Easter Retreat 2015 - Talk 2

Good afternoon everybody.  Nice to see you all here once again.  My specialty is teaching people, how you can learn to meditate.  How you can connect to the meditation and how easy it is once you know.  I said maybe we can start with questions and answers, because I can give you information, but that might not be very useful. 

There are many of you who are new here, so I’d like to explain something.  When we do this, go down (prostrate) three times, this is one way in Buddhism of bringing down your pride and arrogance, if you are a very proud and arrogant human being.  Also we say, I bow down to Buddha, I bow down to Dharma, I bow down to Sangha, or to Buddha’s wisdom, his knowledge.  Because if you really want to learn something, you need to have respect, devotion, and feeling for it.  That’s the only way you can learn something, if you have none of this then, there is not much you are going to learn out of it.  Secondly, we recite this prayer.  I am not a good translator to translate the profound prayer we do, so, if any of you have time you should read this translation, because we are praying that our state of mind will be where we want it to be.  So, with this prayer we do, you can really know where we are aiming.  This has a really good meaning and value so you people should bother to read it.  When in Buddhism we say we want to reach a certain place, this is where we are aiming to reach.  And the translation explains it all very well so I think it could benefit, if you people really want to learn to meditate. 

But, as I say, it is useless for us to go through a lot of stress and pain, physical difficulties and mental torturing, if we don’t have it right, and remember that we want to be a better person.  Just always remember, everything needs a foundation.  So, we must have a good, good foundation in our everyday life.  It doesn’t matter whatever age you are, doesn’t matter whatever colour or race or culture you come from, you must have a good solid foundation to stand on. 

This is what we are trying to achieve through going through this meditation.  But then, I also say because you are learning to meditate you have to plant the right seeds.  But now, if anyone wants to ask me a question about anything to do with meditation or mind, what it is that you are actually working with when you are meditating. 

We have to work with mind.  So, if we have a mind that is unworkable, that means, you always want to go to the right, but your mind always takes you to the left.  Yes.   You don’t want to fall down the drain, but you always fall down the drain.  This unworkable mind.  Or we say we know it, but then we make the same mistake.  How do we keep on getting the same problem again and again? 

I heard an English saying, same old cow’s work: old cows only know how to walk in one direction, they never manage to go in the right direction.  So, we must not become the same old cow.  We must become the right human being who can actually say, I can direct my mind whichever, way I wish. 

And if you are unsuccessful in directing your mind, then what is it you are learning to do?  We are guiding our mind see.  If we keep on failing it is like when people fall into certain negativities, then it takes a long, long time for you to come out.  It is like you fall into a very dark tunnel.  And then, because you haven’t been so mindful and your old cow walks into a hole, when you fall down there, then you have to get out because you don’t have right vision, see?  You’re in darkness, trying to get out.  That is not useful is it?  The easiest thing is not to fall into that hole again.  It is much easier and much more meaningful and safer

So, I said you will get the opportunity to ask me about mind, meditation, because I think, if you don’t ask then I will be talking but it will be useless, see?  If I jump from one place to another place, it’s not useful.  So, I would like you to ask me whatever it is that you really need to know - about how to work with this, very, very, what I call slippery-fish-like mind.  You can never feel that you have control over it.  It slips about like this.  It is very clever, see?  It is very clever, it always finds lots of excuses of why you can’t hold onto it.  That’s called slippery, slippery.  And then also, you all think it is like building a temple or making a table, you make a little change and then you think it is permanent.  No, no, no.  You have to keep on working with this mind till you die.  That’s the problem.  It’s a big commitment, see?  Because the worldly habits get you so easily.  And you completely lose the view, what you are trying to achieve. 

So, we will talk about how not to fall into the same hole again and again.  What is the solution?  Now it is called mindfulness.  It’s the same in Buddhism.  Mindfulness means, be mindful of what you are thinking; be mindful of what you are saying; be mindful of what you are doing physically.  Then many times you say, ‘Oh, I wasn’t mindful,’ isn’t it?  You do many things and then you say, ‘I wasn’t mindful.’   But the purpose of meditation is that you wish to be mindful.  So, sharpen awareness to be become aware of your slippery mind.  And it finds so many excuses, why you can’t get it right see?  Because the easiest thing is blaming everybody else.  It’s easy.  It’s not my fault, it’s somebody else’s fault.  We call it cause and effect.  Then if you believe, if you follow God, then it is easy to blame God, more than anybody else.  Because God is meant to sort out everything for us.  He’s not helping you to do the right thing.  In Buddhism, responsibility comes from us, because, we are responsible.  That means, when you learn to meditate, number one you say, ‘I am responsible for my slippery-fish mind.  In a way, it is very, very useful to have that thing going here all the time, see?  Because once your mind is very workable, then you feel really good, see? 

It is like you are good racing driver, absolutely in charge of your car, the most powerful car in the world, but you have absolute confidence that you know how to drive that car.  And if you don’t have that confidence then we keep on making same mistake again and again - like me driving a car, I have nothing but accident, accident, and accident.  Yes.  Because that is my speciality, see?  I was once told that no human being would come into my car, except dogs.  Yes, I’m so dangerous.  Careless.  But somehow, I was like this because I never thought of dying, see?  Yes, I never thought I am going to be dead, because of an accident.  I don’t know why.  It doesn’t matter, even in a very major accident, I don’t get frightened, I don’t get this so-called panic.  Nothing frightens me anymore.  So that is why I was a careless driver.  You might say because I was never ever careful, I was the first Tibetan to ever pass their driving test in New York City.  I was so proud of that, see?  I was told, ‘you were the only Tibetan who passed driving test.’  Yes, I felt so honoured.  Then I was told you are driving some of the most busiest roads in the world in New York.  I was proud of it.  But I was never very careful, I would go from one side to other side.  Caused many, many accidents.  Then I decided, ‘ok, it’s fine.  If nobody wants to come into my car, it is useless to drive a car,’ so I thought I won’t have any passengers, that’s why I gave up driving cars. 

In 1980, when I took the highest Buddhist ordination, I made a vow, I will never drive a careless, machine vehicle, so, I never touch the wheel of a car.  I will be driving this slippery fish instead.  Yes!  I think I made the right decision, because from 1980, how many years?  I think you will be put off by me saying this - I put 35 years of my life into driving this silly fish-like mind.  Still don’t have fullest control over it.  Yes.  So, don’t get put off, because I’ve still found joy, happiness, fulfilment.  And I never touched a car after that.  I was always thinking, must drive the mind, not the car.  Because it was risking other people’s lives.  See?  Because, if someone who is driving but never thinks of death, it’s a big thing, you are not afraid of dying.  Having an accident doesn’t seem a big deal.  I go onto the motor highway in the wrong way, like Indian drivers.  In New York City even like that. 

Somehow, I always escaped, I was so fortunate.  No Police ever caught me!  Yes, I crossed from motor highway from one side to the other, and this to other, I was climbing up like this, still no Police ever caught me.  Yes, I was always, always fortunate.  Even I almost killed somebody, a father with two boys, bounced into his car, and even my car, the engine fell down to the ground.  I came out and shook his hand.  He was so mad.  He was almost going to kill me.  But that’s the sort of person I am, see?  Never afraid of dying.  I never thought of the consequences of driving car wrongly. 

So, that is why I took responsibility, saying, you are not going to be a person who will risk other people’s lives.  So, in our everyday life, don’t allow your slippery mind to be taken the wrong way.  Because that could actually cause more harm than driving a vehicle.  Because what we do affects so much.  If we don’t have the right frame of mind, our actions cause so much suffering. 

Like we say, the most powerful beings are human beings.  When we use our potential properly, we can do so many good things.  And if we use it wrongly, we are the ones who are capable of destroying the entire planet.  So, we have a big responsibility because this intelligence comes with responsibility. We say animals don’t have the same capacity that we humans have.  That’s why in Buddhism we say, a human beings’ life is the most conducive for practicing.  It’s not like the God realm, where everything is beautiful, everything is perfect, till you run out of your deposit or good fortune and you fall down.  So, this suffering comes at a later stage.  But at a certain level there is no pain, no suffering, so there’s no reason to make the effort to change. 

Animals also cannot have that capacity.  I mean, I’m quite sure when I look into animals in the field, if they have the slightest wisdom, they should be able to save enough grass for the winters.  If it is raining or cold, they have some shelter to go to.  But they don’t have that capacity.  But we human beings have this.  So, sometimes we human beings become so arrogant.  Think we know the best.  Especially, we don’t respect the animals.  Some say it is like God giving them to us.  So, it’s like we have every right to do what we like to do with animals.  Mistreating.  Not respecting.  If you are that sort person, you look into it.  

If you are taking animals to the slaughter house, you can literally see a tear comes to their eyes.  They will do everything they can to try to escape the place where they are taken.  They do have fear, see?  Even the tiniest insect.  You try to protect them.  They are so frightened.  Shows they have feeling.  That’s why in Buddhism we say, don’t just mistreat them because they are animals.  They still have a mind like us.  But we are the ones who have enough suffering, as well as enough wisdom, so we can really aim higher than what we are simply managing in everyday life. 

As a human being, it’s useless if from childhood to now, you are thinking of nothing but helping yourself become something or somebody.  What’s the big deal about that?  And anger is worst of all, say if someone kills one of my family then the one thing we think is I want revenge, and take the life of the other people’s family.  But I am very fortunate, to follow a Dharma which says that nothing like this is useful and learning to forgive is the only solution. 

I lost my own brother, I’d been with my brother for 62 years.  He was my father.  He was my mother.  He did everything he could to tame this very, very, unworkable human being.  It took him 35 years to actually sort me out.  So, you people should not feel so bad.  Because you need to have someone like him, who has a lot of wisdom, who has a lot of tolerance, who is willing to tolerate everything, willing to give you the space.  So, after 35 years, then finally I managed to sort out my mind.  Finally, I I start to work with my mind.  See, this is blessing, the help of my brother. 

But when he was killed, I was never angry with the person who killed him.  I was always thinking, ‘my brother is beyond my need to worry.’  He is an enlightened human being.  He has never done anything in his life except help other human beings.  So, I feel more sorry for whoever killed my brother, than my brother.  And I never looked back.  See you all manage to go back.  I thought, he didn’t waste 35 years of his life in teaching me about pure mind, good mind, positive mind, help human beings, forgiveness, all the teachings, all the things he has done for me.

 If I did not follow his teaching, it is totally like I let him down.  I would never be able to sit here and indulge my mind.  At my age, I’m picking up so many responsibilities.  Before I was always trying to escape, if I say to him, ‘Oh, I’m not interested this job,’ or, ‘I’m not up to that job,’ he will do the job.  But, I don’t have that anymore.  But, because of his total, total, compassion, total, total, tolerance, he never argued with me, he never gave me a hard time, he kept on, giving, kept on giving.  So, I am a human being, when you have something like this, you can even tame the most monster of a human being.  If you have a friend, or you have a problem, you think, it is bigger than you, and it’s totally a monster, only way you can conquer is tolerance, compassion, forgiveness. 

You will never conquer that monster by showing anger for anger.  Revenge for revenge.  So, I am so fortunate for thinking how lucky I was, to be a brother to someone who was I could say almost an unshakeable human being.  If any of you knew him, you know nothing can ever bother him.  Big or small makes no differences.  He is always there to help other human beings.  He was someone who came from Tibet, who had nothing, no education, no wealth, not even helpers, relatives, friends.  For many, many years we didn’t have any other friends, or relatives, except the two of us.  But, because his mind is strong, he knew what he wanted to do, he wanted to engage in helping other human beings, by setting up this Rokpa International, helping wherever the help is necessary. 

Then he saw a lot of people who have unnecessary mental trauma, so he set up Tara therapy.  Whether it is people needing therapy, people needing help because mental trauma, then his organisation is now very well respected in the world.  They help other people.  Tara, and then Rokpa International.  We found out that he managed to raise 35 million pounds.  And helped in many corners of the world, like in Tibet.  Many, many hundreds of thousands of people have benefitted.  That is what good mind does, see?  That is why we must pursue to have a good mind, to be less selfish, less self-centred thinking about me, me, me.  Me, is the cause of our suffering.  Then when we are able to think of others, then it is the beginning of your freedom, liberation. 

I did say, I would give you people time to ask, and I’m not giving that chance, so now I think I am getting carried away with my slippery mind.  But then in one way I’m saying, how difficult it is.  Don’t get discouraged.  Because it has value.  It can really make the differences in your life.  Doesn’t matter how difficult it is.  If you keep on working with your mind.  I’ve been here many years and all that time I have had connections with many students, and when people can put my advice into practice, they all benefitted.  Definitely.  So, it is like practical application.  If we have a lot of pain, a good painkiller will actually take away the pain temporarily, but then during that time, you will be able to have that good mind to find out the root of that big pain.  So, if you are able to find the source of that big pain, then we should be able to liberate ourselves from that pain, for ever.  Our goal should be, first seek temporary relief, so we have a mind to work with, and then look for the total remedy, total solution.  It’s Buddhist Dharma teaching.  But now you can ask me anything to do with Buddhist meditation, mind.                          

The Buddhist principle is to be everybody's friend, not to have any enemy.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Meditation means simple acceptance.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Only the impossible is worth doing.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Whenever we see something which could be done to bring benefit to others, no matter how small, we should do it.
Chamgon Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Freedom is not something you look for outside of yourself. Freedom is within you.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Hasten slowly, you will soon arrive.
Jetsun Milarepa
It doesn’t matter whatever comes, stop judging and it won’t bother you.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Whatever obstacles arise, if you deal with them through kindness without trying to escape then you have real freedom.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
To tame ourselves is the only way we can change and improve the world.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Strive always to be as kind, gentle and caring as possible towards all forms of sentient life.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Every sentient being is equal to the Buddha.
Chamgon Kentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Wherever and whenever we can, we should develop compassion at once.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Reminding ourselves of how others suffer and mentally putting ourselves in their place, will help awaken our compassion.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche