Fujisan's Kyareng

Monday, September 19, 2022

Nalanda Certificate Course 1 Session 5

Tibet House News Delhi Nalanda Certificate Course NCC1

5th Session Notes /19/06/2022)

 ལྟ་བ་བཀའ་བཏགས་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་བཞི།

འདུ་བྱས་ཐམས་ཅད་མི་རྟག་པ། ཟག་བཅས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྡུག་བསྔལ་བ།

ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྟོང་བཞིན་བདག་མེད་པ། མྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ་ཞི་བའོ།

 THE FOUR SEALS

 All composite things are impermanent. All contaminated things are suffering nature

All phenomena are empty of nature. Transcending sorrow is peace, Nirvana.

 This is the four seals of Buddhist teachings. In Sanskrit it is Mudra, in Tibetan, it is called phyag-rgya, pronounced as Chaggya.

 To be free from misery and suffering, you need to know this seal properly. Study these four lines. You will need to get conviction to realize the true meaning of this seal through learning, reflection, and meditation. Buddha did not say everything is impermanent, he said all composite things are impermanent. What are composite and non-composite phenomena?

 We are body and mind. Body is a material part and mind is a mental and temporal part. Temporal means parts in time. Anything which is composed of particles, materials, and temporal parts is composite phenomena. A table is composed of so many materials composites, this is how our the material world are. Mind is a mental world where attention, fear, joy are experienced. It doesn’t have material parts. They have temporal parts. Book by Stephen Hawkin "A brief history of time" is good. Mind is made of temporal segments of mind.

 All phenomena composed of physical parts and temporal parts are impermanent in nature. Impermanence is of two kinds: gross impermanence and subtle impermanence. Gross impermanence is a phenomena whose continuum can come to an end. Subtle impermanence is momentariness involved in any phenomena.

 Impermanence can also be of three kinds:

1.      Impermanence whose continuum can invariably come to an end no matter what you do. The dates and years, 2021 end its own.

2.      Impermanent phenomena whose continuum never ends like time and mind, whose continuum can never be stopped.

3.      Impermanent phenomena which if you make effort, you can stop otherwise it will continue and perpetuate, never stops on its own.

  Our mind belongs to the second category. Our mind never ends no matter what we do. Within the mind we have the self grasping ignorance and self centered attitude, afflictive obscuration and cognitive obscuration. But we can stop these feelings and afflictions if we make effort.

 All composite phenomena of gross impermanence also has elements of subtle impermanence. A seed of peepal tree growing into a big tree, change is visible but subtle changes it under goes are not visible to our eyes.

 Mediation on gross impermanence and subtle impermanence is very important. Transformation comes through meditation. All contaminated things are of the nature of suffering. Contamination here means afflictions. What is influenced by afflictions is contamination. Driver's of our mind is under the dictates of self grasping ignorance and self centered attitude.

 Arya Nagarjuna explains:

When ceasing of karma (action) and affliction leads to nirvana

Action and affliction arise from conceptual thought

This arises from (mental) elaboration

Elaboration ceases through emptiness

 The ceasing of contaminated karmas and afflictions is Nirvana. Contaminated karmas and afflictions arise from conceptual thought. Conceptualization of inappropriate attention, which in turn arises from the elaboration of self grasping ignorance and elaboration ceases through the wisdom of emptiness. Five points are mentioned here, suffering, karma, affliction, inappropriate attention, and self grasping ignorance.

 So the root cause of our suffering is the self grasping ignorance. Just as we don't see anything darkness, with ignorance we don't see the reality. How get rid of this darkness of ignorance? Just as you need a light to remove darkness, you need a light wisdom to remove the darkness of ignorance. What is this wisdom?

 Wisdom is a discerning mind whose apprehension of the object tallies with reality. What is reality? Reality is what is indicated in the third seal, everything is of nature of emptiness and selflessness. What is emptiness and selflessness? We shall study in the next class.

 Note: This is a student's note. Error and omissions are bound to be there. A serious student should study the actual teachings of the teacher, Geshe Dorjee Damdul la, from www.tibethouse.in website. I write these notes to help my understanding and recollections. རང་གི་ཡིད་ལ་ངེས་ཕྱིར་ངས་འདི་བྲིས། (Tib:Rang gi yid la nges phyir ngas dhi bris).

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Saturday, September 17, 2022

Nalanda Certificate Course 1 Session 4

Tibet House New Delhi Nalanda Certificate Course / NCC1

4th Session (15/06/2022) Wed

 Review: This is the truth of sufferings that we have studied. Buddha was referring to the pervasive suffering as truth of suffering. The third pervasive exist in all the realms. It is said to be conditioned because Afflictions and Contaminated Karma condition the beings existence in the Samsara. Mundane happiness is bait; good and attractive, which leads to loss of freedom and the loss of freedom mean misery. Affliction and contaminated karma are the root causes our suffering. We are the sway of affliction and contaminated karma.

  Three things determine our being under the third pervasive sufferings:

1.      Being under the sway of Contaminated Karma and Afflictions

2.      Involuntary birth in Samsara

3.      All the contaminated neutral feeling that we feel in Samsara.

 These 3 things are example of pervasive conditioned sufferings. Total fearlessness and infinite happiness is our two aspirations.

 Suffering of suffering exits only in desire realm. Suffering of change exist in desire realm and the first three of the form realm. Pervasive suffering exist in all the three realms.

 Arya Nagarjuna in Mulamadhyamikakarika, Fundamental of Middle Way, (Chapt.18) has said:

When ceasing of action and affliction leads to nirvana

Action and affliction arise from conceptual thought.

This arises from (mental) elaboration.

Elaboration ceases through emptiness. 

 Ceasing of karma and affliction is Nirvana. Karma and affliction arise from inappropriate conceptualization which in turn arises from elaboration of self grasping ignorance. Elaboration ceases through wisdom of emptiness.

 Opposite of Nirvana is Samsara. Samsara is an existence where you lack freedom, a system where there is no freedom. There is no external Samsara. It is your mind which makes the lack of freedom. Because of ignorance, Samsara is nothing but printing of your mind, prison of ignorance.

 1.      Samsara: Samsara is the result of contaminated karma

2.      Contaminated Karma: It arises from mental afflictions

3.      Mental afflictions: It arises from inappropriate attention

4.      Inappropriate attention: It is arises from ignorance

5.      Ignorance: It arises from the elaboration of self grasping ignorance

 We are discussing this in relation to what Buddha said "This is the truth of the cause of suffering".

 Let's say you dream of an Iphone 13 mobile, you crave for it and someone too wants it. There is a fight, police comes, and put you in prison. Fighting activates karma, affliction, elaboration of the mobile, and ignorance. Not to see the dream mobile could have saved all the fight and leading into the prison. You wake from the dream, all the problems are gone.

 Of the 5 points, Samsara is the resultant state, other four are causal state. This is what Buddha meant by the truth of the cause of suffering.

 Afflictions that we discussed here is the gross afflictions, not the subtle afflictions. The afflictions are of three kinds:

1.      Gross afflictions

2.      Inappropriate attention

3.      Self grasping ignorance

 Contaminated karma and afflictions are what Buddha meant by the truth of the cause of suffering. Within the afflictions there are three category as above.

 Now, the truth of the cessation of suffering, remember the sound of suffering due to the clapping of two hands metaphor. If on hand is removed, there is no sound, suffering stops. This is the truth of the cessation of the cause of suffering.

 Cessation of suffering, what needs to be ceased and what needs to be stopped. We need to stop our mental defilement and remove afflictive obscuration and cognitive obscuration. When you remove afflictive obscuration, you attain Nirvana. When you remove afflictive obscuration as well as cognitive obscuration, you attain perfect enlightenment, the Buddhahood.

 Cessation of afflictive obscuration and cessation of cognitive obscuration is the truth of cessation of suffering. Within the cessation of afflictive obscuration, there are two, one of Shravakas and other of Preteyakabuddha. In total there are three cessations:

 1.      Cessation of Shravakas

2.      Cessation of Preteyakabuddhas

3.      Cessation of Buddhas (Mahayaha practioners)

 This is the truth of the cessation of sufferings.

 The path leading to the cessation of the causes of suffering is the five paths: Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, boddhisaha. They are:

1.      Path of accumulation (Tib:tshogs lam)gate

2.      Path of preparation (Tib:sbyor lam) gate

3.      Path of seeing (Tib:mthong lam) para gate

4.      Path of meditation (Tib:sgom lam)para sam gate

5.      Path of no more learning (Tib:mi-lob lam) boddhisaha

 The path 3rd, 4th, and 5th are what Buddha meant by the truth of the path leading to cessation of the cause of sufferings. The path in general are five, first two are conducive path and the last three are the paths leading to the cessation of sufferings.

 The path Arya beings are those above the 3rd path, the path of superior beings, seeing ultimate reality, emptiness. We can say there are 15 paths, 5 each of Shravakas, Prateyakabuddhas, and Mahyanists. There are qualitative difference in the 3 groups' path.

 After the identification, what are the practices associated with the four Noble Truths.

1.      Truth of the suffering is to be identified (3 sufferings)

2.      Truth of the cause of suffering is to be abandoned. (Contaminated karma and afflictions)

3.      Truth of the cessation of suffering is to be actualized or experienced. (3 cessations of afflictive obscuration, and cognitive obscuration)

4.      Truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering is to be meditated upon. (Last 3 of the 5 paths: gate, gate paragate, parasamgate, bodhisaha)

 The first four paths are learner's path. When you are at the first four stages, you are at the conventional stage. You need to identify, abandon, actualize, and meditate. But at the fifth stage, the ultimate level, there is nothing to identify, nothing to abandon, nothing to actualize, and nothing to meditate upon. Therefore, third the set associated with the Four Noble Truths:

 1.      Although the truth of suffering is to be identified at conventional level, there is nothing to identity at the ultimate level

2.      Although the truth of the cause of suffering is to abandoned at conventional level, there is nothing to abandon at the ultimate level

3.      Although the truth of the cessation of suffering is to actualized at conventional level, there is nothing to actualize at the ultimate level

4.      Although the truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering is to be meditated upon at conventional level, there is nothing to meditate upon at the ultimate level.

 When a projection is created, it is samsara. When the projection stops, it is Nirvana. You projected a dream, you projected as dream samsara. You wake up and stop projecting the dream, it is Nirvana.

 Example, Mount Kailash is pure and beautiful. Seeing through two goggles, one clean and one dirty, you see different Mount Kailash. One seen through a clean goggle is Nirvana and one seen through dirty goggle is samsara. Same object is seen through two difference lenses or glasses of goggles, wisdom. Dirty Mount Kailash seen through dirty goggle is our mental projection, Mount Kailash is not dirty.

 Note: This is a student's note. Error and omissions are bound to be there. A serious student should study the actual teachings of the teacher, Geshe Dorjee Damdul la, from www.tibethouse.in website. I write these notes to help my understanding and recollections. (Tib:Rang gi yid la nges phyir ngas dhi brtsams).

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Friday, September 16, 2022

Nalanda Certificate Course 1, Session 3

Tibet House New Delhi Nalanda Certificate Course / NCC1

3rd Session (12/06/2022)

 Regular recitation of the prayers and dedications is important. It help us familiarize our mind and thinking toward the greater course of finding happiness for oneself and for others. We need to practice regularly and see if you resonate with these three mind sets, the Three Principal Path.

  1.  Renunciation of all bad habits and negative thoughts (Tib:nges 'byung bsam pa)
  2. Bodhicitta, unconditional love towards all sentient beings (Tib:byang chub sems)
  3. Wisdom of emptiness to see everything as dream (Tib:stong nyid rtogs pa'i shes rab)

 Usually our mind behaves in contrast to the above three. Mediation is an active state of mind to revolutionize our thinking from ignorance to wisdom.

 Renunciation is to renounce your misery not your happiness or what you own. It is not self denial. Happiness is of two types: Mundane contaminated happiness and uncontaminated happiness.

 Causes of our misery are our ignorance. We need to study the Four Noble Truths and the Four Seals.  

 The Four Noble Truths is taught on the basis of 12 recitations, 3 sets of 4 recitations each.

  1.     Teaching of the Four Noble Truth pertaining to identification of the truths    
  2.     Teaching of the Four Noble Truths associated with the Practices of the truths
  3.     Teaching of the Four Noble Truth pertaining to the result one attains through the practice of the Four Noble Truths

 The first set is:

  1.       This is the truth of suffering
  2.       This is the truth of the cause of suffering
  3.       This is the truth of the cessation of suffering
  4.       This is the truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering

The second set is:

1.      The truth of the suffering is to be identified

2.      The truth of the cause of suffering is to be abandoned

3.      The truth of the cessation of suffering is to be cultivated

4.      The truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering is to be meditated upon

The third set is:

1.      Identify the suffering although there is nothing to identify

2.      Abandon the cause of suffering although there is nothing to abandon

3.      Cultivate the cessation of suffering although there is nothing to cultivate

4.      Meditate on the path leading to the cessation of suffering although there is nothing to meditate upon.

 This is the truth of suffering, identification. Sufferings that the beings in the three realms (Desire, forms and formless) undergo can be categorized under three groups:

1.      Sufferings of sufferings, Manifest suffering (Desire realm)

2.      Sufferings of changes (Desire realm, and the 1st three stage of form realms)

3.      Pervasive, conditioned sufferings (exist in all realms)

 This is the truth of sufferings that we have studied. Buddha was referring to the pervasive suffering as truth of suffering. The third pervasive exist in all the realms. It is said to be conditioned because Afflictions and Contaminated Karma condition the beings existence in the Samsara.

 Metaphor of two prisoners to be hanged serving terms in a prison with good facility and kinds of luxurious amenities, one escapes and one gets lured by the amenities and the result. Contaminated happiness is a bait to keep beings tied to the samsara. Birds or animals when given a good are very careful to see if it as bait or not.

 A picture of demon holding the wheel of life represents impermanence of death. Buddha is out of samsara. We need to cleanse ourselves slowly and gradually. If you are in the middle of a dirty pool, move slowly toward the edge where it is clean. Just giving up everything all of sudden saying it is bait is not a good practice. Extreme or acute indulgence should be avoided.

 A sick teacher with TB and diabetes problem should first have a strong body to take proper medication. Forcing diet restriction will only make him further sick. He should be given proper food to make him strong enough to take proper medication. As we grow and develop, we will know that conducive factors at earlier stages were non-conducive actually. What is conducive at one point may not be conducive at another point.  

 All mundane happiness are suffering, a trap with a bait. If you are not affected then it is not a bait. Attachment is weakeness and we get trapped. Problem is from the subjective mind and not the objective bait. To curb this attachment and desire, we need to train our mind to see reality, to see the bait behind what we crave for. Problem arises when you get attached. Just like a prisoner get executed because of his attachment to the good amenities and nice life in the prison (the metaphor).

 Object - subject duality is crucial. When you are so attached to the cheese cake in your dream, you wake up and realize that duality is gone or stops. As long as we don't wake up from our sleep of ignorance, we are bound to be in the push and pull with the object. Involuntary push and pull is a loss of freedom. Loss of freedom is misery, and misery is samsara.

 It is not samsara, it is our mind which is in the sleep of ignorance, making us vulnerable to involuntary push and pull. Samsara is not outside, it is in our own mind, which has lost its freedom to the sleep of ignorance.

 Mundane suffering is suffering of change. Study the metaphor of the first mono , second momo and the last momo. Whereas the first two were delicious and good, the last one will make you throw up. So the first momo is suffering because it is a bait. Suffering of change will become suffering of suffering.

 The third pervasive conditioned suffering we need to study through illustration and why it is pervasive, conditioned and suffering. When Buddha said this is suffering he meant this pervasive suffering.

  We are under the control of afflictions and contaminated karma. Three things determine our being under the third pervasive sufferings:

1.      Involuntary birth in samsara

2.      We being under the sway of contaminated karma and afflictions

3.      Contaminated neutral feeling

  Sufferings are because of afflictions and contaminated karma. They are the master mind. Therefore, we are not happy. To know the sufferings properly, we need to know the three realms of samsara, they are:

1.      Desire realm (Karmalok)

2.      Form realm

3.      Formless realm

 Desire realm is a part of samsara where the beings are primarily dictated by the desire for sensual object through five sensual organs.

 Form and formless realms is where an individual has already transcended (temporarily or fully) from desire realm and are driven inwardly with meditative concentration, Samadhi. One needs to have an advanced strong meditative concentration to take rebirth in these two realms. Without this you are bound in the desire realm. They can also be divided into two. One less advanced is from realm and highly advanced is the formless realm. They are the gods of form and formless realms. They are not the gods in a creator's sense. They are devas and devis, celestial beings. Not the god from the theistic point of view, the creator.

 Desire realm has 5 or 6 divisions: 3 lower realms and 3 higher realms. They are:

1.      Hell

2.      Hungry ghost

3.      Animals

4.      Human

5.      Asuras

6.      Gods

 Gods are in all three realms, desire, form and formless realms. We are studying these realms to explain the meaning of pervasive conditioned sufferings. We need to understand that suffering of suffering exist only in desire realm and not in the form and formless realms. The suffering of change exists in desire and form realms, not in the formless realm. Form and formless realms are also divided into four each.

Form realm:

1.      1st concentration form realm

2.      2nd concentration form realm

3.      3rd concentration form realm

4.      4th concentration form realm

Formless realm:

1.      Infinite space

2.      Infinite consciousness

3.      Vacuity

4.      Peak of existence

 Suffering of suffering exists only in desire realm. Suffering of change exits in the first three realms of the form realm, not in the 4th concentration form realm. Suffering of suffering and suffering change does not exist in the formless realm. The third suffering, pervasive suffering exits in all the realms. Therefore, the first two suffering are not referred to as pervasive, these two do not pervade the whole samsara.

 The third suffering, pervasive conditioned suffering exists in all the three realms across the samsara. It is conditioned because affliction and contaminated karma condition our existence in samsara.

 This is the truth of suffering that we have studied today.

Note: This is a student's note. Error and omissions are bound to be there. A serious student should study the actual teachings of the teacher, Geshe Dorjee Damdul la, from www.tibethouse.in website. I write these notes to help my understanding and recollections. (Tib:Rang gi yid la nges phyir ngas dhi brtsams).

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