Buddha Nature, at KSDL, Toronto, Nov 30-Dec 1, 2015

Length: 7 hr; Format: Audio; Recording Quality: Excellent. 

Rinpoche spoke on Buddha Nature Karma Sonam Dargye Ling (KSDL), the Canadian Seat of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, located in Toronto, Canada. The center was founded in 1976 by the Venerable Lama Namse Rinpoche. The Resident Lama is Lama Tenzin Dakpa.

Note the playlist icon to the left of time marker (4 teachings are available).

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Two sets are available by request (one set, notes from the 2015-12-01-am teaching, are below)


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RINGU TULKU poster small-crNotes from the 2015-12-01-am Teaching – or download a PDF / Docx

Some notes from Buddha Nature,  2015-12-01-am Toronto, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

In order to bring out and awaken our Buddha nature, what really obscures this nature of ourselves is what we call klesha and karma.

Klesha is basically negative emotions and confusion. These together are sometimes called mind poisons. because of these states of mind all the negative things we are doing to ourselves as well as the others is done.

There have been so many wars in the history of humankind where immeasurable sufferings and pain was inflicted on all sides. There is almost no time in history when there were no wars. Why do we have those wars? It’s because of our hatred, our greed and our misunderstandings. When the mind poisons get the upper hand, we create so many atrocities and sufferings for others and for ourselves. All our miseries and pain are coming out of those. At the bottom of that is also lots of fear. Fear is the foundation of most of our negative emotions.

If we need to find peace in ourselves, to create peace in the world and bring out our positive qualities, we need to work on that. Dharma practice is basically about that.

It doesn’t matter too much which particular sadhana or practice you do. The purpose is to work on our negative emotions. They all connect with that.

But if we don’t know how it’s actually working on that negative emotion, it doesn’t really become a practice. Gampopa said: Practice of dharma should become transformation. Not just work.

HOW exactly is it working? Find out. Then focus on that and do that. How much I understand and can connect, that’s how much it becomes dharma practice.

We can say there are three main ways of working on the kleshas:

“pang zur zhe sum” (check the correct Tib. spelling)

1. Pang: to let go, to give up, to abandon

First, we have to be very clear that i.e. anger is something that is of no use and we better get rid of it.

Often it appears as if it is to protect us, to help us, to give us something good. “I’m angry because I want to protect myself.”

Always thinking that it will benefit me. And we then think that if I give up anger, I’m sacrificing myself.
But it only seems like that. It is not like that.

“If I don’t get angry how can I fight against injustice?!”

Sounds fine, but if you look deeper, there is a better way to fight against injustice.

If you see something that’s wrong, like atrocity, and then you don’t like it and you want to fight against that, then there are 2 ways of looking at that:

1) “This is very bad, this should not happen, this should change; who is doing this? It’s them. They are bad! I must fight them and get rid of them.” Focus on the people —> Anger and hatred. And soon, sometimes, even the original reason gets forgotten. But the hatred goes on.
2) Focus on the issue, not the people who did it. Work towards ending the negative issue, not getting rid of anybody. Only to make this negativity into something positive for everybody. —> Compassion. Then there is no need for any anger or hatred. It can be compassion for everybody.

If through anger we fight against something, even if it’s injustice, and even if anger makes us feel more fearless or stronger, there is a danger: You overdo it, you don’t use your reasoning. You become over-emotional. A rush of energy. But that energy is soon finished.

Instead, the energy of compassion lasts long.

There are three groups of negative emotions:

Anger group of emotions is like fire. It burns everything it’s touching. It’s the worst negative emotion, and against it, you have to take immediate action.

Attachment group of emotions is not that bad. The stronger your attachment is the more pain it brings you. But it has some good sides also. It’s also related with love and some kind of good intentions. But it’s also more difficult to work with than fire. Attachment is like water, it goes everywhere and is difficult to dry.

Confusion and ignorance is like the ground. The basis of all this negativity. All negative reactions come out of our misunderstanding and confusion. To get rid of it we have to get enlightened. It’s very difficult. Takes much patience.

After having understood it’s no good, I refuse to react. I delay my reaction, postpone it. Then it’s gone.
We are used to thinking that these negative emotions are very solid, very much there, and difficult to get rid of. But in a way they are very fleeting. They change all the time. They cannot stay for very long unless we feed them.

We don’t understand how bad these negative emotions are, that’s why we think about them again and again.
“There is no punishment for anger. Anger itself is the punishment.” (Dalai Lama)

2. Zur: to transform, to change

Visualisations, thinking about enlightened beings, Chenrezig practice and others.  You cannot be angry and hateful at the same time you’re visualising Chenrezig, feeling his energy of compassion and kindness.

When your negative emotions are arising, then let your mind focus on locing kindness and compassion.

Visualisation is actually kind of fantasizing. Everybody can do that.

To train our mind we have to learn to visualize. If you want to become a doctor, you have to start by seeing yourself as one.

If you are angry, imagine a nice piece of chocolate melting in your mouth!

Mind is focused on something positive instead of that negative emotion. Then it’s gone – it’s transformed.

Negative emotion is nothing stable. Our habitual tendency is strong, so it will certainly come back. But it’s not really stable.

Sometimes we think emotions are like a pressure cooker. if we don’t express them then we will eventually explode. But it’s not like that. If you keep not expressing it, your brain will actually be rewired.

But we have to understand that not getting angry and not to show the anger are 2 different things. If we are angry and want to go and punch somebody’s nose but don’t do it because doing so is not good, that’s not what is meant here.

We are not keeping the anger is what we mean. Because we know it’s no good.

3. Zhe: to understand what it is

This is the deepest way. You understand the nature of your mind, your emotions and of yourself. Emotions are coming out of a negative reaction. It comes up but even when it is there there is really nothing there even then. If you don’t hold on to it it’s gone. It’s like a bubble. There is no substance, no true existence of that.

Your consciousness is also like that. It’s very difficult to understand. Where is it? Nothing to find. No shape, no color, no size.

What is the nature of our consciousness?
– There is nothing, nobody ever found it – not even the Buddha, nor the scientists – nobody could pinpoint it.
– But it’s the basis of all the samsara and nirvana.
– Its nature is emptiness.
– But there is awareness. It’s a clarity. The nature of mind is clarity. Clarity means knowing.
– There is knowingness. It’s not a thing, it’s knowingness.
– And because of this knowingness, of this clarity,  there is manifestation. Thought, emotion, sensation, seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting… Whole universe coming out of it.

That’s the mind. The consciousness.

It’s always manifesting, from itself. It’s not (as we usually think) that there is consciousness and something is coming to it; this experience is coming to me; not like that – It’s radiating from myself.  It’s all my own radiation.

All these experiences are just rising out of it. It’s like my own shadow, my own reflection. There is nothing out there. It’s my radiance.

Whether it’s good or bad, negative or positive. Pure or impure, it’s my own radiance.

When I really understand that, then I don’t have to mind whether it’s good or bad. There is nothing good or bad, it’s just my own reflection. Then I don’t need to run after or away from. I don’t have to be bothered. An old man looking at children playing in sand. He’s not upset if a castle falls down. He knows it’s just a game.

When this experience comes, then it’s knowing.
It’s very deep. There’s nothing positive or negative. Mind poisons are transmuted into wisdom, because you understand the nature of mind. Wisdom is that understanding of the nature of mind.

We can try all these three, depending on what works with us at what stage.
All formal trainings and practices have to be on one or any of these three.
Actually 3-year retreats and other formal practices are all a training of practice. The real practice is in our daily life, how we live our life.
How much we can use these methods in our real life, even a little bit, then it’s a true practice.
Real practice is not about time. We never say we don’t have time to get upset. We don’t need a special time for it even if we are very busy. If that’s the case then we don’t need a special time to react in another way either. Just remember, whenever a negative reaction is arising, that that’s not the way. That’s the discipline.