09.06.  

Milarepa-Tsok-Puja,
20 Uhr,

Saga Dawa !!

 

23.06.-25.06

     Lieder der Verwirklichung

mit

Kristina Bischoff

Karma Chang Chub Choephel Ling


The Seven Points of Mind Training

 

His Eminence the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche,
Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge
 

 
Instructions on
The Seven Points of Mind Training by Lord Atisha
 
 

 
 
Introduction
 

 
I am very happy to be here and would like to thank the Berkeley Dharmadhatu/Shambhala Center for providing the opportunity to make this connection with you. It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to talk to you.

 
 

 
Generally speaking, at a Dharma seminar, both the teacher and the students should generate the pure motivation of the altruistic mind of Bodhicitta. The purpose of presenting and receiving the teachings is to benefit all living beings. So, please generate the altruistic mind of awakening.

 
 

 
From the three levels of teachings that Lord Buddha presented, the subject of this seminar is Lo-jong in Tibetan, which means  'mind training, ' and accords with the great Bodhisattva vehicle. The Bodhisattvayana is also known as Mahayana. Maha means  'great ' and is translated into Tibetan to mean  'heightened. ' The weight of what is lifted and heightened is in no way light or small. Now, Mahayana should not be seen as greater than Hinayana, i.e., Hinayana should not be considered inferior. All vehicles teach the means to overcome delusiveness and lead to enlightenment.

 
 

 
But why is the subject of this seminar exclusive to the Mahayana? The attitude is different than that of a Hinayana practitioner. The Hinayana teaches its disciples to strive for the peace of personal enlightenment, whereas the Mahayana teaches its disciples the means by which they can attain enlightenment for the benefit and welfare of the limitless number of sentient beings that live in the vast universe, and this is why the motivation of a Mahayana practitioner is great and vast, the connotation of the term maha. Since the aim of a Mahayana practitioner is not based on self-interest, one's own liberation as well as that of all living beings is faster and more profound due to the selfless motivation. The cultivation of Bodhicitta,  'the awakened attitude ' that is specific to the Bodhisattvayana is the wellspring of achieving enlightenment. Bodhicitta is genuine and sincere loving kindness and compassion for all living beings.

 
 

 
The benefits of generating and cultivating Bodhicitta are precisely dealt with in the Bodhicharyavatara that was written by Shantideva, who said that Bodhicitta is inconceivable. He compared anything carried out in the absence of Bodhicitta with a water-tree, the literal term in Tibetan for  'banana tree, ' which can only bring forth fruit once in its lifetime. Its trunk consists of layers and layers of bark, but it has no roots to enable it to produce a second harvest of fruit. Shantideva compared anything done with Bodhicitta with a tree that has plentiful harvest and bears fruits year after year. Anything virtuous done without Bodhicitta is just as limited as a banana tree, whereas anything good done with Bodhicitta is limitless. Therefore, the path of Mahayana is the ground that leads to enlightenment attained when one has accomplished Tantrayana, the foundation being Hinayana, i.e., Sutrayana. This is the reason why Bodhicitta is essential in our practice. Developing Bodhicitta doesn't mean cultivating something new or foreign to oneself, since it is always present within every living being. Developing Bodhicitta means awakening that which is already present within each and everyone without exception.

 
 

 
It is important to generate and develop loving kindness and compassion that everyone already has. One shouldn't think it is something that needs to be acquired, that it is foreign to oneself, or that it is difficult to cultivate. It is quite easy to acknowledge and appreciate that loving kindness and compassion are the true nature of all living beings and that conflicting emotions are fleeting instances. If the conflicting emotion of anger arises in one's mind, for example, it is quite evident that one loses control of oneself and reacts without mindfulness and awareness. This is what is referred to as being unbalanced and bewildered - and it certainly is not one's true nature.

 
 

 
Let me repeat this in English so that there are no misunderstandings: When people are angry, they are not aware of what is actually taking place in their minds and this state is not the true nature of their mind. Nobody would every claim to enjoy being angry after having found the chance to look at it after it has passed, the first proof that mind's true nature is Bodhicitta. Everybody somehow feels guilty, sad, or ashamed in some way or another after anger has passed, the second proof that mind's true nature is Bodhicitta. Anybody who observes another person's anger feels uncomfortable and tries to avoid such people. Nobody enjoys the company of angry people, the third proof that mind's true nature is Bodhicitta.

 
 

 
Looking at it from the other side: It is evident that people who are kind and compassionate naturally cause others to be happy and are gentle towards themselves, too, whereas anger makes people tremble and shake. Anyone who observes a kind and gentle person naturally experiences kindness and gentleness. Others enjoy their company and like being together with them, which proves that the nature of all living beings is loving kindness and compassion since they enjoy it, feel well, and are happy. There are many names to describe the true nature of all living beings: Buddha nature, Tathagatagarba, and Bodhicitta.

 
 

 
Again, Bodhicitta is the nature of everybody's mind. One fails to recognize it due to being overwhelmed by emotional reactions and thus focusing one's attention on a self and as a result on other things that one feels are different than and in opposition to the self. As long as one fails to recognize one's true nature, it is necessary to engage in practices like mind training in order to generate and increase Bodhicitta. Mind training is the means to experience the true nature of one's very own mind.

 
 

 
 
The Mind Training Lineage
 

 
There are many different mind training practices. I will discuss  'The Seven Points of Mind Training ' as Lord Atisha taught them. He received the precious transmission of mind training from the great master Serlingpa. The Kadampas continue transmitting the practices up to the present day. The great Kadampa Master Chekawa explained these instructions precisely, so we also pay homage to him in  'The Prayer to the Mind Training Lineage. '

 
 

 
 

 
'Soothing the Pain of Faith. A Prayer to the Mind Training Lineage '
by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye

 
 

 
'Glorious Root Guru, the Precious One,

sitting upon my head on a lotus-and-moon seat, with your great kindness, please take care of me.
Grant the mastery of the enlightened form, speech, and mind.

 
 

 
I pray to Shakyamuni and his regent Maitreya,

 
to the noble Asanga and the learned Vasubandhu, to the two Sena and Gunamitra, and to Simbhadra.

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
I pray to Gang-pel and the greater and lesser Kusali,

 
to Dharmakirti and Lord Atisha, to Drom-tön, Potowa, and Sharawa, and to the contemplative Chekawa.

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
I pray to Chilbupa and Guru Özer, to Lha-ding, Jang-chub Bum, and Kung-gyaltsen, to Yonten-pal and the great Pandit Dewa-pal, and to Shon-nu, who proclaimed the four teachings.

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
I pray to the Bodhisattva Sonam Trakpa, to Tok-me, Zangpo, Yonten Lodru, and Sho-nu Lodru,

 
to the great Pandit Shakya Chokden, and to Kunga Chokdrup and Jetsun Drolchok.

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
I pray to Lung-rik Gyatso and all-knowing Taranatha, to the two regents Rinchen Gyatso and Yeshe Gyatso,

 
to the contemplative Yongen Gon, to Gonpo Paljor.

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
I pray to Tsewang Norbu and Trin-le Shingta, to Situ Tenpa Nyingje and the Siddha Lodru,

 
to Karma Lhatong, Shenpen Özer, and Lodru Taye.

Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.
 

 
I pray to Kachab Dorje and Shiwa Nyingpo, to Padma Wangchuk and Khyentse Özer,

 
to Norbu Dondrub, whose experience and understanding were complete, and to all the Root and Lineage Gurus.

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
In your form is united the compassion of the Buddha and his sons.

 
You are the incomparable Lord of Dharma with whom any relationship is meaningful.

 
My Root Guru, you embody the life-breath of this Lineage.

 
I pray to you from the depths of my heart,

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel.

 
 

 
Revulsion and renunciation form our foundation.

 
Supreme Bodhicitta in its two aspects is the secret for never veering from the Mahayana path.

 
Grant your blessings that Bodhicitta may arise, be stabilized, and grow in strength.

 
 

 
When the confusion of the eight concerns has been thrown over, ego-clinging completely severed,

 
and genuine concern for others thoroughly developed,

 
whatever appears can be experienced as an aid on the path of awakening.

 
Grant your blessings that mind training may be complete.

 
 

 
With the direct understanding that what is ultimate has no origin, cessation, or duration, is emptiness,

 
yet what is present arises from dependence and coincidence like an enchantment,

 
May I come to see everything and work naturally for the welfare of limitless beings as long as samsara exists. '

 
Translated by Ken McLeod, in: Jamgon Kongtrul, The Great Path of Awakening, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1987, pages 85-88.

 
 

 
 

 
One: The Preliminaries
 
1) Guru Yoga
 

 
'I prostrate to the Great Compassionate One.

 
In your form is united the compassion of Buddha and his sons.

 
You are the incomparable Lord of Dharma with whom any relationship is meaningful.

 
My Root Guru, you embody the life-breath of this Lineage.

 
I pray to you from the depths of my  heart,

 
Bless me with the full development of love, compassion, and Bodhicitta, and the ability to dismiss and dispel. '

 
 

 
In order to experience and realize ultimate Bodhicitta, the preliminary practices are essential and therefore need to be practiced first. What are the preliminary practices?

 
 

 
As I explained in brief above, due to the obscurations and habitual patterns that cause one to differentiate and separate an apprehending self from apprehension of other things, one fails to realize the true nature of one's own mind. In order to awaken to one's true nature, one visualizes one's Guru above the crown of one's head. Trust and confidence that the Root Guru is the essence of all Buddhas of the three times needs to be pure and sincere. While visualizing one's Root Lama with one-pointed devotion, one prays to him that he shows how to cultivate and experience ultimate Bodhicitta. Having invoked one's Guru, who is the actual embodiment of all Buddhas of the three times, one imagines that he dissolves into oneself and then rests in the experience of one's own true nature. This visualization is called  'Guru Yoga, ' which is practiced because it is due to the blessings and kindness of one's Root Guru and the Lineage Holders that one can experience and manifest ultimate Bodhicitta.

 
 

 
 

 
2) The Four Contemplations
 

 
'Revulsion and renunciation form the foundation.

 
Supreme pure Bodhicitta in its two aspects is the secret for never veering from the Mahayana path.

 
Grant your blessings that Bodhicitta may arise, be stabilized, and grow in strength.

 
 

 
When the confusion of the eight concerns has been thrown over, ego-clinging completely severed,

 
and genuine concern for others thoroughly developed,

 
whatever appears can be experienced as an aid on the path of awakening.

 
Grant your blessings that mind training may be complete.

 
 

 
With the direct understanding that what is ultimate has no origin, cessation, or duration, is emptiness,

 
yet what is present arises from dependence and coincidence like an enchantment,

 
may I come to see everything and work naturally for the welfare of limitless beings as long as samsara exists. '

 
 

The second preliminary practice is contemplating the four themes of Mahayana that turn the mind away from samsara. One first contemplates the unique occasion of having attained a precious human birth and determines to use one's life meaningfully. Then one contemplates impermanence and death. As long as one has a precious human life, one should not waste it, because the time of death is uncertain and impermanence is a fact. The third practice that turns one's mind to the pure Dharma is contemplating how to really make use of the fortunate opportunity of having attained a precious human life more fully by accumulating positive karma. One understands that, due to the infallible law of cause and effect, unwholesome activities of body, speech, and mind lead to painful results. Fourthly, one contemplates the meaningless propositions of samsara. These four contemplations inspire a practitioner to renounce futile concerns that samsara entails and to turn his or her attention towards liberation. The four contemplations are also a decisive foundation to eventually experience and realize Bodhicitta.
 

 
The purpose of all practices is to realize relative and ultimate Bodhicitta. It is therefore necessary to lay the foundation by engaging in the preliminary practices of visualizing one's Root Guru as well the Lineage Holders and of contemplating the four thoughts that cause one to turn one's attention towards Buddhahood and away from samsaric concerns. These practices are carried out during meditation sessions. One continuously holds Bodhicitta and the four thoughts in one's mind and engages in virtuous activities with body and speech during post-meditative times with mindfulness and awareness.

 
 

 
Before continuing with the instructions, please generate the pure motivation of the awakened mind. Having cleared your minds and with pure thoughts in your hearts, please receive these teachings with attentiveness.

 
 

 
We have gone through the first point of  'The Seven Points of Mind Training, ' which deals with the preliminary practices. Perfecting these practices makes one a worthy vessel to receive and contain the blessings within one, the reason one practices Guru Yoga and contemplates the four thoughts or reminders to turn one's mind away from samsara. Now I will speak about Bodhicitta.

 
 

 
 

 
Two: The Main Practices
 

 
1) Absolute Bodhicitta
 

 
'Regard dharmas as dreams.

 
Examine the nature of unborn awareness.

 
Self-liberate even the antidotes.

 
Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence.

 
In the post-meditation experience, one should become a child of illusion. '

 
 

 
There are ultimate and relative Bodhicitta. The purpose of all practices is to develop and realize ultimate Bodhicitta. Lord Atisha first described ultimate Bodhicitta in the text,  'The Seven Points of Mind Training, ' so that practitioners are able to realize relative Bodhicitta, which is loving kindness and compassion for all sentient beings. In order to achieve relative Bodhicitta, it is necessary to meditate ultimate Bodhicitta, which is the true nature of all things. What does this mean? The ultimate truth is that every outer and inner phenomenon arises in dependence upon other things and therefore nothing is a self-existing entity. By realizing how all appearances and experiences exist, namely dependent upon other things, one is able to develop and realize relative Bodhicitta.

 
 

 
The explanations on relative and ultimate Bodhicitta should not be mistaken due to the order in which they are presented here. Usually it is taught that one must first generate and develop relative Bodhicitta so that one can realize the ultimate truth. The reason this text teaches that it is necessary to develop ultimate Bodhicitta in the beginning is because a practitioner must understand and know the ultimate, which supports one's practice of relative Bodhicitta. By knowing the ultimate, one feels compassion for those who have not realized the true nature of all things, which is emptiness.

 
 

 
'Regard all dharmas as dreams. '

 
 

This short line is a teaching on ultimate Bodhicitta, which doesn't mean one should brush off all outer phenomena as dreams, rather it points to the dream state in which everything seems to be solid, real, and true. The moment one wakes up after having had a dream, what seemed concrete and real during that time is understood and realized as having been unreal and non-substantial. When awake, one realizes that all experiences one considered real while dreaming were only thought to be real while asleep.
 

 
One needs to appreciate and acknowledge that all phenomena exist in mutual interdependence and that nothing exists of its own accord. One needs to realize that one labels things as though they exist on their own as long as one is bewildered as to the true nature of all things. This is why the teachings say that one must learn to see all inner and outer phenomena as a dream and to be aware that all things are a projection of one's own mind. The Mahamudra teachings show that all phenomena are created by the mind, so it is important to base one's practice on Mahamudra.

 
 

 
When it is taught that everything that is apprehended needs to be seen as a dream and not as real, this does not mean to say that perceptions and cognition should be ignored or are bad, rather it means to say that every appearance and experience is dependent upon other things and nothing exists independently. Interdependence points to the fact that nothing exists forever; it also points to the fact that things that exist are present. The truth of interdependence finally leads one to go beyond notions of existence and non-existence, since beliefs in and imputations of inherent existents and non-existents depend upon each other.

 
 

 
'Examine the nature of unborn awareness. '

 
 

While gradually progressing along the path to Buddhahood, it is also necessary to examine the mind that sees that all things are like a dream. When one directly perceives one's awareness, then one has seen one's own mind that is not created, has no location, and therefore it is unimpeded. The mind is free from birth, abiding, and cessation. When one comes to see the very nature of one's own mind, then all disturbing emotions and bewilderment are overcome.
 

 
'Self-liberate even the antidotes. '

 
 

 
We saw that when disturbing emotions control one's life, one is over-ruled by them and therefore lives one's life imbalanced and bewildered. In practicing relative Bodhicitta, one learns to practice patience as an antidote to letting anger arise when situations seem justified. In practicing ultimate Bodhicitta, one looks at one's own mind and instead of applying the antidote of patience when anger arises, for example, one looks at one's own mind and as a result both the emotion as well as the antidote naturally cease on their own and are thus self-liberated. Then one rests in the true nature of one's own mind, which is free of concepts, imputations, conditions. One

 
 

 
'Rests in the nature of alaya, the essence. '

 
 

 
The practice of resting in the essence that is the alaya, the  'ground consciousness, ' is taught in Mahamudra. The instructions say that one settles and rests the mind in its own nature, without clinging to thoughts or rejecting them. These instructions are the same as those taught in Maha-Ati, which teaches that one rests one's mind in pure awareness. This is how one practices ultimate Bodhicitta.

 
 

These instructions should not be misinterpreted as the actual realization of ultimate Bodhcitta; rather they are meditation instructions that teach meditation techniques so that a devotee can realize ultimate Bodhicitta. Appreciating and acknowledging that the true nature of Buddhahood is the true nature of all living beings, one understands that many are not aware of their pure essence and live their lives bewildered as a result. Recognizing that others are bewildered and therefore imbalanced, one has compassion for those who are not aware of their potential to realize awakening. This leads followers to effortlessly realize relative Bodhicitta.
 

 
 

 
2) Relative Bodhicitta
 

 
'Sending and taking should be practiced alternatively.

 
Those two should ride the breath.

 
Three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue.

 
In all activities, train with slogans.

 
Begin the sequence of sending and taking with oneself. '

 
 

 
What is relative Bodhicitta? The wish to benefit all sentient beings so that they achieve the causes of happiness as well as happiness itself. Wishing to establish all living beings in a state of lasting happiness is the meaning of having love and concern. Wishing to help all living beings be free of the causes of suffering as well as suffering itself is the meaning of having compassion. Both aspirations define relative Bodhicitta.

 
 

 
It is necessary to realize that living beings go through and endure suffering in order to realize relative Bodhicitta. Acknowledging that all living beings are endowed with the Buddha nature but fail to realize it, one understands that they suffer from illnesses, frustration, and so forth. One sincerely longs to help them become free of suffering and achieve happiness and therefore practices exchanging self with others. Why is the practice of giving and taking, i.e., exchanging self with others, the relative aspect of developing Bodhicitta? It requires tremendous effort on the part of a practitioner due to the habitual pattern of separating self from others that one has amassed for such a long time. Actually, one is very attached to oneself and doesn't really care about others. As a result, it is not easy to think one is taking on the suffering of others and giving them all one's joy. Taking on others' pain and giving away one's happiness and joy is an imagination as long as one separates self and others. Therefore the instructions tell us,

 
 

 
'Sending and taking should be practiced alternately. '

 
 

 
Traditionally, the practice of sending and taking is carried out by first concentrating on someone very close, usually by focusing one's attention upon one's parents or brothers and sisters. Then one gradually extends one's attention to include a few other persons one likes and later to embrace all living beings, as taught in The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Lha-je Gampopa. Westerners should start this practice by concentrating on someone who is very dear and then increase this practice by concentrating on the limitless number of sentient beings in the world. What it comes down to is winning confidence and conviction in the fact that it is possible to remove the pain and suffering that others experience and go through and to give them one's own happiness and joy. One practices and becomes used to the fact that it is possible be accomplish this goal, which is the purpose of practicing sending and taking, tong-leng. One slowly becomes convinced that one will be able to help remove living beings' suffering and will be able to establish them in a state of reliable happiness. Having given rise to this conviction in oneself, the instructions continue and teach that

 
 

 
'Those two should ride the breath. '

 
 

Convinced that one can and will attain Bodhicitta, when one exhales one imagines giving away all one's happiness, virtue, and merit that one has accumulated since beginningless time to all sentient beings in the three realms of existence. Convinced that one can and will attain Bodhicitta, when one inhales one imagines taking on all obstacles, illnesses, and misfortunes that living beings in the three realms of existence endure. This is how to practice what is called  'riding the breath. '
 

 
It is important to practice tong-leng,  'giving and taking, ' without having any hopes or fears, which hinder developing Bodhicitta. One needn't fear actually becoming sick oneself when one imagines taking on the suffering of others and one needn't hope to achieve any benefit for oneself when one imagines giving away all one's happiness. As long as one is bound by hopes and fear, the practice of exchanging self with others is faulty. The aim is to practice without making any mistakes, i.e., free of hopes and fear.

 
 

 
Tong-leng,  'exchanging self with others, ' can be called to mind and practiced during all one's daily activities. When one experiences desire or attachment to people and things, one immediately thinks,  'May I liberate all living beings from the causes and painful results of desire and attachment. ' Likewise, when things go wrong and anger could arise, one immediately thinks,  'May I liberate all living beings from the causes and painful results of the conflicting emotion of anger. ' This technique can also be used when one experiences bewilderment that arises from ignorance. The moment one is aware of one's own ignorance, one immediately thinks,  'May all living beings become free from ignorance through my having recognized my own ignorance. ' These techniques are carried out during post-meditation, i.e., during daily life, and pertain to

 
 

 
'Three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue. '

 
 

 
Whatever activities one engages in  ' mental, verbal, or physical  ' it is important to practice exchanging self for others at all times. It is decisive to practice tong-leng in every situation and under all circumstances. For instance, the moment one experiences joy, one prays,  'May every sentient being experience joy, ' and one delights in the merit one has been able to offer for them. The moment one does something wrong, one prays,  'May all sentient beings who do wrong, too, be free of such negative behavior. '

 
 

 
When one has become proficient in the practice of tong-leng, self-cherishing automatically ceases and one realizes the equality of all living beings. This is how one accomplishes ultimate Bodhicitta without exerting effort. When one has perfected ultimate Bodhicitta by practicing relative Bodhicitta, then one can take on the suffering of others. How can this be? Because one has realized the ultimate truth of shunyata,  'emptiness, ' in which case one does not separate a subject, objects, and practice, the three objects. The state free of the three objects is the state in which one does not experience that there is a self taking on suffering, that there is an object, i.e., a living being, from whom one takes suffering, and that there is suffering. One has reached the domain that is called,  'the three non-referential objects, ' which is ultimate Bodhicitta. Having realized ultimate Bodhicitta, one naturally and spontaneously engages in the limitless activities of a Bodhisattva.

 
 

 
So far we have discussed the preliminary practices, absolute and relative Bodhicitta, and now I will speak about the third point, which deals with transforming negative conditions and bad circumstances into the enlightened path.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
Three: Transforming Bad Circumstances into the Way of Enlightenment
 

 
'When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of Bodhi.

 
Drive all blames into oneself.

 
Contemplate the great kindness of everyone.

 
Regarding confusion as the four Kayas is unsurpassable shunyata protection.

 
Four practices are the best of methods.

 
In order to bring unexpected circumstances to the path, whatever you suddenly meet would be joined with meditation. '

 
 

As long as one does not know that the self does not exist as supposed, one clings to the idea that it does and identifies it that way. As a result, one has the dualistic notion of a truly existing other that stands in opposition to or in agreement with what one thinks is the own self. This is why one experiences various conflicting emotions that bring on negative karma, and then one suffers. Buddhism defines three types of suffering: the suffering of conditioned existence, the suffering of change, and the suffering of suffering. Whenever one experiences pain that is due to negative karma, one wants to eliminate the conditions and become free of suffering and pain. The Buddha showed that it doesn't suffice to eliminate suffering; rather that it is necessary to eliminate its source.
 

 
As it is, one usually blames others or outer circumstances for any suffering one experiences. Suffering isn't pleasant at all. Therefore it is important to realize the next slogan, which teaches,

 
 

 
'When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of Bodhi.

 
Drive all blames into oneself. '

 
 

It is futile blaming others for any suffering one goes through. One experiences anguish and pain only because one clings to a self as though it truly exists and as a result one clings to others, separating oneself from them. One divides and sorts out those one considers friends from those one considers enemies and accumulates negative karma as a result, which is the cause of one's suffering. The dualistic attitude of clinging to a self and others must be overcome in order to relinquish one's own suffering. How does one practice?
 

 
When suffering arises, one looks at it and doesn't blame others. Instead, one takes advantage of the opportunity to realize that one suffers because one clings to a self. Through practice, one comes to appreciate that the suffering one experiences is only due to one's own ignorance and the errors one made and continues making while bewildered and deluded. When one suffers, one reflects the fact that all living beings experience suffering and pain, too. This helps one not to blame others and to realize one's own mistakes; it also helps one not to be angry at pain itself. The process of transforming painful conditions into the path of Bodhi is achieved by seeing the source of suffering, which is clinging to duality.

 
 

 
'Contemplate the great kindness of everyone.

 
Regarding confusion as the four Kayas is unsurpassable shunyata protection. '

 
 

 
The instructions in this verse have to do with relative Bodhicitta in that one practices developing loving kindness and compassion for all living beings. One realizes that they, too, are subject to the same confusion one has and also experience suffering as a result. The same instructions in this verse have to do with ultimate Bodhicitta in that one realizes that clinging to duality cannot be relinquished through an intellectual understanding, rather can only be overcome by realizing shunyata,  'emptiness. ' As long as one doesn't realize mind's true essence, which is empty of inherent existence, i.e., emptiness, one thinks the self is a concrete entity and mistakenly apprehends it in that manner. As long as one doesn't realize mind's clear and radiant nature, one thinks whatever appears and is experienced is also a concrete entity and apprehends everything in that manner. The essence of the one who apprehends and apprehensions is emptiness and the nature of the mind is clarity, the reason all things appear to the mind without obstructions. One needs to recognize and realize these three aspects of one's own mind  ' emptiness, clarity, and unimpededness, which are the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya.

 
 

 
The transformation of bad circumstances into the path is accomplished by first practicing when one experiences pain and suffering, then by not blaming others, and finally by using all experiences to realize the three Kayas, the fourth being the indivisibility of the three.

 
 

 
 

 
Four: Integrating Practice in One's Whole Life
 

Mind training is not only restricted to formal meditation sessions but is practiced in all walks of life. The purpose of mind training is to help others, which is only possible if one has developed the five strengths. In order to accomplish them, one needs to be inspired and have confidence that one will be able to truly help others if one practices correctly and diligently. As it is, one has the motivation but lacks the five strengths, which are faith, diligence, mindfulness, concentrative absorption, and discriminating wisdom-awareness.
 

 
'The condensed heart instructions are the five strengths: Practice them.

 
The Mahayana instruction for ejection of consciousness at death is the five strengths:

 
How you conduct yourself is important. '

 
 

It is important to have self-confidence in order to cultivate the five strengths, i.e., one must trust that one can benefit living beings by practicing mind training. It certainly helps nobody by thinking that one cannot achieve this goal. As said, all living beings possess the potential of loving kindness and compassion. By engaging in the practices described as  'the five strengths, ' one is never inattentive - not while working, walking, sleeping, eating, etc. - and one never thinks it is too early to be there for others by means of one's body, speech, and mind. Based upon one's pure intention, one helps others as much as possible, and it is indeed a life-long practice that benefits oneself and others.
 

 
 

 
Five: Evaluating One's Practice
 

 
'All Dharma agrees at one point.

 
Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one.

 
Always apply only a joyful mind.

 
If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained. '

 
 

 
Every Buddhist practice, especially mind training, is carried out to pacify one's own mind and to diminish and end clinging to a self. Jetsün Milarepa wrote:  'I do not wish to speak about the Vinaya discipline or about the Sutrayana. The purpose of practice is to pacify one's own mind. The Buddha never taught unwholesome behavior, but only spoke about engaging in virtuous activities, which is the Dharma. '

 
 

 
In short, the Buddhist practices are to pacify the own mind, stated in the line,

 
 

 
'All Dharma agrees at one point. '

 
 

This means to say that all Dharmas teach one to pacify one's own mind and to overcome clinging to a self. This is the reason why evaluating one's practice cannot be done by hear-say, only by the benefit others receive. Therefore it is said,
 

 
'Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one. '

 
 

 
When performing Dharma activities and someone comments,  'Oh, you seem to have pacified your mind, because I see you are more gentle and calm, ' please do not take this to heart. Complements aren't signs of accomplishment. Who can really judge whether one's practice is good? Only one person - oneself. One examines how strong one's self-centered attitude is and asks oneself,  'Has ego-clinging and pride diminished through the practice of mind training? Has cherishing others more than myself increased through the practice of mind training? ' If one sees that it is so, then one's practice has been effective and beneficial. Only one can judge, not others.

 
 

 
'Always apply only a joyful mind.

 
If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained. '

 
 

 
Another way of evaluating whether one's practice has been effective is by looking at one's confidence and appreciating that it is possible to benefit others through the best possible means of one's body, speech, and mind. Regardless of the outcome, one never stops helping others and never loses heart because of their reactions or one's own shortcomings. One never gives up and, instead, is always courageous, which is another sign of having advanced through one's practice. Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche described someone who has unwavering courage in the Shambhala Training he set up as  'the fearless warrior. ' A fearless warrior is never discouraged by outer conditions or circumstances but continuously works for the benefit of others without every backing off out of fear. Accomplishing a warrior-like and fearless mind is the aim of mind training.

 
 

 
 

 
Six: Disciplines of Mind Training
 

 
'Always abide by the three basic principles.

 
Having changed your attitude, remain that way.

 
Don't talk about injured limbs.

 
Don't ponder others.

 
Work with the greatest defilements first.

 
Abandon any hope of fruition.

 
Abandon poisonous food.

 
Don't be so trustworthy.

 
Don't malign others.

 
Don't wait in ambush.

 
Don't bring things to a painful point.

 
Don't try to be the fastest.

 
Don't act with a twist.

 
Don't make gods into demons.

 
Don't seek others' pain as the limbs of your own happiness. '

 
 

 
The sixth verse of mind training deals with the commitment. It consists of brief instructions on how to act while engaging in the practice by not succumbing to the eight worldly dharmas. Keeping the precepts, one does not fall into a materialistic attitude by seeking to satisfy oneself. There are many precepts, summarized in not falling into the eight worldly dharmas that are the winds or influences that fan the emotions. The eight worldly dharmas are being preoccupied with gain, loss, defamation, eulogy, praise, ridicule, sorrow, and joy.

 
 

 
 

 
Seven: Guidelines of Mind Training
 

 
'All activities should be done with one intention.

 
Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end.

 
Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.

 
Observe these two, even at the risk of your life.

 
Train in the three difficulties.

 
Take on the three principal causes.

 
Pay heed that the three never wane.

 
You should maintain the three inseparabilities.

 
Train without bias in all areas.

 
It is crucial to extend this pervasively and meticulously to everyone.

 
Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.

 
You should not be swayed by external circumstances.

 
At this crucial time, practice the main point.

 
Don't misinterpret.

 
Don't vacillate.

 
Train wholeheartedly.

 
You should liberate yourself by examining and analyzing.

 
Don't wallow in self-pity.

 
Don't be jealous.

 
Don't be frivolous.

 
Don't expect plaudits. '

 
 

 
The seventh point of mind training covers what has been said so far and is the actual instruction on how to train one's mind by always being considerate of one's own training as well as the benefit of others and by being attentive to help whenever one can. The Kadampas also practice every evening by recalling which good actions they were able to carry out and which negative actions they succumbed to during that day. By reflecting their actions every evening, they increase their mindfulness and awareness and see what they still need to work on. That is why they have deep awareness and a very clear mind.

 
 

 
The Kadampas use another technique to be aware of their positive and negative actions. They have white and black pebbles and in the evening when they recollect a positive action they were able to do, they place a white pebble on a heap, and when they recollect a negative action they did that day, they place a black pebble on a heap. Then they see which heap is bigger - and the purpose of this practice is not to collect pebbles.

 
 

 
 

 
Conclusion
 

 
This has been a brief explanation based upon the commentary written by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye on  'The Seven Points of Mind Training '  that was written by Atisha Dipamkara. There are many instructions, also those of the Vidhyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche that are available to you and that can help you further your understanding. I have given you the blessing of the Lineage here. The most important point is to practice mind training, lo-jong.

 
 

 
'When the five dark ages occur, this is the way to transform them into the path of Bodhi. This is the essence of the amrita of the oral instructions, which are handed down from the tradition of the Sage of Suvarnadvipa.

 
 

 
Having awoken the karma of previous training and being urged on by my intense dedication, I disregarded misfortune and slander and received oral instruction on taming ego-fixation. Now, even at death, I will have no regrets. '

 
 
 
Questions & Answers
 

 
Question: Would you say more about the life and teachings of Atisha?

 
Rinpoche: Atisha was born in Bengal as a prince and therefore had the best education. Although he enjoyed all riches, he saw that samsara is meaningless and sought to receive the sacred instructions from his main teacher Serlingpa. After having practiced and realized the teachings, he transmitted them to many students and thus founded the practice instructions in India. Later he brought the Mahayana tradition of mind training to Tibet and made the practice available to Tibetans. He is the great master who laid the foundation for this practice both in India and Tibet. This is why all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism are very indebted to him for making these instructions available to many, many people.

 
 

 
Next question: Your Eminence, you spoke of Bodhicitta as not being outside one's own mind already. At the same time you talked about visualizing and supplicating the Guru to help make you wake up. I was wondering if you are supplicating something outside yourself? If you are, can something outside yourself help you wake up your Bodhicitta?

 
Rinpoche: It depends upon how you see the teacher or your Guru. If you think that your Guru is a person consisting of flesh and bones, then that is the external Guru. But, in truth, the Guru is the ultimate nature of your own mind, the essence of the Buddhas of the three times. Therefore, your visualization depends upon your vision, i.e., if you visualize your Guru as a person, then you are separating your Guru from yourself. Here the Tibetan term  'Lama ' points to the ultimate nature of your own mind  ' the inner Guru. But still, you can visualize the form of your Guru, not the physical body though.

 
 

 
Next Question: I do the Chenrezig meditation, which I think is probably similar to what you are talking about, and I was wondering whether it is helpful when visualizing the Buddha field to see various people and countries where there is much suffering? I do some political action too, but that seems to be like a drop in the bucket, so I am wondering what really is helpful?

 
Rinpoche: Would you repeat your question please?

 
Student: I do the Chenrezig meditation and the visualization, which I think is similar. In picturing the Buddha field, I wonder if it is beneficial to picture various people and countries that are suffering under dictatorship and whether this really makes a difference to do this in a meditation? As I said, I do some political action, but that seems like a drop in the bucket. Nothing seems to help.

 
Rinpoche: It would be beneficial that when you do the Chenrezig Sadhana or meditation not to take Chenrezig or the Buddha field as external, solid, or separate from yourself, but rather to understand that the deity you visualize is the compassionate aspect of all Buddhas. Praying for all living beings who are suffering with compassion is definitely quite helpful. If you are simply visualizing Chenrezig as separate from yourself and the Buddha fields as a solid territory while you imagine taking on the suffering that beings experience there, then it is a new mental construct and may not be beneficial. Rather, including all living beings with compassion while praying is helpful. Particularly, if you practice anything with the pure motivation, it is always helpful and beneficial. However, do not try to use politics in the Buddha fields.

 
 

 
Next question: Your Eminence, would you please define the pure motivation?

 
Rinpoche: In short, the pure motivation means having developed the altruistic attitude; then you have greater concern for the goodness of others. Therefore you do not physically or verbally harm others. Furthermore, you do not have any thoughts to harm others either, nor do you have self-interest. Even while attempting to benefit others, one should not think of oneself and foster expectations to become famous or the like. The pure motivation is genuine help without any self-interest. Working for others without a selfishness, you too experience a tremendous benefit.

 
 

 
Question: Your Eminence, tomorrow we are having a period of meditation and I was thinking that there are people here who are new to the Buddhadharma and who don't have a Root Guru at this point. I was wondering about your instructions on how those people should practice meditation tomorrow?

 
Rinpoche: Those persons who do not have a Root Guru are free to meditate the historical Buddha Shakyamuni or Buddha Vajradhara, the primordial Buddha. Those who are familiar with Buddha Vajradhara and have a Root Guru can also visualize Vajradhara, who is not different from the Root Guru. If you are not familiar with Vajradhara, then meditate Buddha Shakyamuni, because Vajradhara is the Sambhogakaya, which newcomers may not understand.

 
 

 
Question: Is it possible to experience Bodhicitta or enlightenment and not know it?

 
Rinpoche: Enlightenment or Buddhahood means becoming all-knowing, so you cannot reach enlightenment without knowledge.

 
 

 
Question: This is the Paranirvana of His Holiness the Karmapa. When you speak about the slogans, it seems that He is the very embodiment of these slogans. It helps us all to remember our Guru. I wonder if you would share with us some remembering of Him to help us practice these slogans?

 
Rinpoche: Basically, there are many levels of Tulkus. You are familiar with the five paths and ten bhumis and know that there are various levels of Tulkus. His Holiness has reached the tenth bhumi and has therefore realized ultimate Bodhicitta. Therefore his name Karmapa means  'Buddha activity. ' He is the sublime Tulku and embodiment of everything we discussed. All Tulkus aren't on the same level. You know, there are Tulkus on the first bhumi. A Tulku is someone who doesn't return to samsara, rather Tulkus manifest on the stages they have accomplished in different forms. The Karmapa is known as  'the Supreme and Extraordinary Lama. ' He has fully developed and realized ultimate Bodhicitta. In Mahamudra, we say He has entered the non-meditative state.

 
 

 
Next question: Your Eminence, usually when we have studied the lo-jong teachings, it seems like it is usually presented as Mahayana teachings - developing Bodhicitta. Your presentation sounds more like Vajrayana. I was wondering if  €¦?

 
Rinpoche: I know what you mean. What do you think is the difference between Mahayana and Vajrayana?

 
Student: What I meant by that is from the ultimate point of view, the realization of total egolessness. I guess I was thinking of Vajrayana in terms of the path. My question is, if any other Buddhist who is not Vajrayana would practice lo-jong, because it seems like ultimate awareness is the Vajrayana nature?

 
Rinpoche: Sometimes in Vajrayana the Prajnaparamita is used. Many people think that Mahamudra is Vajrayana, but there are two classifications of Mahamudra, based upon Sutrayana and Vajrayana. When it comes to realization, it is the same. So, ultimate Bodhicitta and Mahamudra of mind's essence is the same. To understand it clearly, the Vajrayana teaches the different visualizations of Yidam practice, the Kagyü Tradition teaches the Six Doctrines of Naropa, all known as Tantra-Mahamudra. Realization is the same in Tantra and Sutra. I have explained the view of ultimate Bodhicitta. Many people who practice the Dharma have no view, i.e., they practice but don't know what realization really is. This is why the view is extremely important. Intellectually understanding Bodhicitta is winning the view. Based on the view, you can develop relative Bodhicitta correctly. Once relative Bodhicitta has been developed, you can really achieve realization, which itself isn't an intellectual understanding. This can be called ultimate Bodhicitta, realization of mind's true nature, realization of the Tathagatagarbha, or realization of Prajnaparamita; these are different names that describe the same meaning. You can consider the practice of Bodhicitta as Mahayana, whereas realization is the same as Mahamudra.

 
Student: What is interesting to me is that it seems it is a Mahayana practice, but the view is Vajrayana. So I was wondering if people who are not studying with a Vajrayana teacher would practice lo-jong, if the practice were peculiar to the Vajrayana path?

 
Rinpoche: Of course, even somebody who doesn't practice Vajrayana, i.e., practitioners of Mahayana, especially of the Kadampa Tradition, do that.

 
 

 
Next Question: Your Eminence, you talked about the slogan  'self-liberate even the antidotes. ' I had always thought of that as a response to an earlier slogan, where one regards all dharmas as dreams. It is possible or very likely for inexperienced practitioners to make that a view, to take that and create a solid situation by regarding all things as empty rather than having an experience. The idea of self-liberating the antidotes always seemed that one should not even take one's views as too real. I am wondering if that is a mistaken understanding?

 
Rinpoche: The teachings on the self-liberating antidotes are presented so that we reach the state of non-attachment. Generally, when you apply remedies, you become attached to the remedy itself, i.e., the remedy against non-virtue is virtue, and thus you cling to virtue or the merit of virtue, which isn't proper since it is clinging. In order to overcome clinging, you need to go beyond attachment by directly looking at the nature, and that is called  'the self-liberating antidote. '

 
 

 
Question: I think my question was answered. I was wondering if you would clarify how one gets past hope and fear? I think it was just answered.

 
Rinpoche: Yes.

 
 

 
Question: Your Eminence, something that continues to baffle me a lot is the view of ultimate Bodhicitta. Someone like His Holiness the Karmapa, who is a manifestation of that view  ' in His mind is there no sense of self and other whatsoever? Is it just like one field of experience? I need help to clarify that.

 
Rinpoche: There is one example. The Buddha said that from his side he never taught any teachings, but sentient beings learned the 84,000 teachings due to their karma. He never taught, though. From the point of view of His Holiness, I don't think that He has the mind we have. But when you look at Him, one sometimes feels that He has. So, I think it is up to sentient beings. But He will come.

 
 

 
Question: The more I meditate, the more I get in touch with the pain in the world, other people's pain and suffering. It is very hard for me to see that also in a way as an illusion, as not real.

 
Rinpoche: If that is the case, you must practice tong-leng,  'giving and taking, ' more often, instead of just trying to think  'illusion. ' So, when you see the suffering of beings in the world, try to take that as the path.

 
 

 
Question: You talked about having the attitude of being able to take away everybody's pain. I cannot imagine that, because there is so much pain in the world. How can you have such an attitude?

 
Rinpoche: In the beginning we just practice tong-leng in order to one day be able to really take away the suffering of others and to share the merit of anything good we do with others. You can only do this when you have reached the path of seeing, i.e., when you have the first experience of shunyata,  'emptiness. ' Until then, through the power of compassion and loving kindness, you cultivate the aspiration. You need realization in order to actually accomplish your aspiration, though. By practicing, you will one day be able to do it. In particular, to really have the ability to take on the pain and give happiness and joy comes from the kind heart, so one has to train one's mind in the beginning and develop a genuine and kind heart.

 
 

 
Next question: Would you tell us a small teacher-student story between you and the Karmapa when you were younger?

 
Rinpoche: I had many different experiences and so it is difficult to choose. Actually, I first saw Him when I was 1  ½ years old. Until I was 28, I had many different experiences. Out of them I want to tell you one that was very special. This experience is still so vivid in my mind today. When I was 5 years old, I was taken to the monastery and that very first meeting with His Holiness was such a special experience that I felt genuine and unconditioned devotion in that moment. The feeling was extraordinary, not like meeting parents or friends. It was so extraordinary that it is beyond words. The experience is so alive today that I call it  'unconditioned and unpolluted devotion. '

 
 

 
Question: To honor and celebrate His Holiness, I find that I have a very strong sense of devotion to His Holiness and to other teachers. In my practice as purely a shamata and vipassana practitioner, I have no technique for specifically applying devotion in a particular way. I was hoping you would give me some direction as to how to use my devotion fully in my practice?

 
Rinpoche: It is an excellent question. Shamata and vipassana practices are carried out in the beginning by the Shravakas. The qualities of both are required as a foundation to engage in highest practices of deity and Mahamudra meditation. The foundation is established by destroying the clinging notions of duality. By building the foundation and feeling devotion to the Guru, it seems that you have a greater capacity to feel devotion to the Guru when doing Guru Yoga. As explained in many Mahamudra teachings, simply applying the basic meditation of Mahamudra with sincere and genuine devotion to your Guru, you can experience Mahamudra with shamata only. Therefore, you must continue practicing shamata and vipassana with devotion to your Guru and the Lineage Holders. Please don't undermine shamata and vipassana as a beginner's practice. They are very important and indeed high.

 
 

 
Question: I have a question about my meditation. When I am sitting in shamata and either focusing on my breath or on a point on the floor, I often see a blue light in front and around me. Sometimes when my meditation is very concentrated, it is almost like I go into a realm of blue light and I can sit for 2 or 3 hours and it seems like 30 minutes. Also, in my daily life, when I have a particular insight or Dharmic thought, I will see a blue bindu  ' I have heard it called  'a blue pearl. ' I was wondering if you could explain the meaning of this color and the nature of this experience?

 
Rinpoche: Personally, I don't think it is special. Traditionally, there are different descriptions of the colors, blue symbolizing Dharmata, the unchanging quality of emptiness, red symbolizing the magnetizing quality, yellow the enriching quality, and so forth. As said, your experience does not seem to be special, because you notice that 2 hours seem to be  ½ an hour, a clear sign of distraction. You have not completely obtained the qualities of shamata; you allow your mind to waver and as a result you have a feeling for time. You should not cling to any form or color that you experience. Again, don't reject it either, rather let it arise and cease, aware of the color. That would be good.

 
 

 
Question: I was wondering, when you go through times of fatigue, how often should you meditate? I try to meditate daily, but sometimes I am pushing it too much. I meditate one day and can't the next. Is there any kind of way you can solve that?

 
Rinpoche: It depends on an individual's personality. It is taught that a beginner should avoid discomfort and that he or she should do short sessions as often as possible. This also depends upon the individual. The basic hindrances that arise during shamata meditation are mental drowsiness and agitation. When you experience agitation, just relax without stopping the sitting session. When you experience drowsiness, a little force is needed. Beginning with 2 hours daily would be helpful. Gradually you become more familiar with the form of meditation and don't experience unease. Maybe it would be advisable for you to do 2 sittings, one in the morning and one in the evening.

 
 

 
Question: Your Eminence, we all have a lot of neurotic patterns that we repeat. Sometimes things just seem to dissolve and at other times there is the desire to change those patterns. That's the point where I get confused. It seems like things become more solid.

 
Rinpoche: There are practices of transforming impure perceptions into pure ones. A similar technique is applied for neurotic thoughts. It is important to understand that neurotic thoughts themselves do not cause one to accumulate negative karma; rather acting out the negative thoughts physically leads to creating negative karma. Knowing that thoughts themselves don't create negativity, you practice by not trying to reject thoughts as bad or wishing to transform them. Rest your mind in non-duality, free of such notions as  'This is good and that is bad. ' Rest in non-judgment. In a song or realization, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye teaches that if you rest your mind in a state beyond such notions as  'This is and that is not, ' then you experience ultimate wisdom. Thoughts themselves have no effect unless they are acted upon, because the essence of every thought is Dharmakaya.

 
 

 
Question: You spoke about exchanging self for others. I'm curious if there is a way to practice that exchange when you are actually in the presence of others, for instance, if you are with a friend who is sad or angry, or even if you are walking down the street and see someone who seems to be suffering? Is there a way to practice that?

 
Rinpoche: In such moments, why don't you try to actually help them instead of trying to practice mentally? It is much easier to help.

 
 

 
Question: When I hear this teaching, I am tempted to want to hit myself with all the black pebbles. I was brought up in a Christian tradition that taught me to lack any respect for myself and also held up an idea of martyrdom, of self-crucification, and of self-blame. Now I know that it is a distortion when I hear it that way, but I keep hearing in these teachings,  'Blame yourself, not others, ' and I do. This makes it worse, because I cling to a negative beating-up-myself, which is as dualistic as the opposite. It is really stopping me from taking the Bodhisattva vows, because I hear it as permission to be harsh with myself.

 
Rinpoche: Buddhism does not teach us to blame ourselves as you translated it. Buddhism teaches us to blame clinging, which causes one to cling to a self. You need to understand that clinging is the cause for suffering, not you yourself. Karma evolves out of clinging. Showing how to be aware of clinging, Buddhism also teaches the means to obtain liberation and to win confidence in oneself. You first need to understand what brings on the experience of suffering and pain.

 
 

 
Question: Sometimes in tong-leng, I may exchange the opposite way. I may discover a clinging to a harsh truth. In exchanging self and other, frequently I will be able to have more confidence if I allow myself the same kindness to myself as to others. Is this okay? I will see that I will give this to another and therefore I might do it for myself. I know it is still dualism.

 
Rinpoche: Yes, that is fine. The teachings on mind training show that one must begin the practice with someone who is very close - one's parents, friends, even taking upon oneself one's own future pain and suffering. It is said that you can practice that way. In the beginning of lo-jong practice, you concentrate on someone very close to you or you concentrate taking upon yourself your own future suffering now so that you don't have future suffering.

 
Student: I see.

 
 

 
Next question: I think of suffering on two levels. One is emotional suffering and then I can directly relate with ego and how it causes suffering. I wonder if you would speak a little more about physical suffering? What can we learn from that and how do we handle it?

 
Rinpoche: As long as one is alive, body and mind are connected and related. Although you distinguish physical from mental pain, it is the mind that experiences pain, so there is no separation. At the moment, you separate mental and physical suffering. At death, for example, the body experiences no pain. Therefore, what is experiencing any suffering is the mind.

 
 

 
Question: You explained that we can't really expect to actually take on the suffering of others and to give happiness to others until we have reached a more advanced state of seeing and that confidence in our practice of giving and taking is very important. Now in our beginning exercises in taking and sending, what are we accomplishing? If we are practicing this, what do we have confidence in accomplishing if we are keeping our mother or parents as a beginning view of taking their suffering and giving them happiness?

 
Rinpoche: The reason why I said that is because many people ask about tong-leng practice. They erroneously think that by simply doing this for the first time, they will have attained the ability to remove suffering and illnesses from and to give their happiness to others. Practitioners also have problems with tong-leng by being afraid of actually experiencing the suffering of others. They suffer from a phobia with such mistaken notions, which prevent them from practicing. In order to eliminate both misunderstandings, I explained that tong-leng is the foundation for the practice of relative Bodhicitta and, if practiced correctly, eventually enables one to accomplish absolute Bodhicitta. Thank you very much.

 
Dedication
 

 
Through this goodness, may omniscience be attained

 
And thereby may every enemy (mental defilement) be overcome.

 
May beings be liberated from the ocean of samsara

 
That is troubled by waves of birth, old age, sickness, and death.

 
 

 
By this virtue may I quickly attain the state of Guru Buddha, and then

 
Lead every being without exception to that very state!

 
May precious and supreme Bodhicitta that has not been generated now be so,

 
And may precious Bodhicitta that has already been never decline, but continuously increase!

 
 

 
May the life of the Glorious Lama remain steadfast and firm.

 
May peace and happiness fully arise for beings as limitless (in number) as space (is vast in its extent).

 
Having accumulated merit and purified negativities, may I and all living beings without exception

 
swiftly establish the levels and grounds of Buddhahood.

 
 

 
May the life of the Glorious Lama remain steadfast and firm.

 
May peace and happiness fully arise for beings as limitless (in number) as space (is vast in its extent).

 
Having accumulated merit and purified negativities, may I and all living beings without exception

 
swiftly establish the levels and grounds of Buddhahood.

 
 

 
Presented at the Shambhala Center in Berkeley, California, 1988. Translated by Chöjor Radha. Root text translated by Ken McLeod, in: The Great Path of Awakening, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1987. Instructions of Jamgon Lama the Third transcribed in 1992 and edited in 2007 by Gaby Hollmann, responsible and apologizing for any mistakes. Copyright Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang, Pullahari Monastery in Nepal, 2008.

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