Oct 20

Kalu Rinpoche | Stages in the Path of Illusion | Lesson 2 (Part 2)

So, I will start with the Niguma Sgyu Ma Lamrim, the path of illusion. Like I have said before, the meaning of the path of illusion, in Tibetan we said Sgyu Ma Lamrim, it does not mean that everything has to be seen as an illusion from the beginning. It is rather to be understood as an illusion over the time as a practitioner.

So, the way you interpret to your mind and to yourself have to be careful, okay? Because when we say everything is emptiness, for one individual who have not understand any meaning of emptiness, it can be dangerous when you say everything is emptiness. It can be unreasonable. It can be beyond logic for that individual. So, just like that, when we say the path of illusion, the teachings of Niguma, and then we assume that everything has to be seen or should be seen or forced to be seen as illusion. And that is a big misunderstanding. And that is completely incorrect. So, the path of illusion, it means that over the time you will reach to that destination of understanding and that realization, you know, basically absent from all the fixation mind.

Now start where we have left off, is

དབྱིབས་དང་ཁ་དོག་དུག་ལྔ་དང་། །
ལས་རིགས་གྲུབ་པ་རིགས་ལྔ་སྟེ། །
ཅིར་སྣང་སྣང་དང་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད། །
བསྐྱེད་དང་རྫོགས་དང་ཟུང་འཇུག་གོ། །
གང་ཞིག་དག་བྱེད་བུམ་པ་སྟེ། །
དབྱེར་མེད་དཀར་དམར་གསང་བ་ལ། །
བདེ་བའི་ཆ་ནི་གསུམ་པ་སྟེ། །
བརྗོད་མེད་བཞི་པར་ཤེས་པར་བྱ། །
གང་ལ་བདེ་གསལ་མི་རྟོག་པ། །
དེ་ནི་སྐུ་གསུམ་རང་ཤར་ཏེ། །
གསལ་ལ་མི་རྟོག་མཁྱེན་གཉིས་སོ། །
དེ་ཡང་ཞི་གནས་ལྷག་མཐོང་གཉིས། །
ཟུང་དུ་འབྲེལ་བའི་ཕྱིར་དང་ནི། །
བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་ཕྱིར་དང་ནི། །
ཕྱིན་པར་འདོད་ལས་ལམ་ཞེས་བྱ། །
སྡིག་པ་ཆུང་ཡང་སྤོང་བྱེད་ཅིང་། །
དགེ་བ་རྣམས་ནི་དང་དུ་ལེན། །
ཆོས་ཉིད་སྒྱུ་མ་ཐོབ་དོན་དུ། །
ཚོགས་སོགས་པས་ན་ཚོགས་ལམ་མོ། །

So, like, in Buddhist practice we say the path of accumulation or creation and then also the path of the ultimate practice, the path of non-duality. You can say the ཚོགས་ལམ།, you can say རྫོགས་ལམ། or you can say ཀུན་རྫོགས་དོན་དམ་. So, it has a different wording. So, one is the practice based on duality, and one is the practice based on non-duality. But the non-duality practice has to be applied over the time, once you have stablished some sort of foundation based on the duality of practice.

So, when we say duality of practice, that means, awareness of the body, awareness of the mind and awareness of our way of perception. So, all combined together. It is not somehow separate. It is not something new just because of the Niguma teaching. It is a basic principle of all the Buddhist teachings, whether you’re a follower of Mahayana or whether you’re a follower of Tantrayana. So, the most important is the combination of the body, speech and mind, combined together. And that sets some sort of gradual progressive steps to make a solid realization over the time. But in the beginning, we have to distance ourselves from the idea of the non-duality as much as possible.

However, you are not absent from having this analytical approach about the nature of mind. You can still argue, you can still debate, you can still discuss, you can still attempt to practice absolutely. There’s nobody who is blocking things in between. But the one that makes the real push, the one that makes the real change and the progress, is coming down to the creation stage.

So, the creation stage based on the body, speech and mind altogether, also has different categories that we need to understand over the time. It’s not just something that I’m feeling good today, so therefore I think I’m doing good today. You know, it’s not just based on the feeling. It’s about having an analytical approach to the body, speech and mind and how we practice and what are the practices that we combine together.

It’s a little bit like an instrument, you know, when you have a stage instrument music, whether it’s a Tibetan music, whether it’s a Chinese music, whether it’s a Thai music, whether it’s a Korean music, whether it’s a Western instrument music, doesn’t matter, you know, so, when you have all the different instruments playing together, it creates its own beauty, right? It’s not just a one singular instrument. It is all the combination. So, just like that, in the spiritual path, there is a combination of all combined together and then put together with the genuine mind and practicing along that way and that gives you a closer step to the non-duality path or the non-duality practice.

དེ་ཡང་ཞི་གནས་ལྷག་མཐོང་གཉིས། །
ཟུང་དུ་འབྲེལ་བའི་ཕྱིར་དང་ནི། །
བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་ཕྱིར་དང་ནི། །
ཕྱིན་པར་འདོད་ལས་ལམ་ཞེས་བྱ། །
སྡིག་པ་ཆུང་ཡང་སྤོང་བྱེད་ཅིང་། །

So, here it says, the foundation of the practice starts from the Shamata and the Vipassana. So Shamata means Shiney practice, you know, Shiney means a calm meditation. Lathong means the analytical meditation. So, the calm meditation and analytical meditation, both of these practices are seen as universal. It’s not something that belongs to the one lineage or one tradition. It belongs to all the tradition. It belongs to all the lineages. It belongs to the all the Buddhist practitioners in general. So that’s something we need to understand. Foundation of making progress in spiritual path is based on analytical meditation and calm meditation.

So, with these two combined and then such temptation towards negativity and positivity, such negativity action will dissolve. Such positivity, even it is something very small, even that is something that nobody’s watching and yet you have sense of joy and willing to do, even it is a very small piece of positivity.

So, in order to reach that quality of mind, it is very important to establish ourselves with calm meditation and analytical meditation. So, calm meditation and analytical meditation, you don’t necessarily have to take all the refuge and everything. It is optional. Let’s put it like this. Of course, it’s good to take refuge to be more grounded. But the practice for all of us is not preliminary practice. It is Shamata and Vipassana. And that is the beginning of all the practice.

Because the preliminary practice can be a primary practice, that’s what they said in the traditional text. And also you have to understand that when we say a preliminary, you are not absent from visualizing anything. You have to visualize everything. And that requires the strength of your awareness and the strength of your foundation of your mind, and also the accumulation qualities of your mind, you know. So, it requires all these things. It does not say, just because you finished 100,000 of this and 100,000 of that, does not give you the recognition that you have done the preliminary.

The meaning of the preliminary means cleansing your mind and the body and the speech. But in order to cleanse that body, mind and speech, you need to have some sort of ground. And that ground, that surface, is calm meditation, Shamata and Vipassana meditation. And that is very important. It does not mean that you have to do Shamata and Vipassana for years and years, but at least symbolically as a Buddhist practitioner. It is good to practice Shamata and Vipassana. Because it gives you some sort of stage where you can … whether you want to jump or whether you want to walk or whether you want to run, whichever the path you may choose, you know, that foundation as Shamata and Vipassana practice is fundamental for all the people, whether you are seeking pleasure in life and life only and nothing beyond life, or if you are Buddhist practitioner in self-Buddha enlightened path or whether you are Boddhisattva, a bodhicitta practitioner. We say བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའ་(Boddhisattva), whether you are རང་སངས་རྒྱས་ (self- enlightened) practitioner, whether you are seeking only for the good and meaningful things in next life to be born in heaven, or whether you want to be born as a bodhisattva and the continuity of the activity of the bodhisattva, regardless of three different stages, some sort of foundation in your mind is required.

Like an example, when we say Tsultrim, the right action. The right action requires the awareness. When you don’t have awareness, you don’t have the right action. When you don’t have the right action, whatever the discipline or the vow you speak of, has no value, has no meaning. It becomes ceremonial. And Buddhism is not only about ceremonial. It is about making an important impact in our life as a practitioner and also to be the reflection of inspiration to all the other people throughout your lifetime. You know, to encourage other people as a Buddhist practitioner, as a reflection of truth that is beyond illusion. And that is very important to see it that way and to believe that way and practice that way. So, therefore Shamata and Vipassana is important.

So, if you consider yourself as a Tantrayana practitioner, definitely it is very important. Because you cannot visualize a deity based on your connection to your guru or your teacher. You cannot simply visualize or think just by having that. That does not give you any foundation. You can receive the great empowerment from a great master. And yet when it comes to finding that balance, cultivating that practice into your life, still requires a foundation. Foundation of Shamata and Vipassana. And it’s not something that you have to separate from all the practice. It is something you can combine with all the practice. So that’s something you have to keep in mind.

སྡིག་པ་ཆུང་ཡང་སྤོང་བྱེད་ཅིང་། །
དགེ་བ་རྣམས་ནི་དང་དུ་ལེན། །
ཆོས་ཉིད་སྒྱུ་མ་ཐོབ་དོན་དུ། །
ཚོགས་སོགས་པས་ན་ཚོགས་ལམ་མོ། །
དེ་ལ་ཆེ་འབྲིང་ཆུང་གསུམ་སྟེ། །
རེ་རེ་ལ་ཡང་བཞི་བཞིར་འདོད། །
དྲན་པ་བཞི་དང་སྤོང་བ་བཞི། །
རྫུ་འཕྲུལ་རྐང་པ་རྣམ་བཞིའོ། །

So like an example, the path of ཚོགས་ལམ།. ཚོགས་ལམ། means the path of the accumulation. There are also different categories within the path of accumulation. Like four different categories. Four steps.

དེ་ལ་ཆེ་འབྲིང་ཆུང་གསུམ་སྟེ། །
རེ་རེ་ལ་ཡང་བཞི་བཞིར་འདོད། །
དྲན་པ་བཞི་དང་སྤོང་བ་བཞི། །
རྫུ་འཕྲུལ་རྐང་པ་རྣམ་བཞིའོ། །
བག་མེད་དྲན་ཉམས་ལྟུང་བའི་རྒྱུ། །
དེ་ཕྱིར་ཐོག་མར་དྲན་པ་བཤད། །
སྙིང་པོ་མེད་ལུས་རྒྱལ་བའི་སྐུ། །
སྣང་སྟོང་དབྱེར་མེད་སྒྱུ་མ་ལ། །
དྲན་དང་ཤེས་བཞིན་ཉམས་སུ་ལེན། །
ལུས་ཀྱི་དྲན་བ་ཉེར་གཞག་གོ། །

So, the first step is ལུས་ཀྱི་དྲན་བ་ཉེར་གཞག་གོ། །

It means bringing the foundation to the body itself. Or you can put it like the basic foundation to oneself. Let’s put it like this. A basic foundation to oneself is understanding the renunciation.

སྙིང་པོ་མེད་ལུས་རྒྱལ་བའི་སྐུ། ། སྣང་སྟོང་དབྱེར་མེད་སྒྱུ་མ་ལ། །

Understanding the meaning of the renunciation and seeking of Buddhahood. And understanding the meaning of emptiness, understanding the importance of the emptiness and understanding the importance of mindfulness.

Nowadays, there is so many different mindfulness. Because when we say mindfulness, many people assume is some kind of organization that we are talking about. So, Buddhist mindfulness and the social mindfulness is slightly two different things. Buddhist mindfulness is completely having continuation of awareness throughout the time as a practitioner. So, like the social mindfulness is when we say, what is good for me, what is good for you, what is good for them, what is good for this, how you can be politically correct and keep things in harmony, keep things in transparency and, you know, you have all the social structure. So, the Buddhist mindfulness is separate from that. It’s just simply continuation of the state of the positive mind of oneself as a practitioner, and not so much to do with other people in the beginning. Because you have to bring certain balance to yourself first. And then you can benefit other sentient beings, right? That’s the Buddhist approach.

So, the first is a physicality, you know, physically having a sense of mindfulness to oneself.

བདེ་སྡུག་བཏང་སྙོམས་དམིགས་པ་དང་། །
ཆོས་སུ་བཏགས་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི། །
ཚོར་བ་ལ་ནི་ཚོར་བས་ཤེས། །
ཚོར་བ་དྲན་པ་ཉེར་གཞག་གོ། །

And then also understanding the sensation whether it’s a positive sensation, whether it is an unhappiness sensation, and understanding the meaning of the relative truth, the Dharma, relative truth and understanding that reality. Then that’s a scenario understanding.

ཆོས་རྣམས་ཐམས་ཅད་སེམས་ཡིན་ཏེ། །

And then the third one is, all the phenomena are manifestations of the mind.

ཆོས་རྣམས་ཐམས་ཅད་སེམས་ཡིན་ཏེ། །
སེམས་ནི་ཕྱི་ནང་རྙེད་མི་འགྱུར། །
སེམས་གང་མ་གྲུབ་སྒྱུ་མ་སྟེ། །
སེམས་ཀྱི་དྲན་པ་ཉེར་གཞག་གོ། །

And then having an ultimate understanding over the time. That the nature of the mind is not something out there, neither the inside, neither the outside, and then, having that realization all the time.

ཉན་ཐོས་རང་རྒྱལ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི། །
ཇི་སྙེད་ཆོས་སུ་བཏགས་པ་ཡིན། །
མིང་ཙམ་བཏགས་པ་བློ་བུར་སྟེ། །
ཆོས་ཀྱི་དྲན་པ་ཉེར་བཞག་གོ། །
མི་དགེ་པ་ནི་སྡུག་བསྔལ་རྒྱུ། །
དེ་ལས་ཐར་པར་འདོད་པ་ཡིས། །
སྡིག་རྣམས་དུག་དུ་ལྟ་བའི་ཕྱིར། །
ཡང་དག་སྤོང་བ་རྣམ་བཞི་ནི། །
སྡིག་པ་མི་དགེ་བ་ཡི་ཆོས། །
མ་སྐྱེད་པ་རྣམས་མི་སྐྱེད་ཕྱིར། །
འདུན་པ་འབད་རྩོལ་སེམས་འཛིན་ཅིང་། །
ཡང་དགརབ་ཏུ་འཇོག་བྱེད་དོ། །
གང་ཞིག་སྡིག་པ་མི་དགེའི་ཆོས། །
སྐྱེད་པ་རྣམས་ནི་སྤོང་བའི་ཕྱིར། །
འདུན་པ་བསྐྱེད་དང་འབད་ལ་སོགས། །
གོང་བཞིན་དུ་ནི་ཤེས་པར་བྱ། །
དགེ་བའི་ཆོས་ནི་མ་སྐྱེས་པ། །
རྣམས་ནི་བསྐྱེད་བར་བྱ་བའི་ཕྱིར། །
འདུན་བའི་སྩོལ་བ་བསྐྱེད་པ་དང་། །
འབད་པ་ལ་སོགས་གོང་བཞིན་ནོ། །

And then the continuation of awareness, and then, such waste of time won’t exist and so on.

Okay, so I think we’ve stopped this one right here. This is Niguma teaching, the path of illusion. I will resume for the next time.


Kalu Rinpoche
Teaching on Stages in the Path of Illusion,Lesson 2,Part 2
26th Sep. 2021