Life shouldn’t dwell on the past; neither should it look forward to a next life.
How do we experience the real meaning and value of life?
How do we attain perfection and liberation in this very life?

I believe that you are here to listen to the Buddhadharma because you do value it. In terms of Tibetan Buddhism, the word “dharma” literally means methods of making adjustment and transformation. But what do we need to adjust after all? We need to adjust our inner thoughts, so that we are able to regulate and transform our physical and speech behaviors at the same time.

As far as the physical behavior is concerned, rude conducts such as actions that would harm sentient beings, murder or illicit sex need to be regulated and transformed, ceased and tamed before we can become an elegant and noble person. This is the way we transform our physical behavior through the edification of the Buddhadharma. The literal meaning of the word “dharma” thus indicates adjustment and transformation.

As for the speech, under the influence of “dharma,” the lies, the foul language or the abusive language that we use to humiliate others will be replaced by courteous and well-spoken language.

The power of language is so amazing that if misused, it can cause deadly misfortunes; but if it’s well used, it will bring great benefits, too.

If we regulate people’s behaviors by laws, I think it won’t really work after all. Therefore, there is a marked difference between a transformation that comes from inside and one forced by laws.

In the past, when elephants used to be the main transportation in India, a king in the northern India hired an elephant trainer to train one of his elephants. The king told the trainer if he failed to well train this elephant, he would be sentenced to death.

The elephant trainer was so terrified that he exerted all his strength to teach this elephant until it was finally well trained. The trainer then handed the elephant to the king, saying that the elephant had already been fully tamed. The king rode on it and was happy to find that the elephant truly listened to the trainer’s commands. The king thus gave the trainer a generous reward.

One day, riding happily on this elephant, the king and his ranee headed toward the forest to take a walk in the imperial garden there. At first, everything went quite smoothly. But when they entered the forest, they met with a female elephant. Upon seeing the female elephant, this male elephant was so excited that he rushed to her directly; even if the king tried to hit him with an iron hook to calm him down, the male elephant was just totally out of control. The king and his ranee almost fell to death in a violent jolt. Fortunately, they were able to save their lives finally by catching hold of the tree boughs.

After returning to his palace, the enraged king summoned the elephant tamer right away. Angrily the king said, “You didn’t obey my order to domesticate the elephant. It’s totally out of control. You are sure to be put to death tomorrow.” Trembling with horror, the tamer asked the king what had happened. The king then told the tamer what had happened in the forest. The tamer told the king, “As an elephant tamer, I can only restrain the elephant’s body.”

The tamer then burned an iron rod and held it toward the elephant. Afraid of the burning iron rod, the elephant had to subject himself to the tamer’s commands. The tamer then told the king, “You see, an elephant tamer can only govern the elephant’s body, not its heart.”

The king then asked the tamer, “Who then can tame its heart after all?” “It’s not we elephant tamers’ duty to tame the elephants’ hearts. As for taming the heart, only the Buddha can do it,” the tamer replied. Upon hearing the Buddha's name, the king generated such deep faith inside that he decided to pay a visit to the Buddha, and converted to Buddhism thereafter. From this story, we learn that to tame one's heart is very important. An inner transformation always works better for us during a painful period of time in life.

I remember that when I was still a schoolchild, the teacher would bid the pupils to stay in the classroom reading, not allowing them to play outside. At that moment, the pupils would like to go outside playing more eagerly. They would manage to go outside when the teacher was gone, and then come back just in time before the teacher returned. Thus, we can see that inhibition just doesn't work in the end.

In short, actions that harm sentient beings are called “bad karma”, and actions that benefit sentient beings “good karma.” Therefore, many gurus often teach that we should do good and avoid evil, that we should no longer create bad With such perception, we will gain happiness in this and future lives. Of course, it will be very difficult to have our mind, body and speech well-trained at once, but, through learning, when the training grows into a habit, we can still achieve the goal.

Taking a simple example, I used to raise a puppy in India, who would leave its dung everywhere and make the place smell bad. If when it defecated or urinated, we gave it a little punishment and then took it out, it would know that it should go outside when it wanted to defecate or urinate. This is called the cultivation of habits.

Our afflictions are actually our long-standing habits. Taking anger as an example, most of us are quite irritable. For instance, now we are sitting here, but suddenly if a person slams you with insulting words or if you see your foes, you are inclined to erupt with anger. Being a habit we’ve grown for many lifetimes, our anger is easily incited with only a bit of an outward spur.

Likewise, it’s difficult for us to have loving-kindness and compassion at first, but through learning, we come to understand what they are about. Moreover, through the guru’s instruction, we learn that we should not seek the Buddhadharma outside ourselves, that our everyday life is where it is put into practice; thereupon, our loving-kindness and compassion will be manifest in our daily life, since leaning grows into habits. For that reason, we should often help other people, and if we can’t, at least don’t hurt them. To keep this in mind, we are able to lead a peaceful, harmonious and happy life.

In this very short life we live, we are nevertheless to go through lots of sufferings. A usual case is that a prodigal in a wealthy family often turns against his own father and falls out with his brothers, leading to the disruption of the whole family. Life will be meaningless to us if we bring only troubles to the world.

With a pure and altruistic mind, we will certainly be very happy—a natural occurrence, because we will live in joy as a matter of course, without thinking much about the causes.
It’s just like after we’ve planted a flower seed in the soil, we water it and manure it. With sunlight, rich soil and all the necessary conditions, a flower is sure to bloom—a natural phenomenon.

The violent and rude physical behaviors designate an impure mind. Even if we try to restrain our behaviors, make prostrations, chant the sutras, or even had gone for retreats for many years, when provoked by the outer world, we are still vulnerable to our afflictions as usual if we fail to train our mind.

Moreover, the body and the speech have only limited effectiveness. For instance, although an athlete keeps training his muscles, his physical strength is still restricted to the fact that the strength of the body is itself limited. It is also the case with the speech. Like I’m speaking Tibetan here now; neither English speakers nor Chinese speakers can understand what I’m saying. Consequently, the speech per se has its limitation.

But in reference to the mental power, whether it’s an evil thought to eliminate all sentient beings in the Triple Realm or a good thought to benefit all sentient beings as immeasurable as the space, these thoughts will be conjured up accordingly by our mind—a manifestation of our infinite mental power. We communicate through speech, which is delivered by means of our body, and yet the body will meet its doom someday, at the time of which the power of speech will vanish too.

Our mind, however, has been there from the untold eons of Samsara, and will continue to be in the future. In our mind, for example, we harbor greed, hatred and ignorance as well as loving-kindness and compassion. Of these attributes, the ones that we had labored over more and stored more in the past lifetimes will be more conspicuous in this lifetime. Many of our personal qualities are thus heritages from our past lifetimes, and, at the subtlety of mind, they are going to pass on forever.

We can often see that some children have a tender heart and are graceful from a very young age, while some bad-tempered; some children are kind-hearted, and yet some would stamp or stone the bugs to death upon seeing them. As human beings, why we have varied habits since a young age? The differences result from the different states of the minds, not from the parents’ teaching.

The deeper the attributes were imprinted in one’s mind in the previous lifetimes, the stronger they will show in this lifetime. That is why in this lifetime some children are more responsive to loving-kindness, some compassion, and some are ill-tempered. Extrapolating from this, we know that the merits and virtues we accumulate in our mind are substantial and secure. It is therefore significant that we allow loving-kindness and compassion to develop in our mind, that we cultivate a noble character.

For the various reasons above, the Esoteric Buddhism addresses fundamentally to the mind. An analogy here to explain the point is the target practice: A target is a must-have for the target practice. As the target is to the target practice, so the mind is to the Dharma practicing. As a result, we need to direct all our Dharma practicing at our mind. But what is it for that we address our mind? We address it in order to adjust and transform it. Otherwise, we will just fool around with all the Dharma teachings, empowerments and group practices, ignorant of the reason and purpose of doing so.

It’s just like a pet dog that follows its owner wherever he or she goes. It’s also like a log thrown into the river can only flow with the stream. It is also the case with a person led by the nose and blindly following others.

Generally speaking, if we follow blindly without reflection, we cannot say we are real Dharma practitioners, even if we listen to the Dharma teachings, have the chance to meet and pay homage to the real gurus and Sanghas, and accordingly receive blessings from the Buddhadharma and amass great merits.

Buddha Sakyamuni once predicted that at the time when the Buddhadharma is going to perish from the world, the people cloaked in red and yellow robes will vanish too. It’s therefore an extraordinary opportunity and condition for us that we are still able to pay homage to the gurus and listen to the Dharma teachings now.

Dominated by our past karma, some of us go very smoothly in this lifetime, while some have been down and out the whole life. But if we take a close look at it, we will find that all that happens to us are closely related to our mind.

Let’s take another example. A couple doesn’t get along with each other. At the very beginning when they first met, they were fond of each other, but that feeling of mutual fondness gradually faded away in the lasting marital life after they had got married and had children. It is indeed our inner thoughts that change the way we see our spouse, because in fact they have always been the same person we see from the beginning till now.

Let’s take food as a further example. To those who enjoy chili, spicy food would make them very excited, but to those who don’t go in for chili, just a tiny bite of spicy food would make them feel so awful that their eyes can’t stop watering. Thus we can see that whether a food tastes good or bad is not determined by the food itself, but by our mind.

The main point of what I say today is that we are only passing visitors to this world; it is thus important that in this very short life, we live happily with joyfulness, whether we are Buddhist followers or not.

Although the outer world has its clout in influencing our mind, the mind itself still has the final say. Accordingly, it also relies on our mind to practice good deeds and accumulate good karma. One day, when we are in difficulties and feel distressed about it, we should be aware of it immediately; we should make self-examination, and endeavor to make mental adjustment and transformation.

In general, many people will complain to their old friends of the difficulties they have, and their friends of course will comfort them, telling them to think in a positive way and what to do. They know they should follow their friend’s advice, but, in vain, they still can’t help dwelling on the negative side and thus still feel pain. In conclusion, karma predominates over everything. Nonetheless, even though the outer world contributes to the formation of karma, our mind is still the major force that triggers the karmic effect.

One day, when you face trouble and difficulties in your life, you can think about what I say today. I hope at that time you are still able to call it to your mind and find help from it. If you have appreciated the message I convey today, you will gain great benefits from it in this life as well as in your future lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

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