miércoles, 15 de diciembre de 2010

Whatever arises in dependence

Asunto: Whatever arises in dependence
Whatever arises in dependence
Has no cessation and no arising
No extinction and no permanence
No coming and no going,
And is neither different nor the same.
Mental constructs completely stilled,
It is taught to be peace.
I bow down to the genuine words
Of the perfect buddhas.

What is the meaning of the word Dharma (in Tibetan cho)? It means “to transform,” “to make changes,” or “to alter.” This is not a change forced by something outside like a hammer: it is the actual discovery of an antidote for our afflictions. It functions just like the medicine we take when we are sick. In this way, the afflictions will start to lose their power, and we are better able to deal with them. This undermining of our afflictions is the destination, the true goal, of all the teachings.

The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, said that through the wisdom of listening and studying, we come to understand the nature of our mind; through the wisdom of reflection, we come to control our afflictions; and through the wisdom of meditation, we uproot the afflictions completely.

This process is very important as it is the afflictions that trouble our mind. It could be said that the purpose of all Dharma is to work on the afflictions. When the Dharma connects with our afflictions, the Dharma becomes the Dharma and the instructions become worthwhile. If this is not the case, it’s like making offerings to the East for spirits who abide in the West. With you back to the target, you’re facing the wrong direction.

For working with the afflictions, the Kadampa spiritual friends have a system of counting black and white pebbles. With a heap of each color, you count one white pebble for a positive thought and one black pebble for a negative one. At end of a session or of the day, you see what is left. If there are a lot of black pebbles, you chide yourself for being so negative. If there are more white ones, then you congratulate yourself. In either case, you make the commitment to do better the next day. You can also remember, “Today I used this remedy for that affliction.” Like this, we can work for a year on our afflictions and then see how we have changed. Otherwise, it will be difficult to transform as we have no way to improve ourselves.

In this special place of Bodh Gaya and at this special time of the first Karmapa’s 900th anniversary, we are extremely fortunate to have with us so many great masters and so many practitioners who have gathered together. We must, therefore, think in a different way and make a special effort to do our practice.

We repeat often, “May I attain full awakening for the sake of all living beings.” But nothing is really happening within our minds, we are just mouthing some words. [His Holiness picks up a bunched kata lying next to him and vigorously swings at his cushion, imitating someone killing a bothersome insect. Then he gently raises his palms and softly blows across them, commenting, “Maybe we should do like this.”]

Though our body, speech, and mind, we should engage in positive actions with a clear intention. For example, refraining from killing does not just happen: you make an clear decision, a firm commitment, not to kill and this makes your intention into something positive. Since everything comes back to the mind, we should talk to our mind and give it advice. We should both counsel and analyze our minds. The Buddha Shakyamuni has given us effective methods for working on our minds; however, whether we use them or not depends on us. The Buddha does not sit there and tell us what to do all the time. We are our own savior, our own protector. We should give ourselves the gift of a good future.

Some people say, “Well, this is my personality. It’s just the way I am.” That’s an excuse not to change. Right now, our personality is coarse, so we need to work on it: this is the only way.


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