His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – November 10, 2013

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne to bestow precious Dharma teachings upon the attendees.

Today is the last time we will reveal Master Gampopa’s teachings on the practical and theoretical aspects of cause and effect. In simple terms, all of them fall within the scope of Exoteric Buddhism. Based on the views taught last time regarding cause and effect and Emptiness, and through this kind of observation and analysis, you should absolutely be sure to ask yourselves, with regard to all you currently think you know about existence—including feelings, thoughts, and all of the various things you possess—the following: Why do you have such discriminating minds? Why do you make these sorts of decisions? Where is the source of your attachment to these kinds of decisions?

According to scientific explanations, it happens because of memories produced in your brain by the things you see and hear; this power of memory naturally enables you to recall certain things. Current scientific developments have led to analyses of which parts of the brain produce suffering, happiness, memory, and rationality, and research has even been done on which parts of the brain have an effect on happiness by secreting certain chemicals which cause a person to feel happy. However, after talking about all that, who is it that tells the brain to have such an effect? Right then and there, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed a disciple who works as a doctor to explain which organ tells the brain it should remember or react to something. The doctor-disciple said that some of the brain’s structures react to stimulations that are transmitted by neurons to the brain, which then secretes some chemicals that thereby produce certain actions.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to ask, “Why does the brain react like this?” The doctor-disciple said that the reason is currently unknown; some people have fairly strong reactions, causing their brains to produce more chemicals, whereas others do not. However, as for the reason why, no one has the answer yet. Rinpoche went on to explain that modern medicine still has some very contradictory concepts about life. Is a person considered dead when the heart stops, or when the brain stops? Or is a person dead as soon as they stop breathing? What exactly is the definition of death? Rinpoche instructed the doctor-disciple to answer again. The doctor-disciple said that these days the time of death tends to be calculated from when a person’s heart stopped, but if that person were to undergo an organ transplant, then the heart would not actually stop; in such a case, some doctors would not consider that person dead until their brain has died. Currently, these are the two methods for judging whether a person is dead or not.

Rinpoche continued. What is it that causes the brain to die? Medically speaking, a lack of oxygen caused by blood not being able to go up to the brain causes damage to its cells. However, since modern medicine says that the brain’s nerves are very sensitive and know when they are about to die, it only goes to reason that they should be able to draw oxygen and blood upward. Why don’t they then? Medically speaking, all of a person’s thoughts and actions are governed by the brain. If, however, a person’s body and mind is completely ruled by the brain, then why can’t a person extend his or her life even when he or she is about to die? This is quite a contradiction, is it not? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the doctor-disciple whether or not this was the case. The doctor-disciple answered that in fact, the body possesses protective mechanisms which will supply as much oxygen and blood to the brain as possible, prioritizing over any peripheral circulation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to ask, “Given the existence of these protective mechanisms, shouldn’t they constantly prevent the brain from dying?” The doctor-disciple said that this was indeed true, but that in the end they could not. The guru asked him why this was. The doctor-disciple could not answer.

Rinpoche explains that there are many contradictions in medicine. That doctor-disciple has still not answered the question posed by Rinpoche: “When is a person considered dead? When the heart stops, when the brain dies, or when they stop breathing? This is not defined in medicine, either, right?” The doctor-disciple replied, “Correct.” The guru stated that some people’s heart continue to beat after their brain is dead, and some people’s hearts stop but their brain goes on living; some people continue breathing after both their heart and brain have stopped functioning altogether. In a manner of speaking, these people would still be considered alive; why would they be said to be dead? Therefore, there are many, many answers that give no actual solution, right? The doctor-disciple indicated that this is indeed true. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then joked that this disciple who had been answering questions was a surgeon, so had put people under the knife more often than most have picked up a pair of chopsticks.

Why don’t we have definite answers to questions about human life, no matter how we approach it—from philosophy, logic, medicine, or all of humanity’s life experiences? Everyone guesses or theorizes, but to this day science still does not have any definite answers. Who is it that governs these bodies of ours? There is no answer. Just now the doctor-disciple stated that our organs react to signals they come in contact with, which they then transmit to the brain; but why do our organs receive these signals? Why are the heart and lungs set up to do their respective jobs? It all seems pre-arranged, doesn’t it? As a non-Buddhist saying goes, God made humans out of clay. If this were true, then none of us should need to eat. If we were all made of mud, we would not be able to shower every day. That is, unless we were like those people depicted in movie plots that are made of sand and can scatter to dust, but who then can become reconstituted later and be humans again. All of these answers come from human fantasies, because there is no answer.

In Taiwan, people really like to worship a certain deity. They think that this deity will return their parents’ bodies to them, so they fashion bodies out of lotus roots and lotus leaves. This too is the result of fantasy. Even if they really were to make a body out of lotus roots and leaves, why would that body move? In other religions they might say it’s because a soul entered it, but what is a “soul?” What exactly is it? None of the other religions has a definite explanation regarding the soul. Why do people have a soul? Animals have a soul too; even a tiny insect has a soul, but what exactly is it? Whether you were a professor, or someone with a Ph.D., or two or three or even five Ph.D.’s, you still would not have the answer; you’d only be able to dig up a big pile of scientific statistics with which to hypnotize yourself into accepting this explanation.

Nowadays everyone agrees that humans have evolved from apes and monkeys, but is there any actual evidence of this? There is not. All they have done is pick up a few bones and lay them out in a row, and then they think these are human bones. As for whether or not this is actually true, no one can say for sure; there isn’t any absolutely reliable evidence that can prove that humans evolved from apes and monkeys. If humans really did evolve from apes and monkeys, then why did the currently existing species of apes and monkeys not evolve as well? That’s very strange, isn’t it? This discourse has been in existence for about a thousand years; it stands to reason that prior to its emergence, monkeys and apes should already have turned into humans, but they did not.

The many false arguments in this world reach our ears. It’s like how everyone believes that eating carrots is good for one’s eyes, but science programs on television tell everyone that this is a lie. During the Second World War the British used radar to detect German aircrafts that were about to attack; as a result, most of those aircrafts were shot down. When the Germans enquired about why the British anti-aircraft guns had such accuracy, the British lied to them in order to keep their secret, and said that people in England eat carrots from childhood, so their eyesight was relatively good. This lie continued for decades. Is everything real though? It’s like the Chinese saying, “three liars make people believe a tiger is coming “—many young people these days don’t know this expression. It means that when a piece of information passes through a third person, the situation described will be considered real.

Why does Buddhism place such importance on direct oral transmission, especially in Tantrism? Why does the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center have strict rules against its disciples speaking casually about the Dharma with other people? It is because if you are not a guru, then you are not qualified to teach the Dharma; if you get a single word wrong, you could harm yourself or others. Why did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once punish some disciples for altering a Glorious Jewel’s book text? It was not because they were disrespectful to the guru; rather, it was due to cause and effect. Many people do not believe in, or fear, cause and effect; instead, they think cause and effect should fear them – they do whatever they like ignoring cause and effect. A few days ago Rinpoche instructed all of the group leaders to gather at 5:30 in the afternoon. One of them was very late. She explained that there had been a traffic jam and that she had gone to take care of something else first, so was not able to make it on time. The important point is that she thought that since she had sent someone there to represent her, it was enough for that person to listen in her stead. She did not believe in cause and effect, and was not afraid of it; she thought that it was no big deal that she had been tardy.

Rinpoche has taught many times that being late is tantamount to owing time to other people. As such, people who have been late must spend their lifetimes repaying others with their time. How does this happen? Others might go to work and be able to get the job done in just five hours, but for you it will actually take ten hours. This disciple could have said beforehand that she was not going to be able to make it, or that she would probably be late, and thereby have allowed the others to be mentally prepared. If she had, she would not have owed them now. These days think that it doesn’t matter if they are tardy, and that all they need to do is to apologize. This shows that they do not believe in cause and effect. Many people think Rinpoche enjoys reprimanding people, when in fact it is the guru’s experience and understanding of cause and effect which leads him, upon seeing evil cause, to reprimand someone. After all, the guru knows that if these mistakes are not rectified, one will only get worse in the future. If she can be tardy even to a meeting set by her guru, then can she possibly learn compassion? What this means is that she does not take responsibility for her actions. People like this naturally take no responsibility for what they say, either, so they cannot keep their promises. Those who do not keep their promises will naturally break the precepts. How can people who break the precepts cultivate compassion? Never mind practicing compassion; such people will not even be able to learn it.

If they cannot learn from it, then they are not compassionate. What is Buddhism without compassion? This is a very simple theory. Today Rinpoche has used the human brain as starting point for the many things he explained, but why did he do so? It is because people only believe in their own brains. Ever since you were little, you have been hypnotized by science and medicine; you think the brain is what governs the body. Modern medicine has proved that even if a person’s brain is removed, their body will still show signs of life as long as the heart is still beating; it’s just that they cannot move, that’s all. Right then and there a doctor-disciple indicated that this was indeed true. Rinpoche continued. If it’s true that the brain controls one’s pulse, then why does the heart keep beating even after the brain is removed? This means that the physical body isn’t dead yet. There are many contradictions, yet you all keep getting hypnotized by medicine and science. You think that your ability to speak comes from the fact that your brains are good at remembering things, that intelligence comes from a developed brain, and that many of the things you are able to accomplish result from having a brain. However, computers do not have brains, so why are they able to do so many things, too? It is people who install programs into them so that they can process tasks, but why would people think of so many things?

If we speak from a medical point of view, when people are born, their brain cells are all the same. That is, unless they are born with a congenital disease; otherwise, everyone has the exact same brain structure. If our brain structures are all the same, then everyone should be able to understand things like English, Japanese, and so on; why, then, does everyone understand different things? People with children understand very well that two children will be different even if they receive the exact same education and nourishment. Even in the case of identical twins, they should each get an equal share of the same genes; so, from a medical and scientific standpoint, they should be exactly the same, because they were made from the same mold. However, their personal likes and dislikes will not be the same. Who told them to like different things? They obviously grew up together. Isn’t this a very funny thing?

No one is looking for the answer to this in science. All humans are born with the same brains. Perhaps a scientific explanation would be that by way of post-natal training, certain parts of the brain become more developed, whereas the cells of other parts do not become as developed. The strange thing is, however, that children of the same household might receive the same education and nourishment. Why then, are some children left-handed and some right-handed? Therefore, when practicing Buddhism you must use the Dharma to see things, and not implore Rinpoche for blessings so that your family members can be a bit more comfortable while undergoing chemotherapy. What does any of this have to do with the guru? Perhaps your family member is feeling a bit better, or the medicine prescribed by the doctor is not as strong, so they feel a bit more comfortable. Don’t be superstitious; not believing in cause and effect is useless. By prostrating yourselves before Rinpoche’s Dharma photo, all you are doing is planting the causal condition to be able to practice Buddhism in the future; doing so will not cure you of your illnesses.

The disciple who came out to share her story a little while ago was full of nonsense, too; she does not believe in cause and effect. Will things get better for her if she just makes a few prostrations? Is it that simple? This too, is superstition; she has come to practice Buddhism without wisdom. Even if disciples think Rinpoche can do anything, they themselves do not do everything they are taught by the guru. Instead, they do as that disciple herself said; they “argue over every trivial thing.” Why do they have so many blind spots and complicate matters while practicing Buddhism? It is because they have not calmed down long enough to wonder, “Why am I practicing Buddhism? What is the meaning of my life?” No one has ever calmed down at home and wondered what use they have for one’s life after having learned so many things. Apart from allowing you to make enough money to live, what use do they have for your life? How can they help your existence? No one has ever thought about this. Neither has anyone ever wondered why we must die after living for a few decades. Why must we suffer when facing death? What will happen when we die? How will we feel? No one has ever gone to investigate these things.

People all think they won’t die, or that they will live until they are a hundred years old. Even if you do live that long, you’re still going to die. Don’t think that obtaining blessings and protection from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will prevent you from passing away; you’ll still die all the same. It stands to reason that having attained Buddhahood, Shakyamuni Buddha’s body would not need to die. However, the Buddha still showed us death, because any sentient being in the Six Realms is certain to experience the suffering of death. In Tantra, there is the Undying Body; that is, using one’s body from this lifetime to practice to the point that it does not die in this world. There is an example of this recorded in history; the thirteenth throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Order was able to attain such a level of fruition.

The reason Rinpoche is posing so many questions today is that the guru wants to tell you what the purpose of Buddhist practice is. While practicing Buddhism we can target many universal truths which we cannot comprehend, and use the Dharma to analyze and explain them, so that we can come to realize that this is the way things have always been. As such, only through learning and immersing ourselves in the Dharma can we gain control over what happens to us in the future and how long we will live. The Buddha never stated that He wanted to control us, nor that He could bestow life upon us. People in other religions say life was bestowed by God, but the Buddha never said such a thing. Although there are Dharma methods which can increase one’s longevity, the point of this increased longevity is to allow you to practice. Strictly speaking, increasing your longevity does not mean extending your life; it just means giving you back the longevity which you should have enjoyed in this lifetime in the first place.

As soon as your consciousness has re-entered the womb, every time your parents eat meat, you have then eaten meat, too, and your longevity will be shortened by a tiny bit. This process never stops. In addition, if you have a large amount of greed, hatred, and ignorance, then your longevity will continue to be shortened by these as well. Why should you repent? The reason is that after repenting, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will ward off your karmic creditors of past lives for a little while so that you can enjoy the wealth, longevity, and happiness that should belong to you. What are you supposed to do with these things? You must use them to practice the Dharma, and benefit sentient beings. Why do some people practice and practice, yet still suffer from a ton of illnesses and problems? It is because they have not genuinely repented; they continue to practice Buddhism self-righteously, and have never listened carefully to the true meaning of the Dharma taught by the guru. Everyone listens to the Dharma in a selective manner; you all think that if a certain line rings true for you, it is therefore worth listening to. If it doesn’t refer to you, however, you say you don’t know about it.

Rinpoche has often taught that you should not think that other people’s problems are nothing more than stories for you to listen to, and that they could never happen to you. Anything that happens to people can happen to us as well; there is always a chance—the slightest moment of carelessness could lead to something happening. Why has Rinpoche been teaching you all about cause and effect over the past few weeks? It is because you think you understand and that you believe in cause and effect, but actually you do not believe. People who believe in cause and effect always ponder over past causes and their future effects; they do not act without first thinking about it carefully. They always think things over, and will never “blurt something out without thinking,” act carelessly, or be unable to remember things. In Buddhist terms, some people have heavy karmic hindrances, and their wisdom has not been revealed; therefore, their memory is not very good. This might indeed be the case, but by way of repenting they can change their situation. In ancient times, there were many ordained practitioners who were very ignorant; they could not learn anything academic. However, they were able to achieve attainment simply by listening to their guru utter a single sentence, mantra, or name of the Buddha. They might have been dumb, but they would chant whatever they were told to chant and would do whatever they were told to do.

The more knowledgeable and academically educated you become, and the more Buddhism you think you have learned, the more hindrances you will have. There are two major hindrances to one’s Buddhist practice; one is the hindrance of affliction, and the other is the hindrance of knowledge. People who think they know or understand things, and that they possess knowledge or are not ignorant, have their own views regarding the Dharma taught by the guru, and will therefore never be able to actually hear its real meaning. Everyone thinks Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche speaks casually, and that anything said while not on the Dharma throne must not be the Dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, on the other hand, does not have a discriminating mind; everything the guru says is for the benefit of sentient beings. You think that anything Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says while not wearing the Dharma robe is nothing more than idle conversation, but anything the guru says even without these clothes on is targeted very precisely.

A little while back, Rinpoche told a certain disciple that his son should be careful. And indeed, his son really got into a car accident. The guru told him not to worry, that his son would not die or become disfigured. In the end this was indeed the case; the boy only had to have surgery for a leg injury. Over the past ten or more years, every time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has warned an inattentive disciple of something, the incident has gone down exactly as the guru predicted. These disciples don’t think Rinpoche could know about their affairs; they think that because Rinpoche is a guru, he has to tell them these things in order to appear authoritative as a guru should. Actually, this is not the case. There have been some elderly female disciples who insisted on going overseas to see their sons, thinking that because their sons were of their own flesh and blood, not going was not an option. In the end, they all suffered a very pitiful fate. Of course this doesn’t happen to everyone, but every time Rinpoche predicts something, the guru hits the nail right on the head. One could only wonder.

Why does the guru know what’s going on with you? From whether or not you have actually given rise to the Bodhicitta over the course of your Buddhist practice, the guru is able to see whether or not you have eliminated your karma. Sometimes Rinpoche will intentionally give some disciples instructions to do something. If they refuse, then no matter what excuses they use not to comply, they will all have problems later on. Rinpoche’s reason for instructing them to do things is to give them the causal condition and good fortune they need to adjust their karma. Some people look for a lot of excuses, saying they can’t do something because of their wives, husbands, businesses, etc. Rinpoche does not care about all of this; the guru simply allows you to refuse.

Rinpoche has taught many times that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru cannot change our karmic retribution, but can bestow upon us many assisting conditions with which we can change the degree of your karmic retribution. For so many people, however, this lesson just hasn’t sunk in. Would Rinpoche tell us to do something arbitrarily? Hardly ever. Anything the guru says is definitely good for our sake; not for Rinpoche’s own benefit. Still, we all think from our own points of view, and believe that practicing Buddhism is the least important thing in our lives. We just hope that our Buddhist practice will make us stand out from the crowd, or make us live better lives; we have never considered the fact that practicing Buddhism can change our lives in the future.

Today Rinpoche has spoken about a lot of seemingly random subjects, but in doing so the guru is trying to get us all to come to a profound realization that the Dharma cannot be explained by way of any worldly life experiences. Buddhism is absolutely not philosophy, nor is it logic; rather, it is the factual truth. Just now the guru mentioned that we are all under the misapprehension that anything said or done is a function of the brain. However, the Buddha taught that it is not actually the brain which causes these things; the brain is simply used to carry out the commands it is given, just as a person typing on a keyboard commands a computer to complete tasks according to what was typed. We are the same. However, what is it that causes our brains to run? It is our minds. This does not mean our hearts; rather, it means the energy to exist, possessed by every sentient being. In Buddhism, this is referred to the “heart,” but it has no shape, weight, color, or size; nor can it be seen, touched, or felt.

The Buddha described it as something very mysterious, but the Buddha did not invent the mind. Actually, scientists these days have discovered that anything produced by the universe occurs by chance. Prior to this random occurrence, however, who was it that caused two things to crash into each other? Who was it that pushed and moved them? Modern scientists have come to sense that there is an energy governing all of the changes in the universe which cannot be detected by any scientific instruments. They know that this energy was not created by God, and they know that if all of humanity were to think the exact same thing, this energy would appear. The “mind” mentioned by the Buddha cannot be realized by way of human experience, and this is the reason it is so hard to get people to understand and delve into Dharma. It is because Buddhism has absolutely nothing to do with the laws of experience.

If we all were to calm down and think carefully about Rinpoche’s teachings today, then who, would you say, is calling the shots and causing the brain to function? No matter what books we might read, we will not be able to find the answer. This is what leads to the emergence of philosophy—the continuous theorizing of the reasons and origins behind certain occurrences. However, no matter how much we theorize, you will not be able to find the answer. There is only an appearance, and in the final analysis you will still not be able to see what caused it to happen. The mind spoken of by the Buddha is an energy possessed by every sentient being that is a prerequisite for existence. In Zen, there is a term called “clear mind revealing Buddha-nature, ” meaning that Zen practitioners must have a clear understanding of their own minds, and can only see the Buddha-nature of the essence of things by way of the mind. Some people say that through meditation they can see their inner light. This so-called light of their essence cannot be seen simply by closing their eyes in meditation; they must first wait until all of their karma has been purified and they have recovered their true essence before this inner light will be revealed within their minds. However, it definitely cannot be seen with their eyes or with their consciousness.

Anything we see consciously is a function of your nerves. In scientific terms, every time a nerve moves, it produces electrical energy; if there is electricity, then of course there will be light, so what you are seeing is light produced by the firing of neurons. Prior to having a clear mind, everything you see is an illusion. Having a clear mind means you understand very clearly what the mind’s function is, and that you are able to differentiate very clearly between mind and consciousness. Where do people’s problems come from these days? Originally, the mind is an energy which governs all things in the universe, but people have grown accustomed to using their consciousness to live their lives—that is, using their eyes, ears, noses, tongues, bodies, and brains, or what are referred to in Exoteric Buddhism as the Six Thieves. Our minds receive signals from our consciousness, and are driven by our consciousness; from this, myriads of things are produced.

If our mind remains motionless, then it will not produce all of these phenomena. Whether we feel happy or sad, both emotions are the result of your mind being moved. Buddhist practice is not about reactions, nor is it the cultivation of feelings. We have always had feelings, and this will certainly continue to be the case as long as our nerves are still alive; likewise, as long as our consciousness exists, we will definitely experience reactions, and will react to all changes both externally and internally. However, our Buddhist practice does not depend on consciousness. Only once we have come to understand the function of consciousness can we comprehend the difference between the mind and our consciousness. This is very difficult to achieve; Rinpoche could talk all day about it, but not one in a million actually understand it.

In a simple analysis, everyone knows that whenever Rinpoche performs the Phowa, it will definitely produce auspicious signs. How could Rinpoche possibly cause a hole to form in the skull of the deceased while more than two thousand kilometers away if he were relying on his consciousness alone? This would be impossible. The scope of consciousness is limited. Our visibility stretches to about two kilometers at most, and what we can hear with our ears has its limits as well. Even with the help of science and radar, our conscious perceptions are limited. What force enables the Phowa to be effective when performed so far away, when the practitioner is nowhere near the body of the deceased? It is the function of the mind. The mind’s energy is unlimited. If a Buddhist practitioner is able to do things with compassion, then they can accomplish anything.

The Buddha never taught the definition of compassion; the Buddha only spoke of having the Bodhicitta and a compassionate and repentant mind. Nor did the Buddha ever speak of repentant tears or repentant rage; everything taught by the Buddha was about the mind. Why is that? Essentially, energy will only be produced if you truly achieve this; no amount of sobbing can mean that your repentance is true. Being in a crying mess does not mean you have repented. Many people often cry in front of Rinpoche, but none of them has repented. Rinpoche knows at a glance that such people are just putting on a show like in a Taiwanese opera, singing with a sobbing tone, so the guru promptly ignores them, for they do not have genuinely repentant attitudes. How can a person bring about a repentant attitude? Once you know that you absolutely cannot be saved in this lifetime unless you practice and immerse yourself in the Dharma, only then can you thoroughly give rise to a repentant mind. Your version of repentance, by contrast, is done just so that you can live more comfortably. This is not repentance; this is just saying that you’re sorry. Your desire to live a good life is for the benefit of your physical body, consciousness, feelings, and thoughts; it has nothing to do with the mind. All you are doing is trying to satisfy your desires. This sort of “repentant attitude” is fake.

Once truly come to realize that all phenomena are of the mind—that is, effects produced by the mind—then we will know that phenomena only happen if our minds move. If our minds do not move, then nothing will have any effect on you. For Rinpoche, because he is not Tibetan, ever since taking refuge in His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, he has tended to do things by the book; he has never compromised with regard to keeping the precepts, therefore, many things have happened. If Rinpoche were to allow his mind to be moved, then every day there would be endless things to encounter. Don’t think your lives are hard, or overly complicated; actually, what’s complicated is being a Rinpoche. This does not mean Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a very complicated person; rather, it means the guru must face so many people. There are more than 1,200 disciples; multiply that number by all the people they bring here, and then add all the other people in the Order. Thus, being a Rinpoche is complicated; it is not a job ordinary people can do.

Of course, Rinpoche could live quite comfortably, too, just like some people who obtain American citizenship, take on a few disciples, receive offerings, and are thus able to live the high life. For a person such as this, it is their good fortune to live like that; however, doing so is not the goal the Buddha taught us to strive for. How can we cause the Dharma wheel to turn? It does not depend on prayers; rather, it depends on every practitioner’s promotion of Buddhism throughout the world, enabling every sentient being to thoroughly understand Dharma. This is the only way to keep turning the Dharma wheel.

This section of teachings Rinpoche has given us today includes the most important teachings in Buddhism. However, they are also the most troublesome and difficult to grasp. Without this section, Dharma would lose its meaning. Herein lies the difference between Buddhism and other religions; the Buddha teaches you all about the mind. This ‘mind’ does not refer to emotions, but “two hearts beating as one”. “Two hearts beating as one” does not refer to a hetero-romantic relationship; that is a misuse of the phrase. Men’s hearts are obviously larger than women’s; how can their hearts beat as one? A doctor-disciple said that men’s hearts are indeed larger than those of women, just as relatively full-figured people tend to have larger hearts as well.

Rinpoche continued. In society people talk of “two hearts beating as one.” Women don’t like being oppressed by men, but men’s hearts are clearly a bit larger than women’s, so they will absolutely be oppressed by men. Men’s hearts tend to be larger because they need physical strength to do the things they do; however, this is not necessarily always true, because some women’s hearts are relatively large, too. Why are humans able to do so much and think so much more than animals? Actually, animals are able to do some things which humans cannot; the difference lies in the effectiveness of their minds. There are some things for which animals’ minds are effective, but for which human minds would not be effective.
When our minds are still, we become very sensitive to everything around us. This does not mean our reflexes become quick; rather, it means we are able to see very clearly. Why are we unable to see things around us with clarity, to the point that we might even need to ask someone else about them? The reason is that our minds are not still. Why is that? It is because of greed, hatred, ignorance etc. from the five poisons. These five poisons affect the mind, causing it to move, so that we cannot understand things about ourselves—even including the conditions of our physical bodies—let alone anything about other people. Why is Rinpoche able to understand what the deceased think, as well as the causes of their suffering? It is because the guru’s mind is still; he does not feel that he is performing the Dharma for the deceased, that he is a Rinpoche, or that he is giving alms with the Dharma. Rinpoche does not feel that he is doing that, or giving alms by freeing the deceased from fear, and so on, because his mind does not move; only in this way can the guru realize the true state of anything that happens around him.

In Buddhism it is mentioned that the Buddha possesses Five Wisdoms, one of which is the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom. Imagine your reflection in a mirror. When you peer into it, you see your likeness, but as soon as you walk away it disappears. A mirror can reflect anything that appears before it, but the mirror does not change. The mind can more or less be explained in this way. Our minds are like mirrors; they simply reflect everything around them. However, mirrors themselves neither grow in size nor shrink; even if a sofa is really big, it can still be seen in a mirror. Why is that? It is because the mirror has not changed; it is our eyes that are looking at it from different angles, giving us the feeling that the entire image is contained within it. When we see ugliness or beauty it is not because the person looks ugly or beautiful. Rather, it is the rules we have learned experientially which tell the nerves in our eyes what we are seeing, and this image is then relayed to our minds, causing us to think we see it in the mirror. However, if we had not moved relative to the mirror, then that image would not actually exist.

Everyone knows that there is a type of uneven mirror called a distorting mirror. Its reflections cause beautiful things to turn ugly, and vice versa; this is due to changes in the curvature of the glass. Another way of putting it is that if the mind is not affected by consciousness, then the mirror will not change, and the image will therefore not exist; it will disappear. As long as the object reflected moves away from the mirror, then it will pass out of view and no longer be there. Where do suffering and happiness come from? They come from the mind being affected by consciousness which destroys the mirror’s perfectly clean surface, causing defiling elements to enter it. Today you are all being told very clearly that once we determine that all things are functions of the mind, then after analyzing this mind, we will discover that it does not have any material substance, form, or color. Our own minds should then be regarded to have a Dharma nature as pure as the void.

Though there may be many stars and suns in the void, has the void itself ever moved? It has not. At night, you might see the stars moving, but the void hasn’t actually moved. Even if the stars appear to move, the sky has never moved. In the daytime you see clouds float past, but likewise, the sky remains still. Even if it is full of dark clouds, covering the blue of the sky, once those clouds have passed the sky will be blue once more; it will not have changed. We perceive everything by way of our eyes, ears, noses, tongues, bodies, and consciousness. If we cannot differentiate between our minds and our consciousness, then the former will follow the latter and give rise to thoughts, which will in turn produce actions. These thoughts tell our brains what to do. If the mind is still, then the brain will not react. For example, when you are extremely focused and concentrating very hard on doing something, then you won’t react even if someone next to you is shouting your name. You’ve all had this sort of experience. Logically speaking, however, our names are engraved in our brains from a very early age, so from a medical point of view our brain cells should immediately react as soon as someone calls us by name.

The nerves in the brain react more quickly than a computer reacts to the world’s fastest keyboard, and doctors can verify that this is true. Why, then, wouldn’t you hear someone calling out the name which is most familiar to you—your own? It is because in that instant, your mind is focused on something else, so hearing your name does not have an effect on it. In turn your brain is not affected, either, so you do not hear it. You are all often reprimanded by your parents. They constantly holler your names, yet you have no reaction; for some of you it is because you are pretending not to hear, while for others you really did not hear them, for the exact reason that you were concentrating on something else. Why wouldn’t we react when someone is calling out the very names with which we are most familiar? It is because our minds are still, so our brain cells are not affected. When making prostrations to the Buddha, it is mentioned that the “body” is in the brain. You all might feel that this is quite strange, but it is because the brain governs all bodily functions. Consciousness governs the body, and the mind governs consciousness. In the sutras there is mention of King Mind; this is because the mind is the king of the body.

If we can use the Dharma to cause our minds to surrender and become still, then we can live a truly happy life. We will neither chase happiness nor reject suffering, because for us being happy or sad does not matter; these feelings are like the clouds which float back and forth across the sky. Once they pass, they are gone; they won’t simply stop somewhere and cease to move. To put it a bit more simply, don’t let the clouds gather; once they have, they can become dark clouds which will block out the sun, and next comes rain. If you live like this, will you be happy? Why do you suffer? It is because you are always allowing the clouds to gather. Letting your own clouds gather is not enough for you, either; on top of it, you watch gossip TV programs and listen all day long to stories about people having affairs. The clouds weren’t originally that dark; as soon as you listen to such things, they grow a bit darker. Then it begins to rain, and you cry your eyes out; when it thunders you lose your temper, and then lightning strikes. You brought all of this upon yourselves.

Rinpoche is not telling you to let others get away with everything, but at the very least you must not constantly allow the clouds to gather. You are able to prevent this from happening. One day the clouds will eventually dissolve, but what sort of wind can you use to blow them away? It is not the Eight Winds of the mundane world. Rather, you should use the wind of your wisdom, understanding with crystal clarity that all phenomena are Empty in nature and produced by the mind; if you can pick them up, you can put them down, too. We are helpless in the face of lot of worldly affairs, and have no choice but to deal with them; for example, we have to eat, sleep, interact with other people, get married, and so on. These are things we have no choice but to do, and which lead us along as a result of our causal conditions. Since they are leading us, whether they are good or bad, a day is sure to come when they no longer do so, and we must then stand on our own two feet. While our karma and causal conditions are leading us, we must practice Buddhism even more diligently, so that one day the tables will turn and we will be the ones leading them.

This requires time, of course; it cannot be achieved in just a year or two, or three, or four, or even five. A little while ago we mentioned the disciple who showed up late. Even after having taken refuge for years, she was still so neglectful; she even allowed herself to be late for a meeting planned days in advance by Rinpoche, because she had gone to do something else on her way there. As such, she had been indifferent to the guru, and had thought the Buddhist Center’s affairs had nothing to do with her. She thought that as long as one of her team members was there to represent her, Rinpoche would not mind if she were a couple of minutes late, and this was the sort of attitude with which she approached her Buddhist practice. How can one learn anything when practicing Buddhism with such an attitude? It is practically impossible.

Once we understand the so-called purified Dharmakaya, we will no longer speak of it too mysteriously as if it is something we can neither see nor touch. Actually, we all have things which we are unable to realize in this lifetime; it’s just that no one can feel how they are. You’ve all been to the seashore before. When you get there and see the sky and the ocean, a mood suddenly comes over you, and you feel as if all of your afflictions have been washed away. Some people go to the ocean to fish, to go on dates, or to capture crabs, but that’s another matter. You’ve all certainly had this experience before: While gazing out at the sea, you suddenly feel free of annoyances. In such moments, your Dharma nature has been revealed for just an instant.

Why does this happen? It is because people are still affected by their environments; when you see something that is Empty and free of any debris, the debris in your mind stops moving as well. Thus, in that instant, your Dharma nature is revealed. For a very short period of time, only you yourself know that you are truly free of all afflictions; you feel very comfortable and say that you want to go there again. However, if you do go there again, there’s no way you will have the exact same feeling. Even if you go to the same place at the same time of day, you still will absolutely not have the same sort of feeling. When you go there intentionally to achieve this state of mind, your actions are forced; you are not purified, and your Dharma nature will not be revealed. After all that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has said today, you must not all go running to the beach tomorrow! In doing so, you would be trying to force the matter, and your minds would be full of distracting thoughts. As such, your purified Dharma natures would not be revealed.

Sometime during the past few pujas, Rinpoche told you of how he once kicked the leg of a chair and came to realize that all phenomena arise from conditions, and are Empty in nature. There was nothing forced about this; it was an abrupt realization of Dharma nature which came after all the guru’s thoughts had been extinguished, causing him to enter that state of mind very suddenly. One must have sufficient resources of good fortune in order to accomplish this. Everything you do leads to the accumulation of your own resources of good fortune. The guru, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas are constantly helping you all to accumulate these things; once you have enough of them, you will achieve attainment very quickly. When will you have enough? It won’t happen merely from practicing a bit or making a few prostrations. To put it simply, don’t ask when your resources of good fortune are sufficient; when the time comes, they will be. When this happens, it is not enough that you are aware of it; you will want to report it to your guru. However, Rinpoche warns that you should not come to him in the next two years reporting that you have kicked the corner of a wall or broken a cup; you still don’t have what it takes, so when such things happen you might as well save yourselves the trouble of coming here to be scolded. If you did have what it takes, Rinpoche would tell you.

We must tell ourselves very unambiguously that all phenomena occur as the result of us conflating consciousness with effects of the mind, thereby setting our minds to movement. We must comprehend that eating, sleeping, likes, and dislikes are all functions of consciousness; they are assimilations of all our external perceptions. The purpose of this is not to tell you that these things are not necessary; as need our bodies for as long as we possess them. Herein lies the difficulty in practicing Buddhism. To learn how to determine whether a certain phenomenon is the result of the mind or of the consciousness, we must constantly learn from the guru’s teachings. The guru pays close attention to everything a disciple does. The disciple who was intentionally tardy did so as a result of being affected by her consciousness; she had not sincerely listened to the guru. If she had, then she would not have prioritized her personal affairs over coming to participate in the meeting.

If Rinpoche had told her that she could not be late, otherwise a contract worth NT$100 million would be canceled, then she would definitely not have gone to any personal engagements that day, for she places great importance on money. When Rinpoche gave instructions that a meeting was to be held, however, she thought that it couldn’t have been about anything good, so she had gone ahead and taken care of her personal matters first. She thought she would definitely have enough time, failing to realize that Rinpoche is very punctual and closes the doors of meeting room right on time. If you do not cultivate the habit of being punctual, Rinpoche will not believe that you would take responsibility for anything. People who take no responsibility for anything are irresponsible when it comes to other people, too. For those who are in the habit of being late, their karmic retribution will be that when the time comes that they have reason to seek the guru’s help, the guru will be late that day, or perhaps won’t even be locatable. Whether you believe it or not is your choice, but many situations like this have happened in the past.

In the sutras it is mentioned that we must understand that everything is the result of our consciousness not having left our minds, and that it produces two kinds of causes—evil and virtuous—by manipulating our minds. However, after we comprehend that virtue and evil are produced as the result of our mind having been moved, then we can distance ourselves from the thought of increasing the number of virtuous deeds we do and rid ourselves of those which create evil karma. The previous two comments are not instructions; you must not tell people that Rinpoche instructed you to stop performing virtuous deeds and ridding yourselves of evil karma. These comments are not meant as advice for you, nor do they have anything to do with what you should be doing. Everyone often says that you cannot take your karma with you when you go to the Pure Land; this refers to virtuous karma and evil karma— if a person gives rise to thoughts about performing more virtuous acts or getting rid of evil karma, then they cannot possibly attain Buddhahood. Many people think that making dedications will increase their merits. This is just a convenient way of wording it, but what is really meant is that making dedications will cause you not to be attached to your past virtuous deeds and attempts to break away from evil. In the Eighth Consciousness, there absolutely are no seeds of virtuous or evil karma; only if you do not have such seeds will you cease to reincarnate. It is exactly these seeds which we are trying to break away from in this lifetime.

This is not something you can achieve yet, but it wouldn’t do not to speak of it, because it is the highest stage of practicing Buddhism. In terms of the stages of practicing Mahamudra, one must attain the Simplicity Yoga in which one sees the difference between all virtue and evil as a game. However, prior to attaining this stage yourselves, you absolutely must not speak or think this way; you absolutely may not. Today Rinpoche is revealing Master Gampopa’s teachings, so has no choice but to tell you these things. However, this does not mean that you will be able to achieve attainment in them, or that you may use these words as excuses. You absolutely must not say that Rinpoche told you that you do not need to do virtuous, and rid of evil, deeds ; doing so would be taking the guru’s words out of context, because before this there were three lessons, and this is the fourth and last one on the subject. As for you, you still have not even achieved attainment in the first lesson, let alone the fourth. Therefore, you must not say that Rinpoche told you that you could act this way; this is not true at all.

In the sutras it is mentioned that once we can break away from this way of thinking, our fruition will manifest a duality between suffering and happiness, and in our minds we will realize with clarity that these two things are of the same flavor, and thus are no different from each other. Only by achieving this can one be called a Bodhisattvas. People who still discriminate between happiness, evil, and virtue within their minds can never be said to be Bodhisattvas. This is because if you clearly understand that the mind has no physical substance, color, or appearance, and is like the void, you can distance yourselves from, and rid yourselves of, thoughts of suffering, as well as thoughts which lead to peace and happiness. In the past Rinpoche has urged many practitioners not to think that they want peace and happiness, but at the time the guru had not yet read this section from the sutras; he only read it today. This is because for a Bodhisattva practicing Mahayana Buddhism, happiness and suffering are both Empty in nature.

People who are still attached to their own happiness and suffering absolutely cannot go to the Pure Land, for they still have hindrances. You all often say that when you chant the Buddha’s name it is not effective, because you think that if it were, you would definitely be reborn in the Pure Land. This was not written in the sutras, however. The sutras only mention making vows, giving rise to the Bodhicitta, and having the essential good fortune and causal conditions required for virtuous men and women to go to Amitabha’s Pure Land. Not everyone will go there. In The Amitabha Sutra, the Buddha taught that in this Evil Time of the Five Turbidities, the Dharma is difficult to believe. Why is it difficult to believe? It is because of what we spoke of just before. It is hard for you to believe; you would think that practicing Buddhism is obviously a good thing, so why should you take this thought – chanting the Buddha’s name to go the Pure Land – away from yourselves? Once you have such a thought, your intention to chant the Buddha’s name gets divided in two, and then your minds are not wholly focused on the task. Many people think that chanting the Buddha’s name wholeheartedly means constantly chanting “Amitabha,” but that is not exactly correct. It means that you have only Amitabha Buddha in your mind and it is devoid of all thoughts as you chant the Buddha’s name, even including the thought that whether or not you would go to the Pure Land; only then can you chant the Buddha’s name with a focused mind and become a virtuous man or woman with the essential good fortune and causal conditions required to be reborn in the Pure Land.

You must all come to a clear realisation; no longer let yourselves be fooled. Don’t ask again whether it will be Amitabha Buddha’s Sambhogakaya or Nirmanakaya who will come to receive you. Just continue to chant; as long as you meet the conditions written in The Amitabha Sutra (making vows and having the essential good fortune and causal conditions required for virtuous men and women to go to Amitabha’s Pure Land), then it is not important which manifestation comes for you or in how many days before or after your death the Buddha arrives. As long as you still harbor thoughts like this, you still possess hindrances, so you cannot go to the Pure Land. When your thoughts are impure, they are distracting; as such, you are unable to become attuned to Amitabha Buddha. This is the most important Dharma method in practicing the Pure Land Sect teachings. Why does the guru urge you all to give rise to Bodhicitta? It is because people who do so are devoid of self, so naturally they are able to completely forsake all of their happiness and suffering.

The Four Immeasurables involve mention of equal abandonment of both love and hate. What this means is, being able to renounce what you love and what you hate, equally. How is this accomplished? It can only be done by what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught you today. It cannot be attained merely with Exoteric methods, but you do not yet have what it takes to practice Tantra, so all you can do is listen; you should not argue with Rinpoche. This is because Dharma taught by the guru come from Shakyamuni Buddha and the Drikung Kagyu Lineage; they were not invented by the guru.

The conclusion written in the sutra is that in terms of cause, there should be no thoughts of making choices; in terms of effect, there should be no thoughts of wishes. Rinpoche has mentioned in the past that ever since he began practicing Buddhism, the guru never once thought that one day he would be a Rinpoche; this is exactly what this line means. Unlike everyone, Rinpoche never thought that practicing Buddhism would be of any benefit to him. You do not need to think, ask, or implore. So-called faith is not simply saying that you have faith; rather, it involves having faith that the power of the Buddha’s merits will definitely help us.

Given the Buddha’s wisdom and merits, how could they possibly not help us within the bounds of the law of cause and effect? That is, without this cause, how can you have that effect? You don’t have to worry; even if your desires are not satisfied, it does not mean you have not learned the Dharma. The Buddha does not want to satisfy even the tiniest of our desires, including any desire to be reborn in the Pure Land or enjoy good health; these, too, are desires. As long as we meet the conditions set forth in the sutras, have clear minds, “chant” the Buddha’s name, “chant” the heavens, “chant” the guru, and “chant” sentient beings, we can go to the Pure Land. Chanting here does not mean chanting all day long with our mouths; it refers to thinking.

In the sutra it is written that only after distancing ourselves from all thoughts and worries will we be realistic and be able to understand our true practice. Don’t think that true practice means beating a temple block or a bell all day long; it refers to being realistic and practicing according to the truths set forth by the Buddha, and not fantasizing about any karmic retribution on or beyond any causes one has not yet planted. If you have not planted this cause, then how could you reap that effect? Therefore, if we are realistic, honest, and don’t do tricks or think too much, then the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Dharma protectors will naturally protect us, bless us, and take us with them. Buddhist practice is not hard; the difficulty lies in the fact that you are all self-righteous and think that you have begun to understand the Dharma. You are just like that disciple who came to repent before the puja; you think you are extraordinary. Everyone is putting up such a show, but after listening to Rinpoche’s teachings today, you all know what to really fear!

Practicing Buddhism should be something you feel very much at ease to do; you should feel no pressure. Also, it cannot possibly cause any inconvenience or suffering in your life. If you use your family members as excuses, saying that because of such-and-such you are unable to do what Buddhism says you should do, then you are committing a very grave sin. Why is it so grave? It is because you are helping other sentient beings slander the Buddha. A more muddle-headed person would tell you, “That’s right! Your husband is obstructing your Buddhist practice, so you should make some more dedications to him, repent more, and light some more lamps!” This is obviously your own hindrance; if you believe in the Dharma and in your guru, then who can possibly stand in your way? Simply put, you walk out the door every day to go to work; if your wife told you that you weren’t allowed to go, you would certainly say, “Alright, then who’s gonna put food on the table for you?” Why don’t you have the guts to tell people you are practicing Buddhism? Why don’t you say, “Alright, then who will care for you? If you prevent me from practicing Buddhism, who will take care of you when you need it most?” However, you don’t dare say such things; you just keep saying you would feel awkward because you owed your spouse debts from a past life. This is just selfish.

Everyone uses other people to excuse their actions. This is evil. If you don’t want to do something, then you should tell the guru that you don’t want to do it. That tardy disciple obviously did not want to come, but she went so far as to say that she was doing something for her mother and that there was a traffic jam. For a minute Rinpoche thought she had come all the way from Kaohsiung! What all of this means is that she does not attach importance to the guru. No one believes; you all think you’ll be fine as long as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has transmitted the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices to you, scarcely realizing that once you cultivate them, your true natures are revealed. Respect does not mean prostrating yourselves before the guru every day. So long as you harbor even the tiniest bit of disrespect toward the guru, you will run into problems; your mind has this seed, so things will happen. Rinpoche is not trying to give you a hard time. Many people do things on the sly, thinking that no one but themselves will ever find out, but the guru is always right on the money. Rinpoche’s watch is very accurate, too; perhaps that tardy disciple’s watch is off.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has revealed Master Gampopa’s teachings regarding cause and effect. All of them, right up to the ultimate Tantra, are of great benefit to us, both in our Buddhist practice and in our daily lives. No matter which Dharma we cultivate, and no matter which sutra we recite from, the point is always to benefit sentient beings. Of course, our goal is to become liberated from life and death and to benefit sentient beings, but being liberated from life and death is not so that we ourselves can leave reincarnation; rather, it is so that we can take a step further in our Buddhist practice and benefit all of the sentient beings in the immense void. There are only a few billion of us humans—that is an insignificant number against the vastness of the universe. There are countless sentient beings suffering in the Six Realms. Without the abilities of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas’ Dharmakaya, boasting that you will liberate all of the sentient beings in the void is nothing short of cheating yourself; it simply cannot be done.

Why does Rinpoche urge you to make a firm resolution to become liberated from life and death, to first stop reincarnating and then go to practice in the Pure Land? It is because we owe a debt of gratitude to sentient beings, the guru, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas. In order to repay this debt, we must do more than simply making a few offerings; we must help all of the Buddhas to keep the Dharma wheel constantly turning throughout the universe. Don’t limit your practice to the Human Realm on Earth. There are many peoples throughout the universe, not just on Earth; there are many sentient beings out there, all of whom need the Dharma. Even if you do not have an affinity with another place in this lifetime, as long as you have the aspiration, you will definitely be able to become liberated from life and death. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help you to bring your aspiration to fruition. Of course, this is not at all something that can be accomplished in just one lifetime, but as long as you are determined, you are certain to achieve attainment.

There is frequent mention in the sutras that the scripts of the vows made in the past by many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas took a very long time; for example, it took Amitabha Buddha five kalpas to reflect on the Forty-Eight Vows. Five kalpas is a very long time, so when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche heard an ordained practitioner say that she planned to add a couple of vows to the Forty-Eight made by Amitabha Buddha, the guru’s jaw nearly dropped. Even Amitabha Buddha had to turn into a Bodhisattva’s Dharmakaya, and under his guru’s instructions, went to all of the Buddhas’ Pure Lands to pay his respects and came to understand all of Their vows; only then did he think about his own. This is the origin of Amitabha Buddha’s Forty-Eight Vows and they definitely did not pop up from thin air. This is what was written in the sutras; Rinpoche did not make it up. If you hear of someone jumping up and claiming to be the child-attendant by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s side in the past, just wave it off; if you hear someone claim to have had an affinity with Shakyamuni Buddha in a past life, then likewise, just wave it off.

Any appearance of a Bodhisattva is the result of a sequence of events; it absolutely cannot happen suddenly like someone leaping out of a stone. Even if one appears in this lifetime, it will certainly be the result of his having practiced the Dharma and being able to propagate it; it doesn’t happen just because someone says he or she has seen a Bodhisattva. This especially doesn’t hold true when that person claims to lead a certain sect. You should all be careful about what you believe. There is no mention in the sutras of sects; a homophone of the word zòng (sect), is “zòng” (rice dumplings), and that’s pretty much what sects are. Don’t be superstitious; don’t think that those people out there are very remarkable. If they are, it is their own business. There is mention in the sutras of sorcerers, but these were not like the magicians of modern times. Magicians in ancient times really were able to move things around, and there are still people like that today; there are even some in other religions. However, that does not mean that they can help you to become liberated from life and death or teach you Dharma.

Therefore, you should not be superstitious about phenomena which can lead us astray. You should look at them diligently and attentively, but don’t believe everything you hear is real. You must genuinely and carefully go and experience things, watching and listening as much as you can, but you should not be muddle-headed or follow your desires in the hopes that the guru can make them come true. The guru cannot possibly satisfy your desires; even if he could, it would only be temporarily. If you are suffering a lot, the guru might alleviate your pain a bit so that you can calm down enough to listen carefully to the Dharma, but this is not the same as satisfying your desires. You must all understand this distinction very clearly; once you do, then practicing Buddhism will become a very happy thing for you, and you will no longer tell the guru that you owe your wife debts from a past life. If you did not owe your wife, why would you have gotten married to her? Therefore, this is no excuse at all, because Rinpoche had been married before, too; the guru repaid the debt that needed to be repaid, and when he was done it was over. What are you trying to accomplish by talking so much about it?

What is all this nonsense about being husband and wife in the next life? It’s just a bunch of lies. If you are married in this lifetime, it is either because you owe your spouse, or they owe you. Now you’re together to settle your debts, and be done with it. Rinpoche is not encouraging you to divorce, so don’t misunderstand. Don’t say the guru told you that once you have repaid your debts you should divorce; that is not at all what he is saying. Rinpoche is simply telling you not to use your family members as excuses to hinder your contact with the guru. Doing so is bad for both you yourselves and your family members, and will plant evil causes. You can explain your own actions by way of your own excuses, but bear in mind, don’t use your family members as excuses. In the Ratnakuta Sutra it is mentioned that you must not threaten or intimidate your family members or your subordinates, or take their money and use it to make offerings or give alms. If you tell others that cultivating this merit by way of making an offering is really good for them, and that if they don’t do it they will miss a big opportunity, then you are threatening them.

The offerings and alms you give should come from within your own means. Some people think they first need to make investments, and that they will make an offering once they have made money; they don’t think about first making an offering, even though making an offering to the guru is certain to result in good things to come. People are all very obvious; they think that when making an investment, they need to earn a bunch of money immediately. Actually, this is not how it works. Don’t be foolish; if you go bankrupt, you’ll be scolded. You will at least get a thank-you from making your offering, but once your investments have all fallen through, others might say you had bad luck, but really it was you who made a decision that was not too bright.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the disciples expressed gratitude for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious Dharma teachings in unison, and stood to pay reverent homage as the guru descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on April 20, 2020