Purifying the Two Obscurations
Teachings on the Inner Preliminaries of Kalachakra
By Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö
Rinpoché discusses how purification is necessary for the removal of obscurations, and how meditation on Vajrasattva is a particular strong method for clearing negativities.
These teachings were recorded at the Rimé Institute in Belgrave, Australia on May 28, 2015.
Ok. Tonight’s subject, the purification. Negative karma, or the propensities of negative karma. Or you can say the purification of the true obscurations. The negative emotions and propensities, or the cognitive obscurations. So the first obscuration is obscures or obstacle for one’s liberation to reach nirvana and also reach better birth or many other small things. And the second one, cognitive obscuration is only obscures to become omniscient. Which means to fully Buddhahood. Complete enlightenment. You can achieve nirvana or better rebirth with the cognitive obscurations but not the negative emotion or propensity obscurations. So for this reason, as we are seeking for enlightenment, definitely we need purification.
So then probably first you have to know, if we not purified, and what does do this, two obscurations. First one, in Tibetan we call….(@ 9.11 uses Tib term) so that means afflictive obscuration ok. Which meaning all negative emotions and the propensity of negative emotions and negative attitude. Ok. That’s we call afflictive obscuration, ok. And the second one, cognitive obscuration.
So ok, think about the first one. Afflictive obscuration, what does do if we don’t purify? Of course to prevent to reach Buddhahood, defiantly, but even prevent the reach nirvana. Which means even individual liberation from samsara you cannot achieve, impossible without purify this afflictive obscuration. That is big scope. Ok. So if we think more like obvious level, the afflictive obscurations, or we can say negative karma, you know more roughly speaking to say negative karma, the same thing. Because if you say the afflictive obscurations is more broad and when we say negative karma is part of the afflictive obscuration, so there’s differences, broad and narrow. So when we say negative karma, you talking about narrow level. Ok. So we going to use the afflictive obscuration.
So what basically, practically what does do, this obscurations? Enlightenment and nirvana of course. Obstacle of achieving any of them of course. Even better rebirth of course. What else do? More practically make you suffer, make you suffer in the present and makes suffer in the future. Which means really exactly,….ok, this negative obscurations you already had, if you not purify them. Even you haven’t done any bad karma in this life time, of course you do some, even if you haven’t done much and still, it will experience, because you created in the past. That’s one thing. And what kind of suffering depending what karma of course. How heavy is karma, so you can, it’s enough to suffering for any realms of suffering, so depending on the karma.
Ok. So what else do? If you purify them, if you purify negative karma, if you done only little, what does do? It delay the negative karma you already done in the past. It delay to experience and also is restructured, reinforces and rearranges this negative karma queue. So makes opportunity more, more purification and more opportunity to accumulation merits so forth.
What else do? What else do is more obscuration to have realisation, obscuration to have accumulation merits. So in this particular practice we have to focus on who have no obscuration to realisations, your Kalachakra practice and we purify. You know our main focus is purification of the obstacles of your realisation, you practice successful, your practice continue. What is next, especially the next practice. So that’s why is our main focus this and the same time of course, you already rearranging the karmic queue from the past. And also you make close, more closer and closer, to reach your own sacred truth and also you at the same, time purification is not purification, every single purification is also have accumulation, so accumulation merits you adding the merits on your accumulation. Those things you are doing, ok. So for this reason we need purification. Without purification for ordinary people, you cannot have realisation, impossible. You cannot have attainments, impossible. For this reason we need purification. For this reason it is necessary have the purification practise, ok that is the reason.
So now, ok what kind of purification practice exist and what is we focusing on this particular practice, this preliminary particular practice. That is what we are going to talk about. Two things ok. First I’m talking in general. In general what kind of purification we have? Ok. Think about number one purification. What is number one purification? It is to realising or try to understanding the selflessness. The empty nature of everything. So that means if you practice analyse and meditate on selflessness. Selflessness means selfless of person, selflessness of yourself, or selflessness of phenomena. Either way, if you can practice selflessness all phenomenon, that’s number one. But more effective for beginners, selflessness of person. So in general, selflessness of phenomena more powerful, but for particularly practitioner, could be selfless, you know emptiness, empty nature of selflessness, selflessness of person, empty person. Ok that’s even could be more powerful. If you doing this, number one purification. Why? Because if you realise, even realising a little bit, even a glimpse of realising, you shake the whole existence. So that’s negative karma, everything included. So you make them fragile. Completely fragile. So fragile doesn’t work necessarily as usual for this reason.
Ok, make sure what I mean. From the previous your study, selflessness, free from the previous your meditation. Previous means previous life and previous of this lifetime or any of your practicing due to, of any of your practice or any of your other practices. You come close, “I realising a little bit selfless”. And that is number one. You not having any realisation yet but you trying and make effort. That also works too, for purification. Not as having the realisation, but your effort, your focus, it also helps. That’s one. Ok. So that means either selflessness empty, or all phenomena or selflessness person, either way, depending who you are, what stage you are and how powerful your practice. That is number one purification.
What is the second? Second, non attachment, detachment. So, then you could be mistake, “oh ok non attachment, detachment my negative karma. Who could have attachment negative karma, have attachment?” Of course nobody, almost anybody couldn’t have, as long as people have the concept of negative karma is something bad, it should not have any attachment directly. But we not talking about here that. What we are saying is if you have attachment, anything in the samsara, that is supporting your negative karma unfortunately. But if you have any detach, even a tiny little bit, you present life, you present existence, your personal existence, even slightly detached, have less support your negative karma. So depending how much degree of detachment you have, also very powerful purification. So that means any kind of detachment, any kind of detachment, doesn’t have to be particular karma or particular…anything. However, if you particular too much and then becomes attachment again, another form of attachment because you particular “oh this one I shouldn’t have attachment. Oh this one I shouldn’t have attachment” Kind of like that. That’s why, let’s say, let’s say a person, you detachment this particular person for instance. Ok, “I had a lot attachment this person before but now I’m detaching”. Or you can say “oh I have attachment with this person but I don’t have attachment of this person. Person A I have attachment but person B I don’t have attachment” That’s already attachment. So non attachment means the person B, you cannot stand even one minute, that is not detachment. That’s not really real detachment, but this person B, you have no problem deal with them, but also you have no problem to without them. And the person A, also you have no problem with or without. That is real detachment, non attachment. But “oh I can deal with this person no problem, I can’t deal with this person” that is already attachment, so make sure is not that. Ok. Yes you can say this particular person I have no attachment, literally you are right you have no attachment with this particular person, but this non attachment doesn’t make antidote for realisation(laughs). That’s what I’m saying, that’s why it’s not classified something we need achieve, not that attachment.
So first you realising, having realisation of selflessness, of course number one. That is the root, because the self, the idea of self is the root of everything samsara. So if you make a little shake of this is huge achievement, huge, enormous, ok. But you not really shake your self idea but kind of develop some non attachments, even if not 100% non attachment, even less than you know 50, you know less than normal people, less than normal person have no idea of that, importance of non attachment. If you have that, that is second best purification.
Then you just dedicate…ok let’s say you have one good session of non attachment practice or you just have glimpse of non attachment while you are doing something, that you dedicate to particularly this practice, “may I purify all the negative karmas I make in the previous life to obscure my path of Kalachakra practice” So that you need to do. You just need to direct you realisation or your good situation, you just direct to this, because remember our main focus is purify this negative karma, this obscuration of realisation, how successful your practice path, so do that. But in you know already why I’m doing this, because I want to reach Buddhahood, so why do I want to reach Buddhahood, you already know, it is for benefit all sentient beings, limitlessly. So those things you don’t have to repeat at the time, as long as is in your mind you already know. You don’t have to be consciously all the time, if unconsciously already there in the sub conscious level, then ok.
So, and then what third, what third practice. Third. Ok I cannot have realisation of selflessness, I cannot have non attachment, ok, than what you do? You have regret what you done in the previous. Which means if you have particularly done some negative actions in the previous, negative attitude, anything in the previous and present, you have regret. Regret means kind of like you aware and you are recognised, and you give some acknowledgement, you acknowledged, it is that. It is, shouldn’t be done, it is foolish, it is harmful, it is no good. So you feeling not good about, you feeling is not pride about, your feeling is shame. But shame means not kind of shame give you a hopelessness and take you a lower self esteem ok. That is who don’t know the religion, who has no idea of Buddha nature. For them is that, but for us, you are shame, we call moral shame. Because is not really fitting the mortality, it is not fit in your Buddha nature, it is not fit in your bodhisattva potential, it is not fit morality, it is not fitting Bodhicitta, it is not fit in a sangha member, is not fit as son of Buddha, son or daughter of Buddha, it is not fit even follower of Buddha and bodhisattvas. That’s why you feel shame. That’s if you have moral shame.
So the moral shame and hopelessness, what is the differences? The moral shame you know this is wrong, but you know this is not end of the world, and you know this is something can do about, you now there is antidote, you know there is Buddha nature, you know how much you done bad karma in trillion lifetimes, doesn’t matter, never do any damage your Buddha nature. So you know that, that’s why you can do something about. So that’s why we call moral shame but not for hopeless and self hatred and low self esteem, it is not that. It is not whether you want to call guilt or not guilt doesn’t matter. If you know the solution, if you know, if you have the confidence of solution then you can call guilt, doesn’t matter. But if it’s guilt, it’s not fitting in your mind, you don’t call guilt, you just call moral shame. So that is….you can have moral shame even you have no idea of selflessness, you have no idea of non attachment, even you have some idea but not in the reality. And still you can have the regret, you can have moral shame, why not. So that is third best condition to purify.
So this traditional Vajrasattva practice, according to Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang, anybody. Directly meaning like formed with this third level. However that doesn’t mean you cannot put the others innate. Of course you can cooperate with any other methods. So when we practice this Vajrasattva practice, from the beginning we say OM SVABHAVA SHUDDHA SARVA DHARMA SVABHAVA SHUDDHO HAM then …..(@ 35.33 uses Tib term) Which means we recite the Sanskrit for emptiness and then we try to think about all existence dissolve into emptiness. Another way you can say dissolve until emptiness or you can say dissolve or disappear in empty nature. And empty nature means the true nature is empty, so that’s why went into empty, disappear into empty.
And then you visualise it from the emptiness appear as Pam syllable, and then Pam syllable become like lotus. So symbolising the renunciation. So renunciation means really non attachment, remember. So non attachment, that’s why it is knowledge in there, acknowledging, not just focussing, but it is acknowledging there briefly. And then on the top of lotus you visualise Ah syllable, ok. Ah syllable becomes moon disc. So representing Bodhicitta. So that means you have renunciation according to, including Theravada or we say common Buddhism level and then you have the Bodhicitta and this representing the Mahayana practice and then disappear. Hum isn’t it or vajra in middle, in the middle of vajra you have Hum syllable. So that represent, vajra represent the empty nature. If you are simple way, we say empty nature. Empty of all our samsaric existence. And the other way a little bit like Shentong way or tantrayana way, you say the representing of the true nature of the mind, or you can say the indestructible Buddha nature ok. Representing that.
And then you radiating from this Hum syllable, middle of the vajra, and radiating in ten directions and this radiation, this lights, transforms so many beautiful objects and to offering the ten directions of Buddha’s and bodhisattvas as much as you can imagine. And then radiate into the samsara and to all sentient beings and purify their negative karma’s and then the radiations come back. So why we do that? That representing we do a lot of accumulation merits and purification, in general way, eons, countless eons, countless eons, bodhisattva practice way, you do that. So representing that. If tantrayana way you do them as much as bodhisattva way done, eons and eons you do with many methods, skilful methods you do very fast. So that’s representing. Those we do before reach Buddhahood, we do that in the reality, so representing that.
And then you visualise it again, that lotus moon disc, vajra, everything, and then vajra transforms Vajrasattva. So which means that Vajra, remember Buddha nature, which means dharmakaya and then transforms like Vajrasattva, is that rupakaya. Rupakaya means sambhogakaya or nirmanakaya, either way. And then again radiate from the Vajrasattva, chest isn’t it, and Hum syllable? The other syllables and the middle the Hum syllable. From there radiate again as before. So what that represent is, you whether, whether you part truth reach Buddhahood or when you reach Buddhahood, either way, your job is benefit all sentient beings, liberate all sentient beings. There are no other different jobs, only whenever you are the path of Buddhahood, you have limit capacity and when you have Buddhahood you have limitless capacity, that’s all, that’s only difference. But the reality of your, is not really job, but I don’t know how to say (laughs) Yer, your purpose and your natural benefits, your spontaneous benefits, your spontaneous activities, enlightened activities, same thing. Same as very similar of the path. That’s representing.
So when we do this practise, Vajrasattva. What is this Vajrasattva? Go this whole process, first emptiness then you know, this Pam, lotus, moon disc and then vajra and then vajra radiation then become Vajrasattva and then radiation again. The main is Vajrasattva, so that we call (@ 44.23 uses Tib term). So one power of your purification, we call reliance. Reliance power, so which means our purification power, you relying with Vajrasattva. Ok. Why Vajrasattva? Not Amitabha, not Buddha Shakyamuni, not medicine Buddha, you know, not Avalokiteshvara, not Tara, or many others, why Vajrasattva? Because Vajrasattva, Vajrasattva the purpose of reach Buddhahood is to purify all sentient beings negative karma’s, negative obscurations. Remember negative obscurations, when we say this more broad than saying negative karma. Afflictive obscurations and the cognitive obscurations, to purify them and to support, to purify. That is Vajrasattva’s countless eons aspiration, fulfilled this time, this stage. So for this reason we choosing Vajrasattva. More powerful than any other Buddha, in particular this job, particular this benefits. That’s why we choose him. Vajrasattva is the power of support, or power of reliance, power of support whichever way you say is better. But remember your primary, your primary condition to purify, is we already discussed. Number one selflessness, second non attachment, third regret. I forgot one.
Fourth is determine. Determine to purify, determine to never do again, determination. So that means somebody have not really genuine regret, what you done in the past, but you have really conviction, determination not commit again. That one who had still power. You better to have power, you have moral shame in the past what you done or you guess what you done. You don’t really have to remember what you done in the past. Of course you don’t remember what you done in the previous life , but even you don’t have to remember this life time, but you assume, so easy to assume we already done, otherwise we would not be like this limited, ignorance person ok. I mean ignorance compared to bodhisattva’s, we not talking about ignorance, absolute ignorance, among the human beings, not talking about that ok. You are not that bad (laughs), so we talking about compared to bodhisattva’s. If we haven’t done this negative karma, if we haven’t have this obscurations, we wouldn’t be this level anyway. We wouldn’t be this stupid level, ignorance level and fragile level. So many flaws ok. We wouldn’t be. That’s why you can easy to assume we have a lot of negative karma. So if you can have that moral shame is one powerful of your condition purify, but even you couldn’t have shame, some reason your negative karma is too thick so that’s why not even let you have assuming or regret, moral shame. But if you have determine to not do bad actions, harmful actions for future, resolution. If you have that resolution, then again that is also one power. Preferably you have both but even if you have this, it still is similar of moral shame. That means you have no consciously, consciously not moral shame but unconsciously you have some moral shame, otherwise you would not have this resolution. So that’s why the resolution very important actually.
So you have this moral shame for the past and resolution in this present and then you have support Vajrasattva. Which means you know about Vajrasattva, you know what purpose he reach enlightenment. Vajrasattva yab-yum, union of Vajrasattva. You know the same. So you know that and you have some understanding, some degree of understand or at least some degree of belief and some degree of respect, that’s why you have this support, ok. Moral shame, support, Vajrasattva and resolution and then we call activity, action. Action is your visualisation, and you doing these things before, visualise first emptiness then this and this, all mantra and transform radiation, all of them is activity. So this four together we call four powers of purification. So don’t mix up what I said before, four powers, those is I talking in general. Here talking about four powers, I’m talking particularly in this practice ok. That’s clear?
Ok so, first one general, realising emptiness. Ok. Non attachments and moral shame and resolution. That’s four, but that’s in general, now I’m talking particularly, you have two. This moral shame, resolution, but on the top of this, particularly this practice, you have this reliance, reliant this support of Vajrasattva itself. Vajrasattva yabyum, Vajrasattva union and then you have this visualisation, you practicing, doing mantra, all of them.
So we not finish yet so we are going to talk about Vajrasattva visualisation ok. We just in the middle now, so this four together, particularly, matched with this practice. But non attachment and the selflessness you can mix in if you can. You can do with or without ok. Why from the beginning we try to do you know, emptiness and everything become empty, because we try to mixing. Ok, than after later, why we need lotus flower representing the renunciation, that is non attachment. That’s why we mixing, so kind of like six powers here. Four general one and four particular one, two sharing so becomes six ok. These six powers you use and then you purify negative karma. So now we are visualisation, up to Vajrasattva.
So Vajrasattva above your head, length of half metre ok. I don’t what call this one? Half arms length, but doesn’t matter, don’t have to be too neurotic about this, a little bit long, higher, lower, that doesn’t matter, as long as not attached. Not attached and heavy, somebody sitting your head. Is not like that. So try to as much as Vajrasattva is like rainbow. But still is not attached on your head, just in case the rainbow becomes heavy (laughs) But the Vajrasattva you have to at this stage, because you are more and more close to tantrayana practice, for this reason you have to have understand that’s Vajrasattva is non separation from your teacher, your dharma teacher, so you have to understand this. And so appears like Vajrasattva, as enlightened form, but even not nirmanakaya form, kind of like sambhogakaya form. Which means not like monk form, not simple robe. Instead you have this jewels and ornaments, and silk, brocade or whatever you call. Is fancy clothes, fancy jewellery, everything perfect looking. Vajrasattva union. Appears not like human being, but the reality is not separable from your dharma teachers.
When I say dharma teachers, then don’t be neurotic about who’s my teacher. How many teachers I have, who should I include, who shouldn’t I include. Don’t do that. Whatever you feel comfortable, whatever you find comfortable, that’s important. Doesn’t have to be many, doesn’t have to be one. Not important. The important you have sense of….in my life who has i should look up? Is dharma teacher or is somebody else? If somebody else, that’s means “ok, my dharma is still very baby, so I’m between in the samsara and the dharma”. So you can do something whatever you can do from there. But if you have more respect your dharma teacher, whoever, then somebody samsarically very famous, popular, I don’t know, whatever. If you have a little bit more than that respect, then that is the essential, that is essential. A little bit respect, a little bit inspiration. That is essential.
So this sense of tiny, even if is tiny inspiration, or respect, then you have to think “ok, my perception, my perception, the sense of respect and inspiration is very little, but this not because all the dharma teachers I met is not good” or you hadn’t met but you just saw on internet, or whatever, doesn’t mean they are not good. “None of them Buddha’s activities, none of them manifestation of Buddha” Don’t think that way. Rather, “of course only I can see that much because I have afflictions. Everything exist in my world according to my karma, according to my limited perception, according to my affliction” So, you should have some kind of how you say, hidden, not hidden, you try to generate some kind of pure perception. From understanding your own limitation.
So then shouldn’t have problem with Vajrasattva and your dharma teachers. Why dharma teachers? Because this is dharma, so who taught you the dharma, your dharma teacher. So your dharma teacher doesn’t have to monk or anything, your dharma teacher whoever, whoever the most affecting your life positively. It could be your husband, could be your wife, could be your friend,could be a monk, could be whoever, doesn’t matter, whoever, whatever form they take, even a dog, really. So whoever gives you the most, the meaning of life or purpose of life, or the inspiration or even give a little hope. That you should mix with Vajrasattva.
And then say Vajrasattva, you can say my lama Vajrasattva, or you can say my teacher Vajrasattva, whatever you want to say, my god Vajrasattva, my friend Vajrasattva, whatever you want to say, whatever you feel like. “Please purify me, purify my negative obscurations, my afflictive obscurations, my cognitive obscurations. Because, not so much because I will be in the hell, so I will be a suffer. That yes, you prefer not be in hell and not suffer but that is secondary. More primary, because I want to reach Buddhahood, because I want benefit all sentient beings, however I have limitations, I have thick negative karmas, I have thick obscurations, I have in this very strong cognitive propensities. For this reason I need Vajrasattva, you to purify my negative karma. Because your purpose of enlightenment is for purify sentient beings negative karma. Why you say that? Is Vajrasattva forgot? Is not because Vajrasattva forgot, but just remind yourself and to build up some confidence, so you have to remember all of them.
And all this things you can read in the book, in my Hidden Treasure, direct explanation and then you have more details in the Sacred Truth, and we have plenty teachings on this a few years, for few years, so if you can listen them, really important, because not exactly what I explained today. Every time a little bit different version of the same subject. So if you can listen all of them and make you familiarisation. Make you familiarise this subject, this practise, so I think that’s why is quite important to listen all of them, and read book.
But that’s I’m advise for general. For particular person, have, maybe you have other room and you can do in other way activities. If you feels you have different way of doing, you’re welcome do it. As long as serve the purpose, as long as beneficial for this purpose, no problem, you’re welcome to do any way. But this traditional way, you call the Vajrasattva above of your head, you remind yourself this moral shame and remind yourself Vajrasattva’s purpose to purify and also remind yourself Vajrasattva has Bodhicitta. So that means Vajrasattva is in the past present and future. Number one Vajrasattva’s aspiration, to purify your negative karma, nothing else. To remind yourself and this power and then visualise it.
Nectars, nectars means whatever liquid come from Vajrasattva union. So flow down and washing your body and imagine and visualise it. All afflictive obscurations and cognitive obscurations, all of them, visualise them, dirtiness, as much as you can, as much as dirtiness you can imagine, the most disgusting and revolting things you can imagine. Why? Because this negative karma’s, this negative obscurations, much worse than the revolting things in our five senses. You know. For this reason try as much as revolting things. Such as, what you call? Tell a few because I don’t know the names. tar, pus, scorpions, cockroaches, spiders. All these things, washing, so don’t think when you are shower, because shower only wash outside, never wash inside. So this shower should be out, inside, everywhere wash. But also have to understand follower of Buddha, we don’t believe negative karma with wash, physical washing. This is only representation. Symbolising, but symbolise with your right motivation, right intention, right inspiration, right respect, all this a positive attitude and mental factors and then helps. And then this symbol is helps, so that’s why.
So the Vajrasattva, sometimes Vajrasattva practise is like single Vajrasattva or this union Vajrasattva. In our practice is union Vajrasattva. So union Vajrasattva means more closer tantrayana path. For this reason tantrayana is always controversial for normal people’s perception. For this reason, even these nectars and everything you know, come from kind of like sexual image, you can imagine and that is you perceive as divine activity. So those things involved. And the single Vajrasattva is not like that, the nectars flow down is kind of like sweat or whatever, you know. But this is something different. So this more clear in the text, should be very clear in the text.
So whatever this wash, inside, outside, everywhere. Imagine every single cell go nectars, go inside every single cell, and out and wash away all negative karmas, negative obscurations. And go down under ground and imagine under the ground, the lord of death, lord of your debt, your karmic debt, all of them, and dissolve for them, receive them. They receive but they not receive as like negative karma and suffer them, but receive them as repayments. Ok. And then imagine your body is become like crystal, clear crystal. So that means symbolise your negative karma purified and so try to get sense of joy for few seconds, few minutes and try to get sense of belief you purified. Try to get sense of confidence you purify, you’ve been purified. Try to be focussed in the present, the sense of you’ve been purified. Not too much analysing “oh really I purified? What is next?” Try to not do that. Try to be present and simple. Simple present. Focus what you doing rather than what is next, what could be, what is could not be. All this mental formations, forget about them. Practice that way. So exactly how to practice in the text, everybody help each other, ok. Not everybody need help but some new people need help, so you have plenty help. Do we have any questions?
- June 11, 2016
Raw transcripts created by Vanessa Mason