Thursday, November 11, 2010

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's 2nd Lecture on the Heart Sutra

This is the 31st entry from my fieldwork diary. The original date is 16.10.2010.

*Although I had written around 33 pages in total by hand (by the end of H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's lectures), there were still a few things that I had missed out on during his speech. Mostly due to the fact that I didn't write quick enough to catch everything that he had said, for which I am sorry.
I should also mention that the English translation of every speech was done by Ari-Ma, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's American disciple and personal translator.


"Any material phenomena is merely comprised of particles. The mind at its basis is vast and empty like the sky.
There's much to be said about the 18 elements but they all come down to one thing - emptiness. Those who do not recognize the innate nature of mind give rise to ignorance. Through primordial awareness we may realize this. The cause of self-grasping and ignorance is not knowing how to look at the mind with the mind.

There is no ignorance in primordial awareness, the mind is beyond birth and death - all phenomena are recognized as illusory.
When we turn inward, this knowing aspect becomes vast like space - that is the only difference in recognition and non-recognition of the natural state of mind.

In brief, it is the natural abiding of the mind which has been free of ignorance and has been pure from the beginning.
Although the natural state of mind is empty we give rise to suffering, yet it only manifests temporarily in Samsara.

There are around 84000 different types of negative emotions. Our thoughts are like waves that arise in the ocean and dissolve back into the ocean. When there is no suffering, there is no origin of suffering and no sensation. This is the meaning of these words (the Heart Sutra).

There are actions and there are results. When we give rise to negative emotions negative karma is accumulated. In the words of lord Gampopa, all phenomena are without any inherent existence.
Yet even when we give rise to a mind of fixation we can still go and reach buddhahood until we are purified. Buddha is free of grasping and fixation. The minds of sentient beings all have the same essence as long as there is no fixation.

"I must cultivate transcendent awareness" is also faulty thinking. The mind should be pure. There is no exalted wisdom in the natural state of the mind. For a bodhisattva, there is no such concept as "I have attained enlightenment" in the mind. Samsara and Nirvana are the root of all phenomena yet they are also empty. There is no Nirvana and Samsara. All qualities of the buddhas manifest from awareness.

Minds without obscuration are without fear. There is no grasping at phenomena as real or true. When we engage in meditation practice with the Heart Sutra, all happiness of Samsara and Nirvana will be recognized as they truly are.

When the mind is free of obscuration it gives rise to samadhi, a state of courage and no fear. The mind abides in its own place and is unshaken. It is free of birth and sensation. The error lies in grasping and in the fixation of phenomena as real.
When this delusion is destroyed there is no grasping or fixation. One follows an unmistaken path by doing so. One is not deceived by the phenomena of existence.

All buddhas have relied on the perfection of transcendent awareness.

The essence can be:
1. Conventional - cause and effect, karma (giving rise to bodhicitta).
2. Ultimate - the nature of mind is realized.

The Heart Sutra elaborates on the ultimate truth which is change. It carries great knowledge. The words are deep and profound. The entire meaning of the Heart Sutra is contained in this mantra GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA (state of enlightenment).

The 5 paths (the words of the mantra) are:
1. Accumulation
2. Application
3. Seeing (the first bodhisattva blooming)
4. Meditation
5. No further reversal/return/learning

This mantra unites transcendent awareness and it is possible to subdue negative emotions. Negative emotions are powerful enough to create all 6 realms of existence. When negative emotions meet transcendent awareness they are transformed into primordial awareness. In Buddhism, one is taught to abandon all negative emotions towards all sentient beings. Through the power of awareness one can see the true nature of mind and the emptiness of things.

Practice the liberation of negative emotions. The mind's primordial awareness perceives phenomena as free of perception through practices of this mantra.
When one has experienced liberating these negative emotions then one truly understands primordial awareness. All negative emotions can be subdued by primordial awareness. That is one of the qualities of this mantra.

Equality is the dharmakaya of the Buddha. Within this all phenomena are equal, likewise the mind of the buddhas are unprevading.
Negative emotions are the root of all samsaric suffering. Negative emotions give rise to self-grasping. The primordial buddhavajradhara - great bliss untainted by suffering.
When we engage in meditation it's possible for us to realize the ultimate benefits of the three jewels.

The ultimate enemy in mantra practice is doubt. All qualities of buddhas arise in this truth if we are free from doubt.
This mantra is the essence of Buddhist teachings. It is difficult to accomplish yet it's extremely meaningful."


*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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