The Great Medicine Which Conquers
Clinging To the Notion of Reality
Steps in meditation on the enlightened mind
Root text by Shechen Gyaltsap Pema Namgyal
Explained by by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche
Part ten of a monthly series.
DEDICATION OF MERIT
And dedicate everything toward great enlightenment.
Such is excellent path uniting the two accumulations.
Thus the path of bodhicitta
In which both relative and absolute truths are one –
Emptiness with the essence of compassion -
Is the path that gladdens the Victorious Ones.
Meditate upon it continually and before long,
As the veils masking buddha-nature are cleared away,
You will earn the title of “enlightened one.”
In essence, the path of bodhicitta is the way to actualize the primordial nature that is originally present within us. Continuous meditation on the union of compassion and emptiness characterized by great determination and perseverance will clear away “the veils masking buddha-nature” before long. These veils are the emotional veil created by the afflictive mental factors and the subtle cognitive veil that masks the understanding of the nature of all things as well as the knowledge of their multiplicity. These two veils prevent us from achieving buddhahood. Once we remove these veils, we will see buddha-nature just as it is.
Having actualised stainless excellent qualities,
Manifesting ceaseless, omnipresent, and spontaneous buddha activity,
You will act as a protector of all beings under the skies.
Enlightenment is endowed with innumerable qualities that manifest as all-encompassing compassion. “Spontaneous buddha-activity” does not require any effort or particular intent. It springs naturally from the compassionate wisdom of the buddhas. Through this ceaseless compassion, an enlightened being’s every action becomes beneficial to all beings.
Thus I, Padma Vijaya, having drunk the instructions that streamed forth from the mouths of the great lineage-holders, have looked a little into them and now, having a little experience of them, at the request of a noble Dharma friend I have spoken this short explanation.
By this merit may the altruistic awakened mind
Be born in the mind streams of all sentient beings.
May they see the ultimate truth unveiled,
The very face of buddha-nature.
In conclusion, the author summarizes the origin of his explanation, offers a prayer, and dedicates the merit of his work. So too, I am very happy to have this opportunity to explain and delve into this clear and beautiful text. You might have been already familiar with these teachings. Although I had nothing extraordinary to add, I just wanted to offer you a reminder.
According to the Tibetan tradition there are three main types of commentaries: literal word-for-word commentary, commentary on the meaning of the text, and “all-encompassing” commentary. I have given a word-for-word commentary.
In this text we studied different ways to develop bodhicitta. We need to gain real experience with these valuable instructions and integrate them into our lives. Doing so is the only reason to study them. The result of spiritual practice should be our inner transformation into a better human being. After practicing for months or years we should be less prone to anger, pride, and jealousy. Our practice should lead us to a vaster mind that is at ease.
For example, the whole point of dieting is to lose a few pounds, not to collect knowledge and become an expert on each and every diet. We might have heard about different diets and read many books, but we won’t loose weight unless we put one of them into practice. The diet cannot help us unless we decide to integrate it into our everyday life. If you are not losing weight, then there is no point in following any of them. Similarly, if you do not implement the teachings, your destructive emotions and self-clinging will not diminish. Then, Dharma instructions will be of no use to you, no matter how many you receive.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche always placed great emphases on the importance of mingling our mind with the Dharma and unifying the practice and daily life. Our aim should be to blend our mind with the Dharma in meditation and to carry the quality of the meditation into all of our actions. Dharma needs to become second nature. We are probably not integrating the practice into our lives if, after having practiced a lot, we remain just as angry as before, or even a little more. Another indication of a lack of integration is the absence of a sense of well-being. A genuine practitioner should, at least, become a good human being.
You might feel that you have some control of the mind or made some progress in your practice yet, as soon as difficulties confront you the mental toxins overwhelm your mind with the same strength as before. If so, check whether you are becoming a better human being or not. Are you slowly getting free of the obscuring emotions? Are you enjoying the fulfillment of inner freedom and freedom from obscuring emotions?
After years of practice we should gain a sense of inner peace and become less vulnerable to outer circumstances. Masters like Patrul Rinpoche experienced great joy and profound happiness as a result of their Dharma practice. Inner freedom, relaxed and open happiness, as well as joy will arise when negative emotions and mental confusions disappear. In contrast, we will have missed the point of the practice if our mental poisons remain all-powerful, torment us constantly, and cause us to remain preoccupied with ourselves.
Although you may not have directly met Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche or Shechen Gyaltsap, when you read their writings, you can experience the profundity of their understanding, the depth of their wisdom, and the vastness of their minds. This natural consequence of genuine Dharma practice is evident in practitioners whose practice is blossoming. Even those who have not yet achieved enlightenment still radiate a kind of inner well-being. This is the sign of a good practitioner. A practitioner with a weak practice can be tense and difficult to be with. Such a practitioner experiences many disturbing thoughts and problems without being able to handle them. In contrast, a practitioner whose practice is strong naturally becomes more open and experiences inner freedom. He or she is ready to tread the path of the bodhisattvas with joy, diligence and compassion, benefiting others on the conventional as well as the ultimate level. May these teachings inspire a few to take these steps on the path to compassion and freedom with enthusiasm and confidence.
To be continued next month
To be published by Shambhala in the winter of 2007.