GURU YOGA: The Source Of Power In Speech and The Purification [ii]
I. Speech Karma Destroys The Power of Words
There are many teachings. There’re many texts but sometimes it’s too much. May be they’re too complicated to bring together, because some individuals do not have that kind of mental faculty. So that with the kindness of the higher beings, the masters bring all the necessary teachings instructions together to make very simple practice for the people who are not very intelligent, not very diligent, not very serious, so this becomes very important teachings or practices.
The Dharma teachings has many many meanings, and many subjects. But, when it comes to real practice, then people lack ability to bring the mind to the main object, main things to meditate on, to think about. We can see the way of practicing that the great masters went through like Milarepa, and other masters. Milarepa often says there are many teachings in many texts, but what takes for meditation, for practice is to really think on the value of human life, and impermanence, and the shortcomings of Samsara and the benefit of Nirvana. Those things are very important, the most important things that one must meditate on. Otherwise, there is no improvement, no achievement through Dharma [practice].
Generally speaking, there are two principal qualities of the mind. The first one is emptiness. And the second is clarity. And in order for Buddha to teach people to realize these qualities of the mind He taught the teachings on The Four Noble Truths – the First Turning of the Dharma Wheel. The First Dharma Wheel is basically for the foundation, for the realization of the meanings that were taught in the Second Wheel Dharma and the last, the Third Wheel Dharma. The essence of those three subjects that are taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni, or the teachings of the Buddha are brought into practice, into one package – this is the ngondro practice. It basically covers everything. Therefore, this is very simple and very important. But I know people don’t understand the value of this and people always look for something great that is beyond their mental capacity and they will be loser in the end.
As I said many times there are many ngondro practices from different traditions. Every ngondro [text] does the same job. The only thing is we need to do is to have confidence in [the text] that one has strong connection with. That is the important part. Reading, hearing different commentaries, different teachings is also very important. But the purpose of doing that, purpose for us to read to listen to study is to know what to be able to meditate, to be able to get the essence of that teaching, to really have experience from that teaching. That is the purpose. The purpose is not to be very smart, or to be very well learned. Of course, the more you read, the more you study, the smarter you become. That’s true. Still, our purpose to read, to study is not only become a very knowledgeable, but to become a good practitioner. That is the goal and that is the direction to go. So that’s very important for us to understand.
We need to know how to bring the result from reading, from thinking to meditation. And how to do meditate is very important. Reading books, learning, or hearing different teachings are good. But they’re useful only when you apply, when you are really using that to meditate. If you don’t use that way, you don’t use what you have learned, what do you have heard, what do you have read, then they’re not really useful, because that kind of knowledge is not very useful in samsara. If you don’t use that on the path, then of course, I think you should study something else to really make you successful in Samsara, in the world, in the society, which is not Dharma, not to the teachings of Dharma. The teachings of Dharma only can give you how to eliminate attachment and negative emotions. But then that doesn’t mean you are very useful in samsara. Because, for us to be in samsara, I think, we need more desire to have this and to do that, and to be aggressive, because you have to [fight] against this and that to protect oneself. This is how it works in samsara. But in the Dharma world, Dharma society is different. We do not fight against anything except try to eliminate to one’s own karma. That is the only thing we are doing when we are talking about Dharma. So this is really teaching and instruction, that is practice in the ngondro text. So now we go through page 6.
The Purification of Speech. So the question here is: “Why do we begin with this Purification of Speech?” The answer to that question is because we are going to chant, say prayers and recite mantras together [with] visualizations. Why do we need to purify our speech when we chant or when we recite mantras? Because our ignorance pollutes our body and speech and the mind. There is a big pollution by ignorance in our speech, so our speech is very powerless right now. Because it’s powerless, when we read even though we read quite a lot of mantras, we still don’t see the result. The reason is because there is heavy karmas that exist in our speech. Therefore, we want to purify that negativity first to make the speech more powerful. Because of our ignorance we speak badly, we speak dishonestly, and we speak something that we are not supposed to. We do a lot of lies, divisive speech, harsh words and idle talks. There are four karmas of our speech. These four karmas destroy the power of speech. Therefore, even though, sometimes, we say something truthful but people do not believe. They say: “Really? Are you not lying?” When we are saying something true people still say: “Really. Are you not lying to me?” They are not believing because we don’t have the power. We don’t really have truth in our speech, because we actually lie, lie a lot. We have been lying a lot through countless lives so, that reduces the power, the positive quality of the speech. Now even though we try to chant sutra, our speech is not very powerful, therefore it doesn’t get the result completely. So it’s important to understand the abscuration of body and speech and the mind within us and then try to purify the negativity and try to make them more alive or more practical.
So how do we do that. The answer is to visualize and to recite the mantra. For example, OM AH HUM. There are three syllables. Everyone is familiar [with them] and these are very important syllables. These are the seeds [syllables] of three kayas and symbolizes the body, the speech, the mind of Buddha’s. Therefore, to chant OM AH HUM has power to reduce the negativities in our body, speech and mind.
OM is the symbol for body. AH is the symbol for speech. HUNG is symbol for the wisdom of Buddhas. Therefore, they have great blessing. And we are able to receive blessing from the body, speech, and the mind of the Buddha. Just reading these three syllables and thinking – thinking of the blessing of Buddha, of Buddha’s three doors – body, speech and mind – and recite the mantra. Some texts – some very important instructions on the Dzogchen teachings – some require to repeat these three syllables many times, many hundred thousand times, because these three syllables have a power to destroy the seeds of six realms that are in our body, speech, and mind. So [we chant] with understanding or with devotion.
When we say devotion probably we think about the Buddha. “Devotion” means we have to have devotion to everything, almost everything – everything that has something to do with your [Dharma] practice. For example, these three syllables. We have to have a understanding of the qualities of these three syllables. And we have to have a devotion in these three syllables that have power to eliminate negativity in our minds and the habitual tendency to be reborn in six realms in samsara. This kind of understanding and believing are very important to really receive the power or the blessing from one’s own dharma practice.
“And the tongue transforms into a hollow tube of red light” means [it] purifies the obscuration of speech. As I described, our speech is very powerless, because we have been lying a lot. We lie for almost anything, even though we think “oh I’m not lying. I’m a good person.” Now when the more you think you are good, actually you’re worst. So we have to understand a little bit about this RAM syllable. There is the letter in Tibetan RAM, and then on the top of that [there is] this round and then circle. This is not completely wrong, but in this context right now we do not need to visualize this thing. This one. We don’t need that. Only one circle and one syllable and that’s enough.
The purification purifies the obscuration. Obscuration is the powerlessness. The negative [force] that reduces the power of speech is verbal non-virtuous karma that we’ve created by speech, like harsh words, lying and this and that. So we need to purify that by chanting these three syllables. We have to understand the ways we talk, because the way we talk is not good – we don’t understand how we should talk. Actually, the way we talk and the way Buddha talks are very different. Therefore, we need to know how we [should] talk. And we need to fix and we need to change and we need to be more sweet. Sweet talks and honest talks and gentle talks. Then of course, we need not to lie, or less lie. But it’s difficult for us to stop completely lying. Because of when you lie for one thing then you may have to lie continually for your entire life, because you are afraid of being known as a liar.
And also, we do a lot of gossips. Gossiping is not good really. Gossiping wastes a lot of time, a lot of energy and it really brings a lot of bad things. So no gossip or less gossip. The reason for me to say less is sometimes we are not able not to lie or not to do gossiping at all. Sometimes we still do that. But we should think “This is not okay.” We should understand that’s something bad and therefore we need to try to fix, try to change how we act – act of speech. Our goal is eventually we are able to avoid lying completely, right? That’s our goal. But before we reach that point, we sometimes lie. But then at the same time whenever we lie, we speak harsh words or we speak something that has no meaning, we gossip, then we need to confess, we need to purify that negativity.
II. Visualization and Purification
This is said: ‘RANG GI CHE YI …’. So this is the visualization when we practice purification of speech. “There is a vivid red RAM syllable upon my tongue.” The syllable RAM. First of all we need to memorize the syllable. We have to learn how it looks. And then bring that image in your mind. And when you think the RAM syllable just comes naturally into your mind and you don’t have any problems to visualize this syllable, the picture of this syllable and to get used to this style, and then to remember that.
‘Upon my tongue’ means “in the center of the tongue.” We visualize red RAM and it’s very, very shiny like a firelight. Very shiny. So once we visualize this RAM syllable in the center of the tongue, the RAM syllable radiates firelight. “Fire” means it has the power to burn all the negative things in our speech. Therefore it has power like fire. And “light” means very clear and red. So, [this] firelight is the wisdom light. Because of [this] wisdom it has the power to bring all the seeds, all the bad tendencies in our speech and purify all obscuration of speech.
The nature of this RAM syllable is fire. That’s the seed syllable for fire. And this [sound] RAM is not a really Tibetan language. But this letter is a Tibetan letter. But the sound is Sanskrit, not Tibetan. In Vajrayana practice there are many visualizations: visualizations on different syllables, visualizations on different Deities, visualizations on different mandala. There are many things and this is one of them. Sometimes RAM YAM KHAM symbolize fire, wind and the water. And these three elements fire, water, wind have a nature to purify negativities that is contained in phenomena and things. Because of that this RAM syllable has the essence of Emptiness. And not only essense of Emptiness but the essence of burning negativities. Therefore, that has specific meaning to visualize this RAM syllable in this time.
In the Sutras describe our physical body is created by dirty 36 dirty substances. They’re not pure. Why dirty? Because the main cause of this physical body is karma. Where does that karma come from? All that karma is created by ignorance. So the source of our body, speech and mind is ignorance. Therefore, it’s all wrong, not good, bad. So, we need to purify it. This RAM syllable has the power to bring this physical tongue – this heavy tongue – and to transform it into a light, into a very clean thing, into wisdom tongue. So now you visualize this RAM very vivid and red color upon your tongue, very clearly for one minute. When we visualize on anything, then the important part is to have a clear visualization. And how can one have a clear visualization? We need to get some exercise. We need to do some exercise to really have a clear visualization. It is almost impossible, for anyone just to have a very clearly visualization at the beginning. Therefore, we need to have some patience, diligence, mindfulness and stability in the mind to visualize. And it takes time. Once you’re able to visualize this RAM syllable very clearly, then you are able to visualize almost anything.
Some visualization on deities are more complicated, because some deities have many heads, many faces, and many arms holding many tools. It’s difficult to see them clearly at one time. But the visualization [in general] will be much easier when we are able to visualize this one syllable clearly. The common purification of speech is more complicated. The visualization is much more complicated than this one, as we probably know, there are many we have to visualize: all the syllables radiate lights and from the lights you also visualize offerings to all Buddhas in ten directions and to receive blessings from them. And then your tongue return turns into a vajra or this and that. If you’re able to visualize that, that is also good. I think, especially for the beginners, this is very simple and it does the same job. It has the same essence, same power. It has the same power to purify your negativities of your speech. So, this is enough and very simple practice.
So the purpose for us to think our physical tongue transforms into hollow tube is that then it becomes very light and very clear. Because through Dharma power, through the power of this purpose, one’s body, speech and mind become very pure. That’s the purpose, like the Buddha. When Buddha becomes a very pure, when He is able to purify all of his negativities, then He becomes a rainbow body. He was not like a physical [body] anymore. Dharma has that power. Especially, Vajrayana has the power to make everything into light. Very pure.
III. The Human Body is a Mandala of Letters
Where does sound come from? That’s a question. According to Vajrayana all the sounds, the source of all the sounds in phenomena is from letters or from syllables. And our sound language is based on the letters. So when you are reborn as a Vietnamese, then Vietnamese alphabet, the letters appear in the first place in your body, in your channels in your body. Because of that you are able to talk, to speak loudly. You have the sound and the meanings. You are able to describe things.
Not only that but also we believe that [happens] in [others] like animals. Even though they cannot talk but they have sound, because there’re some, very simple, syllables, some letters that also exist in their channels. For that reason, every sentient being has its own sound or language. There’re hundreds or thousands of syllables in our body. And in the Sutra, in the Tantra-yana it is said that the body of human body is a mandala of letters. Because of that, people are able to understand the meaning of Dharma. Because the source of Dharma, the source of our understanding is inside. It’s not something external, separated, from us but it’s inside things. Therefore, this source of the seed of understanding, of chanting, of talking languages is inside things.
So the great Dharma practitioners like Jigme Lingpa was able to use his inner library. That’s true. Therefore, He doesn’t need to go somewhere to look for a teacher, but he was able to use his own library, his own computer, for that. Naturally, He became a big scholar. Because of that, there’s the lineage of mind treasure and [mind] treasure revealers. There are some treasure revealers, who have to depend on physical treasures, for example, something is hidden under the ground and they discover that symbol. [That thing] is to remind one to remember something. And there is mind treasure revealers – this means he remembers his own nature. Guru Rinpoche has hidden the instructions in the mind of that treasure revealer. When all the circumstances come together the treasure revealer naturally discovers the treasure. […]
The mantras on page 6. “A AH, I IH, U UH, RI RIH …”. These are the alphabets in Sanskrit language. We believe that Sanskrit is very special language because it’s spoken by all the Buddhas – by one thousand Buddhas in the Fortunate Kalpa as it is said in the Sutras. We believe this is a great language with a lot of blessing and power. The other reason [for chanting] is to have a good fortune for oneself to be able to speak Sanskrit, to teach Buddha Dharma to sentient beings in the future lives. The third mantra: “OM YE DHARMA HETU PRABHAWA …” This one has great blessing, very special, very important. So, in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, we recite this mantra a lot: at the beginning, at the end, or when something important going on. The name of this mantra is “The Essence of Interdependent Origination”.
IV. 24 Hours Every Day We Have To Think of The Practice
Before the outer ngondro part is the visualization on the Guru. It’s also very important to think, to meditate on Guru before doing anything, specially before doing Dharma practice. Because the smoothness, the power, or the result of Dharma practice depends on the blessing of Guru. Therefore, before doing anything, we think of the Guru, the Buddha, the Three Jewels and say: “May I not have any obstacles. May I do this very well.” At night and so on always think the Lama is in the heart. Very genuine, very serious Vajrayana practitioners always think about their own kind Guru and the instructions of the Guru. They don’t forget about this. They try to be very mindful for this important thing. And this is difficult for us – new and lazy Dharma practitioners. It is true. We forget about this, maybe, 23 hours and 59 minutes. That means we remember only one minute. Even one minute is too long. I think something around 40 seconds. (laughing).
Practice ngondro means trying to be a very serious Dharma practitioner. What do serious Dharma practitioners always think? They’re always thinking of the meaning of Dharma and they’re always practicing. Some people are always thinking of something different. They are not serious Dharma practitioners but they are a serious human beings. “At night …” means 24 hours every day we have to think of the practice. Before or during a Dharma practitioner’s sleeps, he still tries to focus on meditation. They’re not lost in dream but try to be mindful for meditation. And when we get up we do a practice session. Not just get up and jump into daily things, but practice first. “When begin a session …” means during the first session of the day we meditate that the lama is on the crown of the head. And then we say: “LAMA KHYEN” three times. It’s a way of calling for the Lama. “LAMA KHYEN” means “[Lama] Think of me, protect me, look upon me, see me.”
The end of excerpt
Transcript by Menlha Kyid.
Excerpt from MP 3 Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche teaching afternoon 20.10.2019: https://lienhoaquang.com/q_eb9cfin
[i] This is an excerpt of Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche’s teaching on 20.10.2019 in Vietnam. The title is created by the translator for the reader’s convenience.