We say [unclear] primarily that power of the object [unclear], okay.

I believe this person is a living being, probably a human, someone who has tantric [unclear] enlightened in one lifetime, okay, very holy object. [unclear] It’s because of the powerful object.

[cut][unclear] If your virtue has the intensity of your anger [unclear] and I’m speaking quite frankly [unclear]



Asian Classics Institute

Course XVIII: Great Ideas of Buddhism

Class two

Geshe Michael Roach

Transcribed by Angie Overy.

Okay, we’ll start.

We’re on the second of three classes or three courses that we had on Master Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’.

We’ve finished the first half of the second course on it. Remember the second course was treating the three perfections of, what were they, patience, joyful effort and meditation.

Just a little touch more about joyful effort, okay. And there’s a question that comes up here. Last time we said it consists of having a good time doing good things. And I want to talk a little bit about {hlaksam namdak}. [cut]

Say {hlaksam}[repeat] {namdak}[repeat], {hlaksam namdak} is like the ultimate expression of joyful effort. And it comes just short of bodhichitta. It’s the last step you reach just before you get to ultimate compassion, okay.

So it’s a very special idea. It means, personal responsibility, taking personal responsibility. And, mainly, it’s manifested in the following: it’s a kind of joyful effort where you’re willing to continue your virtuous activities even if nobody else helps you, okay.

So this is the main feature of {hlaksam namdak}. I may be crazy, okay, but if I’m the only person in the world who cares about these things I’m still gonna do it, okay. And I think you’ll find as you et higher and higher in the practice, by definition we’re in the desire realm, in the desire realm everybody’s crazy. You can’t get here unless you’re crazy, okay.

The mental afflictions to be born into the desire realm are the worst of all. You see what I mean. If you’re here it’s a badge of honour, okay. If you’re in the desire realm, which you are if you are who you seem to be, which I don’t know, okay, but if you made it to this realm as a normal person you got here by virtue of having a whole galaxy of mental afflictions that are the cause to be born here, you see what I mean.

So we’re in a crazy realm. Sometimes I refer to it as a ‘broken realm’; broken meaning it doesn’t matter how much you try to adjust this realm. You can do a different exercise program, you can change your vitamins, you can use different cosmetics, you can wear different clothes, you can get more sleep or get less sleep, or get a better job or get a worse job, or have a bigger apartment or a smaller apartment, or move to New Jersey or stay in New York. It doesn’t matter. Nothing works. Okay. It won’t work. You always have in the back of your mind that you can make some kind of adjustment and then living in this realm would be okay. You know, like, if I just have a few more hours or if I just did a little more exercise or if I could just control my eating habits or something like that.

You always in the back of your mind you’re thinking, one more adjustment in my wife or husband or house or job and then I would be happy.

Forget it, okay. It’s a broken realm. Those things don’t work.

And if you’re here it’s because, basically, your mind is crazy, okay, with certain mental afflictions; twenty-six, you know, main ones, eighty-four thousand variations, alright. And that’s how you got here.

So it’s natural that in trying to, you know, do Dharma, do meditation, do practice, if you move one degree out of normal, you’re gonna look weird to everybody else. You see what I mean.

And by the time you’re ten degrees out of normal you’re gonna look downright crazy or something to other people because you’ve gotton rid of one percent of your mental afflictions which, by the way, almost nobody can do.

To change your mind really by one percent, to remove one percent of your mental afflictions is extremely rare. And that shifting of one percent would make you seem strange to everybody else in the world, okay.

So you have to, by definition, be willing to do your virtues on your own. I think American Buddhists more than other Asian Buddhists are aware of that. You see, to be a Buddhist in America, to hold the worldview of a Buddhist, you’re different.

And it’s a little bit hard and there’s some pressure on it.

And the ability and the decision and the willingness to stick to it even if it seems crazy to other people is part of your practice.

That’s called {hlaksam namdak}. I personally take responsibility for the following things and if nobody helps me it’s okay.

And if they attack me for it it’s okay. And if they crucify me for it or something it’s okay ‘cos I know it’s the right thing to do. That’s {hlaksam namdak}.

{hlaksam namdak} means, and Master Shantideva says don’t be upset if other people don’t help you because they don’t know how to help themselves so why do you think they should be helping you. You see what I mean. Ninety-nine percent of the people on this planet are striving like madmen for things that can’t make them happy, you know; house, family, food, money, things like that. You need a moderate amount to practice, but to base your life on trying to get those things is innately crazy ‘cos you can’t. And you can’t keep them even if you do get them.

A, you almost can’t get them, B if you do get them you’re gonna die anyway. So that’s crazy, you see what I mean.

So if the vast majority of people in your country or your city or you neighbourhood are still trying to get those things and they don’t feel any urge to help you with Dharma activities, Master Shantideva says just chill out, you know, don’t worry about it. That’s the way it is because they're in the desire realm.

They got here by thinking that way. So don’t feel upset.

They don’t even know how to take care of themselves so why do you think they’re gonna help you in your Dharma activities? You see what I mean?

So they don’t even know what to do for ten minutes to help themselves so why get upset if you can’t raise support for your newest dharma activities, see what I mean?

So don’t, you know, don’t get upset, just keep going. Just keep doing it. That’s {hlaksam namdak}, okay. The decision, final decision that I will get to the goals of this path by hook or crook whether anybody helps me or not.

In fact, towards the end they won’t help you. They’ll block you. And then you say, okay, I’ll just go around, you know, to help you. You see what I mean. To help them, you see what I mean. That’s {hlaksam namdak}.

Don’t be surprised if people don’t help you ‘cos they don’t even know how to help themselves for five minutes, okay.

And then just be happy and do your joyful effort, okay. And don’t say things. Don’t be bitter. I mean, you see a lot of Dharma people who get bitter after ten years of trying to run a centre and nobody’s helping them. And, you know, don’t be like that.

Joyfully give your life and understand that you’re doing the right thing and don’t expect too much out of other people ‘cos they wouldn’t be in this realm if they weren’t crazy, okay. They don’t even know how to take care of themselves.

They’re gonna die helplessly with no idea of what to do about it by that very behaviour that everyone is doing all day long.

So don’t feel discouraged that they don’t have enough sense to help you ‘cos they don’t have enough sense to even meditate for five minutes a day, you know. You have to twist their arm to get them to meditate for fifteen minutes a day. They can’t take care of themselves so don’t be surprised if they don’t want to take care of anybody else either, alright.

That’s part of {hlaksam namdak}.

I wanted to talk about meditation. And to me there are three types of meditation to be spoken about, okay.

One is the meditation you undertake in a meditation session.

The second subject is how you live the rest of your day, which affects your meditation.

And then, finally, what you should meditate about, okay.

So what order should we do them in? Okay. Let’s see. So, I’m gonna do those three things.

What should you do during your meditation sessions? Why is it important to have deep meditation sessions?

Secondly, what kind of behaviour do you have to engage in the rest of the day to have good meditation?

And then, finally, what are you gonna meditate about? Alright.

Let’s start with the sessions.

[cut]

Say {mi-chok me}[repeat]; {chok} is an ancient, ancient word. It doesn’t come anywhere, okay. It means to have time to do something. In modern Tibetan we say {gomba/ gomba duwey} means you have time to do that. They say {gomba mindu}, I ain’t got any time at all, alright. {mi-chok} means, don’t have time; {mi-chok me} means it’s not true that you don’t have time, okay.



This is a name of a certain meditative state, okay. It’s called {samten .. mi-chok me}. Say {samten ..} is a kind of deep meditation that you can get into, which if you succeeded in just following that meditation, you would be born in the form realm in your next life. Which is like a semi-paradise but the problem is it runs out. So it’s not nirvana and it’s not a Buddha paradise. It’s called the form realm.

So if you did {samten ..} meditation, first level meditative meditation all the time in the is lifetime but with no virtuous content, you see what I mean, no Buddhist content, like, if you just followed your breath for the rest of your life, you would be born into the form realm. And then you would stay there for a certain number of years and then you would die and go to the hell realms, okay.

It’s a flowchart. It goes like that and then it goes like that ‘cos you use up all your good karma being in that state, okay.

So it’s considered a very serious mistake in Buddhism, okay. {mi-chok me} is like that. But if you want to see emptiness directly you have to be able to get into {mi-chok me} and then use that meditative level to see emptiness directly, okay.

So what I’m saying is that if you just did {mi-chok me} meditation and followed your breath forever, you would be born into, like, a form realm paradise and then you would die from there and go to a hell realm, okay.

Why is it that it’s so effective in getting to a mini paradise, Okay? Part of it is called {samten gyi tongpa}. Say {samten gyi}[repeat] {tongpa}[repeat]. This occurs in the Abhidharmakosha but the point is most of us throughout the day are having lousy thoughts about other people: jealousy, anger, pride, competitive thoughts about other people all day long. Every few minutes it bursts out in speech, some kind of lousy speech, you know, ‘I don’t like him, I don’t like him, I don’t like’. Complaining, whining, up to angry speech, things like that.

Then for every five minutes of speech there might be thirty seconds of actually hitting somebody, undergoing, you know, doing some kind of business deal to screw somebody or something like that, you know.

So most of us spend the day having maybe seventy percent negative thoughts, small ones, okay. It’s not, they say it’s not the killing and pulling a man off his horse in Tibetan. It’s small irritations, small jealousies, small desires, small irritations at other people. And over the course of a day there are thousands and thousands of those kind of thoughts.

Then they manifest themselves in what you say and then occasionally in violent behaviour.

If you’re sitting in meditation all day long or if you’re sitting in meditation for five, six hours a day, what happens? It’s like unbelievable refreshing state because by, what do you call it, by default, not by any great effort of your own, you don’t have time to think about how much you hate other people. You see, you can’t stay in meditation if you’re thinking bad thoughts. You pop out. Like, the minute you feel jealous about somebody you pop out of meditation.

If you can learn to stay in meditation then at least you wouldn’t have those five or six hours of bad thoughts that you usually have.

By virtue of that you could get yourself born into a form realm paradise. You see what I mean. It’s just by default. It’s not by any good effort that you’re doing.

You just didn’t have time to do all the bad deeds you usually do, okay.

So if you engage in that breathing meditation, for example, five or six hours a day, you would go to a form realm paradise. You would reach the first form realm level.

After that you go straight to a hell realm so we think it’s a mistake.

You use up all that good karma and anyway, that’s the principle on which you get there.

Still though, in a deep state of meditation, you have to be able to get into the first form realm level of meditation, okay.

Why?


Only from this particular slice of the meditative spectrum can you see emptiness directly.

You must be able to get into a state of meditation where you shut off all sense perception. Like, somebody puts a French fry, Mcdonald’s French fry in front of your nose; you don’t smell it. Somebody plays Neil Young; you don’t hear it. You see what I mean?

Your meditation is so deep that you can’t, you’re withdrawn from sense perceptions, okay. That’s the goal of {samten .. mi-chok me}, okay.

And only from that basis can you see emptiness directly, alright.

By the way, most of you know there are five Buddhist paths or five levels of realisation.

What you may not know is that to move from one to the other the movement is always done in a deep state of meditation.

You cannot get up on the next rung of the spiritual ladder except in a state of deep meditation. All movement between {tsok, jor, tong, gom, milob} is done in a deep state of meditation, okay. You have to be able to meditate.

You have to be able to get into deep meditation otherwise it’s impossible to see emptiness directly. It’ll never happen to you.

So what happens if you don’t see emptiness directly?

If you do see emptiness directly, I mean, I’ve told you many times. I tell you again. You see your future lives. You see the day of your enlightenment. You know that you have encountered the Dharmakaya of the Buddha. You know what thangkas are. You know what prostration is. You can read other people’s minds for some period of time; things like that.

But imagine what it feels like to know and to have seen the day of your enlightenment and to know how long it’s going to take. To know directly and to perceive it directly that all this life that you’ve been living is over.

You’ve understood the entire content of two hundred thousand Buddhist books in twenty minutes. And you’ve seen and you’re on your way out. ‘On your way out’, means ‘stream-enterer’, okay.

You are irrevocably on your way out of this kind of life.

You will be Tara. You will be Manjushri in a certain number of years. And you see it directly.

So you wouldn’t trade that experience for anything else.

You wouldn’t trade it for a million lifetimes of other experiences. To have that one twenty minute experience is worth all the thoughts you’ve ever had in your life. It’s worth everything you’ve ever done in your life.

And the only way you can get there is to be in a state of deep meditation, okay.

You must learn to get into that state of meditation. How long does it take to get there?

You’ve got to practise at least an hour or two a day. And I’m not counting the preliminaries, okay.

Preliminaries take some people ten minutes. They take other people fifty-nine minutes, okay. Not counting that. Not counting the sadhana. Not counting anything,{tundruk}, nothing else.

In deep state, one-pointed meditation at least an hour a day, preferably, maybe two hours, or you cannot see emptiness directly.

And you will continue to suffer. You will continue to die. You cannot get out of it.

It’s impossible. You must meditate. You must be able to get into {samten …me}.

And quite frankly, a place like Arizona is designed for that. The reason, you know, I had a big meeting with a sponsor tonight. They’re, like, I helped you start your store, I helped you start Godstow, now you want another one, you know. And I’m, like, you need it.

And they’re like, why, you know?

And I said, you sit there, I mean the people who went there, quite frankly, it’s so quiet, it’s so isolated and you have absolutely nothing else to do ‘cos it’s fifty miles to the nearest major grocery store, you have to meditate.

And your mind is suddenly, you have nothing else to think about. You have nothing else to do. There is nothing else to do there. Just meditate. Totally, perfectly silent, nobody else around. You know, you walk around naked for twenty miles no one else will see you. You know what I mean.

And that’s the goal of that place. It forces you into a deep state of meditation. And you must try it.

I’m not trying to advertise. I’m not trying to sell.

I’ll be in retreat. I won’t know where you are but you’d better be there, okay.[laughs] [laughter]

No, ‘cos there’s something about that kind of solitude. Even in the ancient days in the Middle East they understood that, the dessert fathers, you know, people like that.

You need a place like that. You must try in your life at some point. And now is the perfect time, right? To get into a place like that and give it a few months to reach this state of meditation. You must try. It’s a life or death question.

When you get old it will be too late, okay. You’ll be sitting there and saying, I wish I would have done it back when Geshe Michael did it, you know what I mean.

And that’s all. Maybe you can get pretty good progress in New York City with an hour or two in the morning. Sooner or later, you’re gonna have to go out, junk the other part of your life and concentrate on that one object.

You know, I’m not saying you give up your other commitments. There’s rules against that. You must honour your family commitments and your other commitments but you must also fit in this somehow.

You must make arrangements to see emptiness directly. [laughs] Then you can come back and do your other stuff.

I’m not saying you don’t do it but you must do it. You have to do it. You must learn to get into a deep state of meditation and I think it’s extremely difficult in a normal life situation, okay. You got to have total silence. You go to have, {..} means, you’re out in a place where you just can’t get to any distractions even if you want to. You see what I mean.

They’re not available. And you just do it. You see what I mean. You must try to do that, okay. You must try to do that. That’s getting into a deep state of meditation.

And you cannot see emptiness directly and you cannot get out of this suffering if you don’t.

You’ll die. You’ll get old. All the stuff that you think is important now will be meaningless the day you die. You know, I’m fighting for your time and the rests of your life is fighting for your time. And when the day comes that you die you’ll think it was very stupid that you spent any time on this one because there’s nothing there that helps you when you die. You see what I mean.

Take care of emptiness first then you can come back and take care of that other stuff rather than vice versa. Just decide sooner or later you’re gonna do it in the next few years, okay. Deal? Masal. Okay. [laughter]

In the diamond business it’s important to say, masal, while the other party is, like, you know, [laughter] and then they’ve already agreed and they can’t go back on it. Okay.

That’s my sales pitch for deep meditation.

Now I’d like to go into a sales pitch for what you could call ‘office samadhi’, okay. [laughter] And I’m not kidding.

Arya Nagarjuna was adamant that meditation is not a one or two hour thing a day. It’s a twenty-four hour undertaking, okay.

In other words, if you allow yourself certain distractions for twenty-three hours a day and then try to meditate for an hour it cannot work.

You will not succeed. It’s impossible. There’s a certain state of mind that you have to maintain twenty-four hours a day to be able to meditate for I one a hour a day, you know.

You see, you cannot turn off the rest of the world for one hour a day and then for twenty-three hours a day abuse your mind, okay.

You have to be kind to your mind all day long and then when you ask him to meditate, he’ll say, oh, I’m fresh I can do that. Okay.

And I want to just go over there’s five principles that arya Nagarjuna stated for keeping yourself basically in sort of a half samadhi all day long, okay.

And the opening verses to ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s way of Life’ in the chapter on meditation say, whosoever cannot keep some kind of samadhi going all day has their head in the mouth of a monster with fangs and is about to get crushed. You see what I mean. {..} staying in the, [unclear] this vision of a lion’s mouth open and your head is in there and the teeth are like that. Meaning, if you don’t keep up basic samadhi twenty-four hours a day you’re in a dangerous spot, okay.

What is the lion? What is the teeth?

It is the mental afflictions, okay.

You have to be in state of, like, fifty-percent samadhi all day long or you are vulnerable to klesha attacks, to mental affliction attacks, okay. If you’re not in some kind of mellow state almost all day long you will have some mental afflictions, okay.

You see this. When we travel we get there when you’re jet- lagged, when you’re tired, when you didn’t have enough to eat, you know, when your mind, when your meditative immune system is low, then you’re totally at the mercy of your mental afflictions, you know. Like, it takes two minutes to get angry. You can’t put up any kind of a fight. You can’t put up any kind of resistance because your mind state is already weak. You see what I mean.

The point is don’t just think of meditation as a deep session in which you try to see emptiness.

Meditation has to be maintained all day long and arya Nagarjuna had five tricks for it, okay.

Here they are. I like them.

[cut]

Say {gu}[repeat] {gyu}[repeat] {gu gyu}[repeat], okay. He links these two together. He dumps these two together. It’s really two separate states of mind okay.



{gurpa} you can define or translate as ‘restless desire’, okay. It’s a restless state of mind. It destroys your meditation.

In a state of meditation it manifests itself as thinking about what you’re gonna do this afternoon, okay. It’s like so many people go into a month long retreat and come out and tell me about the new business they’re gonna start, [laughter] you know, including me.

That’s {gurpa}. {gurpa} means your mind jumps from desire object to desire object.

Now, when you read ‘desire object’ in a scripture you think of playboy magazine or something. It’s not like that.

It means what are you going to do this afternoon. Who do you have to call, you know, what newspaper are you going to read, magazines, TV shows. And during the day for the other twenty-three hours it manifests itself as attention deficiency disorder or whatever, you know.

You can only stay on an object for about seven minutes, you know. You’re surfing through the channels. You’re surfing through the internet. You’re picking up a novel and then you’re picking up a magazine and then a newspaper.

Then you got to go outside and then you got to come back. Then you got to have a coffee and you got, it’s this thing about, seven- minute attention span for anything. If you do that for twenty-three hours and then you try to sit down to meditate, forget it, okay.

So, {gurpa} is the constant skipping from something that attracts you to something else that attracts you.

It is channel surfing all day long in your life, with your life, okay. You can’t concentrate on something for more than seven minutes then you’re onto something else. That’s {gurpa}.

It’s a restless kind of mind. It’s the inability to keep your mind on one thing for more than a few minutes.

It’s skipping from attractive object to attractive object. It’s sitting at the bus station and looking at girl after girl after girl, you know what I mean, and there’s just a point where it just destroys your concentration.

And the next morning when you try to meditate you can’t figure out why nothing’s happening, you see what I mean, ‘cos you’ve abused your mind for twenty-three hours. Okay.

You got to take care of your mind the whole time you’re out of meditation or you won’t be able to meditate, okay.

Second one here, which is the second half of the first one right, is called {gyurpa}, okay, {gyurpa}.

{gyurpa} normally means ‘regret’ about having done something wrong or something like that. But in this context, in Nagarjuna’s work, in arya Nagarjuna’s work, it refers to thinking about the good old days and thinking about how nice things would be, in about a week, or next year, or something like that.

It’s an inability to Baba Ram Dass, be here now, okay. It’s an inability to live in the present, okay.

I think it gets worse as you get older. Like, when you meet people in a nursing home it’s very common to, that they can only talk about the good old days, you know. I had this girlfriend. I had this wife. I had this job. I had this authority. My body wasn’t always like this.

And their mind is constantly in the past. You see what I mean.

I think most of us get it for high school and first half of college, you know. Twenty years later, you’re still thinking about how good it was when Janis Joplin was alive and Hendrix was still playing and hadn’t gotten boring yet. And Jim Morrison hadn’t died in the bathtub, you know.

And you’re still remembering the good old days, see what I mean, and you have this inability to say, look that’s all over and yesterday’s also over. And you’re faced with today and you have to live in today, okay. And not next week either; what you’re gonna do, okay.

You have to learn to live in the present. You are X years old. However healthy you were in the past that’s over, you know. What’s gonna happen next week isn’t going to happen today.

And you have to deal with the current moment in your current mind and stop living in the past and future. You know, deal with the present. And that’s an important part of meditation, okay.

It’s important to deal with the present twenty- three hours a day so you’re able to do it when you meditate. If your mind is wandering for sixteen, seventeen waking hours about the good old days, then when you sit down to meditate, that’s all you’re going to be able to think about. Forget it.
You know, deal with your body as it is now. Deal with your mind as it is now.

And get to paradise or get to heaven now, okay. Just like this, alright. That’s the first one.

Second one. [cut] Say, {nger sem}[repeat]; {nger sem} means, thoughts of,{nger} means, to harm, {sem} means thought.

It means to think about how much you dislike somebody, alright, think about someone you dislike.

This is the other pole. There’s a polarity: {gurpa} is one extreme, {ngerpa} is the other extreme. {gurpa} is much more common, okay. Ninety percent of your day is exerted in the pursuit of pleasure, of things that you like. And that’s {gurpa}. That’s channel surfing, okay.

And then, maybe, ten percent of your day is spent in active irritation or dislike of other people, okay.

Now some people may be eighty-five, fifteen or ninety-two, eight. It doesn’t matter, alright. We’re all basically the same.

If you’re in the desire realm, you have ninety-five percent of the same mental afflictions that I have, okay, just by virtue of being here.

You couldn’t have got here unless you did, okay. The fact that you’re here proves it. Unless you’re a deity and I don’t know who’s a deity and who is not, okay.

So {nger sem} means, if you’re in a state of meditation and you think of one person that you don’t like, it destroys it like boom. Like, you could wander through your high school years and come back to your object of meditation ten minutes later. You can do that. But, you have {nger sem} for one minute, you might as well just get up and go to work. You might as well go early and get some overtime ‘cos you won’t be able to meditate, okay.

A few minutes of active dislike of another person, you knw, I can’t believe what they said to me yesterday. I really hate it, you know. Then you cannot get back into meditation within half an hour, forty-five minutes. It’s impossible, okay.

So you have to avoid, the point of arya Nagarjuna and of Je Tsongkapa when he comments on arya Nagarjuna, why does he comment on arya Nagarjuna?

Why does Je Tsongkapa talk about these five? You guys know you just don’t remember.

In the bodhisattva vows; you have a bodhisattva vow to avoid these five. You swore, remember all those little ceremonies, all those flowers and stuff? You know, you swore to give up these five, okay, the five obstacles to meditation. And then, Je Tsongkapa, when he wrote his commentary and we taught it in the bodhisattva vows course, he was adamant that they didn’t just mean during meditation session. Twenty-four hours a day you bodhisattvas have sworn to give up these five and to watch your mind for these five for twenty-four hours a day. Mainly at work, okay, mainly with your family, okay.

So {nger sem}, if you don’t avoid dislike of other people twenty-three hours a day don’t think that one hour is gonna be some kind of vacation or something, okay.

You have to watch your mind all day long. You have to be in a semi meditation all day long.

And by the way, if you get there it’s very, very cool. It’s very, very cool and very good for {kye rim}, those of you who know {kye rim}.

It’s easy to do {kye rim}, if all day long you’re doing these five, you see.

If your mind is in a semi samadhi all day long then tantric practice during the day is a piece of cake. And it’s fun, you know. It’s like really sexy all day long. It’s like really high all day long and amazing things happening to you.

You cannot have a good {kye rim} practice all day long if you don’t have samadhi going on all day long, okay.

That’s why you have to maintain these five. That’s why it’sa bodhisattva vow.

In the lower schools of tantra, you don’t take tantric vows. You take bodhisattva vows and they are the tantric vows, okay.

That’s one of the things that distinguishes the four classes of tantra, okay.

The point is that if you maintain these five all day long then being in a state of {kye rim} and avoiding {…} is a piece of cake.

If you don’t know what those words mean you need to have an initiation from Khen Rinpoche. Alright.

Number three. [cut]

Say {..}[repeat], {..} is a word in Tibetan. It also means ‘fog’ and it refers to a sort of a drowsy state of mind, okay. Not sleepy but sort of {..} is after you’ve had a big meal, like, three pieces of pizza and you try to meditate right after that, okay. Those of you who’ve tried it; I have. [laughs] That’s {..}. So, it’s sort of a dullness, you could say dullness, okay.

It comesafter eating too much and things like that.

It’s best to meditate in the morning when your stomach’s been empty for maybe twelve hours, okay.

To try to eat and then meditate is crazy unless you got some kind of blood disorder where, you know, but a normal physiological condition. This is some kind of mental dullness and it’s brought on mainly by eating and things like that, okay.

{nyi} is the extreme of it and that’s not, {nyi} means to sleep or to get drowsy, okay.

So I had a great meditation teacher once. I said, you know, Lama, this was very formal interview, at the lotus feet of this very high being, you know.

And I’m, like, oh, holy being, you know, I have trouble.

What is your trouble son, you know?

And I said, I get sleepy during meditation.

And he says, sleep during the night. [laughs][laughter] And that’s all he would say, you know.

It means you can’t meditate without enough sleep. Forget it. Just forget it.

People think they’re gonna be some big yogi. The first day I said to Khen Rinpoche, like, how can I not eat and not sleep? He said, forget it, you have to sleep, okay.

To not sleep properly, to not get the amount of sleep that you personally need, which is different for every person, you know, six, seven, eight hours. Some people need twelve I guess. But you must get enough sleep to meditate properly.

And if you don’t get enough sleep you are dissing your bodhisattva vows and you are dissing the Buddha, okay. You must feed yourself a proper amount. Regulate your food like a vow. You know what I mean. Just the amount of food that you need and you must sleep enough.

And if you think you’re gonna meditate with, by eating too much or not sleeping enough, just forget it. Okay. [unclear]

You must get enough sleep, okay. That’s just one of the requirements for meditation, alright. You must be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Don’t sleep too much. Don’t sleep too little. Don’t eat too much. Don’t eat too little.

This one is mainly referring to eating too much so that you have a dull-minded state. Also, physically, if your frame is too loaded down, if your frame is too heavy you can’t meditate well, okay.

According to your own frame you have to keep your weight and keep your food intake to what fits your physiology, which is different for each person. Too little is bad. Too much is bad, okay. Too little sleep is bad. Too much sleep is bad, okay.

And you have to, you have sworn an oath to take care of these things. It’s part of your bodhisattva vows.

Number four. By the way, I would throw in there exercising properly, okay.

When you get up to big, big, big, big, high-level tantra, they make you exercise. Okay. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that, alright.

For your channels to work right and your chakras to be in good shape and everything else, you have to be physically fit, okay. And you can’t practice {dzog rim} if you’re not physically fit and if you don’t get enough sleep and if you eat too much or too little, if you abuse your body, you won’t be able to practise tantra properly. And there’s a vow about not abusing your body. You have to take, it sucks, it’s a bad body, it’s gonna kill you, and you have to take good care of it ‘cos you have to use it until you reach your goal. Then it will disappear actually and you will get a new body, okay.

{….}a very famous tantra line, you know, you ain’t gonna have this kind of body when you get there but you have to take good care of it in the meantime, alright, or you can’t reach the highest goals of tantra, alright.

So, in there you have to, you know, you have to get fresh air. You have to keep those channels straight, open, bright, okay.

Number four. [cut]

Say {dupa la}[repeat] {dunpa}[repeat]; {dupa} normally means, desire. In this case it means, objects of the senses, okay. You know, TV, CD, pizza and you know, whatever, okay, sex I guess, alright, but the five senses and the objects of those senses.

And this refers to being careful all day. Not to overload yourself in those areas, okay.

Be good, for example, to keep your eyes down as you walk around. They say, you know, keep it about ten feet ahead of you on the sidewalk. You don’t need to see ninety percent of what you see in New York, okay. Seriously.

And what it does, it puts mental images into your mind that crowd it the next morning when you’re trying to meditate, okay.

The more stuff you’re in-taking, each one makes an impression on your mind, and then your mind is like a cartoon show in the morning, okay, and you won’t be able to concentrate. You know, traditionally, keep your eyes down, don’t, you know, look at everything that you could look at, forget TV. Just throw it out. It’s worthless. I said that on TV in Mongolia and the guy was [laughter], okay. Anyway [laughs] Okay.

Second one, you know, music is beautiful. I love music. I was a musician, you know, it was one of the hardest things. But you cannot have a lot of music around and not be bothered by it the next morning, okay. So, during the day, limit, okay, listen to a few Neil Young CD’s when you have to, but limit it. And then, because again,it comes back to you the next morning.

There’s nothing more frustrating than to be in a one month tantric retreat and be hearing some pop song in your head, [laughter] okay.

And what was the one, oh, I don’t even want to think about it. [laughter] We heard it in an elevator. It was attacking me during meditation.

Then as far as food, you know, keep it very down. When you’re in tantric retreats or things like that, you’ll find out you only need to eat once or maybe twice a day. Your poops go down to this, I’m not kidding, every day. You just don’t need it, you know.

So, I mean, eat enough. When you’re in New York City and you’re working a job and you have a family you need to eat more than that but control it and in-take what you need and what you can use, okay. That’s a object of the senses.

As far as sex, if you can be celibate it’s better. You’ll find amazing, beautiful, incredible energy will come to you if you are.

And I’m not saying something where you’re like ooh, you want to do it but you don’t want to do it and you’re making yourself crazy. I’m not talking about that. Happily, joyfully, healthily, eventually just give it up, okay. Go through a nice withdrawal. You know what I mean. Like, you know, just cut it down and don’t do it so much. Don’t think about it so much. And then eventually you’ll find out you don’t need it at all, okay. And then you have all this incredible energy comes to you. You can work like a madman. You can concentrate. It’s not what people think. It’s not a human need per se. It’s something you’re trained to do.

Rinpoche used to sit with me. We would watch TV. He likes the Mets. And then during the commercials they would show, I remember this one advertisement, it was like a four year old girl in a bikini walking down a beach. And there were like twelve, four -year old boys in lawn chairs and they were all like that.

And he said, that’s really sick, you know, that they would inculcate that kind of thinking from such a young age. It’s just a sign in your society that they’re inculcating you, they’re brainwashing you, even in these little advertisements for something else, that you need this thing. And you don’t.

And I’m not saying you’re evil or you’re bad or you have to control this evil in you or something. It’s not like that.

It’s a nice thing. It’s a normal human urge. And slowly, reduce it in your life. And you get all this incredible energy, okay.

So that’s a part of meditation, you know, at least don’t go overboard on it. Make it, give it its place, do it as you have to, but free up the rest of your day and your mind, you know.

Just say, okay that’s for that time on that day and I’m not gonna obsess on it. And then it’ll increase your power of meditation. You’ll be able to meditate really well. Just not to have all the sensory overload that you have in modern world. That’s just one more thing you don’t need.

And you slowly reduce it and your mind can meditate better. You can go inside better, okay.

So work on it gradually, okay. Don’t do it in a frustrated way, okay, like, oooh, okay

Number five. [cut]

Especially if you do retreats or meditate, if you spend a week or a month, try and stay celibate totally, completely, okay, and it’ll make it very powerful. And then I think, sort of, you’ll see the benefit of it and you’ll be attracted to trying it more often.

Say {tetsom}[repeat], {tetsom} means, I call it ‘lazy doubts’, okay.

Why? Why do I say lazy doubts?

Healthy doubts are important, okay. Thinking about Buddhism in a critical way is important. Lord Buddha said, and to me it’s one of the most attractive things about Buddhism, he said question everything I say.

Ask me questions. Attack what I say. Rip it apart. If you’re not satisfied don’t follow it, don’t accept it, okay.

So, this cannot be referring to that, you see what I mean. This is referring to lazy doubts, okay. You are just too lazy to sit down for ten minutes and make a spiritual decision, okay. The classic one in Scripture is, is your lama a tantric Buddha or not? Make up your mind. Get off the fence. You know what I mean.

All the Scriptures say he or she is . And you choose to say he or she is when you feel like it and when you don’t feel like it, they’re just a normal schmuck, you know, make up your mind. I’m not asking you to do that one right now.

But with easier ones, you know what I mean, like are you gonna practice or not?

Are you really gonna meditate for a day or not? And you keep wimping out. You keep saying, oh, maybe forty-five minutes, maybe thirty minutes. Oh,I really should do an hour. And then you don’t decide. You don’t make up your mind.

You don’t analyse the question of is an hour of meditation a day vital for my very existence and you go from day to day not meditating or meditating for forty-five minutes or thirty minutes or something like that. That’s {tetsom}. You see what I mean.

You didn’t make up your mind whether this is something vital for your very existence or not so you keep sitting on the fence, the meditation fence. Oh, next week, next month, next time I feel like it, not when I don’t feel like it, not when it’s too hot, too cold, I’m too tired, I had too much sleep, I had too much to eat, I didn’t have enough to eat, I am busy or I’m not too busy. And they’re all excuses not to meditate.

Make up your mind and get off the fence. You see what I mean.

And there’s many spiritual decisions like that, okay. That’s just an example.

So {tetsom} is to allow continued doubts in your mind that should have figured out ten years ago, okay.

And then you kind of figure it out and then you lose it and you doubt again and you waste your time again and then, it’s the best way to waste your life.

Make up your mind, you know.

Is this guy a good teacher or not? If not, leave. If he is, stay and do what he says, you know what I mean? Stuff like that. Just make up your mind. Don’t sit on the fence, okay.

Do a meditation on it, {che gom}, analytical meditation, you know. Is this the right thing for me to do or not? Should I meditate an hour a day or not?

If it is, then make up your mind and do it, okay.

To continue to waffle is {tetsom}, okay.

That completes my sales job on two points. Why you should do a daily meditation session; deep, ‘cos you ain’t gonna see emptiness otherwise.

Secondly, why you should maintain a meditative state of mind all day long. You’re half in samadhi all day long. You might move a little slower than other people. You’re kind of happy all day long.

By the way, that’s a nice side effect. It is not the goal regardless of what Hari Krishna’s say or whatever. It’s not the goal to be sort of happy all day long but it’s nice isn’t it, you know?

It is nice to have a semi-samadhi state of mind all day long.

Incidentally, it helps your work. If you’re a businessman or you’re a writer or you’re a painter or you’re anything else, if you stay in this half samadhi all day long, everything goes better. Everything is incredible, okay.

Then, by the way, you don’t get mental afflictions. It’s the best safeguard to screwing up your day with an incident of jealousy or anger or something like that.

You are constantly in a state of samadhi all day long because you’re watching food, music, sleep, thinking about too many things, not living in the present, disliking other people, having unresolved doubts that you could have resolved, okay.

You keep your mind free of those and then you’re in this kind of samadhi all day. And if you want to be a businessman you’re gonna be the best. If you wanna be an artist you’re gonna be the best. And it’s just a better way to live, okay. Mainly for us it refers to cutting down on your sensory intake knowingly, purposely, okay.

Last thing. There’s a beautiful line in chapter on meditation. I think it’s halfway through the chapter. And Winston should put it in the Arizona thing.

But it says, I forget what it says exactly, but it’s like, we are happy in the forest with no one around us but trees and wild animals. And we live our days in peace. Our house is a flat rock under which we dig a hole and, you know, meditate. And we don’t have any other clothes. And we don’t have any other family. And we don’t have any other house. We’re just happy and we meditate all day long, you know. And it’s quiet out in the wilderness, you know.

And then there’s this little jog and he says, hey, but what are we gonna meditate about? You know what I mean.

And then Shantideva, Master Shantideva uses that as an excuse to launch into the most profound teaching he ever gave, okay, which is {dak shen nyam je}, okay.

In the middle of the chapter on meditation, he launches into, purely artificially, right, hey, what are we gonna meditate about by the way?

Oh, how about {dak shen nyam je}, okay. Which happens to be the most powerful teaching maybe ever given. [cut]

[end side A]

[side B]


Say {dak shen}[repeat] {nyam je}[repeat]; {dak} means ‘me, {shen} means ‘other people’, {nyamje} means ‘reverse them’, exchange them, exchanging self and others, exchanging self and others, okay.

I’m gonna teach you a very practical method culled from his teachings in three steps, okay.

Very simple, the sergeant is back there telling me I have to stop now, so won’t be very long; and very, very simple, okay.

People ask me is there some kind of meditation I can do that will make me happy immediately?

Yeah, {dak shen nyamje}, okay. The karma ripens in about half a day or something, okay; instantaneous spiritual fast food, okay.

And I’m not kidding. It’s just so profound that it works right away. If nothing else in, if you don’t do nothing else in Buddhism, do {dak shen nyamje}. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It works right away. It makes you happy the rest of your life. Okay.

First part of the three, I call ‘Jampa method’. Jampa Lougrik is this little round balding monk out in Howell, New Jersey, who you know, but he’sbeen trained in Sera monastery by Geshe Lotar and other great holy beings {dak shen nyamje} on a very personal, immediate practical level. Meaning, when you walk in the kitchen at {..}, he’s spying on you. He’s watching you. He’s seeing, what do you like? What do you want? And he follows your eyes. The eyes are the mirror of the soul. Okay.

You follow a person’s eyes for three minutes, you know what they want, you see what I mean. And he’s spying on you. You walk in, he’s, like, hi, how are you, you know, and he’s watching your eyes.

You look at the stove, you look at the kettle, you look at the tea instead of the coffee, you look at the refrigerator where the milk would be, you glance on the table where there’s candies and chocolate chip cookies and you’re looking at the cookies.

And then he says, oh, please sit down, you know. And then, suddenly, there’s this hot tea with milk, with sugar and the cookies are in front of you.

And you think it’s just coincidence. You see what I mean.

He’s made it a goal of his life to master the art of finding out what you want and giving it to you without you being aware that he’s doing it. You see what I mean.

And that’s the first part of {dak shen nyamje}; observation of other people’s likes and dislikes and then, supplying it to them without them even knowing it transparently. In software they call it transparent. You don’t even know the software is there; it just does what you want, see what I mean.

You are just silently, quietly, transparently, giving other people what you know they like, because you’ve taken five minutes to think about it, which is rare. You see what I mean.

You’re like, what does this guy like? What does he look at? What kind of clothes does he like? What kind of things does he like? What kind of food does he like? What kind of tea does he like? What does he want me to say right now? And things like that. And you take it as a goal of your life to, Sherlock Holmes, you know, about finding out what other people like and then supplying it to them and they never know you’re doing it. Okay.

I read a ‘Dear Abby’ column one day. She said, do something nice for somebody that they don’t know you’re doing. You know what I mean. And the boy scouts say that too.

It’s really {dak shen nyamje}. That’s the first step of {dak shen nyamje}. By the way, is there still a distinction between you and them?

Yeah. You’re here and they’re there and you’re watching them, okay.

That distinction is going to break down as we go through the three. Okay.

Second part is put your mind in their body. It’s, like, second-level {dak shen nyamje}, okay, oh, and watch you. Okay.

So, it’s like this. When we taught this in Mongolia the translator finally broke down [laughter] you know what I mean. Okay.

So, Elly’s sitting here or Marie Placide. I put my mind in Marie Placide’s body, okay.

So now I’m looking at what?

Geshe Michael is standing up there teaching.

Now, what is she thinking? You see, it’s putting your mind in the other person’s body.

So she’s trying to pay attention now. [laughter] And she’s like, I wonder if he’s gonna stop or if I’m gonna make it home on time tonight, you know? I wonder if there’s any good refreshments, you know? I wonder what’s happening in Arizona? I wonder if he’s ever gonna give me that apartment I’m asking about? I wonder if he’s ever gonna talk to me about being a nun or not, you know? And stuff like that.

And you put yourself in their body. You put your mind in their body and you look at you and you ask, what do you want from you? You see what I mean? What does, what do I, Marie Placide, want from Geshe Michael? What do I want him to say? What do I want him to do? What do I want him to think? What do I want him to, and then you just practice that.

This is a very holy meditation to do all day long, okay. It’s really good in the morning when you do your meditations.

Pick somebody, anybody, and do {dak shen nyamje}. What do they want when they look at you, okay? It maybe that they want you to leave the room, and then that’s okay, you can do that too. Okay. [laughs] They never have to know, alright.

Number three. I call it the ‘robe thing’, okay.

By the way, in step number two, the distinction between ‘me’ and ‘her’ is getting a little bit blurred, right.

You know, when I was doing it in Mongolia I was saying, okay look, I’m in Batboldt’s body. I’m Batboldt looking at Michael and Batboldt wants from Michael, what do I want from me? And the guy’s going, whoa, you know, how do I translate that? You try to translate that from Shantideva’s work it’s very confusing.

You know, me, you, him, okay.

Robe thing and then we’ll stop, okay. Just go to somebody else, imagine you have this magical robe and you put it around both of you and you decide I am now one person with four legs, two hands, two heads, okay. Just decide. Choose anybody, okay. And just decide there is no ‘me’ and ‘you’. Now it’s just ‘us’, okay, or me but now I’m just twice as big. Okay. When I go shopping I have to buy two pairs of shoes, one man and one woman’s pair, you know. I need a pants and a dress. You know what I mean. When I eat my food I have one fork and it goes into two mouths. And I am one body. You see what I mean. I am, we are one body. And just decide it with somebody. Break down the distinction between me and you hundred percent, flatly just break it down. Now I have to, my salary has to spread, my lack of salary has to spread to two people, okay. Now when I do anything, eat food, order clothes, do anything, go to the bathroom, anything, I have two minds to consider. I have four arms to consider. I have four legs to consider. I have to take care of those legs and those arms and that head as well as I take care of this head and this arms and those legs.

Then people object to Master Shantideva. And the Irish got all hot at me, you know. They said, yeah, but man, you’re gonna run out of money pretty soon, you know.

Look, the human mind is unbelievable. If you really want to do it you can do it.

What you call ‘myself’ is a projection of your past karma. It’s as artificial as everything else. It’s just a decision, you know. When you have a baby, suddenly, you have to take care of this thing and you don’t hesitate. No mother in the world, almost, hesitates. They just think well, now I’m just twice as big. Now I have to take care of both of us. You see what I mean. You suddenly just got bigger, okay.

And then the other example I give, there’s this guy out in New Jersey called [unclear], he’s Mongolian. He got gangrene on his foot because he had diabetes. He refused to have his leg cut off. The doctors told him he had to do it. I was the translator. I’m trying to convince him to cut his leg off. He would not do it. He said I’d rather die than have my leg cut off. Ten years later, he still didn’t have it cut off and his foot was this big green mass, you know. And they kept giving him antibiotics.

One day he decides, okay, that’s it, you can cut it off, you know.

Something in his mind changed. He divorced himself from that foot. You see what I mean. His ‘me’ got shorter by two feet or something, okay. I’m not kidding.

He just made a decision that ‘me’ would be less than it used to be. So the border between you and somebody else is artificial. It’s just a decision.

And the one you got stuck with from your past karma sucks. It doesn’t work. It’s counter-productive. It causes all your suffering, okay.

Your past karma is forcing you to believe that your self ends at the end of your finger.

That’s just primitive. That’s just really bad karma that you got stuck with that.

People in the desire realm are stuck with this idea that ‘me’ ends at my fingers. And for some stupid reason I’m not supposed to take care of her as well as I take care of me. And I’m supposed to believe that that’s naturel ‘cos my past karma is making me think that way. My past karma is making me think that I end here and she starts there.

And my past karma has even created the words ‘me’ and ‘her’ in my language. You see what I mean.

They don’t have those words in a Buddha field. They don’t have the word ‘me’ and ‘them’. You see what I mean. That’s a kind of primitive idea and it hurts you. It’s the stupidest idea you could have. It’s the source of all your suffering. See what I mean. I am here, you start there, and so, there’s a difference between me being cold, and you being cold. You see what I mean.

It’s a mistake foisted on you by your past karma so just reject it. Just flatly reject it, okay, say I don’t believe that anymore.

At the beginning start small. Start with something you can handle.

What does Master Shantideva say?

Your vegetables.

Like, my desert I wouldn’t share like that, [laughter] but, okay, but the asparagus, especially that slimy stuff, what is that?

Lady’s fingers, okra, my okra. Start with something you’re not so attached to. [laughter] You know what I mean. Okay.

He said that. He said start with vegetables. Start with something small and say there is no distinction between me and this other person. And take one fork and feed both mouths and practise it for a while.

And that’s {dak shen}, that’s the ultimate one. Break, decide that the distinction between you and others is a mistake that was foisted on you by your past karma and reject it because it’s the source of all your suffering.

Just reject it flatly. There is no difference between feeding this hole and that hole, you know, they both have to get fed. And share food with somebody for ten years or something. Buy a meal together, take a fork and practise putting it in two mouths until you get good at it. And just forget about ‘me’ and ‘them’, okay.

It’ll be the source of all your happiness. The karma of thinking that way produces something as big as a Buddha paradise, you see.

You cannot maintain this sense of ‘me’ as being this discrete skin bag and collect the kind of karma you need to get to a Buddha paradise. It’s impossible.

To collect that much karma, to get into a Buddha paradise, you have to actively practise breaking down the distinction between you and other people, okay.

That makes it a lot easier to be a bodhisattva.

The sergeant says I have to stop here, okay.

So we’ll do a little bit more, I’ll take, maybe, some questions next week, okay.

After your break, please get into your groups, okay, and then we’ll do a short wrap up at the end, okay.

Okay, last, you know, at the end of this review course, at the end of the class I’ve been taking, like, five minutes to talk about the future of Buddhism in America.

We had a lot of talks with Lama Zopa when he came and it sort of dawned on all of us that now you are one of the venerable Dharma groups in the country. You see what I mean. I mean, it occurred when Lama Zopa and I had talks together that now this is one of the larger groups in the country, you know, maybe the largest or second. But anyway, all of the students who are involved with our classes around the country and so what Buddhism becomes in the United State will be shaped by people like you whether you like it or not.

And so we’ve been talking about a lot of different issues. We’ve been talking about what is it you’re going to teach; how do you certify a teacher; what kind of meditation should people do; what kind of retreats should people do; how should they keep their finances, should you charge people or not. And the answer is – not [laughs] okay. [laughter] You know, at all costs and anything else, you know.

And so we’ve been talking about issues like that.

The issue I’d like to talk about tonight is {hlaksam namdak}. It comes form the reading, right.

We talked about it already. It’s the willingness to take personal responsibility that people get Dharma, okay.

And I’ll tell you how Pelma and I started this thing. On thirty-ninth street in this little basement. We went and brought six chairs at Ikeda, in New Jersey and it fit all the chairs and the table and the cabinet and her and me in one Honda Accord. And that was it. And we brought it back and we started.

I think the point of that exercise so far, up to now, has been that we were willing to go to work all day to make the money to make the rent for the place, and to pay for all the binders and to pay for all the printing.

And we kept the place going for free because we were even willing to work all day to pay for the other people who came.

I was in California and the FPMT monks and nuns were there and they were sitting, I remember, on Lama Yeshe’s stupa platform. And I was teaching this class and here’s three rows of monks and nuns. And one of them raises her hand and says, what do you think about the lack of support for western sanghas? You know, like, we don’t get paid, nobody helps us, we don’t even get a bowl of food, right.

And I said, I have an opinion on that question [laughter] which is that all of you should go to work and take the money and start Dharma centres and pay for the non-sangha to come to class. Is that okay? [laughs] And there was this [laughs] and I do believe that.

What do I mean by {hlaksam namdak}? At some point in your life you’ll become a teacher. And I encourage you to have this attitude that if you are in a position to teach others, which means, you understand the Dharma more than others or you appreciate the Dharma more than others, then you should appreciate it to the extent that you would pay the expenses of the place until the other people caught up with you. You see what I mean.

So I think it has to be this attitude that it’s your honour to support the Dharma and that it’s your honour to pay for the notebooks and the printing and the rent and the overhead projector and the refreshments and everything else.

If you understand Dharma at all, if you want to be a teacher at all, {hlaksam namdak}, you know, this is my great honour to be able to support it. And if I have to go to work all day to make that money then, that’s fine, and that’s the way it’ll be.

And that’s just {hlaksam namdak}, okay. Later, you’ll get complaints. The cookies aren’t good enough. They’re too cheap. [laughter] There’s not enough room in this auditorium. I can’t hear so well. I didn’t get reading six. You know what I mean.

And no one will thank you. You know what I mean. It’s not like they’ll come and say, gee, you worked for sixteen years in this cruddy corporate job just so we could have a place to have a class, you know.

People won’t say that. They’ll just come and complain. Then later they’ll complain about what you teach, what you look like, who you hang out with and stuff like that.

{hlaksam namdak} means, I don’t care. This is important to do.


I’m willing to do it at my expense, personal expense, time expense, financial expense, people will take pot shots at you. I don’t mind. You know, it’s some kind of {nying ru}. {nying ru} means, ‘heart bone’. And there’s supposed to be this little bone in the middle of your heart, the Tibetans say. And it just means, you know, I’m willing to do it even if no one else thinks it’s important, okay.

And when you get into the Dharma business you’ll be amazed. Like, we’re trying to save Tibetan literature.

So we went to these monasteries and we said, how would you like us to teach you to type in your own textbooks, you know, your two hundred thousand books that are the essence of Tibetan culture? And they’re, like, how much are you gonna pay us?

And we’re, like, you need to get paid?

They said, sure, you’re foreigner, right?

And I’m, like, okay. What I mean to say, and then you contact the Tibetan government, can we get some books to type in?

No. [laughs]

By the way, I’m not trying to break all my vows. [laughter] [laughs] I’m just saying [laughter] it’s just an example. [laughter]

Like, you’re trying to do something for somebody and they’re just not interested. See what I mean. I mean, frankly, there’s nobody in the world who cares about those books enough to pay for it and to have them input. There’s almost nobody.

But you just do it ‘cos you have to do it, okay. You see what I mean?

And if you have to go work or you have to go grub money or embarrass yourself in front of rich people all day to try to get the money, you do it, you know what I mean. And that’s {hlaksam namdak}, okay. And what I mean is it’s an important element of Dharma service, okay.

‘Three Jewels’ store, Pelma didn’t get paid for the last four years or something, you know. Like, we’re always, next month maybe, you know what I mean. And you just have to decide in your mind that it’s important to do and you have to do it. You don’t have a choice. It’s totally improper for you to sit here and get the benefits of class after class after class after class and reading after reading.

Those readings take hundreds of hours of people’s work. And then not pass it on to other people.

You’re sort of under obligation now to be the next chain in the lineage and to be the chain effectively might mean that you have to support it yourself. And you have to go out and find the funding and you have to, it’s important.

Things like the ‘Three Jewels’, things like ACI, things like the computer project, those are some of the most valuable things in the world and at some point you’re gonna have to say, like the Moore’s came from Colorado and just decided, it’s our responsibility, we’re gonna do correspondence courses. And they sit there and they do it; hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of notebooks. They sit there, in the dungeon, under ‘Three Jewels’ and they do it. I didn’t ask them to do it. They just did it, you know.

They just decided this is important. We’re getting fed Dharma so we have to help other people get fed Dharma, you know,

So at some point, it’s got to come into your mind that this thing is precious, that someone has worked very hard to give it to you and now you have to work hard and give it to other people.

And at some point you have to think, you know, what can I do now to feed the next person in the food chain, you know. Like, Dr Sykes has got a nice little class up at, what’s that place called, caravan of dreams. [applause] I still didn’t get any vegan deserts.

No, at some point, you’ve got to think, you know, and as I understood he popped the money for the course materials and stuff. Tried to steal some other ones but we caught him. [laughter] And, at some point, no, in your mind you have to make a decision, okay.

{hlaksam namdak}means I don’t care if nobody helps me. I don’t care if I have to pay for everything myself. I don’t care if I have to spend my time and no one comes to the dungeon to help me. They just come to complain that course number three, tape number four is blank, you know. [laughter]

At some point, you just have to say, okay, that’s now my responsibility and I’ve been the beneficiary of this attitude and now I’m going to be the next lineage holder of this attitude.

So think about it. Everybody applauds when you say ‘free classes’ but, when they see that little plastic box, they avoid it, you know.

At some point you have to take responsibility that other people get the Dharma. And, if Pelma goes away for three years, somebody has to say, okay, hey, we got to keep this thing open, you know. That’s how I met the Dharma. I walked into that stupid ‘Three Jewels’, you know and there’s this monk there. And then we started talking and, you know what I mean, and you guys have to take responsibility. Godstow: the same thing. These classes: the same thing, you know.

You have to think that somebody put out effort to make the place for you and then now you have to put out the same kind of effort for other people.

My concept is smaller groups, neighbourhood meetings where you do courses together and stuff like that.

But, you know, there’s gonna have to be a certain idea among each of you that, okay, maybe in my apartment for a couple of months we could do that. Like, I could put up the apartment and Micheal [unclear] could come and teach and, you know, you have to think like that, okay.

That’s all. {hlaksam namdak}.

We’ll do a short prayer.

[prayer: short mandala]

[prayer: dedication]

Okay, thankyou




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