Archive | December 2012

The Real Cause

Special Message for the Sangha from Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

December 15, 2012
Yesterday in Newton, Connecticut, a young man killed 26 people at an elementary school, 20 of them young children, after having taken the life of his own mother and then his own.

We know the pain in the hearts of the parents, family members and friends of those who were lost. We prayed very strongly for these children and their families.

We can see from this event that the negative thinking and negative meditation of one person can cause a lot of suffering in the world. We should also know that the practice of Dharma, of positive thinking, of one person can cause a lot of happiness in the world.

There are many harmful events like this that people do to one another including genocide, torture and war caused by anger and greed, and famine and disease caused by human neglect and ignorance. There is immeasurable suffering caused by negative thinking that goes on and on.
People have the habit of blaming individual people, specific circumstances and outer material causes for these events. In this case, we hear on the news again and again the discussion of blame and praise for various people connected with this tragedy, and the discussion that guns are bad and that we need to increase security systems and things like this.

But so far I do not hear anyone say what is really the cause of this matter, that that man practiced angry meditation more and more strongly over time until he exploded with anger. Even though he seemed weak and shy, through the power of his anger manifesting, he was able to kill and hurt many people physically, most of whom were small children and even his own mother, and millions of people were hurt mentally by hearing this sad news.

We should know that the power of thinking is immeasurable, and its potential for harm and benefit are also immeasurable. We should understand this, and understand that anger and angry meditation are bad. That we need to decrease and eliminate anger and other types of negative thinking that cause immeasurable suffering. This is the cause. We need to eliminate the cause.

We should recognize that we are all endowed with the special circumstance of human birth. For those who have the basic conditions of personal freedom and the opportunity to learn and practice Dharma, human birth means the possibility of positive choice and intention. It means we can choose and cultivate positive thinking to benefit others and ourselves. When we do this we go from light to light and realize in ourselves the special meaning of precious human birth. Without this, because of its special potential for creating strong karma, an ignorant and negative human life is like a catapult to present misery, surrounding misery, and future misery. This short period of our lives is a special circumstance we have, a special time. Now we need to positively practice the ways of peace.

When we hear of bad things like these, we can practice positively. We should think of these suffering people and victims, even including the criminals and evil people who do these things as if they were our own parents, or our own brothers and sisters. We should have compassion for them all and feel the need to help them all, without omitting any.

Whatever negative things we hear of, we should know to practice immediately the opposite of those negative thoughts and meditations in our own minds. Those negative things should be like fuel that we throw into the fire of our own compassion for others. And we should eagerly and optimistically look for ways to help others both near to us and far away. We should not try to ignore these things or make ourselves nervous worrying about them in a helpless manner. We should practice Dharma more and more.

In addition, with regard to this specific event, I encourage Dzogchen Sanghas to assemble this Sunday, December 16 and during regular Buddha Path practice all Dzogchen Sangha members should each dedicate at least one candle to the Buddha, and recite at least one hundred and eight times the mantra of Avalokiteshvara “Om Mani Padme Hung Hri” with the best intention for these people and all suffering beings. If individuals cannot assemble at that time, please do this same practice individually wherever you are.

Best Regards, Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

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This entry was posted on 12121212, in Teachings.

No fear

A sharing by Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche…

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Everyone seems to be very busy talking about 12th December and 21st December. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails asking what should be prepared if the world ends on 12th December or 21st December. I was very confused in the beginning, because it’s the first time I heard about these two dates and about the prediction of the “end of the world”.

I guess the “end of the world” does not mean the “end of samsara”. I don’t think samsara will ever end. We should call for a celebration if samsara is near end. For the world to come to a complete destroy, our negative collective karma has to be working together.

My parents and many people have pitched tents tonight, staying outside of the buildings, because many people from my father’s monasteries have told him that tonight is the day when the end of the world will happen at 12am midnight (12:12:12:12…), but they didn’t inform specifically which country or which region the midnight would be based on . So for the fun of it, my parents are having night picnic right now. People told them that buildings might collapse, the world will be destroyed and it would be safer to stay in the open. I called my parents just now and found out they had just slept soundly. My father did tell me that he couldn’t believe that people actually believe in this sort of predictions. Anyway, they were going to enjoy themselves in the nature and have good food before retiring.

Today, I happen to be on the 31st floor. I guess I would have nowhere to run, if the building collapses. I suppose I have to pray very hard so that tomorrow morning, I will be waking up on top of the rubbles.

Whether the world will end or not actually depends solely on us. If our mind is corrupted with negative thoughts and motivation, then our speech and actions will be corrupted by negativity. For me, when our mind is full of negativity, there is no space for Bodhicitta, there is no space for understanding, for love and for mindful living, I consider this as the end of the world, at least the end of my world.

Anyway, do not fear the end of the world is near, but at the same time, do not indulge in too much of mundane comfort, thinking that we will live forever. Rather than believing that the end of the world is near, why don’t we use the present to live happily to the fullest. As I always say, happiness will only come when you share happiness. So, we should always encourage each other to engage in positive deeds and keep our body, speech and mind in the present, live mindfully.

For those, like some of my friends who believe that either tonight or 21st December is the end of the world, try to complete your practice or recite Guru Rinpoche mantra. Anyway, we have to dedicate our life to progress on our spiritual path, maybe this fear for the world ending soon is not bad to encourage us to practise more, last minute!

It surprises me a lot that most of us choose to believe in negative predictions. We should have strong devotion that the Buddha, Vajradhara, Dakas and Dakinis are always with us, but we don’t believe in this, instead we believe in negativity. Therefore we learn about many strange negative predictions such as the latest one about the end of the world. This is something that I don’t understand. I think believing in negative prediction itself is a very bad karma.

For example after watching a horror movie, you would remain scared of ghosts and spirits for at least a few hours, so much so that you wouldn’t want to turn off the lights because of fear. If someone tells us for hundreds or millions of times about angels watching over us, Guru being Vajradhara and always protecting us, Dakinis being always there helping us, we normally do not have any feeling and wish to believe this. You can just simply imagine how badly we are affected by bad karma.

Even if you don’t believe in karma, don’t you think that there is something wrong with us? It is a great mystery that we choose to believe in the negative rather than the positive, something is really wrong with us. Many of us often have that much of fear, we always say and feel, “I can’t sleep alone by myself, there are some spirits coming, I have to turn on the light.” If you feel so much fear, logically you should also have a strong sense of believing that Guru or Vajradhara is there to protect us, or for those who believe in God and angels flying over your head, you should feel protected at least for a few hours and a few minutes. If you normally choose to believe in the negative and see only the negative side of things, of people, that actually means that you have a pretty long way to go in terms of spiritual path. It actually means you have to be recognising that you are the one who have to be saving yourself, you have to purify your concept or mindset of ghosts being very much in existence and the positive spirits not existing. This kind of negative mindset is causing us a lot of fear and problems.

We always talk and discuss about the positive concept or devotional objects such as Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, Guru, Dakas and Dakinis, but there is no impact, despite talking about it whole life. We don’t believe. Why can’t we believe it? Yet, after watching horror movie, we believe in those horrible concepts and negative spirits, it doesn’t really make much sense. So rather than believing in the world coming to an end, why don’t we just put our feet down and believe in positive world and positive living? This is a fantastic way to start counteracting all the negative energies surrounding us, with so many people talking about the negative predictions for today and 21st December 2012. To tell you honestly, I still do not understand what this is about. Have a very good night!

(Source: http://www.drukpa.org/index.php/News-in-2012/fear-not)

Not believing in impermanence is a sign of heavy negative karma

Dear friends, impermanence has often been belaboured upon countless times by teachers, but many of us have failed the same number of times to take it to heart.  I hope you can read this, examine yourself and take it to heart.  The Buddha did explain before that of all relative meditations, the meditation on impermanence is supreme and creates vast merits.  The past Kadampa masters have taken the teaching on impermanence as their main practice and succeeded in liberating themselves and others from samsara through diligent practice.  Similarly. we should not underestimate this teaching.

Not believing in impermanence is a sign of heavy negative karma
Phurpa Tashi Rinpoche

As we have not spend much time contemplating on impermanence in the past, therefore even if we think about impermanence now, in the depths of our mind, we always think that we will not die. This kind of baseless conviction (that we will not die) has lodged itself firmly in the depths of our mind. Therefore, even though we listen to the teachings repeatedly, in actuality, we are just going through the motion of thinking about impermanence. Everytime, we are only able to think for a moment that human life is hard to gain, life is impermanent and the natural law is that of birth and cessation, therefore we are going to die eventually. Although we contemplate like that, but in fact, we still believe strongly that we are not going to die immediately.

Why is this? “This is because when you Guru told us that it is possible for us to die tomorrow, but when tomorrow arrives, we are still alive and well. Last year when you taught us about impermanence, it turned out that this year i am still surviving quite well.” Therefore although the Guru repeats many times but you still feel that for these few days at least you are not going to die.

Of course, for the time being, it may be like that. But one day will arrive when you will feel that what the Guru has taught you is actually real and objective. But when that time arrives, even if you feel terror and fear, it will be too late. Please think carefully. How many close friends have already departed from us? I think for these people (who have died), they too must have felt that birth and death is a natural pattern of life, and they too must have thought before about death, but due to the heavy karma created from beginningless time, deep down in their hearts, they still felt that it was impossible for them to die. But now, isn’t there only a pile of bones and ashes remaining from what they used to be?

If simply witnessing (death) will create fear in those people who are still alive, remember that death will definitely happen to us after some time. This is certain! Therefore wherever you are now, we should be fully assured that we will have to face such a moment. For instance, tonight, when you place your head on the pillow to sleep, maybe you will be lucky enough to wake up tomorrow. But one day will come when you are no longer able to wake up. This day will come sooner or later. Maybe it is this year, maybe next year. No matter what, within fifty years, no matter how you deceive yourself, you will have to face this objective truth. It doesn’t matter whether you believe or understand it or not, (death) will still operate its effect in our lives.

In the past, we always said that our karma is heavy. What is karma? All the viewpoints and conduct that run contrary to the authentic dharma are labelled ‘Karma’. Therefore, you should examine yourself: after having started in the Dharma, are negative emotions and conduct that are contrary to Dharma still occuring frequently or only occasionally? If it happens frequently, then this means that our karma is heavy.

For example, when we listen about impermanence, our mind has some kind of unreasonable force that is constantly hookwinking ourselves. We believe that we will not die in the meanwhile. This is also a sign of our heavy karma. Because karma will never present itself as a demon with long straggly hair holding a spear. To you, such a manifestation seems to be your karma, but karma will not present itself like this.

Presently, there are some students who recall that they killed a fish last year. Or killed a chicken last year. Are such karmas heavy or not? From a certain perspective, having hurt the lives of sentient beings, of course this is a sign of heavy karma. But remember that whether karma is heavy or not does not depend on its appearance. Appearance by itself is not negative karma, instead, we should reflect on whether our mind and conduct has contravened the authentic Dharma.

Therefore when the Guru teaches you about impermanence, but your mind has no way to absorb this reality constructively, but insists that you will not die, this then is an aspect of your heavy negative karma showing.

So how should we dissolve such karmic force? We should rely on the lineage’s teachings to cut through this unfounded view that we will not die. Therefore, we should always repeatedly contemplate on impermanence. This point is very important!