Dearest Friends @ CAS of T_A Chenrezig,
We have received all your Prayer-Pledges to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, offered with the purest devotion and love.
We will be sending your Prayer-Pledges -- so many millions of them -- to His Holiness via our good friend in Dharamsala on 3 March 2007, one of the holiest dates in the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar.
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WITH ALL OUR HEARTS !!
We will keep in touch !!
bb & other angels @ CAS of Thousand-Arm Chenrezig
The Dalai Lama
"His Holiness the Dalai Lama is completely transcendent, completely sublime, completely beyond our ordinary comprehension and knowing.... how can we ever know a minute bit of the greatness of His Holiness ??"
- The 100th Ganden Trisur - Supreme Head Emeritus of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism
"I don't need to take any more pictures. I have my most cherished and precious picture with me. This is the one i took with His Holiness the Dalai Lama."
- The 101st Ganden Tripa - Official Head of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism
"His Holiness the Dalai Lama...... is our refuge in this and future lives, the guide of gods and men.....
You all know this - you don't need me to tell you.
It ( the "amazing development of the Dharma" ) has all happened thanks to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and to him alone. We should be endlessly grateful to him and pray for his long-life. This is vital....
There is not one person among us who has not received teachings and empowerments from His Holiness.... we must act according to His Holiness's wishes.... So keep this in mind, all of you! This is my advice to you, the advice of an old man. It is indeed my testament."
- The late Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche - Supreme Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.
( "Counsels from My Heart" - Shambala Publications )
The Root Text
So after having gone through the benefits of listening to the Dharma, we should engage in the practice of listening to the Dharma teaching. So the Dharma teaching which we are going to receive today is known as 'The Three Principles of the Path'. So when we talk hear about 'path', what is meant by 'path'? In general we can talk about various kinds of path, for example, a road or a rail-track, something which gets us from A to B. However in this instance, we are not talking about a worldly path, we are rather talking about a spiritual path, and what is meant here by a spiritual path is one which gets us from a spiritual A to B, travelling through the various stages, based upon the oral instructions of the past masters, the present masters, and then taking those instructions to heart, putting them into practice, and through that moving through various stages of spiritual evolution. Here 'principle' then refers to the main points of the path, like for example snatching the essence from what is known as the Lam Rim (or the graduated stages of the path to enlightenment) teachings. So when we talk of these 'three principles of the path', we talk about a person of smaller, middling and greater capacities and then the practices which are in common with a person of smaller, middling and then the pinnacle practice which is unique to a person of greater capacity. So within that division of three, what we find are various divisions and sub-divisions, but the essence is all kind of snatched together and put in these three principles of the path, which we are going to go through. So this particular text was composed by Lama Tsong Khapa and it was something which he received while in communication, if you like, with Manjushri, and it is the heart-essence of his practice and also of the Lam Rim genre of texts. So this was requested by a disciple of his who lived in a place called Gameron which is on the Chinese-Tibetan border. This monk requested him to give him some inspiring word for his practice, and then Lama Tsong Khapa wrote this to him based on the teachings he had received in the pure vision, thus we have the written form of 'The Three Principles of the Path?．.
The Three Principles
if you ask ：C ??what are these three principles of the
path??． Initially then it?．s renunciation. So
'renunciation' here refers to a turning away from the faults
of the cycle of existence and yearning or directing one?．s
spiritual career towards liberation from such a state of existence.
Then the second is the mind of bodhicitta. This refers to a
mind which for the benefit of all sentient beings, through seeing
sentient beings?． suffering, strives to achieve the highest
state of enlightenment in order to be of maximum or optimum
benefit. So through seeing the faults in one?．s state
of mind, through abandoning those, gathering all the qualities,
achieving the mind of omniscience of the Buddha - this desire
to achieve such a state - the mind of bodhicitta - is the second
of the three. Then the third of the three is what is known as
the 'correct view', also known as 'wisdom'. 'Wisdom' here then
refers to the mode of abiding of phenomena, that is to say the
middle way view - 'middle way' here being a middle way between
the two extremes of annihilation and permanence. So this correct
view of reality then is the third of the three principal aspects
of the path.
then initially we have the prostration and then the promise
to compose the text. So initially then we have the first line
of the text:
bow down to the venerable lamas.
So then we should understand what is meant by this prostration - who is the object towards which the author is making this prostration? It is the field of merit, that is to say, the field upon which the prostrator, or the one making the supplication, receives the maximum amount of merit, that is to say, one's spiritual mentor, or one's lama. So here then the prostration is made to the venerable lamas. So here then we should understand what is meant by 'venerable lamas' by looking at the Tibetan word. If we look at the etymology of [Tib] - the first part [Tib] refers to the lama having heard a lot of teaching, that is to say, the lama is very knowledgeable about the Buddhist practice. Then the second part of that word [Tib] refers to not only having heard the teaching but then has accomplished, or has gained realisation of, that teaching through putting it into practice in a faultless fashion. So this then refers to the level of realisation of the lama. So here then [Tib] together refer to the lama's knowledge and then the realisation of that knowledge. Then the third word 'lama' - if we look at the meaning of this word, what we find is that it refers to the highest, or that of which there is none higher. So then this is the name given to one's spiritual master with whom there is none higher with regard to the knowledge of the teaching and the realisation of that teaching. So thus we have [Tib]. In Tibetan, there is the plural [Tib] - so [Tib] here refers to the various lamas of the various lineages, that is to say, of the profound lineage, of the vast lineage, there are many what we call 'lineage lamas'. So through saying 'I bow down to the venerable lamas' - using the plural, the author is showing his willingness to bow down before all the lamas of the lineage and in particular then his principal teachers.
Promise to Compose the Text
then we have now reached the first stanza which is the promise
of composition, so I will read from the root text:
will explain as well as I am able
here when we talk about 'the teachings of the Conqueror', the
'Conqueror' here then refers to the Fully Enlightened One, the
Buddha, and then 'the essence of the teachings' here - whether
it be the various sutras or the various teachings of the Secret
Mantra and the fourfold division therein, the essential part
of all of this is what is going to be explained. So here then
we have to understand what is meant by the teaching of the Buddha.
It wasn't that the Buddha just gave a teaching and then everybody
had to follow that teaching. Rather, as is mentioned by Nagarjuna
in the 'Precious Garland', the Buddha teaches as a grammarian
instructs his pupils. That is to say, a grammarian doesn't just
teach advanced grammar to... [end of side - tape breaks here]
then one would learn the alphabet, so you would learn the basic
Tibetan grammar like [Tib], or in English 'A, B, C', then in
dependence upon that you would learn how to form words and then
sentences and then advance up into advanced grammar and so forth.
So the Buddha taught his disciples in much the same way, that
is to say, in a method which would lead them along a path. So
'path' here then is referring initially to renunciation. So
there are two kinds of renunciation which are mentioned - one
is to turn one's attention away from this life in and of itself
and towards one's future lives; then to turn one's mind even
away from future lives and put one's mind in a state where one
wishes to achieve liberation from the cycle of existence. So
thus then there is turning away from this life and then turning
away from future lives, thus two kinds of turning away, and
these are taught in stages to the aspiring disciples. In essence,
we can say that the Buddhist teachings are taught as a method
to subdue one's unruly mind, to subdue the destructive emotions
which we find therein, and then to develop the spiritual qualities
on top of that. So this is what is meant by 'the essence of
all the teachings of the Conqueror', and here 'Conqueror' refers
to having conquered all others, thus the Fully Enlightened One.
then the second line of 'The Three Principle Teachings of the
Path' (which is the first in Tibetan) talks about the practice
of renunciation. The third in English (and the second in Tibetan)
- 'the path praised by the Conqueror's offspring'. So here then
let us have a look at the word 'Conqueror's offspring'. Here
then if we read from the Tibetan it says the holy
Conqueror's offspring, or the exalted
Conqueror's offspring. So this word 'exalted' means that a person
in whose mental continuum, or mind, the wish to achieve full
awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings has arisen,
becomes a superior individual, thus kind of a holy individual.
At that moment of generating the mind aspiring to the highest
enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, a lot
of negative karma is destroyed, and that person then becomes
what is known as one of the 'Conqueror's offspring', or the
son or daughter of the Victorious One. This is mentioned quite
clearly in Shantideva's book called 'The Bodhicharyavatara'
where it says that just through having given rise to this, no
matter what caste one is born to, one becomes renowned as the
son or the daughter of the Victorious One. So no matter what
caste or what colour one might be, one is equal in the sense
that one will be equally regarded, through having given rise
to this mind, as the offspring of the Victorious One. This mind
then is one is which is extremely important and its importance
cannot be overestimated because through this mind one achieves
the state of buddhahood, and if one doesn't have this mind,
if one hasn?．t given rise to this thought, then no matter
what practice one engages in, one will not come any closer to
the state of omniscience.
the next line reads 'the entrance for the fortunate ones who
desire liberation'. So 'fortunate ones' here then refers to
those who are engaging in the Buddhist practice - fortunate
in the sense that we have become into contact with the Buddha's
teaching and are able to put them into practice, and in particular,
fortunate in the sense that we have come into contact with the
teaching of the greater vehicle, or the Mahayana teaching. So
this sentence is describing the third of the three principles
of the path which is correct view, correct view of reality.
Because as the line says, 'the entrance for the fortunate ones
who desire liberation'. So here then 'desire liberation' - what
is meant by 'liberation' and how does this sentence teach us
about the correct view of reality? Here we have to understand
what is meant by 'liberation'
the last line in the Tibetan which is the first in English is
'I will explain as well as I am able'. So through this we see
that Je Rinpoche was a very humble individual. He in fact was
an incredibly learned person, so he could easily have written
'I am going to explain the subject matter better than others
or in a different way to others' but rather than that he wrote
'I will explain as much as I can, as well as I am able', then
he went on to give the rest of the verse. So this clearly shows
that Lama Tsong Khapa himself was a very humble individual who
always took a low status.
Helpful notes by bb @ CAS:
So ends lAM-rIM ONLINE lESSON tWO -- oVERVIEW:
C) rIGHT vIEW [ OF eMPTINESS ]
"HAPPY LAM-RIM !!"
tHEY ARE NOT dHARMA-dUMBS-
tHEY STUDIED THE lAM-rIM.
"nO LAM-rIM, wHAT tANTRA ??!!"
- quoted from all Masters of all Schools of all generations.