For several years, His Holiness Karmapa has been reading the life story of Milarepa at the Monlam and commenting on it. Here are some of the remarks I jotted down from the teachings given here and there.
Some great masters didn’t do much study outwardly but they received experiential teachings. They understood what to practice by direct understanding. They can give teachings through their body language. This is the lineage of experience, of realization. We must understand and practice that instruction through our master. We can receive the experience of the nature of the mind through devotion to the Lama; or we can conceptually understand it and practice it. We have to study the biographies of the great masters of the past. One great Nyingmapa Lama said, ‘When the great disturbances come, only Shantideva (Guide to the Bodhsattva’s Way of Life) and the songs of Milarepa help.
Are we following them or are we a disgrace to them?
Mao said dharma practice is poison to society. If we don’t practice dharma properly, it can lead us to the lower realms. We can go into the depths of samsara. Without refuge, bodhicitta and emptiness, just visualizing a deity can turn one into a hungry ghost.
Many people commit suicide because the world is too gloomy; there is no hope, no support, no one to love us. I’ve heard there are books on how to commit suicide. Life is precious but now society becomes difficult and bad; we’re not able to live in it.
But even if the world is bad, it’s very important that a few people live positively. Make the wish not to do anything negative. To do this we need courage and sincerity. It’s not easy. It seems that doing negative things makes you successful. Start from today to be a good person. We have to become a small lamp in this dark world
You are the lineage of Naropa, don’t disgrace him.
See the Buddha in the sky or one’s root guru. Pray that the three mind poisons be eliminated. A blue light from the Buddha dissolves into the naval chakra (attachment, like drowning in water); a red light into the heart (aggression burning like a fire) and a white light into the forehead (ignorance like smoke or a dark cloud).
Renunciation: The Incredible True Story of Dusum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa
Before Dusum Khyenpa became the first Karmapa, he had a girlfriend. She rejected him because … well, the sad fact is he looked like a monkey. She took off with another man. Dusum Khyenpa then performed black magic on his rival and the man died. Naturally he regretted his action deeply and committed himself to practice the dharma. He made prayers that all future Karmapas should look very handsome. (The evidence that his wish was fulfilled is with us, here and now.)
We have to make a strong commitment and aspiration and put it into practice.
Monks and nuns are warriors to fight against the mind poisons.
We have to see the mind poisons as something really negative and overpower them.
But we don’t have to become passive and comply with everything that others say. If somebody says eat shit, we have to think, if it’s good to eat, you eat it.
If we see the negativity of the mind poisons, practise is not a burden, it’s an ornament. Whatever you do becomes good for you and others. If we don’t see the mind poisons as negative, everything we do becomes mixed up and it becomes harmful because the container is poisonous. Even if we aspire to work for the dharma, our wish gets spoiled.
We are like hungry ghosts. We want fame and gain. We don’t do anything for our next life. We have disgraced the Buddha. If we are a real dharma practitioner, there is no attachment to this life.
Let us concentrate on the Buddha meditating around here for the benefit of others.