Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Jhampa September 18 88
It starts with "Arising from the sphere of great bliss, I manifest as a guru yidam. From my clear body light and profusion radiates forth throughout the ten directions blessing all places and beings therein. And becomes most perfectly arrayed with only qualities and pure."
Two weeks ago I talked about when you get involved in a more developed practice, rather than just sitting there and breathing and sort of relaxing, it's important to remember that you in your self are the most important thing. If you get confused by teachings, you always should go back to your self and relax, just breathe relax and be happy. It is always the point to come back to.
Last week I talked about in working for enlightenment, an analogy about it, is something equivalent to when you fall in love so to speak with the perfect person. When you feel really overjoyed, just wonderful, the best, that is something like the consummation of becoming enlightened in the sense that the happiness and the joy that you experience can be understood in an analogy like falling in love. Like I said last week, when falling in love with an ordinary person, there is the fact that you can be betrayed by that person because although you love them in the mundane sense, nowadays, people leave people a lot so there is betrayal. And the other is that person you are with will ultimately die and so if you are the one that is left you will have to experience the pain of suffering. In that sense it is called a betrayal. You can be betrayed in the sense that it is not always with you.
The analogy, though, still works. If you were to become enlightened, you would have a non betraying experience in the sense that you could never loose it. Enlightenment never leaves you. And if you died, you would still have it with you. In that sense I was trying to use the experience of being in love. And when you feel your heart sing and you wonderful and sort of dance around...like when someone you like a lot phones you to go out to dinner and you go "Wow!!!!" That sort of energy! Anyway for those of us who can remember when we last got asked to go on a date, prior to our being married.... Last week I spoke about that a little bit.
This week I want to go with it again. It all deals with great bliss manifesting within the sphere of great bliss. In talking about enlightenment, I would like to have you all draw on your information that you have gathered here in the last two or three years. The enlightened being has two qualities in the state of omniscience. The quality of having divine wisdom or the omniscient mind of wisdom, understands karma, understands sentient beings for where they are karmically at, and understands also the ultimate nature of reality. On the other side it has infinite love, has deep love, caring, concern and trying to help sentient beings become enlightened. Within the umbrella or within the experience of omniscience are the two facets of the divine deep wisdom and love.
It is said that the enlightened being's body, the full physical body is the omniscient mind also. In fact it is said that the body speech and mind of an omniscient being are all conscious. Whether it is the tip of a Buddha's toe or the speech of the Buddha or it is the mind of the Buddha, all are omniscient.
You should think of it in the sense that every particle of being of an enlightened being is the omniscient mind of enlightenment. For someone who has faith, those sorts of thoughts, they are meaningful in the sense of just what the expression of enlightenment is all about. In having that as the pinnacle of what full omniscience is all about, the question was brought up, how is it that an enlightened being still has compassion in a state of bliss?
I thought about it for awhile. It is something equivalent to this. You have to be imaginative with yourself. Say that right now you were given ultimate freedom in the sense that you had no restrictions. Never had to eat food any more. Never had to worry about mundane limitation. You were free of all physical problems that you have. Free of all limitations. You could fly. You could go where you wanted, as you wished. You are absolutely free. Whatever your wish was in your mind, it is there! To speak of nirvana, liberation, it means freedom. Think of it that if at this point you had no limitations, you were liberated, like right now you could fly through the sky.
You are flying through sky. And you are there ! You have whatever you wanted to have. There is no problems. There is no coming down. There is no having to pause and eat some food, go to sleep. You are aware and conscious.... Get yourself into the imagination of that.
That is what enlightenment is like in the sense that they say it is the ultimate omniscient mind completely liberated. With that, wouldn't there be a sense of ecstasy? A sense of just glee? A sense of just bliss within that. No more problems or hangups. On an eternal high. A term Lama Yeshe used to use was everlasting happiness. That is the state of the liberated being. Alright?
If you think about it, that state of freedom is bestowed because the mind no longer brings itself down, no longer limits itself. It is said in Buddhism that the mind is the creator. The mind creates your existence. So then, if you had that freedom, without limitation, your mind had ultimate freedom, and then you looked at sentient beings. And the only reason that you had it was because you had given up all the encumbrances, the limitations you normally put upon yourself, like"I can't do this!" If you look at another person you could see that they had the potential to be in ecstasy and everlasting happiness, freedom. But they keep holding themself back by saying "I can't do this! I can't become enlightened!" You feel really sorry for them because they have it all but they can't quite make it. There is not that little thing that lets them free of all those hangups. You have to throw in some imagination. Like, if they could let go of it they could suddenly fly in space.
That is very similar to what the enlightened mind when it looks at a sentient being. Their time scape is much larger than ours in the sense that they have lifetime after lifetime that they can look at. They look at you. They look at you like saying, well, that person could become free, could dance in the clouds. Have ecstasy. But all they do is keep bringing themself down. They keep putting on self imposed limitations, keep hassling themselves and keeping them at a low level. The compassion of the enlightened being from ecstasy is like that. Relating to the sentient beings, and so how they can, they try to help. And so they teach things. Even Jesus Christ said I am the way, I am the light, do like I say and you can move mountains! I'm not talking about moving mountains, just about being happy!
Buddha talked about the freedom of the omniscient mind. All the various traditions talk about divine ecstasy and love of God or omniscience, whatever!
I am trying to co relate an omniscient state of complete freedom. And then at looking at sentient beings, and from that position it makes you sad. They keep hassling, keep tripping, they are running along and maybe they start to get into the thing and they trip their own feet and fall on their face. It's not like anybody else tripped them, they tripped themselves. And then you have to help them get up. That is like an omniscient mind's vision of us. An analogy towards it.
Going back into the facets of an enlightened being, and we will keep with the idea of ultimate freedom, like ecstasy and freedom, ... that experience then, if we come back to the idea of what an enlightened being is, is like a coin with two sides. The omniscient mind side, the wisdom side, is that side which understands that all things are one, pure. All things have, two, no independent self existence. We talked about that lots. I said what is the ultimate nature of reality? It's all things are interdependent. Or nothing holds independent self existence. And yet everything is interconnected. There is the karmic flow of things but nothing holds independent self existence. The best example to use for our own experience is to take a deep breath and allow yourself to just flow with ...well the breath came in my lungs, oxygen was taken out and flows into my meat, my bones, my blood and some comes out of my skin some comes back to my lungs, I am immersed in the atmosphere! The humidity, the warmth. And also the fact that I have to be on the planet the earth. I am immersed in the four elements. And I am 100% part of that. One interdependent, or two, non self existent.
That is the omniscient mind of the buddha, the wisdom side. The mind which understands no self existence. That all forms are interconnected, interdependent, all forms are not self existent, inherently existent. The other side of that is that being of great love. This is something which differentiates hinayana from mahayana practice. The hinayana practice goes for the ecstasy alone without reflecting on the fact that anybody else has any problems. Just, I want that ecstasy, I'm starting to experience it, chuck anybody else, I'm going to go for it. That is striving for nirvana on your own. The mahayana being, or the being with great heart, great compassion is the one that also realizes that there is everybody else in the world just like ourselves. And therefore it is really inappropriate to go for ones own ecstasy, ones own eternal happiness. There are others and we should try to help them. We are part of the world. And that is the great love.
So those are the two great facets of the mind of the enlightened being. The mind which understands the world is wide open, the universe is wide open. Everything is interconnected. The other side, the love which is the feeling of trying to help others give up their small minded hangups, their limitations they self impose. Their conscious which keeps saying "I'm this!", or "I'm fifty five years old. I can't do this any more." Sort of imposes limitations on themselves. In the sense of imposing limitations on your own spirit, alright? That sort of talks about enlightenment. Now we come back to our position.
From the first line we said, "Arising from the sphere of great bliss."
The sphere means the nature of reality in the universal sense. Like from this point to twenty trillion light years away, all of that is in one nature. That is the nature of interdependence, the nature of non self existence, that is the sphere, and I arise in the state of great bliss. Now the state of great bliss had the qualities of one, being fully free and liberated. So as much as we can appreciate or think about it, we have that quality within our mind. Secondly, the bliss of fulfillment. And this has a lot to do with the sense of, remember we talked about bodhicitta, that it is like a wish fulfilling jewel. The analogy is that if you had that jewel and you held it in your hands and said, I would like a hundred thousand dollars right now. And it is there. You know, a brand new car, and it is right there. That is a wish fulfilling jewel. In Buddhism they say that the ultimate, or best of wish fulfilling jewels is bodhicitta. It is the mind that expresses, has the attitude that says, might I help all sentient beings, all living beings with none left behind, all sentient beings, all creatures, come towards enlightenment. It is difficult for me to do that right now, so might I come to enlightenment so I am very powerful, very influential, very effective, and then even more so, help them become. Like right now, I'm not enlightened, I'm not omniscient. So I don't know what all people need. But if I was omniscient, wouldn't it be nice? It would be like a millionaire giving away lumps of money. Like you have the wealth so you give it away. Right now I have only a little money so I can't do that.
Bodhicitta says I truly feel I would like people to be happy. Relatively to be free of suffering, ultimately to have the freedom of consciousness, the liberated state of being. To be in the best position to do that, it would be good if I could become enlightened. And then I would be in a very good position to be able to do that for people. And that is the thought of bodhicitta. And that is referred to as the supreme or best of wish fulfilling jewels. That attitude.
If you think of it, to come down to mundane thought, like, the practices for anybody is to be one, generous,two, moral, patient, enthusiasm, lots of energy, to be fairly tranquil, have meditative concentration, and to have wisdom. The six perfections. The general practices we have are those practices. Practising generosity, they say if you practice it in an ordinary way... Well then I find someone I would like to be generous to, I do a little bit of generosity with them. Well the karma I get from it is one to one. If I give to United Way, however many people they help, I get karma from that. It is more powerful than giving to one friend. In that way if you think about it, it is better if you have the awareness of the effect of your practice of generosity. Same thing with practicing morality in "I am practicing because I would like to be a moral person, because I don't want to have any bad karma, I want to take a good future rebirth, I want to be evolved!" Thats what morality is about, if you do that with the thought that "I would like to be very beautiful and attractive to people so that I can influence them so that they can practice better, and I am going to practice morality so that I am spiritually uplifting for other people." They say that mother Theresa moves people. She is a very moral woman and she has completely dedicated her life to Jesus. They say it is uplifting to be with her.
Same thing can apply to yourself. But it comes from the thought that says from the benefit of many, I will practice morality. That I might affect them in a positive way. Make them want to become moral people.
There is more powerful karma there because the mind is larger, more broad minded. If you have bodhicitta, then the thought says "Might I benefit all universal sentient beings, all sentient beings in existence now!" which is pretty inconceivable, but we can just sort of say that I want to have the broadest attitude I can. Every creature that I run into and be with, even if I run over them with my car, whatever, might I benefit them, that they can come slowly on the path to enlightenment. Finally become liberated, finally become free of all their sufferings, both mundane and ultimate. So you have that broad minded attitude. Then each karmic action that you create, actually one, brings you closer to enlightenment because it is good karma. The more good karma you have the easier it is to become enlightened. On the other side it makes you more broad minded because your karmic creativity isn't focused on me and I and "I want to be happy!" It is rather focused on other people saying, "I want to bring others into happiness. So when you give others something, we do so purely, we don't have tainted interests. I mean you really feel love and when you give to another person, you rejoice in that love and joy. Like, I want to make you happy. And in your mind you say I want to make all universal beings happy. So by this little action might I attain finally the omniscient mind and the great wealth of being able to benefit all sentient beings.
That is where the wish fulfilling jewel of bodhicitta ripens your own karma very very quickly. And secondly, brings about your own omniscience without really trying, brings about your enlightenment without even trying. Your focus is other people. But in being focused on other people, trying to be as pure as you can in your interactions and your karmic interactions and being as broad minded in attitude as you can... One you are collecting unbelievable good karma. Two, you are naturally making yourself enlightened. Then tie it together with that you are totally part of the universe, the wisdom side of it, and you have the facets of how to become enlightened. One is I am totally part of the universe, the other side is that I have love in my heart, I'd like to help people. And that sense, that is the start of bodhicitta. It says I would like to help all creatures, no matter whom and what they are, and I would like to help in the mundane way by making them a little bit more moral, trying to make them nicer people. On the ultimate side, I'd like to give that ecstasy of freedom. I'd like to make them ecstatic, total freedom, like they could fly through space, dance in the clouds and not be cold. Even at twenty thousand feet you are not cold. Because you are liberated. You don't have hassles like that.
In that then you have the facets which is becoming enlightened. And it all depends on your attitude. Ordinary attitude says "Me, I'm small minded, I'm Jhampa, I'm living in this suffering world, and I'm unhappy and I would like to make things better." However my attitude sets me up, I experience the world. It is just that easy. It is really simple. I'm sure we all have some appreciation of that.
So in tantracism, the whole point of tantracism says, the first thing is called the stage of generation. In that it says transform your attitude. Just sort of take your old mundane attitude and first, with the side of wisdom say "My normal small minded self existence that I feel so intensively is all wrong! I am completely interdependent with the world, the universe. So one, loosen your sense of self existence. You loosen your sense of self existence, your sense of egoism a bit by starting to reflect on my total immersion with the world, solar system, universe.
Like I am immersed in it. That is the wisdom side to help dissolve a bit of the sense of independence. On the other side you have your love and compassion. If you can start to appreciate it like bodhicitta as the wish fulfilling jewel, it's the ultimate wish fulfilling jewel. Its better than any mundane money that can give you cars or something. It gives you the best karma because if you give things purely with a sense of love, seeing the sufferings of others and really wanting to help them become free, that on one side creates your cause for becoming enlightened. On the other side it helps you become enlightened very quickly. It has two facets. It fulfills yourself and secondly it fulfills other sentient beings. That is why it is called the wish fulfilling jewel. It fulfills both the purposes of self and of others. And it's function is love. Love which feels and is sensitive towards others. Love which has sensitivity and then has compassion, alright?
As an ordinary person we are stuck being right here. I have talked in a very philosophical manner. I am sure some of you think, "Well, it sounds like a nice thing, I'd like to be devoted to that, but is it practical?" Yes it is because, one, your attitude sets you up for right how you are right now. If you are sitting here and you are thinking "Fantastic!", your attitude is alright. If you are sitting here saying "Well it is alright but I just don't think I can handle that." You put your own limitation, made a little fence around yourself saying "I can only go this far. I can't go beyond that." It is something that you have just done to yourself. It is important to appreciate your own attitude sets yourself up with how much you can do with yourself.
That is why being positive, being open minded is so important. So on one side, if,... bodhicitta sounds fantastic. Well actually if I think about it, if I give one small cookie to a small child, and I say to that child, like, in my heart I feel that just as I give you this cookie and I feel it is nice, I can see you enjoy that, I rejoice in that, might I also be able to give all people cookies, like something equivalent to that which makes them happy. In your heart you have an open mindedness. It's not like you have to be too intellectual about it, you give a cookie and then you have the joy arise within you which says, it would be nice if I could do that for everybody! Wouldn't it be nice if I had an inexhaustible supply of Dad's cookies!
If you have that, then lets say you are giving cookies, giving money, giving a pat on the back shoulder, give someone a bit of love, good feeling, whatever the activity that you do, just have with it the joy that wouldn't it be fantastic to do that for everybody. That is bodhicitta. It's not too complicated if you get down to the essence of it. It is just the joy that says I wish I could do that for everybody. If you practice it a little bit, like think about the times you might have given something just to one person and you felt really good about it. It just came along that all of a sudden you met somebody and you did something and you got real high from it. That high, that ecstasy, is part of the ecstasy of becoming enlightened.
Think about it. Think of a Buddha. An enlightened being. One, is that they have an omniscient mind so they have bliss on their own side anyway. But on the other side they have the bliss and fulfillment of knowing that their interaction with others is going to karmically make that person more free, more liberated, a double ecstasy in that!
Think if you could stop somebody from being stupid, like you see somebody doing something stupid, and you know just the right word because you are omniscient, just the right thing to say to them that makes them just sort of pause for that moment, they don't act quite as stupid as they were before, wouldn't it give you bliss because you know that they are getting their act together! And maybe then after awhile when they started really being a positive and productive person doing wonderful things, the ecstasy, the rejoicing that they are becoming beautiful people, isn't that a bliss? So enlightened beings have two blisses. One, the bliss of their own satisfaction. They have ultimate liberated being. They have the second ecstasy of their interactions are positive and bring other people into enlightenment.
To come back to ourself. We have on one side the wisdom consciousness which says I am totally part of the world. On the other side we have our love, our sense of rejoicing in any positive action we have in any interaction with any other sentient being. That we have the love and the interaction, and also the rejoicing which says I wish I could do that with everybody. Wouldn't that be terrific? Put those two together and all you have to do is give up that old attitude that says I can't do that any more. Then you have the door to tantracism. And that is what the whole of the tantric practice is about.
And that is why I spent the summer saying, what is wisdom? Wisdom is interdependence. What is love and compassion? Love and compassion is sharing with people, trying to be open minded. That that whole nine yards. Everything is there. Tantracism, they give you a little added emphasis. They give you the possibility of deity yoga. Deity yoga says you are the enlightened being right now.
The second line says, I manifest as a guru yidam. Saying that, if you could allow yourself that saying, I am not a limited being, I am not just in this silly little body getting older, feeling decrepit sometimes, I'm not limited by that. Maybe I have those feelings sometimes, and then maybe my body's good karma is running down a little bit, it doesn't mean my attitude has to be hassled by that. Look at Rick Hanson. He wouldn't let his body put him down. He was a moving character to be with. I even cried when I saw him when I arrived back in Canada. Same thing. We don't have to put ourselves down. We don't have to make ourselves limited beings. In tantracism it says, allow yourself that extra inch that says, I can create my own existence. The creation of my own existence is an enlightened existence. What is the enlightened existence? It's the wisdom. It is the love and compassion. And it's the joy in my love and compassion. Every interaction that I have is a bit of ecstasy because I'm doing something nice for somebody. I'm not right now omniscient but that doesn't mean that I can't act that way!
And that is the other thing that tantracism says. The common practice says you are a sentient being now, you are working for enlightenment. And maybe if you are lucky at the end of this lifetime you might make it to enlightenment, if not, then five ten lifetimes or thousands more you might make it. It is called the gradual path because you slowly make it to enlightenment. As you get more positive, become a more dynamic person, so start practicing a bit better and then you give up your old problems and hassles and become a little more enlightened. That is called the path to the result. In tantra they have the opposite to that. They make the result the path.
So, right now, try to be the enlightened being. Sure you are not, but don't let that hold you back. Say, the omniscient being in one, fully interdependent with the whole universe. That is their wisdom. The enlightened being acts with unbelievable joy in every interaction with every sentient being. That is their bodhicitta in it's full state. So what I can do right now is, well as much as I can to be broad minded. I try to rejoice in whatever small action I create. And the added quality to that is that if you have a tantric initiation, you manifest yourself as a deity. That phases of going through that is first you start off with a great emptiness, the great voidness. That is everything is interdependent. The sphere of one nature. From within the sphere of one nature I arise as the Heruka, the divine deity. And that deity, every molecule of of my being is omniscient. Like I said, body speech and mind of the omniscient being is conscious. So every atom of my being is conscious, every atom is bodhicitta, it's rejoicing in the ecstasy of helping other sentient beings. And there is a great tranquillity that I am completely a part of the universe. So you just allow ourself to be in that state that I am part of the universe. So there you have wisdom, love, and you have your mind approximating enlightenment now, making the result the path. Making the result right now. Which then becomes your path. It means that you have eliminated a whole bunch of attitude, attitudinal changes because you have taken that attitude which says I am omniscient right now.
In all tantric practices you'll have, in the beginning you will start off with the mantra, the nature of reality is pure and I am pure also. The nature of reality is totally pure. There is no goodness and badness to it, everything is perfectly natural, interdependent, expressing itself wherever it is karmically at right now. And I am karmically pure. So from within that great sphere of emptiness I arise. In Tibetan it goes from the sphere of great voidness I arise as the deity. Within that moment then, you arise as a divine deity. And from that you then think, every pore of my being is in ecstasy helping sentient beings. Right now it is just an attitude. But if you start to get a little more enlightened, your attitude becomes reality. Becomes the actual situation that you are in.
So in the first two lines it just identifies from the sphere of the ultimate nature I arise in great bliss. Two blisses. First bliss is I am free and liberated. The second ecstasy is that of my love. Every time I interact with a sentient being, it fulfills me and it gives me a joy that says I feel wonderful when I help you. I wish I could help everybody like that. It's a wishing state of wishing to help all sentient beings. So you have two ways of having bliss. And it is good to dwell on the bodhicitta side of it a little more because it is more fulfilling for you. You will find more satisfaction in that.
And that is why we talked of the ecstasy. Like when someone phones you up and invites you on a date. You think wow. And while you get happy, because an object which is very attractive to you is interacting with you. Saying, hey, I"d like to be with you. So think of it right now. The most attractive person of the opposite sex that you could find is right now saying hey, I want to be with you. What you have is the polarity of you being seen as an attractive person by someone you think is just wonderful. There is that interaction and that is why you experience love and joy. What you have to see is your bodhicitta, the feeling of wanting to interact with other beings, the joy of that is the thing that you are now making connection to.
You are the lucky one because you are making a date with it and it will accept. It is just a matter of that you have to change your attitude and it has accepted you. So there is your ecstasy. There is the sense of fulfillment I spoke about last week in the sense that that sense of fulfillment, that sense of being in love, being eternally in love in a non betraying state, it will never bring you down. Your bodhicitta has that quality. As much as you understand loving people in an open pure way and wanting to share that joy that you have, then you have the relationship, you have the eternal joy. And you have eternal satisfaction, eternal fulfillment. It is even better than falling in love with a mundane person because all you have to do is have the attitude and you are in ecstasy.
On top of that if you can add a little bit as your meditational experiences grow, you will start to realize the freedom of consciousness, and with that comes added ecstasy. But you have to have those two very thoroughly mixed or else you are going to end up on the side of personal ecstasy, personal freedom. So it is good to spend more time with your love and your interacting with sentient beings. That way then, from that state of great bliss, then I arise as the guru yidam. And being able to arise as a guru yidam arise through being able to receive initiation, do your tantric practice and such, it relies upon having a teacher who can transmit that to you, help you on the path. That is why it is called a guru yidam. It comes from your guru, your teacher.
So, you have arising as the guru yidam because that person introduced me to the state of ecstasy, the ecstasy of altruism, the ecstasy of love and compassion for others, and also the ecstasy is my meditation practices generate and develop, I will get internal ecstasy, ecstasy of freedom of consciousness. And that is tonight's talk.
That type of understanding, as much as you understand that, that is how every tantric practice is. And then there are a few higher refinements to it. In anything that you practice, always make sure that you understand that always it is bodhicitta, the love, the desire to help other sentient beings, and rejoicing in helping other sentient beings, that is the one facet. The other is that as much as you can understand that you are part of the world to the atoms of your body, the very inner being of your being is part of this world. That is the interdependence, and the other side is your love. The two of those will bring you to liberation. One will bring you to personal liberation, the other to the omniscient mind of enlightenment, which is the great love and compassion to all sentient beings.
We will just have a quiet meditation.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
All Rights Reserved