It’s Important To Have A Continued, Non-Broken And Very Clean Lineage*


Dharma Talk 9



We’ve just finished the Part 1 and today we will study Part 2. The part 2 is the main subject: contemplating and analyzing the meaning of Dharma. This is in two parts: 1. the Lineage of the Dharma practice and 2. the main explanation of the inner and outer instructions.

“The lineage of this Dharma practice

The kind, unsurpassable Buddha, who was the embodiment of compassion and skillful methods, taught various kinds of Dharma in accord with the capabilities and natures of his students.” 

We will talk about the history of the lineage of the ngondro practice in this book. It’s important to have a continued, non-broken and very clean lineage for the Dharma practitioners. Because through the lineage it comes [to us] the blessing of lineage masters, blessing of Buddha. So, it is very important to have a lineage history and to know and to talk about that one. Because of the compassion and wisdom of the Buddha, He taught various kind of Dharma, many different levels of Dharma according to the capabilities of the students. People are different – [their] mental capacities are different. It basically means people have different understandings and different levels of understanding. He has many students and they are not at the same level, same understanding. Therefore, Buddha has to teach various kind of Dharmas of different levels. Therefore, there are many Dharma practices.

“He had to teach various different kinds of Dharma according to whether a student could understand him or not. Although he taught 84,000 the kinds of Dharma, they all included within these three Dharmas: 1) The teaching of the Four Truths; 2) The Two Truths; 3) And the Buddha nature.”  It’s going deeper and deeper and more profound and more profound. So, people have to have a deeper wisdom to study further, to study all of this different kind of teachings. Everyone heard about Buddha nature and it’s very important Dharma. It’s something that we need to understand, we need to realize. But to understand and to realize that Buddha nature, we have to go through at least the teachings of the Four Truths. Otherwise, it’s difficult to really have the realization of that Buddha nature.

Of course, as a foundation of Dharma practice, we also need to go through the teaching of the Four Truths. And the book or the practice that we are studying includes all of these different meanings of the Dharmas here, like the Four Noble Truths and the Two Truths and the Buddha nature. Therefore, this book can be very useful. And also we can say that this is a very important [book]. It’s not because I wrote this book but because the meaning here, because this is a sort of simple way to introduce “The Words of My Perfect Teacher”, composed by Patrul Rinpoche. So, this book can be valuable, very useful for Dharma practitioners, who really have some karmas with this Linage and this practice.

So, the book that I’m asking people should use is “The melodious sound of the laughter of Vidyadharas of the three Linages – A brief explanation of the preliminaries for the Dzogchen Longchen Nyingthig” and translated by Peter Alan into English and lama Dat translated into Vietnamese. So, people just look through and read through. I think it’s maybe easier. I talked maybe too many times but I think that people should do that because I heard some people saying, “What kind of book Rinpoche are teaching on?” I heard that and then right now I’m asking everyone, “What kind of book are you using when I’m teaching to you? Do you do you have a book or not?” (holds up the book)

Every Buddhist at least has heard many times that there are 84,000 kind of Dharma that were taught by the Buddha very kindly to us, the people who are really fortunate. So, Buddha has done his part. His responsibility is to teach us and our part, our responsibility is to really study and to think of the meanings and to really put the meanings into our actions, into our lives, and into our Dharma practice. So, I think people, of course, understand that and people are trying. But still not enough, not enough being smart, being diligent and being clear understanding. Therefore, we need to study more, and we need to think more and we need to practice more.

We don’t spend much time, or I don’t go in very detail [talking about] the lineage part because it’s pretty clear here and some of the meanings here are pretty profound. And to understand that very profound and the deep meaning, the real meaning, we need to practice first. And we need to accumulate merits first, so we will be able to achieve realization of Buddha nature.

So, I have the copy of English and Tibetan together of this version of the book here. People support to publish this, and this published and John Crigler knows about the book and if you want to have English version, I think there are some books probably available. I’m not sure but probably most people need Vietnamese version. So, you need to ask the right people like lama Dat or I don’t know who. It must be somewhere.

“With the understanding of students divided into these three categories, there were therefore the teachings of the Hinayana, the Mahayana sutras, and the Mahayana Tantras.” Of course, we can say “Hinayana and Mahayana”. All the teaching includes these two yanas Hinayana and Mahayana, which includes the Tantrayana too. But this is a more clear way of saying that Secret Tantra or Vajrayana is also belongs to Mahayana. Usually, Tibetan Buddhism or the practice of Tibetan Buddhism includes everything. In this book there is a part of the Hinayana that like how to build renunciation, how to build the foundation of one’s practice. And then of course we need to develop our Bodhicitta to really achieve Buddhahood. Then also we practice Tantrayana because it’s a more profound and it’s a more easy, and quicker to achieve Buddhahood. Therefore, this book, or this kind of practice usually includes everything. Many people think that Tantrayana of Tibetan Buddhism is something very different from Sutrayana, but it is not. So, here, we go through Hinayana and Mahayana, Sutras and Tantras together for the Buddhahood.

“The principal students to whom he taught The Four Truths are categorized as those with lesser understanding.” There are many people who only practice Hinayana, andthey are called “lesser understanding.” They are not the very less understanding. There’re [those who are] even more “less understanding” than this kind of students. “There are many more who have even lesser understanding: those who are worldly, enjoy sensory pleasures …” I think this translation is not perfect. Because we’re talking about the people who think only the worldly dharmas or who really only enjoy sensory pleasures. They do not see that these worldly dharmas or the sensory pleasures will bring more suffering. But here says “are never good or happy – and on top of that bring suffering onto themselves.” I think this is not correct translation.

Here, what I wrote was these people even “lesser understanding.” These people do not understand the sensory pleasures will bring any suffering. They think these [things] are the best, these are very good, and very happy. That’s enough. “If I have these then I don’t need to have any more things. I only need these worldly dharmas or the sensory pleasures and that’s enough.” They think that way. But this translation is a little wrong. So, they don’t believe in the Dharma. Because Dharma, even any Dharma like that in Hinayana, also talks about the impermanence and any worldly dharma can be problem maker and can bring suffering. But those kind of people do not understand that and they do not believe in any Dharma. So that kind of people are even more “less understanding” than the people who only practice Hinayana. So, those who see worldly sensory pleasures are good and happy do not see that this brings suffering into oneself. That’s more correct meaning in the book. Then, Hinayana practitioners already see faults of everything in the world which can be the cause to bring sufferings into oneself. But these people do not see that, and they only see the worldly dharma is the best and it’s the best forever – that’s the only thing they want, the only thing they rely on. This kind of people are even “lesser understanding.” That’s what I tried to say.

“There are those who meditate primarily on the Four Truths, such as the truth of suffering is the nature of all phenomena in samsara. Nothing remains the same for even an instant, and when these evidence changes occur, this produces either happiness or unhappiness in the mind.” So, actually, our happiness or unhappiness is the mind, the feeling or the emotion in the mind. Happiness or unhappiness, really depend on the external causes, external things. If the external things going good, then we are happy, and if the external things going bad we’re unhappy. It produces emotions in our minds.  So, the Hinayana really teaches us to not attach to things too much because they are not reliable, and they change all the time, and they can be problematic. They can be cause for us to be unhappy or happy. Of course, happiness is good but happiness has to base on understanding and the way we are happy or we are unhappy does not really base on understanding. That is only according to the situation so that is not a stable. Our mind is not stable, or not calm. It always maybe happy or maybe unhappy, and it’s always very being very emotional. So that’s something we don’t want. We want to have peace and to be happy, but with understanding. “Happy” means not too much negative emotions in the mind and the mind is being pretty quiet and pretty peaceful. That is what we want to achieve.

The essence of Dharma practice or the real power of the Dharma is to bring the natural happiness in the mind. Because the nature of the mind is peace, is a great emptiness. Since we don’t have that kind of realization, then we just follow the emotions. And if our minds depend too much on these circumstances then we are not [happy]. We are up and down too much because the external circumstances are always changing, instantly changing. Then maybe we are happy in the first minute, and the next minute we’re unhappy. If we depend too much on, for example family members, then when they are happy, they are sweet, they are this and that [only] then we are happy. When your mind always cares about external [things] too much then your mind is always not in peace, in great peace. So, the essential part of Dharma Practice is to realize that the natural part – nature of the mind, the great peace that’s in the mind all the time.

“There are those who primarily meditate upon emptiness: although appearances seem irrefutable when they are not examined or analyzed, their true nature is that none of them has any real existence as a specific nature of its own.” This maybe a little deep and maybe not easy to understand but we believe in things’ external appearances. If that looks good, then we think that is good. For example, if we believe in person who is pretending to be a very good person, anything he [does] is good. We see only the external part, the outer part. Then we also think because the external appearances all exist and are exactly like that. But if we examine to see how they exist then this is different. But most people do not do that, and they just think, “Oh, because of that appearances then that’s it! Oh, this is a house because the appearance is like a house. And this is a car because the external look is like a car.” So [we] only believe in the external look and we don’t try to see how the nature of that [is like]. But the Mahayana teaches how to understand phenomena, how they are, how they really exist. Then people who are seriously practicing Mahayana understand the nature of phenomena like emptiness. So that’s one part of one level.

“There are those who meditate primarily on the subtle mind.” “Subtle” means how it exists in the mind. “Objects of perceptions have never had an atom of true existence.” This is maybe difficult to understand because we believe things are real and there is a true existence of everything. But in fact, they’re not. They’re not like this, and therefore the mind cannot find anything to rest on. If you look carefully, or in a very profound way, or very middle way to find the existence of phenomena, you do not find anything. At the same time, we do not even find the mind – our mind. If you try to look at and look into your mind, if you try to find your mind, you don’t find your mind. It becomes empty “and therefore the mind cannot find anything to rest on”. Because everything is like empty. “Their natural absence of location is the purity and clarity of the nature of the mind.” So, this nature of the mind doesn’t find [any] things. The mind doesn’t find its the existence. That is the nature, and that is real, and that is also the purity of the mind. That is also the clarity of the mind, the nature of the mind. When the mind does not find it itself, that is the purity of the mind. So, “which is called the ‘Buddha nature’.”

The nature of the mind is called “Buddha nature”. When the mind does not find itself, that is the Buddha nature and it is a how to find the nature and “It is the basis for all phenomena of samsara and nirvana, and meditation on it is adorned by profound methods and instructions.” So, to really understand this Buddha nature or so-called the nature of the mind, it’s not easy and it’s even harder if you think. The more you think, the more you use your knowledge, you use your brain to see, the harder to find and to understand. Therefore, sometimes it’s too much for people and people do not even want to try to see the nature because it’s not easy to realize. But of course, Buddha nature is the base or the foundation for all the phenomena and Samsara and Nirvana. When you don’t understand Buddha nature then it is samsara. When you really realize the Buddha nature it is Nirvana.

“There are those who primarily meditate on the Dzogchen luminosity, which teaches that on reaching the limit of the practice of the subtle mind…” It’s a like different people or different teachings have different ways of understanding Buddha nature and different understandings how to meditate on. Sometimes, the very profound mind or very subtle mind that realize or meditates on the Buddha nature but the way that Dzogchen teaching teach is different. They say it is not be mind. So subtle mind and wisdom are different things. Dzogchen luminosity or awareness or Rigpa it’s not really using our knowledge but the natural wisdom. So that’s the limit of the practice of the subtle mind. Dzogchen doesn’t use any sort of knowledge and it’s a little difficult to be in that nature. So therefore, “there is said to not be ‘mind’ and a distinction is made between mind and intrinsic awareness.” That’s two different things. Then many other teachings Sutras and Tantras also talk about luminosity but the probably using sort of subtle mind to realize, to mediate. In Dzogpachenpo teaching [this] is limit or [it] criticize to meditate with the knowledge. So, this teaching makes it clear is the distinction between the mind and intrinsic awareness.

We need to try to understand and at the same time we have to practice a lot. We have to practice good actions and we have to make a lot of aspirations to really have a genuine realization of the Buddha nature. Of course, we are going through how to practice the accumulations and to practice how to develop a genuine devotion and of course, how to practice genuine Bodhicitta and how to practice Guru Yoga. All of these are very important factors, very important causes for us to have genuine realization on the Buddha nature. So, I wish and I persuade everyone that have daily practicing Dharma and making sometime to listen and making sometime to do homework, and making sometime to see one’s nature, nature of the mind. So, this is very important and it’s the main thing and it is the most important part of Dharma practice.


End of teaching on 19.02.2023

Transcript by Tri Minh Tara & Dieu Hue

Excerpt from MP 3 Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche teaching on 19.02.2023:



[3] This is Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche’s 9th teaching on February 19, 23 on the book “The Melodious Sound of the Laughter of the Vidyadhars of the Three Lineages”. English version and the title have been sent to Rinpoche for approval.