Introduction To Longchen Nyingthik (Part II)*
Evening 16.10.2018, Sui Pagoda
We will continue on the topic that I discussed: general meanings of Dzogpa Chenpo teachings and it is basically the same meaning as the Longchen Nyingthik teachings. I have said there were three human masters, three important, very important human masters: Garab Dojre, Guru Rinpoche, Longchenpa. Of course, there are other very very great masters in this lineage. The specific, the founder of Longchen Nyingthik tradition is Jigme Lingpa master. Jigme Lingpa had three visions of Longchenpa and Longchenpa taught all of these teachings in the visions to Jigme Lingpa. And Jigme Lingpa taught these teachings to his disciples. And from then until now there are a lot of great masters who are holding the teachings [of] this lineage now.
“Longchen Nyingthik” means “the Heart Essence of Longchen Rabjam”. “The Heart Essence of Longchen Rabjam” means the nature of mind, the Great Perfection. Jigme Lingpa received the teachings from Longchenpa directly, the teachings of Longchenpa’s Heart Essence. So, that is why this lineage is called “Longchen Nyingthik”. The collections of Longchen Rabjam and Jigme Lingpa are used in many traditions like Kagyupa and Sakyapa, Nyingmapa. In Nyingmapa, when they study Dzogpa Chenpo, most important texts often used [are] Longhenpa’s teachings and Jigme Lingpa’s teachings. So, these teachings, written by the two masters, are very valuable, well-known, and useful.
The purpose of practicing Dzogpa Chenpo, or Longchen Nyingthik, is also to be able to reach the nature of mind. Therefore, we need to study these teachings, Dzogchen teachings, on how to recognize one’s own nature, how to be able to remain in that nature. And once we are able to remain in that nature, then the remaining in the nature has such [a great] power to eliminate grasping or attachment; and that reduces, eliminates all thoughts and eventually all the emotions into the space of one’s mind. And that is a way to practice Dzogpa Chenpo and that is a way to liberate oneself from samsara, because samsara is basically created by thoughts, by the emotions. So recognizing the nature is the best way to cut off all of these stuffs.
Liberation or Buddhahood is the same in [all] Buddha’s teachings, and Sutra Yana and Tantra Yana, everywhere. Like a place, for example. Liberation is like a place, we want to go there. But how we go? That is a question. And then, we must have a good transportation to go there. The teachings are different transportations and Vajrayana is one of the fastest transportations to liberation. Dzogchen is even faster like a spaceship, very fast to go there. So, that’s why it is special and very profound. The nature of the mind is like space. It is the greatest space. But to be there, again we need a way to be there. That is of the uses of the teaching of Dzogchen. One is using a spaceship to be in that space.
And then not only that but also we need to be very smart, because now we need to know how to use the spaceship. Without training, without special skills it is not easy to control these things. And then we need to have a lot of diligence to use such profound method. If you are lazy, cannot use this. We need to have enough energy to use that kind of great transportation. So it means that to practice Dzogchen, one must have good qualities like diligence, devotion, pure view. All of these factors are very important qualities and conditions for one to practice Great Perfection well.
The result of Dzogchen practice and other practices, all Vajrayana practices, very much depend on Guru, or Guru Yoga. Without Guru’s instruction, without Guru Yoga, without Guru’s blessing, then it is not possible to receive that result. Therefore, Guru Yoga takes the most important place when it comes to Vajrayana practice. Especially Vajrayana. Of course, Guru or teacher is always important in both traditions Sutra Yana and Tantra Yana. But in Vajra Yana, it specifically requires to practice Guru Yoga and specifically teaches the importance of having a Guru and the Guru Yoga practice.
Guru Yoga is important as I explained. We need to depend on other mind trainings, too, so that we are able to practice Guru Yoga in a good way. That is we have to have renunciation and purification. In other words, we have to practice Guru Yoga together with renunciation and purification. When there is no renunciation, there is no sincere [yearn] for Dharma, for liberation and it becomes not real to say to practice liberation. And then second: purification. When there is no purification, there is a lot of difficulties to have wisdom, to have realization. Therefore, we need to practice purification. So, renunciation and purification and Guru Yoga if one does all these altogether in one practice, one is doing correct Dharma practice.
How does one have renunciation? One has to practice the four reminders that turn one’s mind into Dharma. One must practice the reality of impermanence; and one must understand the value of human life: it is difficult to attain; and one must understand cause and effect; and one must understand the nature of samsara. When one knows, understands and recognizes these important factors, then one is able to have genuine renunciation so that one becomes fully prepared for Dharma practice. Otherwise, like us, not very real [Dharma practitioners]. Often times we are not really being a real Dharma practitioner, because we have so much interest in things in samsara. We have a lot of attachment to a lot of things for this life. Therefore, we are not really able to prepare ourselves very well to practice Dharma for liberation.
We are sad. (Laugh)
Should be happy because now we know how we are. (Laugh)
The main point is: why do we have to have renunciation to liberate oneself? Renunciation is the only cause, the most effective, the most powerful, the most important cause to bring us to liberation. What is the cause for renunciation? Then these four reminders, for example, understanding this life is impermanent. Why knowing impermanence brings understanding of renunciation. The answer is very easy. The problem for us is that we believe in things in our life, everything in this world as being real that we can hold on to forever. In fact, nothing can be held on to forever. We cannot hold on to our life forever, our body forever, or family, or money forever. Everything, every belongings we will leave behind, and we leave with the empty hands. So, nothing is permanent, everything changes, changes, changes. Therefore, that is impermanent.
And nothing is permanent, because nothing is really reliable. Money is not reliable. Money is temporary thing then we lose it. And this life is not reliable because we will not be able to hold on for oneself, we have to lose it.
So, understanding impermanence gives us a lot of wisdom: the understanding the reality of phenomena, of everything in samsara. We understand correctly the nature, the reality so [deeply] that we have no interest in samsara. We know everything is not really real and everything doesn’t stay there forever for anyone. The only thing that is real, and reliable is liberation. Liberation is something that we can rely on, that is something not changeable but great peace. There is no concept, there is no emotions, there is no attachment, there is no something that is close to me and something that is far to me, but everything is equal and peaceful. Therefore, that is the only thing that we can rely on. Therefore, renunciation is important and only renunciation can bring one to liberation.
When we say nothing is reliable, no one is reliable, it sounds very bad. Still, it doesn’t mean things are bad, people are bad, but it is the nature. It is the reality. We are not saying this is not reliable for a few minutes, but it is not reliable forever. This is the differences. But in our mind, we think this is reliable and this life is forever. That is a problem [of ours]. That is ignorance. That is attachment. But things, phenomena, everything, every person, is not bad by not being reliable, but they do not have the nature; they do not know how to be born with the nature that stays there forever. But they are born with [the nature] that change. Changing without stopping but moving forward, because of that, everything goes to the end. When it ends, then when we do not know that it ends, that it is impermanent, then when it ends, it hurts, it is painful for us.
“Oh I thought that was something that I can really …” “Oh I didn’t think of that. But now … it hurts me.” But when we know the reality, then at least we can be stronger. We have more strength in the mind so that when the environment, situation, everything changes, our mind still sort understand the same way. And the calmness in the mind stays the same way. That is very important for us to become calm, for us not to be hurt, not to be painful. So, renunciation or understanding reality is Great Perfection, Great Perfection for happiness and peace in our mind.
The great masters who accomplished such high result, or enlightenment, really thought about the real nature of samsara. This samsara is full of suffering and samsara is very tiring. Because, if no liberation, no enlightenment means being in samsara forever. Samsara has no beginning and no end, it’s endless. And since life is impermanent, we’re born and we die, and born and die again, and again. And every time, every life, when we are born we have to start from zero, something like that. And then, again, we lose everything. Because of that, it is very tiring! So, now the definition of renunciation is to see samsara like a center of maras, a city of maras, or like fire. There is no interest at all for us to be in fire, it is burning. It is impossible to be with maras, no happiness at all, very dangerous. So, seeing samsara that way is a great way to eliminate attachment to samsara.
Page number four is purification of speech. Because ignorance, poisons, emotions, thoughts pollute our body, speech and mind so that reduces the purity, the power of body, speech and mind. Therefore, when we recite some texts, some prayers, mantras, there is lack of power, not enough power to receive full energy or blessing Therefore, we need to purify our speech first.
How does one purify one’s speech? There are two methods: one is visualization and the other one is recitation. Visualization on the Ram syllable and the visualization is very clear. I don’t go through very detail; and [you] just follow the text and try to visualize, try to think. It takes time. Everything is about exercise and about practice. When you practice, when you exercise a lot, the visualization comes naturally. The visualization will be improved.
Recitation of mantras. Mantras have a nature to destroy negativities and to remove our obstacles and this mantra A Ah, I Ih, U, Uh … [contains] sounds of the alphabet. This is a very popular, very important mantra. Often you see it in a lot of places, a lot of texts and this mantra has the nature, has the power to eliminate negativities in everything, every phenomena and especially negativities, obscurations within one’s speech. Therefore, it is recited here as well.
Then page number five, is praying to the Guru. The saying: “the kind Lama, the root Guru. Think of me and give me blessing.” The reason [for doing this praying], is that realization depends on Guru’s instructions and Guru’s blessing. Therefore, here again at the beginning, we call our Guru to request the Guru to give blessing to us, so that we would be able to practice Dharma accordingly. It’s said “Bless me so that my mind will go for Dharma.” It is very important that practitioner’s mind follows Dharma path. It is very important. Because often times our minds don’t go for Dharma but they go for samsara. Often times it is not in the environment of Dharma, it is in the environment of samsara. Therefore, it is very important that the mind follows Dharma. That’s very important.
And then, “Bless me so that my dharma goes on the path.” Our dharma sometimes becomes fake, because we use Dharma, we use Dharma for everything, we use Dharma for samsara. We use Dharma to make money, to do business, to attach oneself to others. This is not good. Most correct way to do Dharma is to bring dharma on the path. To bring dharma on the path means the dharma, the action of one’s, the action will follow the path because of renunciation, because of the essence of Dharma. Essence of Dharma is not attachment but since we are attached to many things, [we] use that much to make more attachment. This is not a correct way of practicing Dharma.
Page number eight. Practice completely the four ways to turn the mind away from samsara and practice mind training – that is what I always mention. And I mentioned this earlier today, as well. So, it is very important and this will be the main cause for us to have genuine renunciation, and to be genuine Dharma practitioners, to practice Dharma sincerely. So it is very important. This is the best way to training one’s mind.
“Training the mind” means when we chant these verses, at the same time, we are able to think of the meaning of them. When we say: “I have obtained this rare life with its freedoms and endowments” we must understand human body is difficult to obtain. We have to understand that reality. What is the use of understanding the value of human life? Once we know the value of human life we want to use it [properly]. We do not want to waste this opportunity. How does it make most meaningful of this human life? According to Buddha, according to Dharma, practicing Dharma is not only liberating oneself but also benefiting others. This is the only meaning of this human life, the most important meaning of this life. To read and, at the same time, to think of this meaning, and to meditate. Meditate means to focus on the meaning of something. That is mediation. Meditate on these four major things, major ways or four major paths. That is very important.
It is said that the meaning is like an old man, and the verse is like a walking stick. The old man has to rely on that walking stick to stand still. That means each word contains meaning and each word is able to remind of some meanings. When we chant, the most important part is to think. [We have] to be able to remember the meaning, what is mentioned by that word. Therefore, prayers, texts are always very important because they reminds [us of] the important things. Without these [written] words I don’t think we can remember all things that are mentioned here. So, these texts remind us a lot of the important meanings and they are reliable source for us to to remember Dharma.
When one is doing a good prayer, that means [one has] to pray together with understanding, and remember the meaning together [with the prayer]. That is a good prayer. A bad prayer is empty, no meaning at all. Your mind is thinking of something else. Your mind is empty, fuzzy, foggy, nothing to remember, and your mouth is moving the same thing, but the meaning and the words are separated from each other. That’s a bad prayer. A good prayer is when words and meaning are remembered together.
The second part, page ten. The first part is called “outer ngondro”. Basically, in the outer ngondro, one tries to understand the real [meaning of] samsara. What is liberation and what is samsara and how to have renunciation. And when one understands the reality that is taught in the outer ngondro, then one is ready to become a real Dharma practitioner. Then one should take refuge in Three Jewels. If one follows Mahayana, then one should develop boddhicitta. The second part is called “inner ngondro”. There are four accumulations. To accumulate great merit, we need to go through these important stages. Only going through these important stages, a practitioner can accumulate great merit.
The first part of the inner ngondro is taking refuge in Three Jewels. Taking refuge in Three Jewels is only way to become a good Buddhist Dharma practitioner. Without taking refuge in Three Jewels there is no way to get into Buddhist gate. Therefore, it is very important and always important. At any time, for any kind of Dharma practice, it is very important to take refuge in Three Jewels at the beginning. And the second part is development of Bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is also very important cause for Buddhahood, very important condition for liberation. Therefore, one must develop Bodhicitta.
The third part is Vajrasattva practice, on the page fourteen. Vajrasattva is the Buddha that has special quality, special power to purify practioner’s negativities, negative karmas. Vajrasattva can give special power to practitioners to purify themselves. And how to practice is taught here and it is not complicated. And visualization – it takes time. You have to practice this diligently with patience and with mindfulness. So, visualization will improve eventually slowly and it comes to very effective and clear vision.
We can say that Vajrasattva is probably has more power than any other deities to purify our negativities, because Vajrasattva accumulates merit more than other deities. Vajrasattva said a lot of aspirations more than others. Therefore, He becomes a very powerful, very useful, very compassionate and very wisdom deity to help people to accomplish enlightenment on the path. What is the main obstacle for realization? The main obstacles is obscuration. What is main obscuration here mean mental distraction, negative emotions and grasping on the phenomena being really established.
So, it is very important to practice Vajrasattva. One practices Vajrasattva to purify oneself with four powers that are said in the texts with the practice. The four powers for us to purify oneself very useful. When we do not have this kind of method, instruction then it takes a lot of time to purify negativities. But when we have such great instruction like Vajrasattva practice, we are able to purify oneself much faster than using other practices. So it is important to see that [we are] very fortunate to have this kind of instruction.
[As for] the main causes, main reasons for us not to get liberated, to keep wandering in samsara, there are two main obscurations. One is called emotional obscuration, and the other is called intellectual obscuration. These two kinds of obscurations create samsara and delusion. And because of that, all the problems in samsara appear. So, to liberate from samsara, we need to be able to cut the root of samsara. The best way to cut that kind of root is to recognize one’s own nature. Without any purification, any accumulation, to recognize absolute nature is not easy. Therefore, to go through Vajrasattva practice to purify oneself is the best way, the quickest way to have realization.
The fourth part is called “Mandala Offering”. What is Mandala? Here mandala means to get the essence. How can one get essence by practicing Mandala? The essence is to get accumulation. There are two accumulations: accumulation of merit and accumulation of wisdom. So the essence of these accumulations is realization. [If there is] no accumulation, then there is not enough merit, not enough wisdom to realize the nature. So, practicing mandala offering gives power to reach the essence, to realize the nature. The meaning of this is basically one is willing to offer everything one has to the Three Jewels, to the Guru, to the Three Roots and Three Kayas. And saying: “Without any regret I offer to the field of merit, infinite clouds of offerings of Three Kayas.” That means I offer everything without any regret, without any hesitation. I am happy to offer my body, my speech, my mind, my quality, my activity, all that belonging to me – I offer to Three Jewels. By having confidence, such generosity one has power to eliminate the attachment. When one is able to eliminate attachment means one is creating more wisdom because wisdom is opposite of attachment. When one is eliminating [attachment], one is increasing the opposite [of it] – wisdom.
That is the second part, or inner ngondro. These two are still ngondro practices, preliminary practices. But one important reminder is to see all of deities, including Vajrasattva, as one’s Guru. To see Three Jewels, Refuge Tree deities, all the masters in the Refuge tree in one’s visualization being manifestation of one’s Guru. To see all Buddha, Dharma, Sangha is appearance of one’s Guru. That is important reminder. When visualizing Vajrasattva above our crown, Vajrasattva has the same nature, same essence as my own root Guru. There is no difference. That is very important to understand.
The actual part, the third part, is Guru Yoga. There are some sections here: to visualize oneself as Vajrayogini, and then visualize Guru Rinpoche on the top of one’s head. And when doing invitation Guru Rinpoche to [merge in to] the visualized deity (Guru Rinpoche), and to practice seven branches. Through seven branches practices, we accumulate great merit. And then recitation of Guru Rinpoche mantra. And recitation of Guru Rinpoche’s mantra has great merits, and also power to reduce, to remove obstacles on the path, as well as obstacles with external things like [ones to] health or wealth and other things. And then receive the four empowerments from Guru Rinpoche to bless oneself.
And then one dissolves into Guru’s mind, and to maintain in that reality, in that nature, in that state, that wisdom. That is the path, how to practice Guru Yoga and it is very important to do that. Beginners or new people, probably at the beginning have no feeling, not very effective. But it takes sometimes and one continually do it then one is able to receive the use of blessing. Through this practice, one is able to improve on the path.
People request to give lung transmission but I think a lot people here not really go into the practice, only few people. So I give you the permission to practice. I don’t have read this physically to everyone, but in my mind I read it for you. For those who want to sincerely practice. Ok? I will read the prayer to be reborn in Zangdok Palri.
Since a lot of people practicing Vajrayana and people have faith in Dharma things and these two called mandalas. This mandala is called Liberation Mandala. Liberation means when you die, when people die if you put this on the body, on the chest, that one help the person’s consciousness to reborn in Sukhavati or to liberate. That is very important instruction that taught in the teaching of Shitro practice. The other one is called “Liberation for whole city”. If you have this in your room, in your house, that will benefit a lot of people around. That is something may be interesting and may be useful for you.
The small mantra is good, too. Even one syllable is good, too. That mantra is included here already. That is already a lot. I have I said too many things. Now, you already forget everything. I believe that.
We have special nature that forget important things easily. Always keep something small and something that are very close to one, then we always remember. But others we forget very easily.
And the reason for me to say [so], we say “Buddha, Buddha, Buddha”, but when we die most people do not remember Buddha’s name. That is very common.
That’s our nature, not much can do. Right?
Training [should] take place. If you train yourself very well then, in the end, we are able to accustom to it. If we don’t train oneself, we don’t get anywhere. Therefore, training one’s mind is important.
Now we do tsosk practice. I will do that very quickly and very short. I try to save the time to finish up quickly so that you can go home and I can go home, too.
These four days, I actually said many important things. I reminded you very important points for your Dharma practice, for your Dharma path. So I hope that you try to remember and try to apply accordingly.
The purpose for us to follow the Buddha is to be better, to be better in this life, to be better in next life. But the problem is still we have a lot of negative karmas, negativities in our mind. If we do not try to purify, try to confess, then there is great chance, great danger that we will be reborn in the lower realms, in the next life. So, to make sure that will not happen, to make sure that one will not go down – that is very important!
When I teach – everywhere, not only here but everywhere – when I teach, I teach whatever the meaning of the Teachings. I do say or I do point for sort of things. And I do not hesitate, and I try to be very honest, honestly teach people. Whatever I say, I say with my sincerity. Therefore, sometimes, some words may be not very pleasant to hear. But it is important to be that way. We should not praise, praise in front of one’s face and say always good, good and good. But we have to understand faults and mistakes. Therefore, to be honest, is also important!
We can end the program here. People have to try to be here. You put a lot of your efforts, you put a lot of energy and time and you also spend money to be here and to listen. Therefore, your efforts will be meaningful. For that, you have to try harder; you have to continue. We say continuation is something that brings a lot of victory. So, that is very important to continue to practice and then for your effort, for your conduct. I am grateful for that, for organizers, the temple, the monks, the community here. Everyone was very kind, very warm heart. Therefore, I appreciate very much.
I do not have any so called blessing to give to people. I do not have any power to give you, except you listen to my words and to apply the meaning what I said. My only way to benefit people is to pass Buddha’s messages, to explain the meaning of teaching, the reality of things. That is my only way to help you, to benefit you, to give you blessing. Buddha himself said that, too: “If you listen, if you apply my teachings accordingly, you will receive my blessing. And I don’t have any realization to pass on to you.”.. So, of course me is nothing. But it is very important. Since everyone spent a lot of time. I taught a lot and you listened a lot. Now, you have to come together to remember the meaning. I recommend you, I request you together to support your local pagodas or temples which you are belong to and then to serve Sangha community faithfully. So your devotion that is very important and very beautiful conduct. So, please do so. I will say a few words while you think in your mind, doing dedication together for the liberation and happiness of all sentient beings.
The end of the teaching on evening 16.10.2018.
* The title is created by the re-writer for the convenience of the reader.