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The teaching was requested by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in connection with the Chenrezig Gyalwa Gyatso initiation given in the temple on August , I do not have the actual lineage of the discourse on this teaching nor the lineage of the oral transmission of this but I shall give you a general introduction to this practice.
We shall repeat the verses of refuge and bodhicitta. A little? As there is not much time I shall not go into a very detailed explanation. I also feel that you can read details regarding visualization, you can understand this through reading. I am going to emphasize, try to explain, those points which are important not only in this practice but as a general practice, tantric practice, or basically Buddhist practice, then the Mahayana practice, within that Tantrayana practice, within that Maha-anuttara Yoga practice.
I thought it might be better to explain these important points. So, first of all, I think you all know that at the present moment the human population on this planet, as I usually say, consists of three categories: one that deliberately abandons all Dharma, that is the minority; then another category that believes in some kind of Dharma or religion; and then the majority, the third category, that just simply neglects any religion and is completely absorbed in money matters.
All members of these three categories have one thing in common, they all want happiness, want to overcome problems, suffering. The only difference is in the methods they follow in order to gain that object.
We belong to the second category, to those who believe in Dharma or spirituality. Now you see, within the thing that we want, happiness, there are different levels.
Although all people of the three categories want happiness, within that there are different levels of happiness. Generally, people feel that happiness will come from external things, from the outside, for example from good accommodation, wealth, fame, that if you have these then happiness will come. By now it has become quite clear that material progress, development alone cannot provide satisfaction to us, and another way to gain happiness is through our own mental training, mental process.
All the different religions actually train our minds and try to give more satisfaction, happiness through mental progress or mental training. Buddhism and some other Indian religions accept not only this one life but limitless lives, past lives as well as future lives until we achieve nirvana. You see, Dharma helps not only in this life but also in future ones; but any good thing, any quality which is related to this physical body is only for one lifetime; this physical body is of one lifetime, and when this life ends then no more traces are left of it.
Any good this life ends then no more traces are left of it. Any good thing or quality which is related to the mind, specially the subtle mind, subtle mental quality, will go to the next lives and therefore it will give you some help in future lives. As you know, Buddhism as well as Jain and some sections of Samkhya philosophies do not accept a creator as one force which creates all phenomena.
These philosophies believe that ultimately things depend entirely on the mind. Now the question of self, soul. Within that category Buddhism does not accept a permanent soul, the permanent kind of dag. Generally all Buddhist schools of thought accept selflessness, dag me pa. And how to train our mind? Basically there are two sides, the upaya side and the prajna side, the method side and wisdom side. Without wisdom, method alone cannot achieve satisfaction, might not succeed, and without a good motivation wisdom is limited.
The combination of wisdom and method or motivation, those go together, is the foundation. Now the motivation. One kind of motivation is mainly thinking of oneself, self-liberation, that is one thing. All Hinayana teachings are based on that motivation. Now the other motivation, not only thinking of oneself but that all sentient beings, just like oneself, want happiness, do not want suffering and therefore compare.
Compared to others one should ignore oneself completely. That wisdom side, I think you all know that within Buddhism there are four different schools of thought, so there are different explanations, but generally speaking they seek wisdom, or main wisdom, is the wisdom which understands the ultimate nature or emptiness, voidness. For achieving self-liberation or achieving buddhahood, in both cases the main wisdom is the realization of shunyata, also the same wisdom goes towards achieving liberation or towards achieving omniscience.
The same kind of wisdom, the same wisdom but one meant for self-liberation, one meant for buddhahood because of different motivations. It is the same with weapons, one target due to motivation, not the weapon itself. Now in order to practice or train in the motivation and wisdom we need a teacher. Within one teaching the first teacher was Buddha. For example, this is the period of the fourth buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni with certain specific, different features. He himself proclaimed "I am enlightened.
In any case, "buddha" means the person who now appears as a buddha. Now such people as Nagarjuna, or many others, actually in reality have already achieved buddhahood, in reality they are buddhas but they still appear as bodhisattvas. In order to practice Dharma well we should have companions, Dharma companions, from them we can learn, get inspiration.
I am quite sure of that even today. Buddha, or Nagarjuna, who lived approximately a thousand years ago, we never saw. The people to whom we can talk, with whom we can exchange views and experiences are the real source of inspiration, and they are the Sangha. Sangha need not necessarily be monks. In Mahayana teachings, whether layman or monk, Sangha is basically someone who has had certain experiences or has certain qualities, him we call Sangha. So now, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. In order to train our mind in the right way or progressive way we need these three Refuges, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
Now the question of basic motivation, the motivation that we want to achieve buddhahood in order to serve or help all sentient beings, that we call bodhicitta. One substance appearing as two.
The method which achieves that kind of result should be that kind of thing, appearing as two, method and wisdom, but in reality just one.
In Sutrayana, the wisdom is held by motivation and motivation is held by wisdom. That according to Sutrayana is the union, the meaning of union. Now that is not sufficient, like water and milk mixed but although mixed if you make a precise analysis, there are still two things. That is the real view of Sutrayana. That is not sufficient, and therefore in Tantrayana there is the wisdom which understands shunyata.
This is very difficult, I have no actual experience, so it is difficult to express but it seems like this. In Sutrayana, when we practice the realization of shunyata, there is not much concern about the object of which to think, to investigate the ultimate nature. In terms of the object we have the selflessness of the person and the selflessness of all things.
In Sutrayana it may be easier to understand it as the user and what is used. The user means self, the thing which is used by that self are phenomena. Because it is something unique or different, it is easier to understand on investigation the realization of selflessness or realization of emptiness on the self than on phenomena or other things, like the five skandhas. Except for these kind of differences, generally there is not much importance placed on the object.
Now in Tantrayana the object becomes important. In Sutrayana though shunyata is there, because of the object it is in one case easier to understand than in the other, so the object does make a difference. On that basis now, in Tantrayana the object is not the ordinary object or, in other words, the object which actually exists, it is another object which does not exist in the ordinary sense but exists mentally, like visualizations of the mandala or the deities, which in the ordinary sense do not exist but because of our strong imagination at that moment come into existence.
Within form, there is the form which is within the Dharma source or the source of all things, just in the category of all general things, the meaning is ordinary color, shape etc. There is another kind of form which the eye consciousness cannot perceive, and within that category there are five different kinds of form.
One of them mentioned is, I think, fine atoms. Within the five kinds of form there are two kinds which are actually created by the mind itself, due to strong imagination. They are kun tag pai zug and wang jor wai zug. I cannot translate these into English, totally imaginary forms, no, not imaginary, like a dream body, I think may be special dreams, may be, or ordinary, there I am still not very clear, certain forms which appear in dreams, I think that kind is kun tag pai zug.
Then, due to samadhi, the concentration for depleting the elements, actual fire and water are produced, not from ordinary cause or source but it actually works as fire, that is wang jor wai zug. It is very difficult at the beginning to actually create certain things that actually work or act as elements, but it becomes easier. At the beginning kun tag pai zug is possible.
In any case, the visualization of a mandala, for example, is the special object, a unique creation of the mind. On that object the realization of shunyata is, due to the object, easier to understand. There are different explanations, but according to some explanations when we realize shunyata of the solid object, then at that moment the appearance of that object will diminish.
Because of different objects, very subtle objects, the appearance of the object may not disappear during the realization of shunyata or emptiness on that object. Therefore now the wisdom which realizes the ultimate nature, the shunyata nature on the object of the deity which is a creation of our own mind, at that moment is one mind, one consciousness; since it realizes the ultimate nature it is wisdom. This moment, the real method, upaya, and wisdom combine within one mind, one mind itself acting as method and wisdom.
This is the basis of Tantrayana teachings. Now within Tantrayana teachings, the Maha-anuttara Tantrayana, this combination of motivation or method and wisdom, that kind of union, is not sufficient, because that nature remains still on the grosser level of consciousness.
This is not sufficient. What we need is the subtle consciousness in the nature of union of that kind. If you are not free from these three subtle appearances then you cannot eliminate the obstacles that prevent omniscience. It seems now, I am not very sure, that the appearance of true existence is somehow related with grosser consciousness. In order to eliminate that kind of obscuration it is not sufficient just to have bare direct perception of voidness but one needs to have this in the nature of the subtler consciousness.
In Maha-anuttara Tantra Yoga there is a special technique or emphasis on the method to reduce the grosser consciousness. In order to create this unique combination of wisdom, which by nature is innermost subtle consciousness, the practice of control of breathing, all the yoga exercises, the practices which involve chakras, drops and inner airs, are necessary. This practice, the control of breathing and inner movements, drop movements or inner air can only be done through samadhi, mental power, it cannot be done by operation or something like that, the only way is mental power.
Therefore our consciousness must be one-pointed, and not only that, there must also be a kind of special preparation for the practice of the next stage. Now kye rim is involved, generation stage, development stage and the completing stage.
First in the practice of kyerim all the basic preparations for the next stage are included and also while your are preparing the next stage, temporary accomplishments of activities related to peace, wrath and power, etc.
Commentary on Gyalwa Gyatso
I post the question here, because I understand that he is primarily a Kagyu deity, but I may well be mistaken in this. For example, there seem to be two tantric versions of Chenrezig--him and Hayagriva. Do they have different meanings? Why does Kagyu or perhaps just Karma Kagyu emphasize this deity?