Clearing Away Misconceptions about Kalachakra
Teachings in Preparation for Receiving the Kalachakra Empowerments
By Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö
In this two-part teaching, Rinpoché addresses the many common misconceptions preventing students from fully engaging with the Kalachakra Teachings. He also provides his own personal approach for how to work skilfully with the extraordinary wisdom presented in this system.
How Kalachakra makes all Practices and Commitments Easy
These teachings were recorded in Hong Kong on March 19, 2017.
Today’s topic, why Kalachakra Tantra makes all commitments and practices easy. So this is nobody have this topic. I can guarantee, nobody made that topic before. I made this topic because usually people have misconceptions. Misconception means “Oh Kalachakra is too high! Not approachable! Too hard! Too complicated! Impossible!” that kind of…that is not true.
Kalachakra Tantra yes, the highest, the deepest and the most vast, yes, but that not make not approachable, and difficult, impossible. That doesn’t make those. That’s why, why not make that way. That’s our topic today.
Okay. In this topic is going to be two parts: one, why Kalachakra Tantra is not make complication and confusion and difficult, instead is should be more clear and more comfortable to follow. Why? These things we discuss a little bit in general. And then, the second part on my personal approach, how I can make this system, make more reachable and comprehensible and how I make this structure. You know, make us easy to follow and clear away the obstacles of Dharma practice in general. How I personally, what is my view about this and what is my dedication and commitments for this. These things we going to talk. These two together they should match the title.
Firstly, generally, traditionally Tibetan, knowing, say if you receive Kalachakra empowerments, then you can practice any other tantra. There’s no restrictions, anything whatsoever. That is well known, people’s knowledge. They didn’t explain too much why, but that is well known. If you went online, if you listened to the Dalai Lama empowerment, he mentioned that. He usually don’t mention those things. He is very diplomatic of course. He don’t make huge statements. He is very careful, diplomatic, okay. Not like me. But he mentioned. Why he mentioned, because that is well known. That’s why he mentioned.
Secondly, the Kalachakra Tantra the most highest and still historically give to the public. That is opposite usual. Opposite of in general rule of Tantrayana. Because tantrayana in general, tantrayana means very secret and only internal, you know like, circles you can present them and they practice. Because there is reason. It is not fit in general concept. Therefore, it is not easy to fit in general concept, also there is karmic connection, I believe. For instance, that’s why, for instance the Buddhism introduced China, Tibet. First introduced in China, before Tibet, but the Tantrayana, Chinese tradition didn’t accept a lot. They sceptical about. They basically not very accepting. That’s why tantrayana not flourished in China. Probably the karmic connection as well. And Tibetan, they just love it, they just…Tibetan is just nature for them, kind of like that. Historical…anyways, that kind of secret usually, but then Kalachakra Tantra is not like that from the beginning. From the Buddha up to today, always presenting in huge public. There must be reason.
If I talk this historically from beginning, when who first taught the Kalachakra? Buddha, of course, Buddha Shakyamuni. He taught. But he didn’t taught as like Buddha Shakyamuni, Indian, monk, wearing simple robes and with feet and holding begging bowl. He didn’t teach that way. He taught, turn himself Kalachakra union and four faces, talking about four classes of tantra, and Kalachakra Tantra is main primary tantra taught from the main face.
Taught who? Taught to the public. Public who? Millions of Shambhala sages and Dharma Kings and many other beings they say. But interestingly, there’s no indication of humans involved. So probably that time, our human beings maybe not ready the merits, so he taught that way first.
Okay, Buddha, the millions of the audience, but who is the main audience? Is the Suchandra, this is the meant to be. Okay. Is King of Shambhala at that time, which means emanation of the Vajrapani. Then of course, tenth level bodhisattva. My main point, Buddha taught huge audience and approximately seven hundred years to establishing Kalachakra in Shambhala, in the capital of Shambhala called Kalapa. Then slowly, finally introduce to the whole nation of Shambhala, the whole realm of Shambhala.
Think of Shambhala, how big? Nine hundred sixty million cities. How many cities we have in this world? Anybody know? Maybe 2000, a few thousand? 100? Probably a few thousand, you can search. Not much. Let’s say 5000, 5000 cities, the whole entire world. Think of nine hundred and sixty million cities, how big? The whole nation was nine hundred and sixty million city nation, one Kalachakra empowerment together. That is after seven generations of the king, the eighth king did that. That kind of huge, public.
Firstly, historically come that way Kalachakra in the public and in Tibetan tradition, the other high yoga tantras like Hevajra. Have you ever heard of a Hevajra empowerment in public? You probably never heard. Have you ever heard of Chakrasamvara empowerment in public? Have you heard Guhyasamaja empowerment in public? Nobody have, not public, not big public, invite everybody, Buddhist, non-Buddhist, everybody…nobody, but Kalachakra does. That’s one thing.
The other thing, also any empowerment people give or Kalachakra empowerment give, more and more people come. Anywhere, someone give Kalachakra empowerment…someone usually okay ten people come, but if you give Kalachakra, twenty guaranteed. Someone, one ten thousand, like Dalai Lama, general teachings ten thousand, but Kalachakra hundred thousand. These things nobody explain why. Nobody really knows why. That’s why there is something very special energy, hidden. These things we have to think why? I have some assumptions of why. Our main point, what I’m trying to saying is that there is something special. Even people don’t have knowledge why, but is something behind, something power, some energy there.
Then you ask some people, if you say Nyingmapa. What is the highest yoga tantra? they say of course Dzogchen. For Nyingma, Dzogchen is the highest, okay don’t worry. But, except Nyingma, the other tantras, which one is the highest, they say Kalachakra. They say Kalachakra. If you ask Gelugpa, which one is the highest yoga tantra. They don’t say Dzogchen. Maybe they say Kalachakra is one of the highest, but definitely one of highest, everybody saying. But the Guhyasamaja maybe some people say they are equal, or some people say that Guhyasamaja is highest but Kalachakra is also high. Something like that, depending on who you ask. But they never put Kalachakra as lower, nobody. The same as Sakya or anybody, if what their main practice, some people say this is the highest, depend on how they, or some people say equal to the Kalachakra. But if you ask the Nyingma, Dzogchen is highest, but within others, Kalachakra is highest. That kind of thing. People’s reaction. Think of that as well.
But everybody think, many of them think that Kalachakra is the highest, the most hardest, most complicated, they think that as well. Not just you guys, don’t worry. It’s even monks and lamas. They think it’s the most complicated, “I don’t know. This okay if you talk this, but Kalachakra no, I don’t know”. Like that, everyone. Why? Because everybody know Kalachakra is vast and huge, extensive system, most extensive system. They can feel this. Even if they don’t have much knowledge, still they can feel this, that’s why they say this. That part is right, but for that reason, they think it’s the most complicated. That part is wrong. I would say personally.
Why? I tell you why. Because if vast and if it is complicated, then the essence is more rich. For instance, if you think of the knowledge. Let’s say, if you are really big knowledge of the science, even if it is just one science, neuroscience. If you really big knowledge of the neuroscience, for you to easier to describe the essence of the neuroscience than if you have half knowledge of the neuroscience. Much harder to describe the essence. Also the listener, someone not very complete, nobody knows actually complete neuroscience, but if there is possible, whoever knows most, if you listen them, if they describe the essence, more understandable. But someone, don’t have that much knowledge and try to explain the essence, harder. Do you agree? Same. Similar.
Therefore, I’m saying, if they think is vast, huge, extensive and therefore is complicated, that is wrong. That is a little right, tiny right, because if you have to know everything, yes of course complicated, it’s not easy, because so huge. But the essence, somebody explain you the essence, then even should be easier.
I give you an example, for instance, from here, let’s say, to go Beijing, Hong Kong to Beijing, for me very complicated. Because I don’t know how to read maps. I have no sense of direction. The map, okay. For me is extremely difficult, but if someone show me how to go to Beijing, simple way, write map and write address or go there, take this bus, then go there, take this plane, this is the ticket, here you go, you get out this and then you do this, something simple follow, maybe I can do it. I don’t have to know the whole world map. I don’t have to know the world map. I don’t have to know all of the cities between there and what is contained between Hong Kong and Beijing. I don’t have to know everything. Because somebody knows very well, give to me the essence to how to go.
Similarly, so someone describes the essence properly, then other people can do it. That’s why, my focus and dedication is to explain the essence of Kalachakra. Not the huge details of academic study. That’s not my focus. Also, I just say, and let you know to be honest, I am not the person who have the knowledge of all the Kalachakra, external Kalachakra, internal Kalachakra…I’m not that. If I do, then if I teach this, I have to teach you cosmology, I have to teach you astrology, I have to teach you medicine, I have to teach you so many things. Almost, almost every knowledge in this world, science and medicine, and everything, body, biology…everything basically. I don’t know this. It’s the same as if one you show me how to go to Beijing. The simple way. All of you, I believe you can do it for me. Even you don’t know the whole contents between this Beijing and here, even you don’t know these things, you can do still you know how to find you go there. You can teach me. Similar way. My approach is focus on the essence of the Kalachakra. That’s why, to do this, not this difficult. Can do it, like that.
Still if I have idea, let’s say “Beijing is on Dongo” On this map, like this part, not somewhere in Africa, not somewhere in North America. It’s handy to know a little bit that. Similarly, I teach you what is Shambhala, roughly? What is Kalachakra mandala? What is external Kalachakra? Internal…you know. It’s handy to know, some rough ideas.
Therefore is very helpful if we have a little bit of idea, why is Kalachakra so special and people treat as special way to give to the public the most high, usually the most secret one, give to the public, why? If we have some direction, not fixed ideas, but “oh there is some reason maybe this, maybe this”, maybe handy.
In my opinion, why? Because I believe this Kalachakra Tantra is a rimé approach. Which means much more open and accepting of others. I give you example. So Kalachakra Tantra, you know using terms of Non-Buddhist terms, Hindu terms, those things they use, they included. Their ideas also they using. Also, when we learn the twenty five conducts of the Kalachakra, “oh, these Kalachakra Tantra is considers everybody. Really cares all sentient beings.” We can see these indications. Therefore, there is approach for everybody. Doesn’t matter you low or high. That’s why this Kalachakra Tantra, even you get the public, I think everybody take different way. Everybody can take, there is possibility, everybody can take as much as they can take. They receive as much as their capacity. That’s the reason I think. That’s the reason from the Buddha, he give huge public, and then Shambhala Dharma Kings give the public, and later generations they even they didn’t know why, but the still kept doing. That’s my guess.
Having said that, it’s not all of the Kalachakra masters always giving the public. It’s not like that either. There is many practitioner Kalachakra, great, great practitioners they didn’t give in the public. They only teach, they give their own students in the Jonang tradition. Some they did, not everybody.
That’s why I have my own approach. My own decision, Kalachakra have seven empowerments from the beginning. That I want decide give to public. Dalai Lama he giving all of them, sixteen, all in the public. Ninety nine point ninety nine percent people don’t understand nothing. He doing that. So, I’m not doing this. My personal approach is seven child empowerments I give in public, but I give step-by-step, everything, like 58 steps, step-by-step, everything have description, in booklet in your hand. When I’m doing, you know exactly what is going on now. After you finish, you have everything. This is your assistant for you to understand and to become familiar. In the history, nobody done this way. This is my approach. Then if then people practice on this. Then I want to give the higher empowerments. But the higher empowerments, only for these people, not in the public. Again, you have book, everything I teach, you have a book and you never lost. That’s my approach.
Why is Kalachakra easier? I talk in general a little bit, and then again, I can my personal approach in more details. First, everything in Buddhism is structured. All the sutra, tantra, everything. Structured, “zhi lam dri.wu sum”, “zhi” means “base”, “lam” means “path” and “dri.wu” means “result”. Anything you do, is based on what, you have to have a base. You cannot do anything baseless, can you? That’s one, and then path is one way to explain, so you can say, “your approach”, path or your approach, your purpose, then “dri.wu”, what’s the result, what you doing for? Benefits, that is.
In general Buddhism, zhi, the base, what is the base? The base is two truths. What is the path? The path is accumulating two merits, the two accumulations, you don’t say merit. The two accumulations. That is the path. What is the result? The result is two bodies of the Buddha.
Is Kalachakra Tantra, is fitting in here? Yes, it fit in here. But there is little different emphasise. That I tell you. When we say, base, you have to have some base. Otherwise, anything you do baseless, and then fail isn’t it. The result is fail. So you need base, okay. That’s why we need the Two Truths. Which means, one is temporary truth, samsaric truth, temporary truth, and the other one is ultimate truth. We need both. You have to do based on this. If this not, then there is no result, because no base. But Kalachakra tantra and Zhentong sutra, zhentong view sutra, they match, they emphasise, more ultimate truth. The name ultimate truth, everybody accepting, but the meaning is much more clear and emphasise in Kalachakra and Zhentong.
Why? Because, in the others, if you say, “two truths”, one truth “relative truth”, everybody agree. Okay, one truth, “ultimate truth”, the ultimate truth, what it is ultimate truth, people confused, confused a lot. That’s why they have different names. Sometimes say emptiness, it’s just not very clear. Zhentong and Kalachakra make very clear. Real buddha, buddha-nature, tathagatagarbha, even not self-empty.
“Not self-empty” means not essenceless. When we say, “self-empty” it’s essenceless. Is this self-empty, in general terms, no. But this is empty of water, empty of cup, but cup itself empty, it is here. I’m talking about it is here, it is real, we can touch. If it is self-empty, you cannot touch nothing. But other-empty, yes. Other of water, not here. So in Kalachakra Tantra emphasise, the Buddha-nature is like cup, doesn’t have to be empty. But the relative water not in there. We think yes, but is not. It make clear. The clear, makes easier because if we say, the ultimate result, the ultimate truth is only empty, then people confused, “I do everything for emptiness, empty? I doing everything nothingness?” People confused, even if they didn’t say, they feeling confused. Therefore, according to Kalachakra and Zhentong, you have to say, the ultimate truth other-empty, but the relative truth is self-empty. “Self-empty” means essenceless, illusion. And “other-empty” absence of illusion, absence of samsara, but itself cannot be self-empty, if does then become again essenceless.
Student – Is zhentong the same as tathagatagarbha?
Yes, the tathagatagarbha is…Zhentongpa point-of-view, tathagatagarbha means buddha-nature, you know like same pervasive buddha-nature. Tathagatagarbha, everybody possessing tathagatagarbha is real Buddha, real. It doesn’t have to be, is not potential. It is real Buddha. That’s why it is not self-empty, not essenceless, okay?
When we talking about these things, don’t think too complicated way. Don’t think “this is high, too hard, don’t understand.” Don’t think that. Think simple way. I give you example, if someone say “There is ultimate truth, there is relative truth right? There is samsara and nirvana, right?” Then you say, “yes”. Okay, the nirvana are you prefer nirvana is same as samsara or different? What do you prefer? Of course you prefer different, yes? Nobody say, “I prefer samsara!” No. Otherwise, you wouldn’t seeking nirvana. So ultimate truth and the relative truth, are you prefer same or different? Of course I prefer different, yes? Are you prefer, the ultimate truth is essenceless as same as samsara, no I don’t want the essenceless. That’s why I am sick of samsara. Why I’m abandon one essenceless and I approaching another essenceless? Think in a simple way.
Okay, also think of this way, simple way. You have no car, so you really tired to walking, or bicycle, or whatever, you really need new car. Okay. Then say, “Is you prefer..” if somebody say, “there is potential you make car. I give you some the parts of the machine of the car. So you can make it or you can pay somebody to make the car.” I’m talking about your situation, you cannot buy car okay. But there is some potential of car, if you make or you let somebody make. Are you prefer this, or somebody say, “You have car, if just you unlock this door, and unveil this curtain, you have car there.” Which one you prefer. Zhentong is that. Kalachakra meaning is that. The other way say, “Oh no, our essenceless Buddha-nature is potential, so we have to develop.” Kalachakra and Zhentong, say “no, buddha-nature cannot be potential, if it is potential, then is impermanent, if it is impermanent then it is same as samsara.” This is real Buddha, permanent, never changing.
The simple way is think is easier? Sometimes we think things too complicated. You have to make simple. Because we have to start from simple. Otherwise, we have not hanging on. Nothing to hang onto. So that is why, in Kalachakra way, this is the real base. The base means also, you real yourself. This they call, in Kalachakra language, the call the “sacred self”. That’s why my book is called “Unveiling Your Sacred Truth”. Who’s sacred truth? Myself.
The other way, your self is absolutely essenceless, enlightenment is absolutely essenceless, samsara is absolutely essenceless, all self-empty, empty, empty, empty, then who going to reach buddhahood? What is buddhahood is? Kind of essenceless, there is no nothing. That is the problem. That’s why I’m not saying that the other paths, they have no paths. They have path, of course they practice and that way, they will reach buddha-hood one day. But from the beginning, how encourage you, and how even a beginners, for there is something inspire. If the Buddha-nature, you have the not potential, real Buddha, is your own truth, this is inspiration, very inspiring. But your self, samsara, nirvana all just empty, equal, then where is we are arising the inspiration. That’s why I’m saying Kalachakra easier, why easier? There is real base. There is…you can arise inspiration. That is the base.
And then path, in general, you know two accumulations. Kalachakra Tantra accept that no problem, only differences, again emphasise on the wisdom accumulation. Accept both, accumulation merit of course it helps, helps to develop the accumulation of wisdom. Accumulation of wisdom means okay, also maybe people confused. Accumulation of wisdom means you know more, more, more your own truth. Let’s say billion, trillion layers of the truth. Usually we just say two truths, but actually could be trillions of layers of truth. So you know more, more. Accumulation of wisdom means your wisdom, your own wisdom is more sharper and sharper. Why? Because you focusing on this buddha-nature. The ultimate truth. That’s why you are closer, you take another layer, another layer, another layer and you are closer and closer and closer and the ultimate truth. That’s the accumulation of wisdom.
But how this come this, two conditions: motivation have to be bodhicitta, to liberate all sentient beings. And your practice, to have incredible concentration, which means meditative mind. You have to develop inner focus and develop mind. That’s why you need. So Kalachakra emphasise this a lot. Kalachakra tradition. That’s why many people don’t understand, they say “This buddhist so selfish, they go in cave and meditate and not helping the world. They are very selfish.” Who can basically, nobody can help the world, even you twenty four hours run, even not sleep, you cannot solve the world problem, impossible. What is the..physically I mean you know.
What is the most important is your motivation and focusing your own body or your own mind, but your motivation is huge. Liberate all sentient beings, but you focusing on your own meditative mind. Which means you doing both at the same time. Accumulation path, merit with bodhicitta, your intention. You don’t have to run in everywhere, but you doing already. But people don’t understand this. People think, “Merit have to go run and do something.” Yes, do something run is good, but not only way. It’s not the only way. People don’t understand this. That’s why Kalachakra masters and the most real practitioners, they are in the cave, they are in the remote, they concentrating this their entire life, no distractions.
I’m not saying every practitioner have to do that way. Of course they can do right now, they can help homeless, they can help sick, they can help dying people, they can teach other people dharma. They can do anything, but not the only inner emphasis.
The simple way just say, there is base, path and result. But in the Kalachakra way, the base is not essenceless, it is fullness. It is empty yes, only other-emptiness. Is sutras and tantras said, mentioned emptiness, but yes empty-ness. It is empty of other samsara, but itself is fullness, completion, not essenceless.
Okay then, the path, accumulation to merits, but emphasise on the great bliss. That’s why, not essenceless. It’s more than joy, it is blissful. It is the primary emphasis.
Student – It’s the path?
Yes, it is not like “There is no self, no self.” That kind of you know just focusing on the absence. Not that. It is focusing on the blissful joy and then the others are already absent. Automatically.
The result, we call “zhi.dri.yer.me”, the base and the result inseparable. Same thing, only you call base or tathagatagarbha..when you are sentient being, you call “tathagatagarbha” which means the essence of Buddha. Then you reached your own truth, that we call Buddha. Actually it is the same. When you uncover the sun, with cloud, or without cloud, the sun is the same. Only not same, the village or the wherever under the clouds, the shadow, for them the sun is not there. But the sun is there. But after the cloud go, the sun still the same. From sun side, exactly the same, nothing is changed. So same way, when we reach our own truth, and right now, the truth is the same, never change. The only difference is we don’t experiencing the truth. And we experiencing illusion. That’s it. Usually, our idea is not like that yeah? “Oh, there is we have potential of Buddha, and we work so hard and then we become Buddha.” Is that not, real Buddha.
But there is interdependent relationship. When you reach your own truth, real Buddha Dharmakaya, we call Dharmakaya. When we are sentient being, we don’t call “dharmakaya”, we just call “tathagatagarbha”, same name, different duration, different names in same person. Like that, so at that time, we say, “Okay, is there is other Buddha?” Yes, that is called emanation of Buddha, manifestation of Buddha.
When you are sentient being, you working hard, uncovering your own truth. This work, this work is illusion, but even illusion is not useless. Why? Because when we reach Buddhahood, that time appear the manifestations for other sentient beings, another Buddha. Because sentient beings…that makes sense yeah?…because the sentient beings is illusion themselves. They of course, they experience the Buddha, the illusional Buddha they experiencing basically, if we not using other truth language. “Manifestation” or “emanation” means basically is illusion. But good illusion. It is helps sentient beings.
Okay, that makes sense because then Buddha Shakyamuni is actually not real Buddha, is emanation of Buddha. You can say of emanation of Buddha, that is why he pass away. That’s why he experience impermanence and past away, and not remain all the time. And that why he will sick and that’s why he like normal human being and other people challenge him. Not listen to him, judge him. Even his own brother, why? Because he is not really real Buddha, it is emanation. It is basically, our karmic version of the Buddha, not the real Buddha, the permanent one, not tathagagarbha, not that. That makes sense. “Oh, even Buddha died? What it is?” not make sense if you say that is real Buddha.
Now we talk about this base, and path and the result. Now we realise that this result is just reaching our, my own truth. Completely reaching in my truth. To do this, we need establish the view and we practice usually called, “view, meditation and behaviour, or conduct.” Okay, first we establish the view, which means view we already talk about. That is view. View is you know, you not make equal samsara and nirvana. You make equal temporary truth, you know this relative truth and this ultimate truth. You don’t make them equal. You don’t make them both self-empty. One is self-empty and one is empty of other. Make huge different. Make distinguish very well. The Zhentong and Kalachakra way is you distinguish very well.
And the others is a little bit confusing, sometimes they distinguishing, sometimes not. So before I’m talking about these things, if you hear this some rangtongpas, “Oh that’s the same, they talking the same.” That means that the rangtongpa is a little bit confused because they claims they are rangtongpa, but they talking similar to zhentong. Many rangtongpas like that, there are rangtongpas that fighting eachother inside, they arguing. For instance you know like, Gelugpa, rangtong, Nyingma and Kagyu, never agree with Gelug, never, okay impossible. Almost impossible. And then Sakya is a little bit middle, middle of the Gelug, and Nyingma, Kagyupa way. Especially Nyingma and Gelug, never agree, is impossible okay, then Sakya is a little bit middle. But they all, mostly they say rangtong. Then there are many individuals there who are zhentongpa, that’s why some of these rangtongpas, their view is very similar to zhentong. Why? Because they are all basically except Geluk, all of them very much zhentong. Why? Because they all agree the third Dharma wheel is the definitive teaching. Gelukpa say “no, third dharma wheel is lower, only second Dharma wheel is definitive teaching. I don’t need talk about this,…so that is the view.
Then the approach or meditation or practice, of course there is many practice, many ways, many accumulation. What is the main emphasis? This Zhentongpa’s say, this Kalachakra Path, the root of samsara is concepts, conceptional, any conceptual thoughts is the root of samsara. So simple.
If you say other schools, they say “It’s ignorance, ignorance that have two types…” It’s a little bit complicated. They say, concept is the root of samsara. It’s so easy. It’s anybody understand what concept means. Okay, concept, thoughts, this is the root of samsara. So, so easy, I mean “so easy” means so easy to understand. Concept is root of samsara, whenever I can get rid of concept, no more samsara. Whatever attain less conceptional, basis of life, basis state, basically. So this is so easy to prove. Even we just less worry, better state of mind. Less thoughts and more concentration, better state of mind. If you have really, more controlling your, you have ability to the thoughts is up to you, not thought controlling you. You build incredible strength, then finally, you completely get rid of concepts, that means you already get rid of samsara. “No more samsara”, means complete freedom. “Samsara” means not freedom, basically. Samsara means you have no freedom. Something’s controlling you. Our own thoughts and everything.
Okay, so let’s say “Dzopachenpo, mahamudra” they introduces similar. Similar they introduce, but a little different thought. A little bit confused sometimes. Let’s say they say, “Thoughts is okay, let them thoughts, thoughts no problem. Thoughts itself is dharmakaya.” Or something like that. It works for some people, certain people and certain situations. It works also there is point why they saying. But it is a little bit confusing for some people. So, and Kalachakra way, no confusion, just say, “thoughts is samsara.” Thoughts is samsara, is very clear. Thoughts is produces samsara. Less thoughts, means less samsara.
Concept means also, so much fixations people have, “Oh, this is this and oh…this is this.” You know concepts is like that, always. Much more fixations, have much more problems. Much more fixation, much more inflexibility, inflexibility means like chain. No freedom. Okay, that’s the meditation, basically, simple way.
Then behaviour, you know the conduct. All Buddhists similar, and especially Tibetan Buddhist traditions, all similar. 99% I would say similar. Their principles are the same, but what we have to know as Kalachakra practitioner is that I would say, open minded and more inclusive other traditions, other systems, other beliefs. You know everything, more inclusive, because the Kalachakra system is like that and the history like this, and Shambhala like this. So we should emphasise that, the rimé, more inclusive, more accepting behaviour.
Okay, some people sometimes they don’t understand, they misunderstand, you know like say “Kalachakra is rimé way. Shambhala is ultimate rimé. Then how come you say, it sounds like your Kalachakra path is the superior and you say sounds like other’s inferior? And then how can be rimé? How can be you accepting?” The answer, to be rimé or accepting others not necessarily you have to see equal. Equal suitability for yourself. Don’t have to. That is not the problem. You accepting others because you also see their strength. Not only the weakness. But also you have more compassion, that’s why you accepting. One, both their weakness and their strength. You seeing both, that’s why you accepting. You have more compassion, that’s why you accepting.
Three, they are not always there. Anybody have potential to progress, that’s why you accepting. Doesn’t have to be equal as “their view is equal of me. their view is equal of Kalachakra path. Everything is equal.” That’s impossible, never happened.
Now I finish here this general topic. Now I’m going to say, this is like traditionally the Kalachakra what I see, the Kalachakra path is more easier and understandable than the others. That’s I see, that’s my explanation. But not enough. Still not enough. I feel it’s not enough. You can improve still. So that is why my personal way, how can we improve this, reform this system more and more improve. Seeing with the you know like I involved the monasteries all Tibetan traditions, then I know their problems. Then I been almost twenty countries, different nationalities, see everybody’s problems. So according to this, what I should reform, this path. That’s we going to talk.
First, to practice Kalachakra, do we need preliminaries? Yes, of course we need preliminaries. Why we don’t need preliminaries? In general, yes we need preliminaries, because you build building, you need strong foundation. Yesterday, this big noise, they making, yeah. Without this foundation, would you ever build big building. You say, “No, no, no, no, never!” Same thing. Similar here. Is wouldn’t success without, that’s one reason. But that’s in general.
For individually, you never know where you up to. You know, we believing in countless lifetimes, so other lifetimes how much you build and where you up to, you cannot judge anybody. If they don’t do, but only person they can judge themselves. If they don’t follow in general rule, and don’t practice in the foundations, and then you will fail your practice. It’s not like you go to hell. Don’t worry. But you just fail this path, that’s all. But that’s you doing yourself. Other people can’t judge, but you can judge yourself.
And there is traditionally, what they do, “100,000 prostrations, 100,000 refuge, 100,000…” everything, every tradition of Tibetan, they say these things, do these things. And then, how fail? How I have to know how fail? Let’s say, forget about you guys, monks, you should expect that monks doing better than you. Okay, so I talk first monks. How they fail. Because such short time, they have to do this, one day they have to do few thousand prostrations, and they have to be very fast. How can you visualise this? They fail to visualisation. They not fail to the numbers because they have time. And they only doing this and they don’t have to have job and they don’t have to pay bills. They don’t have to pay mortgage. That’s why they not fail number, because they are fixed on number, so they do number, everything they do more than that. Do you know how much I done? Six different ngöndros, everything is 500,000, 500,000, 500,000…I done, already, long time ago when I young. But the result, so so. Why? Because too fast. Not doing properly, because nobody told me to do this properly. They custom everybody…so I rush. I’m doing this. That’s why everybody fail.
In the west, and other countries, many people doing, but many people failing the number. So there is some, “Oh, my teacher introduced me twenty years ago. I haven’t still done. Thirty years ago and still I haven’t done.” But number failing. But many, many people they not number failing. They say “Oh, I done this, I done this. I done this.” But what is the result, it’s okay, but not great. Right? So what we can do?
My opinion, don’t fixed on numbers. Don’t fixed on any rules. Individually, if somebody prefer to do the numbers, because traditionally do this for a thousand years and this great practitioners they success, so I want to do the same things. Fine, no problem, do it, go ahead! I’m not opposite of that, you know. I’m not discouraging this, of course you do. But, I consider this is “a approach” not “the approach”.
Therefore, my suggestion for practicing ngöndro, you have sadhana, in Chinese and English. And you have other, I wrote one sadhana by myself, because visualisation, also people fail. Because “how can I remember this whole huge visualisation? And then the same time you have to do fast, hundred thousand?” So people fail. So I wrote another sadhana, which means you don’t have visualisation…you know usually visualisation is you not chanting, they are separate. You have to remember everything, and then you chant refuge or…this one, I wrote one, you just chant, think of meaning, whatever you chanting, think of the meaning, if you can visualise…some people can do visualisation, that’s great okay…but if you can’t, think of the meaning. The most important is focus on the meaning, and feel this meaning. That I believe is more important than “visualise something, there pictures and oh no…” and then you worry. Meaning, feeling of the meaning, how much you can feel, or how much you can concentrate, that’s the important.
The traditional one, sadhana, I say “You can practice, of course you can practice if you prefer individually” Because this sadhana over a thousand years and it’s been blessed. Of course there have incredible blessings in there. The lineage lamas names, incredible. That’s why I wrote commentary. Commentary I wrote for tibetans first. Tibetan monks, because I know they confused, they don’t know. They don’t know nothing. Really, the majority of monks they don’t know nothing. Do you have sympathy for them?
And so then commentary in Chinese and English. Why? Because they don’t know the meaning. The traditional text, they don’t explain everything. They assume, traditional text, because Tibet live such isolated world, they assume they know everything. They don’t think international. They think they assume they know everything…so they never explain. So I explained, each of the words that traditional text, this commentary. My sadhana, no commentary, because it self explained.
So I said, if you have trouble with numbers, trouble means if not enough time, that is not excuse. You have to make time if you want to reach buddhahood, you have to make time. Anything. Usually people say, “I have no time.” I say what do you mean? You have to make time, not time say “Hey, here I am!” You have to prioritise you know. Whatever is important for you. Yeah? If samsara distraction is important for you, then you just do this forever. And if you want to get out of samsara, liberate yourself, then you have to make time. So time is not excuse.
More important, how we use time wisely. Not wasting time. We waste a lot of time, in our lives. Everybody. So if you don’t use…don’t waste this time, and use wisely, then is good. That includes, if you doing numbers, only numbers, you don’t know why you doing exactly, what for, and how make transform, nothing, just fixed on numbers, “Oh I have to do this numbers. Then finished this number and then do next number.” Only just focusing on this, I consider this also is one type of wasting time. Not wasting time maybe completely samsaric distraction, a little bit better, but still very little.
My suggestion is not wasting time in practice, texts okay…in here you have two sadhanas but also many other prayers. So the other prayers is whenever you like, there is no fixed, particular duties. These two sadhanas are kind of you really have to become familiar with. This means not just chanting, chanting, chanting, again and again. Ten times chant everyday, twenty times chant every day, not necessarily become familiar. Familiar means you really consider two things: one is you make time, second you concentrate on the meaning. Then if you don’t understand the meaning, read this one (points to Hidden Treasure). Commentary, what say? What that means?
And then even you just say one verse, “I pray such and such lama…” Okay, who is this lama? Read his story, short stories, like this, only one paragraph. Okay, this one is that. Then the next one. Or you can read at different times. Then, the meanings. Okay, first read this matching everything.
Then you need expand meaning, read this (points to Sacred Truth). This is only one book, three books together. This is second book is like almost six hundred pages. I believe this is, if this one book, the second book, you study the quality for five years or you just read and try to understand, I think you are faster this. If I believe wrong, that’s my problem. But that’s what I believe. It is written here Mahayana and all practices, zhentong and everything there. So many things in there. These three books and this, whether chinese or…this you become familiar.
Your time is become familiar with them, feel them. There’s the lama, the meaning, try to reasonings in your mind, make sense in your mind, your brain, your heart. Make sense and if you make that time, you don’t have to everyday same thing, again and again and again. You just, “Okay, today I prefer read this one. Today I prefer chant and meditate. Okay, this time I read this one.” You have to look depend on your mood and your energy, how much you tired. If it’s too much this read, even you so tired, then listen teachings. We are recording, recording teaching, become familiar with this subject. Drive in the car, stuck in the traffic, listen. Listen teachings, listen chant. Or try to even meditate instead you frustrate.
In these three books, not just Kalachakra Path, entire Buddhism essence in there. These three books, if you learn these three books, you know the whole Buddhism and direct to Kalachakra Path. Which means the Kalachakra Path means, entire Buddhism anyways. Kalachakra is like umbrella. Covers everything. So who want to translate this? Roy did first book, who want to do second?…just joking. We have to translate these three books.
And the Shambhala and the Rimé book…we don’t have the Rimé book here huh?…Ocean of Diversity. I have Rimé book…Rimé book means encapsulate the essence of the whole spiritual systems in the world, including science. We don’t have that here. But in Shambhala, these things are kind of like supplementary study.
I just tell you one mention. Some of these book read western people, they suggest me, they say, “They are really happy to read that book. Not this second and any of them they told me.” They say, they are very long time Buddhist people, they say, “Oh I’ve been thirty years reading hundreds of books, have many, many of my questions answered in your book. Thank you!” I’m not boasting, the real truth, they say.
Now what I’m saying is basically, you can lock with numbers and looking for finishing the numbers. That’s one way. Maybe works for you, because works for some people. But another suggestion, this time, this number of the time, you use as many forms of practice. Sometimes reading, sometimes contemplating, same subject, same purpose. Try to use many different ways. Sometimes listening, sometime reading, sometimes meditating, sometimes chanting. Sometimes chant loudly and sometime mantra, whisper. You know like if you are go somewhere, just mantra. You don’t even need mala. What you need mala for? Just do it. You don’t need count.
Mantras the most important, incredible you concentrate on mantra, and visualise it. You can do that one way, but that of course the better one. But you just busy and you just doing and going, your mind is, or with people…Because with people, how much talk people? How much wasting time to talking? This all if use of mantra, much better. Mantra is something that you can replace the rubbish talk. In your mouth, or sometimes people singing, I know the nomad people, like I grow, we go mountains and herd yaks, every day singing. I try to use when I young, I try to use mantra, mantra, mantra, all day.
That’s one, this is my solution to you solved this…you know if you understand properly, and then transforming. Am I ready next practice? Is number one, you check with am I improving. My attitude, my perspective, my emotions, everything is improving? My behaviour, everything is improving. If improving that’s number one sign.
Usually people say, “Oh I such and such night and dream. I such and such this omen.” This omen dream thing is okay, but that’s not number one sign. Number one sign is real truth within yourself, what happening. That’s number one sign. Then you know like, how much you become familiar. At least if you do this, make the time, I can guarantee that you are familiar with the subject. When you are familiar with the subject, don’t know, cannot guarantee how much degree is transforming, but there is some degree definitely. That can guarantee. But just finishing numbers, I don’t know how much transformation, I can’t guarantee anything.
Student – I have a few questions regarding the mantra offering, in the ngöndro section. He said in his case, does he really need to do the physical building for the mandala or he can simply use the hand mudra or some other way to build the mandala section ngöndro.
Yeah, these are all options. Options what is more important for you.
Student – my suggestion then you can try different, maybe like you can stick to 100,000 if you have the master encourage you to do so, maybe you finished them already, but in case you still haven’t get up to that, he is explaining another way…
They are all same, we talk this other times. Because we have very little time, we talk this at other times and you can read the books. Okay, other problem I want to solution the empowerments, initiation. People say, big, big problem. One people go everywhere empowerment, no commitments, no improvements. No understand nothing. That’s one problem. Yes, so I want to try to solve that problem. That’s why I make book, step-by-step, for understanding.
Second, they have no commitment, no practice, nothing, only just going. That’s one extreme. The other extreme is “Oh I don’t want to go, because there are commitments.” That’s rejecting, rejecting. That’s very bad karma, rejecting. Saying “I don’t want to go.” Do you know why? You commitments have for even one minute, all these commitments and good intentions is better than, billion times better than you reject. If you say reject, because you say, “I don’t want to go because of commitments.” That way, that attitude, you rejecting this incredible opportunity. The consequence is in many aeons you cannot reach this precious dharma. That make consequence. That’s why it’s very bad. Instead if you have good motivation, good intention and do try your best, but you fail. Trillion times better, better than reject.
The other problem say, “Oh I go everywhere, I want the highest. There the highest. Maybe this high, or maybe this high, o maybe this is high. Okay, but I don’t want commitments, I just want blessing, blessing, blessing.” That is maybe better than reject, but is still bad because why? Because kind of like you selfish reason, samsaric selfish reasons, you collecting, “Oh I want your money, I want your property, I want your partner.” Everything, “I want”. Same form of the mind basically. That’s why not so good. Both is extreme.
That’s why in my book and my explanation, too avoid the two extremes, and middle path. That is simply you have the best intention. You try to make the best intention. Even you didn’t have naturally, you just make up yourself. You just generate that intention. And try the best, as much as you can. So what is wrong with this? You don’t know how long you live basically? No matter how you are young, doesn’t matter. You don’t know. Maybe you broke vows before you die, or maybe you die before break vow. That’s why it’s worth to try, worth to try. But even you break ten times, hundred times, still much better than reject or collecting, “Oh I want, I want, I want. But I do nothing, I want to do nothing, but I want it.” That attitude is no good.
Student – Is it better to use the heruka vajrasattva or something, I say not important, most important is the four power: regret and so forth.
More important, but just we depending on which one we practicing. If you Kalachakra, then Heruka. If you practice something else, then not Heruka. But more important, what Roy say is right. That’s okay, don’t need answer.
I give you example, let’s say you have business. You have company. You have three sons. You say, “Come, all sons have to work hard to develop our company, our business.” And “No, I don’t work! No, No, No!” Don’t want to turn up. Not at all! One son say, “Okay, I come but do nothing.” Do very little, and say, “I want everything…Father, I want buy this, I want buy this, I want buy this, I want this” But very little work, almost nothing, but very little do. And then one son, “He work so hard, and have good intention, but he fails.” Which one is you more hate? Which one you more punish? The never turn up one you probably more punish yeah? Second one, second. And even if he fail, he try hard, so you have gratitude towards him. Right?
It’s the same thing. You reject opportunity or you want to go but no commitments, no practice, nothing, no try to understand nothing. Or you try your best, even the worst case you don’t have to be fail everything. But you try your best, it’s the best.
This empowerment, some other problem, people go so many empowerments and then the presenters say, “If you come in this empowerment you have to practice this” and this person say, “If you come you have to practice this. This is your commitments this.” Then you load up and then say “Oh I don’t want any more”. You just give up and you feel guilty, or you just say, “I don’t want any more” or you stress about this. All is not benefit. All no good.
What I am trying to doing, is that Kalachakra make easier. How you make easier? It’s not lazy way easy. It’s not lazy way easy, but you use time more wisely. So you get Kalachakra meaning and the empowerment meaning, you try to understand this. This is your minimum commitment is good motivation, try to understand this. On the top is you can do much more. But this is anybody can do it. Anybody can use that time. It makes sense. Otherwise, you just go to ceremony, you don’t know what is happening, you go this sadhana, you have to practice everyday, you stress about this. What does help, benefits? Nothing, almost nothing. I have to say almost.
We have more things to say, but I say next time. I have much more explanations and the future vision, how we practice should be. And how make meaningful. Many, many things I have to say. I say another time, okay. Everybody aware we have empowerment retreat. You aware? Okay, so dedication.
- October 8, 2017
Raw transcripts created by Joe Flumerfelt and Vanessa Mason