Tuesday, October 26, 2010

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's Lecture at the Sangha

This is the 27th entry from my fieldwork diary. The original date is 14.10.2010.


H.E. Garchen Rinpoche arrived in Estonia to give us lectures. The first lecture that I attended was at the center.
Khenpo Tamphel translated Rinpoche's Tibetan speech into English for us and I wrote it down as fast and as much as I could.


"Rejoice in your devotion and aspiration to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. You are lucky to have lama Sangyas. It's kind of him to teach you here. You are very blessed.

As soon as we become human beings our basic wish is to become free of suffering. In order to be happy we need to realize the causes of suffering. There is mundane wisdom and wisdom that's beyond the world.

We engage in all kinds of methods to be happy (mundane wisdom). Our mind experiences all kinds of emotions during sleep and when we're awake.

There are many religions in the world but it is generally believed that Buddhism is one of the best because we give maximum importance to the mind. Buddha established teachings on karma and effect, and we wish to become free of suffering. We can get rid off suffering and put an end to the causes of suffering. It consists of self-grasping and the emotions that arise from that.

There are countles teachings of the Buddha. A person with devotion can easily put them into practice. If you're able to recognize the causes of suffering then that is good enough to practice. If you look back into your mind you will see that the causes of happiness and suffering are right there. When we are loving and compassionate we can also make others happy. When we're angry we cause others to suffer. So the causes lie in the mind.

When bad emotions arise in our mind - it's because we're not happy and that is due to self-grasping. Grasping to the self is the root of all suffering. Loving kindness and compassion are causes of joy. When we develop kind thoughts about others it brings a lot of hapiness to everyone, it is the power of kindness."


Khenpo Tamphel said that when Rinpoche meets other people he treats them like his own family. He has genuine love and compassion for everyone and that is why people feel happy in his presence.


"Loving kindness and compassion is the cause of happiness and self-grasping is the cause of suffering. Everything negative that we experience in this life is due to self-grasping. When we understand that we have realized the root wisdom of things. If you're able to understand the root you can practice and have trust in karma.

In reality, what we need is loving kindness. It decreases our self-grasping and the mind becomes naturally expansive. If you have loving kindness you have understood the essence of the dharma (regardless of whether you have a deep intellect or not). It is worth more than wealth. It gives you the joy of liberation and lasts throughout your future lives until you are able to achieve enlightenment.

The Buddha has taught that your mother is the kindness of this world and that any other sentient being could've also been that kind mother in another life. So whoever the person is you should generate loving kindness for that person and in your mind you should recognize this as the cause of happiness. Make an effort to increase that and if you contemplate that further then all beings seem kind to you.

At that stage, self-grasping diminishes naturally. When you develop loving kindness for others then in reality you are the one who benefits from it. Your mother has given birth to you but without wisdom and knowledge you're like an animal. After the mother, the second kindest person is our teacher. With the teacher we become educated. The teacher is the person from whom we receive the precious dharma teachings. The more faith and devotion one has in the teacher the more we can receive great attainment. Therefore a spiritual teacher is more precious than our own body because our body is very limited.

We meet our spiritual teacher according to our karma. It is difficult to find a teacher who is absolutely perfect. It's important to focus on the good parts of the teacher. So whatever teachings lama Sangyas gives it comes from the Buddha. Lama Sangyas is a good teacher so you should listen to his teachings carefully.

We need to have loving kindness towards our mother, teacher and thirdly for our country/homeland. You (and the government) should make sure your citizens live in harmony.

So when we have developed loving kindness we have achieved the priceless. If you develop it in your mindstream you are the richest person. Money and wealth are not reliable because it can collapse at any moment.

Loving kindness is the essence of the dharma. If you have developed it in your heart it gives you a lot of happiness. This is how I survived in prison. Loving kindness is the most precious thing.

There are 4 schools of thought in Buddhism, like 4 different boxes with labels but on the inside you'll find that they all have the same message which is bodhicitta (the essence of dharma). Read the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.

One should emphasize the deities mentioned in sutras and tantras. However, the most important thing, the key factor, is to develop compassion and loving kindness. If you have developed this you've become like a bird with wings - you're free.

The Sangha is very precious. Therefore you should come here as much as you can and help the Sangha with your prayers in every way. It'll serve as a place for people to learn about the dharma. It's spiritually beneficial and productive to support the Sangha. Rather than going somewhere far away you should first practice in your own country. Practicing here will accumulate a great deal of merit.

It's important to feel the meaning of the words during the practice, and most importantly, do it with loving kindness. If you do it in a group it's best to do it in the Tibetan language. But individually you can do it in your own language."

After his speech we recited OM MANI PADME HUNG and everyone in the Sangha got blessed by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche. We stood in a line with white scarves and each person got a special moment with Rinpoche.
When it was my turn he held my hands in his own and looked intensely into my eyes as if to say something. And I thought to myself, "I am in the presence of a Buddha. I am so thankful."


*Important side note: These diary entries do not reflect every word the teacher said, and there may be some mistakes or misunderstandings, for which I am sorry and accept responsibility. In a few instances, I have interjected my own interpretation or explanation.

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