** If you see your Guru as a Buddha, you will recieve the blessings of a Buddha ** If you see your Guru as a Boddhisatva, you will recieve the blessings of a Boddhisatva ** If you see your Guru as a friend, you will only receive the blessings of a friend **

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Teachings - Pg-4

Lightly edited Transcription of the Condensed Practice Lama, Yida and Dharmapala according to Zurmang Kagyud tradition - by Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche at

Mangala Vihara Temple, Singapore on
26th February 2002

Continue from Page 3

 

Page 4 - Questions and Answers

Student-1

1. Student: Some of us have many other kinds of practices, many other kinds of commitment. In the Gelukpa tradition, for the higher yoga tantrayana practices, we have the Six Session Guru Yoga to complete everyday as well as the short sadhanas. That in itself is quite a lot. Now, with these short practices, I find it difficult to cope? You know what I
mean? On top of our work and family commitments, we would have to practice 24 hours a day! There is no time for sleep. So is this a must? We must do these practices?
  Rinpoche: When you practice guru yoga, you can probably visualise the main guru as the embodiment of all the gurus
together. Like for instance, when you visualise Vajradhara, you should think that actually your guru is in the form of
Vajradhara, or the guru is in the form of Tara, or the guru is in the form of Mahakala, or the guru is in the form of all the other gurus, you know. That’s how we can practice, how we can visualise. Because if we have to practice each guru one at a time, then it may take very long time. Actually, guru yoga is for the guru. So if you wish to add other gurus in, you can still practice it that way as they are all inseparable. Maybe like 3 in 1 coffemix.

 

Student-2

2. Student: When I make water offerings, I realise that there will always be some ants or flies in the cup of water. Should I continue to make the water offering?

  Rinpoche: Probably, the ant is feeling very hot. [laughter] Sometimes, this cannot be helped. Sometimes, when we make
lamp offering, we can see butterflies inside the lamp. So maybe you should protect it with something. Or maybe, before the
ant comes, you should put something so that the ant will never come, you know, or maybe you can cover it with something. Ya?
Like in the case of the lamp, if we cover it with some cover, the insect won’t go in and it won’t be killed. But sometimes,
it can’t be helped. If there is a place that one never dies, I want to go there too.

 

Student-3

3. Student: After I received the Guru Rinpoche initiation and I started to recite the mantra, I feel that the air surrounding me is different. My skin tightens and my hair stands on end. Why is this so? Will other beings attack me?
  Rinpoche: No. [laughter]
  Student: Do I continue to recite?
  Rinpoche: Yes. [laughter] Probably, as I mentioned earlier, it could be your devotion. Maybe there is a connection between you and guru Rinpoche, so when you recite the mantra, somehow, the connection is revived. So probably, you feel the connection by having goose bumps and your hair stands up. I don’t have hair so I don’t know how you feel. [laughter] Skin tightening...I think it’s the same feeling. I don’t think it’s wrong. I think it’s nothing wrong. So you should recite more guru Rinpoche mantra. Okay? There’s nothing wrong.

 

Student-4

4. Student: My friend is a medical researcher. Her job requires her to apply drugs to animal, and kill animals to test the effectiveness of the drug. In killing the animal, like frogs, rabbit, rats and so on, she has to take out their
eyes, cut the throat and remove the skin for research purposes.
  Rinpoche: You know, this thing, actually...how do I say it, it is a very difficult question. The best thing is not to work in these kind of places because you have to perform many unwholesome actions like cutting and operating on frogs. So of course, it is not good karma.

But then, if you do it purely to help others, maybe there is something there we can think over. Killing is not permitted at all in Buddhism for whatever reason. Killing is not permitted. But if you are killing for a good, a very good
reason, then there is an allowance, then you are allowed to kill.

In one of his lifetimes, Buddha was a captain of a ship. An evil man wanted to steal the cargo by drilling a hole
through the ship and sinking it. But by doing so, he would kill all 500 passengers on board. So Buddha knew of his intention.

He thought to himself, “If I kill him I will go to hell. But if I don’t kill him, he’ll go to hell after he has killed 500
people. If that’s so, then I should take it upon myself to kill him even though I have to go to hell as it will save 500 lives.” When Buddha killed him, instead of going to hell, he instantly accumulated 80 million thousand years of merit!

This shows that it all depends on your intention. So it is difficult to decide what is the best course of action. But
of course, if one has regrets, if one doesn’t feel comfortable at all, then it’s better not to work in this kind of places. I think that answers the question.
  Student: Can she say something to the animal so that she is free from unwholesome action or bad karma?
  Rinpoche: If you have a choice, actually the best thing is not to do that. But sometimes, you don’t have a choice. If you have no choice, Dharma may say one thing, but sometimes, you are in a very difficult situation, something that is
difficult to get out of. So in this case, you should recite a prayer for the animal, so that in its next life it will take
rebirth as a human being and it will have chance to attain Buddhahood. We can pray  and dedicate for the animal this way. That’s what we can do. Of course you can’t simply say, ‘I’m sorry, I have to kill you” that would be a very easy thing to say. You should at least dedicate the merit for this animal.

 

Student-5

5. Student: What is vipasanna?
  Rinpoche: Vipasanna literally means seeing as it is, seeing extra. Through reasoning, through logic, when one is not able to find any object or mind itself that has inherent existence, that is solid or truly exists, this is vipasanna. Flowers
exist because we just simply label this yellow object as a flower. But actually, it doesn’t really have inherent existence.

If I pluck each petal off, eventually you cannot find the flower. See? Even mind itself, where does mind come from? Analyse this. Where does mind come from? If you search for mind, where is it? Inside the body or outside the body?

What is the colour

of mind? Is it red, blue or purple? If there is a colour, then there should also be a shape of mind. It may be round or
square. You will eventually realise that you can’t find anything. When you cannot find anything, on that finding, you rest your mind. That is called meditation of vipassana.
  Student: What about my breathing?
  Rinpoche: I think you should breathe normally. This does not involve breathing techniques. Just use your mind and on that particular finding, you have to let your mind rest. And not just resting, the most important point is, you have to try to keep this finding with you for a long, long time because you’ll find that once you have this experience, if you do not maintain it, after some time it will just disappear. So, instead of just losing it, try to hold on to the experience as long as possible. This is very important.

In the Vajrayana tradition, there is a tradition of showing the nature of your mind. Once the teacher shows you the
nature of mind, if there’s 100 people present, maybe 1 or 2 may be able to grab that very moment. But, once you realise it, that is very good. But if you do not practice it, then you will lose this experience. So you have to keep this experience for as long as possible. Maintaining this experience becomes realisation, experienced realisation. So you have to make an effort to keep it, to maintain this experience. So you have to really investigate thoroughly. You have to really go through the reasonings. Don’t just say that, “Oh, mind does not exist” and that’s it. You have to truly believe it from your heart through the process of reasoning. Once you realise that you don’t exist, then you will believe. Sometimes, when someone tells you something, you don’t have a strong believe. But once you realise that you really cannot find it, you will believe from your heart. Then you will truly believe that it is true.

 

Student-6

6. Student: Why are there so many Buddhas or Taras?
  Rinpoche: There are many levels of Green Tara. Some are in higher tantra, some are in kriya tantra. In kriya tantra (action tantra) and carya tantra, the external practice is very important. If you follow this practice, you have to purify
your body, speech and mind. This means taking showers to keep your body clean, not eating the five meats, not drinking the five nectars, not visualising deities in consort form. So if possible, before practising Tara, you should not eat meat. This is the way we should practice kriya tantra. But in higher tantra, you can eat meat, you can drink the five nectars, you can visualise Buddhas in consort forms. So it depends on what you are practising. For most of the kriya and carya tantra Buddhas or bodhisattvas, you are not supposed not eat meat while you are practicing. But you can visualise Tara, or Amitabha, there is nothing wrong.
  Student: When practising Tara do we need to be vegetarian?
  Rinpoche: No, no. It’s not necessary.

 

Student-7

7. Student: In the Mahakala practice, why do we need to send Mahakala back? If they are supposed to help us, why
can’t they remain with us all the time?
  Rinpoche: Why do we send Mahakala back? Because he gets tired of sitting there. [laughter]

It is something like this. Our thoughts are so limited. It’s just a practice. You are sending Mahakala and calling
Mahakala, but actually, Mahakala is within you, you know. It’s like your yidam, you visualise your yidam as inseparable with yourself. But in the Mahakala practice, usually we request Mahakala to return to his abode after practising, we send them back. And whenever necessary, we invite them.
  Student: But why do we send them back?
  Rinpoche: I never ask them. [laughter] Why send them back? Do you want to keep one with you all the time? When you invite a guest over for dinner, do you want to keep the guest with you all the time? The same thing applies here. It’s just a formality, you know. It’s just a formality of certain practices. Even with the Tara practice, if there is no statue, no thangka, we will ask Tara to go back to Tara pure land. But if a statue of Tara is there, we will dissolve into it. Of course, each deity is different but sometimes when we do Tara practice, we will ask them to go, leave. And if there is a tangka or statue, we dissolve into the statue or tangka. You know, that’s what I’m saying. It’s just a practice, a requirement. The practice wants you to send it back. If you require the protector’s help, then you can immediately visualise the protector. There are two ways of visualisation, step by step or immediately visualise the deity in front of you.
  Student: Can I use the protector as a bodyguard?
  Rinpoche: No, you cannot use protector as your bodyguard! It is different. [Laughter] If you interpret it this way, you
will ask the protector to buy lottery! It’s not like this. The protector is not like a human protector. The protector doesn’t have to be there with you all the time, they don’t have to be physically there. Like Tara or Buddha doesn’t have to be there with you to protect you, you know. Buddha can be somewhere else but he can still protect you. Buddha Sakyamuni is not here, you know, he is not in this world but when we request blessing from him, he’s always with us. See?

In other words, Buddha or protector, even though you send them back, this doesn’t mean that they are not with you,
you know. Just because you invite them and then you have to make offering, give them a big feast and send them back after that doesn’t mean that they will go. Like for instance, if you hire a bodyguard, when you ask him to go home, you feel insecure because he is not with you. This is not the case. Protector, they are not there but they can still protect you. That is the difference.