What Makes A Trip Meaningful?*

Golok 6.8.2018

Welcome everyone. Your purpose to come here is for Dharma. We always mention importance of motivation. What makes Dharma real Dharma is motivation. Your motivation to come here is good and you have to carry with you the original good motivation, anywhere, anytime during the time of the Moonlam Festival. That is Dharma.

We have this human body so we need some life conditions to survive. The life conditions here are not what you are looking for. So you have to accept the conditions which are [here] for you. The monastery, everyone here are happy for you to be here. Everyone tries one’s best to serve you, to receive you. Still, because the life conditions here are not very good so you have to accept, to understand. For many of you this is a vocation. Still, this is a vocation for Dharma. A lot of people know this place already, but I have to remind you that this is a high place. And the weather here is unpredictable and you should always remember that all the time. You should bring a jacket with you. You can see, it may be hot now, but the weather can become cold very fast, and rainy. So you have to take care of yourself.

It is very difficult at first for some people. You may have bad headache, but no problem. It will be better after a few days. Still, you have to be careful, keep yourself warm. And try to have enough food for yourself. The food here may not be suitable for you but I think you should try, and try to accept everything. I don’t think you should cook for yourself. You should relax and save energy. If you have enough energy, and are in good mood, you can do something like circumambulation of the Stupa, the temples. I think people should see this is a good chance for you to accumulate merit by circumambulating stupa, doing prostrations before Buddha’s statue, reciting mantras or meditate etc. This is a special homework and you should have some time to do this homework. And don’t worry too much about your families, and wife, and husband etc. So I think people should do virtuous things, good actions.

We try so serve you. We try to cook food for you. At least, we get enough food. I can assure you that we get enough food. Not delicious as you wish but you will not be hungry. If you do not eat that is your problem; but if we do not have food, that is our problem. The way we cook here is not like that of Chinese. We can tell people not to put too much salt, not too spicy. I think it is better that we cook and we serve, and you try enjoy it, you try to accept it.

When we go on pilgrimage, in Nepal etc., the food is not tasty, and it is very different and it is not easy to digest. But we don’t complain about that and we accept what is available. The purpose to be there is not the food, not life conditions but to do pilgrimage. What make a holly trip meaningful is understanding and devotion. When we don’t have enough devotion, when you don’t understand this, everything becomes complicated. You should keep your motivation as simple as possible. I’m not saying you are not accepting. But it is always good to mention important things. Because we have habitual tendencies and we always wish, desire for the best. But [when] the condition does not allow, you make yourself unhappy. Therefore, understanding and accepting what is there available. Is that ok? Only that way you are happy and you are happy with your trip; and your trip can be very meaningful.

This morning also some people, like Lotsawa, mentioned what kind of behavior, conduct, you should have during the time of Moonlam. What kind of motivation you should have for that kind of activity. We, practitioners, understand Dharma is good intention, pure motivation. When there is negative thought, negative intention in your mind then that destroys purity of everything. Therefore, we need to check our motivation. To check your mind as much as possible. And to keep your mind in quiet position, in peaceful position as much as possible. Only in this way you can accumulate some good merit. When your mind is in bad thought, even though you are sitting there, your legs in pain killing you and you still try to sit there, but your mind is in bad state, then result is bad, still. Therefore, everyone should have a very fruitful, good trip, meaningful trip. So we have to understand what conditions make trip meaningful, and [people] the real practitioners.

What makes everything possible? Faith makes everything possible. What makes every Dharma activity fruitful is genuine faith. If you don’t have that condition, you are not Dharma person. If you do not have faith in Buddha then you are not followers of the Buddha. Therefore, we need faith, devotion. This is the first thing we need to have. I know you have faith. Because you have faith you are here. You also know you are faithful to the Buddha. But your mind is always moving, not stable, not reliable. Your mind is different at different times. Therefore, we need to check. So check your mind. You have enough faith, your faith is genuine, your faith is weak or your faith is dying, losing, or it is still there. So you have to make sure if there is enough good condition, devotion. Of course you have devotion because you went through difficulties, you spend time, a lot of money, everything to come here. Your purpose is of course Dharma: to attend the Moonlam, to visit your teacher, to circumambulate the Stupa, but since you are beginner, originally your motivation is to make some good action, still you have to check your mind always. Check your motivation all the time. That is the first thing.

The second thing is that we always mention the importance of compassion and bodhicita motivation. When you don’t have that you lack two important things in the motivation then your motivation if very weak. Of course we heard about this a lot, but still we forget because of ignorance so we have to care about these important things. Therefore one should remind oneself “Oh, I have to be compassionate, I must have compassion, I must have bodhicita motivation” all the time, whatever happens. This is very important.

And then you should try to control or liberate your attachment, anger, ignorance, pride, jealousy. You should make sure you are really peaceful. Mentally peaceful and physically peaceful. The most important part is to be peaceful, with no mental distractions. The five poisons – whenever you have these in your motivation then they destroy all of your [good things] in Dharma activities – the good results in your Dharma activities. Because [then] they are only external things. Internally, you are distracted by bad emotions so they bring no good results. So please, make sure everything are good motivation. You accumulate a lot of merit through your Dharma activities. You come here, spent a lot of time, money, energy, to make sure everything is good, [is from] pure motivation.

Of course we know it is important to have wisdom in our actions but we have to be careful. Sometimes some people, though they are very smart, they can be very aggressive at the same time, and they can be trouble makers. When you are faithful then you are good, you are good Dharma practitioners so faith, devotion are important. But when you don’t have devotion, you may cause problems for everyone. You may destroy connections between people, destroy harmony between people. So, if you try to be compassionate, peaceful person, it is very important to keep faith, you should be mindful all the time. So please be peaceful and respectful to each other as almost all of you here come from the same country. To make peaceful connections is very important.

And then for the Moonlam. Because we read probably too fast sometimes, you may not be able to follow therefore what you can do is to recite Orgyen Dzambhala mantra. I think most of you know it, and others should try to memorize. When you miss the part, when you don’t hear what the Tibetan master chants, you may not chant. As long as you keep your motivation good, your faith, mindfulness, then everything is good. On top of that you recite mantra and that is perfectly good.

This Orgyen Dzambhala text is composed by Lama Sang. Most of you have heard about Lama Sang. Some of you have met Him, some of you have not, but you know about Him. He was a Great Terton who discovered this treasure – body treasure of Vairocana. It is very bless-full. This monastery we don’t do business to make money and we do not do much fund-raising. But because of this treasure, because of the power and blessing of this lineage, of this Deity, we can survive very nicely, very peacefully. We understand that this text bring great benefit for one who practices it. When you practice enough you will get very good blessing when you don’t do this enough, just recite some [mantras] then there is not much [benefit].

Our tradition is a bit unique. [It is] different from other monasteries. Because you are not monks or nuns, but I allow you to sit with the shanga to practice together. I hope people understand that and this is a very good opportunity for you. A great opportunity. And it is important to do it nicely, peacefully. When you then legs are hurt and it is difficult for you to sit, you can stand up, go out, release your legs, and come back. But don’t move around or [do] similar things. And don’t take a nap, ok? (Rinpoche talks about the schedule.)


End of talk in Golok on 6.8.2018.

* The title is created by the re-writer for the convenience of the reader.