Yet another exciting weekend of the Dharma in Delhi…
On Friday evening The Khyentse Foundation and Siddhartha’s Intent India hosted a panel on “What the Panditas and Yogis brought to Tibet” with some well known scholars who were on their way to Khyentse Norbu’s practice center, the Deer Park Institute, in Himachal Pradesh for a conference on “Translating the Words of the Buddha.” The purpose of the conference is to map out the future of dharma translations for generations to come.
On Saturday the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama hosted teachings given by Venerable Ogyen Trinley Dorge, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. Thanks to my dear friend Sonam (Secretary to HHK) I was able to meet him privately before the afternoon teachings began and receive his blessings in his room at the India Habitat Center. My favorite part of the teaching was when HHK said, “Buddha is a possibility not a person.”
What follows are my notes from Friday evening’s event and Saturday’s teaching. I’m not a great note taker and the following is most certainly lacking…Still, better than nothing 🙂 I only have notes from the morning portion of the teaching with HHK since the afternoon was mostly the Medicine Buddha initiation. For more background reading we were provided Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s commentary from FPMT.
Steven Goodman, CIIS
Tibet’s knowledge of the scholastic and yogic traditions from India
Intellectual transformation and spiritual transformation
Yoga is the elimination of mental movements (Patanjali, citta vritti nirodha)
Tibetan translations of yoga – linking back to natural and relaxed state
Union of empty open state and compassionate state
Linking of skillful means and compassion
Kosambi sutta – relationship between pandit and yogi
Rationalist and mystical (Anuradha and Musila)
Perhaps those 2 trends the theoretical and intellectual rigor of Indian traditions preceded
What is the relationship between the pandit and yogin?
Dharma has two aspects (texts and spiritual transformation)
What is the relationship between intellectual acumen and spiritual transformation?
Don’t get hung up on the person who delivers but the dharma
Don’t get hung up on the word but the spirit
Rely on wisdom awareness
Makes our quandary more vexatious
What material is deemed worthy of studying
In time these traditions enshrined in projects of translation
The relationship between pandit style and yogi style-→ enduring legacy of Nalanda greatly influenced India and Tibet
Shantideva and Naropa are amazing examples of the Mahapandit
Transformation of these traditions to questioning “is being a pandit enough?”
Yogins of Naropa pandit style
Rely on a true teacher
Padmasambhava says, “May I come to be inspired by a mind no longer filled…”
John Dunne, Emory University
Transmission of Nalanda tradition of Buddhist Philosophy from India to Tibet
Several streams of thought
Under which each moment passes
Table of elements of mind and body
5 aggregates
Nagarjuna, pillars of Nalanda system
True nature is no nature at all, interdependence
Nirvana is not escape but transformation
No difference between samsara and nirvana
Emptiness is abandonment of all views
Jake Dalton, UC Berkeley
Yogic Traditions in Dunhuang
Discussion of manuscripts found in China and what they say about India
NW China influence of Tantra
Wide range of ritual technologies
Pan Indian response to changes in society
Rapid social change and religious response
Lost history of Indian yogic ritual
Locally produced ritual mandalas
Personal sadhana texts
DNA of early Tantric Buddhism that later shaped the canonical tradition
Gene Smith, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
Tibetan Travelers to India and Indian travelers to Tibet
This transfer happened very often…How Tibetans saw India and Indians saw Tibet
Many voyages of Tibetans to India but less and less because sickness prevailed
Many Indian pandits to Tibet
John Dunne on mindfulness – Smriti (sati in pali) is used multiple ways, Smriti is a technical term…that moment of consciousness has stability
Cultivate mental stability…awareness
Saturday, March 14th – Teachings with HHK
Mind training, no need to get too philosophical
How to develop tranquility of mind in an easy and practical way
When Buddha began teachings the path of awakening he did so in Sarnath and the first teachings were about the facts of life…4 noble truths based on the reality of interdependence
Nothing has a result without a cause, interdependent arising and resulted
Suffering does not occur because of an independent cause
We must focus on the cause of experiences instead of the symptoms
The karmic cause of suffering
Karma is what is embedded
We must pacify our minds
We need to experience the truth of the cessation of suffering
Experience of well being is maintained
The cessation of suffering is not a safe landing but complete freedom from the root cause of suffering
Karma and habitual mental afflictions
You cannot borrow an enlightened mind, inherent nature of all beings
In all situations the role of the mind is significant
Must cultivate the stability of mind
Eight Verses for Mind Training by Geshe Langri Tangpa (1054-1123)
Composed by the Buddhist Master Langri Tangpa (1054-1123), Eight Verses for Training the Mind is a highly-revered text from the Mahayana Lojong (mind training) tradition. These instructions offer essential practices for cultivating the awakening mind of compassion, wisdom, and love. This eight-verse lojong enshrines the very heart of Dharma, revealing the true essence of the Mahayana path to liberation.
As we practice these lojong teachings in daily life, we train the mind to embrace reality in a completely wholesome, wise, and compassionate way. These excellent practices help us purify our negativity and awaken the heart by giving us a way to transform adversity and hardship into a direct opportunity for spiritual growth. In this way, rather than perceiving difficult people or adverse circumstances in our lives as an obstacle, tragedy, or punishment, we now meet these experiences with deep compassion, wisdom, and skill, using them as the actual path to enlightenment.
By way of these treasured practices we eliminate our competitive, selfish, and reactive nature, as well as our false and exaggerated concepts of self (also called self-grasping and self-cherishing). It is important to understand that the greed, jealousy, anger, pride, selfishness, and attachment, which cause us so much suffering, are actually misperceptions of reality, not inherent conditions of our mind. Therefore, these precious lojong practices can purify our misperceptions and delusions completely, revealing the natural radiance, clarity, wisdom, and compassion of our true nature.

With the heartfelt desire and determination to attain enlightenment 
For the welfare of all living beings, who are more precious than a 
Wish-fulfilling jewel for accomplishing the supreme goal, 
May I always cherish them and hold them dear.
Verse I – Cherishing and caring for others is the source of all happiness. Cherishing ourselves over others is the source of all suffering and negative conditions in this world. Therefore, our determination to attain enlightenment should always be motivated by our heartfelt desire to serve the welfare of all living beings. The attainment of enlightenment is the supreme goal. Our enlightenment comes from the cultivation of bodhichitta (the awakening mind of love, compassion, and wisdom). Bodhichitta arises from our deepest compassion. To develop this compassion and reach the supreme goal, we need others. In this way, all living beings are the principle source for our spiritual development and for accomplishing the supreme goal of enlightenment. In addition, at some time each of us has been, and will be, a source of great kindness and benefit for one another. The immense kindness of all living beings is integral to our own human existence. Considering this, we can understand how living beings are even more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel and that we should always cherish them and hold them dear.

Whenever I am with others 
May I think of myself as the lowest of all 
And from the very depths of my heart 
May I respectfully hold others as supreme.
Verse 2 – This verse calls us to train the mind in proper humility, eliminating our habitual arrogance and pride by ‘thinking of ourselves as the lowest of all.’ This is certainly not suggesting we belittle ourselves; we should have self-esteem and self-confidence. Rather, a practice is being offered for taming our exaggerated sense of self-importance and for cultivating true humility and respect for others. The afflictions of arrogance, superiority, pride, and competitiveness create disharmony among people and prevent us from learning and evolving. Therefore, by respectfully holding others as supreme, we become more humble, gentle, and open. This naturally brings harmony and compassion into our relationships and helps us to achieve great qualities, virtues, and spiritual realizations.

In all actions, may I closely examine my state of mind, 
And the moment a disturbing emotion or negative attitude arises, 
Since this may cause harm to myself and others, 
May I firmly face and avert it.
Verse 3 – This verse calls for the sincere practice of mindfulness, closely examining our state of mind throughout all our actions. Through this practice of mindfulness, the teachings encourage us to firmly face and avert any disturbing emotions or negative attitudes the very moment they arise. The reason for this is that our delusions, disturbing emotions, and negative attitudes can provoke us to think, speak, or act in nonvirtuous ways which may cause harm to ourselves and others. This behavior brings karmic consequences and perpetuates our delusion and suffering. Therefore, throughout the day, while working, driving, walking, studying, talking with others, and so forth, we should closely examine our state of mind and heart. By training our mind in this skillful way, we will be able to firmly face and avert disturbing emotions and negative attitudes as they arise and before they develop any further momentum or power.

Whenever I meet people of unpleasant character 
Or those overwhelmed by negativity, pain or suffering, 
May I cherish and care for them as if I had found 
A rare and precious treasure difficult to find.
Verse 4 – When we encounter unpleasant people, or those overwhelmed by negativity, pain, or suffering, we often prefer to ignore or avoid them rather than cherish and care for them. We may consider ourselves to be more important or more evolved than such beings, and we usually turn from them, as we do not want to be bothered, hurt, or contaminated by their condition. This verse suggests reversing our usual self-cherishing attitude by learning to cherish and care for such people, being joyful and grateful as if we had found a rare and precious treasure. To overcome the delusion and egoism of our self-cherishing, we view this encounter as an opportunity to serve and bring happiness to others, rather than a nuisance to be avoided. In this way, our self-cherishing mind diminishes and our compassion deepens so as to embrace all living beings without exception.

Whenever others, because of their jealousy, treat me badly
With abuse, insult, slander, or in other unjust ways, 
May I accept this defeat myself 
And offer the victory to others.
Verse 5 – Learning to accept loss and defeat for ourselves and offering gain and victory to others is the very foundation of the bodhisattva practice. Although it may appear, at the worldly level, that we suffer loss by way of this practice, ultimately the practitioner receives the greatest benefits of spiritual wealth and virtue. In learning to accept harsh or unjust treatment, we should not allow ourselves to react with anger, behave in the same nonvirtuous ways in return, or to abandon others because of their actions toward us. This is the essence of accepting defeat and offering the victory, and the accomplishment of supreme patience and kindness. By accepting defeat and offering the victory to others, with the pure motivation of heartfelt compassion, we destroy the ignorance of our self-cherishing at its very roots.

When someone whom I have benefited
Or in whom I have placed great trust and hope, 
Harms me or treats me in hurtful ways without reason, 
May I see that person as my precious teacher.
Verse 6 – When we are kind to people, helping them, giving them our trust and hope, we naturally expect to be treated kindly in return. When people repay our kindness and trust by harming us or treating us in hurtful ways, we often react with anger, hurt, or disappointment. After such an experience, we may find it difficult to give them our love and respect. This type of ordinary love is conditional and impure. As practitioners, we want to embrace a situation such as this with skillful wisdom, compassion, and unconditional love. Therefore, it is essential that we have a way to transform these difficult experiences into the actual path to enlightenment. To accomplish this, we learn to see a person who harms us or treats us in hurtful ways, as our precious teacher. This person becomes our precious teacher because of the priceless dharma lessons we receive. Through their kindness, we also receive the ripening and purification of our own negative karma, which is the inevitable result of our having done a similar thing to someone in the past. In this way, we can see how even our worst enemies can be our greatest benefactors and precious teachers.

In brief, may I offer both directly and indirectly all help, 
Happiness and benefit to all beings, my mothers,
And may I secretly take upon myself
All of their harmful actions, pain and suffering.
Verse 7 – This verse refers to the essence of Tong-len practice (Giving and Taking). We are to offer, directly and indirectly, our help, happiness, benefit, skills, and resources in loving service to all beings who certainly, at some time in the past, have been our own mothers. In Tong-Ien practice, with strong compassion, we visualize taking on the obstacles, problems, illnesses, and suffering of others. We then visualize giving them all of our happiness, comfort, love, virtue, prosperity, and great insights. In this verse the word ‘secretly’ suggests this particular practice of compassion may not be suitable or may be too difficult for beginning practitioners. It also means that this practice should be done discreetly, and not openly displayed or spoken about so as to gain praise or recognition.

May I keep all of these practices undefiled by stains of the eight worldly
Cconcerns (gain/loss, pleasure/pain, praise/blame, fame/dishonor),
And by recognizing the emptiness and illusory nature of all existing things,
May I be liberated from the bondage of attachment and mistaken views of reality.
Verse 8 – It is essential that our spiritual practice not be defiled or stained by the eight worldly concerns. For example, engaging in these practices hoping to be recognized or praised as an excellent dharma practitioner is not the right motivation. Nor should we practice with expectations of gaining something special or pleasurable for ourselves. Our motivation for practice must not become polluted or obscured by worldly concerns and attachment. The right motivation is to act exclusively and compassionately for the benefit of other beings. Our mind training practice must also be unified with our direct perception of ultimate truth—emptiness. As we gain realization of ultimate truth, we understand the empty, illusory, and impermanent nature of all existing things. With this realization, grasping or clinging to external appearances, or being deceived by them, diminishes, and we gain liberation from the bondage of attachment and mistaken views of reality.
Mind Training in awakening/bodhichitta
Training the mind through applications of 7 points of instructions or cultivating practice of equality and exchanging of oneself and others
Attitude of self cherishing is VERY inhibiting, limiting
Cherishing others from the heart creates openness and possibility of vision
The discerning ability of the mind
Not just in the realm of mind
Self cherishing is the end result there is no good for oneself or others
Need for world peace, good and reliable environment
Clear this is the story of result of fanatical self cherishing
Addiction to self cherishing
When there is no clarity to what one is pursuing one is not anchored in discernment and reality
Sense of what is vitally important in our life
When you make others valuable it is in your own interest, appreciating the worthiness
Grounded in humility
Humility should not be misunderstood or discouraged
There should always be time to train the mind
Emptiness is opportunity and possibility and so is compassion
Faced with consequences of development and tremendous environmental side effects