Tibet House New Delhi Nalanda Certificate Course / NCC1
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.
- Renunciation of all bad habits and negative thoughts (Tib:nges 'byung bsam pa)
- Bodhicitta, unconditional love towards all sentient beings (Tib:byang chub sems)
- 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.
- Teaching of the Four Noble Truth pertaining to identification of the truths
- Teaching of the Four Noble Truths associated with the Practices of the truths
- Teaching of the Four Noble Truth pertaining to the result one attains through the practice of the Four Noble Truths
The first set is:
- This is the truth of suffering
- This is the truth of the cause of suffering
- This is the truth of the cessation of suffering
- 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:
2. Hungry ghost
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.
1. 1st concentration form realm
2. 2nd concentration form realm
3. 3rd concentration form realm
4. 4th concentration form realm
1. Infinite space
2. Infinite consciousness
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).