Saturday, 26 February 2011

Just about once

Everywhere he goes, everyone fell down to their knees in veneration
I am extremely thankful that I am able to meet my guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, in this lifetime. During his teachings, many times, there is always something which he said that I feel as if he is addressing my personal problems. And especially during this trip, there were a few moments when he taught something, the little things he mentioned other than the scheduled topic, which I felt were very relevant to me, as if he was talking to me. It was as if he was reading my mind, and I was brimming with tears.  Even after he has left Singapore, he personally gave me specific instructions on how to tackle my obstacles, and my path to full enlightenment. Yes, in his exact words, "full enlightenment". I am ever so grateful to have met my guru, as well as so many other gurus, in this lifetime, to guide me. Rinpoche kept emphasizing, "just about once" in countless lifetimes, you are able to meet the teachings of the Buddha. Just about once. How precious is that?

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in prayers with teaching mudra before teachings begin
Lama Zopa Rinpoche always gives very good examples of extremely difficult-to-understand topics like Emptiness and the "I" etc.... at certain junctures, he gave a very powerful delivery that we were awed.  As if suddenly, realizations hit us. 

Below are snippets of Rinpoche's teachings which I noted down which were memorable to me, about taming your mind and guru devotion....  in my own summary:

There is one container which has liquid inside. When a human being looks at it, he sees the liquid as water.  When a hungry ghost looks at the liquid, he sees it as blood.  When a deva looks at the liquid, he sees it as nectar.

This is a projection of the mind. Why do all 3 beings see differently even though the liquid in the container is the same? It comes from your mind. It depends on your merits. It is the result of how much merits you have collected in the past.  Just like this place of worship..... us humans see this as a gompa. To a preta (hungry ghost), it is a depressed place.  To a deva, it is a celestial mansion. What appears to you comes from your karma, it is very clear, it comes from your mind. THE MIND IS A GREAT DANGER!

Therefore the meditation of guru devotion helps in your realization to achieve enlightenment. The 5th Dalai Lama said it is important as it gives us protection in life.

One's own mind is hallucinated and perverted. Realising your own mistakes will appear in the action of your guru. Realise all your mistakes. Do not view them as your guru's mistakes. Do not view your guru from his side. Instead, view the guru from your side. 

For example, if there is something on your face, a pimple or a black speck of dirt. You notice it when you look at the mirror (guru). However it is not the mirror's fault that you have a pimple on your own face! Breaking the mirror does not help! Your mistake manifests there in the mirror and it is not the guru's fault. Our mind is so obscured and deluded that we cannot see the back of our head. Not only the back, we also cannot see the front of our face. But even if we cannot see, it does not mean it does not exist! It is only with the help of the mirror, you see your face, the back of your face, and also the pimple (your mistakes, delusions)!

To benefit sentient beings, whatever you see, realise they are your mistakes you see that appear.  This is the method for sentient beings, to subdue sentient beings. The Buddha said to the Bodhisattva Meaningful to Behold, "In degenerated times, I will manifest in the ordinary form to benefit sentient beings, which means also having mistakes. I will manifest as an abbot. And as an abbot in the ordinary aspect, I will show also rebirth, old age, sickness and death". Here, the word "manifest" means the Buddha does not inherently possess those problems but he will show these signs to sentient beings in order to teach them.
Everyone just could not get enough of our guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche
What we see, our mind believes it is reality, so many hallucinations. And because of all these hallucinations and perverted views, we cannot see the pure aspect of the Buddha, manifesting in the Sambhogakaya or Nirmanakaya forms (the pure aspect). The only thing our mind can see is the ordinary aspect, therefore what helps us can only be the ordinary aspect, in the form of the guru.

Our present level of mind is full of mistakes. Only manifesting in this ordinary aspect we can see the Buddha, we can communicate with him, receives teachings of the sutras, the oral transmissions, the commentraries, the vows etc... Thus are the 3 types of kindness of the guru:  in giving tantra initiations/commentaries, in  explaining the tantra, and in giving advice. Therefore this ordinary aspect is the MOST PRECIOUS.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the Sangha
The Guru manifesting in the ordinary aspect, fulfilling all your wishes, is the most precious thing in your life. It is kinder than all the Buddhas. We cannot see the Buddhas, we cannot receive teachings directly from the Buddhas. You receive Buddha's guidance from the guru.  Hence we need to develop the realization that he is so precious, so precious because of his kindness of revealing the Dharma to you and to bring you to enlightenment, to attain all levels of happiness.  We should always meditate how kind it is that the Buddhas manifested to us in the ordinary aspect.  For without in the ordinary aspect, then our life is totally lost in samsara, like a child in the desert. Even seeing the mistakes of the guru, you can use it to develop devotion, to create unbelievable protection.

Someone offers doggy soft toys to Rinpoche, with Shakyamuni, Medicine Buddhas in background

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