Geshe Yeshe Tobden: Divinity yoga

Ven Ghesce Yesce Tobten and Ven. Ghesce Ciampa Gyatzo

Ven Ghesce Yesce Tobten and Ven. Ghesce Ciampa Gyatzo

The Teachings of Ven.Geshe YesheTobden during a seminar in Turin, November 1-3, 1985. by Mariangiola Fracasso

REALITY: SUFFERING AND ITS CAUSES

Ven. Geshe Yeshe Tobden.

We will talk about the practice of Dharma. If we analyze the reality of our condition, we see that we want happiness and of course we do not want misery and suffering. We can have the happiness that comes from material things, but the eternal happiness can not be obtained through them.
You can say the same thing about suffering and misery: we can partially get rid of them through material objects, but not completely.
By practicing Dharma instead, we can get all the happiness we want as well as get rid of all the suffering and unhappiness, and that’s because happiness itself has a cause, and if we prepare for it, its effect will necessarily follow, irrespective of our want.
If we prepare for planting with seeds, irrigation, fertilizers etc, therefore creating all the conditions necessary to grow a certain type of plant, it will grow even if we didn’t want it to. Likewise, the undesired suffering has a cause. If we eradicate the poisonous grass from the root, the grass could no longer grow; in the same manner, if we succeed in eradicating the causes of suffering, it disappears naturally. From the moment we realize that what we want is happiness, we have to try to build up the conditions that produce it.
To achieve this we should not involve our body, mind and our speech in negative actions, but instead we should try to direct them towards positive action.
These positive actions produced through our mind, speech and our body, are those generated by a good heart, a good motivation. Negative actions, always produced through our body, speech and mind are instead generated by bad motivation. In any case, it is impossible for a negative action to give positive results and for a positive action to produce negative results. If we want to get good results, we have to build up their causes.
The teaching of the Dharma is to engage the body, speech and mind into positive actions and never in negative actions.
This is all part of the first stage.
The second stage explains how it is possible to remove the afflicting emotions whose only function is to create negativity which harms us and the other sentient beings.
In the third stage one realizes that having happiness only for oneself is not enough and that we all must work to ensure that all sentient beings are happy and free from suffering. To achieve this goal, the first thing to do is meditation to achieve the great compassion, great love. For the moment we may be able to generate some compassion and love for friends and family, and we can’t have great compassion and love, for strangers. If we were able to wish that people who are strangers to us and our enemies, be free from their suffering and achieve happiness that lasts forever, then we would have generated great love and great compassion.
However, there must be a differentiation between the love that we have to generate and the attachment from which we must be liberated. To be able to generate love and compassion towards friends, enemies or strangers, we first meditate on equanimity. Usually if we have a strong desire to liberate a friend or family member from suffering and have them obtain happiness it is just because that person is our friend, or a relative. In fact we always consider as friend someone who is good to us and as enemy someone who is bad to us.
To free ourselves from being attached to our friends we should think that they have done and do us good in this world, but probably in previous lives they have hurt us, they were our enemies and could still be such in future lives.
We should also try to eliminate any feelings of hatred towards our enemies although, they may have done or still do evil to us, by thinking that these enemies are hurting us in this life, but surely have done us good in the past lives and probably will do the same in future lives.
As both friends and enemies have brought us sometimes good, sometimes evil, both are equal and therefore there is no reason to be attached to a friend, or have hatred for an enemy.
For example, if a person is good to me today and yesterday was bad to me and vice versa, someone hurts me today but was good to me yesterday which one should I love and which one should I hate?
We can create equanimity thinking that just as our friends are subject to constant change, so are our enemies and even ourselves; so we conclude that our enemies, friends and ourselves, are all impermanent beings. For example, we can compare human beings to the sick in the hospital that will die within a few days: would it make sense in this case to consider someone a friend or an enemy?
Another way to create equanimity is to think that even the enemy, just as the friend, wants happiness and not unhappiness and suffering, and that friends are the same as enemies because both are suffering, since both are in uncomfortable conditions; it is wrong to entertain feelings of hatred towards one and consider the other a friend.
If, for example, a doctor in the hospital takes good care of some patients but not of the others, anyone would think that he is not a good and decent person. Our mistake is this: although friends and enemies are both suffering, we think of some in one way and of the others in another way, though friends and enemies both want happiness, our mistake is to help some and not care for others.

MEDITATION ON COMPASSION AND THE GENERATION OF BODHICITTAWe can also reflect on the fact that friends and enemies are a pure creation of our thoughts and therefore we can’t actually say: ‘This is a friend, this is an enemy’. Friends and enemies do not perceive themselves as such.
Feelings such as hatred and attachment are due to our illusion on the inherent existence of things, if we succeed in eliminating this illusion, these feelings disappear by themselves.
The first thing to do to generate appropriate compassion toward all sentient beings, be they friends, enemies or strangers, is to understand that all sentient beings have been very kind to us.
Do you think that all these methods are beneficial to generate love and compassion? What do you think is more beneficial for a person: to obtain the equanimity or continue with the feelings of attachment and hatred?
We can expect that all sentient beings have done us good, having been our mothers in the past lives, since the number of our past lives is much higher than the number of sentient beings. In the infinite past lives we needed parents and all beings have been very kind to us. It is not enough to say that they were our mother only once because they were our mother many, many times. Besides, they have been kind to us even when not being our mother, we benefited from them being our father, our friends; the house in which we live, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, come from the kindness of sentient beings. We may think that we have paid for all these things, but the money comes from the kindness of sentient beings; we may think that the money is the fruit of our work, but the opportunity to work still comes from the kindness of sentient beings. If we were to live in a place where there weren’t other living beings, we would die within two weeks. If we realize that all sentient beings are kind to us, we could not generate a feeling of hatred towards them.
Thinking that we have benefited from our enemy in the past and may still do so in the future, can help us be good to them. We aren’t angry with a person who has been good to us for a long time and then for a while is unkind to us; we do not think of hurting our mother, who was always kind to us, just because one day she is nasty to us.
If we realize that a person whom we have benefited from for a long time is afflicted by suffering, we have a strong desire to free him from this suffering. Reflecting that all sentient beings have helped us, can help create the thought that all these beings can attain happiness.
If we were to meditate for a long time on this great compassion, we could assume the responsibility that all beings will attain the happiness. However, even if we could conceive this desire in our mind, in reality, we don’t have the real possibility to help all sentient beings, not even some of them. The only way to realize this desire is to achieve Buddhahood.
To try to become Buddha to liberate all beings from suffering is called Bodhicitta.
Once we have this feeling, in order to obtain Buddhahood as quickly as possible, we must engage in the Tantrayana path.

DIVINITY’S YOGAThe key point of the ‘divinity yoga’ is to try to make yourself as close as possible to the Divinity; even though we cannot make our human body like that of the Divinity; it is human, and since we have various levels of consciousness and different states of mind, we cannot transform into divinity all levels of consciousness and all the mental situations.
There are three principal categories of Tantra: the Kriya, the Charya and the Yogatantra.
The first one tends to create the particular transformation of the wisdom that understands the emptiness. In this case the normal consciousness is transformed into a consciousness that includes the emptiness and then this consciousness that now includes the emptiness is transformed into Divinity. In other words, at the highest level, the most subtle state of consciousness is transformed into the nature of emptiness and it is only at this point that it acquires the nature of the Divinity.
In the two paths of Sutra and Tantra, the concept of emptiness is the same. The only difference is the kind of consciousness that produces the emptiness. There are two levels of consciousness: an uncultivated one and a second that is more refined.
First of all it is important to realize the awareness of emptiness, then to bring this transformation into the consciousness that has realized the emptiness, and finally, it will be this same level of consciousness that has acquired the nature of emptiness in order to bring forth the transformation into the divinity itself.
For example, if one decides to build a house and had gathered all the necessary materials before hand, had secured the land etc., the construction will be easy, otherwise, absent of all the preparations, the construction would not be possible. Similarly, in order to succeed in the practice of the Divinity Yoga, one must first have a good realization of Bodhicitta and Emptiness.
If anyone practices the Divinity Yoga to get a particularly benefit in this life, or for personal happiness, this person has the wrong motivation for such a practice. It is also wrong to practice this type of yoga with the only hope of being liberated from the cyclic existence.
The correct motivation to practice the Divinity Yoga is the desire to obtain one’s own liberation so as to be able to liberate all other beings. Such reasoning is called Bodhicitta.
Enlivened therefore by the understanding of emptiness and motivated by Bodhicitta, it is possible to achieve enlightenment very quickly, even during a single lifetime.
In any case, without the motivation of Bodhicitta, whatever practices we follow will not belong to the Way of Mahayana.
If we lack the realization of Emptiness, we will lack the substance we would need to create this divinity in the Yoga.
To accomplish this type of practice we also need a high level of concentration, without agitation or mental sluggishness. For example, if we don’t have flour, we can’t cook the various types of food prepared with this ingredient. Similarly, only after realizing the emptiness, it will be possible, when we want it, to meditate on a Divinity with a thousand heads and a thousand bodies, or a thousand arms, or even a single head, normal limbs etc.
There is a type of practice that consists in bringing out from the Emptiness the Deity of meditation and therefore in making bowing gestures and offerings and practice rites of purification to the Divinity. However, in another type of practice, our consciousness rises in the form of a Mandala, which includes the Divinity and then, in front of this Mandala, we can carry out various types of practices. So we should harmonize our practices with the type of Sadhana that we follow, since there are several types of those.
In order to succeed in carrying out such practices in the future, we must now prepare ourselves, gather the skills that are needed, learn to develop Bodhicitta, understand the Emptiness and also train in concentrated medication. Finally, to practice the Divinity Yoga, we have to be initiated. However, we can meditate on Bodhicitta, realize Emptiness, and practice concentrated meditation, even without initiation.
Since the development of Bodhicitta is fundamental to the practice the Divinity, Yoga, Gheshe-la has explained the method to bring it about.

DHARMA’S PRACTICEWho is a true practitioner of Dharma?
A true practitioner of Dharma is one that considers much more important the effects related to future lives, than what concerns the present life.
The highest target for a practitioner of Dharma is to benefit all sentient beings, and in any case, to do what we must to try to achieve Buddhahood. To achieve it, a practitioner must collect merits and purify all the negativities in this and future lives.
Due to the fact that our human form is essential for the collection of merits we have to try to avoid the rebirth in lower realms. Such rebirths are produced by causes well defined, springing from negative actions. Rebirth in the three lower realms are consequences of three negative actions of the body: i.e. killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct; the four actions of the word: lie, insult, prattle, sowing discord; and the three actions of the mind: want what we like, harm other beings, hold erroneous views (e.g., not taking Dharma into account, not accepting the law of karma, etc..). All these are called the ten negative actions and anyone who tries to get rid of these actions, attempts to practice morality, so in order to have a continuous succession of human lives we must engage in the practice of morality.
When we speak of a person as good or bad, it is in regard to the state of his mind; therefore Dharma helps to transform the mind into a better condition. In any case, practicing Dharma, we can truly be able to help other beings.

THE INTERDEPENDENT NATURE OF THE CYCLICAL EXISTENCEWe said that what we want is happiness and what we do not want is suffering. The happiness that we want cannot be obtained through material things, there are many things that can not be achieved except through the practice of Dharma and there are some sufferings of which we can not be freed except through spiritual practices.
Right at this moment we are human beings, we are getting older, one day we will die, and all of these do not happen as result of our independent choice. We suffer when we part from our friends, when we encounter enemies and when we are defeated.
As long as we have this body of flesh, skin and bones, it will always be the base of all our suffering.

For this reason it is also called ‘the contaminated aggregate’. But, the body of Buddha, those of Arhats and those of the Bodhisattvas are not contaminated aggregates. Our body feels the cold, heat, thirst, hunger and so on; it is subjected to many sufferings that come from a well defined cause. If we eliminate this cause, the suffering itself will be eliminated.
The first and most important of these causes is given by the afflicting emotions; to understand how important these afflicting emotions are, it suffices to say that the day when we would have eliminated them, not even our Karma will be able to react. It is as if the seeds never had water and fertilizer and therefore, could never grow.
The first afflicting emotion is attachment (when we see a beautiful object and we want to possess it) and the second is hate (when we see something or someone unpleasant, like an enemy, and we want to harm it), the third is arrogance, feeling superior, more than the other, and the fourth is doubt (e.g. doubting the liberation of all beings, the validity of Dharma, cyclic existence). Other afflicting emotions are the transitory view (to think that “I” can exist independently from the body and mind); ignorance in grasping the inherent existence of phenomena thinking that they exist in themselves. Ignorance really is the root of all afflicting emotions and it is possible to eliminate it, it is a kind of non appreciation. In reality there is no phenomenon that exists in itself, but you grasp the phenomena as inherently existing. Similarly, when we realize that the phenomena do not exist inherently, the contrary illusion will disappear naturally. For example, a friend exists only by the virtue of the fact that we conceive and think of him as a friend. If the mind or the thought did not conceive such a person as a friend, he would not be such.
Therefore, a friend is a friend because of the strength of our mind sees him as such. If we do not conceive friends in our minds, friends do not exist objectively.
A friend exists as a friend as long as he is a friend in our thoughts and minds, in reality, the mind actually thinks that he is objectively a friend. He appears actually existent in our mind, meaning, he does not look like a mental invention. In fact in relation to the body and mind, a friend does not exist as a real object, but ignorance makes us conceive of him as existing in himself. When we realize that this friend does not exist inherently, ignorance will be eradicated.
It may happen that the same friend quarrels with us and so we immediately “unfriend” him: so a friend can become an enemy and vice versa, the situation could change without removing anything material from the person. This assessment therefore depends only on our minds.
So a friend is such because our mind has conceived of him as a friend; if he exists only for the power of our mind, a friend cannot exist objectively.
This concept is the concept of Emptiness.
A sentient being, therefore, exists only for the power of our minds, but doesn’t exist objectively, for example, a house exists only because someone thinks as of it as a home.
We can say that an earring exists because we put it on the ear but it does not exists by itself, the earring exists because we have put it there.
The phenomena exist because our mind labels them as such and they are empty of inherent existence.
Then, when we understand the ignorance that it is the grasping of the inherent existence of the phenomena, the erroneous conceptions will cease to exist as well. For instance, the friend depends on the thought that sees him as such, from the mind that thinks of him as such, the children exist because they are dependent on their parents, parents would not exist without the children.
Since all phenomena exist as dependent on something else, all the phenomena being without inherent existence would not exist without this dependency.
Being deprived of that inherent existence is called Emptiness and the mind that is aware of everything has achieved it.
Previously we talked about the mind that appears as Divinity: it comes from the mind that realizes Emptiness. The mind that has realized the Emptiness stands in opposition to the ignorance that clings at the inherent existence of phenomena. Since we have been able to realize the Emptiness, the mind, which still clings to the inherent existence of phenomena has found no opposition.
All afflicting emotions are like the limbs of ignorance’s body, when we realize the Emptiness, this ignorance will cease to exist. Since all afflicting emotions appear in dependence of ignorance, eliminating ignorance will cause afflicting emotions to cease naturally.
The mind that realizes Emptiness eliminates the ignorance that clings to the inherent existence of phenomena and when we have removed the afflicting emotions, we will have ended the suffering.
Finally, when our mind will be pure and clear, we will achieve liberation from the cyclic existence because at that time we would have freed ourselves from the source of suffering.
When we would have freed ourselves from cyclic existence we will achieve eternal happiness.

TANTRAYANA PATH AND ITS MEDITATIVE PRACTICESTo follow the path of Tantrayana one needs to build up concentrative meditation, the realization of Bodhicitta and the understanding of Emptiness.
By achieving the best of these, we can hope to achieve Buddhahood in just one lifetime.
We suffer because the afflicting emotions are perceived as reality, because ignorance clings to them as if they really existed, but the non-inherent existence is the true reality and the mind that succeeds in perceiving all of this, is right, correct and happy.
Because nobody wants the pain, we must engage in techniques that allow us to get rid of it. This means following the practices of the Gurus.
To free ourselves from suffering by practicing Dharma, we must ask ourselves if, despite being human, there is a risk of rebirth in lower realms, this should make our situation more clear.
In order not to reborn in a lower realm we must first recognize the negative actions produced by the body, speech and mind and try not to be more involved. Here’s how to purify the negative actions that we have already committed: we must do so through the four opposing forces.
The first is realized by being truly remorseful for the negative actions committed through the body, speech and mind. We then need to promise ourselves not to let these three gates remain involved in negative actions.
Since there are two kinds of negative actions, those amassed in regard of the Three Jewels and those done to sentient beings, for the first ones we must take refuge, for the second ones we must meditate about the great compassion and great love.
The fourth opposing force comes about by meditating about Emptiness and Bodhicitta and by reciting mantras such as OM MANI PADME HUM
By purifying all negative actions of the past while at the same time avoiding the accumulation of others, we will surely avoid rebirth in a lower realm. For example, not having committed criminal actions, there will be no need to go to court and so by not being reborn in the lower realms we will not have to experience their pains.
Other than humans, even for the Devas the suffering comes from the afflicting emotions; if we eliminate those we will be free even in the higher levels.
The solution to being liberated of afflicting emotions, as we have said, is to experience the Emptiness and the mind that can remain focused for a long time on it has developed the concentrative meditation. To be able to develop this type of concentration, the first thing to do is to be liberated from the negative actions of the body and speech: by this discipline you are practicing Morality.
The mind that can concentrate for a long time on an object practices the concentration; the realization of Emptiness is called the practice of wisdom. If we are able to practice these high level trainings we will be freed from the cyclic existence, but it is not enough that only we achieve this: all beings should be free from the suffering of Samsara, and especially those of the lower realms.

THE MENTAL CONTINIUM FROM ONE LIFE TO THE NEXT.Normally, it is not enough to be alone in a good situation, because we want the same for our friends and family. Since all beings have been nice to us when they were our mother, our father, our family members, we should wish that all sentient beings be happy and free from suffering and that we, as well as all the others, reach the state of Buddhahood.
I repeat: how is it that all beings have been our mother?
Because our past lives are without beginning, they are more numerous than the drops of water in the ocean. Our present consciousness is the continuation of the same consciousness since we were infants, which in turn was already active when we were in the womb of our mother, and, contrary to the physical body that comes from our parents, consciousness is a continuum of previously existing consciousness.
When a person dies, his consciousness goes into an intermediate state where it searches for the place to be born again and the parents through the drops of which, it takes a physical body once again and becomes a sentient being. Now, the first moment of consciousness in this life comes from the consciousness above, so the cause of consciousness of life in the present is produced by prior consciousness.
The prior consciousness of this existence had existed before in a previous life because if there wasn’t a former conscience there could not be a later one.
At the base of all of this are two causes: main and secondary. For example, when we plant something, the seeds are the main cause of the future plant, water and fertilizer are secondary.
So the main cause of conscience is another previous consciousness and so the past lives are infinite, and go back without beginning. Given this we can establish that all sentient beings were our mother.
Moreover, because the future lives proceed in this manner, if we don’t eliminate the afflicting emotions we will continue to be reborn without the possibility of choice. But if we eradicate those we will be reborn with our independent choice; having this opportunity, we could for example, choose to be born where there is the need to bring help to some sentient beings; once we have finished this task, we can dissolve our human form and be reborn in another place in need to help someone. In any case we can’t eliminate our consciousness.
As long as the mind remains mixed up with afflicting emotions, it is not clean, pure, like gold is not pure if mixed with other metals.
The moment when we eliminate these afflicting emotions, the mind becomes pure. This is the meaning of becoming Buddha.

THE HINAYANA, MAHAYANA AND TANTRAYANA PATHSThrough the Hinayana practice we manage to free ourselves from the afflicting emotions, but to get rid of all our defects we must practice the Mahayana path; to reach Buddhahood as quickly as possible we must follow the Tantrayana, although it will be impossible to obtain it for our exclusive benefit.
Trying to achieve Buddhahood with the intention to liberate all the sentient beings; bringing to them eternal happiness is the right way to engage in these practices. To succeed in creating such motivation we should meditate about compassion and great love, creating a strong feeling.
All this will be easier if we remember the kindness of sentient beings towards us when we were in trouble, but without feeling any attachment.
To meditate on the great compassion we must first meditate on our own suffering and must want to be free from it, after that, we need to think about the suffering of others and desire intensely that everyone should be liberated. Meditating in this way you can generate a feeling of great compassion.
To generate compassion towards Devas who do not feel this kind of suffering we should think that they too cannot be reborn many times as such, they are also reborn as humans or even in the lower realms.
Surely we who are here now, were Devas in our previous lives, but we see that now that we are here, this isn’t a benefit. Given that even the Devas are subject to continuous rebirths in the lower realms, this condition is cause for suffering.
For example, if we have a strong body we have to think that it can‘t remain forever in perfect condition: a boy who has a perfect body until he is twenty-five years old, past the age of thirty, he too begins to age: this is in itself part of the nature of suffering.
Take for example the pig that the owner will kill the following year, we see that, while well fed and well maintained in reality it is getting closer to the time of death.
As long as we remain concerned by these afflicting emotions we remain in suffering. Through the practice of Dharma we can avoid rebirth in the lower realms, obtain rebirth in the upper realms as human beings or as Devas, we can also free ourselves from cyclic existence, to reach the high state of Nirvana, liberate from all our faults and obtain the Buddhahood. So it is very important to study, understand and practice the Dharma.
Because we are subject to various types of suffering that we can’t endure, we must seek a solution that allows us to get rid of it: the best solution is the practice of Dharma. Because we want happiness, the best way to get it is always the practice of Dharma.
If a person has a good understanding of Dharma, he will consider others more important than himself, will be glad to see other people happy rather than himself, and will choose to suffer in place of others.
A person like this will never have any kind of problem that will lead him to fight someone, there will be no one who sees him as enemy and no one will hurt him. If one acts as a noble and good to others, they will respond in the same way. Therefore, if we practice Dharma we will be very happy in this life and the future ones.
The highest ambition for a practitioner of Dharma is to work for the benefit of all sentient beings; to do this it is important to reach Buddhahood. In order to achieve Buddhahood a person must engage in the practice of six perfections. The first is generosity. A person must not be greedy at all, should not be attached to any of his possessions and must also be to donate, if necessary, all he has to someone else.
This particular approach, called the practice of generosity, is based upon being available to give the proper belongings to other people; little by little as they progress in this practice it will be possible to donate even their own body if necessary.
Before attaining Buddhahood, Sakiamuni Buddha while following the path of Bodhisattva, gave his body to help other beings, many, many times. In Nepal there is a place called “body given to the tiger”. The name derives from the fact that once there lived in that place a tigress that had five baby tigers and she was so hungry she was ready to eat them, but she had not eaten for so many days that she couldn’t open her mouth. Sakiamuni Buddha, who was in those parts, wanted to give his body to feed the tiger, but as the animal could not open his mouth, he cut his body, to give the tiger his blood to drink, and little by little managed to open her mouth. So Buddha was able to offer his body. This place still exists in Nepal and you can visit it.
It is very hard to practice all the teachings of Buddha Path, but the important thing is to practice what is within our reach, at our level. The results and the effects of the practice of Dharma are not visible in a short time, but it is sure that they are real and exist.
It is like the olive tree, after having planted it you must wait ten years for the oil, then how can we expect to practice Dharma now and obtain Buddhahood tomorrow? In any case we should practice Dharma during our life as much as we can, if one proceeds gradually, surely, little by little it will come naturally. Anyhow, through the practice of Dharma, we should try to become better people, more noble.
A noble person is someone who tries to do as much good to the others as possible.
A person who acts negatively has a bad character and we should try to avoid him.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERSQuestion: Personally, it is not very difficult for me not to hate my enemies, rather, it is difficult to eliminate the attachment to those I love.

Answer: It is very true, but this kind of feeling towards our friends is something that we should eliminate. If we think superficially it seems like this attachment is helpful, but it really hurts us. Knowing the exact opposing strength it will not be difficult to eliminate it, but we need to know what is the right way to do it. The first stage to generate the opposing force to attachment is to meditate about impermanence. If, for example, we have a sense of attachment to our body because we are young and beautiful, we should think that it is like autumnal flowers: although they were beautiful, they tend to dry out and die. This can help reduce the attachment to the body. If you also consider the impurity of the body such as blood, urine, excrement, etc.. we should distance from this idea of attachment. But to be completely free of it we should meditate about emptiness, and on the non-inherent existence of phenomena.
Ghesce-là is very happy with the fact that, contrary to what happens in other centers where there are many young people, here there are some older people. Those who practice Dharma well, will not have a problem passing the days when they get old, the days won’t be so long. For an elderly person, who no longer works, it can be difficult to pass the days; someone who practices will use his time very well and, even at the moment of death may die quite happy. The lamas say that those who have practiced well at the moment of death feel like a child who returns to the land of his father.
The important thing is to study the Dharma, because a person can gradually obtain the state of Buddhahood.

Question: Geshe-la spoke of Emptiness as lack of inherent existence of things, persons and phenomena. I ask for clarification about the fact that in many Sadhanas, in many Buddhist practices there is the expression “from the Emptiness emerges a lotus, a syllable, a deity”. This expression gives the impression as if there is a space, a dimension, something that still seems a bit different from what Geshe-la explained.

Answer: Because all phenomena are devoid of inherent existence, through this meditation on the lack of inherent existence of all phenomena, rises, appears the deity, the syllable coming out of emptiness. The object of such meditation emerges from a mind that realizes the lack of inherent existence of phenomena.
Even if a person has not realized emptiness, a kind of visualization of this deity can rise through concentration, the desire that is within him.

Question: The practice of generosity was mentioned: I want to know how far it is right to follow the wishes of others.

Answer: If the required object is dangerous to the person who is requesting, we should not give him it. For example, if someone asks uor hard core drugs, we do not we give them to him. If we are asked something that can be pleasant or useful in the short run, but harmful in the long run harmful, in this case as well we have to answer negatively. But if it is harmful in the short run, but in the long run can be useful, then you can donate.

Question: How can you justify going beyond the concept of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, going so far as to consider the other more important than yourself?

Answer: If you consider others more important than yourself, you are easily involved into positive actions toward them, instead of harm, and these positive actions will return to you as a direct benefit. Certainly you will experience this benefit by helping others, but you have to do it selflessly, without thought of reward. If someone who is in a good situation, does not think about helping the others he is not a good practitioner of Dharma. On the contrary when everyone else is well, a good practitioner is not concerned with his own condition.
Dharma aims to improve the situation of a person, therefore, whoever helps the others is a good practitioner.

NB This is not an official publication, it is just a study aid for the participants in the course of Lama Geshe Yeshe Tobden.
We dedicate the merits of its preparation to the long life of Geshe Yeshe Tobden.Further NB I humbly apologize to everyone for being slow in publishing these teachings, for spelling errors and typos. If there is any merit at all I dedicate it entirely to the quick return of Geshe Yeshe Tobden.

Roberto

Translator’s NB. I am not a professional translator but a lucky old student of Geshe Yeshe Tobden. I apologize for any eventual mistakes.

I hope that this work can be useful to someone who is searching for his/her Dharma path.

Mariangiola

 

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