In the suffering of the death is mainly due to lack of understanding about the Dharma, which is more or less the lack of understanding to one’s life. Both of these are equally important to understand.
Like an example, when you practice genuinely, genuinely, genuinely, you will reach the point where you say “I have absolutely no regret, not like a terrorist though, but I have no regret, everything is good. I have my Six Armed Mahakala, I have my Niguma, I have my Khyungpo Naljor. They are my absolute refuge”. When you practice it over time, there will be sense of genuine surrender, light, surrender, sense of openness. Not giving up, but rather, sense of openness.
So I think reaching to that level is very important. And then you can talk about letting go, the ego, and attachment, all these things can come afterwards. But it is very important that we reach to that level, that where we have some sort of faith to the Three Jewels, to the Six-Armed Mahakala, to Avalokiteshvara. And that realization, that understanding, that amount of faith and trust to the Three Jewels, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, also, is contributed based on your accumulation of practice, and then your dedication to the Dharma.
It’s not just a thought in your mind that you just think. It is more to do with the mindset that you need to reach there. Then once it’s reached there, it can reach there probably in one year, or two year of practice, if you continue, two years, or three years, or maybe more, or less. You don’t have to push yourself to think like that. That’s the point. Don’t push yourself to think like that. You will reach there, just like the wind pushing the boat, like a sailboat. It will push in that direction.
And then after that, when you reach to the state of the death, and then you will do phowa by yourself, and then the definition of the phowa is not necessarily the method, it’s more to do with the mindset, or willingness, or transmission. Willingness of the transmission is phowa. Phowa is not necessarily reading text or chanting or reciting something. Phowa is basically having a whole trust to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and that is phowa. The genuine surrender. The genuine refuge.
At that time, you will be able to detach from your own ego, attachment, all these things. Completely. Then that is the genuine phowa.
Phowa is not simply advising, “Phet! Phet! Phet!” that is not the phowa. That is, yes, part of the phowa, part of the text, like we talked about the creation practice of the phowa, the “Phet! Phet! Phet!” is a part of the creation practice. The real phowa is the sense of detachment, is the real phowa. The sense of detachment, sense of fully renounced, fully detached, fully surrendering, full faith into the Three Jewels, and seeing as one with the dharmakaya. That is the real phowa. So that’s it.
But in order to reach that conclusion at the end of your life, or at some point in your life, you need to reach to a point where you say, once in a while when you are practicing, when you start to have some sort of a realization, “I am good, life is good, I am fortunate, I practice Dharma, I have my refuge, everything is here”, so sense of that tenderness.
Kalu Rinpoche – Jamgon Kongtrul’s Creation and Completion
Zoom – August 8, 2021