Annual India Tours
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.
Nanaimo Sept 1 1993
So much the teachings really are the process of becoming enlightened. Within that it would be easy to just teach the ultimate nature of reality, and when we all came together we would just meditate on that, the ultimate nature. Trying to realize the appropriate or non existent way we grasp ourselves. Realizing that when we grasp our self in a particular manner, thinking I am such and such a person and I exist in this manner, is actually complete fabrication, having nothing to do with reality. We could meditate on that, and it is important that we do that type of meditation on occasion.
But, the goal that you strive towards when you do that, is actually termed as quenching the flame. You would attain a nirvana, a state of peace, if you take through to the nth degree. And the abilities that you would have to do anything or express anything, would not be there because they were not created. You did not create the cause of the qualities. And so you would have attained an arhatship. And although you may have intentions to being a terrifically kind and wonderful person. You may have the intentions to be helpful for other sentient beings. But if you don't actually cultivate the actual abilities, it doesn't happen. And as ones spiritual power becomes greater, then one definitely moves towards just a personal liberation, and the results are not attained to the proper benefit.
So it is important to meditate on the ultimate nature, but it is important to have an appreciation for the relative workings of ourself and aspiring towards gaining greater quality in our relative workings. Very much our personality functions on the level of gaining strokes. If I don't feel I get the strokes I want from my friends, then I feel unhappy. And if I get the strokes, then I feel wonderful. We are very much that way. We shouldn't deny that our personality dictates that an incredible degree of our happiness is on the basis of personality gratification or happiness. That is how all of us function. It is nothing that is unique to any one person.
As that is the case, it is worthwhile valuing the process of becoming enlightened on the Bodhisattvas path. The bodhisattvas path is I am striving for enlightenment but I want quality. I want my existence to have more quality as I develop because the qualities I have are for the benefit of sentient beings. I am then more capable. If not, if I am an extremely irate person, if I have a shallow skin, then even the smallest thing would disrupt how I feel the world should be, and immediately irritate me. And I would be angry, I would get upset. I would be frustrated. I wouldn't be able to deal with it, I would have to leave because I would be so uncomfortable with the situation.
What we have is our ability to be able to deal with situations and others is really limited. So it is important to recognize that it good to have qualities, to strive for them. Even if in this lifetime we have great hardship, personal inabilities, personal weakness which we cannot go beyond, if we strive with intention to improve ourself, that is sufficient because that intention is within us. As you may be familiar with, there is what we term completing karma and throwing karma. In this lifetime if we have a lot of limitation and inability, it is because our previous lifetimes throwing karma was not very healthy with a lot of positive energy. This lifetime it becomes a completing karma because we complete the karma which threw us into this lifetime. And so when we have problems or experience sadness or inability, limitations, really it only indicates that in the previous lifetime we did not put the energy into creating the karma to have better ability in this lifetime.
You can see that if in this lifetime you create the intention and although you cannot affect it that well, you cannot effectively act in that way, if you have intention and you do do actions which are approaching what the intention of your mind is, you do actually create throwing karma. And in the future lifetime, providing you have actually enacted out your intentions to whatever degree you can in this lifetime, in the future lifetime you have greater familiarity. Automatically you have got it. So next lifetime, suddenly, you are better. You have better quality, better character, better stability, better interest, better capacity. Isn't it so much like money in the bank. If I had money in the bank, and wanted to fly to Hawaii, I could!
It is like that. If you have the money, next week you could go to Mexico. And so on. The having an abundance of money creates the ability to do those things. If we create a lot of positive actions, do positive things and such, then, we are sort of speaking, putting money in the bank. In a future lifetime, let's say we are involved deeply in the dharma, then we want to meet a teacher, we meet a teacher because we have put the energy out. In fact maybe we have five teachers of really high quality because we had good devotion, we did our meditations well, we did our work to the best of our ability. With that, next life time will go very well. And we think, we did not have any trouble, not like that person over there who has so much trouble. I just get the teachings I want when I want them, how I want them! Like this!
And the same thing applies for everything. I was thinking about it in the sense that the Dalai Lama is giving teachings in the southern United States. I would like to go, but I am not going to be able to. I work. It is my priority if I wanted to go, but a lot of hardship would come into my life and my attachments, however. But in some way I could blame my lack of karma. If I had really been generous in my previous lifetime, I would not lack money and wouldn't have to work at Beaver Lumber, and so on. Really I have only myself to blame and I should practice generosity. Because in next lifetime if there is a Dalai Lama to go and take teachings from, then I would be able to go, there would be no problems!
I am being simplistic, no one should think that life is that easy. There are those who are going for those teachings, they managed to organize their time a little better. But I am talking karma and such.
Coming back to the main theme, A lot of our being, a lot of who we are in the sense of fulfillment is based on our personality. Our personality really dictates how we feel. The easiest way to gage that is to see what happens when someone says I don't like you any more. Or someone else compliments you! We experience unhappiness or our self esteem changes dramatically! The point is we do have that our sense of who we are is dependent on our daily personality. And although meditation on the deeper implications of reality is extremely beneficial and needful, actually, in a greater sense, if we want to be happy, to have more sense of fulfillment, really the mundane teachings are the ones which will be much more immediately fulfilling for us in applying ourselves to them.
For example, the teaching on patience. In some way it is extremely mundane, it is to deal with other people. But one does it for the reason of ability. If you can learn how to deal with the energies you feel and turn or withdraw them from negative expression, getting unhappy, ventilating and raving, freaking out, instead of doing that, taking the negative energy and learning how to be creative. That comes from the perfection of patience. The bodhisattvas virtue. The ability to bear suffering and have the fortitude to accept it, and then to maybe move forward.
I was listening to a story on the CBC about a Russian businessman who ended up in a very unfortunate situation and lost everything through distortion with no recourse. I felt very angry and hurt listening to the story. I realized this was an extreme case, but I tried to think of what he could have done. He obviously did not have good karma, but if he had had a more positive feeling about himself, perhaps he could have done something more positive with the situation.
What is important is that we do have afflictions. Shit does happen. And what is important is how we try to do something with it. That is the teaching. The bodhisattva teaching is the gaining of abilities to do something to become more capable in situations and to move with them. Really the bodhisattva ideal is the ability to work with sentient beings in being able to help them. But the bottom line is to say, it is the creativity to see options on any situation. The ability or options is from a lot of positive energy. And the ability to have a positive approach.
So when we do the teaching of the perfection of patience of the bodhisattva, what really is being touched on is that it is not we want to become patient and bare our hurts without telling anyone else. Rather, we want the ability to accept it because we want to go beyond it to something different. We want to have a creativity which looks at, right now I'm being afflicted, hey I don't want to accept that so what can I do to change the situation. Maybe this time I have to accept it, but next time around, I'm definitely not going to have to be in the same position where I get hit the same way and I get hurt the same way. I am going to be in the position where maybe I can completely take the energy out of the situation, and not have a problem at all. In fact, even take it and put into something positive. That is the intention of the teachings, and in the meditation for this evening, in sitting and being part of the universe around you, is to set the dynamic in your heart which says I am something with creativity, and that creativity is striving for the ultimate benefit. I would like to benefit myself, have full enlightenment and quality, and of course I would like to be expressive of that in helping other sentient beings.
It is nothing more than if I have the capacity, I certainly would like to be very capable, and if I have it I would like help other people become capable too. And so you have set up an energy within yourself which says, just as I wish to be happy, others wish to be happy. I am certainly striving to become more happy, more creative, more dynamic, have greater potential for myself, certainly I would like to help others too.
That is the meditation for this evening. And within that we can also integrate the ultimate nature of reality. Simplistically said, your whole existence is not independently self existent. You are fully interdependent with other people. Or phrased another way, the world is both influencing you, but you are influencing it too! And that is the process of interdependence. And so it is worthwhile to set up a positive dynamic and our response to the world around us in that we have creative and positive response, in that way improving the situation rather than making it worse or if nothing else, trying to ignore it.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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