Seuraa meitä

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche Lojong eli 7 kohdan mielenharjoitus



Thank you very much, I'm very happy to be back in Finland. I think I was here about two years ago, and I have some friends here and my relatives also.

So, we have chosen the mind training for the subject of these three evenings. This is a very important practise from the mahayana buddhist tradition. Generally speaking, the main purpose of doing anything actually, not just the spiritual practices but doing anything by a human being, or for that matter, maybe any being, it is understood and I think it must be the same, that we wish to free ourselves from any kind of problems, pain and sufferings. We don't want any suffering, we don't want any pain and problems, and we wish to be completely joyful, happy, satisfied and well. And whatever we are doing, we are doing it for that, whether we articulate that or not, whether we say it's for this or not, deeply we are actually working towards that.

And so, you know, we want to be free and happy ourselves, but it is not just that. Basically we want to be happy and free from suffering, but not just ourselves alone. If I find myself a little bit okay, but then my very kind of near and dear people, if they are suffering, I feel that it's not enough. So therefore, everybody has their loved ones, their very close and very loved people, so therefore we wish others also to be free and have happiness. And it is not only me and you who have loved ones, it is everybody, everybody has my loved ones and their loved ones, so therefore we wish ourselves to be free and happy and free from suffering, and we also wish others. That's not just from the spiritual point of view and religious point of view, it's not just a cultural point of view, it's a basic human way of feeling.

So, then the question comes, what can we do? What can we do, so that we have total freedom, we have no problems, we have all the good things, everything well, happy. Can we do that? That becomes the basic question. Can we be totally free, can we be completely happy and satisfied and have no problems?

It depends on how we get it. We think sometimes, most people think, that if I have this and I have that, if I'm rich, if I'm powerful, if I'm famous, if I'm beautiful, then everything is okay, I'm completely happy. Is it like that? Because you know, you can have lots of things but not necessarily be completely happy, completely free. Because you can lose them. If I'm really rich – it's not that it's not good to be rich, I can be very rich and it is very good to be rich, but is that the end of the problems? It's not. All knows it is not. Because many people who are very very rich, can be very unhappy. Not only that, but even if they are very rich, they can be sick, they will become old, and they will die. They will lose their near and dear ones, they will get things they did not want, so that's not the solution. And in the same way everything else. So therefore, outside things, the material things, the conditions of the life, is very important; it's very important, but it's not the real solution, because that is not possible to be under our control all the time. So therefore, we cannot maintain it, and even if we can maintain it, we have other problems, and when we have them, there's nothing we can do about it. So therefore, it's good to have outer, material and other conditions, that makes us better, our lives better, but it doesn't guarantee our freedom, it doesn't guarantee our freedom from suffering, pain or problems, it doesn't guarantee our happiness and satisfaction. Then, what can we do?

So, generally speaking, the outside things, the material things, the conditions, since we cannot guarantee or nobody can guarantee that everything can be solved, that there are no problems, no change, no things like that can happen. We cannot stop changing. We cannot stop becoming old. We cannot stop people dying. So therefore, those things will bring us problems and sufferings and pain. And many other things also. So then, is it that we can never have really lasting kind of happiness and peace and freedom?

Now from the spiritual point of view, it is the main understanding, that it is not possible to have complete happiness through outside things, through material things, through creating things or the conditions. Those things are important, they have to do with our happiness, but our lasting peace, lasting joy and happiness cannot come from those. It has to come from within. That's the main understanding. We cannot change and cannot guarantee, that nothing on towards will happen to us or in our life. But it is possible to change our way of experiencing what we experience, what we all do. We may go to one incident, one problem or one situation, and how that situation, incident or problem affects us, depends on how we can experience that or how we can deal with that. So therefore, the only way is to learn how to transform our way of experiencing. That's the spiritual path.

The spiritual path, especially of buddhism, is all about training our mind. Our mind here means not only the thinking but our whole consciousness, our awareness, on how to experience things. Therefore, it's about working on our attitudes, way of thinking, way of reacting. It is also about how to work with our emotions, how we react with our emotions, how we carry them, how we look at them, how to face them, resolve them, transform them. And also very much our habits, habitual tendencies. So we need to work with ourselves, our way of experiencing. Because our experience is done by what? By our mind. Everything we experience is through our mind, through our consciousness, through our awareness. Therefore, if there is a possibility to bring complete happiness and complete joy in our lives, it has to be by transforming our mind, our way of experiencing. So therefore, the whole buddhist tradition, all buddhist training and the whole buddhist practice, and I think all the buddhist path, all spiritual path, what we call spiritual path, is about training our mind, about learning how to experience ourselves in a certain way. So therefore, training the mind, mind training is the main thing, the main practice.

Of course, this particular practice, this particular teaching is based on buddhist traditional teachings. It comes from Buddha's teachings and then through many different masters of India, especially Atisha Dipamkara, who was one of the greatest Indian masters who came to Tibet, the eleventh century after Christ. He was responsible to revive buddhism in Tibet after it was kind of a little bit persecuted by one of the kings. And his main focus of the teachings here on this one was training the mind. And these teachings then basically train the mind through two things: through wisdom and compassion.

Wisdom, from the buddhist point of view, means being able to see or experience, to see things as it really is. I use the word "see" not because it's seeing by the eyes, but seeing as like experiencing directly. It's not only thinking or conceptualized thinking, but direct experience allthough we call it seeing. Seeing the nature of things. Trying to understand, trying to see things as they really are. Experience things the way it actually is. Experience myself as I actually am, all the phenomena as they really actually are. That's the wisdom. Wisdom is to be able to experience things as they really are. That's what we call wisdom. And this is extremely important from buddhist point of view, because all our problems are coming from not being able to experience things as they really are. And that is in buddhist teachings called ignorance. Ignorance is not being able to experience things as they really are. And all the negative, afflictive emotions and things like that, arise from us not being able to experience things as they really are. So therefore, that's the most important thing, the wisdom.

The second one is compassion. Compassion is regarded as most important until we have the complete wisdom, because compassion becomes the basis of all what we call the positive deeds. The positive deeds, what we call the positive deeds, positive actions, are all inspired and based on compassion. So therefore, to cultivate this compassion in us, to try to think with compassion, is supposed to be the most important thing. Because otherwise the way we react without compassion creates problems for ourselves and creates problems for others.

Usually, when we talk about compassion, sometimes people think that compassion is only for people who are in a very bad situation. We have compassion for the people who are suffering, having problems: "Oh, I don't want this to happen", and little bit afterwards when they're better, it's, "No-no", or when people are better than us it's: "Oh no", we don't have compassion at all. It's not like that. And also, compassion is good for others, but more good for ourselves. This is very important from the buddhist point of view, because compassion means action, and action means kind of practically... when I want something that's good for me and good for others. Not just good for me, but good for me and good for others. A win-win situation, good for everybody. And with that intention, with that objective, when one acts, whatever I do should be what's good now for me, and good now for the others, and that's good in the long run for me and the others too. And then that's what I want, I want everybody to have something good, everybody well. Then with this intention, with this motivation, whatever I do is positive. It's positive because it's done with a pure heart. It's done with a benevolent vibration, a benevolent motivation. With the kind of intention to be of benefit and help to others and to ourselves. When I do anything, whether it's anything, you know, body actions, mind actions or speech actions, or even thought actions, if I do something with that motivation, with that intention, that objective, it cannot be negative, it has to be positive. Because what is negative and what is positive? A negative deed is something that is inspired by a negative intention, wanting to harm or wanting something negative to happen, that is inspired by hatred or by greed or by something else, or ignorance, and it is something that brings an unpleasant result for others and ourselves. So that's a negative deed. A positive deed is something that brings a pleasant result for ourselves and others. And therefore, if an action is inspired by the compassion, then it has to be, because it's meant to be, it's intended to be something that, at the best of our ability, is good and beneficial for myself and the others.

And of course, what we do, any actions that we take, nobody can guarantee that it will happen exactly as we wish. Sometimes people say that even some actions with good intentions can become not so good, not so useful. That's true. But what can we do? We can do only what is the best of our ability, we can do all that, we cannot do anything more. And if we really do it with compassion, we'll do it with best of our ability, best of our understanding, best of our capacity to do something good. And whatever we do, the result or the effect of that is not necessarily only our action. If I do something, even if I do the right thing, there are lot of other elements, there's never anything that is just one element. So therefore, what I do, can result into not very good, but that's not because of me or my actions. It's because of many other actions. So therefore, if I do with good intention and really out of compassion, that has to be positive from my actual point of view. Therefore the compassion becomes the basis of all positive deeds. And if that is combined by wisdom, the more wisdom, then we know more how to do things better, how to be more effective, more creative, more with wisdom. So therefore, the wisdom and the compassion are the two things that we wish to train on, and the mind training is all that. Training on wisdom and training on compassion.

So, the particular text here is called The Seven Points of Mind Training. The first point here is:

First train in the preliminaries.

That's the first point. It's a way of creating the basic attitude, the way we try to think, the way we try to see our life and all around us. That's the first point. And this is four things that sometimes people call The Four Ways of Turning the Mind. Turning your mind, in a positive way.

The first one is called The Preciousness of the Human Life. Precious human life, precious life. To understand and recognise and to appreciate the preciousness of our life. This is very important, because we all want to be happy. We all want to enjoy our life. But then we need - "I can't do it now, I have to have something, I have to get something and then get something and then do something, and then only I can live my life with joy."

It's a little bit like this story. There are many versions of this story. The one I like is this Portuguese one. I don't know if anyone of you has ever been to Portugal. It's a nice place. In the middle of there there's a place called Alentejo, where the people are supposed to be very lazy. I have lots of affinity with the lazy people, because I'm called the lazy lama. And I am really lazy.

So, it is said that in this area some tourist arrived. And then there was a man, who came, and there was a lake. So he was fishing with his fishing rod. And then he got a big fish, he put it in his bucket and was leaving. The tourist was very surprised. He just got one fish and he's leaving! He says: "Why are you leaving? You got a nice fish!" The man says: "Yeah, I got a nice fish, why do you think I'd need more?" The tourist says: "No no, you can fish a lot here, there's plenty of fish, you can fish a lot!" "Yes, but why?" "Well then you can sell it." "Oh yes, but why?" "You sell them and then you get lots of money." "Okay, I can get a lot of money but what do I do then?" "Oh, then you can buy a boat!" "What do I do when I buy a boat?" "Well then you go fishing in the sea." "Why would I fish in the sea?" "Then you'll get even more fish! You can have lots and lots of fish, and you can sell them and you can become much much richer, and you can then buy more boats and you can buy many boats and you can fish big way and you can become very very rich!" "But what will I do then, being very rich?" "Then you can do whatever you like!" "Yeah... but that's what I'm doing now! Why would I go all the way round to do what I'm doing now?"

So we have this way of thinking usually, this habitual way of thinking. What I'm doing and what I am, the way I'm doing, it's not okay. Something needs to be done, something is not right, you know. And then, of course, we have problems also. Everybody has problems. Some more, some less, there's nobody there who has absolutely no problems. Who is there who has no problems? You can think about big people like presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, down to the most ordinary and most kind of low levels: all have problems. And it's not that problems are finished. "Now I do away, now I work on my problems, now my problems are solved! Now I am finished." Nothing like that. It's not. We can finish one problem, another problem can come. Not necessarily only one. Sometimes more than one problem can come. You know? So we cannot be done with problems. Then what can we do? What we usually do is that when we have a problem, we totally concentrate on that, we totally focus on that, we get totally absorbed with that problem. We think about that problem all the day long, all night long, we dream about it. We don't get sleep. Sometimes even small problems can do that. And then we think, that if I solve this problem, then I will enjoy my life. But – what about the next problem? Then we somehow get rid of this problem, but that's not the last problem. And if I do this all the time with one problem, then next problem, you know, and then next two problems, I become depressed of course. Because when I have a problem I don't see anything else, I can't think about anything. It's almost like I have nothing else but the problem. It is, my mind is not concentrated on, my mind sees only the problem, nothing else, and it is like I'm experiencing nothing else but the problem. And I do not experience nothing else but the problem. And then it means, that I don't have anything but the problem. Actually, in my life I can have many good things. But I don't focus on that, so it's like I don't have it. And that becomes our habit. That becomes our habitual tendency. That is why we get depressed very easily, that's why we get upset, why we are unhappy, why we feel bad.

So therefore, it is extremely important, and this is where the main training is, that we remind ourselves, again and again and again, that it's not only the problems, but the other things, the good things, the precious things, the good things of the life that we have, we must appreciate them. We must celebrate them. We must recognize them and try to concentrate our attention. The more we do that, the more the problems become less affective on us. The problems don't go away, but how I am I affected by the problems is how I perceive them. So if I have problems, but good things also, then I'm balanced. If my mind is only concentrated on the problems and nothing else, I am not balanced. If I can feel more of positive sides, if I can appreciate the good things more, the problem's here, but it's effect is less. It's not that I don't have to deal with it – I have to deal with that anyway, I have to work on that anyway, I have to solve that anyway - but I'm less tortured by all these problems. Because there are some good things also. It's balanced.

So therefore, to concentrate, to understand, to remind yourself and become conscious of the preciousness of the human life, of the good things, of our opportunities. Even if I have nothing, but just the life, how wonderful it is, how good it is, how nice it is to have a life. Sometimes this can happen when we are really in a very crucial, a very critical situation. Sometimes it seems, that people in the more advanced societies, more kind of rich societies, economicly higher standard societies have more problems. More unhappiness, more dissatisfaction, more depression and things like that. And sometimes I tell them to go and visit third world countries. I say, "Go and visit India and come back", when they are very depressed and burned out. Once I met a lady who was. She had lost her job, lost her boyfriend, and many such things, and was very depressed. She said: "What can I do?" I said, "Go away for a while, go to India or somewhere else." And she went, but she didn't go to India. She went to Japan. And then she came back, and she came all smiling. I said: "What happened?" She said: "Oh, I almost lost my life." "But you seem to be happy!" "Yes, I'm so happy now." "What happened there?" She said that she went somewhere in Japan and I think she was climbing a mountain or something like that, and she fell into a ditch. And she thought: "This is the last thing, I'm dead." She could not get out, she couldn't get any help, the trail was very far, it was a very isolated place, and somehow at last, somebody saved her. And when she was in this situation, she said, all her problems, all of these job problems and boyfirend problems, all these other problems just resolved. All these problems became so small. She said she thought that if I just can get on with my life, it is so wonderful. I don't need all those things, she thought. And when she got out of it, she was just so happy, that all those problems, that she thought were very severe and very strong and very bad, just went away, because compared to losing your life it was nothing. So she could really see, how precious the life was. It was the last moment. Almost she didn't get out, she didn't survive. Of course, how long she remained like that is another matter.

But this is what is the main thing, that we try to work on. To remind ourselves. Even if everything goes wrong, even if there are not too many good things, everyone has got a life, and life itself is... You know, people say that the human being is at the top of evolution. I don't know if it is true or not, but so often we think we are. We are very powerful. We have lots of intelligence. We have lots of capacities, abilities to do good things as well as bad things. We can help others, we can help other beings also. We can help animals, we can help environment, we can do a lot of things if we want to. So we're fortunate. Anyway, the more we can see these things, the more we can appreciate things, the more we are happy, the more we are joyful, and when we see the preciousness, how precious our life is, that's the first thing. It's very important to understand this. And this is not just something that we just understand once, it is something that we remind ourselves again and again. You know, something that whenever it slips off, when we have one problem and then we [worry], we remind ourselves, that it's okay, the problem is there and if more are are coming, we are working on that. And it's not that we can have all of our problems solved; we have to live our life with the problems, we keep on solving the problems and living our life happily and beneficially. It's not the other way around, first we solve our problems and only then we live our life and all. It cannot be. We live our lives in a good way, in a satisfactory way and in a peaceful way and joyful way, and do whatever good we can do, whatever the problems may be. That's the way. So, therefore, this is the first thing, this is the first of the four turning the mind attitudes.

The second thing is Impermanence. This is another important realization or way of thinking. Because impermanence is a fact. We all know that things are impermanent. Everything changes. The world changes, the environment changes, I change, you change. Myself changes so much, that now the scientists have found out that in every seven years, they say, every cell of my body has changed. Nothing left. So in my case, right now I've replaced myself, I don't know, seven times, or something like that. See, it's nothing, everything changes. We see this, we know this intellectually, but we won't accept this. That's why we cling to lot's of things that happened before. "Oh, that thing happened - and it shouldn't happen like that", you know? We can't let go. It's a bit of not deeply accepting the impermanence, the changing thing. We cannot accept that what is past is past. What is now is now, but it will be gone. The future is yet to come. It will come of course. And then it will change again.

This is extremely important in one way, because, in other way, there are lots of people who have lots of problems in the past. Some people have had difficult past but not that much problems. Why? It's a way of thinking. If I say: "I had such a difficult past, I had such a difficult childhood, I had so much problems, negative things happened to me", then I become very unhappy. "This was that bad, this was that bad, this shoud not have happened..." I can be extremely unhappy about my life. But in the same time I could say, "I had lots of problems in my life when I was young and when I was a child. Thank god it's gone now! You know, it's so nice now, it's all gone! I am so good now, it's much better now." Then it's same thing but a totally different reaction. Even thinking about the problems sometimes can make you happy. Sometimes it can make you happy, because that time it was so bad and this time it was so bad, but now it's all right. It's one way.

Another way is what the Dalai Lama was saying in an interview. He was saying, that the Tibetans, for instance, had to go through such difficult situations, especially in his lifetime, and he said that millions of people died. Lot's of starvation, lots of oppression, the hardest kind we know, the whole civilization was destroyed. It just can't be much worst than that. And he said, that we can be very bitter about that. We can think like, "We were so oppressed, we were so unjustly treated, we were so unhappy, nobody helped us, nobody in the world helped anyway even a little bit." That's also a little bit true. Some people helped, but... So, we can be very bitter, very angry, very unhappy, we can concentrate on that and we can be a very negative lot. But that's no good, that's no use because it doesn't help us, or it doesn't help to solve the problem either. Then what can we do or what we have to do, he said. We need not think like that. We need to think, okay, we are in this situation. We can not deny that nothing bad happened to us. We cannot say it was all nice. We cannot do that, we don't need to do that and we shouldn't do that. What happened is that, a fact. Then what should we do? He said, now we are in this situation; all these things happened, due to many reasons, all different things; we had a very hard time, we had this situation, and then what? It was difficult. Now, in this situation, what can I do to improve? What can I do so that I can a little bit improve on this situation? And he said, and he was laughing: "It's not difficult to think of something to improve because we are so low in this situation." So if we can think like that, then we are thinking positively. So therefore, we can't feel totally unhappy and totally kind of feeling the lowest, because it's our attention, our focus how to improve with possibilities within that lowest and worst situation, in that situation what can we do to improve.

It's a similar way when we think about impermanence. Things change. Things can change, things are never the same. Even if I'm in the worst situation, it can also change. It doesn't mean that everything good also remains. Everything changes. Nothing remains the same. So therefore, it's not necessary to only hold on to the past. It cannot be, that I hold on the present also. Things have to leave, we have to understand. We have to leave and then, moment by moment, understand that things change. When we understand this deeply, the impermanence, we can be tolerant. We can be patient, because it doesn't matter, and nothing lasts. Even bad, negative things change. Good things also don't last forever. So therefore, while we have that time, we should make the best of what we have now. It's not that I do this and after all this is done in my life, then I practise dharma, then I do good things, it's not like that. Because now is the time.

There's a story – I don't know if I want to tell you the story - of three questions asked by a king. These questions were: Which is the most important time for me? Who is the most important person for me? And what is the most important thing for me to do? Three questions. In the end of the story he found the answer. I'm not going through the story because it's long. The answer that satisfied him was that the most important time is now. Because the past is not there, you can't do anything about it. It's gone. You can remember, it can affect us, but it's gone. Future is not there, it's yet to come. You can't do anything about it. Only time that you can do anything about is the present moment. This moment, the present moment. Therefore, the present is the most important time. Who is the most important person? The person who is next to you now is the most important person. Because past and future we don't know, nothing can be done about them. So, the person who is there and with you now is the most important person. So what's the most important thing to do? Trying to help the person who is next to you now is the most important thing to do.

That's the situation. And when you understand and when you can think about the impermanence, then do that. We have to accept this impermanence, because the more we can accept and understand this impermanence, the more we become fearless. Because we know that, you know, we are so worried about situation, we are so worried about the things in the future, we are so worried, that this might happen, that might happen, also all sorts of fears, worries, things like that, and that suffers us, that suffers us a lot. But what's the use of worrying? Even if I worry my head off, it doesn't make it become better. You know? Because it doesn't do anything good. It doesn't change the situation that is to happen. Even if I fear all the time, it doesn't make that fear not come. Whatever kind of fear I fear, it doesn't help that it doesn't come. So, no use.

So when I understand, deeply, deeply, that there is nothing called security – you know, there is no security; everything changes and there's no certainty, so there is no security. I can insure myself for a million "kronors", if you want, but that doesn't make things not change. Therefore, I cannot really secure myself, there's nothing that called security. So when there's nothing called security, whatever comes, I have to face anyway. So, when things come, I have to go through it, whether I like it or whether I do not. But, what comes, it goes, so therefore it's all over, there's nothing that sticks, nothing can stick, nothing can remain the same. So, what is there to fear about, what is there to worry about too much? Because everything is moving anyway, and I am that, I am impermanence, I am moving, I am changing, I am the flow, I am like a river, it's flowing and changing. So therefore the changing doesn't matter. It is obvious it changes. The change is there, the impermanence is the nature of everything, it's my nature. It's everything's nature. Everything is so impermanent that everything changes; actually there's not even "now". Like [one old preacher?] once said: Past is gone, is finished, is past. The future is not yet there. How long is the present? How long is the present. Preseeeeeeent..... Present is moving, you can't say present is this long. When we deeply look in it, we can't find the present. Therefore, when we understand impermanence deeply, we actually understand the nature of things. The wisdom. We can find wisdom through impermanence. Because you know what you are. It's a momentary thing. It's a changing thing. It 's changing so quickly that there is not even a chance to remain in there. So therefore, the buddhist philosophy of interdependence and emptiness is also based on this. So if you understand impermanence deeply, you understand emptiness. If you understand emptiness and impermanence, you understand deathlessness, you understand internally kind of, then you can be free from fear, when you deeply understand this. You know, when you are so changing, there is nothing that is to be, you know, we are changing so quickly and so much, that there's nothing actually there to remain. When there's nothing to remain, then what's there to be destroyed by death? When there's nothing to be destroyed, then there's nothing to die. So there's nothing to fear. What's there to fear? So therefore, to understand impermanence deeply is said to be extremely important, and very very deep. That's why Buddha said that of all the footprints, elephant's footprint is the most impressive one. Of all the meditations and all the contemplations, the contemplation of impermanence is the most important one. That's how he said.

Do you have any questions so far?

Q: I have a question of the last part, concerning fearlessness. Could You rephrase the relation of fearlessness and deathlessness, the fact that the people don't die?

A: Why do you fear? Why we fear?

Q: In my case, stating the obvious, one big fear is the fear of death.

A: So, if you find that you are changing so much, that you know, there is nothing to die. We are changing all the time. Change is what? The change. Everything changes. The time changes, not only time changes, but people change, the things change. You know, everything changes. When do we change? Does it change once a year? Like on your birthday? I am so and so years now, like I am going to be 54 or 55. According to the Tibetan way of counting I'm 55 but according to the English I'm still 54, even 53, so I'm completing 53 on my birthday in July something and something, until that you can't call me 55, or I'm really angry! I'm not yet! So, is it like that? No, it's not like that, you know. I don't change on my birthday, I've been changing all the time. I don't change, do I change every day? Yes, every day, but when? You know, seven o'clock in the morning, eight o'clock in the evening? It's nothing like that. We are changing every hour, every minute, every second. Every second? Is that the shortest time, the second? According to the mathematicians it's not the shortest time, a second. They say that. I don't know any mathematics, but one mathematics teacher in Oxford university always tries to teach me mathematics. And he says that through mathematics you can prove emptiness. I'm not good at mathematics. I never understood what he was saying. For many years he was – he's quite old – but everytime I'm there, he will come to me and talk to me for two or three hours. And I'm very grateful, I record his teachings. But I don't understand, you know. But one time I kind of understood something, a little bit I think. It was about this changing thing. He gave me a kind of a diagram. It says that between one feet, or one meter, you can have countless dots, you can have countless points. But between one millimeter also, mathematically, you can have countless points. So therefore, there is no kind of a minimum time limit, there is no mimimum time limit that cannot be mathematically divided. So therefore, it's not that now changing, now not changing, now changing – it is not like that. It's constantly changing. Time is constantly changing. So everything in time is constantly changing too. When it's constantly changing, when is the time it's remaining? Because if something is remaining, it has to remain, unchanging. Because changing is like a flow. So we need to have some time when it is remaining, and there is no time which is remaining, it is always changing. So, when there is no time it's remaining, then what's the nature of things? Whether it's me or whether it's the things or whether it's whatever.

Q: So there's no death?

A: There is no death because there is no existing. When we say, now it's existing, now it's dying, it's a relative term: now it's living, now it's dying. So, you have to have living or existing to have dying. If there's no living or existing, there's no dying. Is there? It's contrary, you know. So where there is no living, a truly kind of existing, then there is no dying. So therefore, there is no dying. So therefore, what's there to fear of dying, when there's no dying? It's not that there's no dying because we are living all the time, but it's that there's no dying, because there is no time when we are truly existing. Which is, you know... Understood or not? - There's something there. There's something there. It's a little bit deep, I think, I don't know, but something deeply understood there. You can think about it. Sleep on it!

So therefore, when you fear, deeply kind of understand that we are all moving, like a river for instance. River is always flowing. A river is always flowing. We call a river a river, but what is exactly the river? River is just water. You know, there's nothing else in river – what else is there? The river is water. Although we say, this river existed for thousands of years, did it really exist for thousands of years? Because the water there now is not there in the next moment. So this flow of water is there but not the water, that's [gone]. So therefore, the river doesn't need to be afraid of change because it's flowing all the time. It doesn't, you know? Of course, the river has maybe no thoughts, anyway, but it's just an example. So in the same way, I'm like that. We are all like that. So much changing. You know, we are constantly flowing, just a continuum. So therefore, when we deeply understand this, and we need to understand that very deeply of course, then we find that why... There is a song of Milarepa, which also says this very clearly. He says: "I was afraid of death and then went away to the mountains. I meditated on uncertainty of death so much so that I found deathlessness. Now even if the Lord of Death comes, I won't fear." I think what he means was just that, otherwise if you meditate on uncertainty of death, then you find deathlessness, how can you do that? It's kind of contradictory, you know. But when you deeply understand the impermanent nature of things, the changing nature of things, the uncertainty of things, then you find that there's actually nothing really existing. It's all changing. So when there's nothing existing on its own, truly existing, there can't be anything dying, because it never existed. Therefore, what is there to be afraid of. Because it's nothing happening, that has not already happened. Understand? So this, deeply understand this, deep understanding is important. So therefore, that's the idea I'd say.


[Yesterday we started about the four thoughts that turn our mind to dharma, which are the so called preliminaires that we are told to train in] the first of the seven points of mind training. And we talked a little bit about the first two, which was the precious human life and impermanence. I would like to briefly talk about the next two and then go to the next point. Karma and samsara.

Samsara. From the buddhist point of view any person, all the beings who have consciousness, who have mind, can be categorized broadly into two. There's samsara and enlightenment. Samsaric state of mind is, are those whose mind, whose consciousness reacts and works with aversion, attachment and ignorance. Aversion and attachment, because of ignorance. Whose mind, therefore, is always either running after something or running away from something. Who has fear, anxiety, and therefore anger, greed, and ignorance. So therefore there is dissatisfaction. It's always slight, sometimes more, sometimes less; slight dissatisfaction. Not completely peaceful, not completely happy. If you are in that state of mind, then you are called a samsaric being. If not – if you are completely happy, completely satisfied, completely peaceful, completely clear, then you are called an enlightened being. So we have to see, where we are, are we a samsaric being or an enlightened being.

Now, if one is in a state of samsaric mind, which most of the people are, then this is the main understanding from the buddhist point of view: it's not that that's the end. Although, if we are in the samsaric state of mind and we react with a samsaric state of reaction, then we make the conditions – the way we react creates the causes and conditions - that we are never totally free from. Certain kind of dissatisfaction, problems and pain. Why? Because we react with aversion and attachment. How? We only can experience things like we experience through our senses, through our five senses, or six senses, or what you call it. We see, we hear, we feel, we smell, we taste, all those things. Now, if we see something, and we see something horrible, not nice, not good, not beautiful, then how do we react? We say, "That's very bad, that's not good, I don't want it, I don't like it, I should not get it, I must get rid of it." And so therefore, I don't want to experience, I'm afraid of that experience. And so, I want to run away and I try to run away from that experience. Different kind of levels of subtlety and different levels of grossness I want to run away from that.

What happens is, because of that way of reaction we are not kind of feeling good, we never feel good, until we can get totally rid of that whatever we are negative, what we don't like. So we try to get rid of it, turning one way or the other. And we are not totally satisfied and we are not totally happy unless we get rid of that. But once we get rid of that what we don't want, now we don't have it, it's not there, but then, is that the end of our problem? No. Now we don't have it, but we have the fear of it. "That's very bad, that's not good." You know, "Thank god I don't have it, but touch wood it will not come back!" You know, we have the fear that it will come back. And that fear is called aversion. That fear can never go away, either, till unless we get rid of that fear, or we get it back., we really get it. Till we get it then we don't want it so we want to get rid of it. So therefore, until we have got rid of our fear, even if we don't have it, we have not totally got rid of it, in a way, so we still react with not complete peace and happiness and total freedom, there is a little bit of fear.

So therefore, even if we don't have it, we have a problem, and of course if we have it, there's a problem. So we go with this reaction. And then even if we see something nice, we see something very nice, something good, wonderful: "Very nice, it's really good, I like it, I must have it", then problem comes. Now I don't have it, and I like it. I want it and I don't have it. So, I kind of create this certain kind of sense of dissatisfaction. Sense of lacking something that I don't have, but I'd like to have that, see that - and that is not going away until I actually get it. But then, if I get it, again a problem. "Oh, it's very nice, I get it now, but after all – it's not that nice..." Maybe I don't want it anymore when I actually get it. Then it's another matter. Then there's the problem of getting rid of it. But if I still want it, still like it, again problem: I like it, now I have it, it's very nice, now again a fear - of losing it. The fear of losing it kind of tortures us, haunts us. Either we don't want it anymore, or we kind of free ourselves of wanting it, or we actually lose it. So therefore this cycle: whatever way, whether we have it or we don't have it, whether we like it or don't like it, we fear it, we like it, we have it, we don't have it, whatever we do, we have still problems. That's the samsaric way of reacting.

So therefore, as long as we have this samsaric way of reacting, then we cannot be completely happy, completely free, completely satisfied. We can have lots of good times, exciting times, enjoyable times but not be completely satisfied. So therefore, we are in a kind of a cycle. There is happiness and there is unhappiness, and there is good time and that comes to end and bad comes. And also because of this way we react; we have anger, upset, fear, worries, anxiety, greed, jealousy, all this kind of reactions come, because of this samsaric state of being.

Now there is the main understanding for the most part that this samsaric state of reaction, the way we act in a samsaric way, is not our natural way of reaction, it's not something that we cannot change. This is the main thing from the buddhist point of view that it's our polluted mind, you can say. That's our state of mind which is unclear. A muddy, defiled state of our mind. That's why we react like that. But this is not our natural state of mind. It can become clear, it can become purified.

Buddha says, that the true nature of our mind is peaceful. It is calm. It is clear. It's joyful. When Buddha first taught meditation, he taught that with example, a practical example. He asked people to fetch water from the Ghanges river. "Go ahead and get water from the river." They brought it. And then he said: "Now look into this water. Is it clean or not clean?" They said, "No, it's not clean, there is mud, there is sand, all sorts of pollution." He said, "Now, that's okay, you leave it there and don't do anything." And after about one or two hours he said: "Now look at the water. Is it clean or not?" They looked, and the water was clean. All the dust and pollutions of the water had settled down so the water was clean. So he said: "Our mind is like that." Our mind is disturbed, it's troubled. So therefore, there's lots of things in it. Therefore there's anger, there's worries, there's all sort of negative thing, and also the habitual, negative tendencies are inside there. That's how we are in the samsaric state of mind. We are unhappy, we can be in a negative state of mind. But that's not necessarily the intrinsic quality of the mind. Like the water from a river can be very muddy, very sandy, with lots of pollutions, very dirty, but that's not the quality of the water. The real water is not like that. And because the real nature of the water is not like that, therefore it can be cleaned. Sometimes even you don't do anything, you don't purify it, just leave it unperturbed. Even then, most of it's dirt will settle down and it becomes cleaner. And if you want to clean it, it can be completely cleaned and become pure water out of it. Because the pure nature of the water is not like that. So in the same way, he says, the real nature of our mind is not with all this samsaric state of mind. It's different. It's peaceful, it's joyful, it's clear, and he says you can find it if you want. He says you can find it if you want: you just let your mind settle down. You relax and let the mind completely settle down. And then find out. Then it becomes calmer. When it becomes calmer, it becomes more clear. When it becomes more calm and more clear, then you will find peace in your mind, and the more peaceful it becomes, the more joyful it becomes; the more joyful it becomes, the more kind it becomes; the more kind and joyful it becomes, the more creative it becomes. So therefore, that's the natural quality of the mind. But if you disturb it, then all sorts of negative things come.

But then, these negative things can be completely purified, completely got rid of, if we deeply understand the root cause of this negative, samsaric state of mind. The root cause of samsaric state of mind is ignorance. It's not knowing deeply and clearly what we are, what and how things are. So therefore, the Buddha says, in order to uproot the samsaric state of mind, we need to develop wisdom. Wisdom becomes most important. Because with compassion, we can reduce our hatred, our anger, many things, and we can become better persons, but we cannot uproot the samsaric state of mind. So therefore, wisdom is the thing that is important. So therefore, when we look at and when we understand the samsaric state of mind, and then, how the samsaric state of mind is creating all the problems for us and others, and what is the root cause for the way we react, when we know that, then we know the source of our problems. So therefore when we know that, when we have problems, we don't necessarily only blame this person, that person, this history, that history, that thing happening, this thing happening, but we know that unless and until we really change our way of reacting completely, there is no complete solution for our problems.

When that understanding comes, that's what we call renunciation. Renunciation in the buddhist sense, the real renunciation from the buddhist point of view, is not like: "Oh, I leave my family, I leave my country, I live in a monastery or in a cave!" That's not necessarily renunciation. Renunciation means that this samsaric state of mind, this way of reacting with aversion, attachment and anger, all these negative ways, that needs to be changed, that needs to be cleared, and unless and until that happens, I'm not ever being totally free. So therefore, it's necessary to work on that. The more we understand that, the more we become clear of what we have to do in order to get rid of sufferings, of ourselves as well as others.

But when we talk about attachment we must understand this difference very clearly, because sometimes there is lot of misunderstanding. Buddhism talks about attachment and aversion as source of problems and suffering, because aversion is fear and attachment is clinging. And these two come together. Whenever there is fear - "I don't want it" and then, "It's very bad" - then, "This must be very good, if I have this, if I hold on to this, then that very bad will not come", so attachment and aversion are like the two sides of one coin. And attachment is: "Me, I don't want to do this, or I will have problems..." Love is different, love is others. Love is wishing well for others. Love is a benevolent, open, joyful state of mind. "I'm wishing well, I wish them well, I like these people to have best things, good things, not having any problems. Attachment is: "Me. I don't want that, I want this." So therefore attachment and love are actually totally different. But in our samsaric state of mind we have all mixed up. We love and we have attachment too. We hate and have attachment too. We are ignorant and have attachment too. We love and have attachment, then pride comes. We love and have aversion, then jealousy comes. And things like that. We have all different kinds of matters but it's not important now. So therefore, there's a lot of mixed up feelings in us. That's the understanding, the main understanding.

So therefore the first and the most important thing in this samsaric state of mind is to understand this one thing: it's not that we can do away just like that. It's not easy to get rid of this. But if we know this, then we know where we need to practise, where is our practise, where it is that we have the problem. That's the reflection on samsara.

I find myself that to understand this samsaric is very important. When I have myself a problem or anything like that and everything is not completely okay, I say: "Of course, I'm in samsara!" We have problems. Everything is not okay, that's okay. Who is there who has everything okay? When I see problems everywhere, you know, everything is not going well, it doesn't totally discourage me. This is samsara and samsara has problems. So therefore it's understood. And also it has helped me when I'm dealing with other people. When I know that everybody is a samsaric being and everybody has their own selfishness, anger, greed, aversion, attachment, everything: of course, they should have, because they are samsaric beings. Of course they should not have, but they have, because they cannot be. So, if somebody is not so nice, is not so perfect, not so good, not the best, I can understand. Sometimes lots of problems, I think, come from this. Lots of people get burned out in this. Why do they get burned out? I think they burn out because they expect that if I do something, then things will become perfect. They have good intentions. They have very good intentions, but then they don't understand that things cannot become perfect. "This must be done, this must be done, everything should be perfect!" They really cannot become perfect. Because nobody is perfect. They expect too much. Many people get fed up, fed up with the society, become bored, all because there's no understanding this is samsara. "I need to be very happy, need to be totally entertained, I should be totally satisfied, I should be very happy, things should go right, nobody should be unkind, unnice", you know... Everybody should be perfect, everybody should be good, everybody should be nice. It can't be. If we understand this, then I think I don't expect too much. I can't expect too much from other people. When I don't expect too much from other people, then even if they do a little bit nice and good thing, I'm happy. I'm grateful. If I expect too much, even if they'll do a lot, I'm not satisfied. "They did this wrong! They did all these things okay but they did this wrong!"

I know many people have their problems. I don't know in Finland, but in the rest of the Europe people have lots of problems with their parents. The tradition from India and Tibet was that we used to look at the mother as the imbodiment of love. Mother's love, unconditional love. There are lots of teachings also on this; when you're feeling love, then think about your mother. And then we think of the mother and then we can experience what the love is. There's a story about a great master, maybe some of you have read it, about Patrul Rinpoche. He was a great master, a very great master of nineteenth century. And he had a student, one of his best students, who became a great master, a dzogchen master Nyoshul Lungtok. When he first came to him, he was very enthusiastic, very young, very intelligent, a monk. And he was studying. And one day Patrul Rinpoche said: "Do you feel homesick?" He said:" No! No, I don't feel homesick at all! I've given up the samsara. I'm a monk. I've given up the home and things like that, it doesn't concern me at all, I'm now only going for the enlightenment." "You've got it all wrong. You've got it completely wrong," said Patrul Rinpoche. "From today, you don't do any meditation, you don't do any study, you don't do any kind of things. You just think about your mother. That's your practice." So he thinks about his mother. The more he thinks about his mother, the more homesick he becomes. And after a few days he becomes very very homesick, and then more and more and more. And then after I don't know how long, he comes again and he cries and comes to Patrul Rinpoche and he says, "I'm so sorry but I've become so homesick I can't bear, I must go home." He said, "It's okay, you go home, you spend some days with you family and then come back." He then does this and then comes back, and Rinpoche says: "That's the beginning. If you can't give love to your mother, how can you love all beings? If you cannot thing about how grateful you are to your mother, how can you think about others? So you start from there. You are so arrogant, so foolish, that you say 'I'm not homesick'. So you start from here. And then extend that love to others." Like that he was taught and he became a very great master, but later on, even then when you mentioned the mother, he started crying.

But in the West it's not like that. Recently I was in a place and this man said that once a lama was teaching. And he was saying:. "Think about your mother to generate compassion; how kind your mother was", and then somebody there says: "My mother was nothing like that." And he says: "How many of you have that problem?" Like seventyfive people put their hands up. "We have had nothing like that from our mother." He said, "That's okay. But think about someone, who has given you unconditional love. Someone, it doesn't matter if not your mother, someone." And then after some time, one person put up his hand, and he says: "What is it?" And he says: "Can I think about my cat?"

It's a little bit like that. I think that's also because of too much expectations. But there's no need to expect so much, you know. Why do we expect so much from our mother? We didn't give her anything. We didn't pay her. What did we give back? Lot's of shit! So, why should we expect so much. For a free service, for a free feeding, for free looking after us from this small till we grow completely independent. You know. Without we ever having paid her anything. Without we saying thank you. So there's too much of expectations. And then we get very upset. "This is not going well!" When we deeply understand this, we won't be too much upset about negative things, about not so good things. It's also fresher without expectations, the less expectations, the better it becomes. And compassion is also based on this, compassion is based on understanding that people are not perfect, that people are not able to do the right thing. If they are perfect there's no need for compassion, but they're not perfect. There are lot's of problems. They don't know how to do things for themselves, then how would they know to do good things for others? So therefore, when we deeply understand this, we don't get too much upset when people are doing things not right. So therefore, I think the understanding of this is very important. The more we understand, the more we become forgiving. And then more patient, more tolerant, more spacious in our mind.

And then the karma. What is karma? Karma means actually action or activity, and it is coming from the buddhist philosophy of dependent arising. This is actually the most important philosophy in the buddhism. They call it in Tibetan ten drel and in Sanskrit it is even a little bit more difficult, pratitya samutpada. There are different translations for that in English: dependent arising, interdependency. Somebody even told me, I think it was a day before yesterday, that these translations are wrong, he said. It should be called conditioned causality. I don't know. But what it means to say is that everything is causes and conditions. There is nothing that just either appears because of no causes and no conditions or what appears because of one cause. Everything is a condition. Many different things come together and then it's there, whether you think about big things like universes and worlds and things like that, or small things like a cup, or a subatomic level entity, or a person or whatever, it's all like that. It's a condition. There are lots of different conditions, lots of different causes, and because of that, each appears. Nothing is one, there are many things, it's changing things, it's not independent, it's all dependent and there's nothing that is totally independent. Everything is dependent. Because if it was independent, then it could not cause anything and it could not be caused by anything. So it is not independent; everything is interdependent. So the whole phenomena, everything is dependent arising. That's the buddhist way of thinking. So therefore, I'm also like that. I'm also a dependent arising. I'm also a changing thing. So when you look at it, when everything is dependent. Dependent means there's no one thing, like totally independent; it's all relative. Dependent means like relative. Dependent is not like two things independent depending on each other, but one thing is, when many things come together, then it appears. When many causes and conditions come together, it appears. When all those causes and conditions are not there, it disappears, it's not there. Conditional means like dependent, means like right and left, long and short. There can't be right if there is no left. Left is there because of right. If there is no right there's no left. That's dependent, totally dependent.

I was talking to a person recent years, who was doing research on water. He says he's going to do research on water. Then he goes down, down, down and then, he says, the water it's two things, two gases, hydrogen and oxygen. So then there is water. And then he takes the hydrogen off, away, the water disappears. There is no water, it's finished. You cannot get anywhere anything, it's finished. Drive these things together, the water appears. Like magic, he says. It's the same way in the buddhist point of view. Everything is like that. Eveything is dependent. So I am also like that, I am like the flowing things. So therefore, the causes and conditions now are creating the causes and conditions next. Whether it's like life after life or moment after moment. And that's the karma. Karma is not like a reward and a punishment. It's very different. Karma is not a reward and a punishment, it's the causes and conditions. It's like when you ate too much and you have then stomach pain. It's not a punishment. You just ate too much, and there's going to be a stomach pain. Now what you have to do? You have to drink lots of hot water. You know, hot water is good for digestion. It is said like this in Tibetan medicine, that the first illness in the world was indigestion because of overeating. And the first medicine ever recommended was boiled water. If you drink boiled water it is good for your indigestion if you happen to be overeating.

So it's like that. Whether it's something that happens because of certain reasons, certain actions, certain reactions, certain things, it's not that, when I say it's my karma. Everything is my karma. What I'm now is my karma. We call it this moment as my karmic body; this is my karmic body. So why I'm like this is because of all my past. Not just one thing, everything. Not just last life, this life also. This life, past life, everything that was there kind of made me or created what I'm now. So what I'm now is the result of everything that was before. So I am, this is, my karma.

Now, if I want to change it, I can change it. Why not? There's nothing written on my head: "You should be like this and like this." Nothing. But all these things that happened in the past have created impact on me, so that I'm likely to go in that way. That's my habitual tendency. The way I'm now, the way my personality is, the way I do things and react to things and like that, that is strong. So if I don't do something, I'm likely to go that way. So therefore, if I want to change it for better - it's easier to change worse than better I think, it's natural, it's easier to go down than go up; going down is very easy, going up is not easy. But if I want to change, I can change. But it's not something that can be changed like this, sometimes yes but not necessarily so often. So if I have to change the cause of the river, I can't just block it, it has to [be turned] slowly, because it's just flowing this way and if I just say that no, I don't want to [it doesn't work]. It has to be changed. So I can change it but I can change it like this [a slow curve], not like this [straight to the opposite direction]. So I can do something, I can change my way but I can't change it just like this. Whatever happened, what has already happened, it's already happened. I can't change it, because it's already happened. And that has lots of influence. If day after tomorrow I want to become something like Mika, I can't become Mika because I'm not. So therefore it's like this. The change can be but not like that. So therefore that's the karma.

Sometimes people say, "This here is karma." What they have seen, because of this talk of karma. Sometimes people have wrong views and they say: "Oh, he needs to suffer because he needs to purify his karma through suffering. You should not interfere in people's karma." That's rubbish from the buddhist point of view. If you can, you should help. There's nothing wrong. Because changing karma is not by suffering. Suffering has nothing to do with it. Karma is something totally different. You have to work on it. You have to change it, but you have to change in a positive way, you change your way of habitual tendency, you should change your way of thinking, you change your way of reacting. Then you change. Suffering doesn't change anything. Actually it will become some more worse, because when you're suffering you become angry, you become upset, you become frustrated, and more and more problems. It's nothing good. Because it's not a reward and a punishment. It is not about a reward. When you're sick, you take medicine and you become okay. It's that, it's the same thing. So therefore if you have a problem, you have to find an antidote to that problem, and when you use that, then it can change. That's the idea. So therefore, you need to find out what are the things that's good for me and what are the things that are not good. What actions are making more positive things, good things for me and what actions are making more negative things for me and for others. And then you need to try to do more of those things that are not bringing problems and pain, and are bringing more happiness and are more beneficial for me and for others, and trying to reduce those things that are bringing negative things for myself and others. So try to find that and then try to use that. That's important because that understanding then has to be a seed of karma.

So once we have that understanding, then we kind of start to work on that. So everything is causes and conditions, and therefore nobody needs to be blamed and can't be blamed. I can't blame others, I can't blame myself, it's all causes and conditions and that's why it happens this way. So we need to work on those causes and conditions. If I have a problem, then I do work on why and what can I do with the causes of that problem. That's why we have these Four Noble Truths. Suffering and the causes of suffering. When we find the causes and then we need to work on those causes, and then it can be solved. There is nothing that can't be solved. That's the main understanding. But therefore we need to act. It's not just like: "Why, we have a problem, but maybe somebody will do something." It's not like that. From the buddhist point of view, I have to do it myself. We have to work on it, we have to do it. Others can't do it. Nobody can help me, unless I help myself. It's a little bit like this story. About, if I need to change I need to change myself, I need to work on my bad deeds and my way of reacting, negative emotions, and I have to do it myself. Because Buddha said: "I'll show you the way, but it's up to you whether you do it, whether you liberate yourself." It's a little bit like this story, you know the story about - shall I tell this story? It was birds.

There was a mother bird and these chicken in a field. And the chicken hatched and they became a little bit bigger but not strong enough to fly. But then the crop is becoming to be ready to be harvested , and when the crop is harvested the chicken will be finished. The nest will be disturbed. So then it's quite ready. And then one day the mother says: "Now you must be careful. You must listen when the people come around, the farmers. You must listen what they say and then report to me. Because if they are going to harvest, then we must move before that happens." And then one day she comes back, and all the chicken are very excited and very afraid. They say: "Now the farmer came and they talked and they said they are going to cut it tomorrow." "What did they say exactly?" "Oh, they said that it's ready for cutting, inform everybody, all our friends to come tomorrow so then we cut it." "They said like this?" "They said like this!" "Don't worry." And she went away. And nobody came next day. The crops were not cut. And then a few days past, and then they came, and gain these chicken were very excited when the mother came back. "And what did they say?" "Now they said that it's ready be cut tomorrow, it's getting late! So call all our relatives to come tomorrow, so that we can cut it tomorrow." Mother said: "Don't worry, they'll not come." She went away, and they didn't come. And then again a few days have past. And then the next morning then again she came, and the chicken said: "Oh, today they came again and they said that tomorrow let us do it, let's start the cutting." And the mother says: "Now, this is the time to move." And then they were a little bit walking so then they moved, and the next day they came and they cut the crops.

The moral of this story is that if you ask somebody to do something, it will never be done. But if you do such a doing yourself, then all of it will be done. So therefore, the karma is like that. If it needs to be done you have to do it. We have to take responsibility of our own actions and reactions. Nobody can do it for us. If we need help, we need to help ourselves. You can help others, but whether it will be of great help depends also on them. I can help the same way two people and one person can be really helped and other person cannot be helped at all. Those who help themselves can be helped with little and then turn over. Ones that don't help themselves can never be helped. It's like that.

So the understanding of karma is very important. And therefore it's not that you blame somebody or expect something to happen because of somebody. So, what I am now, is because all the things that has happened to me. It's not my fault, it's because of all the things that happened to me as I am like this. What will happen, it has effect what will happen to me but I can do something about it also. I need to do it if I want to change it. That's the understanding. So therefore, I need to take my own responsibility and work on it.

Are there any questions?

Q: I wonder about this question of karma and especially relating to past life. I was thinking recently of the case of genetic engineering and all these scientists, and it seems they can make certain kind of flies for example or kind of genetically modify animals almost to have a certain kind of personalities. So this would seem to imply that you can explain the way some being is just by this kind of physical causes, the fact of their mother and father, what kind of parents it has, and then just by doubling its genes or physical components to actually kind of produce certain kind of personalities, certain kind of shapes. So this seems to maybe be for me a bit of a challenge to understanding karma and past lives. How would You think about this question?

A: I'm not surprised. You know when first this test tube animal was made - what you call this, no, not test tube but cloning. Dolly. And everybody was very affected. "Cloning is being made! Humans will be cloned! What do you think about it?" I said I think nothing about it. Of course, why not? When we can make babies, why not clone them? When we get the technology. The technology is all dependent arising. When all the causes and conditions are there, then things can happen. Whether that's happening without our doing or without our consciously doing, or whether it's happening with our consciously doing it, it's the same thing. If all the causes and conditions can be created to do something, then it will become. So therefore, yeah, I'm sure lot's of other things will happen too. When we learn how to do things. Maybe we'll learn how to fly. Ourselves, not in there with plane. We'll learn to do many things. I think it will be, that it might happen. Technology is something that is a tool. It can be sometimes used for good things, sometimes for bad things.

Karma as I said is that something can be done. It's not that something cannot be done. If it was already decided, right from the beginning, then it cannot be changed. When it can be changed, then it's something difficult to maintain. But as I said earlier, it is something that can be changed, that's why we call it karma. It can be changed. Maybe not easily changed, sometimes easily changed. Karma is not something that is unchangeable, it's completely changeable. It can be totally prognosed, that's why we talk about this cutting through the samsara. If one can do that, then one can totally eliminate of the karma. That's also possible in the buddhist point of view. So therefore, you know, lot's of things can be done. We can have operations. Our lungs can be replaced and our hearts can be replaced and who knows what can be replaced. Propably one day brains can be replaced! And then a genetic engineering can be done. Why not.

So therefore, of course, the body and mind – this is the buddhist way of thinking – the body and mind are completely interrelated. Whatever happens to the body, happens to the mind. Whatever happens to the mind, happens to the body. The way we see the world around is not because of our mind only, but because of our body also. If I was not like this, if my eyes were not like this, my brain was not like this, I wouldn't see this. If I was in a totally different shape, if my eyes was not here but there, or somewhere around here, or something like that; if I was a different system, the way I see would not be like this, it would be different. Therefore, the way I am now in these various circumstanses with all sorts of causes and conditions, makes me experience the way I experience. So therefore, when something happens, then everything changes. If something happens – like if I have something wrong with my brain or something right in my brain or something happens, you know – that would change my view. But then also my mind a little bit is affected. It is also my mind that affects my view. You can see if I'm happy, my body becomes different from when I'm worried. If I'm in a good mood, it changes everything in my appearance. You can even look from behind me and see what's my mood. If I'm in good mood I'm like this. If I'm in bad mood I'm like this. You know? I think it's possible. It is quite impossible.

Q: Sorry, what is possible?

A: The changes. The changing is possible. The change can affect. The changing on your body can affect your life, the changing on your mind can affect your life. And that's karma. That's karma.

Well, I doubt that if you do the same genetic procedure for different people, I don't think it will be exactly the same. These two people will be not exactly the same. They might feel differently, they might have different feelings, they might act differently. They might have different ways, not exactly the same. Because when you have twins, identical twins, they can look exactly the same, but then be totally different in there, doing things, interests and things like that. They have same genes. But different. So I think it'll be like that.

Q: So that's the influence then you would say of the past life or...

A: Yeah, each individual has its' own... We get a lot from the genes, but we get a lot from our consciousness also. So these both together. I think that.

Q: I just have one question of this story of the water. And then you don't mix the water, it calms down. But what about the residues from the water full of mud? They stay in the glass and...

A: It's up to you. You can pull the clean water to another pot, and you can throw away the rest! Just how the Indians do, you know? They put the water in a pot, which is not glazed. Which is not burned too much, you know. It breathes. Then on top of that they put a wet, wet cloth. Then, I don't know how, but everything becomes like that, it acts like a cooler. The water becomes cooler. And then everything will dissolve and then you can take a little bit of water and then drink, or then sometimes you can pour it and throw the rest away and then the unclean things will go away. But these examples are always from one point of view, not examples from every aspect.

Q: [I'd like to ask about these different antidotes for the self blaming. In the West we can begin to blame ourselves more. It can be difficult to be compassionate towards oneself because one knows what one has done, and when you know that you do something bad. And even then, you don't do it once but many times. You repeat that and can be stuck, years after years. What could be the antidote for that?]

A: It's true. There's lots of that. I think it's that anywhere but more in the modern world, the modern West as I can see. There's lots of like blaming oneself and that kind. Sometimes they even have self hate, as they call it. Part of that, I feel, is also expecting too much from yourself. Because here there is a lot of opportunities. And when you have lots of opportunities, you have lots of choices. And when you have lots of choices and opportunities, then you think you have to be able to accomplish the highest. So when you don't do that, then you don't like it. Even if you did quite okay, you feel bad because you supposed to do the highest. "I was supposed to do this and did only that." So people don't like that and they blame themselves. You kind of sulk at yourself. It is not that you hate yourself, but you sulk at yourself. Of course you love yourself. That's why you want to be so good! That's why you want to be so successful, so nice and so perfect. If you didn't love yourself, then you wouldn't want to be that successful and that good and well. But you're not good enough from your point of view, so therefore you sulk. In a way it is good because you want to better, but too much like that is not good because then you're never happy, never satisfied, never content. And it's not good because you're never happy. "I have to be the perfect one, I have to be the very great one", and things like that.

So therefore I think the most important thing is, that we need to accept who we are. You know, each of us is different in a way. Different capacities, different abilities, different backgrounds and different level of intellect and education, all sorts of different things. We have lots of weaknesses, we have lots of positive things, change also. It's not that we cannot change and we cannot improve them. But it takes a lot from us and is not necessarily easy. You have to work hard, patiently and diligently. So therefore we need to accept the way we are. If I'm like this now, then I am like this now. I am not the best, not the worst, it's like this. That doesn't mean that I cannot improve. I should improve and I can improve. But I cannot think above myself like this: "I should be like this, I can't be like this." I can't say like this because then I'd be only unhappy all the time, you know? So, if I'm like this way, on this level compared from here to there, then I'm like this, okay! It's okay, I'm like this, this is it! That's the way I am. You need to very clearly understand and clearly accept that this is where I am. Now, what should I do to improve on that? Now I have to think that way. If I do think that way, then I'm not disappointed because I'm looking at the opportunities. I'm optimistic. Where can I improve? And what way can I improve from there? And I should work on that. Then I'm not disappointed because I have understood, I've accepted the way I am. Accept doesn't mean accepting that I cannot improve. It's to accept what I am, the way I am. And be happy with that. I can't just think about something like I should be like this, I should be like that. Whatever happened, happened. The past, we cannot change the past, because we are now, in the present. We cannot change the past. Whatever happened, we cannot bring it back. And because of that we are like this. Maybe something was not so good and not nice, but that was that, it's finished. I cannot, I should not, I need not, there's no use too much of "That was bad, that should not have happened." So therefore, I learn to kind of let the past be past, accept the present and then see what I can do to improve in the future. If I can take that as an antidote, then I think I can be relatively okay now. And then I can be more optimistic because I can see what I can do in the future.

And everything will be not okay, it's all true, this is also very important to understand. Everything that we wish, does not happen and cannot happen. Because it's not just one cause and condition. It's lots of causes and conditions. We have all the causes and conditions come together and then will the things happen. So therefore, it just may happen. In our life, lots of good things can happen also. Good things that we have never imagined that could happen, or dreamed. Good things can also happen. Bad things also happen that we never dreamed, that we could never imagine So we can never say it. But we can improve on what we've got. We can be more positive and enjoy the present moment. Because we cannot live in the past and the future. Past is just memory, we cannot live there, it's not there, it's gone. The future is yet to come, we cannot live there, it's only the present moment we live in, so therefore we must enjoy the present. We must use the present moment in the best possible way.

[There is a story about a butcher, who was quite a bad person, and then got sick and he died. After he had died, his relatives started having dreams about a pig, who was talking to them in his voice. The pig told them in a dream that he was the butcher and he had been born as a pig nearby a monastery. He was asking them to find him and help him. He told them where they could find him and he said that he would have a human hand, of which they could recognise him. "Please, come] and look around and find me. Please come and find me!" And somebody asked in between:"Then why do you have this one human hand?" He said:"That's because when I was being taken to the hospital, I saw some monks coming and I was inspired and I put my hand up like this to make a prostration. That's why my hand became human." Then they went to the place and tried to search all over the place around this monastery. And they actually found the pig with the human hand. And they kept him in a special place near the monastery and he was not butchered and was given lots of care. I know that people go there to see this pig, you know. I don't know whether it's true or not, but...


So we start with some meditation.

We are going through the Seven Points of Mind Training, and we have gone through briefly the first, which is called as the Preliminaries. In the root text it says: "First train in the Preliminaries". And as we talked yesterday these preliminaries is not something that we do a little bit and then leave. It is something that we remind ourselves again and again. First find out, contemplate, reflect, see if they are like that or not. We don't have to try to believe something that we understand is not true. That's not not way. We have to find out whether it's really like that or not. And if it's like that then whatever there is to see, whatever we find, it's the complete reality. That then we need to remind ourselves. We need to let ourselves to react in that way and then practise.

Now the second point is the practise of wisdom and compassion. And that is the samsaric state of mind. We want to free ourselves from suffering and pain and problems. Ouselves as well as others. And, if we understood the samsaric state of mind, then we know, that it cannot be; that we have to do something about the way our mind is reacting with aversion which brings fear, attachment which is clinging. And within that, because of these two, all other negative emotions. Anger, upset, hatred, sadness, all sort of feelings happen. So therefore we need to work on that, unless we can do something about that. There cannot be lasting kind of peace and happiness.

So, to work on that, there are two things. Sometimes people call it the bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is the compassion and wisdom together. That's bodhicitta. Bodhi means enlightenment, citta means heart. Heart of enlightenment. And heart of enlightenment means compassion combined with, or unseparated from wisdom. That's bodhicitta. So, working on bringing out that compassion and wisdom that is within us, naturally within us, to make us fully experience that, that's the practise, practise of bodhicitta. The main practise of these seven points of mind training is compassion. The bodhicitta can be categorized into two, the ultimate bodhicitta and the relative bodhicitta. The ultimate bodhicitta is the wisdom and the relative bodhicitta is the compassion. So the main practise of this training is the relative bodhicitta, the compassion. But even that, some understanding of wisdom is very important and of great kind of use. If we can understand a little bit of the ultimate bodhicitta, then the relative bodhicitta will become very easy . Because the wisdom, what we call the wisdom, is the main thing in buddhism.

Where I see that there is lots of suffering in the world, and I know that I don't want any suffering and pain and problems and nobody wants that, but I see lots of that, lots of pain, lots of suffering, lots of problems around, and I really, really wish that that seized, changed, that's the compassion. But then, just feeling bad and feeling unhappy because there's lots of suffering, and just wishing and wanting the sufferings to end is not enough. It's compassion, but painful compassion. Kind of burnout comes out of this. It's like the more you see the sufferings the more painful it becomes, and you become disillusioned. Become kind of disheartened. So therefore there is this need, to see that there is a possibility to be free from this. And that's the wisdom.

Therefore bodhicitta is said to be of two ends, two aspects, two purposes. One is really wishing beings to be free from suffering, that's the first aspect, and the other aspect is to have an understanding, that there is a possibility of that. So that's the compassion aspect of bodhicitta and the wisdom aspect of bodhicitta. So there's two. And when these two will become together then you become courageous. When you see the suffering of the world you don't become discouraged . You don't become just painful and disheartened. You feel more encouraged, you feel more strong, more confident that I have to do something, because I see the possibility of doing it.

So that possibility is the wisdom. The more we become clear of the wisdom, the more we become clear about the possibility of freedom. So therefore the wisdom part is extremely important. Compassion is important, very very important, the basis of all positive things but wisdom is equally and even more important because that's when you kind of totally, you know, the possibility of freedom, possibility of enlightenment is based on wisdom and seeing the wisdom. So therefore, when you have these two things together, then that's bodhicitta, and whoever has the bodhicitta is a bodhisattva. Bodhisattva is a person - it doesn't matter, human beings or not human beings, it does't matter male or female, it doesn't matter what cultures, what tribes, what races you belong to, what religion, what faith, what belief you have, it doesn't matter. If one deeply says: "I wish to end the suffering of the world, of the beings, I wish all beings be free from pain, problems, suffering, and towards that end I must do something, I'm ready to work on that, I will work on that whether it takes a long time, whether it takes lots of difficulties or hardships; whether anybody helps me or not, I will have to work on this." When somebody says that, deeply from his or her heart, that person is a bodhisattva.

So therefore, when somebody becomes a bodhisattva, then from the buddhist point of view, that person is seen as a buddha-to-be. One is a bodhisattva, one automatically is on the way to buddhahood and nobody can stop this being from becoming enlightened, whether he or she wants it or doesn't want it. It is said that Chenrezig and Tara, they didn't want to become a buddha. Tara said: "I will never ever become a buddha unless all the sentient beings are totally enlightened." But she couldn't help it and she became a buddha, because buddha is not about "I now want to become a buddha", or "Lord, please make me a buddha", or "I now have the degree of a buddha", or "I got the crown". It's not. When somebody has his or her wisdom and compassion totally, unlimitlessly developed, then he or she is a buddha. When somebody has the wisdom and compassion totally developed and if one has that kind of way of being with compassion and wisdom, then that person naturally becomes a buddha.

There's a story of the writer of this book, of the original root text of the Seven Points of Mind Training, who was Geshe Chekawa. One day his students found him crying. They found that he was weeping, very kind of deeply, very sad kind of weeping. They went to him and asked, what had happened, because he was not a kind of a weepy person. What happened, they asked. And he kept on weeping, and he says: "Nobody did anything to me, it's nothing. It's just that I discovered, that all these years when I was practising, I was praying that I would be born in a hell realm so that I can be with the people in the hell realm that I could help. But now I have all the indications that I will not be born in hell realm but I will beborn in a buddha realm, and that's what I do not want. It's very bad." So he was crying because he knew that he was not going to be born in hell. So that's the idea. Anyway, the bodhisattva is that.

We are going to do the bodhisattva vow ceremony just after this since Anne wanted that. Maybe I should say a few words of that.

So bodhisattva means, sattva is like the one who is courageous, the one who holds the bodhicitta in his heart or her heart, who is ready to venture on the path of bodhicitta. That's a bodhisattva. So therefore a bodhisattva's vow is to say that I would like to train on this path. It's not to say that okay, now I become a great bodhisattva. That is not the case. But from today I would like to train myself on the path of a bodhisattva. It is my intention to work for the wellbeing and liberation and bringing complete and lasting peace and happiness for myself and I would like to work on helping all other beings to do that. And towards that end I wish to train myself. Train myself at first with a little bit more compassion, more wisdom, and then train myself for liberating myself and liberating others, helping others to be more free and to be more happy, more joyful, and finally to have the highest and lasting, complete happiness. Towards that end I would like to work, like the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the past have worked, step by step and gradually.

Step by step is very important in the buddhist point of view. Because nothing can be achieved in one moment, in one step, immidiately like that. If we want to transform ourselves, we can transform ourselves. But we cannot transform ourselves just like that. We need to work on that step by step. A long journey, a longest journey is also started with one step. One step, two steps, three steps, four steps, then more steps. So therefore we don't disregard small, little good things that we do as unimportant. Little bit of understanding, little bit of practise, little bit of positive deeds is very important. That's how we go step by step. We are samsaric beings, so we are with lots of negative things. We have lots of anger, lots of selfishness, lots of fear. Not so good habitual tendencies, habits. They are there. It's not easy to totally wipe them of. We can, but we have to work step by step. Slowly, patiently, step by step. So to take a bodhisattva vow is to make a decision, for myself, to myself, that I will work on that, step by step. It is said that once you do that, once you make a decision to youself, then you start to work on that. Sometimes you start to work on that even when you're not working on it. Because you have set your goal, you have set your direction. Once you have a direction, once you have a purpose, a goal, then you are on the path. Whether you are actually going into that direction or not, doesn't matter too much. It was like that in the olden days but it's even like that now. Say, I'd like to go to Lhasa. I want to go to Lhasa maybe. But then I fly from Helsinki to, maybe, Stockholm. That's not towards Lhasa, that's the opposite direction. But I'm going to Lhasa, because my mind is set to Lhasa. So maybe I stay a few days somewhere on the way. Maybe to prepare myself or something like that. And then I'm not going. I'm just resting, I'm relaxing, but actually I'm on the journey. So, the same way you, it is said, that once you are focused, you have a direction, a goal, we have the "this is where I want to go", then, even if you are not actually doing something now, you are still on the path. You can go this way, you can go that way, but you're still on the path, because you're focused on this set direction. Otherwise, if I don't have that, if I don't know where I'm supposed to go, then I'm lost. Im just a wanderer, I don't know where I'm arriving. If I go to that direction, then I'm lost. Or I'm not lost maybe, but I'm wandering. I don't know where I'm going. I go this way, that way, sometimes I arrive here, maybe arrive here, but you know... So, the purpose of that bodhisattva vow is to keep that direction. To have that view, focus to where I want to go. And then working on that slowly, step by step.

Then, taking the bodhisattva vow is the first thing. But just taking the bodhisattva vows is not enough. I take the bodhisattva vow, "Oh, I've taken the bodhisattva vows, I'm finished..." It's something we have to do a lot, something that we remind ourselves again and again. The refuge and bodhisattva vows we take again and again in every practise. We try to remind ourselves, we try to inspire ourselves again and again. Because that's what we need, to re-inspire ourselves again and that is actually the practise, so we need to work on this again and again and then to remind ourselves again, every day, as many times as possible, as often as possible, so that we really keep ourselves inspired. So that is bodhisattva vow.

Since we have started the Seven Points of Mind Training, but we are not going to finish it this time because we have only the three talks. And now we have come to the ultimate bodhicitta. Generally we talk about relative bodhicitta first, ultimate bodhicitta later because ultimate bodhicitta is more difficult, more ultimate! But in this text we talk about the ultimate bodhicitta first and the relative bodhicitta second, because the main practise is the relative bodhicitta. That's why it is that way. So I'd say a few words on the ultimate bodhicitta, because it is difficult.

The relative bodhicitta here is a practical sort of practise, which is the tonglen practise, what you call the giving and taking. It's a very important practise, and it's a simple practise, a practical, simple practise. I think if you read the book then you will understand more or less.

So I first will go in short on this ultimate bodhicitta. It doesn't mean that I'll be able to make you understand completely. I don't understand myself propably completely . There's a story of one teacher who was teaching some of his students. He said: "I had explained completely and carefully and entertainfully one time. They didn't understand." And he said, "Then second time I explained even more completely and more clearly and they didn't understand it either." Then he said, "Then I explained third time - then I understood it." So propably maybe if I explain too many times, maybe I will understand.

So in this ultimate bodhicitta point the first thing he says is:

Regard all phenomena as a dream.

What does that mean? What is a dream? Dream is something that is only in our mind. We have a dream, and when we dream, we see countries, we see mountains, we see houses, we see people, we see all kind different of things. And we do lots of things, we experience lots of things, we have lots of emotions, and all those things that happen in the dream at that time seem extremely real, extremely strong and affecting us feeling. But when we wake up, nothing there. And we realize that all things was a dream, it wasn't there. It was an experience in my dream which never existed. That's a dream. So what's the similarity with that to all phenomena and everything that we encounter now? One thing which is the most important is that whatever we see, whatever we feel, whatever we experience, whatever we encounter here, is also like in a dream, through our mind. We cannot experience anything unless through our mind. If we see something, that's also our mind seeing, our consciousness seeing, our awareness seeing. If we hear something, it is also our mind. If we have an experience, it is also through our mind. It's my own experience of the world that I encounter now.

Is it, that everything that I experience is my own projection? If it is that, then is it, that nobody else iis there, I'm alone in this whole world and I'm projecting all these people and all these things, like in my dream? Or what I see is not seen by anybody else, like in a dream? Maybe not. Of course in a dream also you can do the same. You know, there's another person and I'm here and I say look at that and he says I see that also. Maybe in that way it may be there, but in here, in life I think I'm not saying that nobody is there except me. All the beings are there. All of you see the same thing as I do. It's not that if I'm not there, then all these things disappear. You keep on seeing these things. You keep on experiencing those things. So it's not necessarily that it's everything is my own projection, and there's nothing else. That's not same I think that. That's not the same as the dream.

But as everything that I experience is my experience, so everything you experience is also your experience. And the thing that we see, we together see this house, we together see the city. And why? So therefore that this thing must be actually there. This house has to be as real as this house is when you see and I see this wall as actually is. Is it like that? Now I see this wall and you see this wall. I see this door and you see this door. Because we are in a similar way. I have the same structure of the body, same structure of the brain, same structure of the eyes. Same kind of the eye view. If my eye was like a microscope, would I see this door? Most propably I would not see this door, I would see the cells, or atoms. If I looked at a person I would not see the person but I would see all the cells. And when you look into a cell, there is so much space there. They know from scientific research that even one atom is not a solid thing. It's a lot of space in between.

I was watching a documentary movie, I think it's called "What the Bleep do we know". You saw this? It's a very interesting one. In one atom, they say, there is so much space in between. Everything is space. So if you look at this table, there's things, there are really things in this table, that's kind of tiny little things here and there, and rest is just space. So if I had that kind of eye I would not see this table, I will see lots of space and few tiny things moving around, or something like that. So therefore, the way I see, is because the way I am. And I and you can see the same thing in the same way because we are in a similar way, and that is from the buddhist point of view what is called the common karma.

And not only that. But even those little things that are supposed to be the building blocks of all these material things, they are also finally, if you look deeper and deeper in quantum physics and then more than that, then you can find that they're also dependently arising. There is lots of contribution on the observer, not just existing on its' own. So therefore if you look deeply, it is as if the whole world is kind of built on nothing. It's almost made of nothing. That's why it is said that it's not impossible to have tho whole universe on a speck of dust. Because it's made of nothing, then why do we need so much space. Space is there as a relative thing. Karma is a relative thing. So therefore, if you look from that point of view to the world, to the matter, if you look from that point of view to the mind, then it's little a bit like a dream. The things that I see is because of so many causes and conditions. Because all these causes and conditions coming together it's the way we see it.

It does not mean that we don't project. We project a lot! We project a lot. I was reading a book, kind of more recently written I think, of experiments on how people see things. A scientific one. And there they are saying that when a person is in a kind of an emotional state, hate, love, whatever, and then the person sees somebody, then 90% of the way you see this person is projection. That is what the scientific research says. The 90%. Of what you see, only 10% is real, and the rest is projection. Propably if you look from the buddhist point of view, maybe even more is projection. Even like right and wrong, good and bad, nice and not nice. There's no nice and not nice on this wall. If I'm in good mood it's very nice, if I'm in bad mood it's not nice.

Look at these modern paintings. I'm very astonished by the modern paintings. It's very nice in a way - because you can project anything on it! One thing that was very confusing to me was that in the beginning I didn't understand it and I had lots of struggle. I was taken to a big museum of modern painting. One of the modern painting professors was taking me in. And he was discovering it and he was: "Oh, this is a great painting!" "This is worth of millions, you know." Whatever. "But that is done by... oh, it's just pitiful..." And I was...uh... what's the difference...? I wanted to know, how he could tell that this is good and that is not good! What can you see? And he didn't really... He was not clear to tell me. I couldn't... He must have said something but... I didn't understand how I can say this is not good and this is good. I can't see the difference, you know. Both have lots of color. Both have... there's waves and lots of things. Why this is so important and this is not? I don't know. Even now I don't know. It really confuses me. I was sometimes thinking maybe it's just luck. Somebody makes the right thing and there's lots of color and paint, and he says, "Oh, this is great", and everybody says this is great! You know the story of the king with his precious dress? The child was saying that the king is naked, while everybody was seeing all the precious things like that. I don't know, but anyway. There's lots of these.

So therefore how real, how true, how truly existing we see things, it's like that, it's little bit like a dream. It's my own projections, my own experiences, and it's all dependently arising, so therefore there's not that much truth, reality, truly existing. But we think it's very true, we think it's very real, we think it's very good, it's very bad. We think, "I get so much pleasure from this and so much unpleasure from this." The more we have that grasping of reality and the truth the more we get aversion and attachment. "This is very nice, I must get it, this is very bad, I shouldn't have it!" So we react with the aversion and the attachment. We get fear, we get clinging and things like that. That's how we react. The more we see clearly that this is like that, that lots of things is my own experience, that everything is my own experience, and then, even then if it's something there, even then it's dependent arising. And there's all this changing. And then on top of that, there's so much of our projection. When we see like that we can little bit relax, because there's nothing too much to grasp.

Then, now look at the mind. The text says:

Examine the unborn nature of mind.

Now, we have said that everything we see is our through our experience. It's through our mind, through our consciousness. We cannot experience anything other way than through our mind. Now what does that mean? What is that mind? What's the nature of the mind? We look at the mind in our experience and we know that it's a consciousness. It's a consciuousness, it's an awareness. It has this clear consciousness, awareness that we can see and feel. And within that consciousness, awareness, all sorts of things happen. Thoughts, emotions, different kind of manifestations of the mind happens. And when we look at each of them, each of them is like a wave, it disappears. As soon as we look at it, it disappears.

Of course, we have conscious mind and we have unconscious mind. The conscious mind, we think, is the one which we are totally reacting with and controlling our way of doing things. But it's not just that. The controlled, the conscious mind is a very surface level of our mind. There are lots of different levels and subtleties. Lots of things happening in not totally consciously but in an unconscious level. Sometimes we are more controlled by our unconscious than by our conscious level. I met a scientist, who said that nowadays they've found a way of examining and have found out, that when I say that I want to stand up, I've already stood up. When my conscious mind becomes aware that I want to stand up, I've already started standing up. When my conscious mind becomes aware what I'm doing only after I've started to do it . I don't know whether it's exactly true but they say that. But even from the buddhist point of view, the unconscius mind, the deeper level is extremely important, because that's where all our habitual tendencies are stored. All our imprints of whatever we do, whatever we experience, whatever emotions, are all imprinted in our consciousness on deeper level. It's not that there's something there. In buddhist terms it is called alaya. Alaya consciousness is the unconsciousness, the deeper level of consciousness. Because it's this deeper level consciousness it's unconscious. Therefore, the way we react is kind of imprinted there. And therefore, consciously wanting or not wanting is not controlling everything. It's a deeper level. So therefore, if we really need to change our way of being, we need to go to that level and change it. So therefore, if you really want to change your way of being, you need to go on that level and change it.

So therefore, that level of consciousness which is usually unconscious and therefore it's dull, but it can become conscious. It can become conscious. The more aware we become, the more we can go deeper, and when we go deeper, we can deeply, deeply experience consciously, in that level, on a conscious level, and then our awareness becomes stronger and clearer, and thereby transform our awareness from the depth. But whatever level it may be, the nature of the mind is something that is not just – this is the buddhist way of seeing – that our consciousness is not the brain. Of course, my mind and my body are so [closely integrated] that my mind functions through the brain. If a part of my brain is damaged, I will not be able to function, my mind will become disabled and it will not function, like if my eye is damaged I cannot see. But my mind as awareness is not the same characterics of the matter. It's not the same character of the matter. It's an awareness. It's not totally contained in the bodily organ, because if my mind is very clear, I could see through time and space. My mind can be without the brain. I could have experience by my mind out of my body also. So therefore it's not totally the same. It's very integrated. As long as alive it's very integrated, it's interrelated. But it's not exactly the same. The mind has this clarity, and if you want to find the mind it's nowhere where I can find it. The brain is also not one, it's so many. Which part of the brain is my mind? There is nothing really there. So therefore my mind is in a way emptiness. Interdependent, emptiness. Like everything else. There's nothing there. But there is also a continuum. This is the understanding. As we live, there's a continuum, as we die also, it is the experience of the masters and many other beings that there is a continuum, although it's not something that goes from here to there. There's nothing to go but still it's a continuum.

Continuum means change. This moment of being, this moment of whatever, is the cause of the next moment. And that moment is the cause of next one. It is very important to understand the continuum from buddhist point of view. From the buddhist point of view the continuum, even rebirth and things like that, is not really the same thing. If you say my rebirth is exactly me or not, it's very difficult to say. It's not exactly so. Lord Buddha gave his explanation, the five examples of how the continuum happens. The first example is milk and yoghurt. I think it's a good example. Milk becomes the yoghurt. But milk is not yoghurt and yoghurt is not milk. When milk is there there's no yoghurt and when yoghurt is there, there's no milk. How did milk become yoghurt? Did something go from the milk to the yoghurt? Where did the milk go? Because when there's yoghurt, where did the milk disappear? That same milk became yoghurt but yoghurt is not milk. So there's nothing going from the milk into the yoghurt. And milk is not yoghurt and yoghurt is not milk. But without milk there would be no yoghurt. And yoghurt itself is kind of milk but it's not milk. So the continuum is like that. This moment of being and the next moment of being. It's different, not same. But without this that would not be. Same is the next life. Next life of me is not me. It's just the continuum. But without me now that would not be possible. So in the same way he gave examples. The mirror. You're looking to the mirror and you see your face there. Does you face go into the mirror? That face that you see in the mirror is yours? Is it your face or not? You know, it''s not really your face, no? I bet your face is here. But you see your face there. And without this face you can't see that. But that is not eaxctly... well, it looks same, but it's not exactly the same, it's just a reflection. But there's nothing going from here to there. It's not the same, it's totally different. Continuum is something like that. It's the continuum, it's the change. So the causes and conditions that's now is creating the causes and conditions for the next and that is later. In the same way is milk and yoghurt, the face and reflection. Another example is the flame. You put the flame from here to the next candle. Is it the same or is it different? Or is the flame that is burning now, or in the middle of the candle, is it same or is it different? Or the flame that is burning now, or in the middle of the candle, or in the end of the candle – is it the same or different? So the similar way the mind is seen. It is nothing there. It's changing all the time, it's nothing there that's totally stagnant, that you can say this is it.

So therefore, if you really deeply understand this, the nature of the mind as emptiness in it's nature. It has this clarity and lots of manifestations. But all of them are just like that. It's momentary, it's causes and conditions, it's nothing to hold on to. I cannot take off my mind and say this is my mind. It's nothing like that. It's just a consciousness with lots of awarenesses and lots of emotions each of which is momentary. So therefore, all that I experience, all that one which experiences, what we call mind, is also not something that is truly existent, solid. It's of unborn nature. That's why it's called unborn nature.

It says: Self liberate even the antidote and free yourself from the findings of the meditation.

When we understand this, then we understand that there's nothing to grasp at, whether it's outside or inside. Everything is like a flow. There's nothing that we can really grasp and hold on to. Nothing has hold on free. We cannot hold on to anything. So therefore it's not necessary to fear. And it's not possible to cling to anything. So when we deeply understand this, there's no other way, we have to relax. Deep kind of relaxation can only happen when we realize there's nothing to hold on. Of me as well as others. Inside or outside. But even things like "this is emptiness", "this is interdepencence", "this is like that" is all concepts. So that is also a concept and we don't need that. We can self liberate that. Self liberate all our thoughts and emotions. Anything comes, whether it's a good thought or emotion, a bad thought or emotion, good experience, bad experience, whatever – it comes and goes. It comes again of course, and goes again. Therefore there's nothing you can cling on. There's nothing you can really say that this is it and then it remains all the time. So therefore if you can let be, you can self liberate. All your thoughts appear and disappear, all emotions appear and disappear; unless you put fuel on that, it has to disappear. And when you become very good at that, then your even strong kind of physical experiences, pains and problems, also are like that. It takes just more time. Because we have so strong habitual tendency of holding on to. But that also if we can deeply let go can be self liberated.

So therefore, this is the main meditation, the main purpose of the meditation. The main purpose of meditation is not to have good experiences. When we do meditation, sometimes it is possible to have good experiences, nice and peaceful experiences, very peaceful. Very clear experiences where you can see like in a clairvoyance style. Sometimes very blissful experiences. Things like that, it's possible. But that's not regarded as very great thing in meditation. That's regarded as a temporary experience. Because it's like that. You have a very nice, blissful, joyful experience, "Oh it's so nice, so nice! That's it!" and then it's lost. It goes. Anything has to go, that's the thing. There's nothing remaining, we cannot grasp in anything. And then of course there is this: "Ah, it was a wonderful experience, I must get it back!" Then you react with aversion and attachment. It doesn't work. So that experience didn't become. It's a good experience but it doesn't make you happy. It doesn't give you the lasting happiness and peace. Then what's the purpose of meditation? Even if that lasts long it is not enough, because if you have that experience, good experience, then you have the confidence this is a nice experience, which means there is un-nice experiences. There's not nice experiences. So when you say, "I enjoy this experience very much", that means: "I don't want that be other way". So you have fear of that. I don't want that, I want this. And most of the time it goes away anyway. So therefore it's not completely free, because you have fear.

Then what is the real experience of meditation? Real experience of meditation is when you can self liberate anything. Meaning that whether you have a good experience, blissfull experience, clear experience, or whatever experience, you can just let them be. You don't feel too good about them, you dont feel too bad about them. You just kind of take it and selfliberate it. You can let it go anytime. But even bad experience comes, means that you have a not nice experience also, a fearful experience, upset experience. In the same way we can self liberate that. Let it come, let it go. You don't need to hold on to that, you know there's nothing to hold on. You have no fear of, you can relax in it. You can relax and let go of good experience, nice experience, peaceful experience as well as painful experience, negative experience, in the same way, self liberate anything – then, that is the real meditation. That's the real meditation success and the goal of the meditation. Because then you know how to deal with anything. Whatever happens it's okay. When that confidence comes, then you've learned how to meditate because you've learned how to self liberate. It doesn't matter whatever happens. When that little bit of confidence whatever to us happens, then you have the stability, then you know it's okay for you whatever may happen. So therefore it's to be able to self liberate anything – it doesn't matter, it's okay – that becomes the experience, and that leads to the resting in the nature of alaya. That's resting in the nature of alaya.

Because resting in the nature of alaya is said that means:

Rest without going into the past.

Do not follow past thoughts

or gather up thoughts of the future.

Stay in the present.

Let your senses be open

and let the thoughts flow by.

Remain in alaya.

Just be. Not in the past, not in the future, not fabricating present moment, just completely open and completely clear, completely fresh. It's not like unclear, kind of smudgy, silly way. You know what I'm saying? It's fresh, clear, but knowing that whatever comes is okay. And in the present moment. Because if you hold on to the past, hold on to the future, that's not realistic. Past is only memory, it's conceptual activity. Future is also conceptual activity, it's speculation. Present is now. Present is not something set, it's dynamic, so therefore, when you remain in the present moment, you don't remain anywhere. That's the present. Just not remaining, not holding on, not clinging, just let be.

So that's the meditation. When you can do that, when you can deeply understand that, how to deal with things, that's the wisdom. That's what we call wisdom, that sometimes we call experiencing the coemergent wisdom, the alaya wisdom. Seeing the nature of your mind. Different names: mahamudra, the emptiness, the buddha nature. Whatever you call it it's the same. Because when we can understand that and experience that, then we learn how to free ourselves. It is nothing that needs to be afraid of. So therefore, that's the important. So that's the ultimate wisdom, the ultimate bodhicitta.

Transkriptio: Minna Stenroos