Nagarjuna's Aspiration - 2
L2: Taking refuge & humbling oneself .
¢(i.e. This is about taking refuge in the three Gems: the Buddha, the Dharma, & the Sangha. Knowing that they are the best way out of the cycle of samsara, of conditioning, of suffering. It is not about blind faith; it is not like adoring a God. This faith has to be build gradually while questioning our own assumptions and experiencing the results of the dharma on ourselves. Taking refuge is opting for a commitment to knowing the truth, to know the real nature of everything and of ourselves, to find it by ourselves.
It is also about humbling oneself. Accepting that our actual knowledge is not certain or absolute. Accepting that we have a lot of illusions and conditioning. A strong pride, thinking oneself as superior, hinders the progress.
"The Great Homage can also stop one's pride, which I think is very important. To prostrate and worship is to learn humility and reverence. Its intention is to eradicate the three poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance. One should know that too often cultivators, generally, after accomplishing a small degree of success, become too easily proud of themselves, allowing arrogance and self-complacency to emerge. When they see others at a higher level than themselves, they become jealous and want to compete arbitrarily with others. Therefore a student in Buddhism needs to first prostrate to the Buddhas to learn reverence. To bow and prostrate is to stop haughtiness and arrogance ."
How can one with pride feel compassion for the others? Pride is one of the greatest obstacles to our spiritual development. We have to use antidotes to fight its power. Since pride is not helpful and brings only problems, we need to put effort into developing its antidotes of humility and respect for others; to become more humble, more respectful towards others and less critical. Prostrations to the Triple Gems is also very helpful. But the final antidote is realizing that all dharmas are empty of inherent existence because dependently arisen. What could we feel superior about; everything is impermanent, and we are all equal.) . . .
In the Vimalakirti Sutra, it is called :
Patience refers to: Not accepting any view, not rejecting any view : "All of the sages who have gained the Way neither cling to nor reject any dharma. If one has neither clinging nor rejecting one is able to transcend all views." (Prajnaparamita Sutra)
Nagarjuna's Karikas and his Tetralemma show that, when analyzing any dharma, its real nature is not existence, not non-existence, not both, and not neither (or something else). They negate any of those four thesis without proposing anything. This means that no views are holding; not even this one. This is why we need a patience toward all dharmas, why we need to develop "the intuitive tolerance of the ultimate incomprehensibility of all things". Because the very ultimate truth (Dharmadhatu) is beyond any conceptualization, and we have to accept that. Until then, we can see just everything as an illusion, use antidotes to fight any absolute, and not fall for any extreme position.
Patience is tolerance toward others (not pride, anger and hatred, but understanding karma, compassion, loving-kindness) and tolerance toward all dharmas (not trying to control everything, not rejecting everything, not chasing after absolutes, no absolute discrimination, no absolute theories or absolute elementary components, no first cause, no final effect, no absolute causality, no absolute self).
It also means no "theory of ONE", no "theory of a transcendental consciousness or self", no theory like "there is no duality at all", no theory like "everything comes from emptiness". Just no absolute theories, no absolute views, no absolute concepts of a reality behind the concepts. That is why we need patience toward all dharmas. The Tetralemma is there to demolish any attachment to any view; not to replace some views with other views.
The ultimate view (Buddha's perspective) is not realism (like pushing Dependent Origination, the Abhidharma theories, causality space and time, to their limit). It is not nihilism or idealism (like some do in pushing emptiness to the limit). It is not dualism (like thinking that both dependent origination and emptiness exists and are in opposition, mutually dependent on each other). It is not monism (or something else, like another transcendental consciousness or self, where everything becomes ONE). It is none of these four positions. And we cannot describe what it is because it is beyond all words, all conceptualization, all views. That is why it is called "the perfection of patience".
The culmination, the perfection of this paramita, dharmaksanti, is the realization that all dharmas (and all persons including self) are empty of inherent existence because they are dependently originated. Or the Union of The Two truths-- which means that the very ultimate truth (Dharmadhatu) is beyond dependent origination, or causality space and time, and beyond emptiness itself (emptiness of emptiness). It is beyond all dualities. It is beyond all views. It is not accepting, nor rejecting; just perfect patience.)
. \ ### \ May I never be born in the three lower realms;
. ¢(i.e. This is about the dangers of the three lower realms, and the futility of a rebirth in a higher realms. Even the higher realms are impermanent and end up into falling into one of the lower realms. The only way to escape the cycle of samsara, is to have the precious human life , and to use it to practice the dharma. So we need:
One important point is that Nagarjuna is not hoping to "stop all his mentation", but, on the contrary, to be able to have a precious human rebirth, to be able to use the capacity of a human mind to progress toward the goal. He is saying that we need both: a method (a path based on dependent origination which includes this precious human life) and wisdom (the development of the wisdom realizing the emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas). He is saying that we need to accumulate both merit and wisdom. That one cannot exist without the other. That they are not different, not the same.) . .
\ ### \ Having taken human birth in a higher realm, \ May I not take birth as a sinful king or his minister. \ May I not take birth as the leader of an army or an executioner. \ May I not take birth as a profiteer, liquor seller, sesame seed grinder, thief, or male or female slave. . \ May I not take birth as one who dominates bikkshus, \ A working monk, enforcer of evil rules, \ Disciplinarian, sweeper monk, or challenger. \ May I not take birth in any of these jobs. . . ¢(i.e. Even if we have a human rebirth, it may not be enough -- we just have to look around to be convinced:
-- Being desirous of gain and averse to loss.
-- Being desirous of receiving praise and averse to receiving blame.
-- Being desirous of receiving benefit and averse to receiving harm.
-- Being desirous of the pleasant feeling that arises from a good reputation and being averse to the unpleasant feeling that arises from a bad reputation. -- Also : Doing a job that requires us to go against morality, or a job that inflates our ego instead of making us more humble, or a job that gives us no
freedom to study the dharma. All of those actions just create more and more bad karma; they do not help us to remove the causes of suffering. Instead: We need a motivation based on wisdom, compassion, loving-kindness, bodhicitta. We need a way of life more in accord with the real nature of everything instead of being slaves of our accumulated conditioning (karma).) . . \ ### \ May I not take birth in the land of savages or barbarians. \ As one dumb, blind, deaf, imbecilic, or jealous, \ In the castes of heretics, or those with wrong view, \ In the lower castes, or as a butcher. . . ¢(i.e. Even if we have a human rebirth, it may not be enough, we also need:
-- Freedom from rebirth in a place with no dharma. -- Freedom from rebirth in a time before a Buddha. -- Freedom from rebirth with impaired senses of body or mind -- Freedom from rebirth with wrong views .
In short we may have inherited too much bad karma to be able to take full benefits of this precious human life. Wrong views are like: rejecting the dharma without even studying it, and trying it; thinking that there is no karma, that things cannot be empty because
they are there; thinking it is stupid to respect the guru; thinking that there is nothing after death; being proud and thinking that one's knowledge is certain and absolute; thinking that there is no good and no bad, or that good is bad and bad is good; thinking that the nature of men is to do evil;
thinking that we cannot change; etc. Even thinking that we have to reject all views, or to reject all dualities, or that emptiness is the Dharmadhatu, are all wrong views.) . . \ ### \ Until enlightenment is reached, \ May I always take birth as a practitioner of the holy Dharma. . \ ### \ Having been born as a Dharma practitioner, \ May I not be under the power of non-virtue. . . ¢(i.e. Even if we have a human rebirth, it may not be enough, we also need:
If we have accumulated too much bad karma, then whatever physical effort we may do, we will probably not be able to maintain our vows, or understand karma and emptiness, during this life time. But we can still accumulate merit and wisdom.
-- Being born in a time where a Buddha has appeared
-- Being born in a time where there are dharma practitioners (available to anyone)
-- Being born in a time where there are kind benefactors (and Teachers)
. \ ### \ Having met the Dharma soon after birth, . . ¢(i.e. Wishing to start with the dharma as soon as possible after birth; to take full advantage of this precious human life and not waste any moment. We never know when death will come, but it will certainly come. Have we done enough to escape a rebirth in the tree lower realms?) . . \ ### \ May I train my mind in the wisdom of study, contemplation, and meditation. . . ¢(i.e. We need both method and wisdom together all the time. We need a path based on the workings of Dependent Origination. And we also need to know that this path is also empty (not absolute/existent, but, still, not meaningless/non-existent). Just one of those two is not enough. So even if everything is
empty, we need to study the path, to understand dependent origination, to understand the way our mind works, to understand karma -- until we directly see their real nature. We need to study the dharma texts and then apply those concepts to our own life. We need to see directly the working of dependent origination on our self, not just as some abstract concepts. So we need to contemplate the subjects, and to meditate deeply. We need to develop a very high concentration capacity to be able to understand all of those concepts and to observe them in action in our own mind. The experience of developing this deep
concentration is itself something we are studying on our self. By understanding / seeing how our mind works we will understand that everything is dependently arisen, thus empty.) . . \ ### \ May my mind be able to remain in single-pointed concentration, \ Six consciousnesses undistracted by objects, . . ¢(i.e. Wishing for dhyanas as soon as possible after birth; they bring temporary relief from the stress of existence, and a much better understanding of the mind itself, and consequently on the real nature of everything else.) . . \ ### \ Developing physical power without defective limbs, \ Sense organs perfect, as the object of veneration in a higher birth. . . ¢(i.e. Wishing to have a perfect body to be able to get to the dharma, understand it and practice it. We need both: a good body and a good mind. -- This may also be referring to Tantrayana, where one visualize oneself, in deep concentration, as pure as the deity. Bringing the goal into the path.) . . .
¢(i.e. Renunciation ASAP, Morality, A Guru, The Bodhisattva Path - A Progressive Path) . \ ### \ Able to accomplish all the Buddha's Dharma, \ May I renounce the world as a youth and maintain morality, \ Always relying on holy spiritual masters , \ And gradually traverse the ten paths. .
¢(i.e. But before we can produce a calm mind and progress in developing wisdom, we need to create the proper environment, we need to be able to relax our attachments and passions enough to be able to meditate. That is why we need morality and renunciation. And, later, we need compassion, loving kindness, and Bodhicitta. Otherwise we will be either physically harassed by the people we have hurt, or our mind will be constantly distracted by the attractions of the world, or our ego will constantly pull us out of concentration.
We also need to rely on a qualified guru who will give us teachings adapted to our progress.
Also, the path is gradual, we cannot jump wherever we want. The teachings should be presented progressively, by taking into account the problems and capacities of the student, otherwise there is a real danger of misunderstanding or total rejection. It is a progressive deconditioning. The path is a continual shifting from one view to another more subtle, until all views are dropped. But this cannot be presented like this right from the start. It has to be a continuous gradual process with steps.
So, once we have all the conditions, the steps are :
-- contemplating the many faults of samsara : By meditating on these sufferings we realize that the very nature of samsaric existence is suffering, and that until we escape from samsara we shall have to experience the same pains in life after life. This induce a strong wish to escape from samsara by abandoning its cause, self-grasping. This wish is renunciation.
-- developing renunciation
The Three Higher trainings]]:
-- going through the 10 grounds (bhumi)
. \ ### \ May I reach the unsurpassable essence of enlightenment .
\ For all six realms beings in samsara, . . ¢(i.e. Motivation for Liberation: not for self, but to be able to help all other sentient beings without discrimination = Bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is part of the method; itself a skillful means, more in accord with the real nature of everything than our usual illusions and egotism.) . . \ ### \ Through various actions of skillful means, . . ¢(i.e. Taking voluntarily rebirths to help all sentient beings using methods adapted to their capacity and inclinations; there is no absolute path, no absolute teaching for all, just adapted antidotes and skillful means. Without using adapted skillful means the teachings are not accepted by the disciple
or person. We have to start at his level, using his own language and illusions as a starting point. And we cannot start with emptiness, the dangers are too great to fall into nihilism, or to reject the teachings (realism).
The various skillful means are represented with the thousand arms of The Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara (sahasrabhuja avalokiteshvara; Tib.: chagtong chentong). When he has four arms, the four arms and hands signify the four immeasurables: immeasurable loving-kindness, immeasurable compassion,
immeasurable joy, and immeasurable equanimity. Chenrezig , the Bodhisattva of Boundless Compassion, is the very embodiment and realization of the four immeasurables. The four immeasurables are the vehicles through which Chenrezig benefits beings; therefore, Chenrezig has four arms.) . . \ ### \ May I perform the benefit of beings through the four social gatherings. .
. ¢(i.e. It means adapted teachings.
From AN VII.64 - One With a Sense of Dhamma : "And how is a monk one with a sense of social gatherings? There is the case where a monk knows his social gathering: 'This is a social gathering of noble warriors; this, a social gathering of priests; this, a social gathering of householders; this, a social gathering of contemplatives; here one should approach them in this way, stand in this way, act in this way, sit in this way, speak in this way, stay silent in this way.'") . ¢(i.e. So while we are in samsara we need both method and wisdom. And a Buddha still use both: skillful means and seeing the real nature of everything. Those two, in both cases, are not in opposition; they are really not different, and not the same. That is the whole point.) . . \ ### \ Written by Guru Nagarjuna.
. L1: [RÉSUMÉ] . About
-- Taking refuge, humbling oneself.
-- And about taking rebirth as a Bodhisattva to be able to help all sentient beings in the six realms using adapted skillful means. . -- About the need for both method (a precious human life, a path composed of adapted skillful means more in accord with the real nature of everything) and wisdom (emptiness of inherent existence).
-- We cannot just say "everything is empty" and forget about the path or dependent origination. Emptiness is also empty, so we should not make it into an absolute truth. As long as there is suffering, there is a path out of suffering. And the path has to be adapted to the predominant attachments, and to the progress. -- The very ultimate, the Dharmadhatu, is not emptiness, not dependent origination, not both, not neither (or something else). These are not the same, they are not different. The truth is beyond this duality, beyond conceptualization. So we should not try to build a system to represent it (like with ONENESS,
or a transcendental consciousness / self) (or with rejection of all dharmas, all views, thinking everything is absurd). We should just be patient with all dharmas, because they are all dependently arisen, and thus empty of inherent existence, not absolute. We should concentrate on accumulating both merit and wisdom, and we will get there (even if it is not a place).
-- Note: We have here the same "Three principals (or principles) of the Path to Enlightenment" as in Tsong Khapa text the 'Graduated Path to Enlightenment', or the 'Three Principles of the Path', and it consists of gradual steps. Those three are: renunciation, bodhicitta and the correct and perfect view. And the main messages are the same : we have to integrate both Method and Wisdom; and realizes the union of Dependent Arising and Emptiness. Both present the Madhyamika, the Middle Way. .
L1: SIMILAR TEXT : THE MEANING OF OM MANI PADME HUM - HHDL
-- OM : OM is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body , speech, and mind of a Buddha. ... How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables. . -- MANI : meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method - the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion , and love. . -- PADME : meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom.
-- There is wisdom realizing impermanence ,
-- wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality -- that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object -- -- and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence.
-- Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
-- HUM : indivisible unity of method and wisdom. (Inseparability = not two, not one = not different or separate, but still not the same = transcending the duality: not accepting it, not rejecting it = Middle Way.) . -- OM MANI PADME HUM : mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. .
¢(i.e. Only then is it in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything; only then is it in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting, not rejecting; only then can it aims at reaching the perfect Union of The Two Truths, transcending all karma formation and suffering. Also, transforming our body, speech and mind, is to directly see their real nature, their non-duality, their inseparability: not different or separate, but still not the same. So it is not about doing something, acquiring something - like knowledge, dropping something, going somewhere, etc.; it is beyond causality, space & time; it is about a
direct realization of the real nature of our own mind, of our unborn Buddha nature -- and of the real nature of everything. In short, we need both method and wisdom because the real nature of everything is not existence, not non-existence, not both, not neither, as explained in Nagarjuna's Tetralemma. That
is the essence of the Middle Way beyond conditioning. Even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence, we still need a precious human life, a gradual path. Rejecting everything, ignoring karma consequences, dropping all (nihilism), is not Buddhism (not in accord with the real nature of everything), no more than indulging in everything (realism).) .
It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within. As Maitreya says in his Sublime Continuum of the Great Vehicle (Uttaratantra), all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (Tathagatagarbha), that is to be transformed and fully developed into Buddhahood. .
¢(i.e. Meaning that we are all already part of the real non-dual nature of everything, and that it is just a matter of directly realizing this . Everything is already beyond conceptualization, beyond good and bad, beyond pure and impure, beyond dependent origination / causality and emptiness. There is nothing
to produce, to know, to gain, to purify, to drop, to cause ... Once we directly see the real nature of our own mind, and thus of everything, then there is no more grasping, no more us and them, nothing to get, nothing to drop, no more absolute duality, no more karma formation, no more suffering.) . [From: The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum, by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama . .
4. Freedom from rebirth as a long life god (from jealousy of the virtues of others, or pride; suffering from constant fighting, and long death ending in the 3 LR) 5. Freedom from rebirth in a place with no dharma (think we are smart enough to find it alone)
6. Being born in a time where a Buddha has appeared
9. Being born in a time where there are dharma practitioners (available to anyone)
10. Being born in a time where there are kind benefactors (and Teachers)
. So we have all the conditions amenable and necessary to practice the dharma. We rejoice to have this precious human life and this potential (even though this body and mind is in the nature of suffering). Still, these opportunities and these blessings are not permanently established. In fact, they could easily be destroyed and disappear. . Note : It is not a luck that I have this precious human life; it is due to our accumulated karma. .
- by practicing the 3 superior trainings
- by practicing the 5 principal causes : renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness, generation stage and completion stage of the secret mantra
. ( 8 lack of freedom + 16 unfavorable conditions = 24 situations which become hindrances to the practice of the Dharma) . -- While we may have been able to avoid the eight gross negativities, there still remain the sixteen unfavorable conditions that we can be ensnared by, if indeed, this has not already occurred. Therefore, it is important to know what they are, so that we can maintain a vigilant mindfulness to remain free of them. .
1. the upheaval of negative emotions
2. coming under the influence of bad friends
3. coming under the influence of false views and practices
5. effects from previous bad actions
6. falling under the control of another person
10. having an overly aggressive and rude personality
12. insensitivity to the teachings
14. having the propensity for indulging in negativities
. THE 16 WRONG VIEWS VS.
16 POSITIVE ATTITUDES
o living according to the law of cause & effect,
THE 8 WORLDLY DHARMAS – MOTIVATIONS .
1. Being desirous of gain and averse to loss
2. Being desirous of receiving praise and averse to receiving blame
3. Being desirous of receiving benefit and averse to receiving harm