A teaching given on the 5th of September 2016.
Gradually becoming habituated and familiar with repeated meditation like that, the wisdom realising selflessness and emptiness becomes clearer and stronger. By the power of that, the direct contradictory mode of apprehension, the opposite of wisdom – the mind of self grasping and the mind which apprehends truly existing phenomena become weaker gradually. Through that, the afflictions of: attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride and jealousy become fewer. And in dependence on that, the negative actions which are driven from attachment, aversion and ignorance become gradually slighter and fewer. Finally, it is possible to abandon the two obscurations together with their imprints.
For meditation to be successful, it is necessary to have proper revulsion and renunciation from Samsara as an initial foundation. Therefore, one should meditate for many months and years about the Four Thoughts which Change the Mind: This difficult to find precious human life with its leisure and endowments, Impermanence and death, Karma-cause and effect and the shortcomings of Samsara. One should practice these until a conviction is gained.
Following that, having great trust and faith in the Three jewels of refuge, one performs 100,000 prostrations. In addition, in your mind from beginningless lifetimes until now, a lot of unwholesome non-virtuous acts have been accumulated. Due to that, even though you meditate well for a few days, then for a few days you are not successful. When falling under the power of attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride and jealousy, even though you receive Dharma teaching, the practice isn’t successful. Though you rely on a Lama, you do not manage to follow it up. Though you practice meditation, you cannot keep it up. These many difficulties which you encounter happen because of non-virtuous unwholesome actions which obstruct the accomplishment of Dharma. To avert that, we practice the meditation of Vajrasattva through
confession and purification of our unwholesome actions. In this way, we recite 100,000 of the mantra and actually we should recite it until all the unwholesome acts are purified.
In order to generate in your mind stream the uncommon meditative stabilization of calm abiding and special insight, an accumulation of merit is essential. Without an accumulation of merit, not only the activity of meditation cannot be accomplished, but also worldly activity cannot be done well. Since, you need a complete vast collection of merit, you offer your body, possessions, roots of virtue of the three times, the four continents and sub-continents, in short, all appealing objects for the purpose of accumulating the complete collection of merit by counting Mandalas.
To have a good mental practice, if you don’t receive the Root Lama’s blessings into your mental continuum, even though you have a sharp intelligence, it will not benefit. By merely studying a lot, it will not benefit. Accumulating merits and purifying negative actions alone will not benefit. In order to realise the nature of the mind and profound emptiness, the Lama’s blessings are indispensable. In order to attain the blessings of the Lama, one has to have great trust and faith that the Lama is actually a Buddha. Not ordinary trust, but rather from the very core of your heart. Hence, the profound path of Guru Yoga is very important. In particular, in the matchless Kagyu tradition it is said that one should have pure devotion to the best of the ability. The levels of best, low and mediocre devotion determine whether a practitioner is on the best, low or mediocre level. One should read the biographies of how Milarepa relied on Marpa as a Lama, and how Naropa relied on Tilopa as a Lama. Then, having unwavering trust and faith just like them, one supplicates the Lama for his blessing as a preliminary practice.
It is necessary to have such a good basis of refuge and a vast mind of enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, having great loving-kindness and compassion, wishing to attain enlightenment in order to protect all sentient beings from suffering. In short, it is needed to practise boddhichitta properly in your mind.
For example in a field, if you want to plant a seed well, initially, you need the field to be fertile. Then you need to remove stones and hard or dry earth. To continue, you need to plough the field, water it and make it smooth and fertile. On top of that, you pour fertiliser and again water. When all necessary conditions gather, if seeds are planted, then good crops would grow.
Similarly, in your mind, you have great disbelief regarding karma- cause and effect. You have strong attachment and grasping to Samsara and the lower realms. You have extremely strong grasping to the Self and true existence of phenomena. You also have much disbelief towards the Lama and the Dharma. As well, since beginnigless time until now, you have had many obstacles and obstructions through attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride and jealousy. All of these are transformed into something like a fertile field, by means of the practices of Mind
training, The four thoughts which change the mind, The preliminary practices and the repeated regeneration of boddhichitta. In addition, one generates strong renunciation, the wish to be free from the three realms of Samsara, which are in the nature of suffering. Then, viewing the Lama like a Buddha and praying repeatedly to attain the Lama’s blessing, by thus, it is made possible for the Lama’s blessings to enter your mind.
On the basis of all of this, the Lama will teach the profound meditative stabilization of calm abiding and special insight. If on that basis you meditate, finally, the seeds of developing the practice of meditative stabilisation of calm abiding and special insight in your mind will gradually develop into a sprout and fruit.
Therefore, for view and meditation to become good, it is very important to have a stable basis. But, currently, people say things like: ‘I only meditate, I don’t want to do the Preliminary practises’. I only do calm abiding meditation, I don’t really want to do the study of listening and contemplating’, they say. Or, ‘If I am happy now, there is nothing else really which I need’. They think of practising the Buddha Dharma in a simple and easy way. Yet, thinking in such a simple and easy way also brings about a result which is simple and easy- merely a temporary and partial happiness. The body and mind abide in peace only temporarily for a few days. A good and wonderful result is never attained.
Understanding all this properly is very important for the practice of meditation.