To Eliminate Self-Fixation Is The Essential Point Of Dharma Practice*
Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche’s teaching
Dharma Talk 8
We have talked about many things: what is a bad Dharma practitioner, what is a faithful Dharma practitioner because we want to know the essence of the Dharma. The reason for us to practice Dharma is we are being so selfish and our self-fixation is so strong. Too much self-fixation creates a lot of problems. So to diminish or eliminate self-fixation, we need to know genuine Dharma and we need to know how to practice genuine Dharma. Now we understand what is good and what is bad. So, to practice the preliminaries is very important because it’s a very important foundation for us to understand real Dharma and to be able to practice real Dharma. And then we need to create new thing in the mind, something new related to Dharma, new understanding, new realization. That is the reason for us to practice Dharma. If we stay the same way all the time, if we are not able to improve our understanding and compassion then our Dharma practice is not working. When Dharma practice is rightly working then there must be some new things in our mind like more compassion, more wisdom, deeper and clearer understanding. Therefore, we need to check with us if there is any anything new that has not been there before in the mind, through the Dharma practice. And we need to continually to increase this important improvement through the drama practice. That is the purpose to practice the Dharma.
When our Dharma practice going up then there’s more understanding of everything; [there is] deeper, clearer and more profound understanding of Dharma and of everything. At the same time, we do understand the essence of power and fame and everything in the world – worldly dharmas. We understand everything is really impermanent, and everything is not really reliable because you cannot hold on to anything. [Then] we understand this very clearly and that diminishes our attachment to things that are related to our lives. So this is the sign of improvement to the Dharma practice. When we don’t have this kind of improvement then we still need to try very hard to practice more diligently and more correctly.
This is the meaning of the Dharma in India and Tibet and that should be the essential point for everyone in any Dharma tradition. Since we are practicing the Dharma of Buddha Shakyamuni, it should be the same: same way, same meaning and same goal for us – for everyone who follows this path. There’s no difference actually, but of course the people are different. We have different mental faculties and then we get different results through our Dharma practice, but the goal is the same. The goal is to really diminish to no-have (laugh) self-fixation. When there is a little self-fixation, there’s a little problem. There’s a big self -fixation, there’s a big problem. Because of that, we need to work to diminish our self-fixation – that is the essential and that is the real Dharma for every tradition of Buddhism. Because of that the preliminaries that we teach in here or in the beginning of actual Dharma practice are the same. It’s the same meaning everywhere and in every tradition. Therefore, we can say that this is the meaning of Dharma in any tradition in the world. We need to understand, we need to follow the instructions correctly, exactly. It doesn’t matter you are in Vietnam, you are in the US, you are in Canada, in Tibet or China. You cannot say, “Because I’m in the US and I’m more busy and then I have to make more money.” It’s a not good excuse. Because we need to achieve the same goal, and we need to use the same instruction and we need to take the same path. Therefore we should not have any different understanding, any different ways of practice. So I think that it is the essential part here.
(Talk about the amount of books available)
So now we talk about the three benefits of practicing the Dharma. This is easy way to summarize to understand how Dharma is benefiting people, or how much benefit people are getting from practicing Dharma. I think this is real. What I say here is the benefits that people receive through Dharma here. I’ve seen many and I’ve heard many therefore this is based on real stories. “Those who have received the teaching of the Dharma through dedicating themselves to straightening out their lives and thoughts, will be able to keep the Dharma in their minds and practice it. In that way, there are many people who have transformed their life. There are those who were easily angered who had become patient.” I think that is true and that happened to many, many people. I think my friends, like you are – many of you – probably a little more patient than before. I said “a little more”, not I said you are very patient. This is I think improvement for you through Dharma practice. Anger is a very negative emotion that destroys many, many, many good qualities in your mind and then you become very bad person, very impatient person and very short-tempered. Then everyone tries to avoid you, and everyone is saying bad things about you behind of you, “Oh, he is very short-tempered and she’s very bad or whatever.” So this is the negative things that are created by anger. When we practice Dharma, we understand the faults of anger and we try to eliminate this emotion and try to be more patient. And we would eventually be a little more patient. So that is one benefit of practicing the Dharma.
In the sutras the problems of anger are taught about a lot. Anger is like fire and it burns the seed of good actions, compassion and kindness. Not only it destroys the qualities in your mind, but also creates many physical problems like heart disease; and anger makes you scary, a very scary person. People do not want to see you when you are angry. Anger is such a negative emotion. The Dharma has the power to change this emotion. Dharma can make you are more peaceful, more compassionate and more patient because the essence of Dharma is very peaceful. It’s a great peace. Therefore, when practicing the Dharma correctly, that naturally reduces this kind of emotions and that is the benefit of practicing the Dharma. So try not to be an angry person, really. Otherwise, we make a lot of mistakes when we are a very impatient person. Not only it destroys the seed of the good actions, but it destroys ‘who you are’. And even your family members or friends are also afraid of you and it makes distance between you and them. Then you are really angry you are able to beat people or even kill them. Such strong emotion called Anger. So, through the Dharma practicing we are more impatient, more peaceful – that is a very, very great benefit of Dharma.
“There are those who were aggressive and cruel who have become gentle in their thoughts and deeds.” It’s similar to the anger, right? An angry person is a very aggressive person. And I guess it sometimes means no compassion, no kindness. Sometimes they’re may not necessarily be angry, but aggressive when there’s no compassion. I think many people who kill animals are really aggressive for animals because they do not have any kindness to these animals. So, when there’s lack of kindness and compassion then the action is naturally very aggressive action of the person. Sometimes we do not think that is something hurting for others, and we naturally hurt others and the reason is we do not have genuine kindness or compassion in the heart, and so therefore we hurt, we harm others. For example, if we kill a lot of animals or eat a lot of animals, I think that’s aggressive actions to the animal.
We are try not to hurt, for example, our family members or friends, because we do have some kindness for them. But when we don’t have that kind of kindness, compassion for those animals then we do whatever we want to do. That is because not enough or lack of compassion in our mind. Through practice of compassion and kindness, eventually many people naturally [become] more peaceful and more kind and more compassionate for people and for animals around. I have seen many people who changed a lot, changed their minds and the way they see others. They changed a lot through Dharma practice. The same thing happens everywhere in the world. Dharma perfect is able to make changes in them to be better, to be more peaceful or more kind. A lot of my friends in China do not know the cause and effect relationship and they killed animals and now they really regret and become more compassionate and kind and even many people become vegetarian. I think this is an improvement. This is a benefit from Dharma practice.
“There are many who, having devoted their life to wealth and money, aspire instead to practice contentment.” I think this is a difficult one, but still people through Dharma practice, people achieve more contentment. Before practicing the Dharma, they are really devoted to crazily fighting for wealth and crazily try to make more money. Of course, we need those kinds of things, we need the life, we need the wealth, we need money. But [with] understanding the real Dharma people have a different way of making money. But when do not know the meaning of cause and fact then they can be crazy and they can do whatever they can to make some money. People have sometimes like crazily to make money, and even sometimes the son kills the father or mother for wealth and for money. That’s kind of sad things happening a lot actually. That because it’s not understanding the Dharma, not practicing the Dharma. When we understand how Dharma teaches us about the nature of cause and fact, then people sort of naturally become more gentle and more understanding. It is very important for the people to have this kind of contentment in the mind. And it happened everywhere with the high people and ordinary people. Sometimes it’s happening with the beggars, they’re fighting for little money for $1, fight each other they steal from each other, whatever! This is because of so much attachment to life, to wealth and to money. So when we practice Dharma mean we practice contentment. We try to fix our attachment, always teach oneself, always talk to oneself, “All shouldn’t be too much, too selfish”, “big attachment is no good”, and “not too much, not too much!” We need to remind oneself that “not too much of everything”, “not too much of everything”. We should follow the Dharma and we should be more sort of humble and we should have moral contentment in amount for everything and the people. Many people have changed the different ways of seeing one’s life and ways of seeing the importance of wealth and money. And they are more gentle and more sort of quiet and less busy. And even sometimes they have time to sit down quietly and peacefully. When we do not know the Dharma people always busy they do not even want or they not able to, to just sit down for a minute peacefully, always thinking, always busy, always thinking about money and do this and that for worldly dharmas. When we practice the Dharma correctly and gently, we become more sort of peaceful, peaceful by physically peaceful and mentally peaceful, and this is a great benefit of practicing the Dharma.
“There are those who wasted their time in quarreling and fighting with their family for no great reason, who have come to see the great importance of meditation on patience, with the result that their families have become happier.” This is really happening with a lot of families after they actually practice Dharma, they become more patient. And there are those some people, some family members, some husbands or some wives – they are always angry for no reason and fighting all the time. That wastes a lot of time but now they are understanding the faults of being very impatient, very angry to each other and the family. So, they try to meditate on patience, try to be patient more and they finally become patient. They become more gentle and happier. So that’s, very important, right? Because it’s too much and it’s too much suffering. That’s negative karma or result of negative karma. Therefore, we need to really change the way they live together and to live happily and peacefully together. That is the only way that people can live together in this life and that is the only way to live together peacefully and meaningfully. Otherwise, there’s no meaning to be together, always fighting, always unhappy, and always create negative karma. That’s not good. But if you really practice the Dharma, then you understand the faults of being anger then we try to make changes with the self and to be more patient. We finally be able to be more patient. Of course – non-Buddhist people – there are many great people who have a lot of patience, but it’s different because their being patient probably is for just for this life. But we try to be more patient to diminish negative karma for the next lives and to reduce negativities from the past lives. Therefore, this part is: If you are like this, then it’s very bad but we have the way to change the way you live and the time you spend with your family. Therefore, it is very important to do make improvement with the oneself through Dharma practice for yourself and for your family members. You are finally able to do that and because of the essence of [Dharma], because of the power of the Dharma.
“There are many who become angry easily, who have now gained inner happiness through meditation on love and kindness.” There are people who do not believe in Buddha Dharma – if they are very angry person then they get angry easily and they break up everything. But still there are more methods for the Buddhist people to solve this kind of problem. [We can] reduce the power of anger through Dharma practice like meditation on love and kindness. I think that Dharma has more genuine ways, better ways to diminish anger and negative emotions. We need to meditate on love and kindness for everyone, all sentient beings. This is, I think, only Buddha Dharma is the way. Of course, many religions teach to practice love and kindness and talk about the qualities of them, but they only talk probably about humans. They don’t care much about other sentient beings, while we do care about all the sentient beings including ones’ family members, the people who are very, very close to ourselves. We also need to practice love and kindness for them as well because they are just sentient beings. Therefore, meditating on love and kindness to all sentient beings is a very powerful Dharma practice that makes oneself happy, peaceful and understanding. I have seen many people who were very angry, but now is more patient and more kind, more loving for everyone, including for one’s family. I think sometimes we say “the ordinary love”, “love and kindness” because of many conditions. But the love and kindness in the Buddha Dharma do not depend on that kind of conditions. We love people, we love our sentient beings without conditions. As long as they are a person, a being, a sentient being, it’s a whatever, we need to practice love and kindness for them.
So we end up here. It’s was good to see everyone again to share some important meanings of practice Dharma. Of course, you have a billion of chances to listen to different talks and teachings. But this is a unique book, a new book designed to this kind of modern society and what is going on with the Buddhism right now. So, I think you may understand new things through this book. I hope this opportunity gives you more understanding and more valuable lessons for you.
The following script of Rinpoche’s talk about the Winter Retreat and other activities in the Monastery has been approved by Him. With great respect EB ZPF would like to share with our Dharma friends.
This year I do not teach every day during the winter teaching. But we did a lot of practices – practices of different Deities. At the beginning of winter teaching, we practiced Avalokiteshvara. We recited our million Om Mani Padme Hung. And we did over millions sur practices and then after that we practiced Guru Rinpoche. We recited more than 100 million mantras of Guru. Then after that we practiced the wrathful form of Manjushri, Yamantaka, from Lama Sang treasure, over 100 million. Then after that we practiced Green Tara and we accomplished more than 200 million mantras of Green Tara. And we just finished the two days ago that practice and from today we practice Simhamukha. We try to accomplish 1,000,000 times of Simhamukha Kalachakra practice. The purpose of these practices is for the world peace, happiness and health of people, and great longevity of the Buddha Dharma. Especially we dedicated this great merit for our followers everywhere, who dedicate life, alms and many things for our monastery to support all the activities of the monastery. The Covid is everywhere, and it killed many, many people. But we are fortunately fine. Older people are even doing a little better with the covid here. That makes everyone amazed at the blessing of Dharma practices. Because many other places it killed a lot of old people. Here it’s better a lot, for example. Amala did not really catch and her age like 80s and 90s. Most people did not get that one. So, I think, practicing these deities and reciting mantras have a lot of blessing, a lot of power. I want to share with you two things: One is how and what we have been doing and the other is the results or the blessing of the practices that we did.
And somehow people have heard about passing my sister and people are sending me texts and to convince (laugh) me not to be sad (laugh). But I’m OK. I’m not, really (laugh). I’m a bad man (laugh). But of course, as a tradition in Tibet, we need to take care of many things and we have to do many rituals, religious activities when people pass away. We have a been doing that. I had visited her just before she left one hour ago and she was fine, she was very clear. I mentioned to her some important things when someone is leaving. She was very clear. The next day I went again, and I did the Phowa. That’s my main duty. And then we hear lot of people are helping and taking care of everything. My mother – her mother, my uncle’s family, my uncles. I have many uncles. The one who’s the head of the Tharthang monastery [name not clear] – he’s here. And they’re taking care of everything. I don’t have to be there all the time.
But anyway, I really appreciate very much for everyone’s thought and sweet words very much. Even some people sent some money to do some good actions for her and we are doing for the forty-nine days Shitro practice. And not only the practice or rituals, but there are also many other things will be done. And on top of that, here we are making many butter lamps. I am with the meditators, the monks, at the meditation centers and we pray together for her. That’s a what is going on about this situation and everything is OK. Everything is peacefully moving forward, and I think she is taken to the charnel ground on 25th Tibetan calendar. Right now, today here is 22nd, in three days she’s taken to charnel ground then I think her life story is ended completely there. That’s a similar story of our life, everyone. This is the life has a beginning and ending. And then now we are in the middle and it’s different. Sometimes some people end their life sooner and some other later. But no matter, everyone has to finish their lives. And we have to end our live peacefully through the experience of Dharma practice, through the confidence of Dharma practice. That’s the very important part and I’m again very thankful to everyone, everyone’s kindness and everyone’s care very much.
Just one more thing. The tradition here is when a person passes away, then we use everything that belongs to the person to do with these ritual things. And she’s OK. She had many things, and of course, we support whatever they need. So that’s why, just except some donations to her family, I don’t have to use too much and therefore people do not need to send donations for that. I know people have sent donations with DORJE LA and doing somethings in India. And I am doing [rituals] separately here, too. But we have enough fund. That’s what I want to say everyone. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you very much for everything.
End of teaching on 12.02.2023
Transcript by Tri Minh Tara & Dieu Hue
Excerpt from MP 3 Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche teaching on 12.02.2023: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EwR_JVCbF910ok4WVSOoJDcex_V92-uW
[*] English version and the title have been sent to Rinpoche for approval.