The Spiritual Teacher

GuruRinpoche3

The following is respectfully quoted from “The Great Perfection: Buddha in the Palm of the Hand” by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The first root downfall is to disrespect one’s root guru or gurus. If we belittle or disrespect our spiritual teacher, our guru, then not only do we shut the door to liberation, but probably we will have a difficult time getting out of the lower realms.

What makes someone your guru, your spiritual teacher? To begin with, an empowerment. Once you have received an empowerment from a teacher, the teacher becomes the guru, the object that this first vow pertains to. When it comes to inner tantric empowerments this is especially so. If a person has been your teacher from childhood onward, has taught you dharma continuously, or has been an important catalyst for the development of your insight, or has given you teachings on the generation and completion stages, or has openly revealed to you the secret oral instructions on the great perfection atiyoga, this person can be considered your guru. This kind of teacher is said to be one who has been kind to you in three ways: by giving  you empowerment, by giving you teachings on generation and completion stage practice, and by giving you teachings on the great perfection. Whether the teacher has given you only one, two, or all three of these, if you disparage or belittle that teacher in any way the samaya is lost.

Now how is this done? For instance, if you feel that you are more learned than the teacher, and that you could have done it better. In the extreme case you would eliminate your teacher so that you could take his place. Or, with a mind of jealousy, anger, or attachment, any of the poisons, to speak badly about the teacher to others, to tease the teacher, to disrespect teacher from the door of your body (such as ignoring the teacher), to disturb the teacher, upset the teacher’s mind, or cause the teacher to be displeased–of all broken samaya this is the heaviest. Very difficult.

As it has been taught, as an antidote to these problems, and to avoid them, you must always see the spiritual teacher as a living buddha and the embodiment of all buddhas, in all situations.

The Importance of Faith

Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The following is respectfully quoted from “Great Perfection: Buddha in the Palm of the Hand” commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

Faith cannot be forced in the disciple’s mind. You must understand the qualities of the objects of your faith; only then is there a ground for faith. Because these are difficult times, if a disciple has true, firm faith that isn’t wishy-washy but is based on a true wish to practice on the path, and if a teacher at least possesses impartial compassion, then these two make a suitable connection–the faithful disciple and the compassionate teacher–and it is appropriate to nurture that connection and practice on the path.

Obviously, these are not all of the qualities mentioned above, but it is very difficult if not impossible, in these degenerate times, for both lama and disciple to have all the qualifications and to come together at the same time. What is obvious and true for you now is what you call your “luck,” which is actually the force of good karma accumulated in the past; you only call it “luck” because you know nothing about it. It’s just an accumulation that you’ve unknowingly made.

Look at your present situation and compare yourself with millions of people in this and other countries who have no time for any kind of spiritual pursuit. This karma you have is really quite strong because it’s remarkably natural and easy for you–at least for these Nam Cho transmissions. Sofr these particular transmissions there’s a great amount of karma that we’re all a part of, and a great amount since the Nam Cho revelations are teachings of the ninth vehicle, the peak of the path, the atiyoga transmissions, you should rejoice in having this kind of natural, spontaneously arising karma to make these kinds of connections.

Padmasambhava said, “My dharma of the secret mantra is extremely dangerous, like taking a wish-fulfilling jewel off the head of a poisonous snake.” If you’re able to get the wish-fulfilling jewel it has the power to fulfill all your wishes. But you risk your life trying to get it. Padmasambhava gave this analogy for the path of secret mantra, and it pertains especially to the path of terma revelations. There is also the analogy of the snake in the bamboo shaft with only two directions to go: up or down. If you keep samaya and practice well, you go straight up and experience very swift results. If you don’t keep samaya and don’t practice, then just as good results are swift, so are negative ones.

To be a suitable disciple, the main quality you need is faith. It doesn’t matter which dharma you’re receiving–Kagyu, Nyingma, Sakya, Gelugpa; hinayana, mahayana–you don’t even need to be smart. You just need faith.

Message from Gyaltrul Rinpoche to Jetsunma: Pure Offerings

The following is a message from Gyaltrul Rinpoche to Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo and her sangha given on November 11, 2011:

VGR to JAL 11.11.11

In November 2011 Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche offered the following spontaneous teaching about Jetsunma at a sangha gathering at Tashi Choling in Oregon.

Gyaltrul Rinpoche began by asking Jetsunma’s student who was in attendance at the gathering to stand and to convey this message to Jetsunma.

“You opened your center.  Then you bought a house, and then you invited Holiness Penor Rinpoche. Then you sponsored the whole Rinchen Terzod, and invited so many high lamas.

You got really sick, but still you are upholding that center.  Right now you miss Holiness, but it doesn’t matter.  I heard that you offered your center to two tulkus who are His Holiness’ successors. You are the servant.  You have merit.  In that way you succeeded in growing your center. Now you have the merit to offer it to Holiness’ successors – two tulkus and the whole lineage.  You gave everything to them purely, cleanly, and without attachment. You don’t make claims.  You dedicated that merit to sentient beings to cleanse obscurations.  Thank you so much.  This is the way of dharma, not just the way of “mine.”  The way of “mine” is, “We need to practice.”  Mine is “We need to generate merit and cleanse obscurations.”  That’s mine. You took a big step that is opposite of the American brain.  You didn’t say “mine.”  You said that according to Buddha it belongs to sentient beings.   It is the Buddha’s offering for sentient beings.  You dedicated it. Thank you so much.

Speaking to the student, Gyaltrul Rinpoche continued.  

Students at the center need to maintain it for sentient beings.  Note what your teacher His Holiness did.  At the same time follow what Jetsunma did.  She offered the center and everything back to the lineage for your benefit.  Now you have to maintain it.  Don’t crack.  Don’t damage it.  How do you crack it?  How do you damage it?  By the breaking of samaya.  By fighting.  This is “my” way, your way, this way, that way.  Whose way?  His Holiness’ way.  Your way as a human being is Holiness’ way.  Penor Rinpoche is Holiness.  As non human beings it is Shakyamuni Buddha’s Way, Guru Rinpoche’s Way.

Through the whole Rinchen Terzod you got the whole lineage.  You guys need to maintain that benefit for all the sentient beings that are connected with you.  You have to open up for them, as much as you can for sentient beings.  Not only for him that you like or her that you like or not, but for all sentient beings, even bugs.  Do according to Shakyamuni, according to Guru Rinpoche and according to your root lama, Penor.  We don’t have anything to be ashamed of with the wonderful way of our root lama, the Dalai Lama.  Follow that example.  I pray for you guys.

Right now we have the amazing fortune in this life and next life to offer some benefit for others.  Almost nobody has that kind of merit.  Therefore don’t forget how fortunate, how lucky we are.  This is our luck, all of our fortune.  Therefore don’t throw away your luck.  Don’t throw away your merit.  Continue.  There are lots of obstacles up and down, but try.  Be patient. Be more compassionate for sentient beings.  We have this opportunity only one time – this time.  If we lose this one, we won’t get another.  Recognize this.  Try that.  Tell all the centers that this is my request.  Thank you.  Tashi Deleg.

I’m so happy she [Jetsunma] offered it, you know?  It is amazing that way.  She has freedom.  So you have heard this example.  You guys are working for the sentient beings.  Don’t be proud working for yourself.  Everybody is working hard.

Some of you guys came here today.  Some didn’t come.  One way – snow.  One way -laziness.  One way – excuse.  One way is saving next life’s merit, and cleansing obscurations.  We need to keep that savings.  We don’t want to clear it out.  We don’t want to save the merit too much.  Therefore we need to save space.

Everybody is working so hard but I’m not embarrassed.  I don’t have any regrets about it.  I’m happy.  The reason is not that I am happy using you guys in ten directions.  I’m not satisfied that you guys are tortured.  Look at Philip, how old his body is.  And Ani here is an old lady.  Everyone says these guys torture themselves from working so hard.  The reason is to generate merit – purification.  Anytime you have an opportunity, don’t ignore that opportunity.  We don’t know how short our life is.  You may think, “I’m not like that ugly old man.  I’m quite handsome.”  Anyway one day you are going to be cranky like me, ugly like me, a bozo like me.  You will look like that.  It’s not only me.  I’m not the only one being punished from old age.

The nature of samsara is like that.  We trust.  You think samsara is trustable, even more than your boyfriend, more than your husband, more than your wife or girlfriend.  You guys trust so much.  I love you. This is the real reason for our shorter life that we have that idea.  The bottom line is reaching another life. Everybody try.  Help each other practice.  Dedicate.  Nothing is more useful or better.  It all is temporary, but we have a chance, an opportunity.

You need to go.  You guys need to go because there is snow, but try in the future.   You have an opportunity.  You have amazing good fortune.  I’m not saying you are pretty or handsome or smarter.  I’m not saying you’re richer.  Being rich means nothing.  Look at how rich Qadaffi was.  All sentient beings are going to die, even Shakyamuni’s father and mother.  When we read the history of Shakyamuni, do we think of Shakyamuni as a poor guy?  No.  Did he get drunk or crazy?  No.  Read that history carefully.  I’m not asking you guys to become a nun or monk.  Nun means nothing.  Monk means nothing.  If you follow Shakyamuni’s footsteps then yes, but lots of monks are about ritual.  Lots of monks are samsara leaders.  This is more cheating of Shakyamuni.  Actually we are cheating ourselves.

It’s the same thing with Guru Rinpoche.  Guru Rinpoche is not a poor guy.  G. Rinpoche is not a poor guy.  I’m not asking you to give up your position, or money or anything.  But recognize first what is of benefit and what that means.  What is good or bad?  Check everything.  Don’t jump over this.

Look at how many countries are fighting and for what?  Power, money, and that kind of thing.  You guys are smart.  Look carefully.  Don’t think its all Funky Rinpoche.  “He’s dying.  He’s losing his life.”  Yeah.  You are right.  But it’s not only me.  You too.  I don’t have preparation so don’t follow me.  Wake up.  Stand up.  You have an opportunity and you have the blessing of Holiness Dalai Lama, Dudjom Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, and the Karmapa.  Sunshine shows your hand or behind or friend or whatever.  You are not in the darkness.  All dharmas – Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana – everything is there blazing on you. At that time don’t go Qadaffi style.  Don’t go down dark tunnels.  Still your “bad” is showing.  Therefore, everybody try.  Don’t be smart.  You want to be smart?  Understand cause and effect.  You need someone smart who can benefit you?  Know who can help or harm you.  That’s smart.  You don’t need the scholar going blah, blah, blah.  A hundred thousand pages you do for one second, but everything is blah blah blah.  You don’t follow that meaning or result, or you don’t care.  It’s just blah blah blah.  Therefore everybody try.

Goodnight.  We have snow, so I’m not going to blah no meaning.  I don’t want to make obstacles for you.”

What is “Refuge?” from a commentary by Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The following is an excerpt from Great Perfection Buddha in the Palm of the Hand a commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

The reason for taking refuge is based on the awareness of the precious human rebirth, on the awareness that, having attained the precious human rebirth, to waste it will be just like returning empty-handed from a land of precious jewels. Keeping that in mind, you must recognize that you need some kind of guide, some kind of help, someone or something that will teach you, show you, how to make use of your precious opportunity. This someone or something is the three jewels of refuge.

As I have mentioned, one should not take refuge in or rely upon the external form, the body of the lama or the actual presence of the Buddha. If that were important, then we would all be in trouble because the Buddha is long gone now and the lama will also pass. Even though the Buddha and all the great teachers of the past are no longer in this world, there are still buddhists. Buddhism lives on because refuge isn’t taken in the body, the form, of a teacher; it’s taken in the qualities that are actualized in that particular embodiment.

The enlightened body has specific attributes, indicated by specific physical characteristics. You must learn what those attributes are. There are many different teachings on the subject of the enlightened body.  For example, the fact that a buddha or a deity has one face symbolizes the dharmakaya, the great bindhu that is the one nature of reality, or truth. Two arms symbolize method and wisdom in non-dual union. When you take refuge in the sangha you take refuge in the qualities the sangha represents, not the bodies of the sangha members. When you take refuge in the dharma you aren’t taking refuge in the paper and ink, in the pages that the dharma is written on; you’re taking refuge in what the words express, in the quality and essence of the teaching. Whatever your dharma practice may  be, on whatever level, it is in the meaning of the dharma that you take refuge.

If you intend to study with a spiritual teacher, that teacher should be an embodiment of the qualities of the three jewels of refuge, and you should know what those qualities are. If you take refuge in an ordinary person who lacks a higher level of realization, who, in his ignorance, mixes traditions to create something new — maybe mixing hinduism and buddhism, throwing in a little christianity or taoism, making a little garbage container — then you will find yourself in trouble. It won’t be beneficial to you; it will harm you and everyone else involved. And you shouldn’t become such a teacher, because you won’t be a suitable object of refuge. If you are not a lama, a qualified spiritual teacher, then you are sangha. Since the sangha is one of the three jewels, it is important that you also be clean and pure.

Actions and Their Consequences: From “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

Homage to Avalokitesvara!

A rough explanation of actions and their consequences has been presented in the preliminaries to the instructions on the profound practical teachings of Avalokitesvara, but it is difficult to gain from that more than a practical understanding. Precise comprehension of actions and their consequences is not achieved until one has accomplished great single-pointedness. Until there arises the realization of the “one taste appearing in numerous ways,” the subtlety of actions and their consequences is not discerned. Thus, the Kagyu masters of the past prayed, “Bless me that I may discern the subtlety of actions and their consequences.” For us, all felicity and adversity and all joys and sorrows of birth and death and so forth are dominated by our karma.

–“Great single pointedness” is the state of samadhi that arises due to investigating the nature of awareness, rigpa. The “one taste appearing in numerous ways” is a specific realization which is also called the “realization of the sole bindhu.” What is this one taste that appears in numerous ways? It is the single nature of all samsara and nirvana. It is seeing all phenomena simultaneously as being of one taste and one nature.

Spiritual success and mundane success all really stem from the merit you have accumulated in the past due to virtuous activity. Without merit, even if you give tens of millions of dollars towards a particular end, you won’t have the success you are aiming for. It really comes down to your own previous actions. So it’s important not to blame our lack of success on someone else when we experience failure or disappointment. Rather we must recognize that if we want to have success, we need to plant the seeds of virtue. If we want to avoid misfortune, then we need to avoid the source, which is nonvirtue. In the meantime, instead of blaming others for our failures, we must identify our own limitations and shortcomings and dispel them.–

The Chapter on the Cycle of Existence of Birth and Death states:

Wherever one is born in the three realms,
That birth is dominated by karma.
Karma, too, is something committed in the past.
Death as well is dominated by karma.
When the time comes for birth and death,
The gods gradually fall from the heavens.
Despite their great miraculous powers, they are powerless to remain.

–You can’t give someone else either good karma or bad karma, any more than you can give them virtue or nonvirtue. These are things that we accumulate and commit for ourselves. Whether we die in the womb, have a short life or a long life, these are the result of our karma.

Even great gods, such as Indra and Brahma, with their extraordinary powers, are powerless when the karma that propelled them into their present existence is exhausted. The reason for the precept not take refuge in mundane gods such as these is that they, like ourselves, are still entrapped in this cycle of existence. Since they have not liberated themselves, it would be difficult for them to liberate anyone else, so they are not suitable objects of ultimate refuge. Moreover, if you take refuge in, or absolutely entrust yourself to, other beings who are subject to the five poisons, you really have a problem, because they can’t release you from something they are not free of themselves. So this precept is truly for your own sake.

Some mundane gods may actually be great bodhisattvas, or even emanations of the buddhas appearing in the form of Indra, Brahma, and so forth. Nevertheless, it is generally good counsel not to take ultimate refuge in any of them, for it is difficult to discern which ones are actually bodhisattvas or emanations of Buddhas. In a way, we don’t really need to worry about this. we don’t have much, if any, direct contact with such gods anyway.–

Importance of Precepts

prostration

The following is respectfully quoted from “A Spacious Path to Freedom” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The Five Stages also states:

Upon seeing their spiritual mentor in public, they ignore him
Then they make prostrations to him in private.
Even if he is your own son, such an inferior, bad-natured disciple
Is to be rejected like anyone else.
Even if he is born of the royal class, noble class, or priestly class,
He should never be accepted in one’s midst.

–In the Tibetan region of Kham there was one Lama who was the disciple of another Lama. The senior teacher was, in fact, an extremely fine practitioner, spending all of his time in retreat and living like a beggar. One time when the student was teaching a large group of his own disciples, including many monks, his Lama came out of retreat and sat among the students. The other students, recognizing their Lama’s Lama, immediately prostrated, while the younger Lama pretended that he did not see him and began teaching. After the teachings, all of the other disciples dispersed, but the senior Lama stayed. Only when everyone had left, while feigning great surprise at seeing him, did the disciple come over and prostrate himself. “Oh, you did not see me?” asked the senior Lama. “No, I didn’t see you,” replied the student. As soon as the words were spoken, both of his eyes fell out. Immediately, recognizing the error of his ways, he began to do prostrations with great reverence. Then he confessed, “I did see you, but I was embarrassed because you look like a beggar. Please forgive me. I was completely at fault.” Instantly, his eyes jumped back into his head.

You should not even allow an inferior disciple in your midst let alone teach such a person. Beyond that, it is said in certain Tibetan texts that if you live downstream from a person with broken vows, you shouldn’t even drink the water that flows from the stream.–

The Guru Disciple Relationship

Gampopa

The following is respectfully quoted from “A Spacious Path to Freedom” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche

Lord Gampopa says of the tradition of the practice lineage:

If a spiritual mentor lacks realization, it does not help even if his disciples act with reverence and devotion. As an analogy, although the clay may be good, if its mold has no indentations, it will not form into a statue. If the disciples have no reverence or devotion, it does not help even if the spiritual mentor has realization. This is like a cow having milk, but its calf having no palate.

Authorization to Teach: from “Reborn in the West”

The following is respectfully quoted from “Reborn in the West” by Vicki Mackenzie:

Before receiving her bodhisattva vows she had told Penor Rinpoche of her own vow that she was teaching to her students: ‘I dedicate myself to the liberation and salvation of all sentient beings. I offer my body, speech and mind in order to accomplish the purpose of all sentient beings. I will return in whatever form necessary, under extraordinary circumstances, to end suffering. Let me born in times unpredictable, in places unknown, until all sentient beings are liberated from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Taking no thought for my comfort or safety, precious Buddha make me a pure and perfect instrument by which the end of suffering and death in all forms might be realized. Let me achieve perfect enlightenment for the sake of all beings. And then, by my hand and heart alone, may all beings achieve full enlightenment and perfect liberation.’

Penor Rinpoche had rocked to and fro in unbridled mirth, slapping his thigh in amusement. She had replicated, almost exactly the same prayers that Tibetan lamas spoke. It was another proof of her identity.

He handed her another certificate, authorizing her to teach. ‘This is important,’ he said. ‘People will say you haven’t been studying the dharma, that they have never heard of you. They will not understand. With this paper no one will doubt that you are capable of teaching the dharma.’

Penor Rinpoche went on to tell Jetsunma a little about her famous ‘predecessor’. The first Ahkön Lhamo was the direct student of Tertön Migyur Dorje, a famous revealer of secret teachings, he said. She was a great dakini and spent decades in retreat, only coming down from her cave to help her brother with his monastery. Otherwise people would go to her to receive healing and teaching.

I asked Jetsunma if she were curious to find out more about Ahkön Lhamo or had any memories of the yogini who had lived in Tibet in 1665 and had inspired a religious order that had survived to this present day.

‘I discovered she was pretty wild,’ she replied. ‘She stayed up in her cave and looked pretty wretched, with her hair sticking out all over the place,’ she said, picking up her own unruly locks. ‘She was a crazy yogini type. Some things never change! There was no water in her cave, of course, and she never bathed. Her clothes were rotting on her. But people said whenever they went to her cave it would smell like perfume. Penor Rinpoche told me that people would give her turquoise, gold and coral, but she would refuse it. She was probably holding out for gifts she could accept, like hair-driers! She was probably waiting for electricity to be put into her cave and she could have central heating!’ she joked.

‘As for any memories, I don’t like to make any fuss about the inner experience I have. I can tell you I have some awareness of it, but it’s pretty “Swiss cheesy”. I am curious. I want to go back to Tibet, to see the cave where she practiced. Gyaltrul Rinpoche, the reincarnation of Kunzang Sherab who is now in Oregon, said that when he went back to Tibet he remembered a lot. It’s as though the airways are clearer there.’

There is at least one concrete link between this latter-day bodhisattva, the girl from Brooklyn, and the seventeenth century Tibetan yogini who had helped found a Buddhist lineage. Ahkön Lhamo’s skull, or part of it, is still in existence. It bears an unmistakable hallmark of sanctity. On its top is etched the holy sanskrit syllable ‘Ah’.

The story goes like this. When the first Ahkön Lhamo passed away, they prepared a pyre to cremate her and duly put the body on it. When the last vestige of flesh was burnt away, the skull rose up in the air in front of hundreds of people and flew about a mile before landing at the Palyul monastery, at the foot of her brother Kunzang Sherab’s throne. This was considered the final ultimate display of Ahkön Lhamo’s power and spiritual accomplishments. The great dakini, who was already known for the many miracles she performed, had revealed her true greatness.

The skull became a most treasured relic and was used as a kapala, and instrument used in ritual ceremonies for holding nectar. It remained intact until in the mid-twentieth century the invading Chinese hacked to pieces everything of spiritual significance, including the precious kapala at the Palyul monastery. A lay person saw a piece of the skull among the rubble and, hiding it in his clothes, took it to safety. It was some years before Penor Rinpoche got word that at least part of the holy relic had survived.

The was a vast gap in time between 1660 and 1949, when the present Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo was born. I asked her the same question I had asked Tenzin Sherab. What lives did she think she had been living in between?

‘I think there were other incarnations, but as Penor Rinpoche told me, they don’t keep track of women. It wasn’t because they were prejudiced against women’s wisdom. In fact, dakinis are the primordial wisdom beings and are held in very high regard. Generally, though, dakinis were not the lineage holders. They spent their lives in solitude, doing spiritual practices. Penor Rinpoche says, and I feel, that there have been many incarnations.

But this present one, as the American woman doing it ‘her way’ as undoubtedly she always had, was the life that was to capture widespread attention. Jetsunma left the United States as a married woman, mother of two and teacher of New Age metaphysics with a bent for worldwide caring, and returned a recognized tulku, a reincarnate lama. For her students this took some adjustment. While they had been happily following the teachings of a woman whom they treated as their equal, they now had to contend not only with a ‘Buddhist’ but also with someone whose rank placed her on an entirely different footing. There was protocol to observe, a new language to learn for the same concepts they had learnt, and the mantle of an old and established ‘religion’ from the East to adopt. Some disciples fell out, but most survived the transition.

Whatever misgivings they might have had about the authenticity of their teacher’s new lofty reincarnate status, however, were completely dispelled when Penor Rinpoche came to see them for the second time in 1988. “He arrived at Poolesville with twelve monks in attendance and conferred the Rinchen Terzod, the revealed teachings of the great Padma Sambhava to all member of KPC. It was the first time he had ever performed the task in his lifetime, and the first time in North America”.

He then conducted an official enthronement of Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo. News of the thirty-nine-year-old woman who had been recognized as the reincarnation of a famous Tibetan yogini reached the media. Newspaper reporters and television crews descended on KPC. ‘Meet Ahkön Norbu Lhamo, Tibetan Saint,’ blazed the front-page headline of the International Herald Tribune. ‘The Unexpected Incarnation’ cried the Washington Post. She appeared in the popular People magazine. Leading Japanese and German magazines ran articles on her. This was when my own journalist’s antennae, primed for good stories, must have picked up the importance of the event and stored it away for later use.

Choosing What to Accept and What to Reject – Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche

The following is from a teaching given by Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche at Kunzang Palyul Choling:

We must take care not to fall prey to actually disbelieving the infallible truth of the law of cause and result, not to hold incorrect or wrong view, which would be again, thinking that there is no truth to this law.  If I practice Dharma, for example, there will be no good result, so why should I bother, these types of attitudes.  If I accumulate non-virtue, if I just do whatever I want, if I engage in negativity, there is no lower rebirth, it doesn’t matter.  And so, thinking in this way is definitely the wrong direction.  All of us must know this and focus on the Buddha’s teachings, initially, the Four Noble Truths, the truth of suffering, that there is non-virtue. We all know that there is suffering, because we are experiencing that and knowing the truth of the cause, that there is the cause to the result of our suffering and so Buddha taught the truth of the cause of suffering and the truth of suffering is the result of that cause and so now, while we are free to do something about accepting and rejecting, that’s precisely what we should do.  If we have intelligence, we would figure out that is the way we would lead our life.

Believing in the laws of cause and result is virtuous.  Not believing in the law of cause of cause and result is non-virtuous and so that marks the difference between being noble and a wholesome individual on the path of wholesome conduct or being ignoble or going into the wrong direction.  So when we are going into the wrong direction, because of not acknowledging the law of cause and result and engaging always in non-virtue then that’s why we get left behind so to speak.  There’s not much progress in our life.  When we notice everyone else is going along and having some positive directions and some progress and we’re not, this is the reason.

By going to school nicely and being wholesome and having dignity, careful in what we do, then we will come to know this truth, we will see how this works in our life by observing, by listening, by checking.  We will see the truth of the law of cause and result.  If we don’t come to know that and see that in our lives, then we’ll always be overwhelmed by the passions and poisons of the 10 non-virtuous results, which includes desire and jealousy, anger, delusion, based on those passions, killing, stealing, adultery, lying, slander, gossip, ill will, craving, incorrect view, all of these non-virtues will proliferate, based on delusion because of not knowing the law of cause and result.  And so by not knowing this, then we are always accumulating causes for lower rebirth especially in the three lower realms of the hell beings, the deprived spirit beings and the animals, where there is inconceivable suffering.  These are the real places of samsara, the places of rebirth in samsara, these lowest realms, where there is no happiness.

Like for example, in this life, if one takes the life of others, then it shortens one’s own life and it also brings about many different illnesses and diseases.  The reason that we have a short lifespan or we acquire some disease or illness is because of having taken the life of others in the past as well so that affects us in this life.  From having stolen, then in this life, no matter how hard one tries, one is always poor, lacking endowments, lacking abundance, never quite being able to get it together financially.  So this is the ripening, the fruit of the cause.  These things don’t come about for any other reason.

So that’s why now it’s so important to listen to one’s parents and to follow the guidelines of whatever religious tradition one believes in.  Certainly there is good in all spiritual paths, so whatever one is able to believe in, learning that, contemplating, thinking carefully and following the guidelines of knowing, coming to know what to accept and what to reject so that qualities can develop in your own stream of mind to become a decent person and to have a happy life, otherwise, not following any guidelines, not believing in anything, having no discipline, just doing whatever you want, being careless, it’s really worse than an animal.  Even an animals don’t do that.  And so it may seem, if you are still young, that that is OK, you can get away with that, because temporarily you are still under your parent’s wings so parents are taking care of you and feeding you and giving you shelter and you are still young so you not sick yet and in fact you don’t even think about it or worry about it, you have no fear of death.  Even if the Lord of Death came before you, you would be fearless because you are still young and everything is great.  But sooner or later, when all of that shifts and changes, because it will, then sickness comes, poverty comes and everything turns upside down if you haven’t learned how to be a decent human being who knows how to follow rules and practice what to accept and reject.  Everything turns upside down and everything becomes like your enemy and when you die and go to lower realms, it’s also even worse and so that’s why it’s so important to think about these things now while you can, while you are able to.

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