Criteria for real peace of mind
When meditating on peace of mind it is also important that clarity is present at the same time, liveliness, and strong consciousness - something extremely clear and precise. The mind is aware of itself with all the motions, which take place inside it and without any veils or obscurations.
Sometimes one has an experience of inner peace, which seems to be really deep, but is a little
misty or sluggish - perhaps even with a tendency to fall asleep. That is no clearness and no real inner peace, but is a fogged up, sleepy state of mind. With a real experience of peace of mind there must be this liveliness in the mind, an experience of clearness and precise consciousness linked with an experience of openness or wide spaces. All limitations of the mind, which one has created in the past, seem to fall away; we have an experience as if the mind would enliven all space around us. In this the body, speech, and mind relax completely.
This is not an experience of something empty or completely cold, but in this emptiness, in this open space there is an inner warmth present, a good-will, as well as joy and clearness. Warmth and openness are present at the same time. In this openness of the mind we can have different experiences:
For one thing there is an awareness of the emptiness in one's own mind. Further one experience that the thoughts come and go, without attachment or rejection arising. This is called absence of mind motion, the freedom from inner discussions or inner chatting.
On the level of the body one experiences well being. You feel completely at peace and well and finally have a feeling as if the body were no longer present. There is only an open mind present, experiencing happiness and warmth. The body is no longer perceived as something solid and tangible. Mostly one has the feeling of being able to rest for a very long time in this state.
These three experiences - the openness with well-being, the clearness of the mind, and the absence of mind motion - are the experiences of the deep mental peace, which we call Samadhi, in Tibetan "Ting-nge-dsin". 'Ting-nge' means deep, and 'dsin' means sustaining: The mind experiences its own nature and is completely able to sustain this state of deep peace. Then there is no unrest in the mind whatsoever, and there is great joy to be had. That is the goal of the practice of peace of mind.
Rinpoche says that there isn't really much more to say. He has already explained that the Mind is completely open, and that the things that appear also disappear again right away. Therefore he will just follow the spontaneous flow of his mind in to-day's lecture.
In Dharma it is really about freeing oneself from the usual tendencies of the mind that have governed us since time immortal. We tend to behave in a certain way under the influence of our habitual patterns of behavior, which is our only point of reference. It is important to free oneself from these habits and find a new way of acting and thinking.
Freeing oneself from fascination...
Usually we are completely fascinated by the objects and phenomena of this world. We consider them to be wonderful and we expect great joy and happiness from them. This fascination motivates our actions. Because of it we are constantly in motion, which prevents us from realizing the true nature of our mind. Therefore it first of all necessary to regard the world as it is, without being fascinated by it. When we regard the world as it is, we realize how unreal it is. It is like a dream, completely void of any essence. All things, all appearances are transitory, they are no more than a movement of the mind. Nothing of what we find in this world can give us real lasting happiness. So the first step, then, is to get a direct, more accurate perception of the world, just like it is, so that the fascination, which we normally feel, dissolves
...and becoming aware of the true qualities
Secondly it is necessary to be aware of the benefits of Enlightenment, i.e. to realize that it means lasting happiness to be enlightened, stable happiness - not just for us, but for all beings. We should be more deeply aware of the qualities of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and turn completely towards enlightenment by opening up completely, without selfishness or fascination, and without letting ourselves be influenced by the habitual tendencies of our mind. We must become aware how great the blessing of the Three Jewels is. If we practice like that, then we have a Dharma-practice without any risk.
It is not easy to free oneself from these tendencies. Since the dawn of time we function in a certain way and have a certain view of the world. It is embedded very deeply in us, so it is not easy to free oneself from it. Therefore it is important to study really thoroughly, to contemplate and to meditate, so that we understand what it is really all about.
Dharma cannot be realized with one's will
In the normal world we use our will to establish ourselves, to regulate our lives, to reach a position and the like. This 'will-energy' is selfishly motivated, and we might think that Dharma could be approached in the same way.
Dharmapractice means to open up completely,
To give oneself up and to let go,
To turn totally to the Enlightenment and the blessing of the Three Jewels.
This opening we find in meditation.
If we follow the way to enlightenment with the right attitude, we have no difficulties. We will advance quite naturally and not meet any obstacles - that is the ideal. Most people, however, meet with difficulties on the way.
The two major difficulties on the way are:
Stubborn clinging to the world and lack of trust.
Where do these difficulties come from? A major reason for our difficulties is our inability to let go of the fascination, which the world exerts on us. One the one hand we have the wish to go towards the enlightenment, but we still find the world attractive. We would like to keep the small things of life and cling onto this or that. Our Ego makes decisions and says, 'This might be useful on the way', or even, 'This must certainly be good for the enlightenment' etc. Because of our ignorance we maintain this connection with the world and convince ourselves with all kinds of reasons, why this should be sensible, and that creates even more attachment to the world.
Our problem is, that we do not see clearly enough, how the world really is. Therefore we find this or that thing, that we still find good and which we simply must keep. This is a subtle kind of attachment or grasping for things. Even when one has a good motivation, this tendency can be very strong. This attachment, which we constantly nourish, encloses us completely and holds us captive. That is what impedes us from advancing rapidly on the way.
We are like a balloon, which cannot get off the ground because it is too heavily loaded. We must work on that. It is very important that we really let go of these small attachments, which we constantly have. Actually there is nothing particular one has to do in this respect. The only thing one must do is to let go. That is the way.
Our second main impediment on the way is lack of trust. We have no complete trust in the qualities of the Enlightenment and the Three Jewels.
So we have two disturbing factors: on the one hand the small connections which we still uphold with the world, and perhaps even find more interesting than the Enlightenment, and on the other hand our lack of trust. We should free ourselves from them both, otherwise we will constantly be torn back and forth between the two forces, and we will experience this as strong opposing forces in us.
On the one side there is a strong force which drives us towards Enlightenment. It is an expression of a strong wish for Enlightenment. On the other side there is this rather conservative, fear based force, which lets us maintain our attachment to the world - and with which we of course constantly maintain the illusion of this world (i.e. our imprisonment in this world which we perceive as real, but which really is a dream-like world).
The reactionary force of our habits lets us take one step backwards again and again, thus constantly pulling us back and forth between two urges, almost as if our mind was being torn apart. We should really endeavor to rid ourselves of the still existing attachment to the world and to let the force of trust, which moves us towards the Enlightenment, come forth. Then the way becomes completely natural. That is the way. Letting go and trusting are the essence of the way!
Prostrations: Dissolving Pride.
When we meet the Dharma for the first time, we may be surprised that the practitioners do so many prostrations. They do hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of prostrations for the Three Jewels. Then we may ask ourselves, whether the Buddha perhaps finds it good, if he sits on his throne in the altar and looks at us and is happy that we show him so much respect? However, we do not do prostrations to assure him nor us how much devotion we have. Buddhas do not develop pride through that either. The purpose of prostrations is to create new habits in our mind. Perhaps we think: "But why must it be repeated over and over? Once should be sufficient."
But as we since time immortal have been nourishing the tendency to be proud and egocentric, the egocentric habits are deeply implanted in our mind - as if at each and every moment, where we have followed these tendencies, we had been making prostrations in the direction of the Ego. This is not completely cleaned out with just one prostration, but instead it needs many prostrations to resolve these deep habits of egocentricity.
The goal of prostrations then is, on the one hand to free oneself from this pride, which occupies the mind. And on the other hand the goal is to dissolve the veils which, under the influence of this pride, have been created through the negative actions of the body. These are all the actions that we did in order to defend and preserve this supposed Ego. These veils weigh heavily on our mind and prevent it from realizing its true nature and finding enlightenment.
Prostrations are something really central to the work against our own egocentricity, and as this work needs a certain amount of time, it is necessary to keep making the prostrations, countless times, again and again. Only thus can we dissolve our egocentric tendencies and develop dedication to others - as a new altruistic tendency, which cares about the liberation of all beings.
Offerings: Dissolving Greed
At first we are also surprised at how many offerings are made in the Dharmacenters: the great amounts of foods, incense, and flowers there are at celebrations, the many small water bowls, the enormous financial means that are given towards the building of for instance stupas and meditation rooms, all those precious things. Then again we might ask ourselves if so much is offered to appease the Buddha?
But the Buddha doesn't need any money, he has no savings account. He doesn't need to eat or drink. He is not poor and has no problem with providing for himself. With offerings, as with prostrations, the goal is the dissolution of the egocentric tendencies of our mind. Since we tend to relate everything to ourselves and to keep the good for ourselves, we practice the act of giving through offerings. In our great attachment we constantly want to satisfy or to protect the ego. Whatever is pleasant or nice, or whatever could make one happy, we want to keep for ourselves. This has really been our sole objective all along, and it has led to where we are experiencing suffering now, along with all other beings.
If we want to free ourselves from this tendency, we should practice generosity as an antidote. Through our sharing with others we work against greed, envy, and avarice etc. For the delivering of our offerings an altar is a very good help, or a stupa, too. Such places help us to let the inner transformation take place and to give up egocentric tendencies. We create such places in order to practice generosity. This generosity is again an expression of trust, for at the moment where we create something, we realize that the enlightenment is something great and wonderful - we trust in it. So generosity can free us from our egocentricity. It depends on the motivation, with which we act - done in the right way, giving is very useful for our inner transformation.
Making offerings is not just an action, says Rinpoche, but rather a way of living - just as egotism and greed is a kind of living. All actions are inspired by this attitude. Whoever has much greed inside will want to have more all the time and will perform corresponding actions. In addition he is always afraid of losing something. Whoever lives in the spirit of offering will always want to give something. This becomes a way of living, which encompasses all aspects of our existence, for offerings are not limited to the traditional offering-gifts. We can regard everything as an offering and keep offering. That is a completely new viewpoint.
There are not only material offerings, but also spiritual ones. By spiritual offerings we can offer everything - whether it belongs to us or to someone else or to no one. We are then completely free and can be limitlessly creative, for in the mind we can offer anything regardless of whom it belongs to.
Bringing the Buddha a flower: Offering up a universe.
When we offer a flower to the Buddha, perhaps at an altar, then perhaps we think, "Well, I have now given him a flower. But that's not much, is it?" But the important thing here is not the material gift at all, but the spirit, which accompanies this offering. With our mind we can make infinite offerings. They are in no way limited, just as our mind is unlimited. We may multiply this flower in our mind and fill the entire universe with hundreds, thousands, and yes hundreds of thousands and even millions of flowers. The universe has no limits and we can fill it with flowers, which we sacrifice towards the Enlightenment. Then this action of generosity becomes truly gigantic, it becomes infinitely big.
If we make generosity our life, we will no longer know any greed. We need not withhold anything any more, we have complete freedom. Material offerings, then, are simply a support for the limitless spiritual offerings, which we constantly make. Thus we can offer all the beautiful and pleasant things we see: beautiful houses, cars, and the like. We can use these external things as support for our spiritual offerings.
Till now we have wanted to keep the things we saw absolutely to ourselves - they were objects of our attachment, envy, and greed, but now they become objects of our generosity that we give to the enlightenment. We may also give things, which belong to no one, like the mountains and the air, the elements, and the stars, the Sun, or the Moon. All this we may offer up, the whole wide universe can become a grand sacrifice. This helps us to give up our egocentricity, and to develop altruism and to strive for Enlightenment.
Using an altar as support for the development of positive force (merit)
We can arrange an altar to further the striving for Enlightenment. An altar is a support for our wishes and for collecting positive actions, it is a place, where we can develop our generosity and express our altruistic wishes. It will help us to develop the positive energy, which leads to Enlightenment. This positive force is called spiritual merit. Spiritual merit comes from positive actions, which dissolve our egotism and further altruism.
It is very beneficial if we begin our day with actions of generosity and in this way already in the morning make our mind ready for generosity, for the sharing with others. An altar helps us to direct our mind toward the enlightenment. On the altar we can place representations of the body, the speech, and the mind of enlightenment. e.g. statues or photos. Then we can arrange the traditional sacrifices, water and incense, perfumed water etc. There are specific instructions for this. Then you imagine that you sacrifice all this to the enlightenment.
Additionally we can recite a short prayer from the text of initial exercises, the mandala offering. This prayer is relatively brief and is accompanied by a symbolic gesture (mudra), which signifies that we not only offer some sacrificial bowls, flowers or the like, but the whole universe. While doing this we imagine that we offer all the riches of the world to the Enlightenment. This way we begin the day with generosity, and that helps us keep the right attitude during the day, as long as we are alert. When the day is begun like this, then the rest of the actions of the day are accompanied by the same motivation.
After these offerings we can recite the Refuge prayer, call out the enlightenment-mind and say our wish-prayers - for it knows no limitations. They are the means of awakening an altruistic attitude in our mind. They help us to develop the necessary positive energy, which is the driving force on our way to Enlightenment. If we practice in this manner, the inherent wisdom will appear.
What can we do for the deceased?
In Europe there are many Dharmacenters where they practice a lot - and everywhere there is also Death. We have all experienced people close to us dying, and perhaps we have all already at least once felt very lost because of it. What can we then do to help the dead and their relations?
If we want to do something worthwhile, we can gather in one of these Dharmacenters or at home and with a unified mind help a deceased person. It may be a person from our family or one of our acquaintances, or even a member of the Sangha. It is important in this respect to gather regularly in order to perform a quite essential and basic practice: the Chenresig-practice - where also offerings may be brought forth, like candles or flowers. We do this with the thought of helping the deceased and thereby all other deceased persons.
The Chenrezig practice is very easy and even completely universal. We should not only do it once in a while when someone has just died, by shortly getting together and reciting some quick mantras, before we go and have coffee. We should practice it regularly, for the wishes contained in it should be repeated many times, for instance the prayer for Rebirth in Dewachen (the god-world?) or the wishes for altruistic activity of Chenrezig. All the prayers from this practice we should do frequently and develop perseverance in this essential practice.
Perhaps we think that this practice is too simple and as a consequence that something isn't quite right, that it can't be THAT good because it's so simple. We might think that it isn't so important or it is just a small practice for children and beginners. This is not true in any way, for this practice is so widespread and known everywhere, precisely because it goes so deep.
This practice encompasses the compassion of all Buddhas. We pray for the blessing of the compassion from all the enlightened beings and connect ourselves to this compassion which radiates to all beings. Therefore this is really a universal practice, which is significantly more deeply thorough, than we might first think, if we only see the simplicity of the practice. Luckily it doesn't take hours to learn the ritual - the Mantra too is very simple: Om Mani Peme Hung. It is so short, that one is not likely to forget it. It is a gift to have this practice, which is so easy to learn and yet nonetheless is so useful, thorough, and universally applicable. Especially when someone has died, we should get together and perform this practice.
What happens, when we die?
When someone has died, he leaves this world and leaves everything behind, which the world has held for him: his body, everything that he has made and done, his entire personal world. He does however bring with him all the negative energies, which are in his mind, all the emotions, and habitual tendencies. These make a heavy burden in his mind and lead to painful experiences.
At the physical level we cannot do anything for the deceased. We can no longer hold his hand and say,"There, there, it's not so bad, I am here with you". The only effective help is of a spiritual nature, and we can give this help by developing compassion and doing altruistic actions with our body, speech, and mind. In this way we may assist him spiritually and do something positive, which is good for us as well as for the deceased. We can dedicate this positive activity to the deceased, by for instance doing the Chenrezig-practice, reciting the Chenrezig-mantra, or by doing offerings.
In the course of our lives we have, through ignorance and carelessness, made our own prison. Even when we are not aware of this, every moment of selfishness and ignorance has left negative reactions behind in body, speech, and mind. All the moments of egotism even if only egotistic thoughts count as negative 'actions' and become a source of suffering. They make a heavy cargo in our mind that we don't notice now, though. Only when we die will we realize the extent of this burden - but unfortunately it is too late then. At the moment we go through life like sleepwalkers or through a fog - we do not notice the state we are really in. Not until we die and lose everything will we wake up from our illusion. In death we lose all possessions, our family and everything that we loved. What is left is only our mind, and it is filled up with all the tendencies we have collected. Through ignorance and carelessness we have done very many negative actions, whose traces and effects form our mind. This load of negativity will invariably lead to painful experiences. We do not have any choice at all; we can not choose our future.
To prepare for death.
Now, however, we have the choice and freedom to choose what we want to do with our life. We have the opportunity, to do positive things, and should begin right away to build a positive environment and to go the spiritual way. For spiritual riches are the only things which can help us after our death. A true spiritual way lets us go forth and develop more and more freedom and wisdom, which eventually will lead to enlightenment.
If we now, constantly and fully aware, work on the transformation of these tendencies which motivate our body, speech, and mind, then we will not feel any regrets at the time of death. It is of the utmost importance that we prepare for dying; otherwise we will be totally surprised and overwhelmed, when it does come. We should already now be thinking of the fact that this life will come to an end, and that something then happens, which is usually called death. It is not possible for us to really avoid death, but when we attempt to do so, we call infinite suffering upon ourselves.
He who tries to repress or ignore death and wants to get as much out of life as possible will constantly be doing actions, which strengthen the egocentricity and harm others. In this way we collect an infinite number of negative tendencies born from our selfishness, which in the future will bring us much suffering. With such an attitude you don't realize, until Death comes, that you must die. When the fact of death can no longer be lied off, then this repressed reality will hit our consciousness with its full weight, and you will experience immense suffering.
If, on the other hand, we already during our life cultivate the consciousness of death and remind ourselves that only spiritual riches will be of any use at the moment of death, then we will not be surprised when death comes, and we will not have any fear. We will not experience the suffering, which comes from denying death. We then understand that death is simply a natural process and a part of life.
If we have been working on ourselves in the right way, there is nothing to fear and we need not have any worries. We have developed trust in the Three Jewels, trust in the qualities of enlightenment, and have cleaned out the negative tendencies of our mind as well as possible. This is a good start position for looking death straight in the eye. Then death is not the terrible end to a life full of joyful experiences, but holds the prospects of more experiences, which bring one closer to enlightenment - the liberation, which enables one to free other beings as well. Dying is not then a cause for panic, but perhaps rather for real happiness.
Whether we experience death as something terrible or as something beautiful, depends on us, on our actions and our awareness. If we do not consciously work at ourselves, we will be as fish thrown onto the beach and suddenly finds itself in a terrible and hostile environment. What stays with us at death is what has influenced our mind for a long time. It is not difficult to die with dignity, when one has prepared well for it through a life of practice.
In death everything becomes very simple. One can no longer hide or pretend to be something, which one is not. The situation is extremely simple. We may have developed a lot of pride through our practices. Perhaps we have been very diligent and have studied Mahamudra or Dzogchen. But will that really help us at the moment of our death? Real realization and accomplishment in Mahamudra or Dzogchen will help us, but is our perceived realization perhaps not just a development of concepts - far removed from the reality of death, and useless, when it comes?
Trust in Chenrezig
When all our concepts collapse, the only thing that remains for us is Chenrezig. The trust that we have developed in Chenrezig, and all the Mani-mantras which w3e have recited, will help us. Perhaps in dying we first attempt the highest consciousness, but as death draws nearer and we get somewhat scared, only true trust will help us. The trust in Chenrezig that we will have developed during our life will then spontaneously appear in our mind. We call upon him for help, and with this cry for help we take the Refuge. However, this is only when we have been working at this trust already. Then it will be quite natural to call upon the compassion and the blessings of all Buddhas. This is, when it is cultivated beforehand, a very simple thing.
Because of our trust the cry for Chenrezig won't come from the4 intellect, but from the depths of our heart, and Chenrezig will then quite naturally be present at the moment of death. Our body will be inseparable from his because of his presence. Our speech will be his speech, since we recite his Mantra. Our mind will be filled with the openness and the compassion of Chenrezig, and we will notice that our mind has become inseparable from Chenrezig. This is the realization of the Meditation-deity.
A meditation-deity, in Tibetan a Jidam, is that to which the mind attaches itself in order to experience its real nature. Thus we will, at the moment of death, realize that our body, speech, and mind are the same as the enlightened body, the enlightened speech, and the enlightened mind of Chenrezig. So we can without fear, full of security and trust, draw and exhale our last breath. But as has been stressed, first one must practice.
If we get used to the Chenrezig-practice now and practice letting the mind rest in its nature, it will become a habit, which will help us in the moment of our death. Furthermore it is important to practice compassion, for compassion is the essence of the Chenrezig-practice.
If problems appear in our life we try to accept them and develop the wish thereby to free all beings from such pain and troubles. This means that whenever we meet troubles we connect with the Chenrezig-practice, whereby our own body, speech, and mind become those of Chenrezig's. We can simply just imagine this inside or we can also support it outwardly by reciting the mantra (of Chenrezig). In this way we immediately and voluntarily take all troubles upon ourselves with the wish that all beings may be freed from them. We imagine that all troubles melt in the flow of our mind and dissolve therein, and that all others are immediately freed from these troubles. If we notice that our altruistic activity is still limited, we can make wishes, that in the future we will be able to be and act in similar situations in a way so that it benefits all beings and leads to their liberation.
If we practice like this we will feel joy at the moment of death, for by dying we take the suffering of all beings upon us with the great wish to free them all from this pain and suffering.
For the future, meaning the time immediately after death and for coming lives, we can prepare ourselves with this wish: "May I quite naturally and without any effort always be able to do good for all beings".
Generosity as preparation for the death and the Transition after Dewachen
Generosity is the mind attitude of all Boddhisattvas, those who dedicate all their actions completely to the enlightenment of all beings. We should as much as possible develop generosity, and when we die, we should be able to give to all beings all our happiness, our joy, everything good that we possess, and at the same time take all their pain, all their suffering, and all difficulties upon ourselves. Without this generous mind attitude we will in death still try to cling to all that we have experienced in this world. This will prevent us from letting go and from really liberating ourselves.
It is beneficial to set oneself for a rebirth in Dewachen, the "Land of Joy". This land of joy is the pure realm of the Buddhas Amitabha and Chenrezig. Chenrezig is like a guide who leads us from our previous existence into the pure land off Dewachen. If we have prepared for it and have expressed our wish, again and again, for this rebirth in Dewachen, then it really will happen at the moment of death. There will then be nothing left to hold us back in this world of suffering. We will happily leave it behind with the deep wish that we will be able to develop even more compassion at a new level, in order to help all beings.
We should already, in good time, loosen our ties to this world, which only means suffering. Then, at the moment of death, we can offer every attachment that we still may have, everything that still binds us to this world, to Amitabha. When we do it we can imagine that Amitabha is in front of us, or above our head, or in our heart - where exactly doesn't really matter. Everything that still belongs to us and to which we might still cling, all things that we leave behind, we offer to Amitabha without any reservations or calculations - without thinking of getting this or that in return, if we give him so and so much. We simply offer up all that which we must leave behind anyway. In this manner we can free ourselves from the last attachments one might still have to this world. We open ourselves up to the pure realm of Dewachen and through the blessing and the compassion of Chenrezig we are brought there, to the Buddha Amitabha. By making offerings to Amitabha our mind will be completely open at the moment of death and already completely filled with the Dewachen dimension. When the mind leaves the vessel of the body, the transition will take place quite naturally in a single moment. We will simply leave our previous level of living behind us and receive a spiritual rebirth in a pure lotus in the pure land of joy.
At rebirth in Dewachen there is no longer any polarity of male and female. Our body will be that of an enlightened being and be like Amitabha's body, with all its qualities, characteristics, and signs of an enlightened body. We no longer have our former usual appearance, which allows our mind to develop further and bring forth more wisdom and compassion, with which we can then help all other beings.
But merely by thinking, " Well, I could try out Dewachen, it doesn't sound too bad", we will not be reborn there, not by a long shot. Such a rebirth is only attained through a life filled with lifelong practice, aimed specifically at this goal. It is the fruit of many wishing prayers. Only then will there be enough trust in Amitabha, Chenrezig, and Dewachen, and only then can we get there spontaneously and without obstructions.
We cling to everything a lot that we possess and that surrounds us in this world, and of course it is difficult to free oneself from it. Although we may have heard many teachings in our life and in dying actually know that we should release ourselves from everything that binds us to this world, it can very well be difficult, for the habits are strong, very strong. Somehow you always think that maybe someway you could perhaps after all take something with you and keep it. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that you practice generosity, now in this life.
When we die we also leave behind worldly possessions, which our family or friends will inherit. If in time we adjust ourselves to the fact that others will get our possessions, it will be easier for us to let go at the time of our death. We practice, well in advance, really letting go of everything and making us totally free in our minds. We can practice this in our life by practicing generosity in every form, for instance by bringing many offerings, be they material offerings, which we place on our altars, or spiritual offerings. In this way we prepare for the moment when we must leave all the things in this universe behind. It is very helpful in any practice if we bring offerings all the time. From the depths of our heart we can offer up anything that we want. Thereby we diminish our attachment, and no longer cling to things. Then, when the moment of death has arrived, we are so used to giving that it is completely natural to us. We can free ourselves completely and will experience the moment of dying as a moment of liberation and not as a moment of incarceration, fear, or shock.
Freeing oneself from one's problems.
So death becomes a moment of liberation, of spiritual transformation. We must however through our whole existence work at this, by removing ourselves from all the daily petty conflicts and problems, from all that darkens, stresses, or disturbs our mind. Often we think that something should be this or that way, but it is in no way like we would want it - or we have an opinion that someone should behave in this or that way and he doesn't behave as we would have wished. Such conflicts occupy us every day. Perhaps we have given somebody a task to do, but he doesn't do it, or somebody should have kept something to himself, but he speaks about it anyway - all this makes us unhappy, we get upset over this or that, or we are disappointed, because we don't get some thing. In this way, because of ignorance and I-attachment, we are constantly occupied with unimportant stuff, only because we want to defend ourselves and satisfy our Ego all the time. Therefore we can find no peace - and then actually all these problems are of only minimal significance. They are simply the fruits of our Karma and our Ignorance. Only because of our I-attachment are we still upset by problems, which actually are nothing. But if we cannot deal with these minor annoyances, what will we do when Death comes knocking?
The mechanism of our projections and looking inward
Our real, big problem is that our view always is directed outwards. We don't look inside, into our own mind, but always follow its outward directed projections. This is a wrong direction to look and therefore we have so many problems. All the failures that we really have in our own mind, we criticize in the outside world. Practicing the Dharma means looking within to try to see what happens in our own mind. When we then take an honest look inside and examine ourselves we are rather surprised. We see that we are unable to perform an action, which is not motivated by emotions and I-attachment and that our mind is full of envy, attachment, and anger. We are not usually conscious of these emotions - we don't notice them unless we look inside.
Without this clear view we only see the consequences of these emotions in the outside world. When for instance we are envious, we see everything through the filter of envy. And what do we see? We see a world of envy and think, "People are all totally envious at me, how awful." We constantly meet people who envy us something, and from that even pride may arise. We come to the conclusion that, "People can only be so envious, because I am so fantastic - therefore I am wonderful." I am better than the others, and that is really the reason that they are jealous at me."
We never question ourselves and never realize that the problem only is to be so governed by egotism, and that the other people are not to be blamed. We project that which is not even conscious to ourselves onto the others and never look inside. Then, because of these emotions, strong anger arises, which darkens our mind. The real anger is in our mind, but we see it in others because we haven't learned to look inside. This leads to us being even more furious, because we are convinced that it is the others who are aggressive. Relations with other people then become extremely difficult. We have conflicts constantly.
The only way to break this evil cycle is to look inside and look for one's own shortcomings, otherwise we will not discover reality and never free ourselves from the emotions and the suffering stemming from them. So far we are doing the exact opposite: we think that we are right about everything. We simply assume that all that we think or do is totally right, that we as the only one have excellent taste, the right attitude etc. - others have nothing to say and are always wrong anyway. We take this hypothesis of our own perfection to be reality and build all our relationships and all our actions on this false assumption. Therefore we have conflicts and the emotions become stronger all the time. The outward projections of our emotions are in this way the basis for all our actions, because we are not able to look into ourselves.
In our pride we always assume that we are good and right. Because of our pride we quarrel with others about opinions, completely convinced that our viewpoint is the only one that can be totally right, and from this wars erupt, and conflicts, jealousy etc. Our eyes are very clever. When we look to the outside, we discover faults in others everywhere and think to ourselves, "Exactly, I knew it, I was right." But we are not aware that our eyesight is completely veiled. Through our emotional filter we can not see what is really real.
The proposal of the Dharma would be to look again, "Is it really such a certainty that I am right? Am I really as good as I think?" When we begin to see the situation, such as it really is, and become aware that we have been fooling ourselves, we suddenly feel a bit unwell - we are not so sure anymore, as we realize that in fact everything, which we see as faults in others, is only our own emotions. Although this is unpleasant, it is important to keep looking, and not to cease, but instead search bravely inside one's own mind, and to bring out all emotions, which might be hidden there. That is the only way in which to free oneself from the Cycle of Being and thus from suffering.
When we become fully aware of our inner situation and notice that all emotions are inside ourselves, then the building of our Pride collapses by itself. We had built everything on the assumption that we were right and without fault, and out of this pride we have acted. The lock to the castle of our pride breaks down like a house of cards, and all emotions will dissolve, because we see that the faults lie with us and the qualities lie with the others. Then the projections stop, we see more of reality, and peace settles in the mind. This peace is what is called 'Schi-wa' and 'Nä-pa' in Tibetan, the peace and stability of the mind: Schi-nä. To get that you only have to look within.
Why are we always so sure that we are right, that we are better than all the others are? Simply because we always only look to the outside and never inside. We do not question ourselves a single time. When we finally do that, we see at once that we are not right as often as we thought. The more we look inside and examine ourselves, the more we see the emotions in our own mind and realize that they are the source of all our problems. It becomes clear that we must change something internally and not externally. More and more we notice the subtle play of the emotions, how unconscious, how subversively the are working and how they keep us captive. When we stop looking at the outside world and judging it, we notice that there is an enormous task to be done inside us.
To constantly be thinking of how full of faults one is, and how incredible much there is to be transformed, is a good indicator that one is on the right track. But to have the impression that one is basically all right, and that one has certain qualities, is a sure sign of the fundamental error of not looking inside and not seeing what is really going on.
The world is the mirror of our furious grimaces as well as of our smiles. If our world is filled with aggression, it means that we are aggressive ourselves. If the world is full of smiles it means that we are smiling ourselves. If the world bids us a friendly 'Hello', then it means that we also have said a friendly 'Hello' ourselves. Do all you can to look deep inside! If we don't examine our own mind, we will be constantly worrying about the outside world. When we see people we will be thinking, "Ah, he is now thinking this or that. His attitude shows that he must have thought that - I am sure that he thinks this or that about me." What we are doing, though, is just to project our own thoughts into someone else. The other person is nothing but mirrors of our own thoughts.
Our mind-stream has been polluted by our emotions. First when we have cleaned it up will we be able to really help others and be their friend. We will then no longer project our attachments and emotions onto the world. When we meet the world with love and compassion, where would there then be suffering or aggression? If our mind is completely pure then all relations are pure. What remains is the fruit of the transformation: helping others with love and compassion.
Understanding Karma facilitates deep release
Our body and all experiences of body, speech, and mind are the result of our actions, words, and thoughts in this life or in other existences - in innumerable existences. Our present existence is conditioned by the collected force of habits and tendencies, which determine our reactions. When we now, because of karmic conditions, experience certain situations, then we react based on these habits, without any thought at all. Through such habitual reactions we create new karma - strengthen the karmic powers and tendencies, which determine our future life.
We are the result of that which we have done earlier, and all that we shall experience in the future depends on what we are doing now.
With this understanding it is possible to simply let all experiences of our life come and go without grasping at them. When our karma brings difficult situations or emotions, we see this an expression of our mind, as the fruit of our own tendencies. We recognize them as stirrings of our mind, which we simply let come, we observe them, and then let them disappear again. And we do not become the slightest attached and do not intervene, for these emotions arise exactly because of attachments in our own mind. We should simply let it all happen, let the process run undisturbed, for otherwise we shall remain slaves of our emotions and not reach liberation. When we see things as they really are, we will not remain slaves of our own emotions, because we do not react as before and thus collect no new karmic seeds. When we simply let all thoughts and emotions come and go, they will liberate themselves. Then we can recognize everything as movements of the mind and let it go by. Cleansing is completed as we experience one karmic seed after another and let it free itself, without adding to it.
Meditation: Resting in the Nature of the Mind
Since some people of the audience seem to have become tired and are in danger of falling asleep, we will now meditate a bit:
We assume a relaxed but still upright and dignified position and attempt to let the mind rest in its natural state, without any force, without forbidding any thoughts and without following any of them. WE do not block out the mind by thinking, 'Meditation should be this or that way. We let our mind be as open as possible, resting in its own nature, relaxed, and free.
If dullness appears in the mind, we regard this as simply another movement of the mind, as an expression of the enlightened mind, and we do not let ourselves be carried away. We try to look beyond the dullness and to see the light behind it, the wide space of openness, which is covered by this dullness. We can use everything, which appears in the mind as a means of seeing the mind. With the aid of carefulness we can get behind it and understand the playing of the mind.
When we think we are having a 'good' meditation, we think, "Wonderful, I am completely open, full of joy, I am experiencing a wide space. Now I've finally done it. This is what I have been searching for all along. I am a good practitioner."
If we think that we are having a 'bad' meditation we become restless, experience constant noise around us, the neighbor touches us, and we do not find our way in the meditation, nothing works. Then we think, "I shall never make it."
When either of these two attitudes appear, we should not be looking at the thoughts, but at the person who is thinking them. Who is this person, who is claiming that he is having a good or a bad meditation? Who is the observer? .... and we have already forgotten the thought and are looking for the person who is claiming this. What we find is simply mind. And so we find our way back to the simplicity of the mind, until the next distraction comes along.
As long as we have any doubt about the nature of the mind, or about the nature of the observer, who is also mind, there will be no real experiencing the nature of the mind. And as long as this realization is not yet stable, we must do all we can to get down and meditate some more. Until Mind realizes itself. The dynamic aspect of the mind realizes that the observer is simply a part of the game. This experience brings complete certainty about the nature of the mind. One ceases to search for something. One has no questions anymore, for all questions have solved themselves.
As long as we think that we might have understood something or ask ourselves, "Is it really right, what I am doing?", then there is no certainty, and this view fails. Then all that is left to do is to sit down again and meditate some more.
Meditation-instructions by Gebdü Rinpoche:
In the flow of meditation in time
there will be no difference between consciousness and the one who is conscious.
The thinker and the thoughts are equally the playing of the mind.
The division into observer and the observed falls away.
Actor and action are no longer different –
everything takes place in the realm of consciousness.
Mind is aware of itself
and rests in its natural state
without observer and something which is observed.
This is called Non-observing: natural consciousness.
The mind is aware, but simultaneously there is no subject anymore.
That is true consciousness - complete, lasting certainty.
Of course this process entails first of all, that we study and reflect on the teachings, in order to intellectually understand the true nature, the natural state of the mind. We first make an analysis of subject and object, which is taking place on a relative level, that is a conscious, one could almost say, 'artificial' work.
Then, still, meditation leads us into a state, which is no longer the usual, and where there is no division into object and subject left, but where the mind realizes itself. From this ensues a certainty beyond all analysis, a quite spontaneous certainty.
The intellectual considerations of subject or object, which one uses at first in order to find a spontaneous, natural meditation, one must let go of again later on. If one keeps them active, there will be no real meditation, and all our endeavors will be without avail. Only the completely natural meditation will finally lead us to the realization of the nature of the mind, to liberation.
The Heart of the Dharma: Unlimited love and limitless compassion.
The heart of all spiritual practice is the wish to develop unlimited love and limitless compassion.
Unlimited love is the deep wish that all beings may realize happiness and the nature of happiness. This wish motivates all our actions, words, and thoughts.
Unlimited love is born out of the deep realization that all beings suffer. It is the deep wish that all beings may be free from suffering, and that they may understand, what causes suffering, so that they can free themselves from it. On this wish all our actions, words, and thoughts, are based.
If we carry these two wishes in our mind, we will do everything, which is at all possible for us, to free all beings from suffering - all beings without any exception, without any differentiation. Even when troubles appear" will we keep dedicating our energies of body, speech, and mind to the benefit of the beings, so that they will experience the final liberation.
Being aware of the suffering and pain of others, together with the wish to help them, should determine all our actions. But when we now attempt to call forth compassion in our minds we must be careful not to distort this. In our selfishness we often completely distort the Dharma-teachings, and we can do the same to love and compassion, as well as with the trust in the Master.
We might be thinking that we are so very compassionate, but when we limit our love and compassion to the ones closest to us or those we like, then that is not real love or real compassion, but only a form of attachment. It may well be that there is some measure of authenticity in our love and compassion in the way that an authentic Boddhisattva would live these qualities. But as soon as we, out of egocentricity, limit these qualities to a select few and make distinctions, we become completely ordinary and biased. It is extremely important that we don't make partial love, but universal love.
It is exactly the same with the trust and devotion to our master. Our egocentricity transforms this devotion into desire and creates a strong attachment to the master's person. There is a Tibetan pun about this; it says, "one should not mistake Depa for Döpa". Depa means Devotion and Döpa means desire.
How does one live love and compassion?
This wish for love and compassion must be turned into action. We should grasp this wish "with both hands" and if possible turn it into action. "May all beings experience happiness and the causes of happiness." With this wish we naturally begin to assume a disciplined way of life, which doesn't harm anyone anymore, either through bodily actions, or words, or thoughts. We try to live in accordance with the Dharma-teachings, so that no one might suffer because of us. We try to do that which is beneficial and to avoid doing that which is harmful, and through this we realize what we must further develop and where we must discipline our mind.
What motivates us to it all is the wish that the beings may not only experience happiness, but that they may also experience the source of happiness, "May they realize what really leads to happiness: acting in the right way." Through the example of our own life we can inspire others to positive actions and so help them to come to understand the causes of happiness. In order to assist them we can share experiences from our practice with them.
When we realize that suffering is the result of ignorance, the wish, that we as well as others also might be freed from that cause, appear quite naturally. The causes of all suffering are harmful, selfish actions, living one's life the wrong way. So we will try to develop a benevolent attitude, an ethical way of life, which is unbiased and aimed at the good of others.
Expanding love and compassion.
As long as we keep thinking, "I like this one better than that one", and limit our wishes to our relatives, friends, and people we like, then our love and compassion have limits, are limited. We should try to dissolve the limits, which our ego keeps setting, and develop an altruistic activity encompassing all people without exception.
We begin with those that we do like, and then we try to extend our love to those to whom we up until now have been indifferent and with whom we have no problems. We try to feel for their suffering and to develop sensitivity towards them. Then the indifference towards them disappears.
And then we can expand our love and compassion to include those whom we consider enemies or whom we think are difficult or unpleasant. Then it becomes clear to us that they are the ones, who need love and compassion the most, for they suffer severely. Included are also the beings in the hell-worlds, as well as ghosts and animals, that are living under conditions of extreme suffering. Not only will we not exclude anyone from our compassionate activity, but we will also actually prefer those whom we find disagreeable. In this way love and compassion may permeate everything, always unbiased and with complete equanimity.
Why do our love and our compassion often remain just a game?
They remain a game of children, because we do not really open up to the sufferings of others. We perceive everything from our own viewpoint and make snap judgments based on this value, also about the suffering of others. When doing this, we assume that our perception is right, and because of our limited perception our love and compassion with all the actions coming from them likewise remain limited. We keep on thinking that we are able to judge what is right and what is not.
An insect for instance is often only a nuisance to us, when it crawls around on the table or buzzes around our head, when we are eating. Many are of the opinion that insects are nothing and can feel nothing. And still we do not know what an ant is experiencing. How does it suffer? What does an insect dream about? What does an insect wish for? We don't know anything about it, but only judge it from our own viewpoint and claim that: It doesn't suffer.
If we could change places with others and for instance crawl inside an ant's hide "which admittedly can be quite difficult", then we could perceive life from the viewpoint of an ant and see what a different perspective it is: The world would look very menacing to us. Everywhere there are huge mountains moving about and we must walk in constant fear of being squashed, "a world of great suffering". We would have to be constantly on guard against other insects, who would attack us or the like. If we could experience that, we would feel a deep and honest compassion and have a real interest in working for the good of others. For altruistic action we need this deep awareness of the sufferings of others. Then love is no longer a mere game and not just a thought.
With the compassion for others it is much the same: We think we would like to be compassionate. When we see someone in the family or a friend suffering, we become quite unhappy ourselves and suffer with them. We then think that, "Now I am really on the way of the Boddhisattvas, now I am exactly as it is explained in the texts." This is not real compassion, however, but simple attachment. We make distinctions and are biased, for we suffer with them, because they are our friends. If we look honestly at the whole situation, we will see that we are suffering, because we see the other as an extension of us. We are not seeing his suffering from his viewpoint, but from our own, and we project our own suffering onto him. We identify with the other being. At the same time we regard him as our property and feel attacked, when the other being suffers. That is attachment more than compassion, and in no way is it the compassion of a Boddhisattva.
We actually only help those who are beloved and dear to us, and with whom we can identify. In this way we ultimately help ourselves in the other person, and that is attachment. When somebody does not thank us for our help and perhaps even reacts negatively towards us, we are totally disappointed and even angered. That is an obvious sign that we were just being selfish and hoping to get something back for our help. It was really just Pseudo-love and -compassion then.
Equanimity accompanies true love.
When we develop uninhibited love and compassion, all beings in the universe become our brothers and sisters. We make no distinction between close relatives or strangers, friends, or foes. Great goodness and great goodwill towards all beings appear and that is a hallmark of the Enlightenment-mind. Whether others help us or attack us is no longer of importance, for we no longer regard the situation from our own standpoint, but we assume the viewpoint of the others and thus see what they need.
Without this Egocentricity we regard all beings alike, and our actions still have the same depth, regardless of whom they concern. This kind of equanimity or neutrality is what we should try to develop.
Therefore we must discover inside us, where our attachment is, and where real love appears. For if we don't discover that, we will be taking the mouth full of big words about love and compassion, but our actions will prove the opposite. Our mouth then says, "I am helping all beings", but our hands are taking away all benefit from these beings, in order to make us happy.
Is the Way really so difficult?
Perhaps you are now feeling a bit discouraged, because the depth of our attachment to the Ego seems to be almost insurmountable. But precisely because the attachment is so strong, it is necessary to keep studying the Teachings, reflecting upon them, and practicing them, and that we cultivate an ethical attitude, which helps us to change our attitude and to work positively with body, speech, and mind.
The progress on our way depends on our attitude, as does the speed of our progression. We must simply be prepared to work on our transformation, to transmute our Egotism into Altruism, and to examine ourselves and ask, "What are our tendencies, and what must we change? If we are ready to work steadily with our minds, and to be alert in all situations, then the way will be quite simple. Whether it is difficult or simple depends on us. When we hesitate to do these spiritual exercises, when we are not completely convinced and hold back, then our road will be much more difficult. So it depends on the state of mind of each person how fast he progresses on the way, and how easy it will be.
The six worlds (states of being).
Because of the variety of positive and negative actions, which everyone has done, there is such a multitude of personal experiences. Still this variety of experience can be made coarsely divided; we speak of six large families or forms of being, in which the respective beings have almost similar experiences.
Three if these six worlds of being are characteristic by the fact that very much suffering is experienced in them, and they are the three lower states of being. In the other three, the higher states of being, there is room for happiness and similar experiences. But all six worlds are conditioned by karma.
The beings in the three lower worlds are considerably more numerous than they of the three higher worlds. In their mind streams, because of ignorance, negative tendencies prevail, all the suffering-creating tendencies, to defend the territory of the I. There are considerably fewer beings with whom positive tendencies prevail and who therefore live under happier conditions. Their slight numbers lets us sense how much effort is needed for the task of transforming selfish tendencies. Mostly egotism prevails, with all the ensuing harmful actions, which lead to rebirth in one of the three lower worlds with much suffering.
It is said that the number of beings in the three lower worlds almost equals the number of grains of dust on the Earth and the planets, and that the number of beings in the three higher worlds is the same as the number of grains of dust on a finger-nail.
There are many more beings then, which are motivated by egotism, than there are those who are inspired by love and compassion and wisdom and who do corresponding acts. It requires great effort to be able to avoid in the future the painful experiences caused by egotism.
The God World
The highest world is the world of the gods, a state of being where there is no outside suffering and life possesses many good qualities. You experience this state because of ethical conduct and generosity in earlier lives. But this generosity and the positive actions were always accompanied by the differentiation between subject and object, by the feeling that, "I am doing something, I am giving somebody something." There were always traces of egotism present. Additionally these generous actions were not motivated by a higher motivation, the wish for enlightenment and true non-dualistic happiness. Since the actions have been relative, their fruits were also relative. Such actions do not release one from our imprisonment in the karmatically conditioned cycle of life, but they do have the effect of giving a relatively happy existence, a very comfortable life without disease and with all possible enjoyment. All that they want is there at once.
The other side of the coin, however, the problem in this world, is pride. When the 'gods' see the lesser worlds they feel superior and become proud. They too are not aware that their godly living is transitory. They are living in ignorance about the real nature of their situation. At some time their comfortable life will be over, and from there on it can only go downhill. When the gods notice that their condition is impermanent and that death is drawing nearer they experience terrible suffering; they are horrified and experience sorrow and fear, for they can already see now where they are going to be reborn. After all their happiness it is very hard for them to have to accept a lesser rebirth. The suffering in that world, then, comes mainly from the becoming conscious of the threatening descent and of the impermanence of their condition, and that is a very great pain.
How does one avoid the godly trap? Develop trust and dedication.
Trust is the antidote for the god-world tendencies in our own minds, and trust in the teachings of the Buddha, for the problem of the god-beings is that they appear superior and knowledgeable, and therefore the teachings of the Buddha cannot reach their minds. They do not open themselves to it and will not hear of impermanence. To counter that it helps to develop trust in the teachings through studying and reflection, and develop confidence in the goal of enlightenment as well as in the effectiveness of the means, which we use on our way there. Thereby we can transform our ethical attitude and our till now relative generosity, which have been tied to ideas about subject and object, into a generosity free from these ideas.
The transformation of positive actions into a force leading to enlightenment comes about by dedicating these actions to the enlightenment of all beings. Then they are no longer our possessions and they are no longer a source of fruits which are transitory, because they were relative. We dedicate all merit, the positive force of our actions, to the enlightenment of all beings and thereby we transform these actions into something higher. We seal it with a higher attitude of mind, free from I-attachment. After the dedication we remain in the openness of mind, keeping still in the understanding that the three concepts, subject, object, and action, only exist in the mind and that they cannot be divided. Through this openness, where we let everything go, this positive force can spread infinitely into all space. In this way we avoid the so called 'godly trap' of doing positive actions which are not dedicated, and from these getting temporary benefits, which in their effect still remain relative, limited, and impermanent.
Another benefit of the dedication is that our actions are no longer our property when we mark them with the stamp of 'resting in emptiness' (non-identification). Everything positive that we have done can thereby escape our ego and transfer into the energy, which serves the enlightenment of all beings. In this way we protect the positiveness from harm, for if we still consider our positive actions our property, they can be completely annihilated through one moment of strong emotion in our mind. It is said that an immense cosmic era of developing positive energy can be destroyed in one moment of deep hate. All the positive energy, which has been accumulated over an infinite long time, can be destroyed incredibly fast. Therefore it is good if we dedicate these positive actions as a defense against our own negativity.
Additionally we can dedicate all the positive energy, which has been accumulated by all the beings; we join the positive energy that we have collected ourselves with the positive energy, which has been and will be accumulated by all beings, all Buddhas, and all Boddhisattvas through all time. We connect it with the powerful stream of the actions of all beings, which have already been enlightened or who is on the way to enlightenment. In this way we may multiply the power of our action, which might have been quite small in itself. By offering them up into the big stream great joy arises in our minds. This joy is a great help against the jealousy, envy or comparing-oneself-with-others mind poisons, which might even be present in positive actions, like for instance the thought that others could do this act much better than we could. Dedication means to express the wish that our positive action will be added to all the positive actions done by others, no matter who. We let joy arise and we dedicate all this joy together with the all rest to the enlightenment of all beings.
(SEE NOTE below)
The most important thing about dedication is the affixing of our actions with this stamp of resting in the final, highest reality or emptiness. It is also called the Seal of the Reality of Illusion.
By dedicating all sources of healing (all positive actions) to enlightenment we direct our force to a clearly defined goal, a goal which is beyond subject and objects. By giving up distinguishing between a subject and an object, and through the realization that everything is played out in the empty dimension of the mind, our actions, at first just relative and limited actions, become true and pure actions.
Therefore when finishing an action, like for instance generosity, we rest in the trust or in the singleness of mind where no dualism is present any more. The dedication connects our actions with the spontaneous dimension where limitless merits arise and where all qualities expand limitlessly and thus become the source of happiness for all beings. If we at this moment realize that everything is played out in the empty dimension of the mind, then we no longer have any of the hopes or other disturbances, which used to be able to arise in our usual mind.
In this way, by dedication, we direct the power of the actions towards the highest goal, and at the same time we protect it from our negativity, which could destroy all the positive merit again.
So, first we express the dedication. Then we rest in this awareness of the emptiness of subject, object, and action. And then we imagine that all the positive energy fills up all space and grows. And finally we can apply this positive energy, even just by wishing it, in a particular direction.
Wishing Prayers for Enlightenment and Fearlessness.
By wishing the force of the positive actions is directed towards the good of all beings. For instance you might wish that, "May all the natural altruistic activity be fulfilled. May the Enlightenment mind arise, where it has not yet arisen. May all the positive energy increase in all beings and not be diminished. May all beings reach enlightenment." There are many kinds of wishes, which so to speak make ways for the positive activity to work for the benefit of all beings.
In the traditional texts we find many such wishing prayers. This is what we say in the Chenrezig text when we take the Refuge, "May I reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings". This directs the pure energy of the practice quite clearly at one goal. In other wishes it is more about the altruistic activity,
"May the precious Enlightenment Mind
be born in those beings where it is not yet present,
and may it where it already is present,
not diminish but always keep growing".
Another important quality, which one could wish for, is fearlessness. For it is very important on the way to enlightenment not to become afraid, so that one can work really well for the collective good, beyond any personal interests. When one has no more personal interests, one becomes fearless, for there is nothing more to defend. One becomes fearless in altruistic activity, which is motivated by the enlightenment mind.
Advice about Meditation.
We have all kinds of ideas about what meditation is, and especially about emptiness. May people are thinking, "It is all empty. There is nothing there at all. If only I could keep this idea in my mind! Then I should really meditate to experience emptiness". But such an emptiness is only an idea of the mind that one projects. Actually it is mere diversion; one is constantly occupied with this idea. One clings to an opinion about the nature of one's mind instead of experiencing the mind itself. The mind is attached to any kind of idea. Such an idea could be to think that this is a good meditation, or that it's a bad one; they are all artificial concepts, which the mind creates about itself without even seeing how it really is. Concepts are only distraction and diversion.
Real meditation has nothing to do with holding on to ideas, or with trying to judge whether or not one's own meditation is good or bad. Meditation is a state of being in which the mind is resting in itself, without any constraints, without any evaluation of thoughts, like for instance, 'this is a good thought and that is a bad one'.
When the mind begins to differentiate between thoughts and to evaluate, it divides itself from itself, and soon the simplicity has vanished. The mind is caught up by itself in dualistic projections, instead of simply experiencing the movement, which it feels, as being the playing of the mind. In meditation the spontaneous, self-recognizing consciousness of the mind should become effective. With increasing practice the ability to sustain this consciousness becomes increasingly stronger, and, consequently, so does also the ability to stay in the non-dualistic awareness. Then the mind will see itself such as it really is.
Through the force of meditative habituation our mind no longer follows the impulses of thoughts and feelings. It finds its way back to simplicity. Thereby great clarity and stability arises in which the mind can rest in self-realization. This lets trust arise, the experiences become more profound, and finally realization arises with absolute certainty that it is exactly so. No doubts of any kind are present anymore, only the stability of the deep calm of the mind.
Instructions for meditation:
All this clinging and rejecting,
the attachment, the worry, and the dullness,
restrains and constrains the mind like clothes too small.
These constraints dissolve in meditation.
When resting in quiet contemplation thoughts and emotions arise,
then do not reject them and do not hang on to them.
Recognize them as being merely the movements of the mind and let them go.
So that the mind can cast of its narrow clothes,
which rob it of its freedom,
we should not interfere during the meditation,
but instead let the movements of the mind simply happen,
letting them go without differentiating.
When the constrains of the mind finally have dissolved,
The real freedom of the mind will appear.
The mind then becomes open and self-aware.
It recognizes its own nature.
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