Samantabhadra is Nature*

Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche’s teaching
11.12.2022, Zoom
So, the first part is pay homage to the noble Lamas. Most of the time, lamas are like human beings, like Tibetan lamas. But here probably, we see Buddha Samantabhadra or Vajrasattva – we call them Lama Vajrasattva, Lama Samantabhadra, and you can say or think that Samantabhadra is a Lama because Lama means the highest, right? Highest qualified Master. Of course, Samantabhadra and Vajrasattva have that quality. Another meaning of lama is compassion – the one who has a lot of compassion for sentient beings. So, there are two parts, right? Two things or two qualities that make someone called Lama are: one is wisdom and one is compassion. So, someone who has a lot of wisdom and a lot of compassion.

“I pay homage and go for refuge to the noble Lamas who have great non-dual compassion.” Normally, it is not necessary for all kinds of compassions to be non-dual compassion. Because non-dual means no thought, right? So, most of the time, we need to practice compassion with thinking, thinking of others, and thinking to wish that not to have any suffering of samsara or all sentient beings to be able to live, not to have any sufferings. That is the thought of compassion. Normal people like us we need to think, we have to use our compassionate mind to think of others.

But when we say non-dual compassion, it means when you practice compassion very well. When you understand the nature of things, nature of phenomena, then your thoughts or your emotions will be sort of liberated, we are liberated into the emptiness. So, on that level, there is no thought, but there is a compassion, like Avalokiteshvara. Avalokiteshvara actually does not have to think like we do but Avalokiteshvara has a very nature. The compassion of Avalokiteshvara naturally appear and naturally cover everything. So that kind of non-dual compassion is a kind of very high level, high state of compassion.

So, the reason for us here to pay homage to the noble Lamas is that noble Lamas have a great nondual compassion and non-dual wisdom. Because they have been practicing a lot for a long, long, long time, their compassion and wisdom are very like the nature, very natural, very pure, not like us. Hence, we have to push ourselves to think right, otherwise, many times we forget, we make mistakes and we probably be harmful to others and we forget to be compassionate. Because we are forgetful, because we have not been practiced a lot, compassion and wisdom, especially compassion is not very sort of easy to come into our mind.

It is all naturally but we have to push ourselves to think, and to think. This is how the way we practice. And those noble lamas, all noble beings, they do not have to do that there. They are in that state all the time, in that compassionate state. Therefore, this is the difference between noble lamas and we, so we need to pay homage to the noble Lamas, because they have the nature qualities that we do not have.

So, there is non-dual, sometimes they say nonconceptual compassion is a compassion that has no concept, something very nature, very pure. Sometimes we not pure. Why it is not pure? because it’s created by our emotions or thoughts. But when something is not created by emotions or thoughts, that is real pure. So, we need to be a compassionate person that has a nondual compassion. And for that reason, we had to try and try.

So, the first part of this one is a very common way of paying homage to the lamas. And if you see carefully, you will see the same way of paying homage and you see a lot of times in many books, many great texts – that’s great non-dual compassion. This is a very common way of paying homage to one’s own Guru and they often call their Guru non-dual Compassionate Lama. That is something very common way of calling the Guru in Buddhism and especially in Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

And the second part of this version: “I pray that the root and lineage Lamas give their blessings and make my writing beneficial.” This is a very common way of praying for the lamas to get blessings from them so that whatever we do is going to be beneficial. As a Buddhist Dharma Practitioners, we often have to think of the Guru or we often have to think of the Three Jewels in whatever we are doing. We pray for them to do things beneficial and to do things without any obstacles, and this is the reason why the writers or Dharma practitioners should pray their root Lama or the lineage Lama.

Whatever we do, especially, when we do something that is related to Dharma, then it has to be pure so that it can benefit beings. When we write a Dharma book, of course we should not have any sort of negative thoughts and selfishness, but we have to have compassion and good motivation to write Dharma book, so that the work can be really beneficial and we should not do anything that is for, like a worldly dharmas, but for real Dharma, genuine Dharma, Dharma of Buddha. That Dharma of Buddha is very pure but sometimes we mix everything together. So sometimes we cannot really see the differences between what is Dharma and what is not Dharma. So therefore, we have to have a clear mind to do whatever. And [whatever we do], we have to do that to benefit beings. This is the kind of motivation we should have when we do any Dharma activities, like writing a Dharma book.

So of course, when I start doing or writing the book, I wished that this book will really benefit people who have a Dharma or karmic connection with us, with our Lineages, with Lamas. And therefore, I prayed my root lama or Gurus and the Lineage lamas to really give me a blessing or a wisdom to be able to write this book in a very profound and very pure way that really benefits people. I’d sincerely prayed and wished when I started writing this book.

So, this is a brief way of paying homage to the Guru and to take refuge to noble lamas. And the next verse, the next homage to Buddha Samantabhadra.

So, in the Buddhist tradition, there is Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. And in the older system, the older tradition or the older Mantrayanna or Nyingma tradition, there is also the Buddha Samantabhadra which is the first Buddha of all the Buddhas in the three times and basically, the Samantabhadra is the nature of our own minds.

This version is a very different one from most of the writing. The practicing of Samantabhadra or to see Samantabhadra is the same way to see our own nature. Therefore, it says, look we without thoughts of good or bad at the nature of Samantabhadra. So, what is the Samantabhadra? And how to look at Samantabhadra without good or bad thoughts, means no thoughts. And then what is Samantabhadra? Samantabhadra nature is the indestructible nature of the mind. That is one quality of Samantabhadra.

The other quality is “the state of clarity, and completely clear of concepts that elaborate dualistic appearances, all-pervading sameness of samsara and Nirvana within Luminosity.” Basically, Samantabhadra is the nature of mind that is indestructible, a state of clarity of the mind, and also very clear of the concepts or dualistic part. But also when we see or hear things, when we are in the nature of the mind, we do not have any dualistic thoughts. When you see things and when you hear things but your mind is in the nature, your mind is not moving, your mind is indeed within the luminosity. So, Samantabhadra is basically the same meaning of luminosity, or same meaning of the nature of the mind and in that state there’s no differences. Everything is the same, like there’s no samsara, actually, there’s no Nirvana. Within the luminosity, everything is the same in that state. So that is Samantabhadra.

So anyway, the reason for us to pay homage to Samantabhadra at the very first of this book is because the first lineage Buddha or lineage Lama of our Lineage is Samantabhadra. And Samantabhadra, or the nature of the mind, our own mind, our own nature is unconditioned or free from mental complexes, something like that. So, it is free from concepts and it is the real emptiness. That is Samantabhadra.

The second verse is paying homage for Vajrasattva as this is the second Buddha in our Lineage. “I bow down to glorious Vajrasattva.” I mean, everyone is probably bow down to Vajrasattva because we practice the Vajrasattva as often as possible, right? So, I believe that a lot of people are practicing Vajrasattva in their daily life. And it is also very important to practice Vajrasattva to pure oneself from negativities. So, this is a great and very powerful Dharma practice.

And I bow down. Do you really want to bow down? I believe if you see the Vajrasattva, you will. But if you do not see Vajrasattva or you may forget to bow down and even though you practice Vajrasattva and maybe your mind is sort of blind and not very respectful or something like that, this is wrong: wrong mind, wrong motivation. So, when you practice the Vajrasattva or any other practice, we have to have very pure faith, very deep faith. That is very important. So, if you have faith, if you have devotion, then it is easy for you to bow down. But sometimes we are very sort of proud and you do not really want to bow down. This is no good and of course, there are many people who have no religion or no faith. They do not bow down, too.

They probably see we are very strange, but we have our own reason to do that, because Vajrasattva has the real power to purify ourselves. We really have done so much negative karma so we have to purify ourselves, otherwise we are suffering. Our mind is not clear when it comes to Buddha dharma. Our minds is very sort of blind when it comes to the nature of cause and effect, of the quality of Dharma. Because we have so strong ignorance in our minds all the time.

Therefore, we need to purify ourselves. And how can we purify ourselves sort of easily or effectively? It is to practice Vajrasattva. Therefore, we have to have the faith and devotion to really bow down by your body and speech and mind. Together, we have to bow down. We have to really, really respect Vajrasattva.

Actually, I don’t need to say many things like this because there will be more discussion on the practice Vajrasattva in the next lesson. Why do we mention Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva and the lineage of Masters and why we pay homage to them here? Because we have to remember their kindness, their compassion, their wisdom. Why do we have to remember? Because of their compassion and their work, the Lineages comes up to us and because of that, we have a way to practice Dharma and they showed us the path to the Buddhahood. Therefore, they are very kind and very important in our lives – as a Dharma practitioner in this life in this lineage.

So, what’s Vajrasattva? “Who liberates from obscurations and propensities.” And if we practice Vajrasattva then we can liberate oneself from obscurations in the mind. Obscurations in the mind means ignorance and negative thoughts or conceptual thoughts. Because we have many of these, so many thoughts in our mind are obscured.

Through the practice of Vajrasattva, we are able to liberate oneself from obscurations and propensities. Propensities means the sort of negative habits that sometimes we naturally think this way, and it is very difficult to change. Like we see our own personal things are very important, and we see oneself and those people who are very close to ourselves are very important and we do not see other beings very important. This is a habitual propensity. It is very difficult to change this kind of habit. And it is not good because of that habit, we are always being very selfish and we are not able to be a pure or a great bodhisattva.

But if you practice Vajrasattva and you try to change yourself, there are, of course, always chance to change yourself to be better. This is the benefit of the practice of Vajrasattva.

The glorious Vajrasattva has power. And the way we receive blessing from Vajrasattva is that we practice Vajrasattva “through seeing him, hearing him, remembering him and meditating on him.” Of course, there is a way to see him directly, but it is maybe not now. But we can see Him by visualization. When we visualize Vajrasattva, we can say that we see Vajrasattva in our mind through illustration. We hear Vajrasattva when we recite the mantra of Vajrasattva. We recite the name of Vajrasattva by hearing Vajrasattva. Our minds can be different when we really hear Vajrasattva’s name and then probably our minds are more peaceful than most of other times.

And through remembering Vajrasattva, your mind is on with the Vajrasattva. So, probably many other negative thoughts are sort of dissolved into that nature. So, that is something very important. Meditation on Vajrasattva means we visualize Vajrasattva, we think of Vajrasattva and we recite Vajrasattva ‘s mantra with devotion. So, at that moment, our minds should be at least more peaceful than the usual time. But when you do that often and often, because of that practice, your mind is more and more peaceful. This is a sort of how we get blessings through the practice of Vajrasattva.

If we practice Vajrasattva, pray to Vajrasattva, meditate on Vajrasattva, this means the Vajrasattva will extend his wisdom to us, give his blessing to us. “His wisdom extends to us” means we are becoming more like him, having more wisdom, and our minds are more clear or smarter when it comes to Buddha’s Dharma. Even though many people are usually very knowledgeable and smart, but when they come to Dharma, their minds are not that smart because they do not understand, they do not believe. That does not mean they are not smart, but their ignorance is very heavy, so they do not see the quality [of Dharma] and they do not believe in [Dharma]. So, “whose wisdom extends to the limits of knowledge” means all knowledge, all wisdom is limit, is small.

So, if we practice Vajrasattva, we become greatly knowledgeable and our wisdom grows in the mind. Vajrasattva has great wisdom and also compassion. Because of that, Vajrasattva is like a wish-fulfilling jewel. That [means] we can fulfill our own wishes by practicing Vajrasattva. Why does he like a jewel? Because He is the manifestation of compassion, He’s manifestation of all Buddhas. He has a lot of compassion and wisdom. For that reason, we practice Vajrasattva.

End of lecture on 11.12.22
Transcript by Tri Minh Tara & Dieu Hue.
Excerpt from MP 3 Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche teaching 11.12.2022:
[2] This is the teaching given by Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche on Zoom on December 11, 2022. The lecture has omitted parts about the organization of the lecture. The title is created by the translator for the convenience of the reader.